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Ahmad Rezaei: Shiraz in the Age of Abu Isaac, the Last Ruler of Injuids

31 March 2017 | By Ahmad Rezaei, Ph.D., University of Qom, Iran ( | Copyedited by Boris Lopatinsky and Gu Yiqing

  • Mongol Empire

    The Mongol Empire existed during the 13th and 14th centuries and was the largest contiguous land empire in history.


Injuids (1335-1356) were a royal family during the Mongol period that were sent to Fars (Shiraz) by Ollayto for managing his estate.Their government in Fars was contemporaneous with the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 AD) in China. Sharaf al-Din Mahmoud was the first king of this dynasty and Sheikh Abu Isaac was the last.

Abu Isaac ruled over Fars for fifteen years, and like the kings of the Yuan Dynasty, he was a lover of literature and art. It seems he had created a good atmosphere for the growth of literary works. Perhaps the most important literary event of his times was the presence of Hafez, the most famous Iranian poet. Hafez speaks highly of these days and was full of grief when Abu Isaac passed away.

Since one of the main criteria affecting the genesis of literary works is political and social conditions, in this paper we will examine the social conditions during the reign of Sheikh Abu Isaac and the impact of this situation on the expansion of arts and sciences; then we will review Hafez's views of this period.

Key Words: Fars, Injuids, Sheikh Abu Isaac, Hafez, political and social conditions


Shiraz in the Age of Abu Isaac, the Last Ruler of Injuids


Ahmad Rezaei, Ph.D. / University of Qom, Iran (




fter his victory over China, Genghis attacked Iran in September 1219 due to the murder of Mongol traders in Otrar city. There are some stages for this terrifying attack. The first stage, ruled by Genghis himself, lasted for 4 years and ended on his back to Mongolia and his death in 1227. The second stage started after Ögedei Khan Succession by dispatching an army in 1229 to occupy another part of Iran. The third stage was the attack of Hulaku khan in 1254, intending to conquer Ismailia castles, which led to Baghdad triumph. After this, Ilkhanate rule started from 1257 onwards. In this stage, Hulaku khan divided his conquests among his children and Amirs, giving Khorasan and Jebal to Abaqa Khan, Aran and Azarbayjan to Yashmout, and Fars to Amir Inkiano.

On the surface, this devastating attack is slaughtering and destruction. In other words, external damages of this attack is not comparable to any other events. Looking deeper, the intellectual and cultural damages of this attack, however, had been much worse than destructions and slaughters, affecting our land for ages.

The principal reason of long-term effects of the intellectual and cultural damages of this attack was likely that Mongols dominated Iran without bringing any new ideology (Alamdari, 2003, p.358). Bringing no intellectual system to Iran, they destructed cultural and intellectual centers and either killed the thinkers or forced them to migrate.

Nevertheless, due to various reasons, some regions were no damaged as the result of this attack and surrendered without fighting. Mongols, charging some fees on annual basis, granted such areas quid pro quo as Feudality, contract to Amir, Vazir, or a wealthy person.

Comparing to other damaged areas, such areas enjoyed a relative peace, which could provide good context to pay attention to cultural and intellectual issues, especially when the rulers of these regions were interested in arts and culture. One of these areas was Fars, ruled by Inkiano, in Ilkhans period. It could be said that the relative stability of this city provided an opportunity for two prominent poets in 7th and 8the centuries, i.e. Saadi and Hafez, to emerge and gain fame. This territory, in particular, in the time of Shah Sheikh Abu Isaac (one of Injuids Shahs) became one of the main center of art and poem.

Since political and social conditions are one of the main factors in forming artistic and literary works, this study seeks to examine political and social conditions of the time of Abu-Isaac and his role in shaping artistic and literary works of this period. It also depicts how social and political stabilities could provide a background to improve art and knowledge so that even in chaos conditions they impress positive effects day after day. Accordingly, mentioning briefly Injuids and Sheikh Abu-Isaac, his role in forming artistic and literary works is investigated.

