The Muzaffarid dynasty was a Persian dynasty which came to power in Iran following the breakup of the Ilkhanate in the 14th century. At their zenith, they ruled a kingdom comprising Iranian Azerbaijan, Central Persia, and Persian Iraq.
The Muzaffarids were originally from Arabia and had settled in Khorasan from the beginning of Caliphal rule there. They stayed in Khorasan up until the Mongol invasion of that province, at which point they fled to Yazd. Serving under the Il-Khans, they gained prominence when Sharaf al-Din Muzaffar was made governor of Maibud. He was tasked with crushing the robber-bands that were roaming around the country.
Sharaf al-Din’s son, Mubariz al-Din Muhammad, was brought up at the Il-Khan’s court but returned to Maibud upon the death of the Il-Khan Öljeitü. In around 1319 he overthrew the atabeg of Yazd and was subsequently recognized as governor of the city by the central Il-Khan government. Following this, he began fighting against the Neguderis, a Mongol tribal group. He managed to face this crisis with a minimum of loss.
In the wake of the loss of Il-Khan authority in central Iran following the death of Abu Sa’id (Ilkhanid dynasty), Mubariz al-Din continued to carry out his expansionary policy. In 1339 or 1340 he invaded the province of Kirman and seized it from its Mongol governor, Qutb al-Din b. Nasir. Kutb al-Din was able to retake the province for a short time after receiving aid from the Kartid dynasty of Herat, but Mubariz al-Din permanently gained control of Kirman in late 1340. The city of Bam was besieged and conquered a few years after this.
After the conquest of Kirman, Mubariz al-Din became a rival of the neighbouring Injuids, who controlled Shiraz and Isfahan. Although the Muzaffarids and Injuids had traditionally been on friendly terms with one another, the Injuid Abu Esshaq’s desire to gain Kirman led him to start a drawn-out conflict with the Muzaffarids in 1347. He unsuccessfully besieged Yazd (1350–1351), after which his fortunes declined rapidly. Defeated on the field in 1353, Abu Esshaq was forced to take refuge in Shiraz and finally surrender. He managed to escape from Shiraz and fled to Isfahan, but Mubariz al-Din pursued him, took the city and executed the Injuid ruler. Fars and western Iran were now under his control.
With the destruction of Injuid authority, the Muzaffarids was the strongest power in central Iran, and Shiraz was made their capital. Mubariz al-Din’s strength was such that when the khan of the Golden Horde, Jani Beg, sent an offer to become his vassal, he was able to decline. In fact, he pushed on into Azerbaijan, which Jani Beg had conquered in 1357. He defeated the khan’s governor Akhichuq and occupied Tabriz, but realized that he could not hold his position against the Jalayirid troops marching from Baghdad and soon retreated. The Jalayirids would, therefore, maintain a hold on Tabriz, despite further attempts by the Muzaffarids to take it.
Mubariz al-Din was known as a cruel ruler, and soon afterwards 1358, his son Shah Shoja blinded and imprisoned him. A temporary reconciliation was reached, but it failed to last and he died, again in prison, in 1363.
By March 1393 Timur had advanced down to Shushtar and Dizful, installing a Sarbadar as governor there. He also freed ‘Imad-Din Ahmad from imprisonment. Shah Mansur fled Shiraz, but then turned around and met Timur’s forces. With an army weakened by desertions, he fought bravely but was forced to retreat. Attempting to reach Shiraz, he was captured by forces of prince Shah Rukh and was decapitated. The other Muzaffarid princes then again swore allegiance to Timur. They were received honourably by the conqueror, but on May 22 in Qumisha they were executed. Only Zain al-Abidin and Sultan Shibli (another son of Shah Shoja) survived the purge; they were sent to Samarkand.
- Mubariz al-Din Muhammad (1314–1358)
- Shah Shoja (1358-1364)
- Shah Mahmud (at Isfahan) (1364–1366)
- Shah Shoja (1366-1384)
- Zain al-Abidin (1384–1387)
- Shah Yahya (in Shiraz, 1387-1391)
- Sultan Ahmad (in Kerman, 1387-1391)
- Sultan Abu Ishaq (in Sirajan, 1387-1391)
- Shah Mansur (1391-1393)