ḎU’L-FAQĀR KHAN AFŠĀR, governor (ḥākem) of Ḵamsa province (ca. 1177-94/1763-80) under the Zand dynasty. Of the Imīrlū clan of Afšārs, which had long been established at Zanjān, the chief city of the province, Ḏu’l-Faqār was evidently already a local leader of some consequence before Karīm Khan Zand (1163-93/1750-79), on his way south after subjugating Azerbaijan, formally appointed him ḥākem of strategic Ḵamsa province in 1177/1763; Ḵamsa lay between Azerbaijan, Gīlān, and the Zand chieftain’s home range in the province of Qalamrow-e ʿAlī Šakar (Hamadān; Röhrborn, p. 8). In 1186/1772 Ḏu’l-Faqār fell behind in his tax remittances to Shiraz and was reported to be plotting a bid for independence. Karīm Khan, already threatened by a Qajar revolt in the Caspian provinces, summoned him to the capital. Instead Ḏu’l-Faqār sent his aging mother (Ḡaffārī, pp. 306-07; Hedāyat, Rawżat al-ṣafā IX, p. 83; Nāmī, p. 169: his son), who assured the Zand ruler that the delinquent was a loyal and diligent servant and persuaded him to grant a respite. This ploy was repeated soon after, whereupon Karīm sent two forces under ʿAlī-Morād Khan Zand and ʿAlī-Moḥammad Khan Zand to dismiss and arrest Ḏu’l-Faqār. ʿAlī-Moḥammad Khan met Ḏu’l-Faqār and a Šaqāqī Kurdish army at Abhar and defeated them in a fierce battle; Ḏu’l-Faqār fled but was captured and taken to Shiraz, together with his family and forfeited property (Ḡaffārī, pp. 307-08; Hedāyat, Rawżat al-ṣafā IX, p. 83; Tafrešī, fol. 217; Rostam-al-Ḥokamāʾ, pp. 378-79; tr., pt. 2, pp. 633-34).

On the intercession of his mother, however, he was soon granted a full pardon and reinstated at Zanjān, though his family and dependents were detained as hostages in Shiraz (Ḡaffārī, p. 309; Perry, p. 122). In the spring of 1191/1777 Ḏu’l-Faqār cooperated in Karīm Khan’s campaign against the Ottomans in Kurdistan, leading one arm of a three-pronged advance on Sanandaj, in which the Turks were defeated at Šahrazūr (Ḡaffārī, p. 366; Perry, p. 191).

Two years later Ḏu’l-Faqār took advantage of the anarchy following Karīm Khan’s death to gather a large army and occupy Qazvīn, threatening both the Zand and the Qajar contestants for control of the region between Gīlān and Tehran. While ʿAlī-Morād Khan, acting on behalf of the late ruler’s brother and would-be successor, Ṣādeq Khan, was at Isfahan after a defeat by Jaʿfarqolī Khan Qājār, Ḏu’l-Faqār sent a force against Tehran. It was repelled by the Zands (Ḡaffārī, p. 489) or, according to pro-Qajar sources, by the Qajars (Hedāyat, Rawżat al-ṣafā IX, p. 136). Ḏu’l-Faqār then invaded Gīlān, captured the governor (beglerbegī), Hedāyat-Allāh Khan, and imprisoned him at Zanjān, appointing his own governor at Rašt. He next invaded Qalamrow. ʿAlī-Morād Khan, who was again at Isfahan, had declared himself against the latest Zand claimant, Zakī Khan; after the latter had been killed by his own men at Īzadḵᵛāst in 1193/1779 ʿAlī-Morād Khan marched against Ḏu’l-Faqār. In the ensuing clash at Šarrāʾ (northwest of Arāk) Ḏu’l-Faqār’s force, notably his elite corps of 300 men, came close to defeating the Zand army, but ʿAlī-Morād Khan’s Bābān Kurdish reinforcements carried the day. Ḏu’l-Faqār fled to Zanjān, where his prisoner Hedāyāt-Allāh was released by a faction of citizens and Ḏu’l-Faqār found himself besieged in his house as a pursuing Zand force approached the city. Breaking through a wall, he escaped with two or three followers to Ḵalḵāl, where he was seized and handed over to ʿAlī-Morād Khan at Zanjān. He was beheaded in late 1194/1780 or early 1195/1781 (Ḡaffārī, pp. 490-96; Hedāyat, Rawżat al-ṣafā IX, pp. 159-60; Nāmī, pp. 129-31; Fasāʾī, I, p. 221; tr. Busse, p. 11).

ʿAlī-Morād Khan then appointed one ʿAlī Khan Afšār to govern Ḵamsa province, but Ḏu’l-Faqār’s family remained influential well into Qajar times (Nāmī, p. 255; Hedāyat, Rawżat al-ṣafā X, pp. 672, 713-14), later adopting Ḏu’l-Faqārī as surname (Bāmdād, Rejāl I, p. 506).


Bibliography: (For cited works not found in this bibliography and abbreviations found here, see “Short References.”)

Abu’l-Ḥasan Ḡaffārī Kāšānī, Golšan-e morād, ed. Ḡ Ṭabāṭabāʾī Majd, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990.

Moḥammad-Ṣādeq Nāmī Eṣfahānī, Tārīḵ-e gītīgošā, ed. S. Nafīsī, Tehran, 1317 Š./1938.

J. R. Perry, Karim Khan Zand, Chicago, 1979.

K. M. Röhrborn, Provinzen und Zentral-gewalt Persiens im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1966.

Moḥammad-Hāšem Āṣaf Rostam-al-Ḥokamāʾ, Rostam al-tawārīḵ, ed. M. Mošīrī, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969; tr. B. Hoffmann as Persische Geschichte 1694-1835 erlebt,erinnert und erfunden. Das Rustam ut-tawārīḫ in deutscher Bearbeitung, 2 pts., Bamberg, 1986.

Rażī-al-Dīn Tafrešī, untitled, British Library, London, ms. no. Add. 6587, fols. 185-216 (Rieu, Persian Manuscripts II, p. 798, sec. 15).


Originally Published: December 15, 1996

Last Updated: December 1, 2011

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Vol. VII, Fasc. 6, pp. 568-569