ABU’L-FAŻL ŠĪRĀZĪ, AL-ʿABBĀS B. AL-ḤOSAYN, vizier in the time of the Buyids, patron of the Shiʿi Arab poet Ebn al-Ḥaǰǰāǰ, born in Shiraz in 303/915, died at Kūfa in 362/973.
According to Ebn Meskawayh (Taǰāreb al-omam VI, Cairo, 1333/1915, p. 269) Abu’l-Fażl came to Baghdad with the Buyid Moʿezz-al-dawla. He was a deputy to Mohallabī (d. 351/962), who married him to his daughter. Abu’l-Fażl allegedly owed the progress of his career to Mohallabī, who served thirteen years as vizier to Moʿezz-al-dawla; he was appointed to succeed Mohallabī at his death. Possibly another appointment to serve ʿEzz-al-dawla and the caliph Moṭīʿ is recorded, though this term lasted only three months. He was returned to office in 360/971. In this last term he was accused of actions which marked him as a tyrant and oppressor. He was thought to have set fire to part of the city in response to killing of an officer of the administration. The blaze was said to have covered the area from the quarter of the coppersmiths to the quarter of the fishmongers, killing 17,000 men, women, and children and destroying 320 houses, 300 shops, 33 mosques, and a number of bathhouses. (The number of fatalities seems high in proportion to the number of buildings.) Afterwards one of the citizens is said to have flung this bitter remark at him: “O vizier! You have shown us your power, and now we hope God will show us His power in regard to you!” Abu’l-Fażl made no reply. The protests mounted, and ʿEzz-al-dawla arrested him, confiscated his wealth, punished him, and finally had him poisoned at Kūfa. The fatal draught did not kill him immediately but caused ulcerations of the bladder which led to his demise.
His involvement in the incident of the fire in the Karḵ market district—whether he was personally responsible or not—should be viewed in the context of the communal strife during which it occurred. It was one of a series of violent events (see Ebn al-Aṯīr VIII, Cairo, 1302/1885, p. 348). The year before, 361/972, there had been another large fire in this politically strategic and volatile section during disorders involving ʿayyār and Sunni and Shiʿi partisans (ibid., VIII, p. 344). On the sometimes violent history of that section of Baghdad, see “al-Karḵ,” EI2 IV, pp. 652-53.
See also Ebn al-Jawzī, Montẓam VII, Hyderabad, 1357/1938, pp. 9-10.
Ebn Taḡrīberdī, al-Noǰūm al-zāhera III, Cairo, 1351/1932, p. 333; IV, Cairo, 1352/1933, pp. 68-69.
Zereklī, Aʿlām2 IV, p. 32.
“Ibn al-Ḥadjdjādj,” EI2 III, pp. 780-81.
(L. A. Giffen)
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 21, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, p. 291