ʿABD-AL-MOʾMEN B. ʿABDALLĀH B. ESKANDAR B. JĀNĪ BEG B. ḴᵛĀJĀ MOḤAMMAD B. ABU’L-ḴAYR, ABU’L-FATḤ, generally reckoned as the eleventh khan of the Shaibanid (Abu’l-Ḵayrī) dynasty of Māvarāʾ al-Nahr and Balḵ. He was born on 16 Raǰab 975/16 January 1568. Little is known of his early life; he was circumcised at age ten and is mentioned as having taken part in the Oloḡ Tāḡ campaign conducted by his father in the spring of 1582. After ʿAbdallāh Khan succeeded Eskandar as ruler, ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen was designated qaʿālḵān (“heir apparent”) and given Balḵ to govern. This occurred no later than 1583. Balḵ remained under his control until his death in 1006/1598.
ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen’s early years in Balḵ were devoted to strengthening his position there and annexing Badaḵšān. His attention then turned to campaigns in Khorasan against the Qezelbāš. In 996-97/1588-89 he assisted his father in the successful eleven-month siege of Herat and was reportedly displeased when the city was given to an amir, Qol Bābā Kokaltāš, rather than to him. In 997/1589, prompted by the succession problem facing Shah ʿAbbās I, ʿAbdallāh Khan gave his son permission to open a campaign against the major cities of Khorasan. In the next eight years, most of the region fell to ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen. By the end of the campaign of 999/1591, the Uzbeks held more than twenty important cities and towns, including Mašhad, Nīšāpūr, Ḵᵛāf, Jām, Esfarāʾīn, Sabzavār, and Qāʾen. A Qezelbāš force sent by Shah ʿAbbās in that year had no success. A year later, however, another Qezelbāš expedition dislodged the Uzbeks from Esfarāʾīn, Sabzavār, and Nīšāpūr. ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen retook the latter city in 1002/1594; his last Khorasan campaign (1003/1595) resulted in the recapture of Sabzavār for a few days but otherwise accomplished little.
The Shaibanid sultan’s military prowess and ambition brought him into repeated conflict with his father and the latter’s amirs well before ʿAbdallāh Khan’s death. Between 1596 and 1598 several incidents strained relations between the sexagenarian khan and his restless son (Eskandar Beg, pp. 549-52; Selselat al-salāṭīn [see bibliog.], fols. 145b-48a). In Raǰab, 1006/February, 1598, ʿAbdallāh Khan died. ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen came to Samarqand and accepted the tokens of supreme rule. His six-month reign was marked by internal political violence. A counterclaim to the khanate by a cousin in Taškand, Hazāra Solṭān, was brutally suppressed; ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen’s execution of Qol Bābā Kokaltāš and the fear that ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen was about to purge his father’s amirs led to a plot against his life. Returning from Tāškand and planning a new Khorasan campaign, ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen was assassinated at a village near Ūrātepe, perhaps in Ḏu’l-ḥeǰǰa, 1006/July, 1598. This event marked the effective end of Shaibanid rule in Transoxania and Balḵ despite the fact that two sultans, Pīr Moḥammad at Balḵ and ʿAbd-al-Amīn at Bokhara, briefly succeeded him. As the western territory fell to Shah ʿAbbās and the east became threatened by renewed Qazaq activity, the Uzbek amirs gave their backing, within a year, to a new Chingizid line, the Toghay-timurid (also called Janid and Ashtarkhanid), whose members would revive the Uzbek empire.
Among ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen’s principal works were the rebuilding and extending of the Balḵ citadel. The walls were lengthened to a circumference of 20,000 paces (gām). He also supervised the renovation of a number of public buildings in Balḵ, including the mosque of Ḵᵛāǰa Abū Naṣr Pārsā, the tomb of Ḵᵛāǰa ʿOkkāša, and the dome of the Bābā Jānbāz market.
The best source for ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen’s early life (until 998/1590) is Ḥāfeẓ Tanīš, Šarafnāma-ye šāhī, also known as ʿAbdallāhnāma (Rieu, Pers. Man., Supp., no 73; Storey, I, no. 504).
For his later life, perhaps the most evenhanded treatment is that of Maḥmūd b. Amīr Valīallāhī, Baḥr al-asrār fī manāqeb al-aḵyār VI, rokn 3, (A. A. Semenov, Sobranie vostochnykh rukopiseĭ Akademii Nauk Uzbekskoĭ SSR, Tashkent,1952-67, V, no. 3564); see V. V. Barthold, “Otchet o komandirovke v Turkestan,” Sochineniya VIII, Moscow, 1973, pp. 193-96.
Some of the same material is reiterated in rokn 4 of the same work; see Ethé, Cat. Ind. Off., no. 574.
The most detailed information on the Khorasan campaigns is found in Eskandar Beg, ʿĀlamārā, and in Ḥāǰǰī Mīr Moḥammad Salīm, Selselat al-salāṭīn (Ethé, Cat. Bodleian, no. 169).
For relations with the Khwarazmian Uzbeks, see Abu’l-Ḡāzī, tr., especially pp. 276, 284-85, 288, 290-91, and 293.
Of less importance but with some additional information are Šaraf-al-dīn Andeǰānī, Tārīḵ-e Mīr Sayyed Šarīf Rāqem (Morley, RAS, no. 166) and Moḥammad Yūsof Monšī, Taḏkera-ye Moqīm Ḵānī (Morley, RAS, no. 161).
Two important, though brief, secondary sources are V. V. Barthold, “ʿAbd Allāh b. Iskandar,” EI 2 I, pp. 46-47; and Four Studies on the History of Central Asia III, Leiden, 1962, pp. 140-41.
(R. D. McChesney)
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, pp. 129-130