ABU’L-WAZĪR ʿOMAR B. MOṬARREF B. MOḤAMMAD ʿABDĪ AL-MARVAZĪ, secretary and author, d. 186/802. The biographers confirm that his family was from Marv, and the nesba ʿAbdī relates him to the tribe of ʿAbd-al-Qays (Fehrest, p. 127; Yāqūt, Odabāʾ XVI, Cairo, 1936-38, pp. 71-73; Aḡānī3, p. 46). According to Yāqūt (loc. cit.), Abu’l-Wazīr’s father Moṭarref served Mahdī as a secretary while he was still heir-apparent to the caliphate. Abu’l-Wazīr is said (Fehrest, p. 127) to have served as chief of the bureau for the eastern provinces (dīvān al-mašreq) under Mahdī (according to Yāqūt [loc. cit.], while he was heir apparent), Hādī, and Rašīd, and as secretary for Manṣūr and Mahdī. Yāqūt relates that when Rašīd abolished the bureaus of control (dawāwīn al-azemma; see A. A. Duri, EI2, s.v. “Dīwān”) in 170/787, he relented after two months and restored this institution, putting it under the authority of Abu’l-Wazīr. Ebn al-Nadīm (loc. cit.) characterizes Abu’l-Wazīr as “trustworthy, preeminent in his profession, eloquent, and a relator of Traditions.” Yāqūt speaks of his chasteness and integrity. The only blot alleged on his character was a certain stinginess satirized in an anecdote found in both Yāqūt and Aḡānī (III, p. 46). He died in 186/802 or possibly in 188 (Yāqūt, loc. cit.), during one of the two pilgrimage expeditions led by Rašīd.

Abu’l-Wazīr is said to have written: 1. Ketāb mofāḵarat al-ʿarab wa monāfarat al-qabāʾel fi’l-nasab (“The Glorious Deeds of the Arabs and the Competitions of Their Tribes Concerning Genealogy”). 2. Ketāb manāzel al-ʿarab wa ḥodūdehem (or ḥodūdehā) wa ayna kānat maḥallat koll qawm wa ela ayna entaqala menhā (“The Habitations of the Arabs, their Frontiers, the Places where Each Tribe Was Located, and the Places to which it Migrated”). 3. Ketāb rasāʾel Abi’l-Wazīr (“The Epistles of Abu’l-Wazīr”).

Bibliography: Given in the text.


(L. A. Giffen)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 21, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, p. 395

Cite this entry:

L. A. Giffen, “ABU’L-WAZIR MARVAZĪ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/4, p. 395; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abul-wazir-marvazi (accessed on 2 February 2014).