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Christine D. Baker

vizier of the Fatimid Caliph al-ʿAziz (d. 996) in Cairo, was born in Baghdad in 930. His full name was Abu al-Faraj Yaʿqub ibn Yusuf Ibn Killis. As a child, he traveled to Syria with his father where he eventually became a merchant’s agent in Ramla. Later in life, he traveled to Egypt, where he entered the service of the Ikhshid dynasty (935–969), who were nominal vassals of the ʿAbbasid Caliphate of Baghdad. In the service of the Ikhshids, Yaʿqub ibn Killis rose to preeminence as the chief of financial administration, but it was not until he entered the service of the Fatimid Caliphate in North Africa that he achieved his great renown.

Born a Jew Yaʿqub ibn Killis is famous for embracing Ismaʿili Shiʿism It is reported that he embraced Islam in 967 while in the service of the Ikhshids The Ikhshid governor Kafur 905 968 was so impressed ...