ʿABD-AL-RAZZĀQ SAMARQANDĪ, KAMĀL-AL-DĪN B. JALĀL-AL-DĪN ESḤĀQ, historian and scholar, b. 12 Šaʿbān 816/7 November 1413 in Herat, a son of the qāżī and imam of the Timurid ruler Šahroḵ’s court, d. Jomādā II, 887/July-August, 1482. He dedicated a commentary on the grammar of ʿAżod-al-dīn Īǰī to Šāhroḵ and was appointed qāżī of the court and royal camp after his father’s death in 841/1437 (Maṭlaʿ II, p. 704). From that time on he was a witness of political and military events at the capitals of Herat and Samarqand, as well as on diplomatic and military missions; thus his chronicle, Maṭlaʿ-e saʿdayn va maǰmaʿ-e baḥrayn, provides a semi-official view of the events of that period. (The Arabic form Maṭlaʿ al-saʿdayn ... is late; in the moqaddama and in the earliest manuscripts, as well as in the Šafīʿ and Navāʾī editions, only the Persian title is mentioned.)

ʿAbd-al-Razzāq’s most important task was an official mission to India from Ramażān, 845/January, 1442 to Ramażān, 848/December, 1444. Some rulers in the subcontinent were nominally still under Šāhroḵ’s sovereignty; but ʿAbd-al-Razzāq was also invited to Vijayanagar, achieving a rare contact between a raja and non-Indian Muslim dynasty. After Šāhroḵ’s death in 850/1447, ʿAbd-al-Razzāq resided at the courts of Mīrzā ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf and ʿAbdallāh in Samarqand (853-55/1449-51) as ṣadr, nāʾeb, or ḵāṣṣ (Maṭlaʿ II, p. 1440). After the latter’s death he seems to have avoided the successor, Abū Saʿīd (855-73/1451-69); instead he returned to Mīrzā Abu’l-Qāsem Bābor (d. 861/1457) in Herat and accompanied him on his march to ʿErāq and Fārs (856/1452). He also joined Bābor on the campaign against Abū Saʿīd in 858/1454, when the two pretenders to central rule came to a border agreement after fights under the walls of Samarqand. When Abū Saʿīd threatened Herat in 863/1458, ʿAbd-al-Razzāq accepted an official mission to Gorgān, where he witnessed the conquests of Ḥosayn Bāyqarā. He returned with Ḥosayn’s offer of submission to Abū Saʿīd, who finally gained control of Herat (Maṭlaʿ II, p. 1198). ʿAbd-al-Razzāq apparently became dissatisfied with his position. After complaints, he was appointed in Jomādā I, 867/January, 1463 as shaikh of the Šāhroḵ Ḵānaqāh and Madrasa at Herat by the vizier Ḵᵛāǰa Qoṭb-al-dīn Ṭāʾūs Semnānī; he held this position till his death in Jomādā II, 887/July-August, 1482 (Maṭlaʿ II, p. 1270; Ḥabīb al-sīar IV, p. 335).

ʿAbd-al-Razzāq pursued the usual education of an Islamic scholar: He studied with his father and his older brother Šarīf-al-dīn ʿAbd-al-Qahhār (d. 869/1464-65; Maṭlaʿ II, p. 1293) and together with them obtained a license (eǰāza) from Šams-al-dīn Moḥammad Jazarī (d. 833/1429) in the year of the latter’s death (Maṭlaʿ II, p. 631). After controversies about his early career at court, he was examined before Šāhroḵ and Šehāb-al-dīn ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Lesān (d. 858/1454) in 843/1439-40 (Maṭlaʿ II, p. 731). He was in contact with the leading figure among Central Asian Sufis, Ḵᵛāǰa Aḥrār, whom he had met near Samarqand in 858/1454 during the peace negotiations of Abū Saʿīd and Abu’l-Qāsem Bābor (ibid., II, pp. 1062-64) and in Herat in 862/1460. The Ḵᵛāǰa interceded in vain with Abū Saʿīd in his favor (II, p. 1234, note), apparently after Abu’l-Qāsem Bābor’s death in 861/1457.

