ḠĪĀṮ-AL-DĪN MOḤAMMAD (d. 736/1336), Il-khanid vizier, the son of Rašīd-al-Dīn Fażl-Allāh Hamadānī (executed 718/1318), the celebrated historian and vizier of Ḡāzān Khan. On the fall of Demašq Ḵᵛāja b. Čobān (q.v.) in 727/1327, Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn was appointed vizier by Abū Saʿīd (q.v.) in succession to Nāṣer-al-Dīn ʿĀdel, who was unjustly regarded as Demašq Ḵᵛāja’s ally. Despite glowing testimony in the sources to his noble character and great abilities (e.g., Mostawfī, Tārīḵ-e gozīda, p. 621), there is little concrete evidence of his actions as vizier. Ṣafadī, who compares him to the Seljuqid vizier Neẓām-al-Molk, says that he was a better man than his father and credits him with destroying churches in Baghdad, with restoring the administration of inheritances according to the Hanafite school (allowing maternal relatives to inherit), and with preserving the peace with Egypt (p. 329). He is said to have taken measures to restore the agrarian economy and extend cultivation (Ḥāfeẓ-e Abrū, p. 172) and to have sought to prevent fraud by the Mongol commanders in Khorasan (Nozhat al-qolūb, ed. Le Strange, p. 147), a policy which may explain the hostility of many of the military class. His persistent clemency, on which Mostawfī (Tārīk-e gozīda, p. 621) comments, saying that Ḡīāt-al-Dīn forgave those who had wronged his family and even appointed them to high office, was clearly his undoing.
That Ḡīāt-al-Dīn’s policies did arouse the resentment of the Mongol amirs is clear from the number of revolts in the latter part of Abū Saʿīd’s reign which were aimed primarily against him. First the Oirat ʿAlī Pādšāh marched on Solṭānīya, but Ḡīāt-al-Dīn sent out troops to meet him and the revolt collapsed (Ramażān 728/July 1328). Almost immediately the vizier had to face another challenge from Nārīn Taḡay (Ṭāḡāy), who attempted to assassinate him in the Rašīdīya; he was executed in Šaʿbān 729/June 1329. ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Moḥammad b. ʿEmād-al-Dīn, briefly co-vizier with Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn, was implicated, but on Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn’s intercession he was made mostawfī and subsequently sent to be vizier in Khorasan (Mostawfī, Tārīk-e gozīda, p. 621; Hāfeẓ-e Abrū, fol. 419b); from then on Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn was entrusted with complete control of the kingdom (Aharī, p. 156, tr. p. 57; Šabānkāraʾī, pp. 279-80). A final insurrection, led by Maḥmūdšāh Īnjū in 734/1334, was also foiled, and the main conspirators merely exiled or imprisoned, thanks to the vizier (Aharī, p. 157, tr. p. 58; Ḥāfeẓ-e Abrū, pp. 187-88).
On Abū Saʿīd’s death in 736/1335, Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn acted quickly, in concert with Maḥmūdšāh Īnjū, to install Arpā Khan (q.v.) as il-khan, giving out that the prince had been designated by Abū Saʿīd (Šabānkāraʾī, pp. 293-94). However, in the rapidly developing struggle for power, Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn underestimated his opponents, and many senior amirs deserted to the side of the rebel ʿAlī Pādšāh. In the engagement on the Jaḡatu river (the present-day Zarrīnarūd) in which Arpā was defeated by ʿAlī Pādšāh, the vizier fell into the hands of the il-khan’s enemies and was executed on 21 Ramażān 736/3 May 1336, against ʿAlī Pādšah’s wishes, according to Mostawfī (Ḏayl, p. 96; a day or two later is implied by Šabānkāraʾī, p. 302). The vizier’s property in the Robʿ-e Rašīdī in Tabrīz was given over to plunder by the amirs.
Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn was renowned as a man of culture and a patron of the arts. The historians Mostawfī and Šabānkāraʾī dedicated their works to him, as did numerous poets, notably Awḥadī Marāḡaʾī (q.v.), Ḵᵛājū Kermānī, and Salmān Sāvajī, and scholars such as Qāżī ʿAżod-al-Dīn Ījī (q.v.). He is also thought to have commissioned and supervised the production of the great Mongol (“Demotte”) Šāh-nāma (Grabar and Blair, pp. 48-55). He constructed a building in Tabrīz, called the Ḡīāṯīya. He frequented the company of ʿolamāʾ and Sufi shaikhs, such as Ṣadr-al-Dīn Hammūya, ʿAlāʾ-al-Dawla Semnānī (q.v.), and Ṣafī-al-Dīn Ardabīlī (Ebn al-Karbalāʾī, I, p. 515). The latter was particularly favored by Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn, and was often invited to the ḵānaqāh in the Rašīdīya quarter that belonged to his wife, a descendant of Šehāb-al-Dīn Sohravardī (Ebn Bazzāz, pp. 119, 187, 211, 242-43, 291, 296, 298-99, 302-3). After his death, Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn’s family continued to serve as viziers under various rulers of late Mongol Persia.
Abū Bakr Qoṭbī Aharī, Tārīḵ-e Šayḵ Ovays, ed. and tr. J.B. van Loon, The Hague, 1954.
J. A. Boyle, “Dynastic and Political History of the Īl-khāns” in Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 412, 414.
Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, pp. 226, 261-62.
Ebn Bazzāz, Ṣafwat al-ṣafāʾ, lithograph ed., Bombay, 1329/1911.
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O. Grabar and S. Blair, Epic Images and Contemporary History: The Illustrations of the Great Mongol Shahnama, Chicago and London, 1980.
Ḥāfeẓ-e Abrū, Ḏayl-e Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ-e rašīdī, 2nd ed., K. Bayānī, Tehran, 1350 Š./1971, pp. 171-72, 185-86, 189-96, and MS London, British Library, Or. 2885.
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Idem, Ḏayl-e Tārīḵ-e gozīda, Rus. tr. by M.D. Kyazimova and V.Z. Pirieva as Sechilmish tarikha alava, Baku, 1986.
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E. Quatremère, Raschid-eldin. Histoire des Mongols de la Perse, Paris, 1836, pp. xlvii-liv.
Rašīd-al-Dīn Fażl-Allāh, Waqf-nāma-ye Rabʿ-e rašīdī, facsimile ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 2536 (=1356) Š./1977, p. 44.
Moḥammad Šabānkāraʾī, Majmaʿ al-ansāb, ed. M. H. Moḥaddeṯ, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984.
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Spuler, Mongolen 4, pp. 105, 108, 246, 269.
(Peter Jackson and Charles Melville)
Originally Published: December 15, 2001
Last Updated: February 9, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. X, Fasc. 6, pp. 598-599
Peter Jackson and Charles Melville, “ḠĪĀṮ-AL-DĪN MOḤAMMAD,” Encyclopædia Iranica, X/6, pp. 598-599, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/gia-al-din-mohammad (accessed on 30 December 2012).