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Current traditions of endowment, the cause of stability of architecture and urbanism development of Yazd in the eighth and ninth centuries ah.


Studying the history of endowment, especially in hadiths and narrations, shows that our religious leaders gave a lot of effort in its development. Following this elders, endowment tradition continued and in most important religious, economic and political cities, creation and development of large and important cases of endowment can be seen and benefited from its impacts in different fields [1]. Yazd is the city where in different historical periods before and after Islam was of great importance and paid attention by Muslim rulers and kings. Due to the presence of great personalities like Syed shmsaldin, brother in law of Rashid Aldin Fazlollah Tabib Hamedani, one of the famous Mughal ministers, and his father Syed Rokn-Aldin Mohammad and also the periods of Al-Zafar, which was the capital of Shiite government and also Timurid and Ilkhani period was further considered. The most important remaining historical monuments in Yazd was related to the mentioned era. Various studies of researchers and even the author of the works suggest that many of these buildings have been numerous endowments. Sayed Rokn-Aldin was one of the respected clergies of this city and the founder of the school and Scientific and astronomical device of time and clock in Yazd and left much endowments and charities [2]. His son, following father, left another precious monument. To limit the subject and to obtain better results in the current study, Yazd, one of the most important cities that its civilization works that in the field of architecture and urban civilization remains healthier than other cities, was selected. Also, it has been tried to investigate the role of effective tradition of endowment in architecture flourishing and Islamic art and following urbanization by mentioning their names according to historical documents as remained historical documents, deed of endowments as part of the documentation on the city of Yazd, historical manuscripts, tombstones and graves and or writings of historians and itinerary writers. However, in this limited process, full description of the events in this area is practically not possible. Therefore, by the evaluation of resources that have recorded historical events in this context, analytical-descriptive methods, the type and the discussed effects have not been pointed out. Now, the main research question of the study is that what the role of endowment in Ilkhani, Al-Mozafar and Timurid was in the development of architecture and urbanism in Yazd. Accordingly, it is hypothesized that endowment has bane very influential during the periods mentioned in the progress and prosperity of the architecture in these periods and its sustainable development.

Literature Review:

Numerous studies has so far been conducted in the field of endowment and civilization of Yazd has also been studied by many researchers. Also, a little studies has been conducted regarding endowment and its impacts in Yazd civilization [6]. In an article entitled "Analysis of endowment culture in the Safavid period (according to the stone inscriptions on the Islamic monuments in Yazd city>>, the tradition of endowment in the Safavid period was studied referring to stone inscriptions of Yazd. Also in an article entitled "house of prayer in Yazd and longstanding tradition of endowment", Mousavi [10] reviewed this good tradition in Yazd. In the history books entitled "The New History of Yazd," written by Ahmad Kateb and "History of Yazd" written by Jaffari and "Jame Mofidi" by Mostoufi Bafeghi, also a fairly comprehensive monuments list of examined periods in this study can be found that has been used by the author. But, according to the studies by the author, no research was found that review the impact of endowment on the stability quality of architecture and urbanism development in a certain period.

Research Method:

This research method is a "historical research". Considering the issue that relates to a part of historical part of Yazd and the role of the endowment tradition in that period, the only way to extract the data and their analysis is to rely on remained works and writings, relying on written sources, especially the works that were written in the mentioned historical periods and their author is also the contemporaneous of these periods, although they are small in number. Using library and documentary resources and referring to artistic works such as architecture works and their inscriptions as well as deed of endowments and stone inscriptions was associated to research topic. Identifying and collecting regarded documents of this study was conducted by library studies, referring to various archives, field studies and studying existing historical monuments. These documents have been introduced in some historical texts that are contemporaneous to these documents. Also, since some of these texts, such as the history of Yazd, Modern history of Yazd and Jame Mofidi are valid historical books, it can be said that these documents have the capability of citation. Moreover, some of these documents have been remained by well-known writers and researcher; such as articles and books published by Iraj Afshar on Yazd's history of civilization which some of them are used in this article or the endowments that have been remained by Sayed Rokn Aldin Mohammad and his son Sayed Shams Aldin with some well-known rulers of Yazd such as Amir Chakhmagh Shami and his family which these documents are also valid. Analysis of the data has been done using historical research method based on these valid texts.

