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Ḥāfiẓ Abrū (d. 833/1430) was a Timurid historian who spent the greater part of his active life in Herat. An accomplished chess-player, he was a regular guest at the court of the chess-loving Tīmūr Lang (d. 807/1405). His works were all commissioned by Tīmūr’s son Shāhrūkh (d. 850/1447), whom he had joined at his court in Herat after his accession to the throne in 807/1405. The Jaghrāfiyā is of special interest because in the parts on Fārs, Kirmān,Transoxania and Khurāsān, geographical data—often collected personally by him during military campaigns in which he took part—are supplemented with much valuable historical information. The three volumes published here contain the first of the two books of which the Jaghrāfiyā is composed, treating of Kirmān (vol. 3), Fārs (vol. 2), and the known world to the west of these (including Arabia), with separate listings of mountains, rivers, lakes and seas (vol.1 , beginning vol. 2). 3 vols; volume 1.
Tarjuma-yi Muḥammad Ibrāhīm Badāyiʿ nigār-i Tihrānī
The Nahj al-balāgha is a collection of sermons, letters, testimonials, and wise sayings attributed to ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib (d. 40/661), the Prophet’s son-in-law, successor, and first imam of the Shīʿa. The collection was compiled by al-Sharīf al-Raḍī (d. 406/1088), a distinguished ʿAlid member of Baghdad’s ruling elite. The Nahj al-balāgha is widely considered a work of extraordinary literary quality, besides being an invaluable source of information on the person, opinions, and virtues of ʿAlī. ʿAlī’s letter to al-Malik al-Ashtar al-Nakhʿī, in which he describes the ethical and executive mindset with which he wants him to assume the administration of Egypt, is generally regarded as a text of exceptional appeal. It is therefore no wonder that it was translated into Persian many times. The present translation by the man of letters and chronicler of the court Muḥammad Ibrāhīm Badāyiʿ-nigār (d. 1299/1882) was completed in 1273/1857 and dedicated to Nāṣir al-Dīn Shāh Qājār (r. 1264-1313/1848-96).
The present work is not an historical text in the regular sense of the word. It is rather an inventory of as many citations and borrowings in later sources as possible from a text now lost. Written in Arabic, the Akhbār wulāt Khurāsān was started by ʿAbd al-Ḥusayn b. Aḥmad al-Sallāmi (d. 300/912) of Khwār near Bayhaq, whose account ran to the year 289/902, and then continued by his brother Abū ʿAlī b. Aḥmad al-Sallāmī, finishing in the year 344/955. As stated by the author of the present compilation, the work is important in that it is an early history of the governors of Khurāsān which was not written from religious or political motives. A trusted source, it saw at least three abridgements and is cited or used by many later authors, among them Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī (d. 440/1048), ʿIzz al-Dīn b. al-Athīr (d. 630/1233), and ʿAbd al-Ḥayy b. Ḍaḥḥāk Gardīzī (fl. middle 5th/11th century).
In the Islamic middle ages, urban histories were for the most part not the kind of chronicle that one might think, covering the political, economic, or cultural history of a particular city over a certain time. Instead, they were a kind of ‘who’s who’ directory of names of a city’s prominent inhabitants, mostly from as far back as information would be available until the lifetime of the author. In the case of the city of Nishapur, which saw its greatest blossoming between the ninth and thirteenth centuries, there is al-Ḥākim al-Nīshāpūrī’s (d. 405/1014) foundational Taʾrīkh Nīsābūr, an Arabic work—now lost—on which many later biographers relied. Al-Ḥākim’s work was continued by ʿAbd al-Ghāfir al-Fārisī (d. 529/1134) in his al-Siyāq li-Taʾrīkh Nīsābūr. The text published here is described as a partial summary of al-Fārisī’s work, although Frye in his The Histories of Nishapur (p. 10) still regarded it as a fragment of the Siyāq itself.
Tārīkh-i siyāsī u ijtimāʿi-yi Mushaʿshaʿiyān
In Islam, messianic beliefs are typically associated with the doctrines of the Shīʿa. The idea of the Manifestation of the Hidden Imam at the appointed time has always been part of their beliefs, then and now. Besides mainstream Shīʿa movements such as Twelver Shīʿism, Zaydism, or Ismailism, there have also been marginal and extremist groups around charismatic leaders claiming a messianic role. One of these is Sayyid Muḥammad b. Falāḥ (d. 861/1456-7), founder of the Mushaʿshaʿ movement among the Shīʿī Arab tribes of Khūzistān, western Iran. Fighting or arranging themselves temporarily with their neighbors, notably the Safavids and the Ottomans, the Mushaʿshaʿ dynasty continued to exist in different forms and shapes well into the nineteenth century. The present work is a nineteenth-century Persian translation of a history of the Mushaʿshaʿ dynasty in Arabic by the governor of Ḥuwayza and descendant of Ibn Falāḥ, ʿAlī Khān Mushaʿshaʿī (alive in 1128/1716). Based on written and oral sources.
