MOʿEZZ-AL-DAWLA, ABU’L-ḤOSAYN, Aḥmad ebn Abi Šojāʿ (d. 356/967), 4th/10th century Buyid prince, the youngest of the three brothers who conquered western, southern, and central Persia (see BUYIDS). Having already participated in the taking of Shiraz in 324/935-36 when he was only twenty-one years old, he was sent to conquer Kermān. Two years later, he fought the chief amir (amir al-omarāʾ) of Baghdad, Bajkam, in alliance with Baridi, the tax-farmer and governor of Baṣra and Ahvāz, who had revolted against the caliph. In the following years, Aḥmad turned against Baridi, took over Ḵuzestān, and fought in the Wāseṭ region against the Hamdanid Nāṣer-al-Dawla, who had become embroiled in developments in Baghdad.

Aḥmad entered Baghdad itself in 334/945, and became the new amir al-omarāʾ. Soon afterwards, he received the honorific title (laqab) Moʿezz-al-Dawla from the caliph al-Mostakfi bi’llāh, while his brothers ʿAli and Ḥasan became recognized as governors and received the laqabs ʿEmād-al-Dawla and Rokn-al-Dawla, respectively. Thus, he recognized the legitimacy of the caliph, and this enabled him to act as a representative of his authority when governing Sunnite subjects. Baghdad would henceforth be the center of Aḥmad’s own activity and of the new state he would govern with full autonomy, despite the faithful deference he paid to his older brothers. In territorial terms, Aḥmad had simply added another principality to those previously carved out of the caliphate. More significantly, he now directed a Shiʿite protectorate over the Sunnite caliphate, which was deprived of all governing power. This was because in Twelver Shiʿite doctrine all forms of political arrangements were equally possible, pending the reappearance of the Hidden Imam. Like his brothers had done in Persia, Aḥmad organized the Shiʿites in Iraq, not to suppress Sunnism but to associate Shiʿism with it as a sort of additional maḏhab, or legal school. The incumbent caliph al-Mostakfi bi’llāh, however, did not inspire enough confidence in Moʿezz-al-Dawla, and so he replaced him with his cousin and personal enemy, al-Moṭiʿ li’llāh.

Until his death in 356/967, Moʿezz-al-Dawla was militarily occupied with the consolidation of his control over lower Mesopotamia. Baṣra was taken from the Baridis; war was waged against ʿEmrān b. Šāhin in the marshlands (Baṭiḥa) and against the Qarmaṭis as well. There were recurring hostilities with the Hamdanids of Mosul, who received support from their cousins in Aleppo. But more important was his activity in organizing the regime. An untutored adventurer, he required his viziers’ assistance; and especially helpful was Mohallabi, who was renowned in the field of literature as well as in administration. The regime relied primarily on the army of Deylamites, who had given to the leaders sprung from among their people the power they now wielded. The Deylamites were balanced, however, by the contingents of mercenary Turks, which were militarily and politically indispensable. The army was partly maintained by a system of eqṭāʿ grants, thus establishing an organized method for the system which had started in the last years of the independent caliphate, and would eventually hand over the essentials of provincial financial administration to local military chiefs, to the detriment of the central government. Meskavayh eloquently described the damage which he considered to be the result of this administrative policy. However, he depicted Mo ʿezz-al-Dawla as a popular ruler, for having reestablished order after a generation of chaos, and for his repairs to the canal and agricultural systems (Meskavayh, VI, p. 165; Faqihi, p. 175.). On his death, Mo ʿezz-al-Dawla left behind an estate of some 400,000 dinars.


H. Büsse, Chalif und Grosskönig, Beirut, 1969, index.

Idem, “Iran under the Buyids,” in Camb. Hist. Iran IV, pp. 256-65, passim.

C. Cahen, “Buwayhids,” EI² I, pp. 1350-57.

ʿAli-Aṣḡar Faqihi, Āl-e Buya wa awżāʿ-e zamān-e išān, Tehran, 1357 Š./1978.

Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Malek Hamaḏāni, Takmelat Taʾriḵ al-Ṭabari, ed. A. Y. Kanʿān, Beirut, 1961.

Meskavayh, Tajāreb al-omam, ed. Amedroz, Cairo, 1332/1994, index.

B. Spuler, Iran, pp. 91, 93, 96, 98.

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muizz al-dawleh

Moez Al Doleh

moez al dowleh



(Claude Cahen)

Originally Published: July 20, 2002

Last Updated: July 20, 2002

Cite this entry:

Claude Cahen, “MOʿEZZ-AL-DAWLA,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, 2002, available at (accessed on 20 September 2016)