ESMĀʿĪL III ṢAFAWĪ, ABŪ TORĀB, Safavid shadow-king, (1163-87/1750-73), the third Safavid dynast of that name, even though the chroniclers generally refer to him as Esmāʿīl the second (ṯānī). His father was Mīrzā Mortażā, a former court official, and his mother was a daughter of Shah Solṭān-Ḥosayn. When ʿAlī-Mardān Khan Baḵtīārī and Karīm Khan Zand occupied Isfahan in the summer of 1163/1750, they raised Abū Torāb to the throne as a sop to pro-Safavid sentiment and as a front to legitimize their rule. The new Shah Esmāʿīl was then about seventeen years old; he never enjoyed actual power, and the fiction of his sovereignty was barely maintained. After Karīm Khan’s accession as wakīl (regent, viceroy), Esmāʿīl was kept a virtual prisoner in the fortress of Ābāda with a pension of one tomān per day. He died there in 1187/1773.


Abu’l-Ḥasan Ḡaffārī Kāšānī, Golšan-e morād, ed. Ḡ-R. Ṭabāṭabāʾī Majd, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990, pp. 42, 58, 110.

Abu’l-Ḥasan Golestāna, Mojmal al-tawārīḵ, ed. M.-T. Modarres Rażawī, Tehran, 2536 (= 1356) Š./1977, pp. 172-73, 181-82, 192, 214-15.

East India Company, Persia and the Persian Gulf Records. Gombroon Diary VI, Sept. 10, 1750.

Ṣādeq Nāmī, Tārīḵ-e gītīgošāy, ed. S. Nafīsī, Tehran, 1317 Š., p. 16.

J. R. Perry, “The Last Safavids, 1722-1773,” Iran 9, 1971, pp. 66-69.

(John R. Perry)

Originally Published: December 15, 1998

Last Updated: January 19, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. VIII, Fasc. 6, p. 636

Cite this entry:

John R. Perry, “ESMĀʿĪL III ṢAFAWĪ,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, VIII/6, p. 636, available online at (accessed on 30 December 2012).