MUSĀ YABḠU (Bayḡu in some sources), the son of Saljuq Sü-bašï [Sobāši], the eponymous strongman of a Ḡozz clan, whose nephew Toḡrel founded the Saljuq dynasty. It is debated whether his second name is pronounced “yabḡu” (an old Turk. title) or “payḡu” (bïgu, baygu, paygu:a bird of prey). There is no information in the sources regarding initial periods of his life. He succeeded to the leadership of the Saljuqs in Transoxania as the most senior member of the family following the capture of his elder brother Arslan Esrāʾil Yabḡu (1025), by Sultan Maḥmud of Ghazna (r. 998-1030; Ebn al-Aṯir, IX, pp. 475-76; Rāvandi, pp. 87-92).
After the immigration of the Saljuqs to Khorasan in 1035, the battles with the Ghaznavids caused the brothers Toḡrel and Čaḡri, who were the most active members of the clan, to strengthen their position and become as powerful as their uncle Musā Yabḡu. According to Abu’l-Fażl Bayhaqi (d. 1077; ed. Fayyāż, p. 641), one of the envoys sent to Sultan Masʿud I (r. 1031–41) after the first victory of the Saljuqs against the Ghaznavids on 29 June 1035, was representing Musā Yabḡu. The second Saljuq victory against the Ghaznavids on 1 June 1038 caused the rapid advance of Toḡrel Beg within the clan. In the sharing of the spoils after the victory, Toḡrel Beg took Nišāpur, his brother Čaḡri Beg took Marv, and Musā Yabḡu the town of Saraḵs. After the victory of Dandānaqān (q.v.) in 1040, Musā Yabḡu received Herat, Esfezār, Bušanj, Sistān, and Bost. Shortly afterwards, Musā Yabḡu seized Herat with about 5,000 cavalry and then ruled the region of Sistān with the aid of his nephew Ertaš (Ertāš; Tāriḵ-e Sistān, pp. 365-66). Abu’l-Fażl, the regional ruler, offered his allegiance to the Saljuqs. Musā Yabḡu, who established a semi-independent government in South Khorasan and Sistān, made the town of Herat the center of his administration. Although Sistān was seized by the Ghaznavid ḥājeb, Toḡrel, in 1051, it was taken back by Musā Yabḡu after Toḡrel’s return to Ghazna (see ḠAZNI; Tāriḵ-e Sistān, pp. 371-72)
The real threat to the sovereignty of Musā Yabḡu was not, however, from the Ghaznavids, but from within the dynasty itself. He encountered interference in Sistān first from Ertaš, the brother of Ebrāhim Yenāl, in 1041 and then from Yāquti, the son of Čaḡri Beg in 1054-55. The most dangerous threat, however, was posed by Čaḡri Beg himself, who entered the city in 1056 and had the Friday prayer sermon (ḵoṭba) delivered in his name. Musā Yabḡu appealed to Toḡrel Beg, who reproached Čaḡri Beg severely and sent the letter of appointment confirming Yabḡu as governor of Sistān and, besides, authorizing him to mint coins and have Friday prayer sermons delivered in his own name (Tāriḵ-e Sistān, pp. 374-81). Coins minted in the name of Musā Yabḡu in Herat in the years 435/1043-44, 439/1047-48, 443/1051-52, 446/1054-55 and in Sistān in 443/1052-53 have survived to the present day (see Album, bibliography).
The struggle between the line of Musā Yabḡu and Čaḡri Beg of the Saljuq dynasty was continuing at that time. A coin minted in the name of Čaḡri Beg and his son Alp Arslan (r. 1063-72) in the year 450/1058-59 in Herat shows that the area ruled by Musā Yabḡu was reduced at that time (Sourdel, p. 214). It seems that the political rule of the line of Musā Yabḡu came to an end in 1064 at the beginning of Alp Arslan’s bid for sovereignty. There is no information available about the last years of Musā Yabḡu or his death.
Musā Yabḡu, referred to as Yabḡu-ye Kalān and Inanč/Inānč Beg, used the titles and sobriquets Faḵr-al-Molk, Moʿezz-al-Dawla, Faḵr-al-Mella, al-Malek al-ʿĀdel, and Nā ṣer-al-Din. The names of his sons Yusof, Abu ʿAli Ḥasan and Qara Arslan Böri/Buri were also mentioned in the literature of the period. Abu’l-Ḥasan Bayhaqi (p. 71), however, refers to ʿOmar, Abu Bakr, Böri, and Dawlatšāh as the sons of Musā Yabḡu. The Dawlatšāh mentioned by Bayhaqi must be the same Dawlatšāh who rebelled in Ṭoḵārestān in 1098 during the reign of Sultan Barkiāroq (r. 1092-1105) and was captured and imprisoned by Sanjar, the ruler of the eastern Saljuq Empire, who eventually blinded him (Ebn-al-Atir, X, p. 279). Dawlatšāh is the last known member of the Musā Yabḡu line.
Numismatic materials. Coşkun Alptekin, “Selçuklu paraları,” Selçuklu araştırmaları dergisi 3, 1971, pp. 435-591.