Injuids dynasty

No historical book, which merely discusses about Injuids Dynasty and the time of Sheikh Abu-Isaac, is found. In case of any books, they have been destroyed (Ghani, 2004, p.113). What we know in this regard is as follows: Jamal-Aldeen Ibrahim, known as Malekol-Islam belong to family of Sheikh Teibi, who were from wealthy families in Fars, in a contract in 690 (Hijra) for 1000 Toman rented Fars state and Jazayer for 4 years(Ibn Zarkoob, 1981, p.99). In the time of Ghazan Khan, Malekol-Islam was a feudal of Fars. He died in 706 of Hijra, at the time of Aljayto. Then, Aljayto appointed his son, Ezzadin Abdol-Aziz as his successor. Abdol-Aziz was killed in 725 in Shiraz. While Ezzadin ruling Fars, Sharaf Aldin Mahmoud was in charge of Inju properties (or royal properties), and since that time it was known as Inju (ibid, p.109). Injo or Anjo is a Mongolian word, which means a certain property of royal specific property. Later it also meant official holder of Inju or anyone who was special to king or his close relatives (Dehkhoda Dictionary, Injo Entry). Sharf Aldeen had four boys named Jalal Aldeen Masoud Shah, Ghias Aldeen Kaykhosraw, Shams Aldenn Mohammad, and Jamal Aldeen Amir Sheikh Abo Isaac. In 736 Hijrah, by the death of Abo Saeed, the authority of Mongols ended in Iran. Following that, chaos and feudalism emerged. At that time, Fars was ruled by Sharaf Aldeen Mahmoud offspring. Also, Yazs and Kerman were coveted by them. Jalal Aldeen Shah, Mahmoud's oldest son, sent his little brother, Abu Isaac, to conquer Yazd. Since Amir Mobarez Aldeen welcomed and respected Abu Isaac, he did nothing and came back to Shiraz. In 740 Amir Hossein Pirchoopani came to Shiraz and came over Masoud Shah by the help of Amir Mobarez Aldeen. First, Masoud ran away to Karoon and then to Baghdad. Then, in turn of his help, Amir Hossein Pirchoopani gave Kerman to Mobarez Aldeen. However, in 740 there was a conflict between them, which led to reciprocal fear. This made Amir Hossein Pirchoopani propitiate Injuids dynasty to fight against Mozafarian. Therefore, gave the ruling of Isfahan to Amir Sheikh Abu Isaac. Abu Isaac, on the other hand, assumed that Amir Hossein Pirchoopani was his brother's murderer. Also, he assumed that Fars's ruling was his right, occupied by Amir Hossein Pirchoopani. As a result, he rejected to accept Isfahan and attempted to unite with Malek Ashraf Choopani (who was there to occupy Iraq and Fars with a big army). Thus, they could make Amir Hossein Pirchoopani be away from Shiraz. Then, he forced Malek Ashraf Choopani to run away. Accordingly, relieving from pretenders, he established his authority in Shiraz. Officially claimed as king he started coining and delivering sermon as well as doing other affairs related to kingdom. However, during the rest of his life he had continuous conflict with Amir Mobarez Aldeen Mohammad Mozafar and finally he lost his kingdom (Ghani, 2004, pp129-133). On Friday May 12th 1357 he was killed (at the age of 37) in Saadat Square of Shiraz (where was built by his order) while Mobarez Aldeen were observing his execution.

The time of Shah Abu Isaac

Along with the political conflicts of this time, intellectual and cultural aspects of this time should also be taken into account. This shot period had great and long-term impact on thought and art. In addition to being safe from Mongol attack, a reason to pay attention to art and thought in Shiraz was perhaps the character of Abu Isaac. Ibn Battuta, who had travelled to Shiraz and visited him, says Abu Isaac was a good-looking, well-built, good-tempered, and modest man and was popular with Shirazi people. He owned a strong army and wide territory (Ibn Battuta, 1969, p.222).

The above mentioned conditions, therefore, provided heeding some fields which are briefly explained:

Literature and science

Poem and poetry was an area of interest of Abu Isaac. He was knowledge lover and broad-minded. He respected and trained artists (Ghani, 2004, p163). He also could say poems and his two quatrains of him while being killed are of the most pathetic ones in Farsi (Ibid, p.161). His time was contemporaneous with a couple of outstanding Fars poets having good relationship with him and they were supported by the King. One of them was Hafez, who was most of the time awarded by him. While being killed by Amir Mobarez Aldeen, Hafez was there observing the murder and got so upset. He considered his short time as a glorious one which passed quickly (Hafez, 1994, p.283). Nezam Aldeen Obeid zakani (8th century of Hijrahwas) was another poet who had a close relationship with Abu Isaac, accompanying some time with him and appraised him many times.( Eqbal Ashtiani 1997, p.552) says that Zakani moved to Shiraz at the start of Abu Ishagh kingdom and praised Shah and his Vazir. He said a poem to Abu Isaac's death admiring his justice and generosity, compared him to Anushirvan in terms of magnanimity. He was especially upset because Abu Isaacs enemies were occupied his palace (Ghani, 2004, p.163). Another well-known poet who was settled in Shairaz because of Abu Isaac's support was Kamal Aldeen Abu Ata Mahmoud ben Mahmoud Kermani, nown as Khajoye Kermani. He explicitly offered his book (Kamalnameh) to Abu Isaac (ibid, p.168).

Not only the poets were respected by him, but also all scientists and mystics had high position to him. Of famous scientists in his time was Shams Aldeen Mohammad Ben Mahmoud Amoli, who offered his well-known work, called Nafaeys Alfonoon Fee Arayes Alaayoon (Amoli, 1998, p.9). Also, Azod Aldeen Ijee (the judge) the author of Moaghef book and the well-known mystic Ameen Aldeen Kazem Belyani were appreciated by Abu Isaac. Some Quran scripts, written by Belyani, were offered to Abu Isaac by hime and are still kept in Pars museum in Shiraz (Bayani, 1966, p.348).


