INJU DYNASTY (ca. 725-754/1325-53), one of the minor dynasties that controlled Persia following the collapse of the Il-Khanid state. Members of this family vied for power in southern Persia, and intermittently controlled Fārs, Isfahan, Kermān, and Lorestān. For about twenty years the Injus waged complex and bloody power struggles with each other, the Il-Khans, the Chupanids (see CHOBANIDS), the Jalayerids of Baghdad, and the Mozaffarids of Yazd. The last ruler of the line, Šāh Shaikh Jamāl-al-Din Abu Esḥāq (q.v.), held sole power in Shiraz, Isfahan, and Lorestān for about twelve years, but lost his throne and his life in battles with the Mozaffarids.

The family took its name from the title of Šaraf-al-Din Maḥmud, who administered Mongol state lands (inju) in Fārs. Šaraf-al-Din Maḥmud, who traced his ancestry to the famous scholar Ḵᵛāja ʿAbd-Allāh Anṣāri of Herat (1006-89, q.v.), was in the service of Amir Čupān Solduz, the great commander of Sultan Abu Saʿid Bahādor (q.v.). About 1325, while a descendant of the Salghurid Atābeks was still nominal ruler in Fārs, Amir Čupān sent Šaraf-al-Din Maḥmud to Shiraz as his tax agent to supervise the inju. Šaraf-al-Din accumulated a vast personal fortune, and soon gained political and financial control of southern Persia. He remained at the Mongol court at Solṭāniya, where he received the title Maḥmud Inju Šāh and put three of his sons, Jalāl-al-Din Masʿud Šāh, Ḡiāṯ-al-Din Kayḵosrow, and Šams-al-Din Moḥammad, in control of the southern provinces. At court he was a protége of the Il-Khan’s minister, Ḵᵛāja Ḡiāṯ-al-Din Moḥammad b. Rašid-al-Din Fażl-Allāh (son of the great minister and historian).

As long as there was a strong central Mongol authority, the Inju family fortunes depended on the capricious good will of the Il-Khan. In 1334 the ruler Abu Saʿid (for reasons not mentioned in the sources) removed Maḥmud Šāh from his position as governor of Fārs and replaced him with a Mongol officer, Amir Mosāfer Ināq. Maḥ-mud Šāh, fearing for his wealth and emboldened by years in power, conspired with his supporters to kill his rival, and pursued him to the walls of Abu Saʿid’s palace in Soltaniya. When Amir Mosāfer took refuge there, the conspirators attacked the very palace of the Il-Khan.

Abu Saʿid was furious at this bold Inju plot, but, after Ḵᵛāja Ḡiāṯ-al-Din’s intervention, refrained from killing the plotters and imprisoned each of them in separate castles. He put Maḥmud Šāh in the Ṭabārak castle of Isfahan, and his oldest son, Jalāl-al-Din Masʿud Šāh, in Anatolia. The conspirators, except for Maḥmud Šāh and his son, stayed in prison until Abu Saʿid’s death in 1335. The two Inju soon went free at the intervention of their patron Ḵᵛāja Ḡiāṯ-al-Din (Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, pp. 142-43; Ḡani, pp. 6-8; Fārs-nāma-ye nāṣeri I, p. 49).

As for the Mongol officer Amir Mosāfer, he had little opportunity to enjoy the delights of power in Shiraz. The Inju family representative there, Ḡiāṯ-al-Din Kayḵosrow, second son of Maḥmud Šāh, ignored the new governor and blocked his taking control of the province. When news of Abu Saʿid’s death reached Shiraz, Kayḵosrow seized Amir Mosāfer and sent him to the Mongol court at Solṭāniya.

After the death of Abu Saʿid, the Mongol court was most unhealthy for the courtiers. Both Maḥmud Šāh and his protector Ḡiāṯ-al-Din Ḵᵛāja lost their lives in the first months of the ten years of murderous fighting that followed the Il-Khan’s death. After the first wave of executions, murders, and vengeance killings, a struggle emerged between Shaikh Ḥasan(-e) Kučak b. Temürtāš b. Amir Čupān and Shaikh Ḥasan(-e) Bozorg Jalāyeri, a descendant of one of Hulāgu’s commanders.