Research Theoretical Foundations:

Literally, endowment means "Land or real property for a specific purpose dedicated in the way of Allah" [8] and "in the terminology of the jurists, it is the entailment of the property and donation of its benefits (Beheshti, 2009). Therefore, the element of endowment is one of the key elements of endowment tradition other than the real property. "Sustainable development is a new field that simultaneously considers both politics and culture and focus on economy, trade and industry". It supports environment and coexistence with nature and the equitable rights of human and considers international affairs of countries [13]. Four processes for sustainable development are enumerated below:

1. First, the global ecosystem that is very important in this category.

2. Achievement is the optimum state of stability i.e. both stability is in the process of basic development and that stability should be in an optimal biological, cultural, economic, social, administrative, and environmental structure.

3. It is supporting main and efficient activities.

4. It is important instruments and measures that pave the way to achieve success (ibid).

Therefore, in the discussion architecture development stability, the principles should be found that helps the establishment of desirable properties of the ground and all generations living in. This study aims to prove that reviving the traditions of endowment in each historical period can be helpful in achieving one of these stability principles in architecture and urbanism as was in the past.

Discussion and Research Findings:

As suggested by the writing of some researchers, apparently, at the time of the Abbasid and Umayyad, activities associated with the construction and building in Yazd was minimized and no king or prince was also dominant to the city. This situation lasted until Bani Kakouyeh era, but in the period of Kakouian and the Seljuks, gradual and continuous expansion began in Yazd and continue growing until the Atabakian and Mozafarian periods until Timurid era that reaches to its zenith [9].

According to Ahamd ibn Hossein ibn Kateb, the author of the book "Modern History of Yazd", growth and prosperity of Yazd city was dependent on the presence of the royal family and nobility; however, it was not perpetual, because periods of downturn can be seen in Yazd. The best opportunity to Yazd was when Prince was living in and was directly involved in government affairs. The best option was related to Amir Mobares Aldin Mozafar in the middle of the eighth century AD. It is said that in this historical period, within a century, more than a hundred schools, two hundred monasteries and tombs and twelve mosques were built that many of them are destroyed [10]. One of the largest deed of endowments in Iran in terms of the number of pages and volume of contents was "Jame Alkheirat" deed of endowment (8th century AD) that was remained by Sayed Rokn aldin and his son. In this deed of endowment, citing its text that was read by the late Iraj Afshar with the collaboration of Mohammad Taghi Danesh Pajouh, many endowments have been mentioned in the mosques, schools, House of Sayadat, House of narrations, convent, ligament, house of Healing and tombs and aqueducts (water storage) in Yazd and outside Yazd. Explanation of all details of endowments and the kind of endowment and its subject as well as achieved benefits and how to use them and trusteeship's endowment have been given in this deed of endowment in detail. Apart from this, important deed of endowment of "Robe Rashidi" (8th century AD) has a special part to Yazd. Some buildings, including a family-owned inn endowed by Rashid al-Din, minister of endowment and was recorded to the name of endower, Robe Rashidi in Yazd [5] that some of them such as mentioned inn was ruined in the Timurid period and instead another building was built in its place. Also, numerous appointed stone endowments in many historical buildings of this period suggests the importance of endowment position in the development of Yazd's art and architecture. The following materials have been given in most mentioned deed of endowments:

1. The issue of endowment that is generally water, aqueduct, garden, land and a certain place or a certain building (coexistence with nature).

2. The cost of restoration and repair and also maintenance of an endowed building, the cost of lighting and other infrastructure, buildings or specific places or cities, purchase of equipment and supplies needed, servant salaries, expenses related to the maintenance and development of endowment, feeding on the blessed days such as Ramadan month, education and reading the Quran and other important religious and cultural activities as spending quality of endowment income, which is designed (cultural and management sustainability).

3. The task of endowment custodian such as maintenance and protection of endowed property, avoiding the use of an endowed property in cases which are not mentioned in the deed of endowment or banned. Preventing the outflow of endowed properties from the endowment location and its use usage and preventing the changing or modifying the contents and endowment decree, restoration and repairing the endowed building etc. Managerial and social stability) [6].

4. The motivation and intent of the endower in the endowed property that is mostly to obtain God's satisfaction and divine revelation (like endowment stones appointed in mosque or Jame Alkhayarat or endowed documents of Amir Chakhmagh and his wife (cultural sustainability).

5. Also, when in some endowed document, measures to preserve the endowment and avoiding their capture and occupation are mentioned, which also helps to maintain the property and assets of endowers for future generations and their children (economic stability).

