DAVĀNĪ, JALĀL-AL-DĪN MOḤAMMAD

b. Asʿad Kāzerūnī Ṣeddīqī (b. Davān, q.v., near Kāzerūn in Fārs, 1426-27, d. 1502), often referred to as ʿAllāma Davānī, leading theologian, philosopher, jurist, and poet of late 15th-century Persia.

 

DAVĀNĪ, JALĀL-AL-DĪN MOḤAMMAD b. Asʿad Kāzerūnī Ṣeddīqī (b. Davān, q.v., near Kāzerūn in Fārs, 830/1426-27, d. 908/1502), often referred to as ʿAllāma Davānī, leading theologian, philosopher, jurist, and poet of late 15th-century Persia. He began his studies with his father, who had been a student of Mīr Sayyed Šarīf-ʿAlī b. Moḥammad Gorgānī (d. 816/1413), but while still young he moved to Shiraz, where he studied theology, philosophy, logic, principles of Islamic jurisprudence (osÂūl-e feqh), and Hadith under such scholars as Homām-al-Dīn Golbārī; Ṣafī-al-Dīn Ījī (d. 864/1450); Moḥyi’l-Dīn Moḥammad Kūškenārī Anṣārī, who had in turn been taught by Ebn Ḥajar ʿAsqalānī (d. 852/1449); and Moḥammad Kāzerūnī. The latter two were also students of Šarīf-ʿAlī Gorgānī.

Davānī was closely associated with contemporary courts throughout his career. In Shiraz, while still young, he was appointed ṣadr (religious supervisor) by Yūsof, son of the Qara Qoyunlu Jahānšāh (ca. 841-73/1438-68). He soon resigned the post, however, and took up teaching at the Madrasa-ye Begom, known as Dār al-Aytām. He wrote his Aḵlāq-e jalālī (q.v.), also known as Lawāmeʿal-ešrāqfī makārem al-aḵlāq (for discussion, see Rosenthal, pp. 210-23; Lambton; Woods, pp. 37, 101, 115-18), in Persian for the Āq Qoyunlu Ozun Ḥasan (857-82/1453-78) at the request of the latter’s son Ḵalīl. His ʿArż-nāma was written for Ḵalīl himself during his brief reign as sultan (882-83/1478). Davānī later accepted the post of chief judge of Fārs from Sultan Yaʿqūb (883-96/1478-90). His discussion on the commentary of ʿAlī b. Moḥammad Qūščī (d. 879/1474) on Tajrīd al-kalām by Naṣīr-al-Dīn Ṭūsī (d. 672/1274) was dedicated to both these sons of Ozun Ḥasan. Davānī did oppose the centralization policies of Sultan Yaʿqūb during the last years of his reign (Woods, p. 157), but he was later on good terms with Sultan Rostam (898-902/1493-97). In addition to his association with the Turkmen rulers of Shiraz, he also enjoyed the respect of the Timurid sultan Abū Saʿīd (855-73/1451-69). He dedicated his well-known illuminationist commentary on Hayākel al-nūr by Sohravardī (d. 578/1191), entitled Šawākel al-ḥūr fī šarḥ Hayākel al-nūr (872/1468), and his Anmūḏaj al-ʿolūm (1411/1990-91, pp. 263-333) and Resāla dar bayān-e māhīyat-e ʿadālat wa aḥkām-e ān to Sultan Maḥmūd I of Gujarat (862-917/1458-1511). His Eṯbāt al-wājeb al-qadīm (apparently unpublished) was written for the Ottoman sultan Bāyazīd II (886-918/1481-1512; al-Ḏarīʿa I, pp. 106-07).

