ʿABD-AL-LAṬĪF MĪRZĀ, SULTAN, Timurid ruler in Samarqand from Ramażān, 853/October, 1449 to 26 Rabīʿ I 854/8 May 1450. He was the son of Uluḡ Beg (q.v.) and Roqyā Ḵātūn Arolat (Moʿezz al-ansāb, fol. 140b.) but was raised at his grandfather Šāhroḵ’s court in Herat according to Timurid custom. Rivalries with his cousin ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla forced him to return to his father’s court in Samarqand in 1442-42, but he was brought back to Herat by his grandmother Gōhar Šād Āḡā. He accompanied Šāhroḵ on his last campaign in western Iran, and after the latter’s death in Ray (850/1447) he was asked by Gōhar Šād to lead the army (īl o olūs) back to Khorasan. This appointment apparently was intended only to guarantee a safe return to Herat and did not imply the right or claim to central rule. ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf quickly sent word to his father Uluḡ Beg as the legitimate successor to Šāhroḵ, while Gōhar Šād dispatched a messenger to her choice, ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla in Herat. Another cousin, Abu’l-Qāsem Bābor (825-58/1422-54), left the army and advanced to Khorasan; his claim was supported by the powerful amir Hendūka (Maṭlaʿ-e saʿdayn II, pp. 883f.; Ḥabīb al-sīār [Tehran] III, pp. 636-39).

ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf took Gōhar Šād and her relatives into custody on the march to join his father. Uluḡ Beg had left Samarqand in order to suppress several uprisings and was not in time to meet ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf and the rest of the army in northern Khorasan. ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla, hearing of Gōhar Šād’s detention, sent a force against ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf which defeated him near Nīšāpūr (13 Ṣafar 851/20 April 1447). The old empress was freed, and ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf was imprisoned. But ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla sought an arrangement with the approaching Uluḡ Beg and set ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf free. Uluḡ Beg installed his son as governor of Balḵ and himself retreated towards Samarqand. Meanwhile Abu’l-Qāsem Bābor and ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla made peace, freeing ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla to defend his claim to paramount rule. He attacked ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf twice during the winter of 851-52/1447-48; Uluḡ Beg supported ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf, defeated ʿAlāʾ-al-dawla at Tarnāb, and occupied Herat and northern Khorasan. He sent ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf to Besṭām, apparently against Abu’l-Qāsem Bābor, but his son was not able to stand against Bābor and fled back to Nīšāpūr; he was then ordered to Mašhad due to an accusation of mutiny which proved unfounded. Uluḡ Beg returned to Herat to subdue the revolt of the Turkoman Mīrzā Yār ʿAlī in Ramażān, 852/November, 1448, and then proceeded to Transoxania. ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf could neither hold Mašhad nor suppress Yār ʿAlī, and he left Herat only a fortnight after his father. The Timurid dominion south of the Oxus remained independent from Samarqand until Abū Saʿīd’s reconquest of Herat (863/1458).

ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf was ordered to stay in his fief, Balḵ. The sources enumerate instances of his father’s neglect and humiliating treatment to explain ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf’s rebellion early in 853/spring, 1449. There seems to have been disagreement regarding the collection of custom duties (tamḡā) and regarding the ruler’s interference in the finances of the princes. Uluḡ Beg’s difficulties in his struggle for general recognition must have formed an added inducement. The Iranian sources, focusing on Herat, charge ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf with previous ethical lapses, when he was responsible for the retreat of Šāhroḵ’s army, and they accuse him of failure to wage the necessary struggle against centrifugal forces (Ḥabīb al-sīār III, p. 637, IV, pp. 27, 32, 42; Rawżat al-ṣafā VI, p. 734). When Uluḡ Beg was concentrating his forces for subduing Khorasan, ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf abolished the custom taxes on the trade route to India, causing a serious loss of revenues, and gathered an army against Uluḡ Beg. The two armies met on the Oxus. There were many deserters on Uluḡ Beg’s side, and the news of unrest in Samarqand forced him to withdraw. After a final battle near Samarqand, Uluḡ Beg was refused shelter in the citadel of Samarqand or in Šāhroḵīya and had to submit to ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf, who had entered Samarqand (Ḥabīb al-sīār IV, pp. 30-34). ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf had his father sentenced to death (8 Ramażān 853/25 October 1449) and killed his own brother, ʿAbd-al-ʿAzīz (actions condemned by most sources, except Ḥasan Rūmlū, pp. 294f.).

