رابعه دختر کعب قُزداری که به رابعه بلخی هم شناخته شدهاست، شاعر پارسیگوی نیمه نخست سده چهارم هجری (۹۱۴-۹۴۳میلادی) است. وی طبق اسناد موجود، نخستین شاعر زن پارسی گوی است. پدرش کعب قزداری، از عربهای کوچیده به خراسان و فرمانروای بلخ و سیستان و قندهار و بست بود. از تاریخ ولادت و مرگ رابعه اطلاعات درستی در دست نیست. آنچه قطعیست آن است که او همدوره با سامانیان و رودکی بوده و به استناد گفتار عطار نیشابوری با رودکی دیدار و مشاعره داشتهاست. زمان مرگ رابعه به احتمال قریب به یقین پیش از مرگ رودکی بودهاست، بنابراین تاریخ مرگ او را میتوان پیش از سال ۳۲۹ هجری قمری در نظر گرفت.
کودکی و نوجوانی[ویرایش]
از تولد و دوران کودکی و نوجوانی رابعه اطلاعی در دست نیست. تنها مدرک مستند از زندگی رابعه، روایتیست که عطار نیشابوری در حکایت بیست و یکم کتابِ الهینامه خویش در بحر هَزج مسدّس محذوف، در چهارصد و اندی بیت آوردهاست. آنچه از این روایت برمیآید آنست که رابعه دختر کعب قزداری، والی بلخ بوده و برادری بنام حارث داشته. کعب علاقه خاصی به رابعه داشته و در پرورش و تعلیم او کوشا بوده و به جهت تواناییهای بینظیر او در هنر و فنون، او را با لقب زینالعرب (زینت قوم عرب) خطاب میکرد. رابعه به استناد گفتار عطار، در سرودن شعر و هنر نقاشی بهغایت توانمند و در شمشیرزنی و سوارکاری بسیار ماهر بودهاست.
دیدار با بکتاش[ویرایش]
پس از مرگ کعب، حارث بر تخت پدر مینشیند و در یکی از بزمهای شاهانه او، رابعه با بکتاش، از کارگزاران نزدیک حارث دیدار میکند. عطار جایگاه بکتاش در دربار را کلیددار خزانه عنوان کردهاست. رابعه بیدرنگ دل به بکتاش میبازد و در نهایت دایهٔ رابعه که از علاقه رابعه به بکتاش آگاه میشود، میان آن دو واسطه میشود. رابعه خطاب به بکتاش نامهای مینویسد و تصویری از خویش ترسیم کرده و پیوست آن نامه میکند و بدست دایه میسپارد تا بدو رساند. چون بکتاش نامه رابعه را میخواند و تصویر او را میبیند بدو دل میبازد و نامهاش را پاسخ میدهد. این نامهنگاریهای پنهانی ادامه پیدا میکند و رابعه اشعار فراوانی خطاب به بکتاش ضمیمه نامهها کرده و برای او میفرستد. ظاهراً روزی بکتاش رابعه را در دهلیزی میبیند و آستین او را میگیرد که «چرا مرا چنین عاشق و شیدا کردی اما با من بیگانگی میکنی؟» رابعه از او آستین میافشاند که «عشق من به تو بهانهایست بر عشقی عظیمتر» و او را بخاطر افتادن در دام شهوت نکوهش میکند.
رابعه در میدان نبرد[ویرایش]
بر اساس روایت عطار، روزی لشکر دشمن به حوالی بلخ میرسد و بکتاش به همراه سپاه بلخ به نبرد میرود. رابعه که تاب بیخبری از وضعیت بکتاش را ندارد، با لباس مبدل و روی پوشیده، پنهانی در پس سپاه بلخ به میدان جنگ میرود. بکتاش در گیرودار نبرد زخمی میشود و رابعه که جان بکتاش را در خطر میبیند، شمشیر کشیده و به میانه میدان میرود و پس از کشتن تعدادی از سپاهیان دشمن پیکر نیمه جان بکتاش را بر اسب کشیده از مهلکه نجات میدهد:
رابعه و رودکی[ویرایش]
در روایت عطار، رابعه روزی در راه با رودکی که عازم بخارا بوده دیدار میکند. رودکی شیفته توانایی رابعه در سرودن شعر میشود و او را تحسین میکند و با او به صحبت و مشاعره مینشیند. عطار آن واقعه را اینگونه در الهینامه میآورد:
رودکی پس از آن راهی بخارا میشود و در بزمی در دربار امیر سامانی شعری که از رابعه به یادداشت بازگو میکند که بسیار مورد پسند امیر میافتد و چون از آن سؤال میکنند، رودکی داستان آشناییاش با رابعه و عشق او به بکتاش را برای شاه بازگو میکند، غافل از اینکه حارث نیز در آن بزم حاضر است و از آن داستان باخبر میشود. حارث بسیار خشمگین میشود، به بلخ بازمیگردد و پس از یافتن صندوقی حاوی اشعار رابعه در اتاق بکتاش، به گمان ارتباط نامشروع آنان، فرمان میدهد بکتاش را در زندان افکنده و رابعه را به گرمابه برده و رگِ دستان او را بگشاید و درِ گرمابه را به سنگ و گچ مسدود کنند. روز بعد چون در گرمابه را میگشایند، پیکر بیجان رابعه را مشاهده میکنند که با خون خویش اشعاری را خطاب به بکتاش با انگشت بر دیوارهٔ گرمابه نگاشتهاست. بکتاش پس از آن، به نحوی از زندان میگریزد و شبانه سر از تن حارث جدا میکند، سپس بر مزار رابعه رفته و جان خویش را میگیرد.
