Shihab al-Din Muhammad Khurram Shah Jahan (Transliterated)
شاه جهان (Variant)
Shah Jahan (Transliterated)
Shah Jahan, Emperor of Hindustan (Translated)
Shah Jehan (Alternate transliteration)
Shahjahan (Alternate transliteration)
Śāhajahām̐ (Alternate transliteration)
شهاب الدين محمد (Alternate)
Shihab al-Din (Transliterated)
Shihabuddin (Alternate transliteration)
Shahab al-Din (Alternate transliteration)
Shahabuddin (Alternate transliteration)
صاحب قران سليمان مكاني (Alternate)
Sahib-Qiran Sulayman-Makani (Transliterated)
Shah Jahan ("King of the World") was the fifth emperor of the Mughal dynasty of India. He was the son of Mughal emperor Jahangir. His given name was Prince Khurram, and he also bore the honorific title Shihab al-Din Muhammad ("Meteor of the Faith"). After his death he was given the epithet Sahib Qiran Sulayman Makani ("lord of the conjunction who occupies Solomon's place").2
Prince Khurram's entrance into the world of Mughal court politics had a bumpy start. In 1623/1032 AH he was compelled to arrange the murder of his older brother Prince Khusraw and then rebel against his father Jahangir when his wife Nur Jahan attempted to secure the succession for her son in law. The rebellion was put down, but after Jahangir's death Khurram prevailed in ascent to the throne with the help of his father in law Asaf Khan, becoming emperor as Shah Jahan in 1628/1037 AH.
As emperor, Shah Jahan is known for his campaigns in the Deccan and in Central Asia, both of which submitted to Mughal sovereignty for periods of time during his reign. He is also responsible for expanding the income of the imperial treasury by enlarging the definition of imperial reserved lands.2
With his wealth Shah Jahan commissioned numerous building projects. His most famous commission was the costly and monumental Taj Mahal, a mausoleum constructed for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Among his other prominent commissions were the Shalimar Gardens at Lahore and the Red Fort Complex at Shahjahanabad, a fortified palace-city built on the outskirts of Delhi that included a market place, great mosque, palaces, and riverfront gardens. He ordered the construction of the famed Takht-i Tawus (Peacock Throne), a gold-encrusted and enameled baldachin throne that was used by the Mughals until it was carried off in the sack of Delhi 1739/1151-2 AH.
Trouble surfaced at court when Shah Jahan's four sons began to fight for succession to the throne. The clashes were especially strong between Awrangzib and Dara Shikuh, the eldest son and crown prince. Awrangzib dethroned his father and imprisoned him in 1658/1068 AH, claiming for himself the succession of Mughal rule. Shah Jahan remained imprisoned at the Red Fort of Agra, dying ten years later in 1666/1076 AH.
The Diwan-i 'Am is a large pavilion for public imperial audiences at the center of the Red Fort. It is positioned between the public and private parts of the fortress. It faces a large open courtyard, and behind the back wall lie the private imperial palaces. The Diwan is a hypostyle hall in red sandstone, 9 bays wide and 3 bays deep. Each column has 12 sides, and supports cusped arches; this arch form, much used under Shah Jahah, has early Indian origins that can be traced to both Hindu and Buddhist sources. During Shah Jahan's time, the columns were plastered, painted and gilded, with rich cloths draped between them to create an opulent atmosphere. An ornate, canopied, throne-balcony for the emperor stands at the center of the eastern, back wall of the Diwan, behind which the private apartments lie. The throne balcony is of white marble, carved and inlayed with precious stones in pietra dura. A low bench in front of the throne seats a minister. Panels of pietra dura work depicting birds and flowers decorate the wall behind the throne; some of these were imported ready-made from Italy, while their settings are in a similar, but Mughal, technique.