Vizier (Fatimid Caliphate)

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The vizier (Arabic: وزير‎, romanizedwazīr) was the senior minister of the Fatimid Caliphate for most of the Egyptian period of its existence. Originally it was held by civilian officials who acted as the chief civilian ministers of the caliphs, analogous to the original Abbasid model. When a vizier was not appointed, an "intermediary" (wāsiṭa) was designated instead. The enfeeblement of the caliph's power and the crisis of the Fatimid regime under Caliph al-Mustansir, however, led to the rise of military strongmen, who dominated the post from the 1070s until the Caliphate's end. These "viziers of the sword" were also commanders-in-chief of the army, effectively sidelined the caliphs and ruled in their stead, often seizing power from their predecessors. The last vizier, Saladin, abolished the Fatimid Caliphate in 1171.

History and powers[edit]

During the Ifriqiyan period of the Fatimid Caliphate (909–973), the title of "vizier", although current in the eastern Islamic world, was not used.[1][2] It was adopted after the Fatimid conquest of Egypt, where the office had had a long tradition under the autonomous Tulunid and Ikhshidid dynasties.[1][2] Although the last Ikhshidid vizier, Ja'far ibn al-Furat, continued to exercise many of his previous functions, the conqueror and viceroy of Egypt, Jawhar, refused to recognize his possession of the vizieral title.[3] Likewise, when Caliph al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah (r. 953–975) arrived in Egypt, he preferred to avoid delegating his powers to a vizier, although he appointed Ya'qub ibn Killis, a former Ikhshidid official, as head of the administrative apparatus. It was only c. 979 that Caliph al-Aziz Billah (r. 975–996) gave the title of vizier to Ibn Killis, who continued as head of the administration until his death in 991.[1][2][4]

After Ibn Killis, the caliphs could choose whether to appoint a vizier, or entrust affairs to an "intermediary" (wāsiṭa) who mediated between the Caliph and his officials and subjects.[1] In line with the Fatimids' general policy of toleration of Christians and Jews,[5] several viziers were Christians or of Christian origin, beginning with Isa ibn Nasturus under al-Aziz.[6] Jews, on the other hand, only appear to have held the office after converting to Islam, Ibn Killis being the most prominent example.[6]

The early viziers served at the pleasure of the caliph who had appointed them, and exemplified what the 11th-century legal theorist al-Mawardi called wazīr al-tanfīdh ("vizier of execution"), effectively being, in the description of the Orientalist Marius Canard, "agents for the execution of the sovereign's will".[1][7] Indeed, their careers were often very brief, being deposed, imprisoned, beaten, and frequently executed, by the caliph or by other court rivals.[6] As a result, according to Canard, "broadly speaking, the main characteristic of the vizierate of the Fatimids is the insecurity of the viziers", with periods where the office changed hands in rapid succession.[6] Under the weak al-Mustansir, five viziers held office between 1060–1062 alone.[6]

This changed with the rise of the military strongmen to the position: Badr al-Jamali and his successors held full powers in the caliph's stead, and represented al-Mawardi's wazīr al-tafwīd, the "vizier with delegated powers". Due to the military background of the holders of the vizierate, they were also known as "viziers of the sword and pen" (wazīr al-sayf wa'l-qalam), or simply "viziers of the sword" (wazīr al-sayf).[1][7] The "viziers of the sword", who dominated the last century of the Caliphate's existence, were at the same time chief ministers in charge of all civil administration, heads of the armies (amīr al-juyūsh), responsible for all judicial matters as chief qāḍī, and even for all religious matters as head missionary (dāʿī al-duʿāt).[8] As the viziers' power grew to eclipse the caliphs', they even assumed the title of "king" (al-malik) followed by an epithet.[6][a]

From the early 12th century on, the position of ṣāḥib al-bāb or high chamberlain was created and came immediately after the vizier, taking over some of the latter's duties when the vizier was not a "man of the sword". Described as a "second vizierate", the office served as a springboard for the actual vizierate for Abu'l-Fath Yanis, Ridwan ibn Walakhshi and Dirgham.[10][11]


