ʿABDALLĀH, author of Tārīḵ-e Dāʾūdī, fl. early 17th century. Little is known of him personally. His history covers the Afghan rulers of the Delhi sultanate from the childhood of Sultan Bahlūl Lōdī (1451-89) to the fall of Sultan Moḥammad ʿĀdel Šāh Sūr (killed in 1555-56); the work is named after Dāʾūd Šāh Karranī (killed in 1576), the last Afghan ruler of eastern Hindustan. An approximate date of composition is furnished by the mention of Jahāngīr as the reigning monarch (ʿAbd-al-Rašīd, ed., pp. 24, 54). ʿAbdallāh says that he was motivated to compile the book by observing, in his study of past kings, that the records of the Afghan kings were found only in scattered form. But a comparison of his history and contemporary chronicles of the Afghans (e.g., Neʿmatallāh’s Tārīḵ-e Ḵān Jahānī, Aḥmad Yādgār’s Tārīḵ-e šāhī, and Shaikh Kabīr Batīnī’s Afsāna-ye šāhān) suggests that ʿAbdallāh wrote primarily in hope of monetary gain: Books on Afghan history were in demand after Jahāngīr made a favorable change in his policy toward the Afghan nobility.
ʿAbdallāh’s chief sources were Shaikh Rezqallāh Moštāqī’s Vāqeʿāt-e Moštāqī, ʿAbbās Sarvānī’s Toḥfa-ye Akbar Šāhī (also called Tārīḵ-e Šēr Šāhī), and Neẓām-al-dīn Baḵšī’s Ṭabaqāt-e Akbarī. Only the latter two are actually mentioned by ʿAbdallāh, though fully one-third of his work is copied from Moštāqī. In some passages the language has been rendered a bit more elegant. As is the case in Vāqeʿāt, the account of each reign in Tārīḵ-e Dāʾūdī is interspersed with anecdotes, stories, and legends, making it a curious mixture of fact and fiction. ʿAbdallāh was not careful in selecting materials from his sources, nor did he apply any principles of historical or literary criticism to ascertain the truth; he copied freely. Yet Tārīḵ-e Dāʾūdī acquired the status of a principal source for the history of the Lōdī and Sūrī dynasties, primarily because the Vāqeʿāt, though the oldest work on the Afghan period, is more rambling and disjointed and thus less useful than the derivative Tārīḵ.
ʿAbdallāh had access to some works which are no longer extant, and at various points he does supply additional information of value, e.g., on the development of Agra into a metropolitan center and on the far-reaching net of Sekandar Lōdī’s patronage (pp. 36, 39-40). He also helps to fix the precise location of certain medieval places and the technical sense of problematic terms. His anecdotes, too, may furnish historically useful data; e.g., he indicates that Šēr Šāh Sūr made land grants for the support of brahmins as well as for Muslim scholars (pp. 138-39).
Storey, I, p. 515.
Elliot, History of India IV, pp. 434-513.
Tārīḵ-e Dāʾūdī, ed. Shaikh ʿAbd-al-Rašīd, intro. and analytical summary by I. H. Siddiqi, Aligarh, 1969.
I. H. Siddiqi, “Shaikh Muhammad Kabir and his History of the Afghan Kings,” Indo-Iranica 19/4, 1966, pp. 57-78.
(I. H. Siddiqi)
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 15, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, pp. 176-177
I. H. Siddiqi, “Abdallah (2),” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, pp. 176-177; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/art (17 January 2014).