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 an emperor of the Mughal dynasty of India. He was the son of Mughal emperor Jahangir and his Rajput wife Manmati. His given name was Prince Khurram and 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").
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. Upon his ascent to the throne, he had a number of family members executed to prevent challenges to his power.
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.1
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 and including 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. When Shah Jahan fell ill in 1657/1067 AH, Awrangzib took the opportunity to dethrone his father and imprison him, claiming for himself the succession of Mughal rule. Shah Jahan recovered from his illness but remained imprisoned at the Red Fort of Agra, dying ten years later in 1666/1076.
Asaf Khan (d. 1641) was the brother of Nur Jahan, Jahangir's wife, and wazir to the same emperor. His daughter was married to Shah Jahan's wife, Mumtaz Mahal. His tomb, commissioned by Shah Jahan, is built to the west of Jahangir's mausoleum, facing it, in the same enclosure of Shahdara, near the city of Lahore. It stands on a platform faced in red sandstone, with a reservoir of water at each corner.
The tomb is an example of the 'subsidiary tomb' type: built entirely of brick, it is a one-story regular octagon, with a large central double-layered bulbous dome. Each side has a deeply recessed iwan, or alcove, with a door and arched window looking into the tomb. Marble, and blue kashi tiles typical of Lahore once covered the mausoleum; they have since been stripped off. The interior was renowned for its lavish use of white marble and precious stone inlay, which have been removed and reused in local temples. The inner dome ceiling is decorated in a high plaster relief of interlacing patterns. The tomb still contains the marble sarcophagus, carved with Koranic inscriptions.
Tillotson, G.H.R.. 1990. Mughal India. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 136.