Saffarid dynasty

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Saffarid Empire
صفاریان

 

861–1003
 

Saffarid dynasty at its greatest extent under Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar
Capital Zaranj
Languages Persian (mother tongue)[1]
Religion Sunni Islam
Government Monarchy
Emir
 -  861–879 Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar
 -  963–1002 Khalaf I
Historical era Medieval
 -  Established 861
 -  Disestablished 1003
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The Saffarids (Persian: سلسله صفاریان‎) were a Muslim Persianate[2] dynasty from Sistan that ruled over parts of eastern Iran,[3][4] Khorasan, Afghanistan and Balochistan from 861 to 1003.[5] The dynasty, of Persian origin,[6][7][8][9][10][11] was founded by Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar, a native of Sistan and a local ayyar, who worked as a coppersmith (ṣaffār) before becoming a warlord. He seized control of the Sistan region and began conquering most of what is now Afghanistan.

The Saffarids used their capital Zaranj, which is a city in modern-day Afghanistan, as a base for an aggressive expansion eastwards and westwards. They first invaded the areas south of the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan and then overthrew the Persian Tahirid dynasty, annexing Khorasan in 873. By the time of Ya'qub's death, he had conquered the Kabul Valley, Sindh, Tocharistan, Makran (Balochistan), Kerman, Fars, Khorasan, and nearly reached Baghdad but then suffered a defeat by the Abbasids.[5]

The Saffarid empire did not last long after Ya'qub's death. His brother and successor, Amr bin Laith, was defeated at the Battle of Balkh against Ismail Samani in 900. Amr bin Laith was forced to surrender most of his territories to the new rulers. The Saffarids were subsequently confined to their heartland of Sistan, with their role reduced to that of vassals of the Samanids and their successors.

Founding[edit]

The dynasty began with Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar (Ya'qub, son of Layth, the Coppersmith), a coppersmith who moved to the city of Zaranj. He left work to become an Ayyar and eventually got the power to act as an independent ruler. From his capital Zaranj he moved east into al-Rukhkhadj and Zamindawar followed by Zunbil and Kabul by 865. He then invaded Bamyan, Balkh, Badghis, and Ghor. In the name of Islam, he conquered these territories which were ruled mostly by Buddhist tribal chiefs. He took vast amounts of plunder and slaves from this campaign.[12][13]

"Arab armies carrying the banner of Islam came out of the west to defeat the Sasanians in 642 and then they marched with confidence to the east. On the western periphery of the Afghan area the princes of Herat and Sistan gave way to rule by Arab governors but in the east, in the mountains, cities submitted only to rise in revolt and the hastily converted returned to their old beliefs once the armies passed. The harshness and avariciousness of Arab rule produced such unrest, however, that once the waning power of the Caliphate became apparent, native rulers once again established themselves independent. Among these Saffarids of Sistan shone briefly in the Afghan area. The fanatic founder of this dynasty, the coppersmith’s apprentice Yaqub ibn Layth Saffari, came forth from his capital at Zaranj in 870 and marched through Bost, Kandahar, Ghazni, Kabul, Bamyan, Balkh and Herat, conquering in the name of Islam.".[14]

Nancy Dupree1971

The Tahirid city of Herat was captured in 870 and his campaign in the Badghis region led to the capture of Kharidjites which later formed the Djash al-Shurat contingent in his army. Ya'qub then turned his focus to the west and began attacks on Khorasan, Khuzestan, Kerman and Fars. These attacks forced the Abbasid caliphate to recognize him as governor of Kerman.[15]

In 901, Amr Saffari was defeated at the battle of Balkh by the Persian Samanids, which reduced the Saffarid dynasty to a minor tributary in Sistan.[16]

In 1002, Mahmud of Ghazni invaded Sistan, dethroned Khalaf I and finally ended the Saffarid dynasty.[17]

Culture[edit]

The Saffarids gave great care to the Persian culture. Under their rule, the eastern Islamic world witnessed the emergence of prominent Persian poets such as Fayrouz Mashriqi, Abu Salik al-Jirjani, and Muhammad bin Wasif al-Sistani, who was a court poet.[18]

In the later 9th century, the Saffarids gave impetus to a renaissance of New Persian literature and culture. Following Ya'qub's conquest of Herat, some poets chose to celebrate his victory in Arabic, whereupon Ya'qub requested his secretary, Muhammad bin Wasif al-Sistani, to compose those verses in Persian.[19]

From silver mines in the Panjshir Valley, the Saffarids were able to mint silver coins.[20]

Rulers of the Saffarid dynasty[edit]

