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Ghaznavid sultan, r. 441-44/1050-53.

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Volume I, Fascicle 2, pp. 149-150

ʿABD-AL-RAŠĪD, ABŪ MANṢŪR ʿEZZ-AL-DAWLA B. MAḤMŪD B. SEBÜKTIGĪN, Ghaznavid sultan, r. 441-44/1050-53. He succeeded to the amirate after the death of Mawdūd b. Masʿūd in Raǰab, 441/December, 1049 and the brief reigns of the child Masʿūd b. Mawdūd and of Bahāʾ-al-dawla ʿAlī b. Masʿūd. The actual date of ʿAbd-al-Rašīd’s accession is given by Ebn Bābā Qāšānī in his Ketāb raʾs māl al-nadīm (Istanbul MS Turhan Valide 234, fol. 208b.) as 27 Šaʿbān 441/24 January 1050; he states that the vizier ʿAbd-al-Razzāq b. Aḥmad b. Ḥasan Maymandī, seeing the patent incompetence of Mawdūd’s two successors, fetched ʿAbd-al-Rašīd from the fortress of Mandēš in eastern Ḡūr, where Mawdūd had imprisoned him.

Very little is known of his earlier life; Jūzǰānī says that he was thirty years old when he died, which would put his birth in 414/1023-24; and Tārīḵ-e bayhaqī, p. 626, states that he was present with his elder brother Masʿūd at the battle of Dandānqān against the Saljuqs in 431/1040.

ʿAbd-al-Rašīd’s reign lasted for less than three years and ended in violence and assassination. The immediate successors of Masʿūd, certainly down to Ebrāhīm b. Masʿūd (451-92/1059-99), still hoped to recover the western provinces of the empire lost to the Saljuqs at the end of Masʿūd’s reign. ʿAbd-al-Rašīd appointed as a commander-in-chief of his army (ḥāǰeb-al-ḥoǰǰāb) a Turkish ḡolām or slave commander called Toḡrïl, who had already been high in Mawdūd’s favour. Toḡrïl persuaded ʿAbd-al-Rašīd to let him lead a Ghaznavid army against Khorasan, and according to Ebn Bābā, loc. cit., Toḡrïl secured a minor victory over Alp Arslan b. Čaḡrï Beg in northern Afghanistan. The sultan now authorized Toḡrïl to attack the Saffarids of Sīstān, vassals of the Saljuqs; and in the autumn of 443/1051, Toḡrïl scored considerable successes there, though he failed to capture the fortress of Ṭāq (Tārīḵ-e Sīstān, pp. 371-72; Ebn al-Aṯīr, year 444/1052-53). Flushed with success, Toḡrïl marched back to Ḡazna and decided to depose ʿAbd-al-Rašīd, whom Jūzǰānī describes as lacking in firmness of mind and decisiveness. ʿAbd-al-Rašīd was brought out of the citadel of Ḡazna and killed, and Toḡrïl inaugurated a bloodbath of all the male members of the Ghaznavid family in the vicinity; eleven princes were slaughtered, and Toḡrïl forcibly married one of Masʿūd’s daughters. It was clearly the intention of Toḡrïl—whom the sources stigmatize as malʿūn “the accursed” or kāfer-e neʿmat “the ungrateful”—to take over the Ghaznavid empire for himself, though after some forty days’ tyranny, legitimist Ghaznavid feeling in the state reasserted itself, and he was in turn assassinated. Farroḵzād b. Masʿūd succeeded the throne.

Because of his short reign, ʿAbd-al-Rašīd is a shadowy figure, but he seems to have carried on the traditions of his forebears in encouraging literature and scholarship at his court. Jūzǰānī says that he was able to recount historical and literary material; an Arabic manuscript is extant which bears his ex libris (see S. M. Stern, “A Manuscript from the Library of the Ghaznavid Amīr ʿAbd al-Rashīd,” Paintings from Islamic Lands, ed. R. Pinder-Wilson, Oxford, 1969, pp. 7-31); and the noted historian Gardīzī named his book, Zayn al-aḵbār, after the laqab Zayn-al-mella of ʿAbd-al-Rašīd (for the sultan’s honorifics, see C. E. Bosworth, “The Titulature of the Early Ghaznavids,” Oriens 15, 1962, pp. 230-31).


The chief historical sources are: K. Raʾs māl al-nadīm of Ebn Bābā mentioned above (which seems to utilize material from the lost parts of Bayhaqī; ed. M. S. Badavī, Manchester University Ph. D. thesis, 1975, unpublished; section on the Ghaznavids, tr. with extensive commentary by C. E. Bosworth (forthcoming). Jūzǰānī, Ṭabaqāt I, pp. 235-36; tr. Raverty, I, pp. 98-100.

Ḥosaynī, Aḵbār al-dawlat al-salǰūqīya, ed. M. Iqbal, Lahore, 1933, pp. 14-15. Ebn al-Aṯīr (Beirut) IX, pp. 582-84.

Cite this page
C. Edmund Bosworth, “ʿABD-AL-RAŠĪD, ABŪ MANṢŪR”, in: Encyclopaedia Iranica Online, © Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York. Consulted online on 19 July 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2330-4804_EIRO_COM_4358>
First published online: 2020
First print edition: 19821215

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