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Nizām al-Din Alisher Navaiy
A commemorative Soviet stamp made in honour of Alisher Navaiy's 550th birthday
A commemorative Soviet stamp made in honour of Alisher Navaiy's 550th birthday
Born 9 February 1441
(Islamic Calendar: Ramaḍān 17, 844)
Herat, Timurid Empire
Died 3 January 1501
(Islamic Calendar: Jumādā II 12, 906) (aged 59)
Herat, Timurid Empire
Pen name Navā'ī (or Nevā'ī) and Fāni
Occupation Poet, writer, politician, linguist, mystic, and painter

Mīr 'Alisher Navaiy (9 February 1441 – 3 January 1501), also known as Nizām-al-Din ʿAlisher Herawī (Chagatai-Turkic/Persian: نظام‌الدین علی‌شیر نوایی) was a Chagatai Turkic poet, writer, politician, linguist, mystic, and painter. He was the greatest representative of Chagatai literature.

Nava'i believed that Chagatai and other Turkic languages were superior to Persian for literary purposes, an uncommon view at the time, and defended this belief in his work titled The Comparison of the Two Languages. He emphasized his belief in the richness, precision, and malleability of Turkic vocabulary as opposed to Persian.

Because of his distinguished Chagatai language poetry, Nava'i is considered by many throughout the Turkic-speaking world to be the founder of early Turkic literature. Many places and institutions in Central Asia are named after him.

Influence of Nava'i

Alisher Nava'i on a commemorative Uzbek coin

Nava'i had a great influence in areas as distant as India to the east and the Ottoman Empire to the west. His influence can be found in Central Asia, modern day Turkey, Kazan of Russia, and all other areas where Turkic speakers inhabit.

  • Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire in India and the author of Baburnama, was heavily influenced by Nava'i and wrote about his respect for the writer in his memoirs.
  • The Ottomans were highly conscious of their Central Asian heritage; Süleymân the Magnificent was impressed by Nava'i and had Divan-i Neva'i, Khamsa, and Muhakamat added to his personal library.
  • The renowned Azari poet Fuzûlî, who wrote under the auspices of both the Safavid and Ottoman empires, was heavily influenced by the style of Nava'i.
  • Nava'i is considered the national poet of Uzbekistan in Uzbek culture.


Nava'i is one of the most beloved poets among Central Asian Turkic peoples. He is generally regarded as the greatest representative of Chagatai language literature. His mastery of the Chagatai language was such that it became known as "the language of Nava'i".

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