TOḤFAT al-SAʿĀDA (Gift of happiness), an early 16th-century Persian dictionary of 14,000 entries by Maḥmud b. Shaikh Żiāʾ-al-Din Moḥammad, a poet of northern India. It was compiled in 1510 in honor of Sultan Sekandar (Eskandar) II Neẓām Khan (r. 1489-1517; see Burton-Page), hence its collateral title Farhang-e Sekandari or Eskandari. It contains mainly terms used in Persian poetry but discusses also a few Arabic and Turkic expressions.

The book is organized in twenty-nine chapters (bāb) arranged in alphabetical order according to initial letters of the entries, and each chapter is divided into two sections (faṣl) that are devoted to simple and compounds words respectively. Entries in each section are arranged according to their final letters. The author based his work on both earlier Persian dictionaries (Farhang-e Ḡawwās, Farhang-e zafānguyā, Adāt al-fożalā, Farhang-e ebrāhīmī, Dastur al-afāżel, Żamir, Farhang-e Qāżi Ẓahir, Farhang-e ʿajāyeb, Farhang-e ḥosayni) and Arabic lexicons (Ṣorāḥ, Ṣehāḥ, Tājayn, Naṣib al-weldān). Toḥfat al-saʿāda, in turn, was a source for subsequent lexicographic works, notably Madār al-afāżel, Farhang-e jahāngiri, and Farhang-e soruri, also known as Majmaʿ al-fors. As shown by Bayevsky for the first time, and thus contrary to the information provided in the pertinent catalogues, the St. Petersburg manuscript of Toḥfat al-saʿāda (Institute of Oriental Studies, C313; see Bayevsky, 1962a, pp. 17-19) does contain word definitions that are illustrated by quotations from a variety of early Persian poets, such as Ferdowsi, Anwari, ʿOnṣori, Ẓahir Fāryābi, Ḵāqānī, Neẓāmī Ganjavi, Saʿdī, Salmān Sāvaji, Ḥāfeẓ, and also by the philosopher/scientist Avicenna (Ebn Sinā). The dictionary indicates the pronunciation of the discussed words by giving the sequence of their vowels. Manuscripts of the Toḥfat al-saʿāda are rare.



Solomon Bayevsky, Opisanie persidskikh i tadzhikskikh rukopiseĭInstituta narodov Azii (Description of the Persian manuscripts in the Institute of the Peoples of Asia), fasc. 4, Moscow, 1962a, pp. 17-19.

Idem, “Redkaya rukopis rannego persidskogo tolkovago slovarya ‘Tuhfat as-saʿadat,’ v rukopisnom sobranii Instituta Nazodov Azii” (A rare manuscript of the early Persian explanatory dictionary Toḥfat al-saʿāda in the collection of the Institute of the Peoples of Asia), Tezisy dokladov nauchnoĭ konferentsii po iranskoĭ filologii, Leningrad, 1962b, pp. 44-45.

Idem, “Nosḵa-ye nāder-e Toḥfat al-saʿāda:farhang-e besyār qadimi-e tafsiri-e fārsi,” Payām-e novin 5/2, 1962c, pp. 28-29.

Idem, “Redkaya rukopis. rannego persidskogo tolkovogo slovarya ‘Tuhfat as-saʿadat,’” Kratkie soobshcheniya Instituta Narodov Azii, 67, 1963, pp. 160-62.

Idem, “Rukopis rannego persidskogo tolkovogo slovarya ‘Tuhfat as-saʿadat,’” in Iranskaya filologiya, Leningrad, 1964, pp. 144-48.

Idem, “Nosḵa-ye ḵaṭṭi-e kamyāb-e farhang-e Toḥfat al-saʿādat,” Payām-e novin 6/11-12, 1965, pp. 114-18.

Idem, Rannyaya persidskaya leksikografiya XI-XVvv (Early Persian lexicography, 11th-15th cent.), Moscow, 1989.

Henry Blochmann, “Contributions to Persian Lexicography,” J(R)ASB 37/1, 1868, p. 4.

J. Burton-Page, “Lōdīs,” in EI2 V, pp. 782-85.

Moḥammad Dabirsiāqi, Farhanghā-ye fārsi wa farhang-gunahā, Tehran, 1989, pp. 70-71.

Idem, Farhanghā-ye fārsi ba fārsi, Tehran, 1996, p. 73, Moḥammad-ʿAli Dā ʿi-al-Eslām, Farhang-e Neẓām, Hyderabad, Deccan, 1357/1938.

Paul Anton de Lagarde, Persische Studien, Göttingen, 1884, p. 28.

David N. MacKenzie, “Ḳāmūs. 2. Persian Lexicography,” in EI2 IV, pp. 525-27, esp. p. 526. Monzawi, Nosḵahā III, p. 1926.

Šahryār Naqawi, Farhang-nevisi-e fārsi dar Hend wa Pākestān, Tehran, 1962.

Rieu, Persian Manuscripts II, pp. 493-94.

Ṣafā, Adabiyāt V, pp. 371, 372-73.

Carl Salemann, “Bericht über die Ausgabe des Miʿjār-i jamālī,” in Mélangesasiatiques 9, St. Petersburg, 1888, p. 520.

Storey, III/1, pp. 15-16.

Felix Tauer, “Philology,” in Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit., pp. 430, 435.

(Solomon Bayevsky)

Originally Published: July 20, 2005

Last Updated: July 20, 2005