ČAḠANĪ, ṬĀHER b. Abi’l-ʿAbbās Fażl b. Abī Bakr Moḥammad b. Abī Saʿd Moẓaffar b. Moḥtāj (d. 381/991), prince and poet of the ancient Iranian Āl-e Moḥtāj, ruler of Čaḡānīān (Čaḡān Ḵodāt). In a poem by Badīʿ Balḵī, (or Badāyeʿī Balḵī, a poet in his service) his patronymic is given as Abū Yaḥyā, whereas Gardīzī, in Zayn at-aḵbār (ed. Ḥabībī, p. 168), has given Abu’l-Ḥasan. Some taḏkeras also call him Abu’l-Moẓaffar, which is, however, more likely to have been the patronymic of Faḵr-al-Dawla Čaḡānī, who disputed the throne with Ṭāher and was probably his cousin (see below). The Čaḡānīs ruled the region around the Čaḡānīān, the northernmost tributary of Amu Darya, and their capital, Čaḡānīān, is believed to have been on the site either of the present Dehnow (Deh-e Now) or of Sarāsīa, just north of Dehnow.
In 321/933 Ṭāher’s grandfather Abū Bakr Moḥammad b. Moẓaffar was made military governor of Khorasan by Naṣr b. Aḥmad Sāmānī (301-31/913-42). Ṭāher’s father and uncle also held important posts under the Samanids. In the reign of Nūḥ b. Manṣūr Sāmānī (366-87/976-97), during the rebellion of Abū ʿAlī Sīmjūrī (military governor of Khorasan) and the general Fāʾeq-e Ḵāṣṣa, Ṭāher himself was appointed governor of Čaḡānīān, replacing his cousin Abu’l-Moẓaffar. The latter then appealed to Fāʾeq’s forces for help. Ṭāher responded by marching on Balḵ, where he met with strong resistance. In the ensuing battle he was decapitated and his army dispersed (Zayn al-aḵbār, loc. cit.; Jorfādaqānī, pp. 93-94). This battle took place in 381/991, so that the claim in some sources that Ṭāher died in 377/987 is incorrect.
Beside being a man of learning and a poet, Ṭāher b. Fażl was a patron of poets and men of letter. Six of his own verses are quoted in Loḡat-e fors (ed. Eqbāl, pp. 106, 173, 213, 217, 288, 304, 443) to illustrate the use of words, and about thirty more have been preserved in taḏkeras, dictionaries, and books of adab (e.g., Rādūyānī, p. 21; ʿAwfī, Lobāb, ed. Nafīsī, pp. 27-39, 252, 260; Čahār maqāla, ed. Qazvīnī, pp. 185-86). These verses bear witness to his ability as a poet, his subtlety of thought, and the breadth of his knowledge. Badīʿ-e Balḵī praised him as a gallant, chivalrous, and generous man.
Abu’l-Šaraf Nāṣeḥ b. Ẓafar Jorfādaqānī, Tarjama-ye tārīḵ-e yamīnī, ed. J. Šeʿār, Tehran, 1357 Š./1978.
Ṣafā, Adabīyāt, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1335 Š./1956, I, pp. 428-29.
Originally Published: December 15, 1990
Last Updated: December 15, 1990
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Vol. IV, Fasc. 6, pp. 613-614