Al-Tawhid- at the court of Rayy

Before trying his luck at the court of Rayy, sources report that al-Tawhldl had developed a link with al-Muhallabl (d. 352/963), the chief vizier of the Buyid emir of Iraq, Mu‘izz al-Dawla.277 Al-Subkl, al-Dhahabl, and Ibn Hajar al-‘AsqalanI mention that al-Tawhldl was persecuted by al-Muhallabl for his heretical opinions.278 Most of these sources quote Ibn Faris, al-Tawhldl’s contemporary who fiercely accused him of heresy.279 He states that the allcompetent minister (Kafi ‘l-Kufat, referring to Ibn ‘Abbad) became aware of his heresy and wanted to kill him, but al-Tawhldl sought refuge among his enemies. Ibn Faris adds that al-Tawhldl had been able to deceive al-Muhallabl until the latter discovered his intention to ruin the religion of Islam, and his attempts to attribute deficiencies and disgrace to the Righteous Companions.280 The lack of any specific historical source for Ibn Faris’s information raises questions about the accuracy of his report. In addition, al-Tawhldl was not admitted to the court of Ibn ‘Abbad until 367/978, while al-Muhallabl died in 3 52/963.281 Nor is there any information from al-Tawhldl’s own writings that shows fear of al-Muhallabl, or that he stayed away from Baghdad until the death of al-Muhallabl in 352/963. On the contrary, al-Tawhldl reports that he was in Baghdad and met countless theologians (mutakallimUn) from 350/961 onwards.282 Had al-Tawhldl been away from Baghdad because a conspiracy had moved al-Muhallabl against him, he probably would not have risked going back to Baghdad and moving freely there while the vizier was still alive. Furthermore, al-Tawhldl, in his letter to Ibn Sa‘dan, mentions the example of al-Muhallabl, with his great fame, activities, interest in art.283 Quoting someone called Ibn Surln, al-Tawhldl mentioned al- Muhallabl as one of the greatest in the art of patronage (istina'), describing his pleasure in the rememberance of God and in receiving praise, and his generosity towards the needy.284 He supported certain individuals, appreciating openly their piety and importance for those running the kingdom (al-mulk).285 Thus, since al-Tawhldl uses the example of al-Muhallabl as a skilful ruler who fostered the career of men of excellence, there is probably no reason to believe Ibn Faris’s report.

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