Davānī’s work was criticized by Ṣadr-al-Dīn Moḥammad Daštakī (q.v.; d. 903/1498), another student of Golbārī. In 903/1497 a local coup against the Āq Qoyunlu ruler in Shiraz, Qāsem Beg Pornāk, whom both Davānī and Daštakī had supported, resulted in great material loss to both men (Ḵᵛānsārī, II, pp. 243-44; Ḥasan Rūmlū, I, p. 7). After their deaths Daštakī’s son Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī (q.v.) continued his father’s critique of Davānī’s work. The arguments between Davānī and the Daštakīs generated glosses on Qūščī’s commentary on Tajrīd al-kalām, on the commentary of Moḥammad b. Moḥammad Rāzī Bowayhī (d. 766/1365; al-Ḏarīʿa V, p. 132) on Maṭāleʿ al-anwār by Maḥmūd b. Abī Bakr Ormavī (d. 689/1290), and on Sohravardī’s Hayākel al-nūr. Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn also criticized Davānī’s Anmūḏaj al-ʿolūm.

Davānī’s religious proclivities in this period, like those of the Daštakī family, were the source of later dispute. Before Shah Esmāʿīl’s capture of Tabrīz in 907/1501 and his establishment of Twelver Shiʿism as the state religion of Persia, Davānī referred in his ʿArż-nāma to Ozun Ḥasan as the “envoy of the 9th century” and “ḡāzī in the path of God.” In his Aḵlāq-e jalālī, completed about 880/1475, he described the sultan as “the shadow of God, the caliph of God, and the deputy of the Prophet” (Woods, pp. 37, 101, 115-18). At another point, when questioned on the identity of “the imam of the age,” he replied that the Sunnis believed it was Sultan Yaʿqūb and the Shiʿites the twelfth imam, Moḥammad b. Ḥasan (Šūštarī, fols. 206b-208a, ad. 7th majles; ʿA. Davānī, p. 185; Woods, pp. 151, 283 n. 56). Just two years earlier, in 905/1499, he had composed his Šarḥ al-aqāʾed al-ʿażodīya, an openly anti-Imamī Shiʿite commentary in a rationalist Ašʿarī vein.

In later sources, however, it was asserted that Davānī had been practicing taqīya (disguise of one’s religion) during an especially chaotic period in Persian history. The authors of these sources cited his Resālat al-zawrāʾ, completed after he experienced a vision of Imam ʿAlī al-Reżā (q.v.) in Najaf in 872/1467, as evidence of his attachment to the Prophet’s family; it includes poems in praise of the Imam and disavowing the first three caliphs. It was also criticized by Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn Daštakī. Davānī’s short Nūr al-hedāya, though undated, is avowedly Imami (Šūštarī, fol. 207a; Ḵᵛānsārī, II, p. 240; ʿA. Davānī, pp. 75-78, 173-87) and was almost certainly written as the Safavid shah Esmāʿīl I (907-30/1501-24) was advancing on Fārs. Nevertheless, Davānī is said to have rejected the shah’s messianic claims (Ḵᵛānsārī, VII, pp. 194-95 n. 1, VIII, p. 71). In the event, Davānī died in November 1502 before the capture of Shiraz in 909/1504, when Sunni clerics who refused to convert to the new faith were put to death (Ḵᵛānsārī, VII, pp. 194-95 n. 1; ʿA. Davānī, pp. 182-84, 187-92). He is buried in Davān in a mausoleum known as Boqʿa-ye Šayḵ-e ʿĀlī.

Among Davānī’s students were Kamāl-al-Dīn Ḥosayn Ardabīlī (d. 950/1543), also a pupil of Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn Daštakī; Mīr Ḥosayn Yazdī (d. 910/1504), appointed chief judge of Yazd by Sultan Yaʿqūb; and Jamāl-al-Dīn Ḥosayn Moḥammad Estarābādī (d. 931/1525), who served jointly with Qewām-al-Dīn Eṣfahānī as ṣadr under Shah Ṭahmāsb (930-84/1524-76).

See also AḴLĀQ-E JALĀLĪ.

 

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(Andrew J. Newman)

Originally Published: December 15, 1994

Last Updated: November 18, 2011

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Vol. VII, Fasc. 2, pp. 132-133