While the members of the Il-Khan’s court were busy slaughtering each other, the provincial warlords of Shiraz were, as always, imitating the fashions of the capital. The seven years from the death of Abu Saʿid to Abu Esḥāq Inju’s taking undisputed control of Fārs in 1342 were years of anarchy and a complex, many-sided contest for power among regional chieftains. The major contenders were the four sons of Maḥmud Šāh Inju, various Čupānis (who fought on all sides of the conflict), the Jalayerid ruler Shaikh Ḥasan Bozorg, and Amir Mobārez-al-Din Moḥammad b. Moẓaffar, the ruler of Yazd.

The Inju brothers fight among themselves. In the confusion following the death of Abu Saʿid, the eldest son of Maḥmud Šāh Inju, Jalāl-al-Din Masʿud Šāh, left Solṭā-niya and returned to Shiraz. His younger brother, Amir Ḡiāṯ-al-Din Kayḵosrow, had been ruling there in the name of their father since 1326, and refused to surrender power. In 1337 fighting broke out between the two brothers after Amir Kayḵosrow killed his brother’s minister. Masʿud Šāh defeated his younger brother, and imprisoned both him and the third Inju brother, Šams-al-Din Moḥammad, in the Qalʿa-ye Sefid of Fārs. Kayḵosrow died there in 1338, but Moḥammad escaped and fled to Isfahan.

The Čupānis enter the battle. Shaikh Ḥasan Kučak, hoping to regain control of the provinces for his so-called “central” government in Tabriz, named his cousin Pir Ḥosayn b. Amir Maḥmud b. Amir Čupan governor of Fārs. In 1339 Pir Ḥosayn and the fugitive Šams-al-Din Moḥammad Inju joined forces and defeated Masʿud Šāh at Sarvestān, about 120 km southeast of Shiraz. The allies entered Shiraz, and the defeated Masʿud Šāh fled west to Lorestan. A month later, Pir Ḥosayn turned on his ally, executed Amir Moḥammad, and took sole control of Fārs. What happened next is unclear. The Shiraz historian Zarkub (p. 105), writing a few years after the events described, says only that the enraged Shirazis rose up and drove Pir Ḥosayn and his men out of the city. Ebn Baṭṭuta embellishes the episode (although he has muddled some of the names and dates) to illustrate the importance of chivalry (javānmardi) among the Shirazis. He writes: “Pir Ḥosayn arrested Tāš Ḵātun, [widow of Maḥmud Šāh] and her son Abu Esḥāq to take them to Tabriz, there to question them about Maḥmud Šāh’s property. When this group reached the center of the Shiraz bazaar, Tāš Ḵātun removed her veil. The Ḵātun, as is the custom with Turkish women, usually went out with her face uncovered; however, this time she had covered her face from shame. She appealed to the Shirazis for help, saying, ‘O men of Shiraz! I am the wife of so-and-so, my name is so-and-so. Will you allow me to be taken this way?’ A carpenter named Pahlavān Maḥmud (I saw him in the bazaar) rose and said, ‘No, we won’t allow it. We won’t allow her to be taken from Shiraz!’ The people joined him, a riot ensued, and all the Shirazis took up arms. They killed many of the soldiers, captured booty, and rescued the Ḵātun and her son. Amir Pir Ḥosayn fled Shiraz . . .” (Ebn Baṭṭuta, pp. 199-200).

Pir Ḥosayn Čupāni returned to the service of his cousin, Shaikh Ḥasan Kučak, in Tabriz and helped him defeat his rival Ḥasan Bozorg Jalāyeri. In gratitude, in 1340 the Čupāni strongman gave Pir Ḥosayn an army to recapture Shiraz and take revenge on its inhabitants. Joining him in this venture was a client of the Čupāni family, Amir Mobārez-al-Din Moḥammad b. Moẓaffar, who had established himself as independent ruler of Yazd. The ever-ineffective Masʿud Šāh Inju, who had returned to Shiraz after the uprising described above, fled before the attackers, taking refuge at Baghdad with Shaikh Ḥasan Bozorg.

