ĀL-E HĀŠEM, 3rd-5th/9th-11th century local dynasty of the region of Darband (Bāb-al-abwāb). The chief source of information regarding it, beyond a few passing references (e.g., Masʿūdī, Morūǰ II, p. 5), is an anonymous late 5th/11th century history inserted in Aḥmad b. Loṭfallāh Monaǰǰembāšī’s Ṣaḥāʾef al-aḵbār (ed. and tr. V. Minorsky, A History of Sharvān and Darband in the 10th-11th Centuries, Oxford, 1958).

After the Arab conquests of the 1st/7th century, the Bāb-al-abwāb region was the northernmost of the Muslim provinces in northwest Iran. The city of Bāb-al-abwāb, was both militarily strategic and an important commercial center for the overland and Caspian trade. To the north of it were territories more or less controlled by the Khazars, where, from the 3rd/9th century on, the “Rūs” and Slavs began to be involved; in the Caucasus mountains, various peoples maintained their independence. To the south the provinces of Arrān and Šervān bounded the semi-independent Armenian and Georgian territories to the west. When the authority of the caliph began to wane, a client of the Banū Solaym (the most important of the Arab tribes which had established itself in the northwest), Hāšem b. Sorāqa, proclaimed his independence at Bāb-al-abwāb (ca. 255/869). About the same time the Yazidids established themselves in Šervān; the Shaddadids, partly Arabized Kurds, would follow in Arrān ca. 340/951-52. Hāšem died in 271/884-85; his dynastic successors (confirmed by coin evidence were: ʿAmr (or ʿOmar) b. Hāšem (d. 272/885-86). Moḥammad b. Hāšem (revolt of Abu’l-Naǰm b. Moḥammad, 303; d. 303/915-16). ʿAbd-al-Malek b. Hāšem (d. 327/938-39). Aḥmad b. ʿAbd-al-Malek (d. 366/976). Maymūn b. Aḥmad (various revolts, Šervānšāh occupation; d. 387/997). Moḥammad b. Aḥmad (d. 387/997). Laškarī b. Maymūn (d. 392/1002). Manṣūr b. Maymūn (d. 425/1034). ʿAbd-al-Malek b. Manṣūr (d. 434/1043). Manṣūr b. ʿAbd-al-Malek (revolts; killed 457/1065). The country was soon occupied by the Šervānšāhs, then, at least nominally, by the Saljuqs. The Hashimite family, however, long remained influential in local affairs.

The history of the Āl-e Hāšem government has distinctive features. One observes the continual intervention of Caucasians, Khazars, “Rūs” and Slavs, Šervānīs, and Georgians in shifting alliances and oppositions and sometimes as mercenaries; this suggests an ethnic mixture in which no one group effectively dominated the others. Within the state there was constant struggle among the factions of the tribes (commanded by their chiefs), the ḡāzīs (volunteers for the holy war, drawn from various places), and the urban elements (more or less organized in craft and professional guilds led, as throughout northwest Iran, by roʾasāʾ and able to make and unmake rulers). The dynasty itself, like others in the region, was troubled by conflicting claims for the successions between the eldest surviving member of the royal clan and the sons of the deceased ruler.


See also W. Madelung in Camb. Hist. Iran IV, pp. 243-49.

(C. Cahen)

Originally Published: December 15, 1984

Last Updated: July 29, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 7, p. 758

Cite this entry:

C. Cahen, “ĀL-E HĀŠEM,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/7, p. 758; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/al-e-hasem-3rd-5th-9th-11th-century-local-dynasty-of-the-region-of-darband-bab-al-abwab (accessed on 14 May 2014).