Ibn Killis established his official residence (dār al-wazāra) in the southeastern part of Cairo, close to the Sa'ada Gate, a quarter which became known as al-wazīriyya after Ibn Killis.[12] The building was not only the residence of the vizier, but also the seat of the fiscal bureaus (dīwāns), and housed storage rooms for garments, the treasury, books, and drinks. Each of the latter was supervised by a comptroller (nāẓir), and the dār al-wazāra itself also had its own superintendent (zimām).[13] The dār al-wazāra was an echo of the caliphal palaces, and included a small mosque for prayer and kitchens for the banquets organized by the vizier.[14] According to the 15th-century historian al-Maqrizi, after Ibn Killis' death, his residence was not occupied again by a vizier until Abu Muhammad al-Yazuri in 1050. It was then that it became a true dār al-wazāra, being the official residence of the subsequent holders of the office until Badr al-Jamali.[15]

Badr built a new residence to the north, in the quarter of Barjawān. This edifice then passed into the hands of his son and successor al-Afdal Shahanshah, and then to another of Badr's sons, al-Muzaffar Ja'far; from him it was later known dār al-Muẓaffar. Later converted to a guest-house, it was here that the deposed Fatimids were held by Saladin after the overthrow of the dynasty in 1171.[16] Al-Afdal also built a new, and much larger and more luxurious dār al-wazāra, on the northeastern part of the city, near the Bab al-Nasr. Initially called dār al-Afḍaliyya, it was commonly known as the "House of the Domes" (dār al-qibāb), and later, under al-Ma'mun al-Bata'ihi, as dār al-wazāra al-kubrā ("grand house of the vizierate"). This was the final residence of the Fatimid viziers until the end of the dynasty.[17]

List of viziers[edit]

Start End Name Notes Caliph Refs
979 983 Ya'qub ibn Killis Jewish convert of Iraqi origin al-Aziz Billah (975–996) [18]
983 983 Jabr ibn al-Qasim An Isma'ili official from the Maghreb, served as vizier for three months during Ibn Killis' disgrace and imprisonment. [19]
983 990 Ya'qub ibn Killis Restored to office [18]
990 991 Abu'l-Hasan Ali ibn Umar al-Addas Not vizier, but "guarantor" (ḍāmin) of the state affairs after Ibn Killis' death. Dismissed and imprisoned due to mismanagement. [20]
992 993 Abu'l-Fadl Ja'far ibn al-Fadl ibn al-Furat Sunni official of Iraqi origin, from a long line of Abbasid viziers; he had served as vizier under the last Ikhshidids and was retained after the conquest of Egypt. [21]
993 996 Isa ibn Nasturus ibn Surus A Coptic Egyptian scribe, known for his efficiency in tax collection. Executed by Caliph al-Hakim in 1000. [22]
996 997 Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Abbar ibn Abi'l-Husayn A Kutama nobleman, resigned after clashes between the Turkish and Maghrebi army factions. The first to receive a honorific title, amīn al-dawla ("trusted servant of the realm"). al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (996–1021) [23]
997 999 Barjawan An Isma'ili eunuch slave from Sicily, designated as tutor of al-Hakim by al-Aziz, but only coming to power after the departure of Ibn Ammar. His great power led him to be killed on al-Hakim's orders. [24]
999 1002 al-Husayn ibn Jawhar Son of Jawhar, the conqueror of Egypt. Co-vizier with Fahd ibn Ibrahim, bore the title "chief commander" (qāʿid al-quwwād). [24]
Abu'l-Ala Fahd ibn Ibrahim A Christian scribe from Egypt. Co-vizier with al-Husayn ibn Jawhar, bore the title al-raʿīs ("the chief" or "the headsman"). Murdered by Caliph al-Hakim. [25]
1002 1010 position vacant [26]
1010 1012 Zar'ah ibn Isa ibn Nasturus Son of vizier Isa ibn Nasturus, bore the title of al-shāfi ("the healer"). [25]
1012 1014 al-Husayn ibn Tahir al-Wazzan Scribe of Iranian origin. Not a vizier, but wāsiṭa ("intermediary") with the title of amīn al-umanāʾ ("chief secretary", lit. "secretary of secretaries"). Killed by Caliph al-Hakim in person. [25]
1014 1014 al-Hasan ibn Abi al-Sayyid and
Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi al-Sayyid
Brothers, officials of unknown origin, held the post of wāsiṭa in tandem. Despite a reputation for honesty, both were killed by the Caliph after 62 days in office. [27]
1014 1014 Abu'l-Abbas al-Fadl ibn Ja'far ibn al-Fadl ibn al-Furat Son of vizier Ja'far ibn al-Furat, in office as wāsiṭa for five days before being killed on the Caliph's orders. [28]
