Historical Actors ˃ Mullā Farīd al-Dīn Dihlavī

Mullā Farīd al-Dīn Dihlavī (d. ca. 1629/32)

Mullā Farīd al-Dīn Masʿūd ibn Ibrāhīm al-Dihlawī (Mullā Farīd, in short) came from a prominent family of scholars serving various royal courts. His father Ḥāfiẓ Ibrāhīm was a noted scholar of his time and one his earliest educators.1 In his later years, Mullā Farīd studied at the school (madrasa) of Shāh Niẓām of Narnaul2 and learnt from Shāh Niẓām himself, and then later under the pupillage of Sayyid Mīr Fatḥallāh Shīrāzī.3

Mullā Farīd entered the service of ʿAbd al-Raḥīm Khān-i Khānān4 in 1006 AH (1597/98 CE) while he was the governor (ṣūbadār) of Gujrat, and in the same year, dedicated his first treatise the Sirāj al-Istikhrāj ‘The Lamp of Deductions’ (a compendious handbook on using calendars) to his patron. He continued under the patronage of Khān-i Khānān till around 1024 AH (1615 CE) and thereafter was (presumably) recommended into the service of the Mughal courts by his patron. Mullā Farīd is attributed to have composed his first Persian zīj (astronomical table-text), the Zīj-i Raḥīmī ‘The Tables of Raḥīm’, around 1026 AH (1617 CE). This zīj was modelled on Ulugh Beg’s Zīj-i Jadīd-i Sulṭāni (1438/39) and dedicated to his first patron ʿAbd al-Raḥīm Khān-i Khānān.

Later, around 1629/30, he presented his second more enormous Persian zīj, the Kārnāmah‑i Ṣāḥib Qirān-i Thānī, Zīj-i Shāh Jahānī ‘The Great Work of the Second Lord of the Conjunction, the Tables of Shāh Jahān’ (Zīj-i Shāh Jahānī, in short), also modelled on Ulugh Beg’s Zīj-i Jadīd-i Sulṭāni but set to an epoch corresponding to the vernal equinox of the regnal year of Emperor Shāh Jahān coronation (i.e., an epoch of 21 March 1628, marking the beginning of the Tārīkh-i Ilāhī Shāh Jahānī ‘the Divine Era of Shāh Jahān’). It is believed that Mullā Farīd prepared his Zīj-i Shāh Jahānī assisted by his brother Mullā Ṭayyib as well as other Hindu and Muslim astronomers and under the supervision of Shāh Jahān’s prime minister (vazīr-i āʿẓam) Āṣaf Khān.5


1 In his Maʾāsir-i Raḥīmī ‘Memoirs of ʿAbd al-Raḥīm Khān-i Khānān’, ʿAbd-al-Bāqī Nihāwandī describes Mawlānā Farīd al-Dīn Dehlavī (مولانا فریدالدین دهلوی) as one of the respected scholars (علمای کرام ذوي الإحترام) at the imperial capital of Delhi (دار السلطنة حضرت دهلي) and the son of Ḥāfiẓ Ibrāhīm (حافظ ابراهيم), a scholar of great repute in his own time.
See Maʾāsir-i Raḥīmī: Memoirs of ʿAbd al-Raḥīm Khān-i Khānān (Vol. 3 khātima) of ʿAbd-al-Bāqī Nihāwandī (d. 1637); Muḥammad Hidāyat Ḥusain (tr.), Vol. 3 in the series Bibliotheca Indica No. 181, p. 9.

2 Shāh Niẓām of Narnaul is (perhaps) the sixteenth-century Sufī Pīr of the Cishtī order Shaykh Niẓām al-Dīn Nārnaulī, a highly learned and revered scholar of his time.
See Akbarnāma (Part. III. Āʾīn-i Akbarī) of Abuʾl Faḍl ibn Mubārak ʾAllāmī (d. 1602); Henry Beveridge (tr.), Vol. 3, p. 321 and Muntakhab al-Tawārīkh (Part III) of ʿAbd al-Qādir Badāʾūnī (d. 1615); Thomas Wolseley Haig (tr.), Vol. 3, pp. 44–45.

