ABŪ SAHL LAKŠAN, full name ḴᵛĀJA ABŪ SAHL DABĪR ʿABDALLĀH B. AḤMAD B. LAKŠAN, official under the Ghaznavid amirs Maḥmūd (388-421/998-1030) and Masʿūd (421-32/1031-41). The name Lakšan occurs with several variants in Bayhaqī, but the meter of Farroḵī’s panegyrics establishes the vocalization (Dīvān-e Farroḵī Sīstānī, ed. M. Dabīrsīāqī, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1349 Š./1969-70, pp. 247.2, 325.12). Cf. Sanskrit names with Lakṣana- as prior element in a compound.
Abū Sahl served as deputy (kadḵodā) and agent (pīškār) of ʿAżod-al-dawla Amir Yūsof b. Saboktegīn, who was imprisoned in Masʿūd’s reign and died ca. 423/1032. Various fines were then imposed on Abū Sahl, but he emerged from his difficulties to be placed in charge of his native city, Bost (Bayhaqī, 2nd ed., p. 331). The poet Farroḵī, who was also connected with Amir Yūsof (Ḡ. Ḥ. Yūsofī, Farroḵī Sīstānī: baḥṯ-ī dar šarḥ-e aḥwāl va rūzgār va šeʿr-e ū, Mašhad, 1341 Š./1962, p. 91), praised Abū Sahl in six qaṣīdas—perhaps motivatedby their common association with this amir. Abū Sahl’s learning and regard for culture are repeatedly mentioned (in agreement with Bayhaqī, op. cit.). Farroḵī further describes him as devoted to science and the arts and widely read (Dīvān, p. 184.16-17), accomplished in calligraphy and poetry (p. 185.13) and epistolography (p. 325.17), eloquent (p. 247.13), generous (p. 184.5, 198.14), distinguished by asceticism (p. 184.18-19), good looks (p. 326.1), and restraint in drinking wine (p. 326.8), and well-known even as a youth (p. 313.24). His house, like his father’s, was a regular meeting place for poets (p. 313.13, 17); Amir Yūsof depended heavily on his counsel (p. 247.5). Although such praise is the stock-in-trade of panegyrists, it provides a view of the man from his friends’ perspective. The mutual regard of Abū Sahl and Farroḵī is evident (ibid., p. 247.18).
Two of these qaṣīdas (ibid., pp. 183, 185) have been claimed to refer rather to Abū Sahl Zūzanī (Dīvān, ed. ʿA. ʿAbd-al-Rasūlī, Tehran, 1311 Š./1932-33, pp. 185, 187; see also, following ʿAbd-al-Rasūlī, B. Forūzānfar, Tārīḵ-e adabīyāt, Tehran, 1316-17 Š./1937-38, p. 72; R. Yāsamī, Ašʿār-e gozīda-ye Farroḵī Sīstānī, Tehran, 1319 Š./1940-41, p. 36; Ṣafā, Adabīyāt I, p. 542). The two texts contain various parallels, justifying ʿAbd-al-Rasūlī’s assumption of a common subject. While in the first “Ḵᵛāǰa Sayyed Abū Sahl” is referred to in rather general terms—he is apparently a kadḵodā (ed. Dabīrsīāqī, p. 184.2) associated with an amir (ibid., p. 183.17), in the second it is “the unparalleled Sayyed and Ḵᵛāǰa, Abū Sahl Dabīr” (ibid., p. 185.11), who is explicitly linked with ʿAżod-al-dawla. All six qaṣīdas may thus be takes as having a single subject. In one of the panegyrics (ibid., p. 326.14) Farroḵī wishes a happy New Year to Abū Sahl and Ḵᵛāǰa Ḥosayn, perhaps a son of the official (M. Dabīrsīāqī in Farroḵī Sīstānī, pp. 121-24).
Bibliography: Given in the text.
(Ḡ. Ḥ. Yūsofī)
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 21, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, pp. 371-372
Ḡ. Ḥ. Yūsofī, “ABŪ SAHL LAKŠAN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/4, pp. 371-372; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abu-sahl-laksan-full-name-kaja-abu-sahl-dabir-abdallah-b (accessed on 31 January 2014).