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Abu SaʿD Al-Tustarī


ABU SA ʿD AL-TUSTARĪ (d. 1048), Egyptian financier and courtier. Muslim sources refer to him as Abū Saʿd b. Sahl al-Tustari (i.e., from Tustar (Shustar) in southwestern Persia). In Jewish sources he appears as Abraham b. Yashar. Abū Saʿd was primarily a dealer in precious objects and jewels, while his brother Abū Naṣr Fadl (Ḥesed in Hebrew) was a banker. Abū Saʿd sold to the Caliph al-Ẓāhir (1021–36) a female black slave, who gave birth to the later Caliph al-Mustanṣir. When at the age of seven the boy succeeded his father, his mother exercised great influence in the affairs of state, and Abū Saʿd was one of her advisers. He utilized his position at court to help the Jews of Egypt and Syria, then under the rule of the Fatimid caliphs. Rabbanites as well as Karaites turned to him for help. Hence, scholars disputed to which community he belonged. Abū Saʿd was murdered in 1048 by hired assassins of Ṣadaka b. Yūsuf al-Falāḥī, a Jewish convert to Islam, who had been appointed vizier on Abū Saʿd's recommendations. AbūSaʿd's brother Abū Naṣr, court financier and community representative, was also assassinated.


Mann, Egypt, 1 (1920), 73, 76ff., 108, 112, 119, 128ff.; 2 (1922), 75ff., 376ff.; Poznański, in: rej, 72 (1921), 202ff.; Goitein, in: jqr, 45 (1954/55), 36–37; Fischel, Islam, 68ff.

[Eliyahu Ashtor]

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