عنوان مقاله [English]
Composition and letter writing are some of the most important issues that have been addressed in the past. Especially at the ninth and tenth centuries hegira (Teimurian era), valuable works have been composed in this regard, as some have reviewed and attended to the structure, while others have collected the original and content of the letters by the past eminent scholars. These letters, typically classified in two forms of governmental and non-governmental (the Brotherhood), are significant in terms of stylistics and structure and can respond to many social and cultural questions of earlier periods. The collections of letters and writings composed in Teimurian include: Riyazol Insha, Homayoun Nameh, Nameye Namy, Manshaal Insha, Monsheate Jami, Monsheate Meybodi, Makhzan Al-Insha and Frayede Ghyathi.
The focus of this article is on two of the above books: Makhzan Al-Insha and Frayede Ghyathi. Makhzan Al-Insha, written by Molla Hosein Vaez Kashefi, is a book that has discussed the structure of letters and described the components of address and response letters, by which it has determined the framework of letter writing in his time. Frayede Ghyathi is a collection of letters written by eminent scholars in the 10th century and before, which was edited by Yousef Ahl. In this research, the letters in the Frayede Ghyathi are compared against the format of the letter writing discussed by Kashefi in Makhzan Al-Insha, are studied. The study aimed at determining whether the format of letter writing of that period has been observed in most of such letters?
3. Discussion of the Findings
Frayede Ghyathi consists of ten chapters, the first five of which include 318 letters, in two volumes. The second and third chapters discuss the foundations of address and response letters. According to this book, there are twelve components of address letters by considering the approach of past scholars and regardless of the expression of the necessary conditions including: first, “opening”, second “characteristics”, third “titles”, fourth “prayers”, fifth “mention of the scribe”, sixth “greetings”, seventh “expressing sincerity”, eight “description of zeal”, ninth “mention of the time of letter writing”, tenth “mention of the place of letter writing”, eleventh “closing”, and twelfth “name”. Chapter three of Makhzan Al-Insha describes the seven components of response letters including: 1. “opening” 2. “introduction” including the sub-components such as beginning, description and the supplements 3. “written description” 4. “written appreciation” 5. “conclusion” 6. “contrast” 7. “thanking”. Therefore, the said following chapters of Frayede Ghyathi were compared against the in the format and components discussed in Makhzan Al-Insha. The five chapters include:
a) Letters of royalty (121 address letters and 23 response letters)
b) Letters of royal hands and deputy (69 address letters and 12 response letters)
c) Letters of masters (2 address letters and 9 response letters)
d) Letters of judges and rulers (15 address letters and 1 response letter)
e) Letters of men of eminence (44 address letters and 23 response letter)
The results of the examinations presented in descriptive statistics in tables show that most of the letters fit the format of the book and the few deviations observed are related to the title and the opening and the like which typically belong to the margins of letters. Also one of the main reasons for the statistical difference between the numbers of components of letters is the absence of some letter in their entirety when included in Frayede Ghyathi. For example, the there is a letter which only contains “description of zeal” while is missing the other components such “opening” and “closing”. It is clearly an incomplete letter, which the author has included in the collection in consideration of other characteristics, such as including a letter from a well-known and distinguished individual in his book. Completeness of the letters has not been a major requisite conditions of their inclusion in the collection of Frayede Ghyathi. At the end, in consideration of the presented components in Makhzan Al-Insha, it is found that a few letters, such as letter number 260 in Frayede Ghyathi, have the structure of the response letters although they have been classified under the category of address letters. Also in term of audience study, in Frayede Ghyathi the addressees of the letters are generally introduced in ten chapters, to only five of which we have access, as thus are studied and compare with Makhzan Al-Insha which has discussed the variety of audiences. Makhzan Al-Insha has considered the details of its audience, and for the need of each of which, has mentioned relevant examples regarding the various components of the letter. In Makhzan Al-Insha, the audience is divided into three levels of top, high and middle. The class of the top includes kings, rulers, ministers and statesmen. The class of the high includes judges, scholars, scientists, and the middle class includes chiefs of the tribes, celebrities, merchants, and lords, and the like. In the introduction of the book Frayede Ghyathi, Yousef Ahl, the author, mentiones 188 addresses which are mainly the main figures in politics, literature and mysticism like Ibrahim Adham, Ahmad Jami, Mohammed and Ahmad Ghazali, Shah Shoja, Goorkhan and Ibn Yamin, Faryomadi, among others.
The first and second chapters of Frayede Ghyathi correspond to the class of the top discussed in Makhzan Al-Insha, because in this section contains the letters of the authorities of the state. Thus some of the examples which Kashefi has set in Makhzan Al-Insha are similar to the letters contained the first and second chapters of Frayede Ghyathi. Even the existing poems, characteristics, titles, and prayers in both books are similar. For example, the characteristics such as Zelle-Zalile-Atefat, Khosro-Saheb-Gharan, Kholasata-ul-Salatine-Al-Arab-va-Al Ajam, Soltan-Al-Salatin and titles such as Moezzo al Hagh va al Donya va al Din, Ghiaso al Hagh va al Donya va al Din, Jalal al Saltanat al Donya va al Din in both books are frequently mentioned. The third and fourth chapters of Frayede Ghyathi correspond to the high class discussed in Makhzan Al-Insha. In this chapter like Makhzan Al-Insha, the letters are related to the judges and elders. It can be noted that titles such as the Soltan-Al-Nogaba, Nasayeh-Al-Moluk and the like have been repeated in both books. Also the fifth chapter of Frayede Ghyathi corresponds to the middle class presented in Makhzan Al-Insha. Similar expressions in this section are also abundant.
In fact, the addressee of the letters in both books are the same and based on their ranking and position range from kings to ordinary people in various walks of life, the arrangement in different classes have come up despite specific terms of each class. Despite the specific characteristics of the various walks of life, the sectioning of the two books are different.
The structure of letters presented in Makhzan Al-Insha, is descriptive of the letters of the time of and prior to Kashefi era. In addition, the classification of Kashefi can show the shortage of the available letters in Frayede Ghyathi and other remaining writings from the past. On the other hand, due to the similarities of the samples in Makhzan Al-Insha with the letter contained in Frayede Ghyathi and exact repetition of some of the expressions in both books as well as similar audiences and social classes contained in the two books, and by considering the eighty years advancement of Frayede Ghyathi, it can perhaps be one of the major sources of Kashefi in authoring of Makhzan Al-Insha eventhough Kashefi has not referred to in his book. Dastur Al-Kateb by Nakhijevan (8th Century) is the only source to which Makhzan Al-Insha has made referenced. In his encyclopedia-like book, in some ways, Kashefi has described the structure and the components of letters in the past eras and has paved the way for writing letters in the future by presenting varied samples from past sources. In addition, he has helped us to find out the shortcomings of the available letters remained from the past