However, apart from deed of endowment, historical documents and texts relating to the history of culture and civilization of Yazd also suggests that the admirable tradition of endowment have had a privileged status among Muslims and religious minorities (Mousavi, 1988). Based on the contents of Jafari's 'History of Yazd", decreed by King Yahya Mpzafari, a doorway and congregation house was built for the mosque from the endowments of Mosque (which is part of the endowment of Sayed Rokn al Din) and its property assets [2]. This suggests the unmatched role of endowments in the development of architecture and urbanism of Yazd. It is noteworthy that such stories are mentioned in historical texts in detail. Also in this respect and about the aqueducts that was followed from the Kheirabad Dehouk, Jafari writes "previously this aqueduct has some water, but it was very low, its owners sold it to Amir Jalal Aldin Chakhmagh, the amount of water was doubled after repair so that it could be used for many households in that locations and Amir Chakhmagh inn, hospice and sugar factory also benefitted from it "[5].

According to what has been written, which its authors are from Yazd, endowment and benefits obtained from were effective in the restoration of some buildings that are damaging or destroying. Of course, not only was the flourish of monuments and architectural and urbanism buildings mentioned in the contents of some deed of monuments, the promotion of religious and cultural activities are also stipulated that was possible under the promotion of architectural monuments. Cases such as feeding at Ghadr nights in mosques or reading Quran in important buildings and places, etc. Full texts of these deed of endowments that include two mentioned books of endowment stones or stone inscriptions which is also mentioned in detail in numerous articles and books in the late Iraj Afshar, Fatemeh Danesh-Yazdi, and articles of doctor Mousavi. Also, because endowment was common among religious minorities such as Jews or Zoroastrians of Yazd, it also emphasizes on the clarity of this issue that the role of endowment in the development of architecture and urbanism in Yazd has been not in a specific direction and orientation. Seven important religious, educational, cultural, social, economic, health and development functions were mentioned for the admirable tradition of endowment [15] that is worth reflecting in its place. Studying some of existing endowments in Yazd, especially the documents related to Shahrokh Bahadorkhan period in Timurid era suggests the influence of rulers like Shahrokh on endowers. Therefore, it can be concluded that one of the reasons for the boom of endowment was supporting local rulers and great kings of endowers and endowment tradition and perhaps one of the reasons of slack of endowment tradition in the present era was neglecting this issue by the authorities.

On the other hand, according to the studies conducted by the author during Atabakan, al-Muzaffar and Timurids periods, several buildings such as schools were built in Yazd that some of them have been built or completed by women, especially wives of sponsors. Apart from schools, mosques, monasteries, cisterns, drinking fountain, cold water wells and aqueducts (generally water supply system), inn, garden and many other public buildings have been built thanks to the Iranian women endowers and income obtained from endowments have given many booms to architecture, and following, urbanism. Amongst this, women played a role in the form of allocating funds from endowments, estates and feudality in order to build a new building, completion of unfinished buildings or renovation and restoration of old buildings. These women who were living in a wealthy class and had been assigned to the royal family or from a large family with high social status, were attained to high economic and political power both due to the social status of families and then, because of family status of spouse or spouses and most importantly, were benefitted from financial independence. Sultans' wives owned wide cadastral across the country and shops, baths and houses. And some ladies in these historical periods had some wide lands that their income spent on economic or public interest. Statistically, remains of buildings by women in the city of Yazd were more than other cities of Iran and in 8th century AD was more than other periods and then in 7th and 8th centuries, the highest monuments were remained. The multiplicity and diversity of these architecture monuments and their beauty has undoubtedly been so effective in the development and expansion of art and civilization, especially the architecture of the city in mentioned historical periods. In the ninth century Timurid period (AD), the ruler of Yazd i.e. Amir Chakhmagh Shami and his wife, Sati Fatemeh, had a major role in the development of architecture and urbanism of this period. These benefactor couple also left many endowments. Amir Chakhmagh ruled for nearly 30 years in Yazd and in this period, detailed description of civil works and construction and real estate of this couple were given, as recorded in the books of history and geography in the monuments of Yazd and their executive tasks and the majority of them have some endowments [5]. From drilling of subterranean rivers for water, cold water wells for the thirsty in the intense heat, creation of reservoirs and other accessories to build a large and public buildings such as mosques and monasteries and bathroom, etc. are the endowment actions of Amir Chakhmagh and his wife. Referring to the principles of sustainable development and reviewing many endowments that only a small part of them are given in this article, without doubt, one of the reasons for the stability of these historic monuments and buildings in terms of physically. Some of them are still standing and were repaired, reconstructed, modernized and renewed during different periods and their results and revenues benefitted different people over the years and the rest were assigned to donors. Of course, the donors' motives, that was mentioned in most endowments documents' text was mentioned as closeness to God and obtaining God's consent, should not be ignored, because the value of each action is for its intention and an act done with good intentions has a long and good feedback.


