FATḤ-ALLĀH ŠĪRĀZĪ, SAYYED MĪR, a famous Sufi, an official in Mughal India, and one of the most learned men of his time. Fatḥ-Allāh was a disciple of the Sufi shaikh Mīr Šāh Mīr Takīya Šīrāzī and studied with such scholars as Ḵᵛāja Jamāl-al-Dīn Maḥmūd, Kamāl-al-Dīn Šervānī, and G¨īāṯ-al-Dīn Manṣūr Daštakī Šīrāzī (Āʾīn-e akbarī, tr. Blochmann, p. 34; Raḥmān ʿAlī, p. 160). He is said to have mastered philosophy, astronomy, astrology, geometry, geomancy, arithmetic, mechanics, Arabic, rhetorics, Koranic exegesis, Hadith, incantations, and the preparation of talismans (Badāʾūnī, Montaḵab, tr. Ranking et al., III, p. 216; Āʾīn-e akbarī, tr. Blochmann, p. 34). Fatḥ-Allāh was first invited to India by Mīrzā Jānī, the ruler of Thatta, who sent him a present of fifty tomans. Fatḥ-Allāḥ also spent some time in the serviceof ʿAlī I ʿĀdelšāh of Bījāpūr (see ʿĀDELŠĀHĪS) as his wakīl. Following the death of ʿAlī I, the Mughal emperor Akbar summoned Fatḥ-Allāh to his court in Rabīʿ II 990/April 1582, dispatching the Ḵān(-e) Ḵānān and Ḥakīm-e Abu’l-Fatḥ Gīlānī to meet and escort him (Badāʾūnī, Montaḵab, tr. Ranking et al., II, p. 325; Āʾīn-e akbarī, tr. Blochmann, p. 208; Neẓām-al-Dīn Aḥmad, II, p. 368).
Although Akbar was taken aback by Fatḥ-Allāh’s open devotion to Shiʿism, he valued his scholarly abilities and practical knowledge (Badāʾūnī, Montaḵab, tr. Ranking et al., II, p. 326), and Fatḥ-Allāh prospered at the Mughal court. He was a boon companion of the emperor (Bhakkarī, I, p. 142) who regarded him as a gift from God (Fayżī, p. 85). He also used to accompany Akbar on his hunting expeditions, demonstrating the courage of a Rostam (Badāʾūnī, Montaḵab, tr. Ranking et al., II, p. 326). His thorough knowledge of the sciences allowed him to draw up an astronomical table as soon as Akbar asked for one (Badāʾūnī, Montaḵab, tr. Ranking et al., III, p. 216). He tutored the children of the nobility, among them the children of the historian Abu’l Fażl ʿAllāmī (q.v.), served as ṣadr from 993/1585 to 997/1588-89, and assisted in the vizierate and financial reforms of Rājā Todar Mal (Badāʾūnī, Montaḵab, tr. Ranking et al., II, p. 325; Āʾīn-e akbar, tr. Blochmann, p. 284). As reward for his services, Akbar bestowed upon Fatḥ-Allāh the titles Amīr-al-Molk and ʿAżod-al-Dawla, arranged a marriage for him to a daughter of Moẓaffar Khan, and gave him the whole of Basāwar as a jagir (Badāʾūnī, Montaḵab, tr. Ranking et al., II, pp. 325, 354, 379). Fatḥ-Allāh died from a fever in Kashmir on Tuesday, 3 Šawwal 997/15 August 1589, and was buried at Taḵt-e Solaymān in the hills above Srinagar (Badāʾūnī, Montaḵab, tr. Ranking et al., III, p. 216; Bhakkarī, I, p. 142). Akbar wept bitterly upon his demise (Fayzī, p. 274; Bhakkarī, I, p. 143). Fatḥ-Allāh authored a number of books, but few have been preserved. He was assigned to write a portion of the Tārīḵ-e alfī and supervised the translation of several works from Sanskrit to Persian (Āʾīn-e akbarī, tr. Blochmann, p. 110). His treatise on the wonders of Kashmir was included in the Akbar-nāma of Abu’l-Fażl (Badāʾūnī, Montaḵab, tr. Ranking et al., II, p. 398). He was responsible for the calculations of the Elāhī era, and part of the Zīj-e jadīd-e mīrzāʾī was translated under his supervision (Āʾīn-e akbarī, tr. Blochmann, p. 110). He is also credited with the invention of a gun which could be fired twelve times with only one filling, an automatic mill to grind wheat, and a mirror which reflected strange figures (Maʾāṯer al-omarāʾ [Calcutta], p. 100; Aḥmad Heravī, II, p. 368).
Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):
Neẓām-al-Dīn Aḥmad Heravī, Ṭabaqāt-e akbarī, ed. Anjoman-e Asīāʾī-e Bengāl as Ṭabaqāt-e akbaršāhī, 3 vols., Calcutta, 1927- 35.
Akbar-nāma I,p. 31. Moḥammad Baḵtāvar Khan, Merʾāt al-ʿālam, ed. S. ʿAlawī, Lahore, 1979.
Farīd b. Maʿrūf Bhakkarī, Ḏaḵīrat al-ḵawānīn, tr. Z. A. Desai as The Dhakhiratul-khawanin: A Bio graphical Dictionary of Mughal Noblemen, Delhi, 1993.
Abu’l-Fayż Fayżī, Enšāʾ-e Fayżī, ed. A. D. Aršad, Lahore, 1972.
Golčīn-e Maʿānī, Kārvān-e Hend II, p. 985. Maʾāṯer al-omarāʾ (Calcutta), pp. 100-105.
Raḥmān ʿAlī b. Ḥakīm Šīr-ʿAlī, Toḥfat al-fożalāʾ fī tarājem al-komalāʾ (Taḏkera-ye ʿolamāʾ-e Hend), Lucknow, 1333/1914, p. 160.
Rieu, Persian Manuscripts III, p. 1053b. Storey, I/1, p. 118 n. 2, p. 1240.
(Sharif Husain Qasemi)
Originally Published: December 15, 1999
Last Updated: January 24, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. IX, Fasc. 4, p. 421