Buyid dynasty

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Buyid Dynasty
آل بویِه
Āl-e Buye



The Buyid dynasty in 970
Capital Shiraz
(Buyids of Fars, 934–1062)
(Buyids of Jibal, 943–1029)
(Buyids of Iraq, 945–1055)
Languages Persian (mother tongue)[2]
Religion Shia Islam[3]
(also Sunni Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism)
Government Hereditary monarchy
 -  934-949 Imad al-Dawla
 -  1048-1062 Abu Mansur Fulad Sutun
Historical era Middle Ages
 -  Established 934
 -  Imad al-Dawla proclaimed himself "Emir"
 -  Adud al-Dawla proclaimed himself "Shāhanshāh" 978
 -  Disestablished 1062[1]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Samanid Empire
Banu Ilyas
Ghaznavid Empire
Great Seljuq Empire
Uqaylid dynasty
Today part of

The Buyid dynasty or the Buyids (Persian: آل بویهĀl-e Buye), also known as Buwaihids, Bowayhids, Buyahids, or Buyyids, were a Shia[4] dynasty which originated from Lahijan in Dailam.[5] They founded a confederation that controlled most of modern-day Iran and Iraq in the 10th and 11th centuries. During the 10th and 11th centuries, just prior to the invasion of the Seljuq Turks, the Buyids were the most influential dynasty in the Middle East.[6]


The Buyids were descendants of Panah-Khusrau, a Zoroastrian from Dailam. He had a son named Buya, who was a fisherman from Lahijan,[7] and later left his Zoroastrian faith and converted to Islam.[8] Buya later had three sons named Ahmad, 'Ali, and Hasan, who would later carve the Buyid kingdom together. According to Kelly L. Maglaughli, the Buyids were of Kurdish origin,[9] however, most historians agree that the Buyids were of Dailamite origin.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]



The three Buyid brothers were originally soldiers in the service of the Ziyarids of Tabaristan, 'Ali was able to recruit an army to defeat a Turkish general from Baghdad named Yaqut in 934. Over the next nine years the three brothers gained control of the remainder of the 'Abbāsid Caliphate. While they accepted the titular authority of the caliph in Baghdad, the Buyid rulers assumed effective control of the state.

The first several decades of the Buyid confederation were characterized by large territorial gains. In addition to Fars and Jibal, which were conquered in the 930s, and central Iraq, which submitted in 945, the Buyids took Ray (943),[18] Kerman (967), Oman (967), the Jazira (979), Ṭabaristan (980), and Gorgan (981). After this, however, the Buyids went into a slow decline, with pieces of the confederation gradually breaking off and local dynasties under their rule becoming de facto independent.

The approximate century of Buyid rule, coupled with the rise of other Iranian dynasties in the region, represents a period in Iranian history sometimes called the 'Iranian Intermezzo' since it was an interlude between the rule of the 'Abbāsid Arabs and the Seljuq Turks.[19] Indeed, as Dailamite Iranians the Buyids consciously revived symbols and practices of Persia's Sassānid dynasty.[20] In fact, beginning with 'Adud al-Dawla they used the ancient Sassānid title Shāhanshāh (Persian: شاهنشاه‎), literally "king of kings".[21][22]

The Buyid confederation was split between and governed by multiple members of the dynasty. In 945, Amir Mu'izz al-Dawla seized Baghdad and gained nominal control over the caliphs.[23] The title used by the Buyid rulers was amīr, meaning "governor" or "prince". Generally one of the amīrs would be recognized as having seniority over the others; this individual would use the title of amīr al-umarā',[22] or senior amīr. Although the senior amīr was the formal head of the Būyids, he did not usually have any significant control outside of his own personal amirate; each amir enjoyed a high degree of autonomy within his own territories. As mentioned above, some of the stronger amīrs used the Sassanid title of Shāhanshāh. Succession of power was hereditary, with fathers dividing their land among their sons.