3 Sayyid Mīr Fatḥallāh Shīrāzī (d. 15 August 1589) was a renowned Persian scholar at the service of the Mughal court of Akbar.
See https://iranicaonline.org/articles/fath-allah-sirazi.

4 ʿAbd al-Raḥīm Khān-i Khānān (d. 1 October 1627) was a distinguished Mughal general, a skilled statesman, a man of letters, a renowned poet, and a patron of the arts.
See https://iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-rahim-kan-kanan.

5 The Mughal court chronicler Muḥammad Ṣāliḥ Kambūh states in his ʿAmal-i Ṣāliḥ (also known as Shāh Jahān Nāmah ‘The Book of Shāh Jahān’) that the astronomer Mullā Farīd (ملا فرید منجم) completed The Book of Zīj-i Shāh Jahānī (کتاب زیج شاه جهاني) for the regard (توجه) of His Majesty Ṣāḥibqirān-i Thānī (حضرت صاحبقران ثاني) i.e., Emperor Shāh Jahān, following the great order (دستور اعظم) of Āṣaf Jāhī [Khān?] (آصف جاهي), together with his brother Mullā Ṭayyib (ملا طيب) and with other mathematicians (سایر ریاضی دانان) following Indian and Greek methods (روش هند و یونان).
See ʿAmal-i Ṣāliḥ or Shāh Jahān Nāmah (A complete history of the emperor Shāh Jahān) of Muḥammad Ṣāliḥ Kambūh (d. 1674); Ghulam Yazdani (ed.), Vol. 1, 1923, p. 361, lines 1─8 ab infra.


Marshall, D. N. (1967), Mughals in India: A Bibliographical Survey, Volume 1–Manuscripts. Bombay: Asia Publishing House.
See p. 141, under the entry ‘FARĪD IBRĀHĪM DIHLAWĪ (no. 457)’ and
pp. 544–45, under the (correction) entry ‘P. 141 no. 457─’.

Storey, Charles Ambrose (1972), Persian Literature: A Bio-Bibliographical Survey, Volume II, Part 1: A. Mathematics. B. Weights and Measures. C. Astronomy and Astrology. D. Geography. London: Luzac and Company.
See p. 89, under the entry ‘133. Farīd al-Dīn Masʿūd b. Ibrāhīm Dihlawi, Shāh-Jahān’s Astronomer Royal, died Rabīʿ I 1039/20 October 1629.’

Rahman, A with M. A. Alvi (Persian) and S. A. Khan Ghori (Arabic) and K. V. Samba Murthy (Sanskrit) (1982), Science And Technology In Medieval India. A Bibliography of Source Materials in Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian. New Delhi: Indian National Science Academy.
See pp. 306─07, under the entry ‘FARĪDU’D-DĪN MAS‘ŪD B. ḤĀFIZ IBRĀHĪM MUNAJJĪM’.

Matviyevskaya, Galina Pavlovna (Галина Павловна Матвиевская) and Boris Abramovich Rosenfeld (Борис Абрамович Розенфельд) (1983), Математики и астрономы мусульманского средневековья и их труды (VIII─XVII вв.), Книга 2 (“Mathematicians and Astronomers of the Muslim Middle Ages and Their Works, VIII─XVII centuries, Book 2” [In Russian]) Moscow: Nauka.
See p. 594, under the entry ‘495. ФАРИД АД-ДИН АД-ДИХЛАВИ’.

Ghori, S. A. Khan (1985), “Development of Zīj Literature in India”, Indian Journal of History of Science, 20, 21–48.
pp. 34–36, under the entry ‘Zīj-i Shāhjahānī.

Rosenfeld, Boris Abramovich and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoǧlu (2003), Mathematicians, Astronomers, and Other Scholars of Islamic Civilization and their works (7th─19th c.). Istanbul: Research Center for Islamic History, Arts and Culture.
See pp. 357–58, under the entry ‘1092. FARID AL-DIN AL-DIHLAWI’.

Ansari, S. M. Razaullah (2015), “Survey of Zījes Written in the Subcontinent”, Indian Journal of History of Science, 50(4), 575–601.
See pp. 582–583, under the entry ‘3.2 Zīj-i Raḥīmī (ZR)’ and
pp. 583–85, under the entry ‘3.3 Zīj-i Shāhjahānī (ZShJ)’.