ŠEHĀB-AL-DIN ŠĀH ḤOSAYNI, a Nezāri Ismaʿili high dignitary (pir) and author (b. Iraq, or probably Maḥallāt, ca. 1268/1851; d. Poona, India, Ṣafar 1302/December 1884). Šehāb-al-Din Šāh, also known as Pir Ḵalil-Allāh, was the eldest son of Āqā ʿAlišāh, Āqā Khan II (1246-1302/1830-85), the forty-seventh imam of the Nezāri Ismaʿilis, and the elder half-brother of Solṭān Moḥammad Šāh, Āqā Khan III (1294-1376/1877-1957), who succeeded his father to the Nezāri Ismaʿili imamate in 1302/1885. Šehāb-al-Din Šāh was also a great-grandson of Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah Qajar through his paternal grandmother Sarv-e Jahān Ḵānom (d. 1299/1882), who was one of Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah’s daughters.

Šehāb-al-Din Šāh went with his parents from Maḥallāt to India in 1269/1853 and then spent the rest of his short life in Bombay and Poona, where the Nezāri imams were then based with extensive retinues of relatives and servants. Šehāb-al-Din Šāh died in Poona after a brief illness and was later buried in the family mausoleum in Najaf, next to his father.

Šehāb-al-Din Šāh was a learned member of the family of Āqā Khans. He was also regarded as one of the pirs, or high dignitaries, of the Nezāri Ismaʿilis, especially by the Nezāri Ḵojas of India (Fedāʾi Ḵorāsāni, pp. 178-79; Ivanow, 1922, p. 67; for Ismaʿili ḵojas and pirs, see Daftary, 2007, pp. 439-44, 474-81). He was expected to succeed to the imamate, but he predeceased his father by a few months. Šehāb-al-Din Šāh composed a few treatises in Persian on aspects of Ismaʿili doctrines, with special reference to their ethical and mystical teachings. These works, preserved in India and Central Asia (Bertels and Bakoev, pp. 51, 59-60), in fact, represent the earliest examples of a modern literary revival in the life of the Nezāri Ismaʿili community, initiated in India in the second half of the 13th/19th century and utilizing the Persian language.

Šehāb-al-Din Šāh’s works, discovered in Bombay in the early 1930s by Wladimir Ivanow, include his Ḵeṭābāt-e ʿālia and the unfinished Resāla dar ḥaqiqat-e din. The Resāla has been translated into English, Arabic, Urdu, and Gujarāti. The autograph copies of these works, in Šehāb-al-Din Šāh’s handwriting, were preserved in Bombay in the library of Musā Khan Ḵorāsāni (d. 1937), a bibliophile in the service of Šehāb-al-Din Šāh.


Andreǐ E. Bertel’s and Mamadvafo Bokoev, Alfavitnyǐ katalog rukopiseĭ obnaruzennych v Gorno-Badachsanskoĭ avtonomnoĭ oblasti ekspeditsieĭ 1959-1963 gg./Alphabetic Catalogue of the Manuscripts Found by 1959–1963 Expedition in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, ed. B. G. Gafurov and A. M. Mirzoev, Moscow, 1967.  

Farhad Daftary, “Shihāb al-Dīn al-Ḥusaynī,” in EI2 IX, 1997, p. 435. 

Idem, Ismaili Literature: A Bibliography of Sources and Studies, London, 2004, pp. 152-53. 

Idem, The Ismāʿīlīs: Their History and Doctrines, 2nd ed., Cambridge, 2007.

Moḥammad b. Zayn-al-ʿĀbedin Fedāʾi Ḵorāsāni, Ketāb hedāyat al-moʾmenin al-ṭālebin, ed. Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Semenov, Moscow, 1959. 

Wladimir Ivanow, “Ismailitica,” in Memoirs of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 8, 1922, pp. 1-76. 

Idem, Ismaili Literature: A Bibliographical Survey, Tehran, 1963, pp. 149-50. 

Idem, Fifty Years in the East: The Memoirs of Wladimir Ivanow, ed. Farhad Daftary, London, 2015, pp. 191, 197, 202, 209, 212. 

Ismail K. Poonawala, Biobibliography of Ismāʿīlī Literature, Malibu, Calif., 1977, pp. 283-84. 

Šehāb-al-Din Šāh Ḥosayni, Keṭābāt-e ʿālia, ed. H. Ojāqi, Bombay, 1963. 

Idem, Resāla dar ḥaqiqat-e din, ed. and tr. Wladimir Ivanow, as True Meaning of Religion, Islamic Research Association [series] 3, Bombay, 1933; later reprints, new editions, and translations of this Resāla by W. Ivanow, were published in 1947, 1955, and 1956 in the Ismaili Society’s series.

(Farhad Daftary)

Cite this article:

Farhad Daftary, "ŠEHĀB-AL-DIN ŠĀH ḤOSAYNI," Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2015, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/shehab-aldin-shah-hosayni (accessed on 25 April 2015).