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Hilal al-Sabi'

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Title: Hilal al-Sabi'  
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Subject: Abbasid Caliphate
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Hilal al-Sabi'

Abū'l-Ḥusayn Hilāl b. Muḥassin b. Ibrahīm al-Ṣābi' (born : 358 A.H/969 A.D, died :447-448 A.H/1056 A.D) (aged 90 lunar) ابو حسين هلال بن محسن بن ابراهيم الصابئ) was a historian, bureaucrat, and writer of Arabic. Born into a family of Sabian bureaucrats, al-Ṣābi converted to Islam in 402-403 A.H/1012 AD.[1] First working under the Buyid amir Ṣamṣām al-Dawla, he later became the Director of the Chancery[2] under Baha' al-Daula's vizier Fakhr al-Mulk.


Hilal al-Sabi' is the author of numerous books, not all of which have survived. Bureaucratic matters and matters of the court were his main themes, along with history.

  • The Rules and Regulations of the Abbasid Court - (Arabic: رسوم دار الخلافة Rusum dar al-khilafa)

Perhaps his most famous book is the Rusum dar al-khilafa which is a manual for behavior and work in the Abbasid court of late Buyid Baghdad. Though it is designed as a set of instructions and advice, the book contains numerous statistics, anecdotes and historical asides.

  • The Book of Viziers - (Arabic: كتاب الوزراء Kitab al-wuzara)

Only of the beginning of this work has survived, which deals with the viziers of the caliph Al-Muqtadir.

  • History of Hilal al-Sabi' - (Arabic: تاريخ ابي الحسين هلال بن المحسن بن ابراهيم الصابي Tarikh Hilal al-Sabi)

This too survives only in fragmentary form, but its fragments fill a gap in the chronicles of the late Buyid era, up to the year 393 hijri (1003 AD).


  1. ^ Sourdel, D. "Hilāl." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition.
  2. ^ Sourdel, D. "Hilāl." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition.


  • Sourdel, D. "Hilāl." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2008. Brill Online.
  • Hilāl al-Sābi’. Rusūm Dār al-Khilāfa: The Rules and Regulations of the Abbasid Court. Trans. Elie A. Salem. American University of Beirut, 1977.

See also

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