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Izz-un-Nissa Begum (Arabic, Urdu: عزالنساء بیگم‎) was the third wife of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. She is popularly known by the title, Akbarabadi Mahal (which probably indicates that she hailed from the city of Akbarabad),[1][3] and commissioned the Akbarabadi Mosque in Shahjahanabad (present-day Old Delhi).[4]

Izz-un-Nissa Begum
عزالنساء بیگم
Died 28 January 1678[1]
Agra, India
Burial Tomb of Sirhindi Begum, Old Delhi[2]
Spouse Shah Jahan
Issue Jahan Afroz Mirza
House Timurid (by marriage)
Father Shahnawaz Khan
Religion Islam



Bakla BTS

Izz-un-Nissa Begum was the daughter of Mirza Iraj who held the title, Shahnawaz Khan. He was the son of Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, and the grandson of Bairam Khan.[5] Bairam Khan was a descendent of Pir-ali Baharlu, a Black Sheep Turkoman.[6] She had a brother Mirza Khan Manuchir.[7]


In 1617, after the Deccan victory, Prince Khurram (future Shah Jahan) proposed to his father, Emperor Jahangir that Abdul Rahim Khan, Izz-un-Nissa's grandfather, should be given the governorship of all newly secured southern islands. He also made Izz-un-Nissa's father, Shahnawaz Khan de facto commander-in-chief of the southern islands. Both the appointments served to guarantee their future loyalty to Shah Jahan. He tied the knot more firmly in a traditional way, by taking Shahnawaz's young daughter Izz-un-Nissa Begum, as his third wife.[8] He did not even bother to consult his father, Jahangir. However, according to Muhammad Amin Qazvini, a contemporary court biographer from the reign of Shah Jahan, the marriage was forced upon the prince.[8] The wedding took place at Burhanpur on 2 September 1617, and was a full 'bond of matrimony through a religious sanctioned marriage ceremony.'[9]

On 25 June 1619, at Agra,[10] she gave birth to her only child, a son. Jahangir named him Sultan Jahan Afroz Mirza. But as the child was not born in an auspicious hour, he did not kept him with himself, and instead sent him to his great grandfather, Abdul Rahim Khan in Deccan, in the company of Abdul Rahim's daughter Janan Begum, the widow of the late Prince Daniyal Mirza, to be brought under his care.[11] Jahangir stated in his memoirs Tuzk-e-Jahangiri that in 1621 all the astrologers thought that Prince Shah Shuja, son of Shah Jahan, who had contracted smallpox, would die. However, according to the astrologer Jotik Rai, another of his sons whom Jahangir did not liked would die. And so Izz-un-Niss's son died prematurely at Burhanpur in March 1621.[12][13]

According to a saying of the contemporary chronicler Inayat Khan, although Shah Jahan had married her and Kandahari Begum, 'Yet his whole delight was centered in this illustrious lady (Mumtaz Mahal), to such an extent that he did not feel towards the others one thousandth part of the affection that he did for Her late Majesty.'[14] According to Qazvini, 'these two wives enjoyed nothing more than the title of wifeship.'[15] However, after the death of Mumtaz Mahal, Inayat Khan noted that Izz-un-nissa Begum and Fatehpuri Mahal (another one of his wives) were especially favoured by the emperor.[16]


Izz-un-Nissa survived her husband, who was deeply concerned about her welfare at the time of his death in 1666. She died 11 years later on 28 January 1678 in Agra. Izz-un-Nissa Begum was buried in the Sirhindi Garden laid out by her in the Sabji Mandi area in the outskirts of Shahjahanabad (present-day Old Delhi). Her tomb is referred to as the tomb of Sirhindi Begum. This must be another title of Izz-un-Nissa Begum.[2]

Contributions to architectureEdit

Izz-un-Nissa Begum provided a serai and an impressive mosque in a major market in the south part of Delhi. Shah Jahan used this mosque for prayer until his own was completed in 1656. It no longer exists, but 19th century illustrations indicate that the mosque was similar to contemporary ones built by Fatehpuri Mahal (another one of Shah Jahan's wives) and Jahanara Begum.[17]


  1. ^ a b Awrangābādī, Shāhnavāz Khān; Shāhnavāz, ʻAbd al-Ḥayy ibn; Prashad, Baini (1952). The Maāthir-ul-umarā: being biographies of the Muhammādan and Hindu officers of the Timurid sovereigns of India from 1500 to about 1780 A.D. Asiatic Society. p. 924. 
  2. ^ a b Sarker, Kobita (2007). Shah Jahan and his paradise on earth : the story of Shah Jahan's creations in Agra and Shahjahanabad in the golden days of the Mughals (1. publ. ed.). Kolkata: K.P. Bagchi & Co. p. 39. ISBN 9788170743002. 
  3. ^ Blake, Stephen P. (2002). Shahjahanabad : the sovereign city in Mughal India, 1639-1739. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 63. ISBN 9780521522991. 
  4. ^ Fanshawe, H. C. (1998). Delhi, Past and Present. Asian Educational Services. p. 43. ISBN 9788120613188. 
  5. ^ Bibliotheca Indica - Volume 61, Issue 1. Baptist Mission Press. 1873. pp. 334–337. 
  6. ^ Begum, Gulbadan (1902). The History of Humayun (Humayun-Nama). Royal Asiatic Society. p. 281. 
  7. ^ Shāhnavāz Khān Awrangābādī; ʻAbd al-Ḥayy ibn Shāhnavāz; Bani Prasad (1952). Maāthir-ul-umarā: being biographies of the Muhammādan and Hindu officers of the Timurid sovereigns of India from 1500 to about 1780 A.D. Asiatic Society. p. 80. 
  8. ^ a b Nicoll 2009, p. 103.
  9. ^ Nicoll 2009, p. 104.
  10. ^ Nicoll 2009, p. 257.
  11. ^ Khan & Begley 1990, p. 8.
  12. ^ Jahangir, Emperor; Thackston, Wheeler McIntosh (1999). The Jahangirnama : memoirs of Jahangir, Emperor of India. Washington, D. C.: Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; New York: Oxford University Press. 
  13. ^ Nicoll 2009, p. 258.
  14. ^ Khan & Begley 1990, p. 71.
  15. ^ Sarkar, Kobita (2007). Shah Jahan and his paradise on earth: the story of Shah Jahan's creations in Agra and Shahjahanabad in the golden days of the Mughals. K.P. Bagchi & Co. p. 24. ISBN 978-8-170-74300-2. 
  16. ^ Koch, Ebba (2006). The complete Taj Mahal and the riverfront gardens of Agra. Bookwise (India) Pvt. Ltd. p. 120. 
  17. ^ Asher, [by] Catherine B. (1992). The new Cambridge history of India (Repr. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. p. 201. ISBN 9780521267281. 


  • Nicoll, Fergus (2009). Shah Jahan: The Rise and Fall of the Mughal Emperor. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-670-08303-9. 
  • Khan, Inayat; Begley, Wayne Edison (1990). The Shah Jahan nama of 'Inayat Khan: an abridged history of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, compiled by his royal librarian : the nineteenth-century manuscript translation of A.R. Fuller (British Library, add. 30,777). Oxford University Press. p. 71.