With Masʿud Šāh gone, the Shirazis, fearing Pir Ḥo-sayn’s vengeance, closed their gates and defended the city for fifty days. The powerful chief judge of Fārs, Mowlānā Majd-al-Din Esmāʿil Fāli, arranged a compromise, where-by Pir Ḥosayn reassumed the governorship of Shiraz peacefully and agreed to overlook the Shirazis’ earlier resistance. He rewarded Moḥammad Moẓaffar’s service by adding Kermān to his dominions (thus laying the foundation for bloody strife between the houses of Inju and Moẓaffar).

The youngest Inju joins (briefly) a rival Čupāni. Pir Ḥosayn Čupāni remained in Shiraz for less than two years, while the two surviving sons of Maḥmud Šāh Inju made separate alliances with other Čupāni generals in preparation for retaking Fārs and avenging Pir Ḥosayn’s murder of their brother Amir Moḥammad. Abu Esḥāq, the youngest brother, joined Malek Ašraf b. Temürtāš b. Čupān, a brother of Ḥasan Kučak and a cousin of Pir Ḥosayn. Abu Esḥāq had been ruling in Isfahan, where Pir Ḥosayn had placed him to counter the growing influence of Mo-ḥammad b. Moẓaffar in Yazd and Kermān. In 1342 Malek Ašraf and Abu Esḥāq joined forces at Isfahan, and, when Pir Ḥosayn heard of their plans, he moved to attack them there. Pir Ḥosayn was defeated, and, mistrusting his ally Moḥammad b. Moẓaffar, returned to Tabriz, where his kinsman Ḥasan Kučak had him eliminated.

More Injus and more Čupānis arrive. The victorious allies, Abu Esḥāq and Malek Ašraf, advanced toward Shiraz, but their relations were uneasy—no alliance between Čupāni and Inju could last long. After their combined forces made camp at Jaʿfarābād north of Shiraz, Abu Esḥāq entered the city and shut the gates on Malek Ašraf. The Shirazis took up arms in support of Abu Esḥāq, attacked Malek Ašraf’s camp by night, and scattered the Čupani forces. At the same time Masʿud Šāh, apparently unaware of the progress of his younger brother, also returned to Shiraz with the support of another Čupani, Amir Yāḡi Bāsti b. Amir Čupan (Malek Ašraf’s uncle), one of Shaikh Ḥasan Bozorg’s commanders. Abu Esḥāq yielded to his older brother’s claim and withdrew eastward to the Šabānkāreh region on the frontier between Fārs and Kermān.

However, co-existence between an Inju ruler (Masʿud Šāh) and a Čupāni commander (Yāḡi Bāsti) was as impossible in 1342 as it had been three years earlier between Amir Moḥammad and Pir Ḥosayn. Yāḡi Basti could not endure being Masʿud Šāh’s deputy and guest in Shiraz, and in 1342 the Čupani’s men murdered Jalāl-al-Din Masʿud Šāh as he left the bath (Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, pp. 171-72).

The last Inju left standing seizes Shiraz. Abu Esḥāq, now the last surviving son of Maḥmud Šāh Inju, moved to avenge his brother’s death. A group of Shirazis—neighborhood chiefs, guild-masters, and street mob leaders—joined forces to support Abu Esḥāq. Attacking Yāḡi Bāsti, they besieged him in the governor’s residence. Gangs supporting the rival claimants brawled in the streets for twenty days until the ruler of Kāzerun intervened on Abu Esḥāq’s side and drove Yāḡi Bāsti and his men from the city (Zarkub Širāzi, pp. 114-15).

The final Čupāni counterattack. In the following year, 1343, the Čupānis made their last attempt to take Shiraz. Yāḡi Bāsti and his nephew Malek Ašraf joined forces and marched on the city. With the help of Moḥammad b. Moẓaffar they captured Abarqu and slaughtered the inhabitants; but news of the death in Tabriz of the head of the Čupāni family, Shaikh Ḥasan Kučak, stopped their advance. The two Čupānis immediately returned to Tabriz, while Moḥammad b. Moẓaffar returned to Yazd. Within a year Malek Ašraf gained control of the family and murdered his uncle Yāḡi Bāsti. He continued his brutal reign in Tabriz until 1356.

