The Buwaihids in Iran and Iraq
The first one among them to establish a kingdom was Ali bin Buwa'ih who was given the title of 'Imad-ud-Dawlah. He established himself a king in Shiraz in 321 A.H. and later on expanded his territory to the remaining parts of Iran and Iraq.
Adam Metz has said in Islamic Civilization vol. I, "The reason of Ali bin Buwaih's rise was his bravery, his broad-mindedness, his diplomacy and his generosity. He was a man of great qualities. He listened to the people who, in return, gathered round him. In addition to this, the Buwaihids treated the prisoners very kindly. They used to grant them amnesty and provide them with their needs. Their enemies on the other hand, put the prisoners in chains and arranged other methods of leading them through the cities. When Ali bin Buwa'ih defeated his enemies who had all those equipments for torture with them, he changed punishment to pardon and amnesty and restrained from cruelty.
Ibn-al-Athir has said while writing about the event of the year 322 A.H.,"When Ali captured Shiraz; he proclaimed a general amnesty for people and announced justice to be given to all. It is found in the foot-notes of Ibn-al-Athir that Ali Bin Buwa'ih died in Shiraz in an age of 57 years and was considered to be one of the most noble and benevolent kings of his time.
While writing about the events of the years 356 A.H., Ibn-ul-Athir says about Mu'izz-ud-Dawlah, "In this year, Mu'izz-ud-Dawlah started building Maristan (hospital) and created a vast trust for it. He distributed much of his property among the needy, gave freedom to his slaves and spent a lot of money on his friends. He was very tolerant, generous and wise."
Adam Metz writes about Rukn-ud-Dawlah, "As to Rukn-ud-Dawlah, he was very gentle and considerate, very generous, knew how to deal with his subjects and his army, was very kind to them, and always refrained from acts of injustice and cruelty and also urged upon his companions to be like him. The historians have praised him very much for his sense of justice and his generosity".
Ibn-al-Athir says, "Rukn-ud-Dawlah was gentle and considerate. He was very generous and always refrained from injustice. He was free from bloodshed and engaged in it only when there was no other alternative. He used to supply daily needs to those indigent persons in order to save them from begging. He spent large sums of money as alms and was very soft-hearted towards every one. May God be pleased with him! Hid period was very good age and he commanded loves and acceptance of people."
According to the author of An-Nujum-uz-Zahirah, Jalal-ud-Dawlah was a king who was loved by his subjects. He was of a fine character and loved pious people very much.
In order to appreciate how much respect the Buwaihids had for freedom of expression, we would like to quote this incident which Ibn-al-Athir has narrated while giving an account of the event of the year 429 A.H. The summary of what Ibn-al-Athir has written is that the jurist Abul Hasan al-Mawardi expressed his opinion that it was permissible for Jalal-ud-Dawlah to affix and use the title of Malik-ul-Muluk (King of the Kings) with his name, while all other jurists had given a verdict on its being permissible. Al-Mawardi was very dear and close to Jalal-ud-Dawlah who ranked him above others. After giving this verdict, Al-Mawardi cut off his relations with Jalal-ud-Dawlah and closed himself in his house in fear. The same day Jalal-ud-Dawlah summoned him. Al-Mawardi went but was certain about his death. Jalal-ud-Dawlah instead respected him and received him with great ceremony, and said to him, "I know what you have said or done is inspired by your sense of truth and you're seeking the pleasure of God. You are therefore dearer to me than all others."
Sayyid Amir Ali remarks about the Buwaihids, "The Buwaihids encouraged literary activities. They gave support to the School of Baghdad which had deteriorated during the weakening of the Caliphate. They ordered new canals to be dug and made fit for navigation up to the city of Shiraz, and thus they managed to check periodic floods which previously used to inundate those areas. Similarly, 'Izz-ud-Dawlah set up a grand hospital as well as a number of colleges in Baghdad."
Al-Ghanawi has written in his book "Al-Adab Fi Zilli Bani Buwaih" "The Buwaihid period is distinguished by its literary and scholarly activities which resulted due to the personal influence of the Buwaihid kings or their ministers because they always appointed prominent writers and scholars as their ministers. They depended upon such ministers in matters relating to wars, political affairs, administration, revenue etc. Their names therefore shone, their prestige enhanced and fame spread throughout the world. Scholars and writers flocked to them and got benefit from them. They in return produced a lot in the fields of literature, philosophy and knowledge and had very deep influence on the life and environment around them."