ʿAbd-al-Razzāq’s chronicle Maṭlaʿ-e saʿdayn va maǰmaʿ-e baḥrayn (“The rise of the two auspicious constellations and the junction of the two seas”), named after the Il-khan Abū Saʿīd and the Timurid sultan Abū Saʿīd, comprises two parts. The first part after a brief mention of the birth of Il-khan Abū Saʿīd (704/1304) and his accession to the throne (716/1316-17) covers the period from 817/1317 to the death of Tīmūr in 807/1405, while the second part concerns the period from the struggles after Tīmūr to the death of Sultan Abū Saʿīd (807-73/1405-69). At the end there are remarks on events for the years 874-75/1469-71, especially on Sultan Ḥosayn Bāyqarā’s accession to the throne. The first part was finished in Rabīʿ I, 871/October-November, 1466, according to the (autograph?) ms. 5337 of the former Ketābḵāna-ye Salṭanatī, Kabul (Rāhnemā-ye ketāb 10/5, 1346 Š./1968, p. 525) and the copy in Cat. Bodleian, no. 2449. There are, however, notes hinting at events in Jomādā II, 871/January, 1467 in the Bankipore ms. (see bibliog.), and the moqaddama is dated 874/1469-70. The colophon of the autograph of part two bears the date 17 Rabīʿ I 875/13 September 1470 (Lahore, Punjab University; copy Cat. Chester Beatty III, p. 86, no 348); it must have been completed quickly, since the description of events in 813/1410 at the beginning of this part bears the date 874/1469-70 (Maṭlaʿ II, p. 110).

The two parts, though connected by the idea of comparing the reigns of the homonymic rulers, differ somewhat in style and evaluation of sources. The first part depends largely on the works of Ḥāfeẓ Abrū, particularly his Zobdat al-tawārīḵ (comp. 830/1426-27); see V. V. Bartol’d, Sochineniya VIII, 1973, pp. 243f.). Events are also cited from Moʿīn-al-dīn Moḥammad Yazdī’s Mavāheb-e elāhī and parts of Šaraf-al-dīn Yazdī’s Ẓafarnāma (comp. 828/1424-25), and these sources are used for the first years of the second part up to 830/1426-27; the remaining larger section of the chronicle seems to be mainly based on archival material and personal observations and research. In the introduction to the first part the author credits his friends for encouraging him to record the events of the period, although he had already conceived of the project for some time. Particular reference is made to an otherwise unknown Shaikh Moʿezz-al-dīn Ḥosayn al-Naqūʿī (Maṭlaʿ I, p. 19; cf. II, pp. 1430, 1432; Ḥabīb al-sīar IV, pp. 12, 357). The sources for the second part are not yet analyzed; one informant seems to have been the occasionally mentioned Kamāl-al-dīn ʿAbd-al-Vāseʿ Neẓāmī, who is known to have collected historiographical material himself (Maṭlaʿ II, p. 1440; Ḥabīb al-sīar IV, pp. 151, 339; I. D. Mikluho-Maklaĭ, Opisanie III, p. 264; Storey-Bregel, pp. 564, 787, note). The author intended to provide information on all regions of the former Mongol empire, with the account of each year subdivided by region. He cites relations with neighboring rulers, such as letters exchanged with the Mamlūks, and embassies. Of particular interest is the great embassy of Šāhroḵ to China (822-25/1419-22); he slightly abridged the original account of the embassy’s secretary, Ḡīāṯ-al-dīn Naqqāš, recorded in Ḥāfeẓ Abrū’s Zobdat al-tawārīḵ (Maṭlaʿ II, pp. 477-528).

To the same genre belongs the personal account of his mission to India (Maṭlaʿ II, pp. 764-71, 775-91, 796-830, 842-51). It contains a very interesting description of the court and the great city of Vijayanagar. In another official mission Šāhroḵ sent him to his governor of Gīlān, Moḥammad Raštī, in 850/1446 to ask his and the amīr Nāṣer Kīā’s resistance to the rebellion of the prince Solṭān Moḥammad (Maṭlaʿ II, p. 865). An embassy to Cairo planned by Šāhroḵ was prevented by the ruler’s death, but ʿAbd-al-Razzāq gives the text of the undispatched letter to Sultan Čaqmaq (Maṭlaʿ II, p. 869).