Faravahar background
History of Greater Iran
Until the rise of modern nation-states
Pre-modern
Titular Name Personal Name Reign
Independence from the Abbasid Caliphate.
Amir
أمیر
al-Saffar
coppersmith
الصفار
Ya'qub ibn Layth
یعقوب بن اللیث
861-879 CE
Amir
أمیر
Amr ibn al-Layth
عمرو بن اللیث
879-901 CE
Amir
أمیر
Abul-Hasan
أبو الحسن
Tahir ibn Muhammad ibn Amr
طاھر بن محمد بن عمرو
co-ruler Ya'qub ibn Muhammad ibn Amr
901-908 CE
Amir
أمیر
al-Layth ibn 'Ali
اللیث بن علی
908-910 CE
Amir
أمیر
Muhammad ibn 'Ali
محمد بن علی
910-911 CE
Amir
أمیر
Al-Mu'addal ibn 'Ali
؟
911 CE
Amir
أمیر
Abu Hafs
ابو حفص
Amr ibn Ya'qub ibn Muhammad ibn Amr
عمرو بن یعقوب بن محمد بن عمرو
912-913 CE
Samanid occupation 913-922 CE.
Amir
أمیر
Abu Ja'far
ابو جعفر
Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn Khalaf ibn Layth ibn 'Ali 922-963 CE
Amir
أمیر
Wali-ud-Daulah
ولی الدولہ
Khalaf ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalaf ibn al-Layth ibn 'Ali 963-1002 CE
Conquered by Mahmud ibn Sebuktigin of the Ghaznavid Empire in 1002 CE.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Persian Prose Literature." World Eras. 2002. HighBeam Research. (September 3, 2012);"Princes, although they were often tutored in Arabic and religious subjects, frequently did not feel as comfortable with the Arabic language and preferred literature in Persian, which was either their mother tongue—as in the case of dynasties such as the Saffarids (861–1003), Samanids (873–1005), and Buyids (945–1055)...". [1]
  2. ^ The Islamization of Central Asia in the Samanid era and the reshaping of the Muslim world, D.G. Tor, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London , Vol. 72, No. 2 (2009), 281;"The Saffārids were the first of the Persianate dynasties to arise from the remains of the politically moribund ʿAbbāsid caliphate".
  3. ^ The Cambridge History of Iran, by Richard Nelson Frye, William Bayne Fisher, John Andrew Boyle (Cambridge University Press, 1975: ISBN 0-521-20093-8), pg. 121.
  4. ^ The Encyclopedia of World History, ed. Peter N. Stearns and William Leonard Langer (Houghton Mifflin, 2001), 115.
  5. ^ a b Clifford Edmund Bosworth, Encyclopædia Iranica SAFFARIDS
  6. ^ "First, the Saffarid amirs and maliks were rulers of Persian stock who for centuries championed the cause of the underdog against the might of the Abbasid caliphs." -- Savory, Roger M.. "The History of the Saffarids of Sistan and the Maliks of Nimruz (247/861 to 949/1542-3)." The Journal of the American Oriental Society. 1996
  7. ^ "The provincial Persian Ya'kub, on the other hand, rejoiced in his plebeian origins, denounced the Abbasids as usurpers, and regarded both the caliphs and such governors from aristocratic Arab families as the Tahirids with contempt". -- Ya'kub b. al-Layth al Saffar, C.E. Bosworth, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. XI, p 255
  8. ^ Saffarids: A Persian dynasty.....", Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, Volume 2, edited by Julie Scott Meisami, Paul Starkey, p674
  9. ^ "There were many local Persian dynasties, including the Tahirids, the Saffarids....", Middle East, Western Asia, and Northern Africa, by Ali Aldosari, p472.
  10. ^ "Saffarid, the Coppersmith, the epithet of the founder of this Persian dynasty...", The Arabic Contributions to the English Language: An Historical Dictionary, by Garland Hampton Cannon, p288.
  11. ^ "The Saffarids, the first Persian dynasty, to challenge the Abbasids...", Historical Dictionary of the Ismailis, by Farhad Daftary, p51.
  12. ^ The Development of Persian Culture under the Early Ghaznavids, C.E. Bosworth, Iran, Vol. 6, (1968), 34.
  13. ^ Saffarids, C.E. Bosworth, Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. VIII, Ed. C.E.Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P.Heinrichs and G. Lecomte, (Brill, 1995), 795.
  14. ^ Dupree, Nancy (1971) "Sites in Perspective (Chapter 3)" An Historical Guide To Afghanistan Afghan Tourist Organization, Kabul, OCLC 241390
  15. ^ Saffarids, Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. VIII, 795.
  16. ^ The Development of Persian Culture under the Early Ghaznavids, C.E. Bosworth, 34.
  17. ^ C.E. Bosworth, The Ghaznavids 994-1040, (Edinburgh University Press, 1963), 89.
  18. ^ The Ṭāhirids and Persian Literature, C. E. Bosworth, Iran, Vol. 7, (1969), 104.
  19. ^ The Tahirids and the Saffarids, C.E.Bosworth, The Cambridge History of Iran: The period from the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs, Vol. IV, Ed. R.N.Frye, (Cambridge University Press, 1999), 129.
  20. ^ Pandjhir, Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. VIII, 258.

External links[edit]