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governor of Ḡazna in eastern Afghanistan on behalf of the Samanids (352/963-355/966).

A version of this article is available in print

Volume I, Fascicle 3, pp. 272-273

ABŪ ESḤĀQ EBRĀHĪM B. ALPTIGIN (named in some sources, e.g., Ebn Bābā, as Esḥāq b. Alptigin), governor of Ḡazna in eastern Afghanistan on behalf of the Samanids, Šaʿbān, 352 to Ḏu’l-qaʿda, 355/September, 963 to November, 966. Abū Esḥāq Ebrāhīm’s father Alptigin had been commander-in-chief of the Samanid army in Bokhara; compelled in 350/961 to withdraw from the capital after the failure of an attempt to place his favored candidate, Naṣr b. ʿAbd-al-Malek b. Nūḥ, on the Samanid throne, he had established himself in Ḡazna on the remote fringes of the Samanid empire.

Alptigin designated his son Abū Esḥāq as successor in Ḡazna. The latter, on assuming power, made his peace with the Samanids; according to Jūzǰānī, he traveled to Bokhara to do allegiance, receiving in exchange an investiture diploma (manšūr) for the governorship of Ḡazna. Little is known of the events of his brief governorship; many sources (e.g., Gardīzī, Neẓām-al-molk’s Sīāsat-nāma, and Ebn al-Aṯīr) omit all mention of him making Sebüktigin the immediate successor of Alptigin. It seems that he was involved in warfare in the Ḡazna region with the former local ruler of Ḡazna, Abū ʿAlī Lavīk or Anūk, from whom Alptigin had wrestled the town, and was at one point driven out of it, returning only with Samanid help. Shortly afterward, Abū Esḥāq Ebrāhīm died and was succeeded as governor in Ḡazna by a Turkish ḡolām commander and former slave of Alptigin’s, Bilgetigin, and eventually by Sebüktigin, founder of the Ghaznavid dynasty.


The primary sources include ʿOtbī, al-Taʾrīḵ al-yamīnī (vague reference only).

Ebn Bābā Qāšānī, Ketāb raʾs māl al-nadīm, Istanbul, MS Turhan Valide 234.

Jūzǰānī, Ṭabaqāt (the latter two are important sources, quoting from the lost parts of Bayhaqī).

Šabānkāraʾī, Maǰmaʿ al-ansāb, Istanbul MS Yeni Cami 909.

These sources are utilized in the secondary literature: M. Nazim, The Life and Times of Sulṭān Maḥmūd of Ḡazna, Cambridge, 1931, pp. 26, 175.

Barthold, Turkestan3, p. 251. Bosworth, Ghaznavids, p. 38.

Idem, “Notes on the Pre-Ghaznavid History of Eastern Afghanistan,” Islamic Quarterly 9, 1965, p. 17.

Idem, Later Ghaznavids, pp. 134, 144.

Cite this page
C. Edmund Bosworth, “ABŪ ESḤĀQ EBRĀHĪM”, in: Encyclopaedia Iranica Online, © Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York. Consulted online on 24 July 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2330-4804_EIRO_COM_4543>
First published online: 2020
First print edition: 19831215

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