Al-Hasan ibn Ubayd Allah ibn Tughj

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Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Ubayd Allah ibn Tughj (924/5–982) was an Ikhshidid prince and briefly governor of Palestine and regent for his underage nephew Abu'l-Fawaris Ahmad in 968–969. After his departure from Egypt, he assumed control of the remaining Ikhshidid domains in southern Syria and Palestine until defeated and captured by the Fatimids in March 970. He died in Cairo in 982.


Hasan was a son of Ubayd Allah ibn Tughj, and hence member of a cadet branch of the main Ikhshidid dynasty, founded by Ubayd Allah's brother Muhammad ibn Tughj al-Ikhshid.[1] According to the historian al-Farghani, relayed by Ibn Khallikan, he was born in 924/5.[2] The famed poet al-Mutanabbi, during his sojourn in Egypt, dedicated a long qasida poem to Hasan.[3]

Following the death in April 968 of Abu al-Misk Kafur—who had formally ruled the Ikhshidid state since 966, but had been the real power behind the throne since al-Ikhshid's death in 946[4]—Hasan was appointed to the governorship of Palestine, where he confronted and ousted the previous governor, Akhu Muslim Abdallah.[5] In autumn, he had to face a Qarmatian invasion of the Ikhshidids' Syrian domains. The Qarmatians captured Damascus and on 28 October defeated Hasan in battle before Ramla. The town was plundered for two days, but the locals managed to buy off the Qarmatians with 125,000 gold dinars.[6][7][8]

Fleeing this defeat, he went to Egypt, where he intervened in the power struggle over control of the government and the young emir Abu'l-Fawaris Ahmad, and took over Fustat. He imprisoned the long-time vizier Ja'far ibn al-Furat, whom he subjected to torture in order to extract much of his fortune, and ordered construction of a palace on Rawdah Island.[2][6][9] His name was added on the coinage, which were the last coins minted by the Ikhshidid dynasty. Tellingly Hasan's name is found in the second position, after that of the Abbasid caliph al-Muti, and is followed by that of his nephew and nominal ruler, Ahmad.[10] To further enhance his legitimacy, he married his cousin Fatima, daughter of al-Ikhshid, in January 969.[11][12] Hasan seemed to have established himself as regent, but he was opposed by the local elites, and in February 969, after only three months in Fustat, he suddenly departed the capital for Palestine, leaving Egypt in the charge of Ibn al-Furat, whom he released from prison.[2][7][9] The situation in Palestine had deteriorated in his absence: an invasion by the Qarmatians in alliance with the Tayy Bedouin had sacked the provincial capital, Ramla, and only departed after receiving a tribute of 125,000 gold dinars,[7][8] while further north, the collapse of Hamdanid power in northern Syria exposed the entire region to the Byzantines, who laid siege to Antioch, capturing the city in October 969.[13]

Following his departure from Egypt, the province was invaded and swiftly taken over by the Fatimids under Jawhar al-Siqilli.[9][14] Following the demise of Ikhshidid rule in Egypt, Hasan remained the last Ikhshidid ruler, controlling the dynasty's possessions in Palestine and Syria.[15] Hasan initially moved his residence north to Damascus, but after learning of the Fatimids' conquest of Egypt he returned to Ramla to supervise the defence of Palestine, leaving Damascus and its province in the hands of the commander Shamul, and the province of Jordan under the ghulam Fatik.[6][8] There in October/November 969 he confronted another Qarmatian invasion. Defeated once again, he nevertheless managed to conclude peace with them in exchange of an annual tribute of 300,000 dinars, sealed by unspecified "marriage relations". The Qarmatians left after 30 days, but a detachment was apparently left behind and joined Hasan's army.[6][8][16]

Although his army was augmented by the remnants of the Ikhshidid regiments from Egypt, as well as Qarmatians, in March 970 the Ikhshidids were defeated in battle by Ja'far ibn Fallah, and Hasan was taken prisoner and sent to the Fatimid caliph, al-Mu'izz.[6][15][17] Eventually, he was brought back to Fustat (March/April 970). His fate after that is unknown, but al-Farghani reports that he died on 19 January 982.[2][18]


  1. ^ Bacharach 2006, p. 61.
  2. ^ a b c d McGuckin de Slane 1868, p. 222.
  3. ^ McGuckin de Slane 1868, p. 221.
  4. ^ Bianquis 1998, pp. 115–117.
  5. ^ Brett 2001, pp. 298–299.
  6. ^ a b c d e Madelung 1996, p. 35.
  7. ^ a b c Bacharach 2006, p. 83.
  8. ^ a b c d Brett 2001, p. 311.
  9. ^ a b c Bianquis 1998, p. 118.
  10. ^ Bacharach 2006, pp. 81–82.
  11. ^ Bacharach 2006, pp. 82–83.
  12. ^ McGuckin de Slane 1868, pp. 221–222.
  13. ^ Brett 2001, p. 308.
  14. ^ Brett 2001, pp. 295–303.
  15. ^ a b Bacharach 2006, p. 84.
  16. ^ Bacharach 2006, pp. 83–84.
  17. ^ Brett 2001, pp. 311–312.
  18. ^ Bacharach 2006, pp. 61, 84.


  • Bacharach, Jere L. (2006). Islamic History Through Coins: An Analysis and Catalogue of Tenth-century Ikhshidid Coinage. Cairo: American University in Cairo. ISBN 9774249305.
  • Bianquis, Thierry (1998). "Autonomous Egypt from Ibn Ṭūlūn to Kāfūr, 868–969". In Petry, Carl F. (ed.). Cambridge History of Egypt, Volume One: Islamic Egypt, 640–1517. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 86–119. ISBN 0-521-47137-0.
  • Brett, Michael (2001). The Rise of the Fatimids: The World of the Mediterranean and the Middle East in the Fourth Century of the Hijra, Tenth Century CE. The Medieval Mediterranean. 30. Leiden: BRILL. ISBN 9004117415.
  • Madelung, Wilferd (1996). "The Fatimids and the Qarmaṭīs of Baḥrayn". In Daftary, Farhad (ed.). Mediaeval Isma'ili History and Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 21–73. ISBN 0-521-45140-X.
  • McGuckin de Slane, William, ed. (1868). Ibn Khallikan's Biographical Dictionary, translated from the Arabic by Bn. William McGuckin de Slane, Vol. III. Paris: Oriental translation fund of Great Britain and Ireland.