There seem to be no reports preserved on his six month’s rule in Samarqand, except for the remark that his rule was immediately contested by Abū Saʿīd, till the conspiracy of notables and clan chiefs that led to his murder in the city on 26 Rabīʿ I 854/8 May 1450 (Ḥabīb al-sīār IV, pp. 42-43; Rawżat al-ṣafā VI, p. 726). Two sons of his, Aḥmad and Moḥammad Jūkī, escaped in the disorders and were not persecuted by his successors, ʿAbdallāh b. Ebrāhīm and Abū Saʿīd, until they opposed the latter near Balḵ in 861/1457, when Aḥmad was killed (Maṭlaʿ-e saʿdayn II, p. 1146). Moḥammad Jūkī revolted again in Šāhroḵīya, where he was captured after a one year siege in 866-67/1462-63 or 867-68/1462-63 and kept as a prisoner in the fortress of Eḵtīār-al-dīn, where he later died (Maṭlaʿ-e saʿdayn II, p. 1263-78; Ḥabīb al-sīār IV, p. 82; Rawżat al-ṣafā VI, pp. 816, 836).

ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf is reported to have been educated in sciences and general learning in the same manner as his father Uluḡ Beg. But, since he was raised at the court of Herat, he may have retained fewer Mongol traditions that his father. A suggested depiction of this ruler is the figure of Ḵosrow in ʿAlī Šīr Navāʾī’s poem “Farhād o Šīrīn” (E. E. Bertel’s, Navoi i Dzhami, pp. 154f.). There is a preserved letter by ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf dated Jomādā I, 849/August, 1445, addressed to the Ottoman Sultan Meḥmed II (Ferīdūn, Monšaʾāt, Istanbul, 1274/1857-58, pp. 228f.; ʿA. Navāʾī, Asnād o mokātabāt-e tārīḵī, Tehran, 1341 Š./1962, pp. 273-75).


Moʿezz al-ansāb, ms. Paris, Persian 67, fols. 140b f.

ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Samarqandī, Maṭlaʿ-e saʿdayn va maǰmaʿ-e baḥrayn II, ed. M. Shafi, Lahore, 1360-68/1941-49, especially pp. 883-1009.

Moʿīn-al-dīn Asfezārī, Rawżat al-ǰannāt, Tehran, 1338 Š./1959, II, pp. 123-57, tr. Barbier de Meynard in JA 1862, pt. 2, pp. 283-89, 294.

Mīrḵᵛānd, Rawżat al-ṣafā, Tehran, 1339 Š./1960, VI, pp. 734-73.

Ḥasan Rūmlū (Tehran), index. Dawlatšāh, ed. Browne, p. 364.

Abū Bakr Ṭehrānī, Ketāb-e Dīārbakrīya, ed. N. Lugal and F. Sümmer, Ankara, 1962-64, index.

Ḡaffārī, Tārīḵ-e Jahānārā, Tehran, 1343 Š./1964, p. 233.

V. V. Barthold, “Ulugh Beg,” Four Studies II, Leiden, 1958, pp. 141-63.

R. Grousset, L’Empire des steppes, Paris, 1939, p. 541.

İA, s.v. “Timurlular.” Istoriya Uzbekskoĭ SSR, Tashkent, 1967, I, pp. 475-78.

E. E. Bertel’s, Navoi i Dzhami, Moscow, 1965, pp. 24f., 154.

E. Yāršāṭer, Šeʿr-e fārsī dar ʿahd-e Šāhroḵ, Tehran, 1334 Š./1955, pp. 70f.

(C. P. Haase)

Originally Published: December 15, 1982

Last Updated: July 14, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, pp. 126-127

Cite this entry:

C. P. Haase, “Abd-Al-Latif Mirza,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, pp. 126-127; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-latif-mirza-sultan-timurid-ruler-in-samarqand-1449-50 (accessed on 16 Hanuary 2014).