ABŪ SAʿĪD KHAN B. KUČKUNČI, cousin of Šaybānī Khan and great-grandson of Uluḡ Beg in the female line, khan of the Uzbeks of Transoxania (936-40/1530-33). He became the heir-apparent to his father only shortly before the death of the latter, after the death of two senior Shaibanid sultans, first Soyuṇč Ḵᵛāǰa b. Abi’l-Ḵayr and later Jānībeġ b. Ḵᵛāǰa Moḥammad. After the conquest of Transoxania by the Uzbeks he participated in various military campaigns: in the Dašt-e Qipčāq against the Qazaqs in 922-23/1516-17 (Wāṣefī, Badāʾeʿ al-waqāʾeʿ, ed. A. N. Boldyrev, Moscow, 1961, I, p. 422), against the Qizilbāš army under Naǰm-e Ṯānī near Gezdovān in 918/1512 (V. V. Bartol’d, Sochineniya VIII, Moscow, 1973, p. 141), in Khorasan in 930/1524 and 935/1528 (Ḥasan Rūmlū, I, pp. 186, 215; II, pp. 91, 103).
Abū Saʿīd ascended the throne in 936/1530. His father Kučkuṇči died, according to the Maǰmaʿ al-ḡarāʾeb of Solṭān Moḥammad Balḵī, on 25 Rabīʿ II/27 December 1529; and Abū Saʿīd was proclaimed, according to Tārīḵ-e Rāqemī, on 1 Jomādā I/1 January 1530 (see E. A. Davidovich in Epigrafika vostoka 7, 1953, p. 32, n. 1). According to Moḥammad Ḥaydar, during his reign and that of Kučkuṇči Khan it was his younger cousin ʿObaydallāh Khan who “in reality, conducted entirely the affairs of the state” (Tārīḵ-e Rašīdī, tr. E. D. Ross, London, 1895, p. 283). It seems, however, that Abū Saʿīd was not as obedient to his cousin as Moḥammad Ḥaydar claims: Already in 936/1530, when ʿObaydallāh, who was then in Herat, called other Uzbek rulers for help against the approaching Shah Ṭahmāsp I, Abū Saʿīd refused to come to fight the Qizilbāš (Ḥasan Rūmlū, I, p. 225; II, p. 107). After that the Uzbeks withdrew from Khorasan for two years, but in late 938/mid-1532 they invaded the province once more under ʿObaydallāh Khan, and silver coins with the name of Abū Saʿīd were struck in Mašhad, Sabzavār, and Torbat. Abū Saʿīd himself did not participate in this campaign, and, when ʿObaydallāh besieged Herat, Abū Saʿīd only sent his ataliq to persuade the inhabitants of the city to sign a peace treaty (Ḥasan Rūmlū, I, p. 243; II, p. 111; in Seddon’s translation the word ataliq has been erroneously translated as the title of Abū Saʿīd himself). Abū Saʿīd died in Ṣafar, 940/July-August, 1533; he was buried in the madrasa Čehel Doḵtarān in Samarqand, where his tomb, with an inscription, can still be seen (see V. Vyatkin in Spravochnaya knizhka Samarkandskoĭ oblasti VI, Samarkand, 1899, p. 231, n.; E. A. Davidovich in Epigrafika vostoka 7, 1953, p. 34, n. 2). Vambery surmised that he was “secretly got rid of” by ʿObaydallāh Khan, but does not give any evidence to support this allegation (History of Bokhara, London, 1873, p. 281).
Abū Saʿīd apparently was less cultured than Šaybānī Khan and ʿObaydallāh Khan (on these two rulers cf. A. A. Semenov in Sovetskoe vostokovedenie 3, 1956): Wāṣefī says that the khan did not know Persian at all (op. cit., I, pp. 90-91). A chronogram on his death was compiled calling him tyrant (agar porsand wafāt-e ḵān-e ẓālem, be-gū tārīḵ-e ū ẓolm az mīān raft; see Abu’l-Ḡāzī, II, p. 225, n. 1).
Besides the sources cited above see Maḥmūd b. Walī, Baḥr al-asrār, MS of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Tashkent, no. 1375, fol. 131b.
V. V. Vel’yaminov-Zernov in Trudy Vostochnogo otdeleniya Russkogo Arkheologicheskogo obshchestva 4, St. Petersburg, 1859, pp. 339, 342, 348, 349.
H. M. Lowick in Numismatic Chronicle, ser. 7, 6, 1966, pp. 277-79.
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 21, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, pp. 381-382
Y. Bregel, “ABŪ SAʿĪD KHAN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/4, pp. 381-382; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abu-said-khan-b (accessed on 31 January 2014).