EMĀD-AL-DAWLA, ABU’L-ḤASAN ʿALĪ b. Būya b. Fanā-Ḵosrow, the eldest of three brothers who came to power in western Persia as military adventurers and founded the Buyid dynasty (q.v.). ʿAlī ruled in Jebāl from 320/932 and in Fārs from 322/934 as head of the family. Their rise to power forms part of the Deylamite resurgence which characterized the 4th/10th century (See DEYLAMITES ii.).

ʿAlī must have been born around 281/894-95. He and his brothers appear as soldiers of fortune (probably of rather lowly birth despite the attempts of later eulogists to give them a royal genealogy) for the Samanids under the latter’s commander, the Deylamī Mākān b. Kākī, and then in the service of Mardāvīj b. Zīār. ʿAlī’s capability secured for him from Mardāvīj the governorship of Karaj and Māh al-Baṣra, that is, the region of Kurdistan south of Hamadān (Meskawayh, Tajāreb I, p. 277; Ebn al-Aṯīr, VIII, pp. 264-69). With this increased access to financial resources, ʿAlī began recruiting and gathering around himself Deylamī mercenaries, inevitably arousing the suspicions of Mardāvīj. He seized Isfahan temporarily, but, unable to hold it, marched into Fārs, and took the capital Shiraz and then Arrajān from the caliphal governor Yāqūt. He then obtained from Rāżī’s vizier Ebn Moqla an investiture patent for the governorship of Fārs (Šawwāl 322 /September-October 934). He was not, however, strong enough to withstand Mardāvīj and had to sue for peace, dispatching his younger brother Ḥasan as a hostage. What saved ʿAlī was the assassination at Isfahan of Mardāvīj by his Turkish ḡolāms in Ṣafar 323/January 935 (ʿAlī does not seem to have had any complicity in the conspiracy; Masʿūdī, Morūj, ed. Pellat, V, pp. 270-71; Meskawayh, Tajāreb I, pp. 278-79, 295-301, 311-16; Ebn al-Aṯīr, VIII, pp. 268-72, 275-78, 285-87, 298-303).

The Buyid brothers thus fell heir to Mardāvīj’s ephemeral empire in northern and central Persia, negotiating with or coercing various local princes. Ḥasan, the future Rokn-al-Dawla, established his power in Ray and Jebāl, while ʿAlī set himself up as master of Fārs, which was to become the core of Buyid power. The third brother Aḥmad, the future Moʿezz-al-Dawla, was at this same time (324/936) dispatched by ʿAlī to take over Kermān, from where he speedily moved into Ḵūzestān (Meskawayh, Tajāreb I, p. 352; Ebn al-Aṯīr, VIII, pp. 324-26, 340-43, 360-61).

Although the three brothers had a strong sense of Deylamite clan identity and of family solidarity, they were each intent on pursuing their own personal interests and not disposed to present a united Buyid dynastic policy. It was Aḥmad who, from his base in Ḵūzestān, took advantage of the rivalries of caliphal governors in lower Iraq, such as Moḥammad b. Rāʾeq and Bačkam, and who in Jomādā I 334/December 945 entered Baghdad and imposed Buyid tutelage over the ineffective al-Mostakfī. The brothers now received honorific titles (laqab) from the caliph, ʿAlī assuming that of ʿEmād-al-Dawla. Moʿezz al-Dawla also acquired the title and office of amīr-al-omarāʾ (q.v.) (Ebn al-Aṯīr, VIII, pp. 449-50), but in practice this does not seem to have given him any particular added authority. In fact, he was clearly more dependent on his eldest brother than was Rokn-al-Dawla. ʿEmād-al-Dawla acted as head of the family, himself also being hailed as amīr-al-omarāʾ, a title which passed to Rokn-al-Dawla after his death. The title appears on coins minted by ʿEmād-al-Dawla in Fārs during 336-37/947-49 and on Buyid coins minted in Iraq. ʿEmād-al-Dawla’s name always accompanies that of Moʿezz al-Dawla. In any case, ʿAlī had already been described by Meskawayh, recording the events of 326/937-38 (Tajāreb I, p. 382), as amīr kabīr (supreme amir), while Masʿūdī (Morūj, ed. Pellat, V, p. 273) calls him raʾīs moʿaẓẓam “exalted leader.” When Moʿezz-al-Dawla met ʿEmād-al-Dawla at Arrajān in spring 336/948, the former kissed the ground before ʿEmād-al-Dawla and refused to sit down with him, out of a sense of humility and subordinate status (Meskawayh, Tajāreb II, p. 113; see the discussion of the relative statuses of the three brothers in Busse, 1969, pp. 30-35).

The childless ʿEmād-al-Dawla’s last years, up to his death at the age of fifty-seven in Shiraz on Jomādā I 338/11 November 949 and burial in what became the mausoleum of the Buyid dynasty, were occupied with ensuring the smooth succession to his power of his nephew, Rokn-al-Dawla’s son ʿAżod-al-Dawla (q.v.). Fearing that other leaders of the Deylamites coveted the amirate in Fārs, before ʿAżod-al-Dawla could arrive from Ray he arrested several of them as a precaution. Even then, ʿAżod-al-Dawla had to face dissension in Shiraz just after his uncle’s death, and his position was only made secure after the arrival of Moʿezz-al-Dawla’s vizier from Iraq and Rokn-al-Dawla from Ray (Ebn al-Aṯīr, VIII, pp. 482-84).

The sources speak in conventional terms of ʿEmād-al-Dawla’s liberality and statesmanship (Meskawayh, Tajāreb II, p. 122; Ebn al-Aṯīr, VIII, pp. 268, 484), but no distinct picture of him as a person emerges and many details of his career remain obscure. It is, however, clear that we must regard him as the real founder of the Buyid power, with such later figures as Rokn-al-Dawla and ʿAżod-al-Dawla as consolidators of his work.


Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail see “Short References”):

The main primary sources are Meskawayh and Ebn al-Aṯīr, with some additional details to be gleaned from Moḥammad Hamadānī, Takmelat taʾrīḵ al-Ṭabarī I, ed.

A.Y. Kanʿān, Beirut, 1951, pp. 88-90, 105-8, 148, 162.

The brief biography in Ebn Ḵallekān, Wafayāt, ed. ʿAbbās, III, pp. 399-400; tr. de Slane, II, pp. 332-34, is perfunctory.

See also H. Busse, “Iran under the Būyids” in Camb. Hist. Iran IV, pp. 253-62.

Idem, Chalif und Grosskönig: Die Buyiden im Iraq (945-1055), Beirut, 1969, pp. 17-35.

C. Cahen, “ʿImād al-Dawla” in EI2 III, p. 1157.

Idem, “Buwayhids,” EI2, I, pp. 1350-57.

ʿA.-A. Faqīhī, Āl-e Būya wa awżāʿ-e zamān-e īšān, Tehran, 1357 Š./1978, pp. 85-148.

(C. Edmund Bosworth)

Originally Published: December 15, 1998

Last Updated: December 13, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VIII, Fasc. 4, pp. 376-377