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Sarmad, Muhammad Saʿid

SARMAD, MUHAMMAD SAʿID

SARMAD, MUHAMMAD SA ʿID (d. 1661), Persian poet. Born into a rabbinical family in Kashan in the early 17th century, Sarmad became a convert to *Islam, though he is always referred to in Persian and European sources as "Sarmad the Jew," "the Hebrew pantheist," or "the Jewish mystic." Migrating to *India, he moved from Tatta to Hyderabad and in 1654 was in Delhi, capital of the Mogul empire, where he led the life of a dervish, a "naked fakir walking through the streets." A popular composer of Sufic poetry, he collaborated with the author of the Dabistān, a comprehensive work in Persian on comparative religion. Material for the chapter on Judaism was supplied by Sarmad, who also edited a Persian translation of the Pentateuch of which six chapters of Genesis were included in the Dabistān. Sarmad's association with the crown prince of the Mogul dynasty led to his downfall, and he was executed in Delhi. His Dīwān, containing over 300 poems, was printed in 1897.

bibliography:

Fischel, in: paajr, 18 (1949), 137–77; A.V.W. Jackson, The Dabistan, or School of Manners (1901).

[Walter Joseph Fischel]

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