ʿABDALLĀH B. ŠAMS-AL-DĪN MOḤAMMAD MORVĀRĪD KERMĀNĪ, ŠEHĀB-AL-DĪN (d. Raǰab, 922/August, 1516), Timurid court official, poet, scribe, and musician. His father, Moḥammad Morvārīd, had moved to Herat from Kermān during the reign of Abū Saʿīd (855-73/1451-69) and later became that ruler’s vizier. Subsequently he performed the same function for Ḥosayn Bāyqarā until retiring to become custodian (motavallī) at the shrine of ʿAbdallāh Anṣārī (Ḵᵛāndamīr, Dastūr al-wozarāʾ, pp. 394-98; Ḥabīb al-sīar [Tehran] IV, pp. 328-29; see the latter source for many of the following details). Moḥammad married the daughter of another Timurid vizier, Moẓaffar Šabān- karā of Qarābāḡ (d. 891/1486).
ʿAbdallāh Morvārīd was a person of many talents. He enjoyed a high reputation as performer on the qānūn and composed poetry under the taḵalloṣ Bayānī. He wrote a narrative poem, Ḵosrow o Šīrīn and various shorter works which were collected into a dīvān entitled Mūnes al-aḥbāb (Bābornāma, fol. 278; Dawlatšāh, ed. Browne, pp. 515-17; Sām Mīrzā, Toḥfa, pp. 64-66).
ʿAbdallāh was a close associate of Ḥosayn Bāyqarā and served that ruler in various capacities. Shortly after the latter’s accession to the throne in 874/1470 ʿAbdallāh was appointed ṣadr and served in that capacity for several years (Bābornāma, fol. 278). Later he composed official letters and documents and became the keeper of the royal seal. His contemporaries state that he displayed a remarkable aptitude for epistolary composition (enšāʾ) and was a skillful scribe particularly in the taʿlīq script used for correspondence (Maǰāles al-nafāʾes, pp. 106, 281; Bābornāma, fol. 278). ʿAbdallāh also compiled an enšāʾ manual consisting of documents and letters in various styles (Roemer, Staatsschreiben, pp. 24-201 ). Ḵᵛānsārī has published a sample of calligraphy written by ʿAbdallāh in 921/1515-16 in the style of reqāʿ favored in Herat (Qāżī Aḥmad, intro. opposite p. 19).
During the vizierate of Qavām-al-dīn Neẓām-al-molk (892-903/1486-98), ʿAbdallāh withdrew from public life for several years. Writing in 896/1490-91, ʿAlī Šīr Navāʾī remarks that ʿAbdallāh had resigned his court position and was living in retirement (Maǰāles al-nafāʾes, pp. 106, 281). Following the demise of Qavām-al-dīn, ʿAbdallāh returned to Ḥosayn Bāyqarā’s service with the rank of amir and was given the privilege of being the first of the amirs to affix his seal on documents, an honor previously accorded to ʿAlī Šīr Navāʾī. During this period ʿAbdallāh became one of Ḥosayn Bāyqarā’s closest associates. He was, for example, entrusted with ministering to the dying ʿAlī Šīr in 906/1500 (Mīrḵᵛānd, Rawżat al-ṣafāʾ VI, pp. 191-92).
Following Ḥosayn Bāyqarā’s death in 912/1506, ʿAbdallāh lived in seclusion and occupied himself with preparing copies of the Koran. Bābor states that during his last years ʿAbdallāh suffered from a painful disease which caused furuncles to form on his hands and feet (Bābornāma, fols. 175a, 278-79; Sām Mīrzā, Toḥfa, p. 64). Sām Mīrzā states that during these last years ʿAbdallāh met Shah Esmāʿīl (907-30/1501-24) and composed histories of his reign in verse and prose (ibid.; see also Nafīsī, Naẓm o naṯr I, pp. 259-60). ʿAbdallāh’s close associate, Ḵᵛāndamīr writing in 930/1523-24, makes no mention of these treatises nor of the alleged meeting. The claim of a family association with Shah Esmāʿīl may have originated with ʿAbdallāh’s son, Moḥammad Moʾmen (d. 948/1541-42), a noted calligrapher, who was for some years in the service of Sām Mīrzā (Sām Mīrzā, Toḥfa, p. 66).
Authors of taḏkeras sometimes confused ʿAbdallāh Morvārīd with ʿAbdallāh Ṭabbāḵ, since both lived in Herat and both used the title Šehāb-al-dīn (Bayānī, Ḵošnevīsān, pp. 351-52).
(P. P. Soucek)
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 15, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, pp. 202-203
P. P. Soucek, “Abdallah Morvarid,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, pp. 202-203; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abdallah-morvarid-d-1516-timurid-court-official-poet-scribe-and-musician (accessed on 17 January 2014).