Thus in 1343 Jamāl-al-Din Šāh Shaikh Abu Esḥāq held undisputed control of Fārs, the Persian Gulf coast, and Isfahan, with no rival claimants from either his own family or the Čupānis. He had risen from vassal amir to sultan, with coins struck and the Friday sermon read in his name. Along with the Mozaffarids in Yazd and Kermān, the Jalayerids (or Il-khanids) in Iraq and Kurdistan, the Sarbadārids around Sabzevar in western Khorasan, the Chupanids in Azerbaijan, and the Kurts (or Karts) in Herat and northeastern Persia, he now ruled one of the six successor kingdoms to the Il-khanid state.

Contemporaries such as the historian Zarkub and the poet Hafez praised Abu Esḥāq Inju for his intelligence, bravery, chivalry, and generosity. Poets and historians record him as lover of art, literature, and religious scholarship, and his brief reign saw brilliant achievements in all those fields. His character, however, had a dark side as well. He provoked disastrous wars with Moḥammad b. Moẓaffar, who had begun as little more than a road guardian in a sub-district of Yazd. Abu Esḥāq also had a destructive mistrust of the Shirazis, who had long supported his family against the Čupānis. At times that called for courage and decisive action, such as during Mo-ḥammad b. Moẓaffar’s siege of Shiraz in 1352-53, Abu Esḥāq would withdraw into depression, inaction, and debauchery.

When Abu Esḥāq attempted to re-establish his authority in Kermān, he came into conflict with the Amir Mobārez-al-Din Moḥammad b/Moẓaffar of Yazd, who had taken the province from Abu Esḥāq’s father during the multi-sided conficts described above. The two rulers could have made peace, but the young “Šāh Shaikh” decided to regain family territory by force and to seek revenge for Amir Moḥammad’s collaboration with the hated Čupānis.

In 1345 Abu Esḥāq made two unsuccessful expeditions against Kermān, one of which caused the death of his minister Šams-al-Din Ṣāyen Qāżi Semnāni. The next year saw Abu Esḥāq stirring up the Mongol tribes of Kermān against Amir Moḥammad. He repeatedly attacked both Yazd and Kermān, but his campaigns were costly failures. His last, failed attack on Yazd in 1350 included a protracted siege, during which the Yazdis were reduced to cannibalism. He made his last unsuccessful attack on Kermān in 1352, losing many of his generals in the fiasco (Kotbi, pp. 24-35).

Abu Esḥāq squandered his wealth on these disastrous military campaigns that eventually caused his downfall. Following his last victory outside Kermān, Amir Mo-ḥammad b. Moẓaffar used his captured booty to take the offensive against Abu Esḥāq in Shiraz (Kotbi, p. 35). First naming his son Šāh Shojāʿ as his successor, Amir Moḥammad gathered troops from the Arab and Mongol tribes of Kermān and from the forces of his son Šaraf-al-din Moẓaffar in Yazd. When Abu Esḥāq learned of the coming attack, he sent the scholar ʿAżod-al-Din ʿAbd-al-Rahmān Iji on a peace mission. Amir Moḥammad treated the Inju ambassador with great respect, but would not be dissuaded from attacking Shiraz. He told ʿAżod-al-Din that Abu Esḥāq had broken eight peace agreements and that now only war could decide the issues between them (Kotbi, p. 37).

With Amir Moḥammad advancing on Shiraz from the southeast, Abu Esḥāq withdrew into passivity and drink. He led his forces to Pol(-e) Fasā, about fifteen miles southeast of Shiraz, but, exhausted and with no will to fight, he withdrew into the city without confronting the attacking Mozaffarids. Throughout the six-month siege of Shiraz, Abu Esḥāq remained seemingly unaware of the dangers threatening him. He retreated into drunkenness and suspicion, and let control of the city fall to neighborhood mob leaders. Once, in a drunken stupor, he heard the drums of the besieging army. He asked, “What is that noise?” and when he learned it was the kettledrums of Amir Moḥammad he said, “You mean that stubborn fellow is still here?"(Fasāʾi, I, pp. 54-55).

Amir Moḥammad b. Moẓaffar was everything Abu Esḥāq was not: austere, ruthless, and determined. He had inherited courage from his father, who, fifty years before, had killed a Mongol officer in Shiraz who forced his way into a women’s bath. During the siege of Shiraz, Amir Moḥammad responded to a rebellion of an ally, Majd-al-Din Bandamiri, by storming the rebel’s fortress and slaughtering his whole family, including his seven-year-old son (whom Amir Moḥammad executed personally; Kotbi, p. 38). Neither the death of his eldest son nor a painful illness during the siege of Shiraz could make Amir Moḥammad abandon his assault on the Injus.