رابعه در منابع ادب پارسی[ویرایش]
عطار توانایی رابعه در سرودن شعر را چنین توصیف میکند:
رضاقلیخان هدایت، داستان رابعه را تحت عنوان بکتاش نامه در کتاب منظوم گلستان ارم خویش در دوهزار و ششصد و اندی بیت به نظم درآورده. مبنای داستانی که رضاقلیخان نقل میکند، همان شعر عطار است که تصرفاتی در داستان کرده و قصه پردازی نمودهاست و بخشهایی از ذوق خویش بدان افزوده. وی در مجمع الفصحاء دربارهٔ رابعه بلخی چنین میگوید:
از رابعه جز هفت (به روایتی یازده) غزل و قطعه در دست نیست. ظاهراً تمامی اشعار وی بدست برادرش حارث معدوم گردیده و الباقی در گذر زمان از بین رفتهاست. اما قلیل اشعار بازمانده از وی بیانگر ذوق سرشار وی و تسلط او بر سرایش شعر است. رابعه را مادر شعر پارسی خواندهاند. او بحور و اوزانی را وارد شعر پارسی نموده که تا پیش از آن کسی در آن اوزان شعر نمیسرودهاست. به عنوان مثال شمس قیس رازی در کتاب المعجم فی معاییر اشعار العجم عقیده دارد که دختر کعب در بیت زیر بحری بر بحور پارسی افزودهاست (بحر مسدّس مخنّق):
همچنین از اوست:
هم از اوست:
و این غزل نیز بدو منسوب شدهاست:
در عارف بودن رابعه دیدگاهها متفاوت است. تمام منابعی که به عرفان رابعه اشاره کردهاند، به گفتار شیخ ابوسعید ابوالخیر استناد کردهاند، که اینجای تأمل دارد.
رضا اشرفزاده در کتاب خود حکایت رابعه بر اساس بازمانده اشعار او و گفتار ابوسعید، چنین استدلال میکند که «ذوق تیز و لطیف ابوسعید، اصولاً هر بیتی و شعری را میتواند تاویل عرفانی نماید» و داستان شنیدن بیتی از عماره مروزی و رفتن ابوسعید به زیارت قبر او را گواهی بر این مدعا میداند. و نتیجه میگیرد که گفتار شیخ لزوماً به معنی عرفان رابعه نیست. او همچنین در همین کتاب عنوان میکند که آمدن داستان رابعه در الهینامه و «... حکایت و جانبازی دختر در راه این عشق عُذری، اورا به موجودی پاک و باصفا تبدیل میکند که با پاکی عشق و دامانی پاک در خون میغلتد و جان میبازد و [...] توهم عشق عارفانه را در سر و ذهن ما میاندازد».  او همنامی رابعهٔ بلخی با رابعه عدویه و رابعه شامیه - که هر دو از زنان عارف بودهاند – را نیز یکی از دلایل ایجاد شائبهٔ عرفان رابعه عنوان کردهاست.