T. Khodzhaniyazov, Denejnoe obrashcheniye v gosudarstve velikih Sel’dzukov (po dannım numizmatiki) (The circulation of money in the Great Saljuq state, according to numismatic data), Ashkhabad, 1977, pp. 3, 39.
Idem, Katalog monet gosudarstva Velikikh Sel’dzhukov (Catalogue of coins in the Great Saljuq state), Ashkhabad, 1979, pp. 20, n. 73, 148-49, ns. 2-3.
Osman G. Özgüdenli, “Yeni paraların ışığında kuruluş devri Selçuklularında hâkimiyet münasebetleri hakkında bazı düşünceler,” Türk Tarih Kurumu belleten 65/243, 2002, pp. 547-70.
Dominique Sourdel, “Un trésor de dinars ghaznawides et salğuqides découvert en Afghanistan,” Bulletin d’études orientales de l’Institut Français de Damas 18, 1963-64, pp. 197-219.
Stephen Album, Price List, 70, November 1990, p. 2 no. 20; 75, May 1991, p. 2 no. 66; 88, July 1992, p. 1, no. 25; 105, March 1994, p. 1, no. 33; 127, July 1996), p. 2 no. 34; 138, August 1997, p. 1 no. 22; 146, May 1998, p. 2 no. 32; 150, January 1999, p. 2 no. 34.
Primary sources. Bayhaqi, ed. Fayyāż, 3rd ed., Mashad, 1996, pp. 611-12, 641, 695, 728, 730-31, 755, 761, 833, 841, 844.
Abu’l-Ḥasan ʿAli b. Zayd Bayhaqi (Ebn Fondoq), Tāriḵ-e Bayhaq, ed. Aḥmad Bahmanyār, 2nd ed., Tehran, n. d., pp. 71-72, 373. Ebn-al-Atir (Beirut), IX, pp. 459-60, 474, 478, 481, 483-84.
Gardizi, ed. Ḥabibi; repr. Tehran, 1984, p. 435.
Ṣadr-al-Din Ḥosayni, Aḵbār al-dawlat al-saljuqiya, Turk. tr. Necati Lügal as Ahbâr üd-devlet is-selçukiyye, Ankara, 1943, pp. 2–12.
Mirḵᵛānd (Tehran), IV, pp. 237, 242-43, 246.
Moḥammad b. ʿAli Rāvandi, Rāḥat al-ṣodur wa āyat al-sorur dar tāriḵ-e Āl-e Saljuq, ed. Moḥammad Eqbāl, rev. ed., Mojtabā Minovi, Tehran, 1985, pp. 87-88, 102-4.
Tāriḵ-e gozida, ed. ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Navāʾi, Tehran, 1985, pp. 426-29.
Tāriḵ-e Sistān, ed. Malek-al-Šoʿarāʾ Bahār, Tehran, 1987, pp. 365-82.
Secondary sources. Sergei Grigorevich Agadzhanov, Gosudarstvo Seldzhukidov i Sredniaya Aziya v XI-XII, Ger. tr. Reinold Schletzeras Der Staat der Seldschukiden und Mittelasien im 11.-12. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1994, pp. 86, 88, 90-93.
Idem, Oğuzlar, Turk. tr. Ekber N. Necef and Ahmed Annaberdiyev, Istanbul, 2002, pp. 207-10, 292, 314.
Clifford E. Bosworth, “Payghū,” in EI2 VIII, p. 288.
Idem, The History of the Saffarids of Sistan and Malik of Nimruz 247/861-949/1542-43, Costa Mesa, Calif., and New York, 1994, p. 377-85.
İbrahim Kafesoğlu, “Selçuk’un oğulları ve torunları,” Türkiyat mecmuası 13, 1958, pp. 117-30.
Idem, “Selçuklular,” in İA X, pp. 353-416. Mehmet Altay Köymen, Tuğrul Bey ve zamanı, Istanbul, 1976, pp. 4-5, 9-17, 19, 55-56.
Idem, Büyük Selçuklu imparatorluğu tarihi I: Kuruluş devri, Ankara, 1979, pp. 33, 128-29, 225-27.
Osman G. Özgüdenli, “Ülüş sisteminden merkezî devlete: Selçuklu devlet telâkkisinin teşekkülü (1038-1064),” in Hasan Celâl Güzel, Kemal Çiçek, and Selim Koca, eds., Türkler V, Ankara, 2002, pp. 249-64.
E. Denison Ross, Kuş isimlerinin Doğu Türkçesi, Mançuca ve Çince sözlüğü, Turk. tr. Emine Gürsoy-Naskali, Ankara, 1994, p. VII.
Osman Turan, Selçuklular tarihi ve Türk İslâm medeniyeti, 5th ed., Istanbul, 1996, pp. 57-61, 86-87, 94-100, 104-10, 121, 127-29, 150, 158-59.
(Osman G. Özgüdenli)
Originally Published: July 20, 2005
Last Updated: July 20, 2005