Decline and fall[edit]

During the mid-11th century, the Buyid amirates gradually fell to the Ghaznavid and Seljuq Turks. In 1029, Majd al-Dawla, who was facing an uprising by his Dailami troops in Ray, requested assistance from Mahmud of Ghazna.[24] When Sultan Mahmud arrived, he deposed Majd al-Dawla, replaced him with a Ghaznavid governor and ended the Buyid dynasty in Ray.[25][26]

The Vakeel Bazaar of Shirāz was originally built during the Buyid era, probably during the rule of 'Adud al-Dawla.

In 1055, Tughrul conquered Baghdad, the seat of the caliphate, and ousted the last of the Buyid rulers.[27] Like the Buyids, the Seljuqs kept the Abbasid caliphate as the titular ruler.[28]


Dailamite soldier

The Buyid army consisted of their fellow Iranian Dailamites, who served as foot soldiers, and of the Turkish cavalry that had played a prominent role in the Abbasid military.[29] The Buyid army also consisted of Kurds, who along with the Turks were Sunni Muslim, while the Dailamites were Shia Muslims.[30]

The Dailamites and Turks often quarreled with each other in an attempt to be the dominant force within the army.[31] To compensate their soldiers the Buyid amīrs often distributed iqtā's, or the rights to a percentage of tax revenues from a province, although the practice of payment in kind was also frequently used.[32]


Like most Daylamites at the time, the Buyids were Shia and have been called Twelver Shia. However, it is more likely that they began as Zaidi Shia.[33][34] As the reason of this turning from Zaidi to Twelver, Moojen Momen suggests that since the Buyids were not descendants of Ali, the first Shia Imam, Zaidis Shiism doctrine would have urged them to install an Imam from Ali's family. For that reason Buyids tended toward Twelver Shia' with its occulted Imam was more politically attractive to them.[33]

The Buyids rarely attempted to enforce a particular religious view upon their subjects except when in matters where it would be politically expedient. The Sunnī 'Abbāsids retained the caliphate, although they were deprived of all secular power. In addition, in order to prevent tensions between the Shī'a and Sunni from spreading to government agencies, the Buyid amirs occasionally appointed Christians to high offices instead of Muslims from either sect.[35]

Buyid rulers[edit]

Major rulers[edit]

Generally, the three most powerful Buyid amirs at any given time were those in control of Fars, Jibal and Iraq. Sometimes a ruler would come to rule more than one region, but no Buyid rulers ever exercised direct control of all three regions.

Buyids of Fars

Power in Fars seized by the Shabankara Kurdish Chief Fadluya

Buyid era art: Painted, incised, and glazed earthenware. Dated 10th century, Iran. New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Buyids of Rey

To the Ghaznavids.

Buyids of Iraq

To the Seljuqs.

Minor rulers[edit]

It was not uncommon for younger sons to found collateral lines, or for individual Buyid members to take control of a province and begin ruling there. The following list is incomplete.

Buyids of Basra

To the Buyids of Fars.

Buyids of Hamadan

To the Kakuyids.

Buyids of Kerman

To the Buyids of Fars.

Buyids of Khuzistan

To the Buyids of Fars.

Family tree[edit]

Imad al-Dawla
Rukn al-Dawla
Mu'izz al-Dawla
Abu Ishaq Ibrahim
Izz al-Dawla
Sanad al-Dawla
Abu Tahir
Ali ibn Kama
Marzuban ibn Bakhtiyar
Unnamed princess
Fakhr al-Dawla
'Adud al-Dawla
Mu'ayyad al-Dawla
Shams al-Dawla
Majd al-Dawla
Sharaf al-Dawla
Samsam al-Dawla
Baha' al-Dawla
Sama' al-Dawla
Qawam al-Dawla
Sultan al-Dawla
Musharrif al-Dawla
Jalal al-Dawla
Abu Dulaf
Abu Kalijar
Al-Malik al-Aziz
Abu Mansur Ali
Abu Ali Fana-Khusrau
Abu Mansur Fulad Sutun
Al-Malik al-Rahim
Abu'l-Muzaffar Bahram
Abu Sa'd Khusrau Shah
Abu'l-Ghana'im al-Marzuban

See also[edit]