سلیمان راوش نیز در مقاله خویش رابعه بلخی یا حمامهای در حمام خون ذؤیان خرد معتقد است که عرفایی چون عطار و ابوسعید ابوالخیر، در حقیقت بجهت حفظ نام و آثار رابعه از گزند کوتهفکران، به وی نسبت تصوف و عرفان دادهاند:
لیلی رشیتا، نویسنده افغان نیز معتقد است:
پیوند به بیرون[ویرایش]
Rabia Quzdari (رابعه قزداری) [also known as Rābi'a bint Ka'b al-Quzdārī], popularly referred to as Rabia Balkhi (رابعه بلخی) and Zayn-ul-Arab (زین العرب) and Mugs Roeen (مگس روئین), (birth: 856 A.D. – death: 926 A.D.) was a Persian writer, poet, literary critic, businesswoman and artist. As a multi-talented intellectual, she achieved international fame and recognition for her works in the Samanid era. Quzdari became the first-rate academic celebrity of her time, securing such fame that she eclipsed her contemporary Rudaki. Due to the persistent animosity from the ruling class of her time, her life story and legacy were distorted, leading to many speculations and rumors. This led to incorrect biographies of her being passed down for many centuries. However, an investigative project conducted from 2016 to 2019 that was led by researcher Ozair Siddiqui finally uncovered details of her life.
Quzdari was born in Balkh to Kab Quzdari, a legislator and business owner. Their family was Arabic speaking (they spoke with a Yemeni accent) and were sometimes mistaken for being of Yemenite origin. However, these people were of originally of Tunisian descent who had settled in Balkh, Afghanistan in the decade of 730s. Her Christian ancestors, as a group, left north Africa before the rise of Islam in the decade of 570s due to political and personal problems.
Quzdari's ancestors were a prominent Amazigh tribe who lived as a commune in Ghidma, Tunisia. Family ties were strong, and they moved together as an extended family whenever they resettled. They didn't struggle financially as they had good sources of income. Their tribe was highly educated, with doctors, druggists and engineers being present in every successive generation of their family. They also had businesses and real estate investments in Ghidma which only employed blood relatives. However, their lives were marred by many difficulties and eventually led to their emigration from north Africa.
In 640s, the tribe settled in Shobak, Jordan. Life there was good for a few decades. However, old problems resurfaced, and the tribe moved once again, this time, to Yemen in 640s. They flourished in Yemen and got established. But they faced the rise of Islam and become torn in maintaining their Christian religion or converting to Islam. Although they accepted Arabic as their mother tongue in Yemen, they relocated to Bahrain to maintain their beliefs. Despite their sincere effort in preserving Christianity, they finally yielded in accepting Islam in Bahrain.
Although Bahrain was good, the tribe decided to head to Balkh as the world's most prestigious educational institutions at that time in history were in the ancient Afghan province. So, they crossed the Persian Gulf and, after a temporary stay in Iran, they headed to Afghanistan which thenceforth became their permanent settlement. By the time Quzdari was born, her ancestors had been living in Balkh for more than a century. Because these people only associated with other Arabic speaking peoples of Balkh, they were able to maintain their native tongue of Arabic through the successive generations.
Rabia Quzdari was born in the year 856. Her family were middle-class. Her father, Kab, was a legislator as well as a small business owner. As the fourth child of Kab, Quzdari was a gifted child. She learned fast and had a penchant for the arts. From young age, she composed poetry and drew sketches. Kab was vigilant father and made efforts so his children attain high levels of education. By the time she was 20 years old, Quzdari had become conversant in Farsi and Bactrian in addition to her mother tongue of Arabic. She had also learned the sign language and was familiar with the Sogdian language as well.
In the year 872, Quzdari got engaged and then married at age 18. She temporarily stopped her schooling. At 19, she became the mother of a young boy. Between the years of 875 and 877, two tragedies struck the Quzdari household that severely affected her. Her older brother contracted hepatitis and then died. Then two years later, her younger brother drowned in lake. These two events led to much guilt and led to her parents being temporarily separated. Although her father became the governor of Balkh shortly after the second tragedy, there was no joy. These deaths led Quzdari to immerse herself into reading and learning. She also took up painting.
At 23, Quzdari became a mother for a second time, giving birth to a girl. Shortly after the birth of her daughter, she restarted her school and in the year 884 completed her education. She graduated as the most distinguished student in Balkh. Quzdari earned what would be equivalent of more than a bachelor's degree but less than a master's degree. She didn't continue to earn a doctorate as her children were growing and demanding her attention. During her undergraduate years, she had engaged in extra-curricular learning to where she gained knowledge in a wide variety of subjects and could write about them competently. It was during her college years that she decided to become a writer.
