Rudaki Samarqandi, whose full name is Abdollah Jafar-Ebn Mohammad, was born in 858 C.E. in the Rudak village, a settlement between Samarqand and Bokhara in central Asia. Rudaki began writing verses from early childhood. He was fond of playing the harp (chang in Persian), and had a beautiful voice. He was one of the first poets to use the newly devised Persian alphabet, a transcription of the Pahlavi language using Arabic letters.

When his fame in poetry reached Bokhara, he was invited to the court by Amir Nasr-Ebn Ahmad Samani. Rudaki's poetry captured the hearts and minds of his contemporaries. Astonishing in their philosophical profundity, Rudakiís qasides were frequently heard at feasts in the royal palace and at scholarly meetings.

Rudaki perfected all the genres of poetry that existed then: qaside, qazal, robai, and masnavi. His lyrics were popular with common people. His poetry is simple, does not use Qoranic verses, and reflects the charm of the pre-Islamic poetry of Persia. According to some sources, Rudaki's literary heritage includes more than one hundred thousands beyts (lines) of poetry. Rudaki was the teacher of Abdolhassan Shahid Balkhi, Moradi Bokhari, and other poets.


Rouhollah Khaleghiís famous composition, Chang-e Rudaki, is a joyful expression of the lyrics of Rudaki. The poet wrote the qaside for Amir Nasr-Ebn Ahmad Samani. The Amir was sojourning in Harat, did not intend to leave Harat, a land that was famous for its beautiful nature and climate, and had no intention of returning to Bokhara, his home. His courtiers missed their families, so they asked the poet to write verses to evoke homesickness in the Amir's heart, thus making him return to Bokhara. Even before Rudaki finished singing the poem, the Amir had mounted his horse to return home.


The fragrance of the River Muliyan comes upon me.

It brings sweet memories of my beloved.

The roughness of the riverís gravel

Feels like silk under my feet.

The water of the River Jeyhun

Reaches the knees of my horse.

O, Bokhara, live long and be happy!

The king is coming to be your guest.


Amir the moon, Bokhara the sky;

The moon is ascending into the sky.

Amir the tall cypress, Bokhara the garden;

The cypress is coming to the garden.

Rudaki died in 941 C.E., having returned to his native village. His tomb is marked with a mausoleum made of white-and-blue marble.