ʿALĀʾ-AL-DAWLA, ROKN-AL-DĪN MĪRZĀ B. BĀYSONQOR B. ŠĀHROḴ, Timurid prince (820-65/1417-60). A great-grandson of the conqueror Tīmūr, ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla was born in Herat during the reign of Šāhroḵ b. Tīmūr in 820/1417 to Jān Malek Āḡā, the daughter of a Timurid officer, Amīr Čolpān, and Šāhroḵ’s son Bāysonqor (Ḥāfeẓ-e Abrū, Zobdat al-tawārīḵ-e Bāysonqorī, fols. 537a-538a; Ḵᵛāfī, Moǰmal-e Faṣīḥī III, pp. 229-30; Moʿezz al-ansāb, fols. 136b, 1436-44b). The care of the young prince was entrusted to his grandmother Gowhar Šād Āḡā, the influential wife of Šāhroḵ. He soon became her favorite grandson (Moʿezz al-ansāb, fol. 144b; Samarqandī, Maṭlaʿ al-saʿdayn, p. 759). Upon the death of Bāysonqor in 837/1433, ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla was awarded his father’s post as amīr-e dīvān and allowed to collect the revenues of certain provinces assigned in soyūrḡāl (charitable trust) to Bāysonqor (Yarlīḡāt va maktūbāt, fols. 37a-40a; Samarqandī, p. 664; Ṭehrānī, Ketāb-e dīārbakrīya, p. 316). Between the years 837/1433 and 850/1466 ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla witnessed the births of two sons, Bāysonqor and Sultan Ebrāhīm in 838/1435 and 843/1440 respectively (Samarqandī, pp. 677, 727-28), and participated in Šāhroḵ’s third campaign to Azerbaijan in 838-40/1434-36 against the Qarā Qoyunlū Turkmans (Samarqandī, p. 691). Like many of his peers, he also indulged in banqueting and wining (Samarqandī, pp. 724, 728, 740), though it is open to question whether or not his ensuing political failures resulted from an excessive devotion to the pursuit of pleasure and a concomitant neglect of military affairs, as alleged by Ḵᵛāndamīr (Ḥabīb al-sīar IV, p. 19). When Šāhroḵ became seriously ill in 848/1444-45, Gowhar Šād Āḡā managed to convince a group of officers to swear allegiance to ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla (Samarqandī, p. 838). Two years later in 850/1446, as a recovered but aged Šāhroḵ prepared to take the field against his rebellious grandson Sultan Moḥammad b. Bāysonqor in Persian ʿErāq, he appointed ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla his deputy in the capital, giving him control of the imperial treasury as well (Samarqandī, pp. 863, 882, 886). Thus, when Šāhroḵ died in Ray in Ḏu’l-ḥeǰǰa, 850/March, 1447, ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla acquired both the necessary position and the material means to proclaim himself sultan in Herat. Arresting his closest rival, his cousin ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf b. Uluḡ Beg, ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla quickly concluded treaties with his uncle Uluḡ Beg, governor of Samarqand, and his half brother Abu’l-Qāsem Bābor in Māzandarān. Relations with his uncle rapidly deteriorated, however, and Uluḡ Beg crushed ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla in a battle at Tarnāb about 80 kilometers from Herat in early 852/spring, 1448, driving his nephew from Šāhroḵ’s capital after a reign of less than one year (Samarqandī, pp. 887ff.). Following this setback, ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla never really recovered his former preeminence and spent the next several years either in the humiliation of captivity or in continual search for allies to help him regain the kingdom. Despite such adverse circumstances, ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla profited from the succession struggles among the Timurid princes, especially those involving his half brothers Sultan Moḥammad and Abu’l-Qāsem Bābor; he was able to reoccupy Herat briefly on two separate occasions in 854/1450 and again in 862/1458 (Yazdī, Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ-e Ḥasanī, pp. 805-06; Samarqandī, pp. 1001-02, 1157-64; Aḥmad b. Ḥosayn b. ʿAlī, Tārīḵ-eǰadīd-e Yazd, pp. 259-61). Encouraged by the Turkman ruler Jahānšāh Qarā Qoyunlū, ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla, together with his supporters, confronted the most formidable of the Timurid epigones, Abū Saʿīd, a grandson of Mīrānšāh b. Tīmūr, near Saraḵs in spring, 1459. Once again, however, he was decisively defeated and forced to abandon all claims to the patrimony of Tīmūr and Šāhroḵ (Samarqandī, pp. 1189ff.). He died a frustrated exile in the Caspian province of Rostamdār in 865/1460 and was buried in the tomb complex of his grandmother Gowhar Šād in Herat (Samarqandī, p. 1231).
Aḥmad b. Ḥosayn b. ʿAlī, Tārīḵ-eǰadīd-e Yazd, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1345 Š./1966.
Anonymous, Moʿezz al-ansāb, MS Paris, ancien fonds, persan, 67.
Anonymous, Yarlīḡāt va maktūbāt, MS Tashkent, 2302/1.
Faṣīḥ-al-dīn Aḥmad Ḵᵛāfī, Moǰmal-e Faṣīḥī, ed. M. Farroḵ, 3 vols., Mašhad, 1339-41 Š./1960-62.
Ḥāfeẓ-e Abrū, Zobdat al-tawārīḵ-e Bāysonqorī, MS Istanbul, Fatih, 4371 /1.
Ḥasan Yazdī, Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ-e Ḥasanī, MS Tehran, Mellī, 1330.
ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Samarqandī, Maṭlaʿ al-saʿdayn, ed. M. Šafīʿ, 2 vols., Lahore, 1941-49.
Abū Bakr Ṭehrānī, Ketāb-e dīārbakrīya, ed. N. Loḡal and F. Sümer, 2 vols., Ankara, 1962-64.
V. V. Barthold, Ulugh-Beg, tr. V. and T. Minorsky, Leiden, 1963, pp. 144-50.
R. Savory, “The Struggle for Supremacy in Persia after the Death of Tīmūr,” Der Islam 40, 1964, pp. 35-65.
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: July 29, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 7, p. 771