ABU AL-‘ALA’ FAHD IBN IBRAHIM
Abu al-‘Ala’ Fahd ibn Ibrahim first acted as Coptic secretary to Barjawan, tutor of the young caliph al-HAKIM. Barjawan at that time was at the zenith of his power (in A.H. 387/A.D. 997). Fahd was given the honorary title of al-ra‘is (president). His office itself enabled him to have close contact with the caliph, especially during the mazalim (oppressions) meetings. Fahd had no need to hide his religion because at that period Christians were not yet persecuted. In A.H. 388/A.D. 998 he was even officially present at the Coptic feast of Ghitas, and at Easter the same year he received presents from the caliph. When the great qadi Muhammad ibn al-Nu‘man died (Safar 388), he was ordered to make an inventory of his possessions.
In 1000, restless under his tutorship, the caliph had Barjawan assassinated. Summoned to the palace during the night, Fahd had every reason to fear for his safety. But, on the contrary, the caliph reassured him and confirmed him in his charge of secretary, but henceforth in the service of Barjawan’s successor, al-Husayn ibn al- Jawhar, son of the celebrated general of al-Mu‘izz. He was solemnly installed together with his new master, on 26 Jumada I 390/4 May 1000. His power and authority appear to have aroused jealousy, for he was denounced to the caliph by two other functionaries, Mahmud al-Nahwi and Ibn al-‘Addas.
The HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS by SAWIRUS IBN AL-MUQAFFA‘ (Vol. 2, p. 123; trans., AZIZ S. ATIYA, 1943-1968, p. 186) relates that al-Hakim tried without success to get Fahd to convert to Islam, and so had him decapitated. This was on 8 Jumada II 393/14 April 1003. His brother Abu al-Ghalib, leader of the Diwan al-Nafaqat (office of disbursement), hastened to bring the victim’s possessions—which, it was said, amounted to 500,000 dinars—to the caliph. Al-Hakim had them distributed to his heirs saying, “We did not execute him because of his wealth.” But Abu al- Ghalib was himself put to death shortly afterward.
Fahd’s place was taken by a Muslim, ‘Ali ibn ‘Umar ibn al- ‘Addas; at the same time a number of Christian officials were imprisoned and their goods seized.
- Ibn al-Qalanis. Dhayl Tarikh Dimashq, ed. H. G. Amedroz, pp. 58-60 Leiden, 1908.
- Ibn al-Sayrafi. “Al-Isharah ila man nala al-Wizarah.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 25 (1925): 28 (95).