There were ten wazírs of note during the reigns of the Ghaznivides.

Abú-l'Abbás Fazl bin Ahmad Isfaráíní.*

In the beginning of his career he was secretary to Fáik, one of the nobles of the Sámání court, and when the fortunes of that noble declined, he attached himself to Amír Násiru-d dín Subuk-tigín. Upon the death of that king, his son Mahmúd greatly favoured Abú-l 'Abbás Fazl, and appointed him to the post of wazír. It is related in the Jámi'u-t Tawáríkh, that Abú-l Fazl was neither a man of learning, nor of good manners, and that he was ignorant of the Arabic language; but his political and administrative abilities were marvellous. God had given him a son called Hajjáj, who was blessed with such an excellent dis­position, and endowed with such extraordinary mental faculties, that he surpassed all his contemporaries. He composed most excellent Arabic verses, and was a perfect master of the tradi­tionary sayings of the Prophet; and many writers on the traditions have quoted him as an authority.

When Abú-l 'Abbás had been minister for ten years, the star of his destiny fell from the firmament of prosperity into the pit of adversity. Some historians have thus related the cause of his dismissal:

Sultán Mahmúd had an intense love for slaves (possessing faces as fair as that of the planet Jupiter). Fazl bin Ahmad followed his example, which accords with the saying, that “men follow the opinion of their master.” Fazl, on hearing the re­putation of the beauty of a boy in Turkistán, deputed a con­fidential person to purchase that boy (whose countenance was beautiful as that of the planet Venus), and bring him to Ghazní, according to the mode of conveyance usually adopted for females. When an informer represented to the king these circumstances, his most august Majesty demanded that slave (who was as white as silver) from the minister (whose glory and dignity were raised as high as the planet Mercury). The minister made evasive replies, and pertinaciously refused to part with the slave, not­withstanding His Majesty's absolute power. The king one night visited the minister at his house, where the minister enter­tained him with the respect and hospitality due to the dignity of a sovereign. When the slave (who looked as beautiful as a virgin of paradise) came into the presence of the king, high words passed between him and his minister, and so greatly was the king's anger kindled, that he issued orders to seize the minister and plunder his house. Soon after this the king de­parted for Hindustán, and certain evil-disposed amírs tortured the minister so severely with the rack that he lost his life. “No man can secure himself from the frowns of fortune, nor can any one look upon fortune as permanent.”

Ahmad bin Hasan Maimandí.*

He was a foster-brother and a fellow-student of Sultán Mah-múd. His father Hasan Maimandí, during the lifetime of Amír Násiru-d dín Subuktigín, was employed in collecting the revenue at the town of Bust; but Amír Násiru-d dín was led by the secret machinations of his enemies to entertain an unfavourable opinion of him. Hasan, however, did not live long. It is stated by some that he was one of the ministers of Sultán Mahmúd. This statement is altogether incorrect and unfounded, as it is not maintained by any great historian.

Ahmad bin Hasan, in consequence of his beautiful handwrit­ing, excellent qualities, proficiency in eloquence and great wisdom, became the most conspicuous man of his time, and was regarded with affection by several eminent persons. The king, taking him into favour, appointed him secretary, and continued to promote him, time after time, to higher dignities, till at last, in addition to his former offices, he was nominated the chief legal authority of the State, as well as invested with the superintendence of the concerns of the army. A short time after, he was further en­trusted with the additional duty of conducting the affairs of Khurásán. All these duties he discharged in a manner that could not be excelled. At length, when Abú-l 'Abbás Isfaráíní fell into disgrace, the king conferred on Ahmad the office of minister. He held the office of minister without any control for a period of eighteen years, when a number of the chief amírs, such as A'ltúntíásh, the chamberlain, Amír 'Alí Khesháwand and others, brought before the Court of the king scandalous imputa­tions and false charges against him. According to the saying that “whatever is listened to will make an impression,” these injurious words did not fail to take effect on the heart of the king. So the minister was deposed, and imprisoned in one of the forts of Hind. When Sultán Mas'úd ascended the throne of Ghaznín after the death of his father Sultán Mahmúd, he released Ahmad and reinstated him in the responsible office of minister, which he held again for a long period. He died in the year 444 A.H. “It is finally ordained as the lot of all creatures, that nobody should live for ever in this world.”

