ʿABD-AL-ʿAZĪZ B. NAḎR MOḤAMMAD, Toghay-Timurid (Janid) dynast of the Uzbeks, r. 1057-91/1647-80 in Bokhara. His father held Balḵ and Badaḵšān, while Naḏr’s elder brother, Emām-qolī, was khan at Bokhara (1020-51/1611-41). Together they maintained Uzbek independence against the advance of Safavid power in Khorasan under Shah ʿAbbās I. Emām-qolī’s diplomacy, and perhaps Naḏr’s claim to descent from Imam ʿAlī al-Reża (through his mother), helped alleviate Safavid-Uzbek hostility. The Persians were able to advance to the south, expelling the Mughals from Kandahār (1031/1622), and the Uzbeks also advanced to make an attempt on Kabul (1037/1628).
After Naḏr expelled his brother from Transoxania, his lack of political skill provoked reactions from Ḵᵛārazm and the Mughals and internal rebellions as well. ʿAbd-al-ʿAzīz was sent north of the Oxus to suppress rebellion, but instead he proclaimed himself khan of Bokhara and also seized Samarqand. Naḏr’s other sons rebelled, and the father, in Balḵ, was obliged to request Mughal assistance. Shah Jahān ostensibly agreed; he had regained Kandahār in 1047/1638, and reconquest of the Timurid lands of Transoxania would be prestigious and further strengthen his position against the Safavids. The Mughal army, led by prince Morād, occupied Badaḵšān and attacked Balḵ (1056/1646). Naḏr fled for refuge to Shah ʿAbbās II, while the Uzbeks rallied under ʿAbd-al-ʿAzīz. Morād withdrew from Balḵ before winter fell, and when Prince Awrangzēb advanced in 1057/1647, he met stiff Uzbek resistance before regaining Balḵ. ʿAbd-al-ʿAzīz crossed the Oxus with his forces and prevented any advance farther north. Naḏr had meanwhile secured Safavid support and returned, and Awrangzēb found it expedient to return Balḵ and Badaḵšān to him. Naḏr’s rule was short; under pressure from ʿAbd-al-ʿAzīz in Bokhara, he abdicated in favor of Sobḥān-qolī b. Naḏr. He set out for the holy cities but died en route (1060/1650).
The Mughal failure and the loss of Kandahār in 1059/1649 increased the importance of the Uzbeks, and the Mughals sought closer relations with ʿAbd-al-ʿAzīz. Safavid Persia, in reply, encouraged Abu’l-Ḡāzī (khan of Ḵīva and father-in-law of Sobḥān-qolī) to press ʿAbd-al-ʿAzīz with border raids. ʿAbbās II skillfully weaned the Uzbeks away from support for either Mughals or Ottomans. Isolated and harassed, ʿAbd-al-ʿAzīz abdicated in favor of Sobḥān-qolī (1091/1680). On pilgrimage he was hospitably received by ʿAbbās II; he died at the age of 74 and was buried near Naḏr and Emām-qolī at Medina.
A ruthless enemy and a skilled tactician and diplomatist, ʿAbd-al-ʿAzīz was well respected in the major capitals of Istanbul, Isfahan, Ḵīva, and Delhi. Rough in appearance and of heavy frame, he was a cultured man with a fondness for devotional poetry. Chroniclers of the Toghay-Timurids record anecdotes of his generosity toward poets and other artists.
Eskandar Beg, ʿĀlamarārā, pp. 384ff., 407ff., 677ff., 692, 700, 715, 744.
M. Ṣāleḥ Kanbō, ʿAmal-e Ṣāleḥ, Lahore, 1967, I, pp. 292ff.; II, pp. 413, 436-37, 528-32; III, pp. 3-17, 63-94, 138-73.
Idem, Bahār-e soḵan, B. M. Or. 178, fols. 36-51.
Enšā-ye Ṭāher Vahīd, Lucknow, 1844, pp. 19-52, 68-70.
Moʿtamed Khan, Eqbālnāma-ye Jahāngīrī, Calcutta, 1865, pp. 180, 213, 229, 240-41, 246, 266.
Ḵᵛāfī Khan, Montaḵab al-lobāb, Calcutta, 1888-90, I, pp. 584, 684-99, 708-28.
ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd Lāhūrī, Pādšāhnāma, Calcutta, 1867, I, pp. 193-216, 232-76, 465-72; II, pp. 222-26, 251-56, 435-36.
Amīn Qazvīnī, Pādšāhnāma, B.M. Or. 173, fols. 19ff., 50-58, 165-67.
Valī-qolī Šāmlū, Qeṣaṣ al-ḵāqānī, B.M. Add. 7656, fols. 44, 49, 52-53, 55, 74-87, etc. Tavārīḵ-e badīʿa, Bodleian 169, fols. 189-93, 200, 225-57, 312ff.
Tūzok-e Jahāngīrī, tr. A. Rogers and H. Beveridge, repr. Lahore, 1974, pp. 310, 325, 345, 352, 393-98, 416.
M. Yūsof Vāla, Ḵold-e barīn, B.M. Or. 3481, V, fols. 109-12, 117-18, 120-35, 150-51, 171-72.
Riazul Islam, Indo-Persian Relations, Tehran, 1970, pp. 87-91, 107-16, 132-33.
A. Rahim, “Mughal Relations with Central Asia,” Islamic Culture 8, 1934, pp. 92-93.
B. P. Saksena, History of Shah Jahan, Allahabad, 1962, pp. 182-208.
(M. H. Siddiqi)
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 13, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 1, p. 99