ABŪ NAṢR HEBATALLĀH FĀRSĪ, QEWĀM-AL-MOLK NEẒĀM-AL-DĪN, official, soldier and poet of the Ghaznavid empire, flourished in the second half of the 5th/11th century during the reigns of the sultans Ebrāhīm b. Masʿūd I and Masʿūd III b. Ebrāhīm. His antecedents and his dates of birth and death are obscure, but it seems that his family had settled at Lahore and had a background of service to the Ghaznavids. He acted as deputy governor and commander-in-chief of the Ghaznavid army of the Panjab during the last years of Sultan Ebrāhīm, while his son Masʿūd was governor, and then after 492/1099, during the first years of the new ruler Masʿūd III, while the latter’s son ʿAżod-al-dawla Šīrzād (the future sultan, 508-09/1115-16) was governor. What little we know of his military activities in India has largely to be pieced together from allusions in the verses dedicated to him by the contemporary Ghaznavid poets, such as Abu’l-Faraǰ Rūnī and Masʿūd-e Saʿd-e Salmān; the latter was at one time governor of Čālandhar or Jullundur in the northeastern Panjab under Abū Naṣr. However, Abū Naṣr fell into disfavor under Masʿūd III, lost his offices, and died during the reign of the sultan Malek Arslan (509-11/1116-17).
As well as a successful soldier and governor, Abū Naṣr was a fine poet, and his verses are highly praised by ʿAwfī (Lobāb [Tehran], p. 70) and Neẓāmī ʿArūżī Samarqandī (Čahār maqāla, ed. M. M. Qazvīnī, 1910, p. 45; rev. tr. E. G. Browne, London, 1921, p. 51).
Bosworth, Later Ghaznavids, pp. 64-65, 67-68, 77, gives full references to the poets who praised Abū Naṣr.
See also M. M. Qazvīnī, “Masʿúd-i Saʿd-i Salmán,” JRAS 1905, pp. 733-39.
I. Husain, The Early Persian Poets of India (A.H. 421-670), Patna, 1937, pp. 37-38, 105ff.
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 21, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, pp. 350-351
C. E. Bosworth, “ABŪ NAṢR FĀRSĪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/4, pp. 350-351; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abu-nasr-hebatallah-farsi (accessed on 30 January 2014).