1015 1018 Abu'l-Hasan Ali ibn Ja'far ibn Falah Son of the Kutama general Ja'far ibn Falah and close friend and favourite of al-Hakim. ALongside the vizierate he was governor of Alexandria, Tinnis, and Damietta, as well as police prefect (ṣāḥib al-shurṭa) and inspector of the marketplaces (ḥisbah). He was assassinated on the Caliph's orders while riding home. Received the honorifics of wāzir al-wuzarāʾ ("chief vizier", lit. "vizier of viziers"), dhū'l-riāsatayn ("the one of the two headships"), al-amīr al-muzaffar ("victorious commander"), and quṭb al-dawla ("axis of the realm"). [28]
1018 1018 Sa'id ibn Isa ibn Nasturus Son of vizier Isa ibn Nasturus and brother of Zar'ah ibn Nasturus. He held extensive powers as "sharer of the caliphate" (qāsim al-khilāfah), with the titles of al-amīn al-ẓahir ("the outer secretary"), sharaf al-mulk ("honour of the kingship"), tāj al-maʿālī ("crown of the finances"), and dhū'l-jādayn ("the one of the two hands"). Executed after five months in office. [29]
1018 1019 Abu'l-Fath al-Mas'ud ibn Tahir al-Wazzan Brother of vizier al-Husayn ibn Tahir al-Wazzan. 1st tenure, as wāsiṭa rather than full vizier. [29]
1020 1021 Abu'l-Husayn Ammar ibn Muhammad Isma'ili official, served as wāsiṭa with the titles of al-amīr al-khaṭīr ("the significant commander") and raʿīs al-ruʿasāʾ ("chief headsman", lit. "head of heads"). He was in office during al-Hakim's disappearance and supervised the accession of al-Zahir, but was executed a few days after completing seven months in office. [29]
al-Zahir li A'zaz li Din-illah (1021–1036)
1022 1022 Musa ibn al-Hasan In office for nine months as wāsiṭa with the titles of yadd al-dawla ("hand of the realm") and abū'l-futūḥ ("father of victories"), before being deposed, imprisoned, and executed. [30]
1023 1024 Abu'l-Fath al-Mas'ud ibn Tahir al-Wazzan Second tenure, as full vizier [29]
1024 1027 Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Salih al-Ruzbari A veteran official, served as governor of Ramla and Syria and head of the army bureau before being appointed vizier with the title of ʿamīd al-dawla wa naṣīḥuhā ("support and councillor of the realm"). Despite his advanced age, he was mistreated by the Caliph, who dismissed him and then restored him to office, only to dismiss him again. [30]
1027 1045 Abu'l-Qasim Ali ibn Ahmad al-Jarjara'i Member of an Iraqi family which moved to Egypt and became an administrator. Complaints against him led Caliph al-Hakim to cut off his hands, but al-Zahir appointed him vizier. He was in office when al-Zahir died, and supervised the accession of al-Mustansir, serving as his vizier until his death. He bore the titles al-wazīr al-ajall ("the most illustrious vizier"), al-awḥad ("the unique"), and ṣafī amīr al-muʿminīn wa khāliṣatuh ("the true and chosen friend of the commander of the faithful"). [31]
al-Mustansir Billah (1036–1094)
1045 1047 Abu Mansur Sadaqah ibn Yusuf al-Falahi A Jewish convert, he was a close friend and aide of al-Jarjara'i, who nominated him as his successor. Nevertheless, he was obliged to share his office with Abu Sa'd al-Tustari, the steward of the Caliph's mother. He managed to have his rival eliminated, but as himself soon after deposed and killed at the instigation of al-Muntasir's mother. He bore the titles al-wazīr al-ajall, tāj al-riyāsa ("crown of the leadership"), fakhr al-mulk ("glory of the kingship"), and muṣṭafā amīr al-muʿminīn ("the chosen one of the commander of the faithful"). [32]
Abu Sa'd al-Tustari The original owner of al-Muntasir's mother, he later became her chief steward. He was killed at the instigation of his co-vizier. [33]
1048 1049 Abu'l-Barakat al-Husayn al-Jarjara'i Brother of the vizier Ali ibn Ahmad al-Jarjara'i, he was unpopular as he sent many into exile or prison and confiscated their properties. He was imprisoned and then exiled to Syria at the Caliph's orders. He bore the honorifics sayyid al-wuzarāʾ ("lord of viziers"), ẓahīr al-aʿimmah ("helper of the imams"), samāʾ al-khulaṣāʾ ("sky of the sincere ones"), and fakhr al-ummah ("glory of the [Muslim] community"). [34]
1049 1050 Abu'l-Fadl Sa'id ibn Masud A career scribe, he was head of the bureau of Syria before being appointed as wāsiṭa, with the titles ʿamīd al-mulk ("support of the kingship") and zayn al-kufāt ("ornament of the capable ones"). [34]
