ʿABD-AL-ḤAMID b. AḤMAD b. ʿABD-AL-ṢAMAD ŠIRĀZI, long-serving vizier to the Ghaznavid sultans Ebrāhim b. Masʿud (r. 451-92/1059-99) and his son Masʿud III (r. 492-508/1199-1215). He stemmed from a family with long tradition of service to the sultans, being the son of the vizier of Masʿud (I) b. Maḥmud and the latter’s son Mawdud (see AḤMAD ŠIRAZI), and thus exemplifies the feeling of the age that the arcana of administrative expertise could be handed down within certain families.
There is a paucity of dates for his life, but he is said to have served Ebrāhim for twenty-two years until that sultan died, which, counting back from the death-date of 492/1099, would place the start of ʿAbd-al-Ḥamid’s ministry for Ebrāhim in 470/1077-78; he then went on to serve Masʿud for sixteen years, i.e., till 508/1114-15. Nāṣer-al-Din Kermāni (pp. 46-47, also largely repeated in ʿAqili, pp. 195-96; cf. Bosworth, pp. 71-72, 86) states that he died a martyr at the opening of Bahrām Shah’s reign, i.e., soon after 512/1118; it may be that he had been identified too closely with the brief reign of the previous sultan, Arslān Shah or Malek Arslān b. Masʿud III, and was killed in a purge of the latter’s former supporters, although he is not recorded as having served Arslān Shah as his vizier (Bosworth, pp. 91-92, 105).
The sources for the actual events of this period are sparse, and they have nothing specific about his career as a vizier. However, its very length surely indicates more than average competence, and he was highly praised for this and for his learning by contemporary poets like Sayyed Ḥasan, Abu’l-Faraj Runi, and Masʿud-e Saʿd-e Salmān; the latter addressed poems to him from prison seeking his intercession with the sultan. It also appears that the celebrated translator into elegant Persian prose of Ebn al-Moqaffaʿ’s Arabic version of Kalila wa Demna, Abu’l-Maʿāli Naṣr or Naṣr-Allāh b. Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Ḥamid Širāzi, later vizier to the penultimate Ghaznavid sultan Ḵosraw Shah b. Bahrām Shah, was his grandson (Bosworth, p. 72).
Sayf-al-Din ʿAqili, Āṯār al-wozarāʾ, ed. Jalāl-al-Din Ormavi Moḥaddeṯ, Tehran, 1959.
C. E. Bosworth, The Later Ghaznavids, Splendour and Decay. The Dynasty in Afghanistan and Northern India 1040-1186, Edinburgh, 1977.
Nāṣer-al-Din Kermāni, Nasāʾem al-asḥār, ed. Jalāl-al-Din Ormavi Moḥaddeṯ, Tehran, 1959.
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: November 24, 2010
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 1, p. 110