In addition to literature and science Abu Isaac was interested in architecture and monuments. For example, he decided to construct a porch similar to Kasra veranda (Sassanid famous palace). According to Ibn Batooteh, as soon as he ordered to build this porch, everyone including the poor and nobles cooperated and even competed against each other in this regard. Ibn Batooteh says, I myself saw this monument while Abu Isaac was observing the construction. When the height of the construction reached 135cm and the foundation was finished, Forced Labor was ended and workers received wages (Afsar, 1995, p.103). The square where the porch was constructed was Saadat, the very square that Abu Isaac was killed (Ghani 2004, p.160). Besides, Abu Isaac built a cubic shape mansion called God's house, which was similar to Kaaba (In Mecca) for Atiq Mosque of Shiraz.

Tashi Khatoon , Abu Isaac's mother, was an admirable woman and made effort in constructing religious monuments. In 744 Hejra, She made a tomb on Shahceragh in Shiraz (Ibn Zarkub Shiraz,, 1971). Also, next to the tomb she constructed a school and a public, where travelers were fed and Quran reciters recited Quran constantly for Imamzadeh. (Ibn Batooteh, 1348).


Another field of Abu Isaac's interes was miniature. Taking this art and constructing porch like Kasra Veranda into consideration, it can obviously be concluded that Abu Isaac had intended to highlight his patriotism and passion to his country, Iran since miniature is said to originate in pre-Islamic period of Iran, i.e. Sassanid era. This movement was initiated under Mohammad Ghyas aldeen Vazir's support in Tabriz and led to invention and evolution of Iranian miniature by Ahmad Musa and later on the evolution a special Iranian script called Nastaligh, by Mirali Tabrizi. Also, Injo dysnasty, who were informed of such activities, started a similar trend in Shiraz simultaneously and expand art based on Iranian criteria (Azhand, 2009, p.4). On the other hand, miniature was considered as kind of fight against Mongols. Through historiography, Mongols were emphasizing on their background. Miniature was a means to show off history and art. As a result, writing Shahname raised against Mongolian approaches by Iranians as a cultural element so that they find out about Iranian rich history. The small Shanamehs of Injuids time are good examples (Ibid, p.5). The origin of such miniatures, to some, backs to Sassanid time and to others, it could be originated in Baghdad in 6th century of Hejrah. However, existing miniatures indicate that this art has been common in Shiraz before Mongols (Ibid, P.6). Besides the court, some other bibliography centers were active outside the court. A number of small illustrated versions published in these centers were exported to India, Turkey, and some parts of Iran. In this way, the style of Shirazi miniature expanded to other areas so that its effect could be observed in eastern Indian court miniature (Pakbaz, 2004, p.69). This miniature style was known as Shiarz's school or Injuids style.

For Injuids dynasty, this art was a symbol of Iranism or paying attention to Iran, especially ancient Iran. Following this goal by Injuids dynasty was to attain cultural reputation to reach their political authority. Although Iranian followed panIransim policy, they did not forget religious policy and were bound to Islamic beliefs in these areas (Azhand, 2009, p.6)


As mentioned earlier, social-political conditions is a base to shape literal works. Mongols attack and the insecurity resulted from it, led to destroying more intellectual and cultural foundations rather than external eradication which affected cultural and intellectual system of Iran for ages. In such a chaos condition, Fars state was of places where survived. In this state, at the time of Injuids dynasty, especially when Sheikh Abu Isaac was ruling some conditions were provided to focus on thought and culture. At his time, areas of science and literature, architecture as well as miniature were paid attention in particular. Famous poets such as Hafez, Obeid Zakani and Khajoy Kermani were supported by him. Also, scientists like Mahmoud Amoli and Azodaldeen Iji wrote some outstanding works. To revive the brilliant history of Iran, Abu Isaac constructed a monument similar to Kasra Veranda and highly considered the art of Shahnameh writing and miniature. By doing so, he perhaps wanted to stabilize his political authority through cultural power.



Afsar, Keramatallah ( 1995) The history of old  foundation of Shiraz, Tehran.

Alamdari,Kazem( 2003)  Why Iran did not progress and West progressed?, Tehran.

Amoli, Mohammed Bin Mahmoud (1998) Nafaes - al- Fonoon, Abolhassan Sha’rani,Tehran.

Azhand, Jacob ( 2009) Interaction of Iranian, Islamic and Turkish Cultures in Shiraz, (Eighth and ninth centuries AD), History of Iran, Issue 5 \ 60.

Bayani,Shirin  (1966) The History of Jalayer, Tehran.

Eqbal Ashtiani ,Abbas (1997)   The History of Mongol and  the early days of Timurid , Tehran.

Ghani, Qasim (2004) Hafez's era history , Tehran.

Hafez, Shams al-Din Muhammad (1994) Divan, corrected by Sayeh, Tehran.

Ibn Batooteh, Muhammad ibn Abdullah(1969)Safarnameh,Translated by Muhammad Ali Movhhed,Tehran.,

Ibn Zarkub Shiraz, (1971) Abu -al - Abbas Moin-ud-Din Ahmad Ibn Shihab al-Din Abul Khair,Shiraznameh, corrected by Esmail vaez Javadi, Tehran.

Pakbaz,Ruein( 2004) Iran paintings from ancient times until today, Tehran.


Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email :

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading