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Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect

From a manuscript of Nizami, Khamsa (Quintet), copied c 1570

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS Ouseley 316, fol 199v

In his treatment of the Bahram Gur stories, the poet Nizami renamed the slave girl Azada as Fitna (meaning rebellious). She attributes Bahram Gur’s feats to mere practice, so he orders one of his men to kill her, but she finds a place to hide. Years later she impresses Bahram Gur and regains his affections by her strength in carrying a bull up many flights of stairs.

This illustration from a 16th-century copy of Nizami’s story shows Fitna's feat of strength brought about by practice.