JOVAYNI, ṢĀḤEB DIVĀN ŠAMS-AL-DIN MOḤAMMAD b. Moḥammad (k. 4 Šaʿbān 683/16 October 1284), Persian statesman of the early Il-khanaid period and the younger brother of the historian ʿAlāʾ-al-Din ʿAṭā-Malek Jovayni (q.v.). He was known as ṣāḥeb(-e) divān (chief of secretariat, chief financial officer, vizier), a post he held from 1263 until shortly before his death in 1284.

The Jovaynis, a Persian family of professional bureaucrats and men of letters from the region of Jovayn (q.v.) in Khorasan, claimed descent from Fażl b. Rabiʿ, the chamberlain and vizier of the ʿAbbasid caliph Hārun al-Rašid (r. 786-809). They served the Saljuqs and Ḵᵛārazm-šāhs before turning their allegiance to the Mongols. Šams-al-Din’s father, Bahāʾ-al-Din Moḥammad, who originally served Jalāl-al-Din Menguberti Ḵᵛārazmšāh, submitted in 1232-33 to Jentemor (Chin Temür), the Mongol governor (bāsqāq) of Khorasan and Māzandarān, and in 1235 became his ṣāḥeb(-e) divān, a post he continued to hold under Jentemor’s successors, Gorguz (Körgüz) and Arḡun Āqā (q.v.) until his death in 1253-54 (Qazvini, pp. yḥ-kā). Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi and Nāṣer-al-Din Monši suggest that Šams-al-Din succeeded his father’s post (Mostawfi, 1960, p. 586; Nāṣer-al-Din Monši, pp. 103-4) in 1255, but this may be due to the title of ṣāḥeb(-e) divān that both father and son held. According to Rašid-al-Din Fażl-Allāh, in 1263 Hulāgu (Hülegü) Khan appointed the young Šams-al-Din to be his ṣāḥeb(-e) divān, a position he continued to hold almost till his death (Rašid-al-Din, II, p. 735, tr., III, p. 513). His rise to power might have been facilitated by his close relations with Naṣir-al-Din Ṭusi, the famous astronomer and Hulāgu’s close advisor (Aubin, p. 21) and by his marriage to the daughter of Arḡun Āqā, the Mongol governor of Khorasan (1243-75) and his father’s employer (Ebn al-Fowaṭi, p. 468).

As ṣāḥeb(-e) divān, Šams al-Din soon acquired enormous influence. He is often praised for shaping a just, flourishing, and efficient administration in Iran, despite the fiscal and anti-Muslim whims of the Il-khans (e.g., see Mostawfi, tr. Ward, 1983, p. 208, 262, 314, 319-20; Nāṣer-al-Din Monši, pp. 102-3; Ḵᵛāndamir, 1974, III, p. 114, tr. III, p. 64; Aubin, p. 24; Rašid-al-Din, II, pp. 1079-80, tr., III, p. 738). He ruled in Tabriz and contributed to the restoration of the economic and religious life of the Il-khanate. He built a bridge in Azerbaijan and a dam near Sāva (Mostawfi, 1915-19, I, pp. 221, 224, II, pp. 213, 216), restored mosques in Iraq (Ebn al-Fowaṭi, p. 276), and urged for the opening of the Hajj routes (Paul, p. 281).

Šams-al-Din was also involved in making military decisions. He advised Abaqa (Abāqā, q.v.) during the latter’s preparations for the battle of Herat in 1270 against the Chaghatayids and in its aftermath, and in 1277 commanded an army which took part in Abaqa’s campaign into Anatolia, and on his way back he also fought against the tribes of Caucasus (Rašid-al-Din, II, pp. 768-70, tr., pp. 538, 539; Nāṣer-al-Din Monši, p. 103). He is said to have secured Muslim villages and towns from the army’s wrath during Abaqa’s campaigns in Anatolia, yet his pro-Muslim feelings did not prevent him from advising Abaqa in 1273 to ravage Muslim Bukhara, thereby ensuring that the Chaghatayid princes would not covet it anymore, and, at the same time, settling his personal grudge against the Chaghatayid administrator, Masʿud Beg (Waṣ-ṣāf, p. 77; Spuler, 1985, pp. 68, 71, tr., pp. 73, 76).

