ABŪ BAKR ḤAṢĪRĪ (ḴᵛĀJA ABŪ BAKR ʿABDALLĀH B. YŪSOF SĪSTĀNĪ), Shafeʿite faqīh (jurist) and Ghaznavid official, d. 424/1033. According to the poet Farroḵī he came from a well-reputed family in Sīstān, and his father was a man of learning. Abū Bakr strove to implement the religious policy of Sultan Maḥmūd, persecuting heretics, Qarmaṭīs, and the impious. Perhaps because of his religiosity, he was employed by Maḥmūd to deliver messages to the vizier Aḥmad b. Ḥasan Maymandī concerning the latter’s accumulation of wealth. After Maymandī’s dismissal and the confiscation of his fortune (416/1025-26), Maḥmūd chose Abū Bakr to administer a public oath in which Maymandī would swear he had retained nothing.
Sultan Maḥmūd granted special favors to Abū Bakr Ḥaṣīrī; one was the privilege of possessing an elephant and a howdah. His influence as sultan’s companion was such that Farroḵī could relate how one night a group of prisoners was released because of Abū Bakr’s mediation. He was assigned important political responsibilities; for example, when war broke out between Qadr Khan, the governor of Turkestan, and ʿAlī Tegīn, and the latter gained control of Samarqand, Qadr Khan asked for aid from Maḥmūd. Maḥmūd, however, was preoccupied with leading an army against Somnath in India. When he returned from Somnath in 417, he sent Abū Bakr Ḥaṣīrī with a large army to relieve Qadr Khan. ʿAlī Tegīn was defeated and forced to make peace. Farroḵī apparently refers to this event in one of his qaṣīdas, where he praises Abū Bakr as “both a man of the book and a man of the sword.”
At the end of his reign, when Maḥmūd turned against the crown prince, Masʿūd, and gave his preference to another son, Moḥammad, Abū Bakr Ḥaṣīrī adhered to Masʿūd’s party. At the time, this partisanship was disadvantageous and caused Abū Bakr many hardships; hence, after gaining power, Masʿūd always kept Abū Bakr’s loyalty in mind and considered him the most deserving of favor of all his father’s companions.
After Maḥmūd’s death in 421/1030, the nobles of the Ghaznavid court feared Masʿūd’s revenge; they removed Moḥammad from the throne after a brief reign and imprisoned him in the fortress Kūhtīz. When they wrote to Masʿūd from Tegīnābād, asking forgiveness for having supported his brother and inviting him to Ḡazna, they sent the letter by the hand of Abū Bakr, perhaps because Masʿūd regarded him favorably. On 10 Šawwāl, Ḥaṣīrī and his companion, Mangītorāk, the brother of the Ḥāǰeb-e Bozorg, ʿAlī Qarīb, were admitted into the presence of Masʿūd at Herat; they congratulated him on his accession to the throne and presented the letter. Masʿūd treated them kindly and presented Abū Bakr with a costly robe “such as those given to the kings’ close companions.” He mentioned Abū Bakr’s previous services, and promised further benefits. During Masʿūd’s reign, Abū Bakr Ḥaṣīrī enjoyed the respect and special attention of the sultan. Ḥaṣīrī was able to maintain his position and reputation in a conflict with Maymandī (again vizier from 4 Ṣafar 422/31 January 1031) related by Bayhaqī, who lived near Ḥaṣīrī. Abū Bakr continued to be a respected companion in Masʿūd’s circle until his death at Bost on 7 Ṣafar 424/12 January 1033 (according to Bayhaqī).
Because of the honor that Abū Bakr commanded at the Ghaznavid court, and also, perhaps, because he came from the same province as Farroḵī, the poet praises him copiously in eleven qaṣīdas mentioning his learning and love of poetry, his munificence and generosity.
Abū Bakr’s son, Abu’l-Qāsem Ebrāhīm Ḥaṣīrī, likewise rose in the Ghaznavid ranks and held high office during the reign of Maḥmūd. Bayhaqī, a friend of Abu’l-Qāsem, makes note of his wisdom. Abu’l-Qāsem was a supporter and a close companion of Masʿūd. In 422/1030-31 he was sent on a mission to Kāšḡar in Turkestan accompanied by the qāżī Abū Ṭāher ʿAbdallāh b. Aḥmad Tabbānī. His object was to draw up a marriage contract between Qadr Khan’s daughter (previously engaged to the sultan’s brother, Moḥammad), and Masʿūd. He also hoped to conclude a contract between a daughter of Boḡra Tegīn and Abu’l-Fatḥ Mawdūd, the son of Masʿūd. Owing to the death of Qadr Khan, this mission took nearly four years. After Abu’l-Qāsem returned to court in 425/1033-34, he enjoyed Masʿūd’s kindness and generosity. Bayhaqī records the happy conclusion of Abu’l-Qāsem Ḥaṣīrī’s life: After he performed the pilgrimage, he retired from the government affairs, sought solitude, and devoted himself to works of charity.
Bayhaqī, 2nd ed., pp. 4, 55-56, 94, 96, 197-212, 248, 267-81, 460, 547-49, 693-94.
Dīvān-e Farroḵī Sīstānī, ed. M. Dabīrsīāqī, Tehran, 1335 Š./1957, pp. 28-29, 43-46, 170-75, 180-81, 319-23, 359-61.
Sayf-al-dīn ʿOqaylī, Āṯār al-wozarāʾ, ed. Ormavī, Tehran, 1337 Š./1959, pp. 157-58, 176-78.
Ḡ. Ḥ. Yūsofī, Farroḵī Sīstānī, Mašhad, 1341 Š./1963, pp. 108-10, 177, 265, 383, 390, 394, 400, 404, 416.
Barthold, Turkistan3, p. 285.
M. Nazim, The Life and Times of Sulṭān Maḥmūd of Ghazna, Cambridge, 1931, p. 55.
(Ḡ. Ḥ. Yūsofī)
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 19, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, pp. 261-262