Abú Alí Husain bin Muhammad, alias Hasnak Míkál.*

From his early youth he was in the service of Sultán Mahmúd. He was very agreeable in his conversation, well-behaved, energetic and quick in apprehension, but he was not a good writer, nor was he well versed in arithmetic and accounts.

* It is recorded in the Rauzatu-s Safá, that when Sultán Mah-múd, in accordance with the solicitation of Núh bin Mansúr Sámání, was on his march to Khurásán against Abú 'Alí Samjúr, it was represented to him that there was in the neigh­bourhood of the place where he was then encamped a darwesh distinguished for abstinence and devotion, and called Záhid-áhúposh (a devotee wearing a deer-skin). The king had a firm belief in the power of darweshes, and paid him a visit. Hasnak Míkál, who had no faith in the sect of súfís, was in attendance, and the king said, “Although I know that you have no belief in súfís, still I wish you to go with me and see this devotee.” So Hasnak Míkál accompanied him. The king having had a long interview with the darwesh, when he was about to go away, offered to bestow upon him anything of which he might stand in need. The devout man stretched forth his hand into the air, and placed a handful of coins in the palm of the king, with the remark, that whoever could draw such wealth from an invisible treasury had no need of the treasure of this world. The king handed those coins to Hasnak, who found that they were struck in the name Abú 'Alí Samjúr. The king on his way back, asked Hasnak how he could refuse to accord his belief to such miracles as this. Hasnak answered, that whatever the king observed in respect to miracles was very correct and proper, but at the same time he would suggest that His Majesty should not venture to contend against a man in whose name the coins had been struck in the invisible world. The king asking him whether indeed the coins were struck in the name of Abú 'Alí, he showed them to him; upon which the king was astonished and put to the blush.

In fact, Hasnak was a constant attendant of the king, whether on journeys or at home. The circumstances which led to his appointment to the office of chief minister are as follows:

On the dismissal of Ahmad bin Hasan from the post, the king issued orders to the other ministers for the nomination of some great man to fill up that office. The ministers accordingly nominated Abú-l Kásim, Abú-l Husain Akbalí, Ahmad bin 'Abdu-s Samad, and Hasnak Míkál, and sent their names to the king to make his selection. The king, in reply, observed that the appointment of Abú-l Kásim to the office of minister would interfere with his present duty of 'áriz; that it would be impolitic to confer this office on Abú-l Husain Akbalí, as he was too avaricious; that Ahmad bin 'Abdu-s Samad was indeed fit for this post, but he had been entrusted with the duty of ar­ranging the important affairs of Khwárizm; and that Hasnak, though he was of a good family, and had a quicker apprehension than the rest, yet his youthful age offered an obstacle to his appointment. The amírs, on weighing these sentiments of His Majesty, concluded that he was inclined to nominate Hasnak his minister. They, therefore, unanimously represented to the king, that preference should be given to Hasnak Míkál. The king, in compliance with their recommendation, appointed Hasnak to the office of minister. This post he held during the reigns of the king and his son Sultán Muhammad, who did not interrupt his enjoyment of all the powers delegated to him by his father. Hasnak, with the view of ingratiating himself with Sultán Muhammad, frequently made use of disrespectful language, in speaking of Sultán Mas'úd, who was then in 'Irák; insomuch, that one day in full Court he expressed his apprehensions, that when Sultán Mas'úd ascended the throne, he would impale him (Hasnak). Accordingly, when Sultán Mas'úd came to Khurásán, and took possession of the dominions of Sultán Muhammad, he summoned Hasnak, (and inflicted condign punishment on him).