ʿABD-AL-MALEK B. NŪḤ B. MANṢŪR, ABU’L-FAVĀRES, the penultimate ruler of the Samanid dynasty in Khorasan and Transoxania, r. 389/999. In the decade of the 380s/990s, the Samanid amirate was being subverted internally by the rivalries of ambitious Turkish military commanders and was attacked externally after 382/992 by the Qarakhanid Turkish ruler from beyond the Syr Darya, Boḡra Khan Hārūn, and his successors. ʿAbd-al-Malek’s predecessor Abu’l-Ḥāreṯ Manṣūr is praised by the Ghaznavid historian Bayhaqī for his good qualities, but during his two years’ reign he was unable to break out from under the control of the Turkish general Fāʾeq Ḵāṣṣa and the vizier Abu’l-Moẓaffar Moḥammad Barḡašī. Nor was he able to check the two commanders who coveted the governorship of Khorasan—the incumbent governor in Nīšāpūr, Begtūzūn, and Sebüktigīn’s son Maḥmūd, who had by now defeated his brother and rival Esmāʿīl and was in control of Afghanistan. Finally Fāʾeq and Begtūzūn joined together and deposed and blinded Abu’l-Ḥāreṯ Manṣūr in Khorasan, raising to the throne his younger brother ʿAbd-al-Malek (Ṣafar, 389/February, 999), and demanding from him a high accession payment.
ʿAbd-al-Malek’s reign lasted not much more than eight months. Maḥmūd at the outset proclaimed himself the avenger of the deposed amir Abu’l-Ḥāreṯ Manṣūr; after a battle near Marv, he drove Fāʾeq (who at this point died), Begtūzūn, and ʿAbd-al-Malek from Khorasan into Transoxania. At this point, also, the Qarakhanid Ilig Naṣr b. ʿAlī decided to put an end to the feeble vestiges of Samanid rule in Transoxania, and in Ḏu’l-qaʿda, 389/October, 999 he occupied Bokhara without opposition; he deposed ʿAbd-al-Malek, exiling him to Uzkent, and incorporated Transoxania within his own dominions. In this way, the rule of the Samanids came virtually to an end, and their lands were partitioned between the Qarakhanids and Maḥmūd of Ḡazna. Only a brother of Abu’l-Ḥāreṯ Manṣūr and ʿAbd-al-Malek, Esmāʿīl al-Montaṣer, remained to carry on a despairing and in the end unsuccessful struggle for five more years.
The main primary sources are Gardīzī, ed. Nazim, pp. 60-61; idem, ed. Ḥabībī, p. 173.
ʿOtbī, al-Taʾrīḵ al-yamīnī, with commentary by Aḥmad Manīnī, Cairo, 1286/1869, I, p. 291ff.
Bayhaqī, pp. 640-41.
Helāl al-Ṣābeʿ in Margoliouth and Amendroz, Eclipse III, pp. 341-45, 372-73; VI, pp. 366-70, 400-01.
See also W. Barthold, Turkestan 3, pp. 264-68.
C. E. Bosworth, Ghaznavids, p. 34.
M. Nazim, The Life and Times of Sulṭān Maḥmūd of Ghazna, Cambridge, 1931, pp. 43-45.
R. N. Frye, Camb. Hist. Iran, pp. 158-59.
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, pp. 127-128
C. E. Bosworth, “'Abd-Al-Malek B. Nuh,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, pp. 127-128; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-malek-b-nuh-b-mansur-samanid-ruler-in-khorasan-and-transoxania-r-999 (accessed on 16 January 2014).