1050 1058 Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn ali ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Yazuri Of lowly origin, he rose quickly to prominence as steward of al-Mustansir's mother, and was appointed vizier during a period of severe crisis. As a result, he was able to extract several concessions from al-Mustansir, who was eager to distance himself from governance: although he was a Sunni, al-Yazuri was named chief Isma'ili missionary (dāʿī al-duʿāt). After subduing an Arab revolt, his was name included on the coins alongside the Caliph's. He was imprisoned and executed on the Caliph's orders after depleting the treasury, at a time when Egypt suffered from famine, pursuing his ambition of capturing Baghdad and finally replacing the Abbasid Caliphate with the Fatimids. He held the titles of al-wazīr al-ajall, al-awḥad, al-makīn ("the firm one"), sayyid al-wuzarāʾ, tāj al-aṣfiyāʾ ("crown of the pure ones"), qāḍī al-quḍāt ("chief judge", lit. "qāḍī of qāḍīs") and dāʿī al-duʿāt ("chief missionary", lit. "dāʿī of dāʿīs"), ʿalam al-majd ("world of glory") and khāliṣat amīr al-muʿminīn ("chosen one of the commander of the faithful"). [35]
1058 1058 Abu'l-Faraj Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Babili A mathematician and author who worked as scribe for al-Yazuri. He briefly succeeded him as vizier for the first of three tenures, lasting two months and 14 days. He bore the titles al-wazīr al-ajall, al-asʿad ("the auspicious"), al-makīn, al-ḥāfiz ("the protector"), al-amjad ("the glorious"), al-amīn ("the trustworthy one"), ʿamīd al-khilāfah ("support of the caliphate"), jalāl al-wuzarāʾ ("glory of the viziers"), tāj al-mamlaka ("crown of the kingdom"), wazīr al-imāama ("councillor of the imamate"), sharaf al-milla ("honour of the religion"), kafīl al-dīn ("patron of the Faith"), khalīl amīr al-muʿminīn wa khāliṣatuh ("the true and chosen beloved of the commander of the faithful"). [36]
1058 1060 Abu'l-Faraj Muhammad ibn Ja'far al-Maghribi An official under al-Yazuri and imprisoned by al-Babili, he was appointed to the vizierate after al-Babili's dismissal. He was the first to be re-employed after his dismissal two years later, being appointed head of the chancery (dīwān al-inshāʾ). He bore the titles of al-wazīr al-ajall, al-kāmil ("the perfect one"), al-awḥad, and ṣafī amīr al-muʿminīn wa khāliṣatuh. [37]
1060 1060 Abu'l-Faraj Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Babili Second tenure as vizier, for four months and ten days. [36]
1061 1061 Abdallah ibn Yahya ibn Mudabbir Scion of a line of Abbasid viziers and a learned Sufi. His first tenure was of short duration. He bore the titles of al-wazīr al-ajall, al-ʿādil ("the just"), al-amīr ("the commander"), sharaf al-wuzarāʾ ("honour of the viziers"), sayyid al-ruʿasāʾ ("lord of the headsmen"), tāj al-aṣfiyā, ʿizz al-dīn ("glory of the Faith"), mughīth al-Muslimīn ("succourer of the Muslims"), and khalīl amīr al-muʿminīn ("beloved of the commander of the faithful"). [38]
1061 1062 Abd al-Karim ibn Abd al-Hakim The scion of a Syrian family of qāḍīs, his tenure lasted for five months, cut short by his death. He held the titles of al-wazīr al-ajall, fakhr al-wuzarāʾ ("glory of the viziers"), ʿamīd al-ruʿasāʾ ("dean of the headsmen"), qāḍī al-quḍāt wa dāʿī al-duʿāt, majd al-maʿālī ("glorious excellency"), kafīl al-dīn, and yamīn al-muʿminīn ("right hand of the commander of the faithful"). [38]
1062 1062 Abu Ali Ahmad ibn Abd al-Hakim A qāḍī and son of the vizier Abd al-Karim ibn Abd al-Hakim, becoming thus the first Fatimid vizier to succeed his father. Died after 17 days in office, probably of natural causes. Other than a reputation for piousness, his life is unknown. He held the titles of al-wazīr al-ajall, qāḍī al-quḍāt wa dāʿī al-duʿāt, thiqat al-Muslimīn ("the one trusted by the Muslims"), and khalīl amīr al-muʿminīn. [39]
1062 1062 Abu Abdallah al-Husayn ibn Sadid An official from Damascus, he held the office for six months before being dismissed and returning to Syria as its governor. He held the titles of al-wazīr al-sayyid al-ajall, al-kāmil, and al-awḥad. [40]
1062 1062 Abu'l-Faraj Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Babili Third tenure, for five months, until his death. [36]
1063 Abu Ahmad Ahmad ibn Abd al-Karim ibn Abd al-Hakim Two tenures, for three and a half months in total, alternating with the office of qāḍī al-quḍāt. He had the titles of al-wazīr al-ajall, al-awḥad, sayyid al-wuzarāʾ, majd al-aṣfiyāʾ ("exaltation of the pure ones"), and qāḍī al-quḍāt wa dāʿī al-duʿāt. [40]
Abdallah ibn Yahya ibn Mudabbir Second and brief tenure, cut short by his death. [38]
