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Jahangir Khan Seminary (Qom)

Jahāngīr Khān or Jānī Khān Seminary (Persian: مدرسه علمیه جهانگیرخان) is a school in Qom. It is located across from the Jami' Mosque of Qom, with a small yard surrounded by twenty chambers, in front of which is a small portico decorated with chalk and brick muqarnases (vaultings), and instricptions with names of Allah, the Prophet (s), and Imam Ali (a). There is a disagreement as to why the school came to be known as Jahangir Khan. The school is registered as a national monument of Iran, and has many endowments.

The main entrance of Jahangir Khan Seminary


Name of the School

According to historical sources as well as the letter of its endowment, the school's name is Jani Khan School. It is not known why it came to be known as "Jahangir Khan," and Mirza 'Abbas Fayd's remark that the school was repaired during the Safavid period by Jahangir Khan, a teacher at Shah School in Isfahan, is not supported by any evidence.

In the letter of the endowment back in 1317/1899, which was written about two hundred years after the beginning of the Safavid Period, the school is also referred to as Jani Khan.

The school is also known as "Nasiri School", because parts of the expenses of its students and the lighting of the school was provided by Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar. Today the school is known as Jahangir Khan, and in the new tiling of the school constructed in 1425/2004, "Jahangir Khan" is inscribed on the entrance gate of the school.

History of the Building

In his Ganjina-yi athar-i Qom (treasure of the monuments of Qom), Fayd Qummi dates the construction of the school back to the time of the construction of the Jami' Mosque in mid-8th/mid-14th century. Moreover, in his Tarikh Qom (history of Qom), Muhammad Husayn Nasir al-Shari'a dates the construction of the building to the period before the Safavid era. Husayn Mudarrisi Tabataba'i believes that the school was built in the eleventh/seventeenth century coincident with the Safavid period.

Mirza 'Abbas Fayd Qummi believes that the school was repaired once during the Safavid period by a scholar of the time, Mirza Jahangir Khan, a teacher of Shah School in Isfahan. Thus, the school was facilitated with a library and a librarian.

During the Safavid and Qajar periods, the school was operative and well-functioning. Sayyid Ali b. Muhammad Baqir al-Musawi al-Khwansari finished writing his treatise, Mishkat al-sawab fi sharh khulasa al-hisab (the niche of accuracy in exposition of the summary of calculus: an exposition of Shaykh Baha'i's treatise on calculus), at the request of his friends in the seminary on the eve of Thursday, Rabi' al-Awwal 1221, May 1806 in Jani Khan School of Qom, which implies that the school was operative at the time.

However, in mid-13th/19th century, around 1277/1860, the school was about to be ruined. Thus, Mirza Nasr Allah Mustawfi Garakani set up to reconstruct the school, and called it Nasiri School. In a letter of endowment prepared by Garakani's children, it is explicitly stated that he "constructed" the school, which implies that the previous building was totally demolished.

Founder of the School

There is not much information about the founder of the school. Different views have been cited in this regard. Fayd Qummi believes that Jani Khan School and Jani Khan Mosque were built by the same person: Sultan Jani Khan, the king of Tatars in Turkestan.

Husayn Mudarrisi Tabataba'i criticizes Fayd's view, maintaining that Jani Khan School was a work of Jani Khan Shamlu, a ruler on behalf of Shah Safi and Shah Abbas II. The Shamlu tribe served Qom, including the construction of Mu'miniyya School. Thus, it is probable that Jani Khan School in Qom is attributed to Jani Khan Shamlu.

Conditions and Rules of the School

Here are some conditions and rules of the school as appearing in its letter of endowment:

  • First: the tutor of Kuttab children is not allowed to sit in chambers of the school.
  • Second: if seminary students have guests, then their guest is only permitted to stay there for three nights.
  • Third: no work is allowed at school except the study of religious sciences.
  • Fourth: seminary students who are not active, who lock their chambers and go away, and sometimes show up and ask for their monthly salary, should not be allowed into the school, unless they are married and have to go home at nights, although they do appear at school during daytimes.
  • Fifth: no more than two people are permitted to stay in each chamber. However, for having discussions, more than two people from outside the school can enter the chambers.

Reconstruction and Repairs

A perspective of the yard of the school

The school was repeatedly repaired. According to the school's letter of endowment, the previous building was totally ruined, and thus, the present building of the school dates back to about 1287/1870, because the date of the letter of endowment is 1317/1899.

Before reconstruction, the school was operative during the Qajar period and the first Pahlavi period. Moreover, during the period of Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim al-Ha'iri al-Yazdi, the founder of the Seminary of Qom, lectures were held at the school, and some teachers such as Mirza Muhammad Ali Adib Tihrani, Sidihi Isfahani, and Shaykh Abu l-Hasan Faqihi Payinshahri taught there. According to Zaryab Khu'i, Imam Khomeini resided at the school for a while.

Another reconstruction was made during the period of Ayatollah Burujirdi. For example, one of the chambers was dug in order to be protected against wetness. A stone inscription installed on the entrance gate of the school shows that the repairs occurred in 1373/1953. After these repairs, Sayyid Husayn Budala undertook the supervision and management of the school on behalf of Ayatollah Burujirdi.

In recent years, the school was fundamentally reconstructed, mostly by the Office of Endowments and Charities of Qom Province at the expense of the school's wide-ranging endowments. Ten chambers were added to the upstairs floor, two shops as well as a public bathroom adjacent to the school were purchased and annexed to the school, and several halls and teaching rooms were added to the school's court.