Iraqi man of letters and native of Kufah who settled in Baghdad. He succeeded his father in the service of the vizier ‘Ali ibn ‘Isa, whose personal guards he commanded in 918. He died in Baghdad in 942/943.

Al-Jahshiyari is known for his Book of the Viziers and Secretaries, the first great work of its kind in Arabic literature. This history proceeds to the year 908, even though the second part has been lost. The only known manuscript is preserved at the National Library, Vienna (Cod. Mixt. 916). It contains the first part, ending at the reign of al-Ma’mun (d. 833).

This unique manuscript was copied by an anonymous Copt in 1151-1152 (see fol. 204b), the folios being numbered with Coptic numerals from 1 to 204. This fact illustrates the interest that Islamic culture had for the Copts. The manuscript was transcribed in a very skilled script and was entirely vocalized. Besides the facsimile edition by H. von Mzik (1926), a printed edition of the text was published in Cairo in 1938 by Mustafa al-Saqqa, Ibrahim al-Ibyari, and ‘Abd al-Hafiz Shalabi.

  • Brockelmann, C. Geschichte der arabischen Literatur, suppl. 1, pp. 219f. Leiden, 1937.
  • Mzik, H. von. Das Kitab al-Wuzara’ wa-l Kuttab des Abu ‘Abdallah Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdus al-Gahsiyari (Faksimile herausgegeben nach dem handschriftlichen Unikum der Nationalbibliothek in Wien, Cod. Mixt. 916). Bibliothek arabischer Historiker und Geographen 1. Leipzig, 1926.
  • Sezgin, F. Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, Vol. 1. Leiden, 1967.
  • Sourdel, D. “Al-Djahshiyari.” In Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. 2, pt. 2, p. 399 (with bibliography). and London, 1965.