ĀBĪ, ABŪ SAʿĪD (so Ṯaʿālebī, Tatemmat al-yatīma, ed. ʿA. Eqbāl, Tehran, 1353/1934, p. 100; the konya is given as ABŪ SAʿĪD in Brockelmann, GAL I, p. 429; S. I., p. 593) MANṢŪR B. ḤOSAYN (cf. B. AL-ḤASAN in Bāḵarzī, Domyat al-qaṣr, ed. ʿAbd-al-Fattāḥ Moḥammad al-Ḥolv, Cairo, 1968, pp. 467-69), vizier and man of letters of the late Buyid period. He served in Ray under Maǰd-al-dawla Rostam b. Faḵr-al-dawla b. Rokn-al-dawla, ruler of Ray, Hamadān, and Isfahan, 387-420/997-1029. He died in 421/1030 (see several variant dates in Zekerlī, Aʿlām2 VIII, p. 237).
Yāqūt (I, p. 57) describes Ābī as a protégé of the major Buyid vizier and man of letters Ṣāḥeb b. ʿAbbād (936-95 A.D.). This connection no doubt opened doors to Ābī in the administration of the lesser Buyid courts. (His brother, Abū Manṣūr Moḥammad, was a well-known scribe [kāteb] and junior minister at the court of the kings of Ṭabarestān.) Ābī’s contemporary, Ṯaʿālebī (d. 429/1037-38) refers to him as vizier of Ray “now” and gives his titles as al-wazīr al-kabīr, ḏu’l-maʿālī, and zayn al-kofāt. He praises Ābī as a compiler of anecdotes. Qommī states that Ābī studied with the leading Eṯnāʿašarī scholar Abū Jaʿfar Ṭūsī and read religious texts with the celebrated Eṯnāʿašarī theologian Shaikh Mofīd (Safīnat al-beḥār, Naǰaf, 1352-55/1933-36, II, p. 592). Zereklī (loc. cit.) was thus led to refer to Ābī as Imami in religious persuasion.
Ābī was known for his poetic ability. His major surviving work, however, is a collection of anecdotes, Ketāb naṯr al-dorr (or dorar). Its four parts deal with (a) the Koran, Moḥammad, and ʿAlī; (b) several early caliphs; (c) sayings and jokes ascribed to various Muslim rulers; (d) stories of eminent people, including sayings of women. For an example see C. A. Owen, “Arabian Wit and Wisdom from Abū Saʿīd’s Ketāb Nathr al-durar,” JAOS 54, p. 263. Ābī also wrote Ketāb al-taʾrīḵ (of Ray), now lost.
See also al-Ḏarīʿa III, p. 254.
Brockelmann, GAL S. I., p. 593 for mss. of Naṯr al-dorr.
(M. M. Mazzaoui)
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 15, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, pp. 217-218
M. M. Mazzaoui, “ĀBĪ, ABŪ SAʿĪD,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, pp. 217-218; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abi-abu-said-11th-century-vizier-and-man-of-letters (accessed on 25 January 2014).