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3.3 History of Persia: The G̲h̲aznawids
(1,641 words)

In Volume 1-1: Qurʾānic Literature, History, and Biography | Section 2, History, Biography, etc.

previous chapter: 3.2 Pre-Islamic Dynasties

§ 333. Abū Naṣr M. b. ʿAbd al-Jabbār1 al-ʿUtbī, a native of Raiy, went as a young man to K̲h̲urāsān, where his maternal uncle Abū Naṣr al-ʿUtbī2 held a high administrative position. After his uncle’s death he became secretary successively to Abū ʿAlī M. b. M. Sīmjūrī (for whom see Ency. Isl. under Abū ʿAlī b. Sīmdjūr), to Qābūs b. Was̲h̲mgīr (for whom see Ency. Isl. under Ḳābūs b. Was̲h̲mgīr), then an exile in K̲h̲urāsān, to Subuktigīn and to Ismā‘īl b. Subuktigīn. In 389/999 Maḥmūd of G̲h̲aznī sent him on a diplomatic mission to G̲h̲arjistān. Subsequently he became Ṣāḥib al-barīd (postmaster) in Kanj Rustāq, 3 but in 413/1022–3 he was dismissed and he afterwards entered the service of Masʿūd b. Maḥmūd. He died in 427/1035–6 or 431/1039–40. According to the Yatīmat al-dahr he wrote a book entitled Laṭā’if al-kuttāb and other works, of which al-T̲h̲aʿālibī does not mention the titles.

al-Yamīnī, a turgid Arabic history of Amīr Subuktigīn and Sulṭān Maḥmūd of G̲h̲aznī to ah 411/1020–1: Ḥ. K̲h̲. vi p. 514, no. 14476, Mas̲h̲had iii p. 105 nos. 93 (ah 524/1130), 94 (old), Ellis-Edwards p. 36, Or. 5616 (12th cent.), de Slane 1894 (ah 617/1220), 1895 (ah 666/1268), Rosen m.a. 157 (superb ms. a.h. 663/1264–5), etc. (For other mss. see Brockelmann i 314 and Bānkīpūr Arab. Cat. xv no. 1062).

Editions of the Arabic text: Delhi 1847°* (ed. Maulawī Mamlūk al-ʿAlī and A. Sprenger), Cairo 1286/1870° (on the margins of al-Fatḥ al-wahbī, a commentary by al-Manīnī), Būlāq 1290/1874° (on the margins of vols. x–xii of Ibn al-At̲h̲īr’s Kāmil), Lahore 1883 (cf. Sarkis Dictionnaire encyclopédique de bibliographie arabe, col. 1305).

Extracts relating to the Sāmānids (as given in Nīkpai’s history, for which see p. 60 supra): Description topographique et historique de Boukhara par Mohammad NerchakhyTexte persan publié par C. Schefer, Paris, 1892°*, pp. 111–122.

Description with extracts in Arabic and German: Über das Kitâb JamînîVonTh. Nöldeke (in Sitzungsberichte der Wiener Akademie der Wissenschaften, phil.-hist. Classe, Bd. 23 (1857*), pp. 15–102).

Description and 34 pp. of translated extracts: Elliot and Dowson History of India, ii 14–52.

Persian translations:

Tarjamah i Yamīnī written shortly after 602/1205–6 by Abū ’l-S̲h̲araf Nāṣiḥ b. Ẓafar b. Saʿd al-Muns̲h̲ī al-Jarbād̲h̲aqānī: Ḥ.K̲h̲. vi, p. 515, Asʿad 2225 = Tauer 314 (ah 636/1238), 2223 (ah 1251/1835–6), S̲h̲ahid ʿAlī 1854 (1) = Tauer 315 (ah 638/1240–1), Rieu i 157a (ah 664/1266), Flügel ii 950 (ah 691/1292), 949 (ah 716/1316), Ayā Ṣūfiyah 3147 = Tauer 316 (ah 696/1297), Blochet i 433 (early 14th cent.), 434 (17th cent.), 435 (incomplete, ah 1264/1848), iv 2309 (ah 1269/1852), Fātiḥ 4299 = Tauer 317 (ah 778/1377), Turin 92 (ah 789/1387), Nūr i ʿUt̲h̲mānīyah 3089 = Tauer 318 (10th/16th cent.), Leningrad Mus. Asiat. (ah 1261 /1845. See Mélanges asiatiques vi (St. Petersburg 1873), p. 116).

Edition: Tarjamah i Tārīk̲h̲ i Yamīnī, [Ṭihrān,] 1272/1856°*.

