ʿABD-AL-SATTĀR B. QĀSEM LAHŪRĪ, author and translator in the reigns of Akbar and Jahāngīr. He was a pupil of the Jesuit missionary at the Mughal court, Father Jerome Xavier (q.v.; 1549-1617), and collaborated in the latter’s Merʾāt al-qods yaʿnī dāstān-e ḥażrat-e ʿĪsā, a life of Christ. The work’s preface gives a date of completion in 1602, and the translation may have been done during Akbar’s Deccan campaign of 1598-1601.
Xavier’s assistants in translating Portuguese or Spanish works into Persian are almost never named. In any case his own progress in Persian was rapid, and he was regularly involved in the work of translation (e.g., in rendering Christian terms and concepts). His collaborators presumably were chiefly concerned with improving the language of his texts.
Seventeen copies of Merʾāt al-qods survive—evidence of Akbar’s esteem for it and its currency at his court (see Camps, Jerome Xavier, pp. 14-16; 36, n. 2; 192; idem, “Persian Works,” p. 168). Jahāngīr ordered it copied and finely illustrated (Xavier’s letter of 25 September 1606, B.M. Add. Mss. 9854, fol. 40; letter of Gasparo Fernandes, 2 December 1603, Archivum Romanum Societatis Jesu, Goa 33 I, fol. 126). The manuscript in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, which bears an illuminated cross on the first page, has been regarded as the original (Maclagan, Jesuits, pp. 203-04).
ʿAbd-al-Sattār also wrote a Ṯamarat al-falāsefa, “an account of Greece and Rome and of the lives (doubtless more especially the sayings) of the Greek and Roman philosophers” (Storey, I, p. 1110; see also p. 164). The mistaken attribution of this work to Xavier was corrected by E. G. Browne (A Supplementary Handlist of the Muhammadan Manuscripts, Cambridge, 1922, p. 126). In 1024/1615, at Jahāngīr’s order, he wrote a paraphrase of Šaraf-al-dīnYazdī’s history of Tīmūr, the Ẓafarnāma (Storey, I, p. 287; Elliot, History of India, III, pp. 479-522).
Arnulf Camps, Jerome Xavier S.J. and the Muslims of the Mughal Empire: Controversial Works and Missionary Activity (Neue Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft, Supplementa 6), Schöneck-Beckenried, Switzerland, 1957, pp. 13-39.
Idem, “Persian Works of Jerome Xavier, a Jesuit at the Mogul Court,” IC 35, 1961, pp. 166-76.
E. Maclagan, The Jesuits and the Great Mogul, London, 1932.
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 2, p. 167