ḴALIL SOLṬĀN b. MIRĀNŠĀH b. TIMUR (b. Herat, 14 July 1384; d. Ray, 2-3 November 1411), Timurid ruler (1405-09). His mother, Sevin Beg, known as Ḵānzāda, was descended from Čengiz Khan on her mother’s side (Moʿezz, fol. 126b). She had earlier been married to Timur’s son, Jahāngir, and was also the mother of Timur’s first designated successor, Moḥammad Solṭān (d. 1403). As a child, Ḵalil Solṭān was entrusted to Timur’s wife, Saray Malek Ḵānum, to be raised in the central court. Ḵānzāda also lived at Timur’s court after 1397, and Ḵalil appears to have been closer to her than to his father (Woods, 1984, p. 334). He became active in the military on the Indian campaign in 1398-99 and played a prominent part in the seven-year campaign of 1399-1404 (Šaraf-al-Din ʿAli Yazdi, 1957, II, pp. 38, 113, 242, 303). In 1403 Timur appointed him governor of Baylaqān, Arrān, Armenia, and Georgia, but he may actually have remained at his former post in northern Transoxiana (Šaraf-al-Din ʿAli Yazdi, 1957, pp. 321, 386, 425).

At the outset of Timur’s campaign against China in 1404, Ḵalil Solṭān wintered in Tashkent and Šāhroḵiya, where he learned of Timur’s death in February 1405. On his deathbed Timur had named Pir Moḥammad b. Jahāngir as his successor, but Ḵalil Solṭān succeeded in having himself elected as ruler by his commanders, and persuaded the emirs in Samarqand to refuse entry to Pir Moḥammad’s supporters. On 18 March, Ḵalil was proclaimed ruler in Samarqand, naming Ḵānzāda’s grandson Moḥammad Jahāngir b. Moḥammad Solṭān as khan (Komaroff, 1986, p. 216; Tāj-al-Salmāni, 1956, pp. 33-44, fols. 40a-60a; Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, 1993, pp. 12-13). For Timur’s burial he chose Moḥammad Solṭān’s mausoleum rather than the family necropolis in Šahr-e Sabz. These actions were probably designed to placate the emirs who had served Moḥammad Solṭān and remained loyal to his descendants.

Ḵalil Solṭān made peace with Šāhroḵ, who controlled Khorasan (Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, 1993, pp. 20-21), and most of the central bureaucracy remained with him (Moʿezz, fols. 97b, 127a; Faṣiḥ Ḵvāfi, III, p. 193). However, Timur’s chief emirs disapproved of his takeover, and many deserted him, leaving him dependent on the foreign troops stationed in Transoxiana. Ḵalil Solṭān continued Timur’s Mongol legitimation; a sketch of his court which shows Čengizid princes in a place of honor and a genealogy in Uighur, connecting the dynasty with the Čengizid house, have been attributed to his reign (Ando, 1996, pp. 18-22; Woods, 1990, pp. 111-12). He also showed an interest in history, and it is likely that part of the account of Timur’s Indian campaign was written for him (Ḡiāṯ-al-Din ʿAli Yazdi, 2000, pp. 59, 72, 115-16). In poetry, Ḵalil was both a practitioner and a patron; the famous poet, ʿEsmat Boḵāri and others were gathered at his court (Dawlatšāh, 1901, pp. 352-61; Navāʾi, 1945, pp. 12, 125, 187-88).

Timurid historians blame Ḵalil Solṭān’s failure partly on his second wife, Šād Malek, a commander’s concubine whom Ḵalil Solṭān had married secretly. Timur separated the pair, but Ḵalil Solṭān later reinstated Šād Malik, and she was considered the instigator of his most scandalous act: marrying the widows of Timur and Moḥammad Solṭān to his emirs, some of low birth (Šaraf-al-Din ʿAli Yazdi, II, 1957, p. 454; Tāj-al-Salmāni, 1956, pp. 43-44/fols. 60a-61b, 117-20). Ḵalil Solṭān was considered extravagant, and the treasury was said to be empty at the time of his capture in 1409. Despite his generosity to the army, the foreign troops serving him deserted him in large numbers from 1408 onwards (Ibn ʿArabšāh, pp. 269, 278; Tāj-al-Salmāni, p. 96).

To the south, Ḵalil Solṭān fought Pir Moḥammad b. Jahāngir, who was helped by Šāhroḵ in his attempt to take the throne. Ḵalil managed to repel him, and in February 1407 Pir Moḥammad was murdered by one of his own followers. To the north, a coalition of Moḥammad Solṭān’s emirs, led by Ḵodāydād Ḥosayni and Shaikh Nur-al-Din, attempted to take the throne for one of Moḥammad Solṭān’s young sons. In 1409 Ḵodāydād invited in Šāhroḵ, and in March 1409 captured Ḵalil Solṭān. Šāhroḵ took Samarqand, installed his son Uluḡ Beg as governor, and ruled the combined realm from Herat. He sent Ḵalil Solṭān to ʿEraq-e ʿAjam, ordering him to establish rule over Mirānšāh’s former territories in northwestern Iran. Ḵalil Solṭān went to Ray and became active in regional politics but made no attempt to expand to the west (Manz, 2007, pp. 21, 24-25). He died on 2-3 November 1411 (Ḥafeẓ-e Abru, 1993, pp. 436-37).



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(Beatrice Forbes Manz)

Originally Published: December 15, 2010

Last Updated: April 20, 2012

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