Šams-al-Din also held close connections with the local dynasties subject to the Il-khanids, including the Karts of Herat, the Qara Khitays of Kerman, the Salghurids of Fars, and the Atābaks of Luristan. He sent Il-khanid officials into their realms and, at least in Yazd, he had an agent responsible for the province’s restoration (Jaʿfari, pp. 111-14; Aubin, p. 23; Lane, pp. 135, 137). Šams-al-Din also staffed the administration with his family, appointing his elder son, Bahāʾ-al-Din Moḥammad, governor of Erāq-e ʿAjam, where he ruled till his untimely death in 1279; another son, Šaraf-al-Din Hārun, known for his intellectual interests, was entrusted with Anatolia in 1277 (k. 1286; Qazvini, pp. , sā-sb). His elder brother, the historian ʿAlāʾ-al-Din ʿAṭā-Malek, governed Baghdad for about twenty-four years, over which Hulāgu Khan had appointed him in 1259, a year after his capture of the city (Qazvini, pp. kṭ-lj). During his time in office Šams al-Din accumulated considerable wealth, mostly in lands, but also through commercial ventures in Hormuz, in which he and his partner and joint vizier under Abaqa, Suḡonjāq/Sunjāq, made a great deal of profits (Waṣṣāf, p. 56, red. Āyati, pp. 32-33; Rašid-al-Din, II, pp. 775-77, tr., III, pp. 542-44; Aubin, p. 23). His eminent position, however, also gave rise to much jealousy. Šams-al-Din’s fall was manipulated by his former protégé Majd-al-Molk Yazdi. In 1277 the latter accused the Jovayni brothers of being in league with the Mamluks of Egypt, but was unable to prove their guilt. In 1280, however, Majd-al-Molk was more successful. This time he blamed the brothers not only in allying with the Mamluks (a charge never confirmed by Mamluk sources), but also with embezzling huge sums from the treasury. Šams-al-Din’s brother, ʿĀṭā-Malek, was put under arrest and saved from trial only in late 1281 through the intervention of Mongol princes and princesses, but he returned to jail a few months later due to another wave of accusations. Šams-al-Din was saved by Hulāgu’s widow, but Abaqa chose to appoint his rival Majd-al-Molk as a joint vizier with him, a nomination that greatly limited his power (Rašid-al-Din, II, pp. 775-57, 786-89; tr., pp. 542-44, 549-51; Waṣṣāf, red. Āyati, pp. 55-56; Ḵᵛāndamir, 1917, pp. 272-92; Boyle, p. 362; Qazvini, pp. lw ff.; Browne, III, pp. 22-24).

Abaqa died in early 1282 and a conflict broke out over succession between his son, Arḡun, and Abaqa’s younger brother Tegüder (Takudār). Šams-al-Din was among the supporters of Tegüder, who had converted to Islam with the name Aḥmad and was favored as the senior surviving son of Hulāgu Khan (Ebn al-Fowaṭi, p. 417; Šabānkāraʾi, p. 264; Waṣṣāf, red. Āyati, pp. 66-70; Spuler, 1985, pp. 77 ff., tr. pp. 82 ff.). Under Aḥmad Tegüder (r. 1282-84), who was chosen as the new Il-khan in May 1282, Šams-al-Din and his brother were cleared of charges brought against them by Majd-al-Molk and returned to favor, while their accuser was put to death (Waṣṣāf, red. Āyati, p. 67; Qazvini, pp. nz-nḥ; Spuler, 1985, p. 79, tr., p. 84). Šams-al-Din became the Il-khan’s sole leading minister, and might have been involved in Tegüder’s attempts to put an end to the Il-khanid-Mamluk rivalry (Bar Hebraeus, Pers. tr., pp. 383-84; Waṣṣāf, red. Āyati, pp. 70-72; Spuler, 1985, pp. 78-79, tr., pp. 83-84); however, the whole idea of Tegüder’s rapprochement was questioned by Adel Allouche). Šams-al-Din also managed to rehabilitate his brother, who was reinstalled in Baghdad, and to get rid of his own rival Majd-al-Molk, whose terrible end (he was sliced to pieces and ritually cannibalized, Waṣṣāf, p. 108, red. Āyati, p. 67; Qazvini, pp. nz-nḥ), however, was later to befall Šams-al-Din himself (Qazvini, pp. s-sj; Browne, III, pp. 29-30). Aḥmad’s short reign (r. 1282-84), however, was dominated by his worsening relations with his nephew, Arḡun (1284-91), who coveted the throne. One of Arḡun’s grievances against his uncle was that his protégés, the Jovayni brothers, had poisoned his father, Abaqa. These charges might have prompted the death of Šams-al-Din’s brother, who suffered a stroke in 1283. He was succeeded in Baghdad by Šams-al-Din’s son, Hārun, a nomination that proves that Šams-al-Din had not yet lost favor (Ebn al-Fowaṭi, p. 428; Qazvini, pp. nṭ-s; Spuler, 1985, p. 79, tr., p. 84). When Arḡun deposed Aḥmad in summer 1284, however, Šams-al-Din considered escaping to India. Unwilling to desert his family, he was convinced to ask for Arḡun’s mercy. With the help of Buqā, Arḡun’s vizier and once a close friend of Šams-al-Din, he was reprieved and reinstalled as Buqā’s deputy, but when the two soon fell out, Buqā abandoned his colleague and Arḡun was free to revive the accusation of financial misappropriation, try, and execute Šams-al-Din (near Ahar in Azerbaijan on 4 Šaʿbān 683/16 October 1284). Šams-al-Din wrote a will moments before his execution, dividing his appanage among his sons and portraying himself as dying for the cause of Islam (Rašid-al-Din, II, pp. 808-11, tr., III, pp. 563-65; Šabānkāraʾi, p. 266; Waṣṣāf, pp. 141-42, red. Āyati, pp. 82-84; Bar Hebraus, pp. 472-73, Pers. tr., p. 392; Ebn al-Fowaṭi, p. 435 with several variations; Mirḵᵛānd, V, pp. 346-47; Spuler, 1985, pp. 82-83, tr., pp. 87-88; Paul, pp. 282-83).

Šams-al-Din’s sons soon shared their father’s fate. In 1286, Hārun, demoted under Arḡun to an accounting position in Baghdad’s administration, was executed on the charge of administrative disorder. His brothers, some of them still minors, were executed soon afterwards (Ḏa-habi, p. 382; Ebn al-Fowaṭi, p. 219; Faṣiḥ Ḵᵛāfi, III, pp. 354-56; Waṣṣāf, p. 142; Rašid-al-Din, II, p. 811, 820, tr., III, pp. 565, 572, with conflicting details).

Šams-al-Din and his sons Hārun and Bahāʾ-al-Din were generous patrons of Islamic literature, art, and science. They were praised by leading contemporary poets, Shaikh Moṣleḥ-al-Din Saʿdi, Majd-al-Din Hamgar, and Homām Tabrizi (Saʿdi, pp. 907-9, 914, 926, 936-38, 944-45; Browne, III, pp. 121, 153), and many works were dedicated to them (e.g., Dawlatšāh, pp. 105, 106, 166-67, 218; Qazvini, pp. sd ff.; Browne, III, p. 29). Šams al-Din left behind several verses (in Persian and Arabic) as well as a few letters (Paul, pp. 277-85; see, e.g., Dawlatšāh, pp. 220-21, 167; Browne, III, pp. 30, 106, 115, 121, 153). His son, Šaraf-al-Din Hārun, wrote poetry and left a divān that has survived in a unique manuscript kept at the British Library (BM OR 3467; Rieu, pp. 166-67; Browne, III, p. 21; Āḡā Bozorg Ṭehrāni, 1936-78, IX, p. 1287). He is described as one of the most learned men (yak-i az afāżel) of his time, who, in 1272-73, served as a teacher in the Neẓāmiya College in Baghdad. He was also a talented musician. The celebrated musicologist, Ṣafi-al-Din Ormavi, trained him in music and was one of his close associates. Ormavi’s major work, Resāla-ye šarafiya, is named after Hārun and dedicated to him. He married Rābeʿa, the granddaughter of the last ʿAbbasid caliph for the dowry of 100,000 dinars (Ebn al-Fowaṭi, pp. 369, 374; Ḵᵛāndamir, 1938, p. 270; Qazvini, pp. sā-sb, sh-sw; Lane, p. 201). Hārun was executed in Jomādā II 658/July-August 1286 because of a slander by Faḵr-al-Din Mostawfi (a cousin of the historian Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi), and his wife also died the same day (Waṣṣāf, p. 65; Qazvini, pp. sā-sb). Šams-al-Din’s elder son, Bahāʾ-al-Din Moḥammad, is mostly famous as an extremely harsh, but very effective, governor (e.g., Ḵᵛāndamir, 1938, pp. 271-72; Waṣṣāf, pp. 64-65, red. Āyati, pp. 34-37; Lane, pp. 197-98).

Šams-al-Din and his family are usually described as Shafiʿites, like their famous forefather, Abu’l-Maʿāli ʿAbd-al-Malek Jovayni (q.v.), best known as Emām-al-ḥaramayn (1028-85; see, e.g., Yunini IV, p. 225); but there is also a claim, probably unfounded, that he and his brother were Shiʿites (Āḡā Bozorg Ṭehrāni, 1972, p. 172; idem, 1936-78, IX, p. 1267).



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March 9, 2009

(Michal Biran)

Originally Published: June 15, 2009

Last Updated: April 17, 2012

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