One of the oldest Isfahan Mosques it comes under officially recognised monuments of Iran. For a virtual tour and pictures of the city click on the link to the Hakim Mosque on the Isfahan Site. It has been included in the books published by Iranian Ministry of Antiquities on Monuments Of Iran, History Of Monuments of Isfahan by Dr Honarfar (translated below), as well as Archeological guides9.
The Hakim Mosque is situated at the end of Painter and Dyer's Market (Bazaar-e-Rang Razan) part of Isfahan's Bazaar. It was built in mid seventeenth century, on the site of a tenth century mosque built by Ismail Ibn Abbad minister in the court of Fakhr-Al-Doleh or Moayed-Al-Doleh of the Dalaimite or Buyids dynasty, of which only the Jurjir (or Jorjir) Portal remains (discovered in 1955 hidden behind mud brick walls). The seventeenth century mosque was built by our ancestor Mohammad Davoud Hakim. Construction started in 1656/7 and finished in 1662/3. Mohammad Davoud was the king's doctor in the Safavid Courts of Shah Safi and Shah Abbas II. According to European travelers to Persia and India in the seventeenth century, Doctor Mohammad Davoud fell out of Shah's favour and went to India and was given the title Tagharrob Khan in the Court of the Emperor of India Aurengzib.
Thomas Rochford of Anglia Polytechnic University has designed an amazing site for Isfahan . Please take the time to visit it. In addition to a virtual tour of the city, comprehensive historical and architectural information are provided, including the Hakim Mosque. Thomas has also been very kind by providing the photos of the entrances to the mosque below. He took these photos for us during a visit to Isfahan.
Pages 612 - 615
A History of Isfahan Historical Monuments
Dr Lotfallah Honarfar
I have translated the following pages from the above book. The pages selected cover the historical aspects relevant to this site, pages 615-618 were exclude as they cover the religious inscriptions and discuss the calligraphy. I am not a professional translator, neither am I literary and will be happy to replace it with a better translation. Where appropriate I have added dates for ease of references and brief explanatory notes, which are in brackets.
Many thanks to SIamak Nikopoor for translating the Arabic texts. There are two recurring problems in studying Persian history, one concerns confusion arising from the use of same names or titles and the other is the inaccurate dates exacerbated by the use of different calendars. One finds that Persian Kings awarded the same title to different people. This is because the kings in the East treated everything and everybody in their land as their property and unlike Europe were not obliged to recognise the hereditary rights of their noblemen.
5th September 2000, London
The Hakim Mosque
On the tablet on top of the northern entrance of this Mosque it is inscribed that the Hakim Mosque was founded by Mohammad Davoud entitled as Tagharrob Khan physician to Shah Abbas II (1642-1666 AD) and was completed in the year 1073 A.H. (1662/3 AD). This mosque was constructed in the same area as ancient mosque of Deylamid era called Jorjir or the Painters’ Guild, of which only the porch remains today. Chardin has written the following about this physician (Hakim) Davoud who was Shah Safi’s (Safi I, 1629 - 1642) and Shah Abbas The Second’s physician:
‘’Because of some intrigue he fell out of Shah’s favour and he was afraid of worse things to come (death; one of Safi's first acts when he came to the throne was to have 7 of his courtiers beheaded ) escaped to India and did so well there to become a very successful, reputable and prominent person. According to the travel diaries of Bernier as soon as Hakim Davoud, who had a big part to play in the war between Aurengzib and his brothers, was called Arabshah (Hakim Davoud that is, the references to Arabshah or Arab Khan is a mistake by Chardin and the English translator of Bernier's Travels has confirmed it ), established himself in a prominent position started sending plenty of riches to his family in Isfahan, and either out of a sense of nationalistic feelings or because of a desire to keep his name alive, continued doing so (sending funds ) until the construction of the mosque was completed.’’
Bernier as well as writing about his travels talks of Tagharrob Khan and this is the same name or title as that of Hakim Davoud named in the tablet at the northern entrance of the Hakim Mosque.
Honarfar has footnote (613/1) referring Monuments of Iran (Assar-e-Iran), Persian translation, volume I, second book, page 115.
