ʿARAB MOḤAMMAD B. ḤĀJJĪ, khan of Ḵīva 1013-32/1602-23 (?). ʿArab Moḥammad, who succeeded his father in 1013/1602, was the second of a number of Khwarazmian Turkic rulers intimately involved with Iran in the 11th/17th century. His rule was based upon his descent from Jengiz Khan and upon a coalition of Ersari, Teke, and Yomut Turkmen. His domain included the Turkmen tribal areas to the south and west of the lower Āmū Daryā and the major towns of Organǰ, Ḵīva, Hazārasp, Kāṯ, and Vazīr, all of which were situated on or near a river channel. His income was derived from feudal dues, from the occasional raid, and collections imposed on trade goods moving from Iran and Bukhara to Russia by way of the route along the Amu Darya to the Aral sea and northwest across the Manqislaq peninsula to the Caspian shore. The security of the route and the revenues it produced depended upon a sometimes uneasy partnership between the Manqislaq Turkmen and the ruler in Organj or Ḵīva. ʿArab Moḥammad generally found himself in conflict with the Astarkhanids in Bukhara, who resented the Khivan customs barriers and whose forces were largely Uzbek. During his reign the khan also had to contend with raids by Russian cossacks from the Yaik river area and the first intrusions of the Kalmycks, who had just begun their emigration from western Mongolia to the lower Volga. ʿArab Moḥammad's most serious pro¬blems, however, involved the struggles over succession and patrimony with and among his seven sons. All of these “sultans” were would-be khans. In furthering their individual and collective ambitions, they did not hesitate to exploit the constant Turkmen-Uzbek enmity or to solicit Iranian intervention in Khwarazmian affairs. In 1025/1616, Ḥabaš-solṭān and Ilbars-solṭān, both still in their teens, gathered Uzbek support to seek by revolt a better inheritance than they might otherwise have expected as sons of the lowliest of the khan's five wives. ʿArab Moḥammad was obliged to give over the town of Vazīr to the rebels, and in 1031/1620 they looted Ḵīva itself. Throughout this conflict the khan was supported by his Turkmen and by his two eldest sons, Abu’1-Ḡazī and Esfandlar, the latter a veteran of an Iranian attack on Qandahār in 1032/1621. In 1033/1622 Shah ʿAbbas I rewarded this service with a loan of live hundred men to assist the Turkmen in restoring full rule to ʿArab Moḥammad, or perhaps to promote Esfandīar's own claims. Despite the aid, Ilbars captured the khan in late 1033/1622-23 and killed him. Immediately after that Esfandīar managed to defeat Ilbars and became khan; he promptly made use of his Iranian connections to send Abu’l-Ḡazī into exile in Isfahan for nearly a decade.

See also Abu’l-Ḡazī Bahādor Khan.



Abu’l-Ḡazī, I, p. 386; II, p. 393.

V. V. Barthold, Four Studies on the History of Central Asia, Leiden, 1962, I, III.

A. N. Kononov, Rodoslovnaya turkmen, sochinenie Abu-l-Gazi khana Khivinskogo, Moscow, 1958.

(G. L. Penrose)

Originally Published: December 15, 1986

Last Updated: August 10, 2011

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Vol. II, Fasc. 2-3, pp. 224-225