ABŪ ṬĀHER ḴᵛĀJA B. MAWLĀNĀ [MOLLĀ] MĪR ABŪ SAʿĪD ḴᵛĀJA SAMARQANDĪ, MOLLĀ (first half of the 13th/19th century), author of a book named Ṯamarīya (see N. D. Miklukho-Maklaĭ, Opisanie tadzhikskikh i persidskikh rukopiseĭ Instituta vostokovedeniya, Moscow and Leningrad, 1955, nos. 82, 83, 84) or Samarīya (see A. Semyonov, ed., Sobranie vostochnykh rukopiseĭ Akademii nauk Uzbekskoĭ SSR I, Tashkent, 1952, no. 711; A. Mirzoev and A. Boldyrev, eds., Katalog vostochnykh rukopiseĭ Akademii Nauk Tadzhikskoĭ SSR I, Stalinabad, 1960, no. 245). It is dedicated mainly to mazārs (shrines) in Samarkand and its vicinity. Our knowledge about Abū Ṭāher is restricted to the little data he gives in this work. He must have been born in Samarkand, where both his grandfather Mawlānā Mīr ʿAbd-al-Ḥayy Ḵᵛāǰa (1169-1243/1755-56 to 1827-28) and his father served as qāżī-kalān (head judge) of the town and its welāyat (district) (Samarīya, ed. Afšār, pp. 14, 97-99). The grandfather was also its Šayḵ-al-eslām (Samarīya, p. 97). He evidently knew a maǰḏūb (ascetic) named Hedāyat Ḵᵛāǰa (d. 1244/1828-29), whose tomb was already a mazār at the time of the composition of Samarīya (p. 112). The work or a substantive part of it was evidently composed in 1251/1835-36; 16 Jomādā I 1251/9 September 1835 is given as the date when the author copied the inscriptions of the famous Mazār-e Šāh[-e Zenda] (Samarīya, p. 58) and as the death date of Solṭān Khan Ḵᵛāǰa Adāʾ. Abū Ṭāher then bore the title of moftī (ibid., p. 99) and/or ṣadr (Semyonov, Sobranie, no. 711; Mirzoev and Boldyrev, Katalog, no. 245).

Abū Ṭāher’s intention was to compose a trustworthy guide to the mazārs, because “now the marks and signs which the author of Qandīya has mentioned have become obliterated and the tombstones have become nonexistent” (Samarīya, p. 13). Actually he went beyond these limits, mentioning burial places of residents of Samarkand from the “post-Qandīya” period, i.e., from the third decade of the 10th/16th century up to his own life time. (For the chronology of the emergence of the final Persian version of the Qandīya, see V. Bartold, Sochineniya VIII, Moscow, 1973, pp. 254-64; cf. Qandīya, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1334 Š./1955, intro. pp. 6-8.) Chap. 9 of Samarīya, devoted to mazārs, is one of the longest and the most detailed of the eleven in the book; it comprises 53 of 106 pages in Afšār’s edition (pp. 54-116). The discussion of mosques and madrasas (chap. 8, pp. 39-53) is much less detailed. Other chapters treat of the city’s name (chap. 1), founding (chap. 2), geography (chaps. 3-7), customs of visiting burial places (chap. 10), and the idealization of the deceased as exemplary figures (chap. 11). Chaps. 10-11 and the conclusion (ḵātema) are missing in published editions but are included in the Russian translation of V. Vyatkin (see bibliog.); the latter’s version of chapter 9 is also somewhat more elaborate.

The work is the most important source on Samarkand’s topography in the first half of the 13th/19th century. It also gives very important, often unique data about many persons involved in the religious life and other cultural aspects of the town and its area for about three centuries. The language of the work features many Tajikisms. Especially remarkable is the auditive usage of the perfect throughout the text. Sporadically, forms legitimized in the written language only in the 1920s are also used, e.g., the “continuous” infinitive (p. 33), or the - participle (p. 51).


See also N. I. Veselovskiĭ, Samariya, sochinenie Abu Takhira Khodzhi. Tadzhikskiĭ tekst, podgotovlennnyĭ k pechati . . . , St. Petersburg, 1904 (first ed. of the work; based on ms. no. 84 in Miklukho-Maklaĭ, Opisanie [a copy of no. 82 with use of ms. no. 83]).

Abū Ṭāher Ḵᵛāǰa, Samarīya dar bayān-e awṣāf-e ṭabīʿī va mazārāt-e Samarqand, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1343 Š./1964 (based on ms. no. 82 in Miklukho-Maklaĭ, Opisanie).

See also, with prefaces by Afšār and S. Nafīsī, in Sāl-nāma-ye kešvar-e Īrān 7, 1331 Š./1952, pp. 289-330 (based on Veselovskiĭ’s ed.).

According to I. Muminov, ed., Istoriya Samarkanda I, Tashkent, 1969, p. 344, an Uzbek translation of Ṯamarīya, by Mīrzā Barāt Mollā Qāsemov (Mulla Kasymov) was published in 1884 in Tashkent by N. Ostroumov. V. L. Vyatkin, “Samariya, opisanie drevnosteĭ i musul’manskikh svyatyn’ Samarkanda Abu Takhir Khodzhi,” Spravochnaya knizhka Samarkandskoĭ oblasti za 1889 god, Samarkand, 1889, pp. 153-259.

ʿAbd-al-Moʾmen Sattārī, tr., Ṣadr-al-dīn ʿAynī, ed., an unpublished Uzbek translation; a copy was prepared for the press in 1342/1923-24 (see A. Semyonov, Sobranie, no. 712).

Storey, II/1, no. 245, p. 157.

O. F. Akimushkin et al., Persidskie i tadzhikskie rukopisi Instituta narodov Azii AN SSSR (kratkiĭ alfavitnyĭ kalalog) I, Moscow, 1964, nos. 866-68.

Mošār, Moʾallefīn I, p. 185. Idem, Fehrest II, cols. 2020-21.

Monzavī, Nosḵahā VI, nos. 41087-89 (only the Leningrad mss.).

B. V. Lunin, Srednyaya Aziya v dorevolyutsionnom i sovetskom vostokovedenii, Tashkent, 1965, pp. 185, 209.

(M. Zand)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 21, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, pp. 388-389

Cite this entry:

M. Zand, “ABŪ ṬĀHER SAMARQANDĪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/4, pp. 388-389; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abg-taher-icaia-b (accessed on 31 January 2014).