The Tablet On The Eastern Entrance Of The Hakim Mosque
Near the eastern entrance of the Hakim Mosque opposite the burial grounds of Haj Mohammad Ebrahim Kalbassi, a poem is inscribed in white Nastaliq calligraphy on blue ceramic tiles which describes the commissioning of the mosque’s construction by Hakim Davoud during the reign of Shah Abbas II and the year construction began 1067 A.H. (It was a sign of grandeur in Iran for poets to be commissioned to describe events in noble’s lives in colourful language. Below is typical Persian poetry with mystic references and Persian wit, note the pun on the name Davoud or David with mystical reference to the prophet David’s paradise. The last line codifies the year of the construction using the Abjad Alphabet which is ancient coding system, which is an ancient system of using alphabet to codify numbers. This is an amazing feature of the Iranians love for art and mathematics, the line is in perfect harmony with the rest of the poem yet it includes a coded number. ):
In the age that the throne is adorned by the ruler of the revolving world, the king of kings
The Solomon of (his?) time, Abbas The Second, the shadow of god
Omniscient was made the sagacious physician Davoud
Who came to be called in the court of India as Tagharrob khan
That he must make his way without delay to Isfahan
To lay the foundation of a mosque like Davoud’s paradise
It was through the efforts of the employer that in these times there was constructed
An auspicious mosque like the solitary spiritual world
Pleasant place of prayer which liberates the mind in a benevolent manner
Date of construction is written clearly in this next part
The centrepoint of worship is now from Davoud of Isfahan
1067 (A.H.-1656/7 AD )
In between the above poems on a smaller plaque there are lines describing repairs in later years. One of which is written in between lines five and six of the poem in white on a turquoise background the following has been inscribed: ‘’Repairs were carried out in the solar year 1323" (1944 AD, the solar calender is the Iranian Calendar Hedjri Shamsie ); in between lines six and seven there is yet another inscription the following is written in Arabic One thousand and Eighty Five (1085 AH 1674/5 AD ) and at the end of the poems on a small plaque attributing the above work to: ‘’Master Ceramic Maker Mohammad 1085’’ (AH).
Honarfar has a footnote (614/1) saying the date 1085 AH (1674/5 AD ) represents completion of the mosque during the reign of Shah Soleiman (Safi II reigned 1666 - 1694 ).
On the crest of the entrance, three prayers from psalms 35 (Enlightment), 17 and 18 (Repentance) of Quran are written in yellow ink on blue background in Sols calligraphy, and it is ended with the following: Give charity in the name of God, God is great, God is generous, God is knowledge. On top of the crescent there is a small inscription: Repaired on the Sheval of 1363 AH (1943 AD) by Haj Abolghassem-e-Tabrizi.
The Historical Inscription on the Northern Entrance to the Hakim Mosque
The inscription on the northern entrance of the Hakim Mosque written in Sols calligraphy on turquoise ceramics states that the mosque was built during the reign of Shah Abbas II by Hakim (doctor) Mohammad Davoud entitled as Tagharrob Khan. The calligraphy for this inscription was by Mohammad Reza Emami and it was written in 1073 AH (1662/3 AD):
"In the reign of the Great Sultan and the generous King of Kings (Khaghan), master of subjects of numerous nations, master of the Persian and Arab nations, promoter of the religion of the innocent Imams, Sultan the son of Sultan Ebi al-Mozzafar Shah Abbas The Second Moussavi Safavi Hosseinie Bahador Khan, may god preserve his Kingdom forever, this humbles subject of this merciful king, Mohammed Davoud Hakim entitled as Taghorrob Khan, may god preserve his benevolence and may god on the day of atonement grant upon him a high place, succeeded in completing the construction of this mosque. Written by Mohammad Reza Emami in the year 1073" (AH, 1662/3 AD).
On the sides of the northern entrance the name of the master builder who built the portal is written on two small white inscriptions: "The work of Faghir Mohammad Ali son of Master builder Ali Beik Esfahanie".
The rest of Honarfar describes the religious tables inside the Mosque which will be added at a later stage. There is one item from page 618 which is interesting, it's a poem written inside two cells or chambers each hemistich of the following poem is written in siomple tri colour calligraphy. The poem is rather strange, either it codifies a date using the Abjad Alphabetic coding system or it is a religious pun where the name Hakim has a double meaning because the first hemistich could also be read as "The key to the door of knowledge is":
"The key to the Hakim's treasure is"
"In the name of almighty merciful god"
Latin Anno Hegirae ‘’in the year of Hegira’’ It is the western abbreviation for the Islamic (Arabic) lunar calendar. For further information please see the various Islamic sites and its conversion problems (Calendar).
or Jame’-e- Rangrazan in Persian, Honarfar has a footnote (612/2) explaining the reason for this name was because of the mosque’s location at the end of the Painters Bazaar (within the main Bazaar in Isfahan? The Bazaars in Iran tend to be long thoroughfares and groups of shops or businesses have evolved in sections by their profession as mini Bazaars within the main Bazaar).
Iranians were one of the first to use a solar calendar as calculated by the famous mathematician and poet Omar Khyaam in the middle ages - but it was not officially adopted until earlier this century. The Iranian Calendar is more accurate than the Gregorian Calendar. The current calendar is Islamic and is like all the other Islamic calendars is based on the migration of the Prophet Mohammad from Mecca to Medina and is called Hejri-e-Shamsie in Persian, Hejri is Arabic for migration and Shamsie means of the Shams which is the sun. Reference: Ross, K. L. ``Iranian Calendars.''