EBN BAQIYA, MOḤAMMAD b. MOḤAMMAD b. BAQIYA, ABU ṬĀHER, called Naṣir-al-Dawla and Nāṣeḥ "Counselor,” vizier of the Buyids in Iraq, b. 314/926, d. 367/978.
He was born at ʿAwāna to the north of Baghdad of peasant stock; later in his career, detractors would accuse him of promoting base men to high positions. He is first heard of farming the tolls over the Tigris crossings at Takrit, and when the Buyid Moʿezz-al-Dawla Aḥmad b. Buya seized control of Iraq in 334/945, he succeeded in retaining control of this lucrative job and also became overseer of the Amir’s kitchens at Baghdad. He cultivated the favor of the Amir’s vizier Abu’l-Fażl ʿAbbās Širāzi, and then, when ʿEzz-al-Dawla Baḵtiār succeeded his father Moʿezz-al-Dawla in 356/967, he eventually, in 362/973, became his vizier (Meskawayh, II, p. 313, tr. V, p. 336).
Ebn Baqiya soon secured an ascendancy in Baghdad, but whilst remaining loyal to his ineffectual master, he was also aware of the growing might of the Amir’s cousin, the Amir of Fārs and Khuzestan, ʿAżod-al-Dawla b. Rokn-al-Dawla (q.v.), and endeavored to conciliate him. At the time of the latter’s first invasion of Iraq in 364/975, he received from ʿAżod-al-Dawla and Abu’l-Fatḥ Ebn al-ʿAmid, vizier to the Amir in Ray and Jebāl, Rokn-al-Dawla, the eqṭāʿ of Wāseṭ (for ʿAżod-al-Dawla’s campaigns and warfare against ʿEzz-al-Dawla within Iraq, see ʿAżod-al-Dawla). ʿEzz-al-Dawla’s suspicion of Ebn Baqiya grew (Meskawayh, II, pp. 354ff, tr. V, pp. 386ff), and when he was defeated in battle at Ahvāz by ʿAżod-al-Dawla, he dismissed Ebn Baqiya from office and had him blinded (366/977) (Meskawayh, II, pp. 377, tr. V, pp. 413-14). Ebn Baqiya had, however, also offended ʿAżod-al-Dawla by unfavorable remarks about him, and when the Amir came again to Iraq in 367/978, he had Ebn Baqiya trampled to death at Baghdad by elephants and his body gibbeted, the corpse not being buried till after ʿAżod-al-Dawla’s death five years later (Meskawayh, II, p. 380, tr. V, p. 417; Ebn Ḵallekān, V, p. 120, tr. III, pp. 272-73). A poet of Baghdad, Abu’l-Ḥasan Moḥammad Anbāri, wrote a celebrated marṯia or elegy on Ebn Baqiya, praising his liberality (Ebn Ḵallekān, V, pp. 120-21, tr. III, p. 274; also tr. in Bürgel, pp. 105-06).
Meskawayh was hostile to Ebn Baqiya, but other sources give a fairer assessment of his vizierate and emphasize his generosity and popularity amongst many sections of the Baghdad citizenry (see Donohue, pp. 155-59).
Sources. The main one is Meskawayh, Tajāreb al-omam, ed. and tr. H. F. Amedroz and D. S. Margoliouth, Oxford, 1921-22, whose information is largely repeated by Ebn al-Aṯir. There are entries on Ebn Baqiya in Ebn Ḵallekān, ed. ʿAbbās, V, pp. 118-24, tr. de Slane, III, pp. 272-77, and Ṣafadi, al-Wāfi bi’l-wafayāt I, ed. H. Ritter, Wiesbaden, 1962, pp. 100-04.
Studies. J. C. Bürgel, Die Hofkorrespondenz ʿAḍud ad-Daulas und ihr Verhältnis zu anderen historischen Quellen der frühen Būyiden, Wiesbaden 1965, pp. 35-38, 60ff, 71-74, 91-94, 99-106.
H. Busse, Chalif und Grosskönig. Die Buyiden im Iraq (945-1055), Beirut-Wiesbaden , 1969, pp. 40-52, 238-39.
Cl. Cahen, "Ibn Baḳiya," EI2 III, p. 730.
J. J. Donohue, The Buwaihid Dynasty in Iraq 334H./945 to 403H./1012. Shaping Institutions for the Future, Leiden-Boston, 2003, pp. 154-59.
Mafizullah Kabir, The Buwayhid Dynasty of Baghdad (334/946-447/1055), Calcutta 1964, pp. 23-26, 33, 36, 38, 128.
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: November 24, 2010
Last Updated: January 1, 2000