Library Extras

Poem by Muslih-al-Din Sa’adi Shirazi

One of the most honored poets of Persia, Muslih-al-Din Sa’adi Shirazi (1184?-1292?) traveled throughout Asia Minor until he retired to his beloved rose garden in Shiraz, where he spent the last decades of his life. He wrote two books, Gulistan (The Rose Garden) and Bustan (The Garden). The latter is both prose and poetry, mainly discussing moral issues. The two lines quoted in "Secrets of a King: The Woman Merchant" are from Sa’adi’s poem inscribed on the entrance to the United Nations building in New York City.

The poem reads:

The sons of Adam are members one of another,
for in their creation they have a common origin.
If the vicissitudes of fortune involve one member in pain,
all the other members will feel sympathy.
Thou who art indifferent to other men’s afflictions,
if they call thee a man, art unworthy of the name.

translation by Dr. M. Ali Issari