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ZAYN AL-DĪN MAḤMŪD VĀṢIFĪ AND THE TRANSFORMATION

OF EARLY SIXTEENTH CENTURY ISLAMIC CENTRAL ASIA





















Robert W. Dunbar

























Submitted to the faculty of the University Graduate School

in partial fulfillment of the requirements

for the degree

Doctor of Philosophy

in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies

Indiana University

April 2015

Page 144

136



and, proving him guilty of heresy, they hung him by his neck from the Darvāzah-yi

Malik 318 Overall, this incident at the Gauhar

of points. First, it suggests that with regard to religion Herat was, at that point in history,

landscape, there was still to be found a degree of intolerance towards and dislike of the

h h were

319 The immediate reaction of

seethed just below the surface and

illustrates how quickly such intensely felt and barely contained hostility could erupt into

violence. The question is, had this hostility and animosity ever abated at the popular

level in the way that scholars maintain that it had in the upper echelons of society, that is

amongst intellectuals and cultural elites?320

obligations prior to coming under the direction of , possessed all the zeal of a fresh

convert. His outrage at the denigration of one of the companions of the Prophet so

consumed him that he felt compelled to seek the death of the eulogist

was not alone on this endeavor. That there were others in the madrasa that day who were

like- a

ranking member of the ‘ulamā’ in Herat in order to secure his execution indicates that

this was a moment when emotions were running high for many, perhaps due in part to the


318 Ibid, p. 247.
319

Ther

Allen, Timurid Herat, p. 39.
320 Momen, p. 91.

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137



fact that word of the successes of Shāh Ismā‘īl to the west had spread. In any event, this

episode certainly illustrates that tensions between the Sunnī and Shī‘ah in the city had

been on the rise for some time prior to the Ṣafavid-Qizilbāsh victory at Marv and their

subsequent occupation of Herat.

It seems that the victory of the Ṣafavids and the arrival of the Qizilbāsh to Herat

occurred some weeks or months after the hanging of Ḥasan ‘Alī Maddāḥ. 321 Vāṣifī

recounts that he was sitting around, relaxing one evening with some friends and

discussing the rumors surrounding Shāh Ismā‘īl I when word arrived of the horrible

events that had occurred at Marv:

One watch of the night had passed when someone rapped upon the door knocker. I

answered the door. Mīrzā Bayram, fearful and trembling, came in and said: ‘Have you

not received word that Shāh Ismā‘īl brought Shaybak Khān low and slew him. Qulī Jān,

the nephew of Amīr Najm-i Sānī, has brought the fatḥnāmah of Shāh Ismā‘īl!’322



Word spread quickly throughout the city as Vāṣifī and his companions raced to check on

their students at the madrasa of Amīr Fīrūz Shāh.323 Finding them in a panic, Vāṣifī did


321 We read in the Badāyi‘ al-vaqāyi‘, “From this date fifteen years passed” [ ],

however this seems unlikely as the remainder of the narrative takes place in 1510, at the time of the

Ṣafavid-Qizilbāsh entry into Herat following the defeat of Muḥammad Shībānī Khān at Marv. Had a

period of fifteen years actually elapsed, Vāṣifī would have been only ten years of age when the event at the

Gauhar Shād madrasa occurred. Furthermore, Vāṣifī mention of the rise of Shāh Ismā‘īl in conversation

with Mīrzā Bayram renders the date of 1495 impossible. It seems more likely that this discrepancy is the

result of an error in copying of the text at some point, and that either five or fifteen months or five years

had passed between the incident at the Gauhar Shād madrasa and hanging of Ḥasan ‘Alī Maddāḥ and the

coming of the Ṣafavids to Herat in 1510.
322 BV, Vol. II, p. 247.
323 The madrasa-yi Amīr Jalāl al-Dīn Fīrūz Shāh is located to the north of Herat proper along the khiyābān,

as Vāṣifī states “at the head of the crossroads of Mīrzā ‘Alā’ al-Dīn,” specifically on the northwest corner

of the intersection where the khiyābān and the approach to the Bāgh-i Zāgān crossed. The madrasa in

question, which Allen estimates to have been constructed around 1434, would have been on the right as one

approached the Bāgh-i Zāgān. Amīr Jalāl al-Dīn Fīrūz Shāh (d. 1444-45) was “one of the highest of Šāh

Roḫ’s officials and consequently one of the wealthiest.” In addition to the madrasa mentioned by Vāṣifī, he

also funded the building of a mosque and khānaqāh; nothing remains of these structures today. As a very

prominent figure during the reign of Shāh Rukh, he also funded a number of restoration projects throughout

Khurasan, such as the restoration of the Masjid-i Jāmi’-i Harāt. However, Golombek opines that these

repairs were superficial; see Terry Allen, Timurid Herat (Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 1983),

Page 287

Relevant Languages:

 Persian / Farsi Advanced

 Uzbek Advanced

 Azerbaijani Intermediate

 Italian Intermediate

 Spanish Intermediate

 Russian Research Language

 French Research Language

 Arabic Research Language


Honors and Awards:

 Graduate Assistantship, CEUS, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 2003
2008

 Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship for Azerbaijani, Bloomington, IN,
Summer 2004

 Phi Alpha Theta, National History Honor Society, Inducted 2001

 Academic Fellowship, SUNY Brockport, Brockport, NY, 2000 2002


Presentations and Works:

 as Derived from the Narrative of Ruy

Indiana University, April 9, 2005.

 - Jāmi‘ al-tawārīkh pertaining to
the forthcoming volume The

Campaigns of Chinggis Khan and the Veritable Records of the Early Mongol



 Badā’i‘ al-vaqā’i‘ of Zayn al- A Preliminary

University, April 1, 2007.

 th
Central Eurasian Studies Conference, Indiana University, February 28, 2009.


Library in Rochester, New York.



Professional References:

 Dr. Ron Sela
Indiana University, Goodbody Hall 157, Bloomington, IN 47405

812.856.7017

[email protected]

 Dr. Devin DeWeese
Indiana University, Goodbody Hall 157, Bloomington, IN 47405

812.855.2298

[email protected]

Page 288

Dr. Timothy M. Thibodeau
Nazareth College, Golisano Academic Ctr. 455, Rochester, NY 14618
585.389.2656
[email protected]

Dr. William Graf
St. John Fisher College, Pioch 132, Rochester, NY 14618
585.385-8251
[email protected]



mailto:[email protected]

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