His real name is Nizomiddin Mir Alisher. He wrote his poems under the pen-names of Navoi (in his poems which were written in the old Uzbek language) and Foni (in his poems which were written in Persian language). Navoi is a great Uzbek poet, a representative of the Uzbek literature which is called Chigatoy leterature in the West. He was born in Herat and spent the main part of his life there. Navoi's family was close to Timurid's palace. According to the information of great historian Hondamir, an old poet Lutfi met with Alisher Navoi, when he was a child and Lutfi appreciated his talent.
During 1464-65 the fans of Navoi's creation collected all of his poems and copied them to make "devon". Since 1469 Navoi had lived far from Herat because of the inside fights which were going in Timurid's state.
One of the Timurid's Husayn Boyqaro took the crown of Herat in 1469, and a new period began in Navoi's life. In 1469 he was given a title as a stamper and in 1472 as a minister of the state (vazir) by Husayn Boyqaro. He was famous as a poet and a statesman and owned a great wealth at that time. During 1480 he built a number of madrasahs, 40 robots (the place where Karavan could have a little rest), 17 mosques, 10 honaqohs, 9 bath-houses, 9 bridges, 20 pools in Herat and in other parts of the country for his own money (from his own account). Navoi was sent to Astrobod as a governor (head) in 1487. Husayn Boyqaro gave a title to Navoi as "Muqarribi hazrati sultoniy (the closest person to sultan)". One of the main features of that title was that who could do state work instead of Husayn Bayqaro. (See: Bartold V.V. Selections. Vol. II (2), Moscow, 1964).
According to the capacity of Alisher Navoi's work is more than 60000 verses. His "Hamsa" includes the following dostons (plays): "Hayratu-l-abror", "Farhod va Shirin", "Layli va Majnun", "Sab'ai sayyor", "Saddi Iskandariy". Navoi was the first poet who created completed "Hamsa" in turkiy language (the old Uzbek language) and proved that such great work could be written in turkiy. (See: Bertel's Y.E. Navoi i Djami, Moscow, 1965).
More than 120 dostons (plays) which called "Layli va Majnun" were written in Eastern literature. Navoi also wrote "Layli va Majnun" and he described this theme in quite another way (the professor of the faculty of Uzbek Philology, the Tashkent State University Saida Nazrullaeva (1917-1988) wrote about it in her following book: (Nazrullaeva S. Tema “Leyli i Medjnun” v literaturax narodov sovetskogo Vostoka (Theme "Leyli i Medjnun" in the literatures of the Eastern nation). Tashkent, 1983).
Navoi expressed his tasavvufiy thoughts also in "Farhod va Shirin", "Hayratu-l-abror". (see: Erkinov S. Navoi "Farhod va Shirin" and its comparative analysis. Tashkent, 1978).
The problems which are connected with the leader were the main plan in "Sab'ai Sayyor" and "Saddi Iskandariy" which are the parts of "Hamsa". In the tradition of writing Hamsa Alisher Navoi's "Hamsa" is distinguished with its social-political character and being original (see: Aliev G.Y. Themes and subjects of Nizami in the literature of Eastern Nation. Moscow, 1985). Having read Navoi's "Hamsa" Abdurahmon Jomi, who was the teacher and adviser of Navoi, was impressed and appreciated his work. (see: Erkinov A. La quarelle sur l'ancien et le nouveau dans les formes litteraires traditionnelles. Remarques sur les positions de Yani et de Nava'i. In: Annali del' Istituto Universitario Orientale, vol. 59 (Napoli 1999), p. 18-37).
There are many manuscripts and printed copies of Navoi's "Hamsa" in Central Asia (the catalogue of Alisher Navoi's "Hamsa". Compiler K. Munirov, M. Hakimov. Tashkent, 1986) 166 manuscripts which were copied during XV-XX centuries, are kept in the fund of manuscripts of the Institute Oriental Languages in the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan. In 84 of them all dostons (plays) of pentas are given in it.
Spreading the manuscripts of Navoi's "Hamsa" till the XX th centuries and finding out the number of it showed the important part in the intellectual life of the people in the Middle Asia (The assistant professor of National University of Uzbekistan A.Erkinov did some research works).