Considering the deed of endowments and the kind of endowments and social, political and economic conditions of benefactors in eighth and ninth centuries AH in Yazd and attention to stability principles and the definitions given for sustainable development shows that undoubtedly, one of the major reasons for the development of sustainable architecture and urbanism in the mentioned centuries and periods in which the boom of architecture and urbanism in those periods is famous such as Ilkhani, Al Mozafar and Timurid of Yazd has been the admirable and continued tradition of endowment that was supported by local and other rulers and generals. Currently, the most valuable historical monuments remained in Yazd were for these periods that it can be said that almost all of them have benefited from the endowment revenues. Thus, reviewing research hypotheses as "the endowment in the mentioned period has been effective in the advancement and prosperity of architecture of these periods and its and sustainable development" is proved.


[1] Rahimifar, Mahnaz; Saidaf, Abdolghahar, 2013. "social status of donors and in the Safavid era, according to deed of endowment", Islamic Culture and History Quarterly, Issue, 12: 41-70.

[2] Afshar, Iraj, 1988. Yazdnameh, Series of research literature and Iranian culture. Volume II, Tehran, Jodaganeh publications.

[3] Afshar, Iraj, 1995. Yazd memorabilia, Volume II, Tehran: Assembly of cultural figures.

[4] Beheshti, Sayed Mohammad, Ghayoumi, Bidahandi, Mehrdad, 2009. Encyclopedia of Iranian architecture in Persian references, Volume I, Tehran: Text.

[5] Ivankeh, Akiu, 2005. the endowment of one of the Timurid rulers (endowments of Amir Chakhmagh Shami in Yazd). Translated by Mohammad Mehdi Hashemi, a quarterly journal of perpetual heritage, 49: 34-49.

[6] Danesh Yazdi, Fatemeh, 2007. "Analysis of endowment culture in the Safavid period", (According to the inscription on the stone monuments in the city of Yazd) ", Journal of endowment, perpetual heritage, 60: 88-103.

[7] Danesh Yazdim Fatemeh, 2008. Endowment in the culture of Yazd's people according to the inscription on the stone." Journal of the people of Iran, 14: 77-102.

[8] Dehkhoda, Aliakbar, 1946. Dictionary, under the supervision of Mohammad Moein, Jafar Shahidi, Tehran: Tehran University.

[9] Miller, Isabel, 2001. A New History of Yazd (Yazd local history in the ninth century AD), translated by Mansour Seftgel, history and geography books, Issue 46 and 47, 99-103.

[10] Mousavi, Sayed Ahmad, 1988. "House of prayer in Yazd and longstanding tradition of endowment", Journal of endowment, perpetual heritage, issues 23 and 24, 64-69.

[11] Moustoufi Bafeghi, Mohammad Mofid ibn Mahmoud, 1963. Jame Mofidi, Vol. 3, attempted by Iraj Afshar, Tehran, Asatir Publications.

[12] Kateb, Ahmad ibn Hossein ibn Ali, 2007. New History of Yazd, tried by Iraj Afshar, third edition, second edition, Tehran: Amir Kabir.

[13] Keshtkar Falati, Ahmadreza, Ansari Mojtaba Nazi Deziji Sajjad, 2010. "Development of green roof system development based on the criteria of sustainable development, urban identity Quarterly, 6: 15-28.

[14] Jafari, Jafar ibn Mohammad, Nohammad ibn Hossein, 1959. History of Yazd, attempted by Iraj Afshar, Tehran, Translation and Publications Institute.

[15] Behrawan, Hossein, 1989. "Endowment in Islamic society of Iran", Mashkouh Quarterly, 25: 79-107.

Saideh Hosseini Zadeh

Faculty member, Department of Art and Architecture, Payame Noor University (PNU), Tehran, Iran.


Article history:

Received 12 October 2014

Received in revised form 26 December 2014

Accepted 1 January 2015

Available online 18 February 2015

Corresponding Author: Saideh Hosseini Zadeh, Faculty member, Department of Art and Architecture, Payam Noor University, Tehran, Iran. E-mail:
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Author:Zadeh, Saideh Hosseini
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jan 15, 2015
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