ĀDĀB AL-ḤARB WA’L-ŠAJĀʿA (“The correct usages of war and bravery”), a treatise in a straightforward Persian prose style in the “Mirror for Princes” genre, written by Faḵr-al-dīn Moḥammad b. Manṣūr Mobārakšāh, called Faḵr-e Modabber. He flourished in the late 6th/12th and early 7th/13th century, dying in the reign of the Slave King of Delhi Šams-al-dīn Iltutmuš (607-33/1210-36). The above title is that of the British Museum and Royal Asiatic Society, Bengal manuscripts, which contain thirty-six chapters; the India office Persian ms. 647 (Ethé, Cat. Ind. Off., no. 2767) is called Adab al-molūk wa kefāyat al-mamlūk and contains forty chapters; this last represents a fuller version, and it is regrettable that Aḥmad Sohaylī Ḵᵛānsārī, in his printed text (Tehran, 1346 Š./1967) has not used the India Office ms. These chapters were, however, published by Moḥammad Sarvar Molāʾī as Āʾin-e kešvardārī: šaš bāb-e bāzyāfta az Ādāb al-ḥarb w'al-Šajāʿa (Tehran, 1354/1975).

The Ādāb al-ḥarb is dedicated to Sultan Iltutmuš and seems to have been written in Muslim India, probably in Lahore or Delhi. It is a treatise on statecraft and kingship and also, in a somewhat theoretical and idealized manner, on the art of war. The early chapters deal with such topics as the royal virtues and the choice of trustworthy ministers; the main part of the book then deals with such military topics as choosing horses and weapons, deployment of forces, and tactics on the battlefield. The theoretical military counsels are richly interspersed with anecdotes of considerable historical value. The anecdotes concerning the Ghaznavids have been translated into English by Miss I. M. Shafi (“Fresh Light on the Ghaznavids,” IC 12, 1938, pp. 189-234); they contain important information on this dynasty not found elsewhere.


Rieu, Pers. Man. II, pp. 487b-88.

Storey, I/2, pp. 1164-65.

C. E. Bosworth, “Early Sources on the First Four Ghaznavid Sultans,” Islamic Quarterly 7, 1963, p. 16.

Idem, Ghaznavids, pp. 20-21.

(C. E. Bosworth)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 22, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, p. 445

Cite this entry:

C. E. Bosworth, “ĀDĀB AL-ḤARB WA’L-ŠAJĀʿA,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, 1982, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/adab-al-harb-wal-sajaa