AFŻAL-AL-DĪN KERMĀNĪ, ABŪ ḤĀMED AḤMAD B. ḤĀMED KŪHBONĀNĪ, writer, poet, and physician of Kermān in the 6th and early 7th/12th and early 13th centuries (introduction to M. E. Bāstānī Pārīzī, Salǰūqīān va Ḡozz dar Kermān, Tehran, 1343 Š./1964, p. 57); he is often called Afżal-al-dīn Kāteb (Nāṣer-al-dīn Monšī Kermānī, Semṭ al-ʿolā, ed. ʿA. Eqbāl Āštīānī, Tehran, 1328 Š./1949, p. 17). In his ʿEqd al-ʿolā (ed. ʿA. M. ʿĀmerī, Tehran, 1311 Š./1932, p. 92), he mentions one of his teachers, Badīʿ-al-zamān Moḥammad b. Abi’l-Maʿālī. Afżal was a boon companion of the Saljuq ruler in Kermān, Malek Toḡrel Shah (d. 565/1169-70), and his son Malek Arslān Shah (killed 572/1176); and he worked as a clerk (monšī) for the atabeg Moḥammad Bozqoš (d. 8 Ramażān 592/7 August 1196). He accompanied the shah, the atabeg, and the vizier Maǰd-al-dīn b. Nāṣeḥ-al-dīn on most of their journeys to Bam and Jīroft (M. Bayānī, Badāyeʿ al-azmān, Tehran, 1326 Š./1947, p. 68).
The famine of 577/1181 and contemporary disorders forced Afżal to leave Kermān, and he went to Kūhbonān and later to Yazd. During this time (in 582/1186) he corresponded with Jamāl-al-dawla Abu’l-Fatḥ, a scholar in Khorasan and apparently an expert on astronomy, about the prediction of conjunctions. In Ramażān, 581/December, 1185, when the Ḡozz leader Malek Dīnār, at the invitation of the amir Moǰāhed-al-dīn Kūhbonānī, advanced on Kermān and was struck in the face by an arrow during his capture of the castle of Rāvar, Afżal wrote verses about the incident which have been preserved. Subsequently, perhaps on the recommendation of the chamberlain (wakīl al-dār) Jamāl-al-dīn, Afżal joined Malek Dīnār’s court (introd. to ʿEqd al-ʿolā, p. 16). When he went to Yazd to fetch his wife and children, he received an offer from the atabeg of Yazd to become secretary of the court and director of the hospital of Yazd, but he refused and returned to Kermān, where he became a secretary (dabīr) of Malek Dīnār. It was at this time (584/1188) that he was encouraged by Jamāl-al-dīn, the vizier Qawām-al-dīn, and the head of the clergy (malek al-ʿolamāʾ) Nūr-al-dīn to write the ʿEqd al-ʿolā, which he dedicated to Malek Dīnār. Under the sons of Malek Dīnār, who died in 591/1195, Afżal fell from favor, and we have no further reports of him. His complaints about the conditions of the day in al-Możāf suggest that he had come down in the world. He probably died ca. 615/1218, but it is not known where (introd. to Salǰūqīān va Ḡozz, p. 101).
A small amount of Afżal’s poetry has survived, including a qaṣīda in praise of Malek Dīnār. He conducted a mošāʿara (poetic contest) in the presence of the atabeg Saʿd b. Zangī, the ruler of Fārs, and poems by him are quoted in the Taḏkera-ye ʿArafāt (ms. in the possession of Aḥmad Goḷčīn Maʿānī, folio 61). His works are as follows: (1) ʿEqd al-ʿolā le’l-mawqef al-aʿlā, on history, statecraft, and ethics, written for Malek Dīnār in 584/1188. (2) Badāyeʿ al-azmān fī waqāyeʿ Kermān, on the history of the Saljuqs of Kermān. No manuscripts of this work are extant, but parts of it were transcribed by other writers; these were assembled by Mahdī Bayānī under the title Badāyeʿ al-azmān. The main part was transcribed and supplemented by a Kermānī historian named Moḥammad b. Ebrāhīm in the Safavid period (11th/17th cent.), and his work was incorporated by M. T. Houtsma in the Recueil de textes relatifs à l’historie des Seldjoucides, Leiden, 1886, as vol. 1, Tārīḵ-eSalǰūqīān-e Kermān; this has been reprinted, with a detailed introduction and notes by M. E. Bāstānī Pārīzī, under the title Salǰūqīān va Ḡozz dar Kermān. (3) Al-Możāf elā Badāyeʿ al-azmān, a supplement to the above, recording events in Kermān up to 613/1216; a ms. is extant in the Vatican library and has been printed, ed. ʿA. Eqbāl Āštīānī and S. M. Hāšemī, Tehran, 1331 Š./1952. (4) A treatise on public health entitled either Ṣalāḥ al-ṣeḥḥa or Ṣalāḥ al-ṣeḥāḥ fi’l-ṭebb, ed. M. E. Bāstānī Pārīzī in the Yād-nāma-ye Ḥabīb Yaḡmāʾī, Tehran, 2535 (1355 Š.)/1976.
Bibliography: Given in the text.
(M. E. Bāstānī Pārīzī)
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: July 28, 2011
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