ABU’L-FATḤ ŠARAFĪ ŠARĪFĪ ḤOSAYNĪ ʿARABŠĀHĪ B. MOḤAMMAD B. MAḴDŪM B. SAYYED ŠARĪF JORJĀNĪ, MĪR, Shiʿite jurist, d. 976/1568-69. He was descended from a famous family of erudite sayyeds whose most celebrated ancestor, Sayyed Šarīf ʿAlī b. Moḥammad Jorǰānī (d. 816/1413), was taken away by Tīmūr from Shiraz to Transoxania. Other members of this family also served under Safavids: Mīr Sayyed Šarīf Šīrāzī (d. 920/1514) functioned as ṣadr under Shah Esmāʿīl and fell in the battle of Čālderān. Mīrzā Maḵdūm (d. 995/1587), a contemporary of Abu’l-Fatḥ, was a fanatical Sunnite who influenced Shah Esmāʿīl II in favor of Sunnism; he later migrated to the Ottoman empire and wrote polemics against Safavid Shiʿism (see E. Eberhard, Osmanische Polemik gegen die Safawiden im 16. Jahrhundert nach Arabischen Handschriften, Islam-kundliche Untersuchungen 3, Freiburg, 1970, pp. 50-60, 180-90). Abu’l-Fatḥ’s father was a Sunnite.
Abu’l-Fatḥ received his education in Transoxania; ʿEṣām-al-dīn Ebrāhīm Esfarāyānī was his teacher (Brockelmann, GAL S. II, p. 571; Neṯārī Boḵārī, Moḏakker-e aḥbāb, ed. S. M. Fażlallāh, New Delhi, 1969, pp. 321-23). Abu’l-Fatḥ embraced Shiʿism and settled in Ardabīl. He devoted himself mainly to Twelver Shiʿite feqh and wrote Arabic commentaries on the works of Ebn Bābawayh, Ebn al-Moṭṭahar Ḥellī, and others. His religious writings in Persian no doubt contributed to the spread of Twelver Shiʿism in early Safavid period; he translated into Persian the Eʿteqādāt of Ebn Bābawayh and composed a Shiʿite commentary, called Tafsīr-e šāhī (printed in Tabrīz, 1380/1960), on those verses of the Koran which form the basis for Islamic jurisprudence. Abu’l-Fatḥ dedicated his books to Shah Ṭahmāsp I (930-84/1524-76) upon whose urging he also prepared a new version of the Ṣafwat al-ṣafā (al-Mawāheb al-sanīya fī manāqeb al-ṣafawīya) by Ebn Bazzāz, which he expurgated according to Shiʿite standards. In his introduction Abu’l-Fatḥ states that this hagiographic work about the early masters of the Safavid order, Shaikh Ṣafī-al-dīn and Shaikh Ṣadr-al-dīn, existed in his time only in versions corrupted as a result of dissimulation (taqīya) or of falsification by Sunnite antagonists (B.M. ms. Add. 11745, fols. 4a-7b; Rieu, Pers. Man. I, p. 345). But Abu’l-Fatḥ himself can be accused of having falsified the text, because only the later versions of Ṣafwat al-ṣafā, which presumably originate from his compilation, include the complete ʿAlid genealogy of the Safavids.
See also Ḥasan Rūmlū, p. 442; tr. Baroda, 1934, p. 192.
Storey, I, pp. 13f., 1196f.; Storey-Bregel, I, pp. 131-33.
Ṣafā, Adabīyāt III, p. 1293.
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 21, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 3, p. 285