English translation from the Persian (inaccurate): The Kitab-i-Yamini, historical memoirs of the Amír Sabaktagín, and the Sultán Mahmúd of GhaznaTranslated from the Persian version of the contemporary Arabic chronicle of Al Utbi by the Rev. J. Reynolds, London 1858°* (Oriental Translation Fund).

Description and full analysis: Kitāb i Yamīnī [in the Arabic character] Histoire de Yémineddoula Mahmoud, fils de Sébectéghin, traduit de l’arabe en persan par Albouschéref [sic] Nassih Monschi, DjerbadécaniPar A.I. Silvestre de Sacy (in Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque nationale, tome iv (Paris, An 7 [= 1798]), pp. 325–411).

Tarjamah i Amīnī, a very literal translation by M. Karāmat ʿAlī b. Ḥayāt ʿAlī Dihlawī, judge of the Faujdārī ʿAdālat at Ḥaidarābād, who dedicated it to Mahā-rājah C̲h̲andū Lāl (b. 1766, Pēs̲h̲kār at Ḥaidarābād 1806–43, d. 15 April 18454): Berlin 441 (ah 1262/1846, transcribed from an autograph), Rieu iii 900b (circ. ad 1850), 1014a (extracts only. Circ. ad 1850).

Description: Elliot and Dowson History of India ii 15.

Tarjamah i Tārīk̲h̲ i Yamīnī, by Maulawī M. Faḍl i Imām K̲h̲airābādī (Ṣadr al-ṣudūr at Delhi, author of a compendium of logic entitled al-Mirqāt al-mīzānīyah (Editions: Delhi 1886, 1305/1888: see Ellis ii 329–30), d. 1243/1828: see Raḥmān ʿAlī 162): Aumer 241 (very defective).

[al-Yamīnī, appendix (al-Fatḥ al-wahbī ii p. 356 foll.) [The Ency. Isl. gives biographical information presumably derived from other parts of the Yamīnī, but unfortunately without references]; Yatīmat al-dahr iv 281–9 (this biography is printed (with omission of the verses) in the 1286 edition of al-Manīnī’s al-Fatḥ al-wahbī, vol. i pp. 412–14, where also it is stated that the date 431/1039–40 for al-ʿUtbī’s death is given by Ibn al-Wardī); Rauḍat al-ṣafāʾ, Bombay 1271, vol. iv p. 94; Rieu i 157; Brockelmann i 314; Zaidān Taʾrīk̲h̲ ādāb al-lug̲h̲at al-ʿarabīyah ii 322; Sarkis Dictionnaire encyclopédique de bibliographie arabe, col. 1305; Ency. Isl. under ʿUtbī.]

§ 334. Abū ’l-Faḍl M. b. al-Ḥusain al-Baihaqī, a native of Ḥārit̲h̲ābād in the district of Baihaq in K̲h̲urāsān, must have been born in, or about, 386/996, since he himself tells us that he was sixteen years of age in 402/1011–12 and sixty-five in D̲h̲ū ’l-Ḥijjah 450/Jan.–Feb. 1059. He served for many years in the Correspondence Department (Dīwān i Risālat) from the time of Maḥmūd onwards and in the time of ʿAbd al-Ras̲h̲īd (ah 440/1049–444/1052) he was head of the Department, but his service was interrupted by at least one dismissal and one period of imprisonment. For at least part of the reign of Farruk̲h̲zād (ah 444/1052–451/1059) he was unemployed and engaged in writing his history. According to Abū ’l-Ḥasan al-Baihaqī, the author of the Tārīk̲h̲ i Baihaq, he died in Ṣafar 470/Aug.–Sept. 1077. A work of his entitled Zīnat al-kuttāb, a handbook for officials, is known only from extracts given by Abū ’l-Ḥasan al-Baihaqī.

(Tārīk̲h̲ i Baihaqī)5 or (Tārīk̲h̲ i āl i Subuktigīn) or Jāmiʿ i tārīk̲h̲ i āl i Subuktigīn,6 or (Mujalladāt i Abū ’l-Faṣl i Baihaqī), detailed reminiscences of events witnessed by the author at the court of G̲h̲aznī from ah 409/1018–19 onwards with frequent, and often important, digressions on earlier times (the Sāmānids, Subuktigīn etc.) in more than thirty volumes of which all are now lost7 except the second half of vol. vi, vols. vii–ix and part of vol. x, which volumes, written in 450/1058 and 451/1059, are concerned with the reign of Masʿūd to Ṣafar 432/October 1040 and are often called the Tārīk̲h̲ i Masʿūdī (just as Baihaqī himself refers to the part relating to Maḥmūd as the Tārīk̲h̲ i Yamīnī): Ḥ.K̲h̲. ii pp. 109 (Tārīk̲h̲ i āl i Subuktigīn), 508 (Jāmiʿ al-tawārīk̲h̲), 580 (Jāmiʿ fī taʾrīk̲h̲ Banī Subuktigīn), Rieu i 158b (defective at both ends. 16th cent.), 160b (16th cent.), iii 901a (17th cent.), 901b (17th cent.), 902a (17th cent.), 902a (19th cent.), 1045a (extracts with notices of various copies. Circ. ad 1850), Blochet i 436 (ah 1019/1610), 437 (ah 1274/1857), Būhār 44 (ah 1040/1630–1), i.o. 3736, Bodleian 171 (ah 1197/1783), Ivanow Curzon 16 (defective at end. 18th cent.), Ivanow 71 (transcribed by W.H. Morley), Majlis 229 (ah 1265/1848–9), Dorn a.m. 668, Leningrad Pub. Lib. (see Mélanges asiatiques iii (St. Petersburg 1859) p. 731).