Abu Ghalib Abd al-Zahir ibn Fadl ibn al-Ajami First tenure for three months. He bore the titles of al-wazīr al-ajall, al-awḥad, al-asʿad, tāj al-wuzarāʾ ("crown of the viziers"), al-amīn, al-makīn, sharaf al-kufāt ("honour of the capable ones"), dhū'l-mafākhir ("the prideful one"), and khalīl amīr al-muʿminīn. [40]
al-Hasan ibn al-Qadi ibn Kudaynah First of five tenures held between 1063–1073, along with holding the office of qāḍī al-quḍāt six times. He is remembered as a cruel and tyrannical man. He held the titles al-wazīr al-ajall, al-awḥad, jalāl al-Islām ("glory of Islam"),ẓāhir al-imām ("the external [representative] of the Imam"), qāḍī al-quḍāt wa dāʿī al-duʿāt, sharaf al-majd, and khalīl amīr al-muʿminīn. [41]
1064 Abu'l-Makarim al-Musharraf ibn As'ad al-Babili First tenure of two months. He bore the titles of al-wazīr al-ajall, al-ʿādil, and khalīl amīr al-muʿminīn. [41]
Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn Abi Sa'd Ibrahim ibn Sahl al-Tustari From a wealthy merchant family, he was head of the treasury before becoming vizier, at the turn of AH 456/457. He resigned after only ten days. As a result, he only bore the titles al-ʿamīd and ʿalam al-kufāt ("world of the capable ones"). [41]
Abu Ghalib Abd al-Zahir ibn Fadl ibn al-Ajami Second tenure of 34 days. [40]
1065 Abu'l-Makarim al-Musharraf ibn As'ad Second tenure for less than two months. [41]
Abu'l-Qasim Hibat Allah ibn Muhammad al-Ra'yani Two tenures of ten days each. He held the titles of al-wazīr al-ajall, sayyid al-wuzarāʾ, tāj al-aṣfiyāʾ, and dhukrat amīr al-muʿminīn ("treasured friend of the commander of the faithful"). [42]
Abu'l-Hasan ali ibn al-Anbari Deposed, and possibly killed, after less than a month in office. He held the titles of al-athīr ("the ethereal one") and kāfī al-kufāt ("the most capable one"). [42]
Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn Sadid al-Dawla Dhu'l-Kafalatayn Vizier for a few days. He left the office due to the lack of respect shown him by officials and the dire sttae of the realm, and went to Syria. He returned to Egypt only later, dying shortly after. He held the titles of al-wazīr al-ajall, tāj al-riyāsa, ʿalam al-dīn ("world of the Faith"), and sayyid al-sādāt ("the supreme lord", lit. "lord of lords"). [43]
Abu Shuja Muhammad ibn al-Ashraf The son of a vizier under the Buyid sultan Baha al-Dawla, he was very wealthy and renowned for his integrity. His tenure only lasted a few days. He left for Syria, but was intercepted and executed by Badr al-Jamali, who was the commander-in-chief of the Fatimid army there. He bore the titles of al-ajall, al-muʿaẓẓam ("the exalted one"), and fakhr al-mulk. [44]
1066 Abu'l-Hasan Tahir ibn Wazir A scribe in the chancery, he served as vizier for a few days before abandoning his post for his home city of Tripoli. He bore the titles al-ajall, al-wajīh ("the dignified"), sayyid al-kufāt ("lord of the capable ones"), nafīs al-dawla ("priceless [servant] of the realm"), and ẓahīr amīr al-muʿminīn ("helper of the commander of the faithful"). [45]
Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Abi Hamid Scion of a wealthy Egyptian family from Tinnis, he was vizier for one day, before being dismissed and executed by the Caliph. He held the titles of al-qadīr ("the mighty"), al-ʿādil, shams al-umam ("sun of the nations", sayyid ruʿasāʾ al-sayf wa'l-qalam ("lord of the headsmen of the sword and the pen"), tāj al-ʿulā ("the highest crown"), ʿamīd al-hudā ("support of guidance"), sharaf al-dīn ("honour of the Faith"), ghayyāth al-Islām wa'l-Muslimīn ("succorer of Islam and the Muslims"), ḥamīm amīr al-muʿminīn ("intimate [friend] of the commander of the faithful"). [45]
Abu Sa'd Mansur ibn Zunbur An Egyptian Christian, he was vizier for a few days before he fled the office when the army demanded to be paid, as the treasury was empty. He bore the titles of al-ajall, al-awḥad, al-makīn, al-sayyid, al-afḍal ("the best, the superior"), al-amīn, sharaf al-kufāt, ʿamīd al-khilāfah, muḥibb amīr al-muʿminīn ("lover of the commander of the faithful"). [46]
1066 1073 The exact history of the viziers during this period is unclear as they alternated often and with extremely short tenures, so that many were never even recorded, while others, like Ibn Kudaynah, held the office multiple times. [47]
1072 1072 Abu Ghalib Abd al-Zahir ibn Fadl ibn al-Ajami Third and last tenure, amidst a collapsing regime and a famine so severe that cannibalism was reported. He was killed after a few days. [48]
