Qazzāz, Manasseh ben Abraham Ibn

views updated


QAZZĀZ, MANASSEH BEN ABRAHAM IBN (AL- ) (tenth century, also known as Menashe b. al-Farrar ), Jewish silk trader and governor in *Damascus from 990 to 996. In the year 980 he engaged in administering Yaʿqūb ibn Killis' property. He must have played a leading part in the military administration of Syria. Al-Qazzāz was appointed by the *Fatimid caliph al-ʿAzīz (975–96) as deputy to the Coptic Christian vizier ʿĪsā b. Nestorius (995–96), whose seat was in Cairo. These two high officials made use of their positions for the benefit of their coreligionists. The discontented Muslims complained to the caliph, and he imprisoned the two officials and their subordinates. After some time the Christian vizier was reinstated. The fate of al-Qazzāz is unknown. A poem discovered in the genizah praises his son, ʿAdiya (d. after 1037). It describes the exalted position of Manasseh and his activities, including his support of the Palestinian geonim and the exilarchs. Another source mentions that he was one of the opponents of the Jerusalem gaonR. *Salomon b. Judah. Al-Qazzāz' son ʿAdiya, who also held an important position in Damascus and protected his coreligionists, was employed as government secretary (kātib). ʿAdiya's sons Samuel and Ishmael held the position of *nagid.


Mann, Egypt, 1 (1920), 19–23; 2 (1922), 11–13; idem, in: huca, 3 (1926), 257–8; Fischel, Islam, 62–64; S. Assaf and L.A. Mayer (eds.), Sefer ha-Yishuv, 2 (1944), 51, 73–75; Ashtor, Toledot, 1 (1944), 29. add. bibliography: S.D. Goitein, A Mediterranean Society, ii (1971), 354.

[Abraham David]