Editions: (1) The Táríkh-i Baihaki, containing the life of Masaúd, son of Sultán Mahmúd of Ghaznín. Being the 7th, 8th, 9th, and part of the 6th and 10th vols. of the Táríkh-i Ál-i SaboktakeenEdited by W.H. Morley …, Calcutta 1861–2°* (Bibliotheca Indica). (2) Ṭihrān 1307/1889–90 (from a ms. of ad 1305. See Barthold Turkistan, London 1928, p. 22, n. 2, and Majlis p. 128).

Extracts: B. Dorn Muhammedanische Quellen zur Geschichte der südlichen Küstenländer des Kaspischen Meeres, St. Petersburg 1850–8°*, Theil iv, pp. 101–30.

Description and 94 pp. of translated extracts: Elliot and Dowson History of India ii 53–154.

Description: W. Barthold Turkestan, London 1928, pp. 22–4.

French summary: Menoutchehri, poète persan du 11ème siècleTexte, traduction, notes et introduction historique par A. de Biberstein Kazimirski, Paris 1886–7, pp. 17–131.

Indexes: (1) Fihrist i Tārīk̲h̲ i Baihaqī, Majlis 268. (2) an index prepared by Dr. S.M. Ṣiddīq as part of a London Ph.D. dissertation (unpublished).

[Autobiographical information in the Tārīk̲h̲ i Baihaqī (see Rieu i 158–9 and Ency. Isl.); Abū ’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Zaid al-Baihaqī Tārīk̲h̲ i Baihaq (ms. b.m. Or. 3587 (Rieu Suppt. 89), foll. 101b–103b (this reference is given on the authority of Barthold Turkestan, London 1928, p. 22, n. 2, and on the assumption that ms. Brit. Mus. pub. 3585” should read ms. Brit. Mus. Or. 3587)); Barthold Turkestan, London 1928, pp. 22–3; Ency. Isl. under Baihaqī (Barthold).]

next chapter: 3.4 The Saljūqids


^ Back to text1. In Ency. Isl. he is strangely called Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Jabbār.

^ Back to text2. Other members of this family held high office under the Sāmānids. Abū Jaʿfar al-ʿUtbī was wazīr for a time under ʿAbd al-Malik b. Nūḥ and again under Abū Ṣāliḥ Manṣūr, and Abū ’l-Ḥusain ʿAbd Allāh b. Aḥmad al-ʿUtbī became wazīr in 367/977 to Abū ’l-Qāsim Nūḥ b. Manṣūr (see Barthold Turkestan, London 1928, pp. 250–2).

^ Back to text3. For Kanj Rustāq, the eastern part of Bādg̲h̲īs, see le Strange The lands of the Eastern Caliphate p. 413.

^ Back to text4. C̲h̲andū Lāl “S̲h̲ādān” will reappear in this work as a poet. For accounts of him see Tārīk̲h̲ i Gulzār i Āṣafīyah 233–6; Glimpses of the Nizam’s dominions p. 127 (portraits p. 128 and p. 316); Pictorial Hyderabad compiledby K. Krishnaswamy Mudiraj, Ḥaidarābād 1929, vol. i, p. 196; Buckland Dictionary of Indian biography p. 79. There is a portrait of him in Room 195 at the India Office.

^ Back to text5. It is not known whether the author gave his work a title.

^ Back to text6. This is the correct title according to Muṣliḥ al-Dīn Lārī (cited by Rieu).

^ Back to text7. According to Barthold (Turkestan, London 1928, p. 22) “Short extracts from the early volumes are quoted by the thirteenth-century historian Jūzjānī, and the fifteenth-century compiler Ḥāfiẓ-i Abrū; but no extracts have been found from the last twenty volumes”.

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“3.3 History of Persia: The G̲h̲aznawids”, in: Storey Online, Charles Ambrose Storey. Consulted online on 25 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2021

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