Majd al-Dawla

Abu Taleb Rostam (Persian: 'ابو طالب رستم‎), known as Majd al-Dawla, was the Buyid emir of Rayy, a city in Iran (997–1029). He was the eldest son of Fakhr al-Dawla. His reign saw the removal of the Buyids as a power in central Iran.

Majd al-Dawla
Buyid Emir of Rayy
Coin of Majd al-Dawla
PredecessorFakhr al-Dawla
SuccessorGhaznavid conquest
Rayy, Iran
Abu Dulaf
FatherFakhr al-Dawla
MotherSayyida Shirin
ReligionShia Islam


Abu Taleb Rostam succeeded his father upon the latter's death in 997, and was given the laqab of "Majd al-Dawla". At the time he was four years old. His younger brother, Abu Taher ("Shams al-Dawla"), meanwhile, became the ruler of Hamadan. Since both brothers were in the age of minority, power was assumed by their mother Sayyida Shirin. Both sons initially declared themselves independent and assumed the title of Shâhanshâh, but by 1009 or 1010 at the latest had recognized the authority of Baha' al-Dawla, who controlled Fars and Iraq, and abandoned the title.

According to Persian traditions, he was suffering from an illusion that he was a cow, and he was cured by Avicenna.[1]

In 1006 or 1007, with the assistance of his vizier Abu 'Ali ibn 'Ali, Majd al-Dawla attempted to throw off the regency of his mother. Sayyida, however, escaped to the Kurd Abu Najr Badr ibn Hasanuya, and together with Shams al-Dawla they put Ray under siege. After several battles, the city was taken and Majd al-Dawla was captured. He was imprisoned by his mother in the fort of Tabarak, while Shams al-Dawla took to power in Ray. After a year, Majd al-Dawla was released and reinstated in Ray; Shams al-Dawla returned to Hamadan. Power continued to be held by his mother.

Majd al-Dawla's reign saw the gradual shrinking of Buyid holdings in central Iran; Gorgan and Tabaristan had been lost to the Ziyarids in 997, while several of the western towns were seized by the Sallarids of Azerbaijan. Sayyida later prevented Shams al-Dawla from seizing Ray from Majd al-Dawla. In ca. 1015, Majd al-Dawla, who was suffering melancholia, was treated by the famous Persian scholar Avicenna.[2]

Ibn Fuladh, a Dailamite military officer, who claimed Qazvin for himself, revolted against Majd al-Dawla in 1016. Majd al-Dawla, however, refused to make him governor of Qazvin, which made Ibn Fuladh threaten him around the countryside of his capital in Ray. Majd al-Dawla then requested the aid of his vassal, the Bavandid ruler Abu Ja'far Muhammad, who managed to defeat Ibn Fuladh and repel him from Ray. Ibn Fuladh then requested aid from the Ziyarid ruler Manuchihr. Ibn Fuladh agreed to become Manuchihr's vassal in return for his aid. The following year, a combined army of Ibn Fuladh and Manuchihr besieged Ray, which forced Majd al-Dawla to make Ibn Fuladh the governor of Isfahan. However, the Kakuyid ruler Muhammad ibn Rustam Dushmanziyar, who was a Buyid vassal king of Isfahan, defeated Ibn Fuladh, possibly killing him during the battle. Shams al-Dawla later died in 1021 and was succeeded by his son Sama' al-Dawla.

The fragility of Majd al-Dawla's kingdom later encouraged Muhammad to extend his domains in the Kurdish held mountains of Iran. In 1023, Muhammad seized Hamadan from Sama' al-Dawla, and then proceeded to capture Dinavar and Khorramabad from its Kurdish leaders.[3] He spent the following years in protecting his realm from invasions by the Kurds and princes (ispahbadh) from Tabaristan.

Five years later, Majd al-Dawla sent a combined Buyid-Bavand army under Abu Ja'far Muhammad and his two sons against Muhammad. Muhammad, however, managed to win a great victory over the Buyid-Bavand army at Nahavand, and captured Abu Ja'far and his two sons. Thereafter, Muhammad consolidated his position as the strongest ruler of Jibal, and, even though Majd al-Dawla was his overlord, minted coins in his own name. The Abbasid Caliph Al-Qadiar later personally awarded him the title of "Ḥusām Amīr-al-muʾmenīn" (Sword of the Commander of the Faithful), without the intervention of the Buyids.


When Sayyida died in 1028, the consequences of the political seclusion of Majd al-Dawla became apparent. He was soon faced with a revolt by his Dailamite soldiers, and requested the assistance of Mahmud of Ghazni in dealing with them. Mahmud came to Ray, deposed Majd al-Dawla as ruler, and sacked the city, bringing an end to Buyid rule there.[4] One of his sons, Fana-Khusrau, would attempt to restore the power of the Buyids in the following years, but failed.


  1. ^معالجه-کردن-بوعلی-سینا-آن-صاحب-مالیخولیا-را
  2. ^ Gutas 1987, p. 67–70.
  3. ^ Bosworth 1998, p. 359-362.
  4. ^ C.E. Bosworth, The Ghaznavids 994-1040 (Edinburgh University Press, 1963), 53, 59, 234.


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  • Nagel, Tilman (1990). "BUYIDS". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. IV, Fasc. 6. London u.a.: Routledge & Kegan Paul. pp. 578–586. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • Madelung, W. (1975). "The Minor Dynasties of Northern Iran". In Frye, R. N. (ed.). The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 4: From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 198–249. ISBN 978-0-521-20093-6. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • Bosworth, C. Edmund (1997). "EBN FŪLĀD". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. VIII, Fasc. 1. London et al.: C. Edmund Bosworth. pp. 26–27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • Bosworth, C. E. (1968). "The Political and Dynastic History of the Iranian World (A.D. 1000–1217)". In Frye, R. N. (ed.). The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 5: The Saljuq and Mongol periods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–202. ISBN 0-521-06936-X. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • Bosworth, C. Edmund (1998). "KĀKUYIDS". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. XV, Fasc. 4. London et al.: C. Edmund Bosworth. pp. 359–362. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • Gutas, D. (1987). "AVICENNA ii. Biography". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. III, Fasc. 1. pp. 67–70. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
Preceded by
Fakhr al-Dawla
Buyid Amir (in Ray)
Succeeded by