Quzdari had completed two books before graduation: one about flowers and one a love story. The latter which made her famous throughout the Samanid Empire, was the story of a young Balkhian woman, Roya, who elopes with her slave, Baktash. It was based on a true story, so it caught the attention of the public quickly. Although the ending culminated in tragedy, but it is considered a masterpiece of the Persian literature. She went to win an award for this book and the publication became the most talked about intellectual output of the 880s decade. This book soared her name close to the superstar of the time, Rudaki, and she became a household name throughout Balkh.
Quzdari continued with her writing career. In the early 890s, she wrote a book about animals and one about child rearing practices. Both of the publications generated good income, but they were not as critically acclaimed as her publication about Roya and Baktash. However, in the year 894, Quzdari rose to new levels of popularity with a book about being charitable. She won the most prestigious award of her time, Honor of Samanid Empire, and her popularity soared above Rudaki. This was also the first time a woman had won such an honor, so it was history in the making.
After this publication, the rivalry between Quzdari and Rudaki reached its zenith. Both were intent on being the sole academic superstar status of the world. This would continue fiercely for the next seven years.
During these years of intense competition, Quzdari gained the attention of the Samanids, who were the rulers of the time. Particularly, Nasr I, who was the emir of the time, was keen on meeting her. Rudaki had read poems and passages from her Roya and Baktash publication and he had developed an obsession with Quzdari. So, finally a meeting was arranged. Nasr offered her a position in the court but Quzdari refused. He then offered a double marriage of her daughter and her son into his family, which she also refused. The enraged emir issued a death threat which he quickly rescinded as the public mutiny against him made him fearful for his life. From this time forward, the Samanids become sworn enemies of Quzdari.
In the next few years, Quzdari experienced personal losses that were offset by her professional gains. She became a widow at age 35 and then on became the sole earner of the family. She continued with building her career and churning out critically acclaimed intellectual output. From the years, 896 to 897, she published three of her best-selling books, all of which were awarded the highest prizes of her time. By the late 890s, Quzdari had attained the status of a mythical figure and was referred to as such with murals to her name throughout Balkh.
After her father died, her uncle came to the governorship of Balkh. Although Quzdari campaigned for her brother, he didn't succeed. But Bijan eventually sat on the throne of Balkh as her uncle was eventually removed from his position due to his personal conduct and his inability to handle the administration of the provinces he was assigned to. It was during these years that her fame gained international momentum as her publications were reaching to China, India and Arabia and people of those lands were captivated by her writing. In the year 901, at age 45, Quzdari attained world-wide academic stardom.
But her life was complicated by the divorce of her daughter. This assigned her additional responsibility and she devoted more time to her grandchildren. Despite this she did publish two more publications that eventually cemented her status as of that of a national hero. Her book about different style of communication became an international bestseller and made her what would be a multi-millionaire by modern standards. She lived in a wealthy section of Balkh and her home was on a vast property that she had developed into a vast garden-like residence.
Quzdari died in 926 and her funeral was attended by thousands. Six days of mourning was declared throughout the Samanid empire and people came from various countries to pay their respects.
After her passing, the Samanids started a campaign of eradicating her works and succeeded in destroying about 95% of her writings within the Samanid empire. However, her novel about Roya and Baktash was too popular to be forgotten and, over time, Quzdari was merged with the heroine of her most famous work. She became the lead protagonist of her novel, Roya, and her biography became as the story of the tragic heroine of her novel. Various version of this story perpetuated in fragments for about twelve hundred years until 2019 when she was re-introduced.
Quzdari was skilled in sign language, gardening, Indus script in addition to poetry, writing and painting. She was fluent in the languages of Arabic, Farsi and Bactrian. She opened a translation business, and was at one point, rated the most competent translator of Farsi to Arabic (and vice versa) in the Samanid Empire. In addition, she had a good understanding of the Sogdian language and could carry a basic conversation in this language.
Quzdari is said to be physically very beautiful and was considered, during her lifetime, the most good-looking woman in not only Afghanistan but Islamic world as well. There is much description about her eyes, lips and eyelashes being an absolute work of art.
Quzdari was 5’8” tall.
Nearly twelve centuries after her birth, Quzdari is still very much alive in Afghanistan. Her poems are recited in schools and she is referenced in academia, ceremonies, award shows and television programs. Her grave in Balkh is adorned annually with pilgrims who pay their respects to the most famous woman in the Persian tradition. Through the years, Quzdari has ranked only second to Zoroaster, but ahead of Balkhi, in terms of her fame and popularity in the Greater Iran region.
The Literary Works of Quzdari
The following books were published:
The following two books never made it to publication because she died:
The Artistic Works of Quzdari
Awards & Accolades