ABŪ ʿALĪ AḤMAD B. ŠĀḎĀN, governor (ʿamīd) of Balḵ and northern Afghanistan under the Saljuq ruler of Khorasan, Čaḡrī Beg Dāʾūd, and then under his son, Alp Arslan. One of the main events of his tenure of power was the final capture from the Ghaznavids of the important bridgepoint over the Oxus of Termeḏ; after this event, the Ghaznavid castellan there, Amīrak Bayhaqī, made over his estates and house at Bayhaq to Abū ʿAlī and then retired to Ḡazna. This must have taken place in the mid-430s/mid-1040s. Termeḏ and the upper Oxus valley region as far as Qobāḏīān and Vaḵš were now entrusted to Abū ʿAlī. One of his great claims to fame was the fact that the young Neẓām-al-molk was a secretary under him; and before he died, Abū ʿAlī commended his protégé to Alp Arslan. Abū ʿAlī seems to have been a scholar as well as administrator. Ebn al-Aṯīr records that he learned from Abu’l-ʿAbbās Moḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Naqqāš (d. 379/989) and himself taught Abu’l-Maʿālī Ṯābet b. Bondār al-Baqqāl (d. 498/1104-05) and Abū ʿAlī Moḥammad b. Saʿd al-Kāteb (d. 511/1117-18). The exact dated of his death is uncertain, but it must have occurred early in the 450s/1060s. 


Ṣadr-al-dīn al-Ḥosaynī, Aḵbār al-dawlat al-salǰūqīya, ed. M. Iqbal, Lahore, 1933, p. 27.

Ebn al-Aṯīr, IX, p. 69; X, pp. 207, 396, 532.

Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia II, p. 175.

ʿA. Eqbāl, Wezārat dar ʿahd-e salāṭīn-e bozorg-e salǰūqī, Tehran, 1337 Š./1959, p. 36.

C. E. Bosworth in Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 53, 57.

(C. E. Bosworth)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 19, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, p. 254

Cite this entry:

C. E. Bosworth, “ABŪ ʿALĪ AḤMAD B. ŠĀḎĀN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/3, p. 254; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abu-ali-ahmad-b (accessed on 26 January 2014).