1073 Abu'l-Ala Abd al-Ghani ibn Nasr ibn Sa'id al-Dayf Ibn al-Sayrafi reports that he was a wāsiṭa and in office until the arrival of Badr al-Jamali, but other authors dispute this: Ibn Muyassar reports that Abd al-Ghani only was in office for a few days, and that Ibn Kudaynah was vizier when Badr al-Jamali came to Cairo. He held the titles of al-ṣādiq ("the honest"), al-muʿmīn ("the faithful"), makīn al-dawla wa amīnuha ("firm support and servant of the realm"). [49]
al-Hasan ibn al-Qadi ibn Kudaynah Fifth and final tenure, according to al-Maqrizi for about a year. He was executed by Badr al-Jamali in person. [50]
1074 1094 Badr al-Jamali Armenian ghulām and general, served until his death. He bore the titles al-sayyid al-ajall ("the most exalted lord"), amīr al-juyūsh ("commander of the armies"), sayf al-Islām ("sword of Islam"), and nāṣir al-imām ("protector of the Imam"). [49]
1094 1121 al-Afdal Shahanshah Son of Badr al-Jamali, he succeeded his father during the last year of his life, when Badr fell ill. After the death of al-Mustansir, he orchestrated the accession of al-Mustansir's younger son al-Musta'li over his older brother Nizar. Nizar was killed in the subsequent confrontation, leading to the split between the split of the Nizari and Musta'li branches of Isma'ilism. After al-Musta'li's death, he placed his son al-Amir bi-Ahkam Allah on the throne. In foreign affairs, his tenure was dominated by his incessant campaigns against the Crusader states in the Levant. Al-Afdal remained the de facto ruler of Egypt until his assassination in 1121. He bore the titles al-sayyid al-ajall, al-afḍal, sayf al-imām ("sword of the Imam"), jalāl al-Islām, sharaf al-ānām ("honour of mankind"), nāṣir al-dīn ("protector of the Faith"), and khalīl amīr al-muʿminīn. [51]
al-Musta'li (1094–1101)
Al-Amir bi-Ahkam Allah (1101–1130)
1121 1125 Abu Abdallah al-Ma'mun al-Bata'ihi A skilled diplomat renowned for his justice and generosity, he was so popular that prayers were said in his name, just as for the caliph. A patron of learning, he undertook a census of Egypt, and commissioned a history of the vizierate. His downfall was abrupt and remains a mystery, as the sources can only speculate on the reasons; he was imprisoned, and then crucified by the Caliph in 1128, along with his brothers. He bore the titles al-sayyid al-ajall, tāj al-khilāfah ("crown of the caliphate"), ʿizz al-Islām ("glory of Islam"), fakhr al-ānām ("glory of mankind"), and niẓām al-dīn ("good order of the Faith"). [52]
1125 1130 position vacant [53]
1130 1130 Hizar al-Mulk Hazarmard A favourite of al-Amir, he was vizier for about two weeks following the death of al-Amir and the proclamation of Abu al-Majid (the future Caliph al-Hafiz li-Din Allah) as regent. He was deposed and executed when the army rose in revolt under Kutayfat. Regency of Abd al-Majid [54][55]
1130 1131 Abu Ali Ahmad ibn al-Afdal Shahanshah (Kutayfat) The son of al-Afdal Shahanshah, he seized dictatorical powers after the murder of Caliph al-Amir. He kept Abd al-Majid as nominal regent, but he soon changed the official state doctrine to Twelver Imamism and ruled as the deputy (nāʾib) and deputy (khalīfa) of the Expected Imam, sidelining the Fatimids. He ruled for 13 months and 13 days before he was murdered in a coup organized by the disgruntled Fatimid elites. [54][56]
1131 1132 Abu'l-Fath Yanis An Armenian Christian military slave, he played the leading role in the assassination of Kutayfat and was rewarded with the position of vizier. His growing power made him a threat to the Caliph al-Hafiz, who had him killed after little over nine months in office. In 1122/3, Yanis was promoted to head of the ṣibyān al-khāṣṣ— a special corps of young men being trained for military service and then to head of the treasury (ṣāḥib bayt al-mal) by the vizier al-Ma'mun al-Bata'ihi. He rose further to head chamberlain (ṣāḥib al-bāb or ṣāḥib al-majlis), a rank almost equal to the vizierate and commander-in-chief of the army. [53][57][58]
al-Hafiz li-Din Allah (1132–1149)
1132 1134 position vacant [54][59]
1134 1134 Sulayman ibn al-Hafiz li-Din Allah Son and designated successor of al-Hafiz, he died two months after receiving the powers of the vizierate. [60][61]
1134 1134 Haydara ibn al-Hafiz li-Din Allah A younger son of al-Hafiz, he was named designated successor and vizier after the death of Sulayman. [60][61]