In the end Abu Esḥāq lost Shiraz more by his own ineptitude than to Mozaffarid attacks. Abu Esḥāq owed his position and his very life to the support of the Shirazi pahlavāns (popular heroes) and kalus (bazaar and neighborhood chiefs) who controlled the town mobs. He had attempted to free himself from their influence, realizing that they could challenge his authority, shift their support to his enemies, and drive him out just as they had earlier driven out the Čupāni rulers. In 1344, a Shirazi rend (street ruffian) killed one of Abu Esḥāq’s ministers, and the ruler, in an effort to control this unruly population, disarmed the Shirazis and appointed only Isfahanis as close advisors. As for the patricians of Shiraz, they remained torn between their fear of popular rebellion and their links with the neighborhood leaders (Zarkub, p. 111).

During the siege of 1352-53 Abu Esḥāq’s mistrust of the Shirazis led him to make a fatal mistake. He executed the chief of the sayyeds in the Masjed-Now quarter and the chief (kalu) of the important Bāḡ(-e) Now quarter, after accusing them of collaborating with the besieging Mozaffarids. Abu Esḥāq also made plans to execute Kalu Omar, the son of the chief of the western, Murdestān quarter. When Kalu Omar discovered Abu Esḥāq’s intentions, he did what the ruler had suspected, and made secret contact with Amir Moḥammad (Kotbi, p. 40).

During the siege, Abu Esḥāq lost two of his crucial advisors. His minister, Haji Qawām-al-Din Ḥasan Tamḡāči, died in 1353. Qawām-al-Din had served the Inju family for twenty-five years, and had earned, by his generosity, the respect of all classes and the praises of the poet Hafez, the historian Zarkub, and others. Hafez mentions Qewām-al-Din in five of his poems, including the famous Rejāl(-e) Mamlakat(-e) Fārs. Abu Esḥāq also lost the support of the scholar and judge ʿAyod-al-Din Iji (the unsuccessful peace envoy to Amir Moḥammad), who joined the besieging forces after he persuaded one of the city neighborhood chiefs to let him leave Shiraz through the Kāzerun gate (Kotbi, p. 39).

Abu Esḥāq’s fatal mistake was alienating these Shirazi neighborhood chiefs. The inhabitants of the Murdestān quarter were responsible for the defense of the Beiza (western) gate. Šāh Šojaʿ Moẓaffari received a message from Kalu ʿOmar, son of the neighborhood chief, that he was ready to open the gate to the besieging forces. As the Mozaffarid armies made diversionary attacks, Amir Mo-ḥammad led his men into the city through the open western gate. Abu Esḥāq, unable to resist further, fled west with a few followers and shut himself in the strong Qalʿa-ye-Safid fortress.

A year after taking Shiraz, the Mozaffarids lost the city briefly to an Inju counter-attack. While Amir Moḥammad moved against Abu Esḥāq in Isfahan, he put his nephew Šāh Solṭān in Shiraz and his son Šāh Šojāʿ in Kermān. With the main Mozaffarid forces moving against Isfahan, Abu Esḥāq’s supporters from Šulestān, the remote region northeast of Kāzerun, attacked Shiraz, where the pro-Inju inhabitants of the Kāzerun Gate district let the attacking forces into the city. The attack caught Šāh Solṭān’s men by surprise, and the Šulestānis and their Shirazi allies looted the governor’s palace and attacked the pro-Mozaffarid Murdestān quarter. When Šāh Šojāʿ and his forces re-entered Shiraz through the (northern) Estaḵr Gate, the two armies fought a full-scale street battle that ended in the defeat of the Inju partisans. The inhabitants of the Kāzerun Gate area and their Shulestani allies, however, continued to fight until their neighborhood was completely destroyed (Ḡani, pp. 106-7; Kotbi, pp. 42-43). In 1357 the Mozaffarids captured Abu Esḥāq at Isfahan and sent him as a prisoner to Amir Moḥammad at Shiraz. Before the assembled judges and nobles of the city, Amir Moḥammad delivered Abu Esḥāq for execution to Amir Qoṭb-al-Din, the son of a sayyed earlier executed by the Inju ruler. Just before his execution Abu Esḥāq recited the following verses:


Afsus ke morḡ-e ʿomr-rā dāna namānd
Omid be hich ḵiš o bigāna namānd
Dardā o dariḡā ke dar in moddat-e ʿomr,
Az har-che begoftim joz afsāna namānd

(Kotbi, pp. 54-55; Faṣiḥ Ḵᵛāfi, III, p. 88)


Alas that no grain remains for the bird of life,
Alas that no hope is left from family or stranger.
Alas that from this span of our life,
Nothing I have said remains but stories.

(Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia III, pp. 164-65)


Shiraz still has remains from the brief Inju rule. Abu Esḥāq built what is today the most exquisite historical building in Shiraz—the Ḵodā-ḵāna or the Dār-al-masāhef (also called Dār-al-maṣḥaf, i.e., a Qurʾan library) of the 9th century Old Congregational Mosque (masjed-e jāmeʿ-e ʿAtiq). This library, built in the middle of the mosque’s courtyard, originally contained Qurʾan in the handwriting of the companions of the prophet, including one written by the third caliph Othman, with bloodstains from his assassination on its pages. This building, restored in 1941, has an inscription around its top in fine ṯoloṯ script (see CALLIGRAPHY), which dates the building to 1351 (Behruzi, p. 66).

Abu Esḥāq began construction of an imitation of the famous Sasanian Ṭāq(-e) Kesrā (see AYVĀN-E KESRĀ) at Ctesiphon (q.v.). This building was never completed, and no trace survives. Other Inju foundations, some of which survive only as names in the sources, include: The rebuilt dome of the mausoleum of Sayyed Ahmad b. Musa (Šah-e Čerāḡ) and a school, the Madrasa-ye Taši adjoining the shrine; Tāš Ḵātun, the mother of Šāh Abu Esḥāq, endowed both of these projects. The Madrasa-ye Masʿudiya (location unknown) founded by Jalāl-al-Din Masʿud Šāh, brother of Abu Esḥāq. The rebuilt tomb of Shaikh Abu Bakr Allāf (a companion of Ebn Ḵafif Sheikh-e Kabir, d. 990) in the Darb(-e) Estaḵr quarter (the present-day Bāzār(-e) Vakil); Hāji Qawām-al-Din Ḥasan, Abu Esḥāq’s minister, endowed this project. The tomb of the poet Ḵāju Kermāni (d. 1352), now located in a small garden in the Allāho Akbar gorge north of the city. The tomb of Shaikh Bābā-al-Din ʿAli b. Abu Bakr Badal (d. 1338); this grave is in the Darb-e Estaḵr quarter and, in 1972, still existed in corner of the yard of Šāhpur High School.



ʿAli Naqi Behruzi, Masjed-e jāmeʿ-e Širāz, Tehran, 1970.

Aḥmad b. Jalāl-al-Din Moḥammad Faṣiḥ Ḵvāfi, Mojmal-e Faṣiḥi, ed. M. Farroḵ, Mashad, 1960.

Hājj Mirzā Ḥasan Ḥosayni Fasāʾi, Fārs-nāma-ye Nāṣeri, Tehran, 1887.

Qāsem Ḡani, Baḥṯ dar āṯār o afkār o aḥwāl-e Ḥāfeẓ I, Tāriḵ-e aṣr-e Ḥāfezá, Tehran, 1942.

Ḥāfeẓ-e Abru, Ḏayl-e Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ-e Rašidi, ed. Ḵān bābā Bayāni, Tehran, 1971.

Ebn Baṭṭuta, Safar-nāma, tr. M.-ʿA. Mowaḥḥed, Tehran, 1958.

Maḥmud Kotbi, Tāriḵ-e Āl-e Moẓaffar, ed. A. H. Navāʾi, Tehran, 1955.

ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Zarinkub, Az kucha-ye rendān, Tehran, 1970.

Moʿin-al-Din Zarkub Širāzi, Širāz-nāma, ed., Esmāʿil Wāʿeẓ Jawādi, Tehran, 1971.

(John Limbert)

Originally Published: December 15, 2004

Last Updated: March 29, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XIII, Fasc. 2, pp. 143-147