The most prominent personality of the Buwaihid periods was Adud-ud-Dawlah, about whom Adam Metz writes in his book "Islamic Civilization during the Fourth Century after Hijrah "Adud-ud-Dawlah presented a true picture of a ruler as he should be. He paid attention to knowing the news and that they reached him with the least delay, which is quality of person who wants to rule over a big territory in the real sense of the word. The news was exchanged between Shiraz and Baghdad within a week, or in other words the men carry the news covered a distance of more than 150 kilometers per day.
The roads were free from the thieves and robbers during this period. Order was restored to the Arabian Peninsula as well as to the Kerman desert which were frightful before. The people used to pay taxes for the Hajj Caravans. These taxes were withdrawn. Peace was restored. Hajj-guides were appointed and wells were sunk for these caravans as well as new springs were unearthed. A rampart was erected round the city of Madinah. Orders were issued for building houses in Baghdad and repairs of its road. The work was started in Baghdad and repairs of its road were implemented. The work was started with the renovation of big mosque which was in very much dilapidated condition. Those which had very weak foundations were pulled down and erected anew. All the house-owners were asked to repair their houses and, those who were short of money, were given loans from "Bait-al-Mal". Thus during this age, deserted places were covered with flowers, vegetation and houses while previously they were dogs refuge and full of filth. Cuttings were brought from Fars and other places for transplantation in these areas.
The canals in Baghdad were buried under earth. Orders were therefore given to dig those canals, and build bridges over them. In this way a sound work was done. The people from the deserts were brought here who inhabited and cultivated the waste lands. This was all despite the fact that Iraq was not the centre of the government. It was Fars.
A cloth market was built in Baghdad and all those varieties of clothes were brought to these markets which were not available before. A big hospital was built. Orders were issued for payment of regular salaries to the persons serving in the mosques, to those who gave 'adhan', to those who led the prayers and the reciters of the Holy Qur'an. Money was set aside to be distributed among the indigent persons. This generosity was not only restricted to the Muslims but the non-Muslims also the Jews and monasteries for the Christians. Monetary helps were available for all including the non-Muslims.
'Adad-ud-Dawlah used to spend ten thousand dirham every Friday on distributing them among the poor. Every year he spent three thousand dinars on buying shoes for those who walked down to perform Hajj. Similarly, twenty thousand dirhams were spent by him every month for the burial of the poor. He got three thousand mosques repaired or renovated as well as a number of lodges for the poor and needy. There was no stream of running water without a village built near it. He spent 100,000 dinars every year on the people of Makkah and Madinah and the streets of these cities. He also spent a lot on setting up factories, cleaning the wells and on payment to the people living by the road sides in return for the help rendered to the travelers.
He liked scholars their scholarly activities. He ordered payment of pensions to jurists, traditionalists, scholastics, exegetists, grammarians, poets, genealogists, physicians, mathematicians and engineers. He selected the specialists from among the scholars and philosophers and gave them prominent position in his audience. He also established a library which contained all the books which had been written till that time on various branches of knowledge.
Here is a citation from the book "Al-Kuna Wal Alqab" about 'Adud-ud-Dawlah:
'Adud-ud-Dawlah used to pay great respect to Shaikh Mufid. Many a scholar wrote books in dedication to him while a large number of poets wrote eulogies to him in which they praised him very much. They included Abut Tib al-Mutanabbi.
One of the many things which remind us of him is the renovation of the mausoleum of Amir-al-Mu'minin Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (A.S.). He made a will to be buried there and was therefore laid to rest near it. The epitaph on the grave reads: "This is the grave of Adad-ud-Dawlah, Taj-ul-Millah Abi Shuja' bin Rukan-ud-Dawlah. He loved to be buried near this pious infallible Imam out of his desire for salvation on the Day to come when every soul shall struggle for its own self. Peace of His be on Muhammad (S.A.W.) and his pious descendants."
All these great actions which have been referred to above were accomplished in a very short period of time as he died before he reached the fiftieth year of his life.
Baghdad during the Buwaihid Period
Professor Tahah Rawi has written in his treatise on Baghdad as follows:
During the Buwaihid period, the literary and intellectual activities reached their peak. A large number of exegetists, traditionalists, jurists, scholastics, historians, writers, poets and pillars of Arabic studies flourished during this age. Some of the Buwaihid kings contributed their share in the shape of buildings while others showered favors on those excelled in intellectual and literary fields. During their rule, Abul Fadl bin al-'Amid, his son Abul Fateh and Sahib bin 'Ibad took over as ministers in Iran. The ministry in Baghdad went to Abu Muhammad al-Muhallabi who is well-known for his generosity shown towards men of letters and scholars.
Shorter Shi'ite Encyclopaedia