AMIN AL-DIN ‘ABD-ALLAH IBN TAJ AL-RIYASAH AL QIBTI
The nephew of the vizier al-Sadid al-Sha‘ir on his mother’s side, Amin al-Din obtained his professional training through working with his uncle who occupied the post of mustawfi (superintendent of finances). As a result, he later succeeded his uncle in that position. He accepted Islam at the hands of his patron, the amir Baybars al-Jashankir, and consequently was appointed to the office of istifa’ (finance officer). Though he thrice became a vizier, he constantly regretted having had to give up the office of istifa’, which gave him satisfaction and enabled him to live free from danger. He distinguished himself by his courtesy and tolerance toward everyone. The sources lay special emphasis on his good calligraphy even when the utmost speed in writing was necessary.
He transcribed part of the Qur’an in exquisite script and composed many eulogistic poems on the Prophet of Islam. He went to Tripoli in Syria as nazir (intendant). On the termination of his service in Syria, he went to Jerusalem, wherein 1322 he heard of his appointment for the third time as vizier—upon the arrest of Karim al-Din al-Kabir. Two years later he was relieved from office, but without confiscation of his property. In 1328 the sultan al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qalawun gave him the office of nazir al-dawlah (secretary of state).
At this point, Amin al-Din advised the sultan to nominate a Turk in the office of vizier in anticipation of enhancing the falling revenues of the state. He even promoted the name of Mughlatay al-Jamali for the office. In 1332 Amin al-Din occupied the post of nazir al-dawawin (prime minister) in Damascus. In 1339, after the arrest of al-Nashw, the Copt, Amin al-Din was suspended or perhaps dismissed. Fearing for his life, he retired to his residence. In the end he was arrested with his son Taj al-Din, who at the time was nazir al-dawlah, and another by the name of Karim al-Din, who was Mustawfi. They fell into disgrace and were tortured in prison, where Amin al-Din was strangled in the end, in October or November 1340.
- Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani. al-Durar al-Kaminah fi A‘yan al-Ma’ah al- Thaminah, 2nd ed. Cairo, 1966-1967.
- Ibn Taghri-Birdi. Al-Nujum al-Zahirah fi Muluk Misr wa-al- Qahirah. Cairo, 1963.