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===Death===
 
===Death===
After his unsuccessful military expedition to [[Egypt]]  and while he was preparing for another attack, he was afflicted with an eye-ache, which eventually led to his death on [[Shawwal 15]], 703/May 29, 1303 near [[Qazvin]] at the age of thirty three. He was buried in a minaret, which was later known by his name. However, some scholars maintain that he died on [[Shawwal 11]]/May 25 near [[Tabriz]].  
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After his unsuccessful military expedition to [[Egypt]]  and while he was preparing for another attack, he was afflicted with an eye-ache, which eventually led to his death on [[Shawwal 15]], [[703]]/[[May 21]], [[1304 CE|1304]] near [[Qazvin]] at the age of thirty three. He was buried in a minaret, which was later known by his name. However, some scholars maintain that he died on [[Shawwal 11]]/[[May 17]] near [[Tabriz]].
  
 
==His Conversion to Islam and Respect for Ahl al-Bayt (a)==
 
==His Conversion to Islam and Respect for Ahl al-Bayt (a)==

Latest revision as of 08:26, 13 June 2019

Ghazan Khan
غازان خان در نیشابور.jpeg
Full Name Ghāzān Khān
Epithet Mahmud
Religious Affiliation Sunni Islam
Well-known Relatives Hulagu Khan
Birth 670/1271-2
Place of Birth Abskun, Mazandaran
Place of Residence Tabriz, Iran
Death Shawwal 15, 703/May 29, 1303

Ghāzān Khān (670/1271-2 - 703/1303-4), the seventh Ilkhan of the Ilkhanid dynasty and the first Mongol ruler who converted to Islam and made Islam the official religion of the dynasty. Some scholars maintain that Ghazan's conversion was political; nevertheless, he paid especial attention to Islamic rituals and respected the Imams of the Shi'a and the descendants of the Prophet (s) in general.

Ghazan Khan cut his relations with the other Mongol rulers after his conversion. He commanded to mint coins bearing the Two Testimonies (al-Shahadatayn). He also prohibited usury and wine drinking and set the mahr 19.5 dinars. During his reign, many buildings were constructed for the poor and needy, and the construction of mosques, schools, shrines, and domes became widespread after him.

Ghazan Khan attacked Syria two times; he succeeded in the first attack but was severely defeated in the second one. Although it is reported that he had relatively good relations with other nations, after his conversion, he ordered the destruction of churches, synagogues, and other non-Muslim places of worship and to some extent persecuted non-Muslims.

Biography

Ghazan Khan, son of Argun, son of Abqa, son of Hulagu, was the seventh Ilkhanid ruler and the first Mongol sultan, born in 670/1271-2 in Abskun, Mazandaran. He was the governor of Khorasan during his father's reign. On Dhu l-Hijja 10, 694/October 28, 1295, after the reigns of Gaykhatu Khan and Baydu Khan, Ghazan Khan acceded to the throne. His reign lasted about eight or nine years.

According to some reports, Ghazan Khan was short and ugly, yet very brave and valorous. In addition to Mongolian and Persian, he was acquainted with Arabic, Chinese, Tibetan, and Latin. One of his hobbies was learning about the manners of the kings and rulers, especially his contemporaries. He was also very eager to know about the Mongol history and his own ancestors. A part of the book Jami' al-tawarikh, written by his vizier, Rashid al-Din, was compiled based on the information provided by Ghazan Khan. It is reported that he had a passion for art. He was familiar with architecture, drawing, blacksmithing, and making weapons, and spent a lot of time learning alchemy, geomancy, astrology, and botany.

Death

After his unsuccessful military expedition to Egypt and while he was preparing for another attack, he was afflicted with an eye-ache, which eventually led to his death on Shawwal 15, 703/May 21, 1304 near Qazvin at the age of thirty three. He was buried in a minaret, which was later known by his name. However, some scholars maintain that he died on Shawwal 11/May 17 near Tabriz.

