ABU’L-ḤASAN KHAN MAḤALLĀTĪ KOHAKĪ, SAYYED, imam of the Nezārī Ismaʿilis of the Qāsemšāhī line, beglerbegi of Kermān under Karīm Khan Zand and his successors from approximately 1181/1768 to 1206/1791-92. The epithet “Kohakī” indicates that he originally was from the village of Kohak in the Maḥallāt region. As imam of the Ismaʿilis, Abu’l-Ḥasan Khan had many adherents in Kermān; his main stronghold was Šahr-e Bābak on the southern slopes of Kūh-e Masāhem (about 110 miles west of Kermān), where he occupied an imposing and superbly equipped fortress. His support in this area, which extended as far south as Sīrǰān/Saʿīdābād, was drawn from the warlike but settled tribes of herdsmen, the Ḵorāsānī (who had presumably migrated from Khorasan) and the ʿAṭāʾallāhī (an imam of the Qāsemšāhī line bore the name ʿAṭāʾallāh Nezār). According to Wazīrī (Joḡrāfīā, p. 157), Abu’l-Ḥasan Khan won them over to the Ismaʿilis. In the turmoil following the death of Karīm Khan Zand (1193/1779), he ruled virtually independently as governor of Kermān. Wazīrī praises him as a liberal and righteous man, an astute politician, and a benefactor of Kermān. Next to the Friday Mosque he laid out a maydān, and outside the city he built a summer palace of Zarīsaf, where subsequent governors of Kermān customarily received their robes of office. Although an Ismaʿili imam, he extended protection to the Sufi order of the Neʿmatallāhī. (The famous Moštāq-ʿAlīšāh was lynched, by a populace aroused by the clergy, while Abu’l-Ḥasan Khan was away restoring order in Šahr-e Bābak.) When Loṭf-ʿAlī Khan Zand besieged the city of Kermān in the winter of 1205/1790-91, Abu’l-Ḥasan declared for the Qajars and successfully defended it. He died in 1206/1791-92 and was succeeded by his cousin, Mīrzā Ṣādeq. His descendants continued to direct the Nezārī Ismaʿilis; see Āqā Khan, Ḥasan-ʿAlī Shah.


Wazīrī, Joḡrāfīā-ye mamlakat-e Kermān, ed. M. E. Bāstānī Pārīzī in FIZ 14, 1966-67, pp. 5-286.

Wazīrī, Tārīḵ-e Kermān-sālārīya, ed. M. E. Bāstānī Pārīzī, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961, pp. 342-53.

J. Malcolm, History of Persia II, London, 1829, p. 109.

(H. Busse)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 21, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, p. 310

Cite this entry:

H. Busse, “ABU’L-ḤASAN KHAN MAḤALLĀTĪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/3, p. 310; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abul-hasan-khan-mahallati (accessed on 31 January 2014).