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Shah Rukh Mirza, the ruler of Iran and Central Asia

Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On March 12,1447 AD, Shah Rukh Mirza, the ruler of Iran, Central Asia and what is now Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan and northwestern India, died during a journey to Rayy (near modern Tehran) at the age of 70 after a reign of 42 years. He was the son and successor of the fearsome Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur, and in contrast to his father, was a peace-loving ruler. His mother was a Tajik lady. Although he lost Iraq to the Qara Quyunlu Turks, he hotly contested for control of Anatolia (modern Turkey) with the Ottomans, who were decisively crushed by his father. His capital was Herat in Khorasan – currently in Afghanistan.
He was a great patron of the arts sciences, especially Persian architecture and literature, as well as works in Chaghatay and Arabic languages. Shah Rukh commissioned a number of historical and geographic works by the Iranian scholar Hafez-e Abru. Among them is “Tariḵh-e Shah Rukh” – a history of his reign that was later incorporated by its author into the larger "universal history" compilations “Majmu’a-e Ḥafeẓ-e Abru” (a universal history work) and “Majma’ at-Tawariḵh as-Solṭani” (section “Zobdat at-Tawarikh-e Baysonqori”). His wife, the highly refined Iranian lady, Gowhar Shad, funded the construction of two outstanding mosques and theological colleges in Mashhad and Herat. The Grand Gowhar-Shad-Mosque adjacent to the shrine of Imam Reza (AS) – the 8th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) – was finished in 1418.
He was succeeded in Transoxiana by his elder son, Ulugh Beg who was an accomplished astronomer and scholar, while almost all other sons had predeceased him including the famous calligrapher Baysonqor Mirza. Shah Rukh maintained diplomatic relations with the Mamluk rulers of Egypt-Syria, the Venetian Empire of the Mediterranean, China and the Muslim and Hindu rulers of the Deccan (South India).
In fact, two of his ambassadors have left detailed account of their missions. The first is the detailed diary of Ghiyas od-Din Naqqash who was sent to the court of the Ming Emperor of China, and the second is the book “Matla us-Sa’dain wa Majma’ ul-Bahrain” by Abdur-Razzaq Samarqandi, the Iranian ambassador to the court of the Zamorin of Calicut (Kozikhode in Kerala), who during his 3-year stay (1442-45) in the Deccan also visited the Vijaynagar capital Hampi.

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