BALĀSĀNĪ, MAJD-AL-MOLK ABUʾL-FAŻL ASʿAD B. MOḤAMMAD QOMĪ, mostawfī or financial intendant to the Saljuq sultan Berk-yaruq (Barkīāroq) b. Malekšāh in the early years of the latter’s reign and then, from 490/1097 until his death in 492/1099, vizier to that monarch. The nesba also appears in the form Barāvestānī, from the name of a village in the region of Qom.
Majd-al-Molk had been mostawfī in succession to Šaraf al-Molk Ḵᵛārazmī, during Malekšāh’s sultanate, but once Berk-yaruq came to the throne, he became the real power in the state. With the support of his patron, the sultan’s mother Zobayda Ḵātūn, he managed in 488/1095 to secure the dismissal from the vizierate of the capable Moʾayyed-al-Molk b. Neẓām-al-Molk and the appointment of his less capable brother Faḵr-al-Molk, estranged from Moʾayyed-al-Molk through a quarrel over their father’s inheritance. His influence, exercised through Faḵr-al-Molk, was now high, and two years later (490/1097) he became vizier in name also; but he came up against the jealousy of the Turkish military commanders, whose support for the struggle against his half-brother Moḥammad Tapar (q.v.) was vital to Berk-yaruq. The amir Öner was provoked into a fruitless rebellion at Ray and killed there in 492/1099, but others of the amirs, led by Zangī, Aq-Böri, and the sons of Bursuq, took advantage of the assassination of the amir Bursuq by the Ismaʿilis to present the sultan with an ultimatum: the price of their future support was to be the head of Majd-al-Molk, now accused, because of his Shiʿite leanings, of complicity in the killing. According to Rāvandī, Berk-yaruq refused; according to Ebn al-Aṯīr, he reluctantly agreed to hand him over, on condition that his life was spared, but before this handing-over took place, the amirs murdered Majd-al-Molk on 18 Šawwāl 492/7 September 1099.
Among the poets, Moʿezzī (ca. 440/1048-ca. 520/1126) praised Majd-al-Molk, and the sources speak of his piety, modesty, and extensive charities, above all to the ʿAlids and to the descendants of ancient houses. He was a moderate Shiʿite who was buried at Karbalāʾ and who made benefactions to the Shiʿite shrines, but who also gave money to the Ḥaramayn and restored the cover over ʿOṯmān’s tomb in Medina.
The main primary sources are Rāvandī, Rāḥat al-ṣodūr, ed. M. Iqbál, London, 1921, pp. 145-46.
Bondārī, Ẓobdat al-noṣra wa noḵbat al-ʿoṣra, ed. M. Th. Houtsma in Recueil de textes relatifs à l’histoire des Seldjoucides II, Leiden, 1889, pp. 87-88.
Ebn al-Aṯīr, Beirut, 1385-87/1965-67, X, pp. 252-53, 282, 289-91.
Of secondary studies, see M. F. Sanaullah, The Decline of the Saljūqid Empire, Calcutta, 1938, pp. 42-43, 98.
ʿAbbās Eqbāl, Wezārat dar ʿahd-e salāṭīn-e bozorg-e saljūqī, Tehran, 1338 Š./1959, pp. 109-14.
Cambridge History of Iran V, pp. 108-09, 248, 260-63, 267-68.
C. L. Klausner, The Seljuk Vezirate, A Study of Civil Administration 1055-1194, Cambridge, Mass., 1973, pp. 42, 46-48, 92, 105-06.
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: December 15, 1988