AḤMAD B. QODĀM, a military adventurer who temporarily held power in Sīstān during the confused years following the collapse of the first Saffarid amirate and the military empire of ʿAmr b. Layṯ¯ in 287/900. In the ensuing years, various Saffarid princes held power within the limited region of Sīstān itself, until in 298/911 the Samanid general Sīmǰūr Dawātī invaded the province on behalf of Amir Aḥmad b. Esmāʿīl and deposed Layṯ b. ʿAlī and his brother Moḥammad. But disorders within the Samanid state consequent upon Aḥmad b. Esmāʿīl’s murder brought about a withdrawal of Samanid forces, a brief interval of reasserted ʿAbbasid caliphal authority, and then the emergence of various ʿayyār or vigilante-band leaders as local power holders in Sīstān. One of these leaders, Kaṯīr (or Koṯayyer) b. Aḥmad, was hailed as amir by popular acclamation at Zarang, the capital, in 304/917, but was killed in Šawwāl, 306/April, 919. The new ruler there became Aḥmad b. Qodām, who was presumably also an ʿayyār leader; he established himself in the palace of Yaʿqūb b. Layṯ and tried, unsuccessfully at first, to extend his control eastwards to Bost. Much of his brief tenure of power as amir in Sīstān was taken up by unceasing fights against rival contenders for power, including the son-in-law of Kaṯīr b. Aḥmad, Moḥammad b. Qāsem, and the Turkish ruler in Bost, Ṭoḡān. Although Aḥmad b. Qodām managed to subdue and kill these rivals, he was himself driven from Zarang in Jomādā II, 310/October, 922 by ʿAbdallāh b. Aḥmad, and he fled to Bost and Zamīn-dāvar. He was defeated in battle at Nūqān in Ramażān, 310/January, 923 and brought back to Zarang a captive; nothing more is heard of him, and he was presumably killed. ʿAbdallāh b. Aḥmad did not, however, enjoy his victory for long; in Moḥarram, 311/May, 923 he was displaced by the Saffarid amir, Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad b. Moḥammad b. Ḵalaf, who began what is sometimes termed the “third Saffarid dynasty.” 


The principal, and very detailed, primary source is the anonymous Tārīḵ-eSīstān. For the general background to these events, see C. E. Bosworth, Camb. Hist. Iran IV, pp. 121-24, 130-31.

(C. E. Bosworth)

Originally Published: December 15, 1984

Last Updated: July 28, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 6, p. 643

Cite this entry:

C. E. Bosworth, “AḤMAD B. QODĀM,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/6, p. 643; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ahmad-b-13 (accessed on 19 March 2014).