ʿABD-AL-ḤAMĪD B. AḤMAD B. MOḤAMMAD B. ʿABD-AL-SAMAD ŠĪRĀZĪ, vizier of the Ghaznavids in the late 5th/11th to early 6th/12th century. He is described as serving Sultan Ebrāhīm b. Masʿūd (451-92/1059-99) for twenty-two years and then his son Masʿūd III (492-508/1099-1115) for all sixteen years of his reign, which would mean that he first became Ebrāhīm’s vizier in 470/1077-78. He came, as did many of the Ghaznavids’ servants, from a family deeply imbued with the traditions of secretarial and official service, with origins as far back as the Samanids; his father, Aḥmad, had been the skillful vizier of Masʿūd b. Maḥmūd and then of the latter’s son Mawdūd for the first years of his reign. On the evidence of verses in qaṣīdas of Masʿūd-e Saʿd-e Salmān and Sayyed Ḥasan addressed to ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd, the family claimed descent from the ʿAbbasid caliphs. ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd was certainly famed for his administrative skill and his love of learning. A line often quoted in the sources says that Ḵᵛāǰa ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd Aḥmad-e ʿAbd-al-Ṣamad firmly established the rule of excellence, the upholding of religion, and the system of justice. According to Kermānī, he died a martyr, at what must have been an advanced age, at the beginning of Bahrāmšāh b. Masʿūd’s reign (thus shortly after 512/1118); possibly he had been too closely identified with the interests of the previous sultan, Malek Arslān, whom Bahrāmšāh had, with Saljuq help, displaced. It seems possible that the famous composer of an elegant Persian prose version of Kalīla va Demna, Naṣrallāh b. Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd (d. in the late 6th/12th century), was his grandson.


The main sources are the specialized biographical works devoted to viziers.

Nāṣer-al-dīn Kermānī, Nasāʾem al-asḥār, ed. Ormavī, Tehran, 1338 Š./1959, pp. 46-47.

Sayf-al-dīn ʿOqaylī, Āṯār al-wozarāʾ, ed. Ormavī, Tehran, 1337 Š./1959, pp. 195-96.

Ḵᵛāndamīr, Dastūr al-wozarāʾ, ed. Saʿīd Nafīsī, Tehran, 1317 Š./1938, p. 147, to be supplemented by references in the dīvāns of the poets who praised ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd (Masʿūd-e Saʿd, Abu’l-Faraǰ Rūnī, Sayyed Ḥasan).

All these sources are utilized in Bosworth, Later Ghaznavids, chap. 2.


(C. E. Bosworth)

Originally Published: December 15, 1982

Last Updated: July 14, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 1, p. 110

Cite this entry:

C. E. Bosworth, “'Abd-Al-Hamid B. Ahmad,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/1, p. 110; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-hamid-b-ahmad (accessed on 12 January 2014).