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Aq Sunqur al-Hajib

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Abu Said Aq Sunqur al-Hajib (full name: Qasim ad-Dawla Aksungur al-Hajib) was the Seljuk governor of Aleppo under Sultan Malik Shah I. He was beheaded in 1094 following accusations of treason by Tutush I, the ruler of Damascus.[1]

Aq-Sunqur was the father of Imad ad-Din Zengi, the founder of the Zengid dynasty.



Governor of Aleppo


Aq Sunqur was one of the Türkmen begs that were assigned in 1084 by Sultan Malik-Shah I to aid Fakhr ad-Dawla ibn Jahir in the capture of the Uqaylid realm.[2] Malik-Shah then made Aq-Sunqur the governor of Aleppo in 1086.[3]

Aq Sunqur subsequently ruled for eight years. Because of the many conflicts between the rulers and princes of the regions, conditions within the city were difficult. A combination of high taxes and goods prices led to an increase in crime.[4]

Aq-Sunqur began reforming by fixing the security situation in Aleppo and its environs. He activated the Hudud in Islam, repelling thieves and bandits and stamping out corruption. He increased the use of the police to secure civilian rights. He used the police authority to protect people rather than to control them. Aq-Sunqur created the "principle of collective responsibility" for every village or sector, which meant that if a village was raided by thieves, the whole village shared the responsibility of defending it.[4]

Because of his policy to make order in the city, it became a suitable place for trading and farming, the economy recovered and inflation went down. [citation needed] He asked the people to not remove their goods from the road should they travel, stating that he would guarantee that their goods would not be stolen.[4]

Conflict with Tutush and death


In 1089, Aq Sunqur was sent together with Bozan and Yağısıyan by Malik Shah to aid his brother Tutush to capture cities that the Fatimids had reconquered under Badr al-Jamali. However, the coalition fell apart when Aq Sunqur refused to continue the siege of Tripoli after he had been bribed and claimed the city had proclaimed allegiance.[5]

After the death of Malik Shah, Tutush tried to become Sultan himself and Aq Sunqur first supported his bid until he and Bozan defected again, forcing Tutush to withdraw.[6] In return, Tutush marched on Aq Sunqur in March/April together with Yağısıyan. Aq Sunqur was defeated and captured in battle on 27 May 1094 after a part of his Türkmen defected. Aq Sunqur was then decapitated together with fourteen others by Tutush.[7] He died when his son Zengi was 10 years old.



Ibn al-Qalanisi said in his book The history of Damascus: that he was just with the people, he protected the roads, guaranteed order, treated religion properly, attacked corruption and removed the bad people.[8]

Ibn Kathir and Ali ibn al-Athir wrote about him and found that he had a good reputation.[9]


  1. ^ Maalouf 1985, p. 271.
  2. ^ Basan 2010, p. 90.
  3. ^ Basan 2010, p. 91.
  4. ^ a b c Shaker, Mustafa. دخول الترك الغز إلى الشام Entering of Turks to Sham. pp. 307، 314، 315.
  5. ^ Basan 2010, p. 92.
  6. ^ Basan 2010, pp. 98–99.
  7. ^ Basan 2010, p. 99.
  8. ^ Gibb, N. A. R. (2002). The Damascus Chronicle of the Crusades. Extracted and translated from the Chronicle of ibn al-Qalānisi. Dover Publications. pp. 21, 23.
  9. ^ Richards, D. S. (2002). The Annals of the Saljuq Turks: Selections from al-Kamil fi'l-Tarikh ibn al-Athir, Routledge Studies in the History of Iran and Turkey. Routledge. p. 265.


  • Basan, Osman Aziz (2010). The Great Seljuqs: A History. Routledge. ISBN 1136953930.
  • Maalouf, Amin (1985). The Crusades Through Arab Eyes. Schocken.
Regnal titles
Preceded by Sultan of Aleppo
Succeeded by