1134 1135 Hasan ibn al-Hafiz li-Din Allah A younger son of al-Hafiz, he forced his father to name him vizier and heir-apparent on 19 July 1135. After he killed a number of senior commanders, the army demanded his execution. Al-Hafiz had him poisoned in March/April 1135. [60][62]
1135 1137 Abu Muzaffar Bahram al-Armani An Armenian Christian. The favour he showed to Christians, and especially the encouragement of Armenian immigration, led to an anti-Christian backlash among the Muslim population, and he was forced out of office in February 1137 by the Sunni Ridwan ibn Walakhshi. He bore the titles of tāj al-mulūk ("crown of the kingship") and sayf al-Islām. [60][63]
1137 1139 Ridwan ibn Walakhshi A Sunni Egyptian military commander and governor of Ascalon. He was the first vizier to claim the title of al-malik ("king"). His tenure was marked by the replacement of Christian officials by Muslims, and the imposition of restrictions on Christians and Jews. Ridwan also aimed to depose the Fatimids in favour of a Sunni regime headed by himself, but was thwarted by al-Hafiz, who raised the people of Cairo and the army against him and evicted him from the capital. Ridwan surrendered and was imprisoned in the palace, only to escape and lead another rebellion in 1148, during which he was murdered on the Caliph's instructions. [63][64][65]
1138 1149 position vacant [63]
1149 1149 Najm al-Din Muhammad ibn Masal A military commander from the Maghreb, he was "supervisor of affairs" (nāẓir fi’l-umūr) since 1145, but became vizier only after the accession of al-Zafir, holding the office for two months before being deposed and killed by al-Adil ibn al-Sallar after trying to purge the army to restore discipline in its ranks. al-Zafir bi-Amr Allah (1149–1154) [66]
1149 1153 al-Adil ibn al-Sallar He was governor of Alexandria when he deposed and replaced Ibn Masal. His tenure lasted three and a half years, during which he was scored significant successes against the Crusaders. He was murdered following a conspiracy by his own stepson, Abbas ibn Abi al-Futuh, and the latter's companion Usama ibn Munqidh. [67]
1153 1154 Abbas ibn Abi al-Futuh Seized power after murdering his stepfather. He had Caliph Al-Zafir assassinated and raised al-Fa'iz bi-Nasr Allah to the throne, but was himself deposed soon after. [68]
al-Fa'iz bi-Nasr Allah (1154–1160)
1154 1160 Tala'i ibn Ruzzik During his long tenure, he was the de facto ruler of Egypt. He was a patron of scholars and tried to bridle the army commanders, while engaging Egypt in continuous war against the Crusaders. [69]
al-Adid li-Din Allah
1160 1162 Ruzzik ibn Tala'i Son of Tala'i ibn Ruzzik, he was of generous disposition, giving tax exemptions and lowering fees for court cases. [69]
1162 August 1163 Shawar ibn Mujir al-Sa'di Sunni Arab military officer, together with Dirgham he killed Ruzzik ibn Tala'i. He rose to the vizierate at a time when the Fatimid regime had virtually collapsed, and the caliph become a purely symbolic presence amidst the infighting of various military commanders. [70]
31 August 1163 May/June or July/August 1164 Dirgham ibn Amir ibn Suqar al-Lukhami Sunni military officer from Yemen, a distinguished warrior and poet, he rose to high offices under Tala'i and Ruzzik. He led the army in a revolt against Shawar, who was ousted and fled to Syria. Dirgham became vizier with the title al-malik al-manṣūr ("victorious king"), but was unable to secure broad backing for his regime. When Shawar returned with the aid of Shirkuh, he defeated Dirgham's forces, and numerous defections began. Dirgham was captured and killed while fleeing Cairo in May/June or July/August 1164. [71][72]
1163 1168 Shawar ibn Mujir al-Sa'di Restored for a second tenure, he was unable to master the crisis resulting from the Crusader invasion and the military factionalism in the capital. As a result, he called in Shirkuh for aid. [71]
1168 1169 Asad al-Din Shirkuh A Kurdish general of the Zengids, called in to assist Shawar and became vizier as a reward after repelling the Crusaders. He died in office after two months. [71]
1169 1171 Saladin Nephew and successor of Shirkuh, he deposed the Fatimid Caliphate and founded his own Ayyubid dynasty instead. [71]


  1. ^ With the assumption of the vizierate first by Shirkuh, and then by his nephew Saladin, this practice passed on to all later Ayyubid rulers.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Canard 1965, p. 857.
