Sufi, poet, physician and pharmacist (B. 1120, Nishabur - D. 1229, Mecca). His full name was Feridüddin Muhammed b. İbrahim, also known as Feridüddin Ebû Hamid Muhammed. We have very little information on Attâr's life. The name “Attâr” comes from his father who was selling medicine, scent and perfumes. In sufism, the word “Attâr” means the “famous sufi”. Feridüddin-i Attâr lived in the middle age. There are people asserting that he was born in 1119 and killed in 1230 at the age of 110.
Ferîdüddin-i Attâr, who is considered as one of the most important poets and religious scholars of his period, was a person possessing zühd (piety - renunciation of the world and its pleasures) and takva (avoiding anything forbidden by Allah). During his childhood, while learning to become a herbalist, he was also attending the religious talks of the scholar Kutbüddin Haydar, a religion man. After the death of his father, he substituted him and continued to herbalist’s trade for some time. Meanwhile, he was reading valuable religious books, lives of saints and their anecdotes. He is known to have been captured by a Mongolian soldier during the invasion of Cenghis and martyrized. The grave of Feridüddin Attâr, who has been buried in the town of Şadbah, has been made a place of pilgrimage.
Attâr, who spent all his life aiming to possess takva and studying literary works, has written more than thirty works and also left a “Divan” consisting of short poets. His poetic works are about 45 thousand couplets.
After travelling to Egypt, Syria, Arabia, India and Central Asia, he settled in Nişabur, his place of birth at the North East of Iran. Here, he tried to collect the poems and mottos of famous sufis. When he couldn’t stand anymore to his faith to Sufi Kutbüddin Haydar and his will and desire to learn his religion, he quit the herbalist’s trade and distributed the goods in his shop as charity. Then he joined the dervish lodge of a great religion man called Rükneddîn-i Ekaf and became his student.
There are considerable differences between the opinions of scientists regarding if many of the literal works said to be of Attâr were really written by him and regarding the details of his life and death. When Attâr revealed that he was inclined to Shi'ism by means of his book named “Mazharü’l Acaib”, in a period when a Sunni regime was governing, his book was burnt by a mufti named Semerkandî and Attâr’s house was pillaged. Thereupon, Attâr had to run away to Mecca and he wrote his last work, “Lisanü’l Gayb” there. He is said to have died there.
Indeed Attâr, with his thoughts, literal themes and style, not only influenced the Persian literature but also other Islam literatures. The Attâr’s opinion “Tell me, what is a human being. A wretched creature, a handful of soil and a two-day being… A breath holds him between the life and the death. All his existence is by virtue of that breath.” has been mentioned in the grains of sand and drops of water example of his posterior Pascal. His opinion above has also been mentioned in the following couplet of Nizamî: “The difference between the existence and non-existence is as much as a hair.”
During his pilgrim's journey, Feridüddin Attâr met with many persons, who were masters of sufism and intellectuals. Afterwards, he began to read books on sufism and interested in poems on advise, sufism and reality.
Most important work of Attâr is “Mantıku’t Tayr”. In this work, which is indeed about a mesnevi of Gazalî, the birds’, namely the sufis’, looking for the mythologic bird Simurgh (Phoenix) who they wanted to make their king, namely the God, is told. In the final section, the surviving birds look at the images on the mirror-like face of Simurgh and realize that Simurgh is themselves. In this work, Attâr intended to emphasise that, the one who was looking for the God could find the God only inside himself even he travelled whole universe.
Musîbetnâme (Mesnevî türünde yazılmış olan eserde pek çok küçük öykü anlatılır. Written in Mesnevî style and contains many short stories. Translated into Turkish with the name of Tarîkatnâme.), Esrârnâme (About sufism, translated into Turkish), Mantık-ut-Tayr and Makâmât-ı Tuyûr (A work on sufism that has been published as two volumes during 1944-45. Its subject has been taken from Ahmed-i Gazâlî's Risâlet-üt-Tayr'.), Muhtârnâme (Collection of quatrains arranged by subject. Translated into Turkish during Selîm the Second’s period.), Cevher-üz-Zât (A work saying that everything other than Allah is passing.), Üştürnâme, Bülbülnâme, Bisernâme, Haydarnâme, Deryânâme, Leylâ and Mecnûn, Mahmûd-u Ayaz, Mahzen-ül-Esrâr, Mazhâr-üs-Sıfât, Miftâh-ül-Fütûh, Vuslâtnâme, İrşâd-ı Beyân, Velednâme, Hırâdnâme, Hayâtnâme, Şifâ-ül-Kulûb, Uşşaknâme, Kenz-ül-Esrâr, Kenz-ül-Hakâik, Mazhar-ül-Âsâr, Mîracnâme, Misbahnâme, Hüdhüdnâme, Mahfinâme, Kemâlnâme, Tercümet-ül-Ehâdîs, Zühdnâme, Tezkiret-ül-Evliyâ (He compiled the biographies, anecdotes and mottos of saints. This originally Persian work has been translated into Turkish by Süleyman Uludağ in 1985 and also many times into French and Arabic).
REFERENCE: İbrahim Kutluk / Attar’ın Musibetnâmesi (doktora tezi, 1962) - Attar’ın Tezkiretü’l-Evliya’sı Tercümesi,(1962), Ana Britannica Genel Kültür Ansiklopedisi (c.2, 1986), İslâm Âlimleri Ansiklopedisi (2008), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Fikir ve Kültür Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüler Ansiklopedisi, c. 3, 2013) ) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013) - Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (C. 12, 2017).