FARĀLĀVĪ, the conventional reading of the name of an early Persian poet. Our sole biographical source is Moḥammad ʿAwfī’s Lobāb al-albāb (II, p. 5), which includes him in the chapter on the poets of the Samanids and quotes two verses by him. According to ʿAwfī, his full name was Abū ʿAbd-Allāh Moḥammad b. Mūsā Farālāvī, and he was a contemporary of Šahīd Balḵī, which would mean that he lived at the end of the 3rd/9th century or at the beginning of the 4th/10th century. ʿAwfī quotes a verse by Rūdakī mentioning Šahīd and Farālāvī together, adding that Farālāvī’s poems had become difficult to find. A further thirty-odd verses are adduced as examples in Persian dictionaries, notably in Asadī’s Lōḡat-e fors. These fragments show that Farālāvī exercised himself in the usual genres of Persian lyric poetry, namely panegyrics, descriptions of nature, love poems, complaints of old age and poverty, wisdom, obscene diatribe. One verse evidently belongs to a narrative poem in rhymed couplets involving a shoe-maker and a judge.

The name has not been explained, and its reading thus remains uncertain. In the Vatican manuscript (the oldest) of Asadī’s dictionary it is sometimes written with tašdīd on the r and more than once with a w before the l. The mentioned verse by Rūdakī requires the first syllable of the name to be short; but this does not really prove very much, since -r- and -rr- are largely interchangeable in Persian poetry.



A critical edition and translation of Farālāvī’s fragments can be found in Lazard, Premiers poètes I, pp. 70-72; II, pp. 40-46.

See also Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia I, p. 455.

Dehḵodā, I, pp. 603-04, s.v. “Abū ʿAbd-Allāh.” Lōḡat-e fors (various eds. by Horn, Eqbāl, and Mojtabāʾī and Ṣādeqī, the latter with one new verse on p. 220).

Majmaʿ al-foṣaḥāʾ I, pp. 136-37.

Storey-de Blois, Persian Literature V/1, p. 108.

(François de Blois)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: December 15, 1999