ABU’L-FATḤ KHAN ZAND, eldest son of Karīm Khan (Wakīl) of the Īnāq lineage of the Zand, b. 1169/1755-56. His mother was a sister of Esmāʿīl Solṭān Kord-e Qūčānī. In the dispute over the succession following the death of Karīm Khan (13 Ṣafar 1193/2 March 1779), one party backed Abu’l-Fatḥ Khan; the other supported the third son, Moḥammad ʿAlī Khan (b. 1174/1760-61); the second son had predeceased his father. As a compromise, both princes were installed as joint rulers. Zakī Khan of the Būdāq lineage, who had originally opposed Abu’l-Fatḥ, took over the state administration. Meanwhile, Karīm’s brother, Ṣādeq Khan, who had been in Baṣra when the sovereign died, asserted a claim to the throne. When he appeared before Shiraz, Zakī Khan had Abu’l-Fatḥ imprisoned, suspecting that he sympathized with Ṣādeq, and made Moḥammad ʿAlī Khan sole ruler. Another pretender appeared in the person of Zakī Khan’s own nephew, ʿAlī Morād Khan. After Zakī Khan’s assassination by one of his own people, Abu’l-Fatḥ was installed in Shiraz in 4 Jomādā II 1193/19 June 1779. He was obliged, however, to leave the conduct of state affairs to Ṣādeq Khan. Abu’l-Fatḥ’s reign lasted little more than two months; he was incompetent and, according to the eyewitness account of Mīrzā Moḥammad, passed his time in debauchery. Ṣādeq Khan, with the cooperation of some of the nobles, deposed Abu’l-Fatḥ on 9 Šaʿbān 1193/22 August 1779 and had him blinded. (Another version, less probable but attested in most sources, says that he was blinded when ʿAlī Morād Khan took Shiraz in 1195/1781; see Malcolm, History II, p. 99). In 1206/1791-92, Abu’l-Fatḥ was sent away to Māzandarān by Āqā Moḥammad Shah; some time prior to his accession, Abu’l-Fatḥ had married a sister of Hedāyatallāh Khan Gīlānī, the governor of Rašt. Abu’l-Fatḥ died aged thirty-two in 1201/1787 and was buried in the Šāh Čerāḡ shrine at Shiraz.


Mīrzā Moḥammad Kalāntar Šīrāzī, Rūz-nāma, ed. ʿA. Eqbāl, Tehran, 1325 Š./1946; excerpt in Fasāʾī, tr. Busse, pp. 9-11; see also pp. 6f.

Ebn ʿAbd-al-Karīm ʿAlī Reżā Šīrāzī, Tārīḵ-e Zandīya, ed. E. Beer, Leiden, 1888, pp. 6, 9-14, 19.

J. Malcolm, History of Persia, London, 1829, II, pp. 89, 90, 95, 96.

M. Roschanzamir, Die Zand-Dynastie (Geistes und sozialwissenschaftliche Dissertazionen 9), Hamburg, 1970.

J. R. Perry, Karim Khan Zand, A History of Iran, 1747-79, Chicago, 1979, index.

(H. Busse)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 21, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, p. 286

Cite this entry:

H. Busse, “ABU’L-FATḤ KHAN ZAND,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/, p. 286; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abul-fath-khan-zand (accessed on 31 January 2014).