  2. ^ a b c Bianquis 2002, p. 188.
  3. ^ Sayyid 1998, p. 327.
  4. ^ Sayyid 1998, pp. 327–328.
  5. ^ Canard 1965, p. 859.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Canard 1965, p. 858.
  7. ^ a b Sayyid 1998, p. 329.
  8. ^ Canard 1965, pp. 857–858.
  9. ^ Canard 1965, p. 85.
  10. ^ Sayyid 1995, pp. 831–832.
  11. ^ Brett 2017, p. 269.
  12. ^ Sayyid 1998, pp. 160, 330, 332.
  13. ^ Sayyid 1998, p. 330.
  14. ^ Sayyid 1998, p. 331.
  15. ^ Sayyid 1998, pp. 331–332.
  16. ^ Sayyid 1998, pp. 332, 431–432, 531–532.
  17. ^ Sayyid 1998, pp. 462–467.
  18. ^ a b al-Imad 1990, p. 164.
  19. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 164, 172.
  20. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 164, 172–173.
  21. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 164, 173.
  22. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 164, 173–174.
  23. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 164, 174.
  24. ^ a b al-Imad 1990, pp. 164, 175.
  25. ^ a b c al-Imad 1990, pp. 164, 176.
  26. ^ al-Imad 1990, p. 176.
  27. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 164, 177.
  28. ^ a b al-Imad 1990, pp. 165, 177.
  29. ^ a b c d al-Imad 1990, pp. 165, 178.
  30. ^ a b al-Imad 1990, pp. 165, 179.
  31. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 165, 179–180.
  32. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 165, 180–181.
  33. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 165, 180.
  34. ^ a b al-Imad 1990, pp. 166, 181.
  35. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 166, 181–183.
  36. ^ a b c al-Imad 1990, pp. 166, 183.
  37. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 165, 183–184.
  38. ^ a b c al-Imad 1990, pp. 166, 184.
  39. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 167, 184.
  40. ^ a b c d al-Imad 1990, pp. 167, 185.
  41. ^ a b c d al-Imad 1990, pp. 167, 186.
  42. ^ a b al-Imad 1990, pp. 167, 187.
  43. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 168, 187.
  44. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 168, 187–188.
  45. ^ a b al-Imad 1990, pp. 168, 188.
  46. ^ al-Imad 1990.
  47. ^ al-Imad 1990, p. 189.
  48. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 167, 185–186.
  49. ^ a b al-Imad 1990, pp. 168, 189.
  50. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 186, 189.
  51. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 168, 190–191.
  52. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 169, 191–192.
  53. ^ a b al-Imad 1990, pp. 169, 192.
  54. ^ a b c al-Imad 1990, p. 169.
  55. ^ Daftary 2007, p. 246.
  56. ^ Daftary 2007, pp. 246–247.
  57. ^ Daftary 2007, pp. 247–249.
  58. ^ Halm 2014, p. 186.
  59. ^ Halm 2014, pp. 186–187.
  60. ^ a b c d Daftary 2007, p. 249.
  61. ^ a b Halm 2014, p. 187.
  62. ^ Halm 2014, pp. 187–188.
  63. ^ a b c al-Imad 1990, pp. 169, 193.
  64. ^ Halm 2014, pp. 194–198, 220–221.
  65. ^ Brett 2017, pp. 273–275, 277.
  66. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 169, 193–194.
  67. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 169, 194.
  68. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 170, 194.
  69. ^ a b al-Imad 1990, pp. 170, 195.
  70. ^ al-Imad 1990, pp. 170, 195–196.
  71. ^ a b c d al-Imad 1990, pp. 170, 196.
  72. ^ Canard 1965, pp. 317–319.


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