ʿAbd-al-Razzāq’s literary style is rather ornate, but, especially in the second part of his chronicle, the essential information is often stated simply after verbose passages. No other works of his have been found, though he mentions such writings as a history of Herat (Maṭlaʿ II, p. 190). The extant chronicle has been much used by later historians, especially by Mīrḵᵛānd, and partly translated into Ottoman Turkish.



See also Cat. Bankipore VI, p. 513.

Ḥabīb al-sīar, tr. Elliot, History of India IV, pp. 89-90.

Autobiographical remarks collected by M. Quatremère, in Notices et extraits XIV, pt. 1, Paris, 1843, pp. 3-7.

J. Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit., pp. 444f.

F. Tauer, “Timurlular devrinde tarihçilik,” Belleten 24 (fasc. 113), 1965, pp. 61f.

O. D. Chekhovich, “Iz istochnikov po istorii Samarkanda XV v.,” Iz istorii epokhi Ulugbeka, Tashkent, 1965, pp. 300-61.

I. D. Mikluho-Maklaĭ, Opisanie persidskikh rukopiseĭ Instituta Vostokovedeniya III, Moscow, 1975, pp. 262-69. EI2 I, pp. 90-91.

Storey-Bregel, pp. 820-828, 1465f., with older literature. Editions: Maṭlaʿ-e saʿdayn, pt. I, ed.

ʿA. Navāʾī, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974; pt. II, ed. Moḥammad Šafīʿ, Lahore, 1360-68/1941-49 (three fasc.; new ed. of fasc. 1, 1382/1963), with notes in Urdu and glossary.

Extracts and translations: for old French and English translations see Storey-Bregel, pp. 824-27.

Embassy to China according to Ḡīāṯ-al-dīn Naqqāš, Turkish tr. by (Küčük) Čelebizāda ʿĀṣem (1727), ʿAǰāʾib ül-letāʾif, Istanbul, 1311/1913 (see M. F. Köprülüzāda in Millī tetebbüʾler meǰmūʿasi II/4-5, Istanbul, 1331/1913, pp. 351-68).

F. Babinger, Die Geschichtsschreiber der Osmanen und ihre Werke, Leiden, 1927, pp. 293f.

Another Turkish tr. by Ḥāǰǰī b. Moḥammad Ardestānī (900/1494-95) cited by Browne, A Handlist of the Muhammadan Manuscripts ... in the Library of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, 1900, p. 482.

Embassy to India: critical text with Uzbek tr. and commentary by A. Urinboev, Abdurazzok Samarkand uning Khindiston safarnomasi, Tashkent, 1960.

Parts of the French tr. of part II by A. Galland (ms. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale 6084-87) edited by L. Langlès, Ambassades reciproques d’un Roi des Indes, de la Perse ... et d’un Empereur de Chine, London, 1788 (and later editions).

Tr. of Šāhroḵ’s reign to 1417, the Chinese and Indian embassies (with Persian text), and commentary by Quatremère, Notices et extraits XIV, pt. 1, pp. 19-514.

Elliot, History of India IV, pp. 95-126 (Indian embassy).

Uzbek tr. of the beginning of part II by A. Urinboev, Tashkent, 1969.

D. Kacitadze, “Svedeniya "Maṭlaʿ as-saʿdain ..." o Gruzii,” Vestnik otdeleniya obshchestvennykh nauk AN Gruzinsko ĭ SSR 1968, no. 2, Tbilisi, pp. 197-211 (Georgian with Russian resume).

Unfinished Turkish tr. of part II by Ḵoǰa Rāğib Mehmet Pasha (d. 1763); see Babinger, Geschichtsschreiber, p. 290. İA, s.v. “Abdürrezzak.”


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(C. P. Haase)

Originally Published: December 15, 1982

Last Updated: July 14, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, pp. 158-160

Cite this entry:

C. P. Haase, “Abd-Al-Razzaq Samarqandi,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, pp. 158-160; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-razzaq-samarqandi-historian-and-scholar-1413-82 (accessed on 16 January 2014).