ʿABD-AL-RAZZĀQ BEG B. NAJAF-QOLĪ KHAN DONBOLĪ (1176-1243/1762-63 to 1827-28), literary biographer, poet, and historian of the early Qajar period. ʿAbd-al-Razzāq came of a family of turkicized Kurds, the Donbolī, who had long been dominant in the region of Ḵoy and Salmās in western Azerbaijan. His father Naǰaf-qolī served in Nāder Shah’s army and was appointed governor general (beglerbegī) of Tabrīz on his return to Azerbaijan in 1155/1742. During his campaign of 1176/1763 Karīm Khan Zand reappointed Naǰaf-qolī to Tabrīz, and two years later returned to Šīrāz with Naǰaf-qolī’s nephew Šahbāz Khan and other hostages. ʿAbd-al-Razzāq was sent to join them in Šīrāz at the age of ten (Taǰreba I, intro. and pp. 87, 119; II, p. 41).

At Šīrāz ʿAbd-al-Razzāq was by his own account well treated, and like Karīm Khan’s other hostages was a respected member of the court with an adequate pension and comparative freedom of movement within and outside the capital. Here he remained for fourteen years. His chief biographical work, the Taǰrebat al-aḥrār wa taslīat al-abrār (see below) describes his adaptation to exile and his enjoyment of the wine, women, and poetry of the Zand capital in its heyday (I, pp. 119f.; II, pp. 43-58). In 1196/1781 ʿAlī Morād Khan Zand captured Šīrāz and took the hostages to his capital of Isfahan, and after 1199/1785, when the Qajars took Isfahan, ʿAbd-al-Razzāq was able to return to Tabrīz. During the reign of Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah he entered the service of ʿAbbās Mīrzā, the heir apparent and governor general of Azerbaijan. Apart from making the pilgrimage to Mecca in 1241/1826, ʿAbd-al-Razzāq remained in Tabrīz as a civil servant and scholar until his death at the age of sixty-five.

He is the author of some sixteen works, including a dīvān of verse in both Persian and Arabic and several maṯnavīs, under the pen name of Maftūn (“Infatuated”). His prose compositions include a history of the early part of Fatḥ-ʿAlī’s reign, the Maʾāṯer-e solṭānīya (ed. Ḡolām Ḥosayn Ṣadrī-Afšār, Tehran, 1351 Š./1972; tr. Sir Harford Jones Brydges, The Dynasty of the Kajars, London, 1833). The rest of his output belongs in general to the taḏkera genre, being literary biographies of prominent poets and ʿolamāʾ illustrated with quotations from their own and the author’s verses. The most important of these is the Taǰrebat al-aḥrār wa taslīat al-abrār (ed. Ḥasan Qāżī Ṭabāṭabāʾī, 2 vols., Tabrīz, 1349-50 Š./1970-71). Also published is part of his Negārestān-e Dārā (ed. ʿAbd-al-Rasūl Ḵayyāmpūr, Tabrīz , 1342 Š./1963). ʿAbd-al-Razzāq’s style is quite lively and erudite, despite his deliberate emulation of the florid rhymed prose, replete with Arabic and Arabicisms, that was first popularized by Vaṣṣāf and revived in the 12th/18th century by Mīrzā Mahdī Astarābādī (see M. T. Bahār, Sabkšenāsī III, Tehran, 1338 Š./1959, pp. 319f.). 


Besides the works of Donbolī and others referred to above, see Bāmdād, Reǰāl II, p. 264 for a list of his works, and Storey, I (index) for manuscripts of his historical and biographical works.

(J. R. Perry)

Originally Published: December 15, 1982

Last Updated: July 14, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, p. 154

Cite this entry:

J. R. Perry, “'Abd-Al-Razzaq Beg,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, p. 154; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-razzaq-beg-1762-63-to-1827-28-biographer-poet-and-historian (accessed on 16 January 2014).