ʿALĀʾ B. ḤASAN B. ʿALĪ, ABU’L-QĀSEM, vizier of Fārs under the Buyid rulers Šaraf-al-dawla and Ṣamṣām-al-dawla. ʿAlāʾ’s term of office was situated in a period of disturbances following ʿAżod-al-dawla’s death in 372/983, when the latter’s sons Šaraf-al-dawla (d. 379/989), Ṣamṣām-al-dawla (d. 388/998), and Bahāʾ-al-dawla (d. 403/1012) were engaged in fierce fighting for succession and supremacy. Šaraf-al-dawla had been appointed governor of Kermān by ʿAżod-al-dawla; after his father’s death he occupied Šīrāz, while Ṣamṣām-al-dawla was enthroned in Baghdad. Šaraf-al-dawla at once deposed Hārūn b. Naṣr, a survivor of ʿAżod-al-dawla’s regime, appointing ʿAlāʾ to the office of vizier; the latter’s brother Abu’l-Ḥasan was appointed superintendent (nāẓer). Although ʿAlāʾ was not much inclined to change Šīrāz for Baghdad, which was Šaraf-al-dawla’s ultimate aim, he accompanied the ruler to Ḵūzestān. Thence he was sent to Baṣra where he arrested ʿAżod-al-dawla’s son Abū Ṭāher. Having established order at Baṣra, he returned to Ahwāz and was sent back to Šīrāz, while Šaraf-al-dawla proceeded to Baghdad, deposed and arrested Ṣamṣām-al-dawla, and had him sent as a prisoner to a castle near Sīrāf.
Upon Šaraf-al-dawla’s early death in Baghdad Ṣamṣām-al-dawla managed to escape, assuming rule at Šīrāz at ʿAlāʾ’s invitation. This is remarkable, since it is reported that ʿAlāʾ ordered Ṣamṣām-al-dawla’s blinding when Šaraf-al-dawla was already dead. ʿAlāʾ was much favored by Ṣamṣām-al-dawla’s mother, Sayyeda, and consequently confirmed in office. His policy was aimed at preserving southern Iran’s independence from the Iraqi branch of the Buyids. On his initiative the governor of Kermān, Tīmūrtāš, who supported Bahāʾ-al-dawla’s claim to overall rule, was arrested, brought to Šīrāz and put to death. Shortly afterwards ʿAlāʾ was able to defy a plot devised against himself by the Daylamite general Pūlād b. Manāḏar (381/991-92). One year later, however, he fell a victim to the intrigues of the Šīrāzī officials and courtiers. He lost Sayyeda’s confidence, was deposed, and spent a year in prison. In 383/993-94 he was released, cured from diseases in Sayyeda’s house, presented with a robe of honor, and reinstated in the vizierate. Then he proceeded to Ahwāz in Ṣamṣām-al-dawla’s company in order to defend Ḵūzestān against Bahāʾ-al-dawla, who had succeeded Šaraf-al-dawla in Baghdad. From Ahwāz he returned to Arraǰān to direct the administration of Fārs. When Ṣamṣām-al-dawla, having suffered a defeat by Bahāʾ-al-dawla, returned to Šīrāz, ʿAlāʾ remained in Ḵūzestān as a lonely bearer of the burden of defense. He continued fighting Bahāʾ-al-dawla, and following a series of negotiations and skirmishes the latter withdrew to Baṣra without having attained his end.
ʿAlāʾ died in 387/997 far from Šīrāz in ʿAskar Mokram. A year later Ṣamṣām-al-dawla’s fate was also sealed: He was murdered by a Buyid prince, one of Moʿezz-al-dawla’s sons, near Isfahan. Abū Šoǰāʿ Rūḏrāwarī, Meskawayh’s continuator, makes ʿAlāʾ responsible for Ṣamṣām-al-dawla’s failure. As Abū Šoǰāʿ states when reporting his death, the vizier bestowed fiefs (eqṭāʿāt) generously, granted additional payment without hesitation, diminished the public funds, and granted lavish appointments to the detriment of the welfare of the state (Abū Šoǰāʿ, p. 247). From this statement and ʿAlāʾ’s change in attitude towards Ṣamṣām-al-dawla after his accession to rulership, one may conclude that the vizier’s administration of office was typical for the period when Buyid rule had passed its apex.
Abū Šoǰāʿ Rūḏrāwarī, Ḏayl taǰāreb al-omam, ed. H. F. Amedroz, Cairo, 1916 (vol. III of Meskawayh, Taǰāreb), pp. 101, 119ff., 123, 149ff., 160, 163, 172ff., 190ff., 200ff., 246ff., 266ff., 294.
For the political history of the period see H. Busse in Camb. Hist. Iran IV, pp. 289-96.
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: July 29, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 7, pp. 768-769
H. Busse, “ʿALĀʾ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/7, pp. 768-769; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ala-b (accessed on 14 May 2014).