The descriptions of Alisher Navoi's "Hamsa" in the sources of the XV-XX th centuries. The thesis of doctor of Sciences of Philology. Tashkent, 1998; Erkinov A. Les manuscripts du Hamsa de "Ali Shir Nava'i et la vie culturelle de Hanat de Bouhara sous les Mangits. Bouhara-la-Noble. In: Cahiers. I'Asie centrale №5-6. 1998. 169-180; Erkinov A. The perception of works by classical authors in 18th and 19th century Central Asia; the example of the Xamsa of Ali Shir Nawa'i. In: Muslim Culture in Russia and Central Asia from the 18th to the Early 20th centuries. Vol. 2: Inter-Regional and Inter-Ethnic Relations. Ed by A.V. Kuegelgen, M. Kemper, A. Frank, Islamkundliche untersuchungen. Band. 216, Berlin, 1998, 513-526).
Navoi's thoughts, the quintessence of philosophical views - tasavvufiy ideas of the last days of his life were described in "Lisonu-t-tayr" (see: Bertel's Y.E. Sufizm i sufiyskaya literatura, Moscow, 1965).
During 1491-1498 Alisher Navoi created 4 devons (collection) called "Hazoinu-l-maoniy". The general capacity of it is more than 50000 verses. There were 21 lyric genres in Eastern literature and Navoi used 16 of them in his poems. The collection of his poems in the Persian language is called "Devonu Foni". These two devons include 3150 poems which were written in gazal genre. Navoi collected his qasidas in Persian and made 2 miscellaneas called "Sittai Zaruriya: ("Olti Zarurat") and "Fusuli arbaa" ("Four seasons").
Alisher Navoi put forward the global problems with the sufizm in his poetry (see: the research work of B. Akromov, professor of the faculty of Uzbek philology, National University of Uzbekistan. Akromov B. Fasohat mulkining sohibqironi. Tashkent, 1991)
After the independence of Uzbekistan Navoi's poems about religion and sufizm are widely studied. Especially from this point of view the objective study of Navoi's poems are increased. (Komilov N. Tasavvuf. Tashkent, 1996). The religious poems of Navoi called "Arbain", "Munojot" were adopted firstly. The work "Nasoyimu-l-muhabbat", which includes information about 750 shayxs of tasavvuf was adopted (Navoi, the collection of complete works. Vol.17. T.: Fan (Science), 2001)
Navoi's "Muhokamatu-l-lugatayn" is devoted to the comparative analysis of Turkish and Persian. His tazkira "Majolisun-nafois" was written in the way of literary criticism (Hayitmetov A. Alisher Navoiyning adabiy-tanqidiy qarashlari (Literary critic thoughts of Alisher Navoi). Tashkent, 1959). His "Mezon ul-avzon" was written about the theory of aruz, "Mufradot" was written about the rules of problems.
Also he created the works called "Tarixi muluki ajam", "Tarixi anbiyo va hukamo". In the base of his collection called "Munshaot". In memorialistic genre he wrote "Hamsatu-l-mutaxayyirin" ("Besh hayrat") devoting to Abdurahmon Jomi (1494), "Holoti Sayyid Hasan Ardasher" (Sayyid Hasan Ardasher hayoti bayoni) and "Holoti Pahlavon Muhammad" (Pahlavon Muhammad hayoti bayoni). In Navoi's nasriy work "Mahbubu-l-qulub" (1500) the social and political thoughts were expressed in high level.
254 handwritings of 24 works of Navoi are kept in the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, in the Institute of Oriental Languages (3rd fund) (Hakimov M. Navoi asarlari qo'lyozmalarining tavsifi. Toshkent, 1983)
The list of handwriters who copied the works of Alisher Navoi and some information about them can be a Risola. (Hakimov M. The handwriters who copied the works of Navoi, Tashkent, 1991)
Alisher Navoi. Asarlar (The works). Vol.1-15, Tashkent, 1963-1968.
Alisher Navoi. Devon (Collected works) in 10 volumes. Tashkent, 1968-1970.
Alisher Navoi. Complete works in 20 volumes, Vol.1-18, Tashkent, 1987-2002.