  1. ^ C.E. Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynasties, (Columbia University Press, 1996), 154.
  2. ^ "Persian Prose Literature." World Eras. 2002. HighBeam Research. (September 3, 2012);"Princes, although they were often tutored in Arabic and religious subjects, frequently did not feel as comfortable with the Arabic language and preferred literature in Persian, which was either their mother tongue—as in the case of dynasties such as the Saffarids (861–1003), Samanids (873–1005), and Buyids (945–1055)...". [1]
  3. ^ Abbasids, B.Lewis, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. I, Ed. H.A.R.Gibb, J.H.Kramers, E. Levi-Provencal and J. Schacht, (Brill, 1986), 19.
  4. ^ Rene Grousset, The Empire of the Steppes:A History of Central Asia, transl.Naomi Walford, (Rutgers University Press, 2002), 143.
  5. ^ Iranica,Iranica: DEYLAMITES:The most successful actors in the Deylamite expansion were the Buyids. The ancestor of the house, Abū Šojāʿ Būya, was a fisherman from Līāhej, the later region of Lāhījān.
  6. ^ Andre Wink, Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World, Vol.2, (Brill, 2002), 8.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  7. ^ Wolfgang Felix & Wilferd Madelung, pp. 342–347
  8. ^ Iran Under The Buyids, Heribert Busse, The Cambridge History of Iran, 274.
  9. ^ Lokman I. Meho,Kelly L. Maglaughli (1968), Kurdish culture and society: an annotated bibliography, p. 11, ISBN 9780313315435 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Clifford Edmund Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynasties, 154-155.
  13. ^ JAN RYPKA. History of Iranian Literature. Dordrecht: D. REIDEL PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1968. pg 146
  14. ^ Kennedy Hugh, THE prophet and the age of the Caliphates, 211.
  15. ^ Iran Under The Buyids, Heribert Busse, The Cambridge History of Iran, 251-252.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ The Rulers of Chaghāniyān in Early Islamic Times, C. E. Bosworth, Iran, Vol. 19, (1981), 6.
  19. ^ Blair, Sheila (1992), The Monumental Inscriptions From Early Islamic Iran and Transoxiana, Leiden: E.J. Brill, ISBN 90-04-09367-2 
  20. ^ Arthur Goldschmidt, "A Concise History of the Middle East: Seventh Edition ", Westview Press, 2001. pg 87.
  21. ^ Clawson, Patrick; Rubin, Michael (2005), Eternal Iran: continuity and chaos, Middle East in Focus (1st ed.), New York: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 19, ISBN 1-4039-6276-6 
  22. ^ a b Mafizullah, Kabir (1964), The Buwayhid dynasty of Baghdad, 334/946-447/1055, Calcutta: Iran Society 
  23. ^ Abbasids, B. Lewis, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. I, 19.
  24. ^ C.E. Bosworth, The Ghaznavids 994-1040, (Edinburgh University Press, 1963), 53,59,234.
  25. ^ C.E. Bosworth, The Ghaznavids 994-1040, 53,59,234.
  26. ^ The Political and Dynastic History of the Iranian World (A.D. 1000-1217), C.E. Bosworth, Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. V, ed. J. A. Boyle, (Cambridge University Press, 1968), 37.
  27. ^ André Wink, Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World, Vol. 2, (Brill, 2002), 9.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  28. ^ Bernard Lewis, The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years, (New York: Scribner, 1995) p. 89.
  29. ^ Sohar and the Daylamī interlude (356–443/967–1051), Valeria Fiorani Piacentini, Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, Vol. 35, Papers from the thirty-eighth meeting of the Seminar for Arabian Studies held in London, 22–24 July 2004 (2005), 196.
  30. ^ Bosworth 1975, p. 287.
  31. ^ Busse, Heribert (1975), "Iran Under the Buyids", in Frye, R. N., The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 4: From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 265, 298, ISBN 0-521-20093-8 
  32. ^ Sourdel-Thomine, J. "Buwayhids." The Encyclopedia of Islam, Volume I. New Ed. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1960. p. 1353.
  33. ^ a b Momen, Moojan (1985), An Introduction to Shi'i Islam, Yale University Press, pp. 75–76, ISBN 978-0-300-03531-5 
  34. ^ Berkey, Jonathan Porter. The Formation of Islam London: Cambridge University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-521-58813-8. p. 135
  35. ^ Heribert, pp. 287-8


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