Citation for Būyids

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MLA

Frye, Richard N. . "Būyids." In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. May 19, 2022. <http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t236/e1141>.

Chicago

Frye, Richard N. . "Būyids." In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford Islamic Studies Online, http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t236/e1141 (accessed May 19, 2022).

Būyids

The Būyids, also called Buwayhids, were a series of kingdoms in the Daylamite region (south of the Caspian Sea) which ruled western Iran, and later part of Iraq, from 935 to 1055 C.E. The dynasty had been converted to Twelver Shiism by missionaries in their homeland, and the sons of a local leader named Būyeh joined Mardāvīj, a Ziyārid leader who brought the Būyid brothers south. He was murdered in 935, and the eldest Būyid brother ʿAlī then established himself in Isfahan and Fars, a second brother Ḥasan consolidated power in Rayy and Hamadān, while the third brother occupied Kermān, but later moved to Khūzestān.

Ḥasan, seeing the chaos in Baghdad, moved against the city and entered it in 945, and the ʿAbbāsid caliph al-Mustakfī conferred upon him the title Muʿizz al-Dawlah (one who honors or dignifies the state). The caliph also conferred on ʿAlī the title ʿImād al-Dawlah (pillar of the state), and Ḥasan became Rukn al-Dawlah (support of the state). Thus the Sunnī caliph became a client of the Shīʿī Būyids. Ḥasan appointed his son Fana Khusraw, also know as ʿAdūd al-Dawlah (strength of the state), to Shīrāz, and on Ḥasan's death in 976, ʿAdūd al-Dawlah united all Būyid domains, entering Baghdad in 977. By 980 he ruled most of Iraq and the Iranian plateau except Khurasan. At his death in 983 the Būyids fell into disputes and each acquired his own principality. The first loss of territory was to Maḥmūd of Ghaznah, who took Rayy in 1029, but the final end of Būyid authority was the taking of Baghdad by the Seljuk sultan Tuğrul Beg.

The Būyids, although Ithnā ʿAsharīyah (Twelver Shīʿī), supported the Sunnī caliphs and were tolerant of the majority Sunnīs in their realm. But they were hostile toward the Fāṭimids, who were Ismāʿīlīyah (Sevener Shīʿī). The highpoint of Būyid rule was the reign of ʿAdūd al-Dawlah, who is remembered as an enlightened monarch and builder of monuments such as the dam of the Amir near Shīrāz, as well as mosques in various cities of Iran, like those in Nāʿīn and Neyrīz.

Under Būyid rule relative peace and security prevailed and trade flourished, but the system of fiefs (iqtaʿ) granted to soldiers weakened the agricultural base of the economy. Scholarship flourished, and ʿAdūd al-Dawlah was the patron of the Arab poet Mutanabbī.

The Būyids brought the commemoration of the tenth day of the month of Muḥarram (ʿĀshūrāʿ), commemorating the death of Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī, into prominence. In addition to mosques they built many turbahs, saints’ tombs or places of pilgrimage, especially in Sāmarrāʿ in Iraq, where the Twelver Shīʿī believe the Twelfth Imām vanished and will reappear in the fullness of time. They left the caliphs, beginning with al-Muṭīʿ, as titular rulers and permitted them to appoint Sunnī religious officials. Throughout all of this the Būyid right to govern was based on a recognition of the caliph.

It is important to remember that, whereas the Sāmānids, who reigned in Central Asia in the ninth and tenth centuries CE and share credit for reasserting Persian dominance in the region, ruled over a predominantly Sunnī Muslim society, the Būyids in western Iran had a large Zoroastrian and Christian population. For this reason the written record included Pahlavi, Syriac, and Arabic, and several Būyid rulers composed poetry in Arabic. Thus, although the Būyids made little contribution to Persian literature, Arabic flourished, with such literati as Badīʿ al-Zamān of Hamadān (d. 1008), who wrote only in Arabic.

See also ʿABBāSID CALIPHATE; DAWLAH; ITHNā ʿASHARīYAH; and MAḥMūD OF GHAZNAH.

Bibliography

  • Busse, Heribert. Chalif und Grosskönig: die Buyiden in Iraq (945–1055). Wiesbaden: F. Steiner, 1969. Discusses the relation of the Būyid rulers to the caliphs, as well as the bureaucracy in Baghdad; cultural and Muslim scholarship are also included. It is a standard account of the Būyids in Iraq.
  • Kraemer, Joel L.Humanism in the Renaissance of Islam: The Cultural Revival during the Buyid Age.Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1992. The brilliant development of Arabic literature and Muslim scholarship under the Būyids is related with relation to former and later times. Cultural matters are also treated.
  • Mottahedeh, Roy P.Loyalty and Leadership in an Early Islamic Society. London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2001. The author explains the rules and values of Būyid political and social actions. Ethical, political, and religious issues are discussed.

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