Manẓūma-ī kuhan
Until the discovery of the Persian ʿAlī-nāma, Ibn Ḥusām’s Khawarān-nāma (completed in 830/1427) was believed to be the oldest Persian epic poem involving the often wondrous exploits of ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib and the beginnings of Shīʿism. The Khawarān-nāma takes its inspiration from Firdawsī’s Shāh-nāma (completed in 400/1010), but then adapted to fit the Shīʿī theme, with ʿAlī and his companions often taking the place of Rustam and other heroes. With this edition of the ʿAlī-nāma we now have access to a much older poem on this subject. Composed by someone using the alias of Rabīʿ, it was completed in 482/1089 in Khurāsān, most probably in or near the town of Sabzawār, just seventy years after the completion of Firdawsī’s Shāh-nāma. The text is important because long before others, it acknowledges the heroes of the Shāh-nāma, some of whom were actually written into the script.
Manẓūma-ī kuhan (facsimile)
Until the discovery of the Persian ʿAlī-nāma, Ibn Ḥusām’s Khawarān-nāma (completed in 830/1427) was believed to be the oldest Persian epic poem involving the often wondrous exploits of ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib and the beginnings of Shīʿism. The Khawarān-nāma takes its inspiration from Firdawsī’s Shāh-nāma (completed in 400/1010), but then adapted to fit the Shīʿī theme, with ʿAlī and his companions often taking the place of Rustam and other heroes. With this facsimile edition of the ʿAlī-nāma we now have access to a much older poem on this subject. Composed by someone using the alias of Rabīʿ, it was completed in 482/1089 in Khurāsān, most probably in or near the town of Sabzawār, just seventy years after the completion of Firdawsī’s Shāh-nāma. The text is important because long before others, it acknowledges the heroes of the Shāh-nāma, some of whom were actually written into the script.
Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī (d. 672/1274) was an influential philosopher, theologian, mathematician and astronomer, besides being the first director of the famous observatory at Marāghah near Tabriz as well as a man of politics. Author of a large number of scholarly works, he is especially famous for such treatises as his Tajrīd al-iʿtiqād on theology, the Zīj-i Īlkhānī on astronomy, the Ḥall mushkilāt al-Ishārāt, his influential commentary on Avicenna’s (428/1037) Kitāb al-ishārāt wal-tanbīhāt on philosophy and logic, and his Akhlāq-i Nāṣirī on ethics. In Iran Ṭūsī stands in high regard and studies on him abound. There are a number of monographs on him in Persian, besides proceedings of various Ṭūsī conferences and numerous articles. It is therefore no surprise that the present work by Hānī Nuʿmān Farḥāt, originally published as Al-Khwāja Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī wa-ārāʾuhu al-falsafiyya wal-kalāmiyya (Beirut, 1406/1986), was translated into Persian. Based mostly on Arabic sources, the work focusses mainly on theology and philosophy.
Ibn Turka Iṣfahānī (d. 835/1432) stemmed from a well-educated family in Isfahan. In 789/1387, following Tīmūr Lang’s (d. 807/1405) massacre of the population of Isfahan, he and his older brother were among the artists and scholars whose lives were spared and marched off to the capital Samarqand. Ibn Turka studied the Islamic sciences under this brother for 25 years. He then went on a study tour that took him to the classrooms of such great scholars as Shams al-Dīn Fanārī (d. 834/1451) and Sirāj al-Dīn al-Bulqīnī (d. 805/1403), to finally return to Isfahan. With more than 50 philosophical works to his name, Ibn Turka is seen as a key figure in the amalgamation of voam, Peripatetic and Illuminationist philosophy and mysticism, leading eventually to the Transcendent Philosophy of Mullā Ṣadrā (d. 1045/1635). Written in a beautiful Persian, the present work describes the struggle between divinely-inspired love and reason, ending in their glorious unification.
In Persian literature, tadhkira (‘note’, ‘memorandum’) works are for the most part collections of biographies of poets, combined with selections from their writings. The earliest such work is Dawlatshāh Samarqandī’s Tadhkirat al-shuʿarāʾ (completed in 892/1487), which set a standard for posterity. The tadhkira genre was especially popular in the 10th/16th century and following. The present work by Taqī al-Dīn Awḥadī (alive in 1042/1632-33) is a good example of this. Born in Isfahan in 973/1565, as a young man his poetical talent was commended by, among others, the poet ʿUrfi-yi Shīrāzī (d. 999/1591). After some time in the entourage of Shāh ʿAbbās I and a six-year stay in Iraq, he left Persia to try his luck at one of the courts in India. The present work, completed in 1024/1615, was written for a high official at the court of Jahāngīr. It contains about 3500 entries on Persian poets from the earliest times until his own day.