Nizam al-Mulk, Vizier of the Great Seljuk Empire

In addition to his extraordinary influence as a fully-fledged vizier, he is also known for systematically establishing many higher education institutions in several cities, the famous Nizamiyyah schools, named after him. In many cases, these schools appeared to be the forerunners and models of universities established in Europe.

The Nizamiyyah institutions were among the first well-organized institutions of higher learning in the Islamic world. The standard of education was among the highest in the Islamic world, and it was popular even in Europe. They were supported financially, politically, and spiritually by the royal and the elite class.

Some scholars have suggested that the establishment of the Nizamiyya madrasas was in fact an attempt to curb the growing influence of another Islamic group, Ismailis, in the region. Indeed, Nizam al-Mulk contributed an important part to his famous Siyasatnama (Political Letters) in opposing the teachings of Ismaili.

The most famous and celebrated school of all the schools of the Nizamiyyah was Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad (founded in 1065), where Khwaja Nizam al-Mulk appointed a great philosopher and theologian, Imam Al-Ghazali, as a professor. The Persian poet Sadi was a student of Baghdad Nizamiyyah. Other Nizamiyyah schools were in Nishapur, Amol, Balkh, Herat, and Isfahan.

Nizam ul-Mulk is also best known for his excellent voluminous book entitled Siyasatnama (The Book of Government). He also wrote a book entitled Dastur al-Wuzarā, addressed to his son Abolfath Fakhr-ol-Malek, which differs greatly from the famous ‘Qabus Nama’ book.

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