NameBustanai Exilarch at Babylon
Birth610, Babylon
Misc. Notes
Bustanai (d. 660/5) was the first Exilarch to be recognized by Arab rule. His birth and much of his life is surrounded by legend. As a token of appreciation, Caliph Ali gave him the daughter of the Persian king Yazdeger (Yazadagird III of Parthia) for a slave. Eventually Bustanai married her.

In 641 the Muslims conquered Mesopotamia with the help of Babylonian Jewry who had been suffering from Masdakite religious fanaticism. Such great help was given to the Muslims by the Jews that when the Muslims conquered Persia the two daughters of the Shah were taken by the Caliph Omar, who married one and gave the other in marriage to the Exilarch Bustanai.

His father was killed in 589, before he was born

·His name, Bustenai, is from bustan, which means "orchard."

·married King Yazdigird III's daughter Dara in a marriage arranged by the establisher of Islam, Ali, Mohammeds son-in-law, the first Imam and the establisher of Islam

·The last Persian king [Chosroes II is the last great Persian king], inimical to the Jews, decided to extinguish the royal house of David, no one being left of that house but a young woman whose husband had been killed shortly after his marriage [the Exilarch Haninai's widow]. Then the king dreamed he was in a garden ( "bostan" ) , where he uprooted the trees and broke the branches, and, as he was lifting up his ax against a little root, an old man snatched the ax away from him and gave him a severe blow that almost killed him, saying: "Are you not satisfied with having destroyed all the beautiful trees of my garden, that you now try to destroy also the last root? Truly you deserve that your memory perish from the earth." The king thereupon promised to guard the last plant of the garden very carefully. No one but an old Jewish sage was able to interpret the dream, and he said: "The garden represents the house of David, all of whose descendants you have destroyed except a young woman with her unborn baby. The old man you saw was David, to whom you promised that his house should be renewed by this boy." The Jewish sage, who was the father of the young woman, brought her to the king, and she was assigned rooms fitted up with princely splendor, where she gave birth to a boy, who received the name "Bostanai" from the garden ("bostan") which the king had seen in his dream. (1,2)

ABT 0640.
·recognised the heads of the two principal academies of Babylonian Jewry, and through him by the Muslim caliphate, as final arbiters of Jewish law and the religious heads of all Jewish communities under Muslim rule (1)

·recognized as Exilarch, leader of the Jews, in return for the valuable assistance of the Babylonian Jews in Caliph Omar's campaigns against Persia (1) was Jewish and her name is unknown.
Last Modified 7 Jul 2003Created 4 Sep 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh