ABŪ ESḤĀQ ĪNJŪ, JAMĀL-AL-DĪN SHAH SHAIKH ABŪ ESḤĀQ B. MAḤMŪD SHAH ĪNJŪ (721-58/1321-59), ruler of Fārs, ʿErāq ʿAǰam (Isfahan), and parts of southern Iran, 743-55/1343-54. Abū Esḥāq was the youngest of four sons of Šaraf-al-dīn Maḥmūd Shah b. Moḥammad Īnǰū, governor of Fārs under the last Mongol Il-khan, Sultan Abū Saʿīd Bahādor. Following the Il-khan’s death in 736/1335, Abū Esḥāq’s father and three older brothers were killed during a complex, seven-year struggle for power in southern Iran—a struggle involving the four sons of Maḥmūd Shah, the Chupanids, the Jalayerid Shaikh Ḥasan-e Bozorg Īlḵānī, and the Mozaffarid Amīr Mobārez-al-dīn Moḥammad, ruler of Yazd. Abū Esḥāq himself first entered these struggles as a youth of sixteen. In 737/1336 he was sent by his brother Masʿūd Shah to attempt to take Yazd and Kermān without mounting a major military expedition. In neither place was he successful, and a brief skirmish with Mobārez-al-dīn Moḥammad near Yazd was settled by the intervention of one of local scholars. Abū Esḥāq began to take a more active political role after the capture of Shiraz by the Chupanid Pīr Ḥosayn in 741/1340. Pīr Ḥosayn rewarded Moḥammad Moẓaffar for his assistance in this campaign by adding Kermān to the Mozaffarid dominion. Pīr Ḥosayn then installed the young Abū Esḥāq as a ruler of Isfahan to act as a restraint against any westward expansion by the Mozaffarids. Although Abū Esḥāq ruled less than two years in Isfahan, he continued to favor that city long after he had established his capital in Shiraz.

Pīr Ḥosayn ruled less than two years in Shiraz. Both Masʿūd Shah and his brother Abū Esḥāq allied themselves with rival members of the Chupanid family to plot separately the recapture of Fārs and the avenging of the death of their brother, Amīr Moḥammad, who had earlier been murdered by Pīr Ḥosayn. Abū Esḥāq sought the help of Malek Ašraf b. Tīmūrtāš b. Čūpān, a cousin of Pīr Ḥosayn and brother of the ruling Ḥasan(-e) Kūček. In 743/1342 these allies joined forces at Isfahan and defeated Pīr Ḥosayn, who, uncertain of his support in Fārs or Yazd, returned to Tabrīz, where his cousin Ḥasan Kūček had him murdered. At the same time Masʿūd Shah Īnǰū, in alliance with another Chupanid commander named Yāḡī Bāstī (uncle of both Malek Ašraf and Ḥasan Kūček) had also moved toward Shiraz. The sources omit the details of these events, but it appears that Abū Esḥāq was somehow able to occupy Shiraz and shut his ally Malek Ašraf out of the city. Upon the arrival of Masʿūd Shah and Yāḡī Bāstī, the younger Īnǰū yielded his claim to rule and withdrew to the Šabānkāra (q.v.) district east of Shiraz.

Although Abū Esḥāq’s peaceful withdrawal was inconsistent with the anarchic and violent spirit of the time, he probably acted with good reason. He may have felt himself too weak to challenge his elder brother, who was still supported by Chupanid troops. Furthermore Masʿūd Shah was the more popular of the two brothers in Shiraz, where Masʿūd Shah had previously ruled—although never for very long. The people of Shiraz considered the elder brother, despite his mediocre military record, to be the legitimate successor to his father Maḥmūd Shah.

Giving up his Chupanid support was ultimately a most prudent move, although it temporarily left Abū Esḥāq military weakened. The alliance of his brother Masʿūd Shah with Yāḡī Bāstī had lasted only a few weeks when the latter murdered his nominal Īnǰū superior. Masʿūd Shah’s murder was the signal for the outbreak of a twenty-day brawl in the streets of Shiraz between supporters of Abū Esḥāq and the partisans of Yāḡī Bāstī. Finally Abū Esḥāq’s men, with the support of the ruler of Kāzerūn, drove the Chupanid out of the city. In 744/1343 Yāḡī Bāstī and his nephew Malek Ašraf joined forces and marched on the city. With the help of Moḥammad Moẓaffar they captured Abarqūh and slaughtered the inhabitants. But news of the death of Ḥasan Kūček forced the allies to abandon their expedition. The two Chupanids returned to Tabrīz and Moḥammad Moẓaffar withdrew to Yazd.

After the death of Ḥasan Kūček, Abū Esḥāq held almost unchallenged control of Fārs, Isfahan, and the Persian Gulf coast. But this control had come at a high cost in bloodshed. During the five years preceding his accession, control of Fārs had changed hands eight times, and Abū Esḥāq’s father and his three elder brothers had all fallen victim to the anarchy. On the Chupanid side, Pīr Ḥosayn and Yāḡī Bāstī were also murdered in intra-family struggles, and there were thousands of anonymous victims in such places as Abarqūh.

Abū Esḥāq’s rule should have provided a respite for the population of southern and central Iran. The Chupanids were occupied elsewhere, and there were obvious advantages in Abū Esḥāq’s making peace with his nearest rival, Moḥammad b. Moẓaffar. The latter would have accepted a reconciliation, since his resources, based on the wealth of Yazd and Kermān, were much less than those available to Abū Esḥāq from Fārs and Isfahan. Although Mobārez-al-dīn Moḥammad was himself a harsh and capable military leader, he was always prudent in selecting the targets of his military expeditions. Until the final campaign against Shiraz in 754/1353, it was Īnǰū who were constantly on the offensive.

It is difficult to understand Abū Esḥāq’s reasons for undertaking his disastrous campaigns against the Mozaffarids between 746/1345 and 753/1352. One motive was perhaps Abū Esḥāq’s desire to restore Īnǰū rule in Kermān, which had been ruled by his father Maḥmūd Shah when the Mozaffarids were still only road-guardians in Maybod, a village of Yazd. But whatever the motivation, the campaigns were both ruinous and unnecessary. Moḥammad b. Moẓaffar himself claimed that Abū Esḥāq violated treaties between them eight times and that the booty from the Īnǰū defeat near Kermān in 752/1351 helped finance the Mozaffarid counter-offensive against Shiraz (Kotbī, Tārīḵ-e Āl-e Moẓaffar, p. 37).

Following the repulse of the Īnǰū offensive Moḥammad b. Moẓaffar prepared to attack Shiraz, Abū Esḥāq’s capital. After an unsuccessful bid for peace, Abū Esḥāq led his forces out of Shiraz to Pol-e Fasā, about fifteen miles to the southeast, but at the approach of the enemy he withdrew into the city without fighting. Shiraz withstood a six-month siege, and fell only after the kolū (neighborhood leader) of the Mūrdestān quarter, fearing for his life, betrayed Abū Esḥāq by opening the western (Bayżāʾ) gate of the city to the Mozaffarids. Abū Esḥāq and a few followers fled Shiraz and took refuge in the strong fortress Qaḷʿa-ye Sefīd. Pursued by the Mozaffarids, Abū Esḥāq fled to Isfahan, where he was captured in 758/1357. He was brought as a prisoner to Amīr Mobārez-al-dīn at Shiraz, where he was executed by Amir Qoṭb-al-dīn (Jomādā I, 758/May, 1358), whose father had been killed by Abū Esḥāq.

While poets and historians praise Abū Esḥāq’s wisdom, courage, and generosity, the sources also reveal that he unwisely distrusted the people of Shiraz, who faithfully supported him and his family against rivals. Ebn Baṭṭūṭa relates that the people of Shiraz rebelled against their Mongol ruler to prevent the arrest of Tāšī Ḵātūn, Abū Esḥāq’s mother. But the same author notes that Abū Esḥāq feared and distrusted them, forbidding them to bear arms and excluding them from the circle of his closest advisors, most of whom were from Isfahan. Perhaps his earlier period of rule at Isfahan led Abū Esḥāq to favor that city and its inhabitants. His distrust of the people of Shiraz could have originated from their support of his elder brother Jalāl-al-dīn Masʿūd Shah, or from Abū Esḥāq’s desire to remain independent of the nobles and neighborhood leaders of Shiraz. Abū Esḥāq’s generosity to poets and scholars can not cover his mediocre performance as a military leader. His four expeditions against the Mozaffarids were costly failures; he withdrew into drunkenness and depression during the Mozaffarid siege of Shiraz; and he alienated the leaders of that city who had originally helped him overcome the Chupanids; the poet Ḥāfeẓ apparently makes a chiding reference to his inactivity (ed. M. Qazvīnī and Q. Ḡanī, Tehran, 1330 Š./1951, p. qḷʿ, lines 8-9).

