Simurgh on the portal of Nadir Divan-Beghi Madrasah, Bukhara, Uzbekistan
In classical and modern Persian literature the Simorḡ is frequently mentioned, particularly as a metaphor for God in Sufi mysticism. In the 12th century Conference of the Birds, Iranian Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar wrote of a band of pilgrim birds in search of the Simurgh. According to the poet’s tale, the Simurgh has thirty holes in her beak and drew the wind through them whenever she was hungry. Animals heard a pretty music and gathered at the peak of a mountain where they were eaten by the Simurgh.
Through cultural assimilation the Simurgh was introduced to the Arabic-speaking world, where the concept was conflated with other Arabic mythical birds such as the Ghoghnus, a bird having some mythical relation with the date palm, and further developed as the Rukh (the origin of the English word “Roc”).