EBRĀHĪM SHAH AFŠĀR, nephew of Nāder Shah, claiming the Afsharid throne briefly (1161-62/1748-49). Ebrāhīm was born the second of four sons of Moḥammad-Ebrāhīm Beg, Nāder’s younger brother, and was first named Moḥammad-ʿAlī. After his father’s death on a campaign in 1152/1739, he took the name Ebrāhīm Beg. During the 1740s he was military commander (sardār) of Azerbaijan and campaigned successfully against the Safavid pretender Sām Mīrzā at Ardabīl. On Nāder Shah’s assassination in 1160/1747 Ebrāhīm’s elder brother ʿAlīqolī Khan was raised to the throne as ʿĀdel Shah by his Sīstānī supporters and, electing to stay in Mašhad, sent Ebrāhīm (then aged about twenty-two) to govern Isfahan and adjacent regions. Here he requisitioned supplies and recruited troops from as far away as Fārs. Suspecting that he aimed at the throne, ʿĀdel Shah sent his Georgian brother-in-law, Sohrāb Khan, to gather information. Ebrāhīm had him murdered in Ṣafar 1161/February 1748 and, after a raid on the fortress of Kermānšāh which secured him more troops and artillery, marched north to join the forces of his cousin Amir Aṣlān Khan, military commander of Azerbaijan, who was already in revolt. ʿĀdel Shah marched to the Ḵamsa district and intercepted his brother’s army in Jomādā II 1161/June 1748; many of his troops deserted to Ebrāhīm, who won a complete victory. Having captured and blinded ʿĀdel, Ebrāhīm next turned on Amir Aṣlān, who had apparently withheld his promised support; near Marāḡa, Amir Aṣlān was defeated and subsequently put to death. Ebrāhīm then occupied Tabrīz and on 17 Ḏu’l-ḥejja 1161/8 December 1748 was crowned shah.
Two months previously, however, a junta of amirs had raised Nāder’s grandson Šāhroḵ to the throne at Mašhad. Ebrāhīm advanced with a large army in Jomādā II 1162/June-July 1749, but at the village of Sorḵa near Semnān his artillery and other units under Persian officers turned against his Afghan and Uzbek troops, and the army disintegrated. Ebrāhīm fled back to Qom, but he was denied entry by Mīr Sayyed Moḥammad, superintendent of the shrine at Mašhad, whom ʿĀdel Shah had taken on campaign. Deserted even by his Afghan followers, Ebrāhīm was handed over by the commandant of a fortress in which he sought refuge. He was sent in chains to Mašhad together with his former prisoner ʿĀdel Shah, but died or was killed on the way.
Père Louis Bazin, Nāmahā-ye ṭabīb-e Nāder Šāh, tr. ʿA.-A. Ḥarīrī, Tehran 1340 Š./1961, pp. 57-62.
Abu’l-Ḥasan Golestāna, Mojmal al-tawārīkò, ed. M.-T. Modarres Rażawī, Tehran, 1344 Š./1965, pp. 24-38.
Jonas Hanway, An Historical Account of the British Trade over the Caspian Sea..., Dublin, 1754, II, pp. 592-96.
Mīrzā Mahdī Estarābādī, Jahāngošā-ye nāderī, ed. S. ʿA. Anwār, Tehran 1341 Š./1962, pp. 429-32.
Idem, Dorra-ye nādera, ed. S. J. Šahīdī, Tehran 1341 Š./1962, pp. 711-18.
J. Perry, Karim Khan Zand, Chicago, 1979.
(John R. Perry)
Originally Published: December 15, 1997
Last Updated: December 6, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. VIII, Fasc. 1, pp. 75-76