Yet during Abū Esḥāq’s reign Fārs, and particularly Shiraz, experienced great prosperity. Under the patronage of the ruler and his ministers literature, painting, calligraphy, and scholarship flourished. The poets Ḥāfeẓ, Ḵᵛāǰū Kermānī, and ʿObayd Zākānī were merely among the brightest of the talents benefiting from Īnǰū patronage. Many buildings were erected; in Shiraz Abū Esḥāq endowed what is today the finest surviving Islamic monuments in that city, i.e., the ḵodā-ḵāna of Dār al-maṣāḥef of the mosque Jāmeʿ-e ʿAtīq. This square building in the center of the mosque courtyard contained a priceless collection of Korans (now lost), allegedly including specimens in the handwriting of the caliphs ʿAlī and ʿOṯmān, the latter volume with bloodstains on its pages from the caliph’s assassination. This building, restored in 1941, has an outstanding ṯolṯ inscription around the top which dates the structure to 752/1351. He is also credited with the rebuilding of the shrine of Sayyed Aḥmad b. Mūsā (Šāh-e Čerāḡ, q.v.), the founding of Madrasa-ye Tāšī next to the shrine, and the restoration of the tomb of Shaikh Abū ʿAbdallāh b. Ḵafīf (see Ebn Ḵafīf). He is also said to have desired to erect a building in Shiraz in imitation of the famous Ṭāq-e Kesrā at Ctesiphon, but it was never completed and no trace remains today. A structure by him in Isfahan was called Esḥāqīya.


The sources dealing with the period of Abū Esḥāq and with the Īnǰū in general are sparse. Among the basic primary and secondary works are the following: Ḥāfeẓ Abrū, Ḏayl-e Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ-e Rašīdī, ed. Ḵ. Bayānī, Tehran, 1317 Š./1938, pp. 171ff.

Ebn Baṭṭūṭa (Paris), II, pp. 63-73, 77, 125; III, p. 47.

Moʿīn-al-dīn Abu’l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad Abu’l-Ḵayr Zarkūb, Šīrāz-nāma, ed. E. Wāʿeẓ Jawādī, Tehran, 1350 Š./1971, pp. 108-24.

Moʿīn-al-dīn Abu’l-Qāsem Jonayd Šīrāzī, Šadd al-ezār fī ḥaṭ‚ṭ al-awzār ʿan zowwār al-mazār, ed. M. Qazvīnī and ʿA. Eqbāl, Tehran, 1328 Š./1949, pp. 290-92.

Aḥmad b. Jalāl-al-dīn Moḥammad Faṣīḥ Ḵᵛāfī, Moǰmal-e faṣīḥī, ed. M. Farroḵ, III, Mašhad, 1339 Š./1960, pp. 47, 57, 64, 65, 67, 70, 77, 81-83, 85-88.

Maḥmūd Kotbī, Tārīḵ-e Āl-e Moẓaffar, ed. ʿA. Navāʾī, Tehran, 1335 Š./1956, pp. 14-16, 21-23, 24-26, 28-30, 33-34, 36-55.

Moʿīn-al-dīn Naṭanzī, Montaḵab al-tawārīḵ, ed. J. Aubin, Tehran, 1336 Š./1957, pp. 7, 149, 160, 170, 180, 181, 185.

ʿA. Eqbāl, Tārīḵ-e moḡol, Tehran, 1347 Š./1969, pp. 344-45, 350, 411-12, 416-22.

ʿA. Zarrīnkūb, Az Kūča-ye rendān, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970, pp. 15-17, 25, 32, 35, 39-40, 57, 61, 64-66.

Ḥ. Sotūda, Tārīḵ-e Āl-e Moẓaffar, Tehran, 1346-47 Š./1967-68.

Q. Ḡanī, Baḥṯ dar āṯār va afkār va aḥvāl-e Ḥāfeẓ I, Tehran, 1321 Š./1942, passim.

(J. W. Limbert)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 19, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, pp. 273-274

Cite this entry:

J. W. Limbert, “ABŪ ESḤĀQ ĪNJŪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/3, pp. 273-274; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abu-eshaq-inju-jamal-al-din-shah-shaikh-abu-eshaq-b (accessed on 30 January 2014).