Account of the Vízir, Abúl-Abbás-’bn-Fazl-’bn-Ahmad.

This Vizíer was one of the most celebrated book-students and one of the most eminent friends of Fáík, and when the Sultán had been settled upon the seat of authority at Nisápúr, he was about (the person of) the Amír Násir-Addin, well known to him on account of his perfect intelli­gence, fidelity, and penetration. Therefore he wrote a letter to Prince Núh, demanding him, in order that the Sultán might be established by the sufficiency of his counsels, and might be distin­guished by the badge of his vizírát. Prince Núh consented, and, sending a letter to Abúl-Abbás, directed him to proceed to Nisápur, to be ready for the orders of Nasir-Addin. Thus he came to Nisápúr, and the Sultán appointed him steward of his household (although the exemplary Shaikh, Jalil-Shams-al-Kafát, was settled at his Court, whose skill in books and accounts, whose firmness, rectitude, and high-mindedness in directing and instructing he knew, and was aware that, in his freshness of youth and acceptable juvenility, he was without a rival amongst his friends and com­panions, whilst in acute and able experience no man of his circle approached him). However (as his father had shut the door of office upon his back, and the calumnies and rivalries of fraudful ill-willers had come to such a point that he became a martyr by the hand of Nasir-Addin, who, when the truth was unfolded, repented, but to no purpose “When I saw that I had killed him I repented about him”) he took an aversion to his son, and his heart was never settled with regard to him, and, according to the saying, “Good-will soon flies,” became suspicious of his fidelity. Nor could the Sultán, in opposition to his father’s content, distinguish him by any advantageous employment in his divan, or ask his advancement, on account of his own choice. The heavenly decree and divine foreordinance preserved and wrapped the dress of that great rank and the robe of that weighty business in the treasury of His mysteries, until the time that, from the door and walls of Khurásán, it was shown to him that they had found this robe of State to be adapted only for his high-statured intellect, and placed this seat only for his exalted qualities and disposition. “What mercies hath God opened to men and they will not grasp them.”— Kuran.

The Sultán then followed the opinion and accorded with the feelings of his father, bestowing the office of Vízier upon Abúl-Abbás, and he, fol­lowing the footsteps of great men and their greediness of gain, extended his hand, and col­lected much wealth and treasure, and employed his stewardship of the world and authority in the kingdom only in making excessive demands, in­creasing and unlawful, so that right rule, justice, and equity were banished far from abodes, from society, from the people, until, by his means, all cultiva­tion and all abiding places in Khurásán were devastated, so that, during his time, the helpless ryots and rich masters sat down in the dwelling of poverty, and became needy and pauperized, so that smoke arose from no chimney, and one heard the cock crow from no village, for the farmers and cultivators, on account of these distresses, misfor­tunes, and hard fate, left their homes and held their hand from sowing, so that the sources of revenue were broken off, and the collection of taxes, on account of the slenderness of the residue, were exhausted. Thus the sustentation of the army and the means of supporting the forces were diminished, and throughout the kingdom frightful ruin and a hideous appearance were evident, and a cry for help arose from all quarters, and this cry of the oppressed reached to Heaven. The Sultán began to be anxious respecting the diminution of the levies and the breaking up of the imposts, and began to open the book of reproof with the Vízier, and to call him to an account for the debts of this destruction and mismanagement. But he, in his hastiness and want of restraint, returned a rude reply and made a claim to an acquittance, and attributed the grounds of the dispute unto others. And whenever the Sultán proceeded to extreme reproof upon this subject, he begged to be relieved from that office and expressed a wish to be redeemed from that employment, and declared his readiness to be dismissed and to be made to vanish (from life). And the notables of the kingdom interposed between him and the Sultán, suggesting that he should oblige himself to an accommodation and give personal security, and should render a satisfactory account. But he stood out obstinately, so that the Sultán did not obtain one silver drachm from him, unless he, perchance, would do so by depriving and imprisoning him. Thus he spoke with tiresome and offensive arguments. Then the Sultán appointed a landholder, Abú-Ishak Muhamnad-’bn-Husain, who was captain of Balkh, to settle the accounts of the revenue and to realize the residue of the imposts. And he came to Herát, in the year 401, and, by his fair manage­ment and gentle sway, collected a great sum, and in a short time sent large loads to the Treasury. And Abúl-Abbáss was still settled upon the seat of the Vizirát, and the Shaikh Jalíl-Shams-Al-Kafát sincerely exerted himself to arrange reconciliation between him and the Sultán, so that pos­sibly the accidental harshness of the Sultán might have ceased, and the influence of the Vizier thoroughly re-established. But he, through the bent of his uncompromising temperament and harsh nature, still obstinately persisted in disputing, and of his own choice went to the citadel of Ghazna, and declared that he was content to be imprisoned, and, making a division between his furniture and his accumulations, sent one portion to the Sultán.

At this proceeding the Sultán was enraged, and, for his traitorous injury to the country and impoverishment of the condition of the subjects, subjected him to a criminal fine of 100,000 dínárs. He occupied himself in paying the amount, and discharging a portion; but, as to the residue, he represented his poverty, and requested patience and a more extended time. But the Sultán ordered that they should put him to his oath upon the point of his poverty, and they tortured his crime upon him by the effusion of his blood, so that whether he was dumb or spake, whether he said much or little, he met with no success, since they were determined to ruin and afflict him. And they closed all access to his sons and his friends, when they appointed to visit him, and at length brought him to such a condition that he revealed that some of his stores were with a certain merchant, whom they for that reason despatched, by various kinds of torture and misery. But the standards of the Sultán were far distant, on account of his successive conquests, and the great space between them prevented him from witnessing his state or discovering his affairs, and thus, through the castigation of torture and the blows of the club and pain, he was laid in the grave, in the year 404. And when the Sultán returned they informed him of his affair, and the Sultán was oppressed at the heart, when he heard what had happened; however the disposal of Heaven was the agent herein, and the event was advantageous. And, during the time of his administration, his son, Abúl-Kasim-Mahummad-Ibn-al-Fazl, had arrived at the highest degree of virtuous distinc­tion. In eloquence and in composition he was the paragon of his age, and at the head of all poets, both in blank verse and rhyme. His fame spread through all the regions of Khurásán, and his verses and measures were noted and published. These stanzas are from a kasidah which he spoke upon his father’s merit (Verse)

“Truly the liberality of Abúl-Abbas augments by usury, it increases fourfold on demand.
“In one hand there is death for the multitude, in the other life for him who hopes,” &c.

His brother Abú-Alí-bn-Fazl, surnamed Al-Hajjáj, was the inheritor of their accomplishments, distinguished by steady conduct in youth and ma­turity, decorated with an acute intellect, the garden of modesty being in him adorned with the fruitfulness of eloquence. He for some time wore the robe of revenue collector of Juzján, with efficiency and gratification. The country of Nisá had for some time the advantage of his administra­tion, when even Kadies were distressed at his noble ideas. His fidelity and care were conspicuous amidst officers and magistrates, and in him the virtues of his ancestors were renewed (Verse)

“Men name the father and his times,
“Men name the son, and thus both (names) are aug­mented (with renown).
“And as in the father so in the son, their noble patron­age is exalted.
“As in the prophet of God two mansions were raised on high” (i. e., the descendants of Fatima and Abú-Bakr, or Hasan and Hussain).