His Conversion to Islam and Respect for Ahl al-Bayt (a)

Having been motivated by the head of his army Amir Nawruz (or, according to another report, by Shaykh Sadr al-Din Ibrahim, the son of the famous mystic, Sa'd al-Din Muhammad b. Hamawayh al-Juwayni), Ghazan Khan converted to Islam in 694 AH/1265 CE and assumed the name Mahmud. Following him, about hundred thousand people converted to Islam. He was the first Iklhan who converted to Islam, and thus he cut his relations with other Mongol rulers. He proclaimed Islam as the official religion of his dynasty, and made it obligatory for the court and the commanders-in-chief to profess Islam.

Some scholars maintain that there were political motivations behind Ghazan's conversion. Nevertheless, his conversion led to the promotion of Islam and the coming to power of many Muslim and non-Mongol governors and officials. Ghazan Khan strived to observe Islamic rulings and to convert those troops who had refused to embrace Islam.

On his way to Syria in 702/1303, Ghazan Khan visited the shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a) and made donations to the shrine. During his reign, the descendants of the Prophet (s) were highly respected and the title Sayyid (sir) were used for them. Instead of following the tradition of his predecessors in minting coins in the names of Mongol rulers, Ghazan Khan commanded to mint coins bearing the Two Testimonies (al-Shahadatayn). He also commanded that all the letters and official documents begin with the formula bismillah al-rahman al-rahim (in the name of God, the beneficent, the merciful).

In response to Ghazan Khan's conversion, an army of Mongol, Buddhist princes and commanders attacked Khorasan and were able to reach Mazandaran. This attack was repelled by Amir Nawruz and Amir Harqdaq, and the aggressors had to retreat.

Enforcing Islamic Laws

At the beginning of Ghazan's rule over Iran, he enforced Islamic laws such as the prohibition of usury, drinking wine, and appearing drunk in public, choosing righteous judges, setting the mahr 19.5 dinars, and adjusting the lunar and solar calendars.

He also took certain measures to enhance the people's welfare. He built public baths and mosques in all towns and villages, such that a percentage of the income of the baths would be spent for the maintenance of the mosques. He emphasized the just conduct of the officials and judges; if he was informed that an official had accepted a bribe, he would severely punish him. Ghazan Khan was known for his efforts to preserve the endowments and to promote Islam.

Buildings and Charity

Ghazan Khan constructed many buildings in Iran, and most of the remaining buildings in Iran from the Mongol period were founded by him. Unlike his Mongol predecessors who used to hide their graves, he wished to have a tomb like Muslim personalities, so he built a tomb for himself, called Qubba. The construction of Qubba started in the third year of Ghazan's reign and ended in 702/1303. After its construction, Ghazan Khan endowed some properties in Iran and Iraq for Qubba and appointed Sa'd al-Din Savaji and Rashid al-Din Fadl Allah as its directors. He also ordered the construction of some buildings, including a mosque, school, and monastery, around Qubba.

Building summer and winter towns, fortification of cities and villages, the widespread construction of religious buildings such as mosques, schools, tombs, and shrines expanded after him.

Interaction with Non-Muslims

Although Ghazan Khan was familiar with various faith traditions, he ordered the destruction of churches, synagogues, and other non-Muslim places of worship. During his reign, Christians were obliged to wear a special sign in public called zunnar and Jews had to wear a special hat. During this time, non-Muslims in general were under persecution.

Notwithstanding, Ghazan Khan had good relations with China's khagan and with the Christian rulers of other regions. He sent ambassadors to foreign countries and received theirs. For instance, in 699/1300, he sent two ambassadors to the court of Timur, China's khagan, who were honored by the latter. Ghazan Khan was highly honored by Armenians and Christian rulers of Europe after he conquered Syria.

In his reign, the territories of Iran were expanded to the borders of the Roman empire.

References