NAJM-E ṮĀNI, Amir Yār-Aḥmad Eṣfahāni (d. 918/1512), the third holder of the office of wakil-e nafs-e nafis-e Homāyun under Shah Esmāʿil Ṣafawi, the representative of the Shah both in his religious and in his political capacity; as Roger Savory has put it, the holder of this office “was, in fact, the alter ego of the Shah” (Savory, 1960, p. 94). After appointing a qezelbāš amir (Ḥosayn-Beg Šāmlu) as his first wakil, Shah Esmāʿil shifted to a policy of appointing individuals of Persian stock to the wekālat, the second wakil being Amir Najm-al-Din Masʿud Gilāni (d. 915/1509-10). Amir Yār-Aḥmad was given the honorific (laqab) “Najm-e Ṯāni” (Najm the Second) after his predecessor (Rumlu, ed. Navāʾi, p. 146).
In 918/1512, Najm-e Ṯāni led a Safavid qezelbāš army against the Uzbeks, who, despite having been decisively defeated by Shah Esmāʿil outside Marv two years earlier, were still not pacified. The sources disagree on whether or not Shah Esmāʿil had approved the expedition. According to Eskandar Monši, “Without orders or instructions from the Shah, Najm-e Sòāni resolved on the subjugation of Transoxiana" (Eskandar Monši, trans. Savory, p. 65). Najm-e Ṯāni made several errors of judgement during this campaign, which ultimately led to his defeat and death. After crossing the Oxus and occupying Qaraši, he unnecessarily ordered a general massacre “in which about fifteen thousand persons both young and old, and small and great, were slain” (Rumlu, trans. Seddon, p. 61). Some sayyeds and their families had taken refuge in the main mosque, but they too were slain on the orders of Najm-e Ṯāni “along with their wives and their children” (Rumlu, trans. Seddon, op. cit.). Subsequently, Ḡojdovān, a few miles to the north of Bukhara, was besieged. Unable to enter the town, Bābor, who had joined the Safavid expedition, suggested a tactical withdrawal to Qaraši to await reinforcements from Balkh. Najm-e Ṯāni refused to take this advice, but many qezelbāš chiefs refused to fight under his leadership and withdrew. In the fighting that ensued Najm-e Ṯāni was captured and beheaded on the orders of the Uzbek leader ʿUbayd Khan.
Ḵᵛāndamir, Ḥabib al-siar, Tehran, 1954-55.
Ḥasan Rumlu, Aḥsan al-tawāriḵ, ed. ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Navāʾi, Tehran, 1978; tr. C. N. Seddon, Baroda, 1934.
Eskandar-Beg Monši, Tāriḵ-e ʿĀlam-ārā-ye ʿAbbāsi, ed. Iraj Afšār, Tehran, 1956-57; tr. R. M. Savory, as History of Shah ʿAbbās the Great, Boulder, Colo., 1978.
R. M. Savory, “The Principal Offices of the Ṣafawid State during the Reign of Ismāʿīl (907-30/1501-24),” BSOAS 23/1, 1960, pp. 91-105.
Idem, Iran under the Safavids, Cambridge, 1980, p. 31 ff. (on the administrative system of the early Safavid state.)
(Michel M. Mazzaoui)
Originally Published: July 20, 2002
Last Updated: July 20, 2002