The Info List - Saffarids

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The Saffarid dynasty
Saffarid dynasty
(Persian: سلسله صفاریان‎) was a Muslim
Persianate[3] dynasty from Sistan
that ruled over parts of eastern Iran, with its capital at Zaranj
(a city now in southwestern Afghanistan).[4][5] Khorasan, Afghanistan
and Sistan
from 861 to 1003.[6] The dynasty, of Persian origin,[7][8][9][10][11][12] was founded by Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar, born in 840 in a small town called Karnin (Qarnin), which was located east of Zaranj
and west of Bost, in what is now Afghanistan
- 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 Iran
and Afghanistan, as well as parts of Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Saffarids used their capital Zaranj
as a base for an aggressive expansion eastward and westward. They first invaded the areas south of the Hindu Kush
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.[6] 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
Ismail Samani
in 900. Amr bin Laith
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.


1 Founding 2 Culture 3 Rulers of the Saffarid dynasty 4 Gallery 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Founding[edit] The dynasty began with Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar
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.[13][14] Nancy Dupree
Nancy Dupree
in her book An Historical Guide to Afghanistan
describes Yaqub's conquests as such:

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.[15] — Nancy Dupree, 1971

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 (Southeastern Iran) and Fars (southwestern Iran).[16] The Saffarids then seized Khuzestan
(southwestern Iran) and parts of southern Iraq, and in 876 came close to overthrowing the Abbasids, whose army was able to turn them back only within a few days' march from Baghdad. These incursions, however, forced the Abbasid
caliphate to recognize Ya'qub as governor of Sistan, Fars and Kerman, and Saffarids were even offered key posts in Baghdad.[17] In 901, Amr Saffari
Amr Saffari
was defeated at the battle of Balkh
by the Samanids, which reduced the Saffarid dynasty
Saffarid dynasty
to a minor tributary in Sistan.[18] In 1002, Mahmud of Ghazni
invaded Sistan, dethroned Khalaf I
Khalaf I
and finally ended the Saffarid dynasty.[19] 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.[20] In the later 9th century, the Saffarids gave impetus to a renaissance of New Persian literature
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.[21] From silver mines in the Panjshir Valley, the Saffarids were able to mint silver coins.[22] Rulers of the Saffarid dynasty[edit]

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Titular Name Personal Name Reign

Independence from the Abbasid

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 علي‬ 908-910 CE

Amir أمیر‬ Muhammad ibn 'Ali محمد بن علي‬ 910-911 CE

Amir أمیر‬ Al-Mu'addal ibn 'Ali المعضل ابن علي‬ 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

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 ولي الدولة ‬ Khalaf ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad
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.


The Saffarid dynasty
Saffarid dynasty
and its neighbors at its peak in 900 CE

Saffarid Soldier

See also[edit]

Iranian Intermezzo Nasrid dynasty (Sistan) Mihrabanids Samanids Ghaznavids List of kings of Persia List of Sunni Muslim


^ "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] ^ Robinson, Chase F. (2009). The new Cambridge history of Islam. Vol 1, Sixth to eleventh centuries (1. publ. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. p. 345. ISBN 978-0-521-83823-8. The Tahirids had made scant use of Persian, though the Saffarids used it considerably more. But under the Samanids
Persian emerged as a full "edged language of literature and (to a lesser extent) administration. Court patronage was extended to Persian poets, including the great Rudaki (d. c. 940). Meanwhile Arabic continued to be used abundantly, for administration and for scientific, theo logical and philosophical discourse.  ^ 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". ^ 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. ^ The Encyclopedia of World History, ed. Peter N. Stearns and William Leonard Langer (Houghton Mifflin, 2001), 115. ^ a b Clifford Edmund Bosworth, Encyclopædia Iranica SAFFARIDS ^ "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 ^ "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 ^ Saffarids: A Persian dynasty.....", Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, Volume 2, edited by Julie Scott Meisami, Paul Starkey, p674 ^ "There were many local Persian dynasties, including the Tahirids, the Saffarids....", Middle East, Western Asia, and Northern Africa, by Ali Aldosari, p472. ^ "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. ^ "The Saffarids, the first Persian dynasty, to challenge the Abbasids...", Historical Dictionary of the Ismailis, by Farhad Daftary, p51. ^ The Development of Persian Culture under the Early Ghaznavids, C.E. Bosworth, Iran, Vol. 6, (1968), 34. ^ 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. ^ Dupree, Nancy (1971) "Sites in Perspective (Chapter 3)" An Historical Guide To Afghanistan
Afghan Tourist Organization, Kabul, OCLC 241390 ^ Saffarids, Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. VIII, 795. ^ Esposito, John L., The Oxford History of Islam
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 38. ^ The Development of Persian Culture under the Early Ghaznavids, C.E. Bosworth, 34. ^ C.E. Bosworth, The Ghaznavids
994-1040, (Edinburgh University Press, 1963), 89. ^ The Ṭāhirids and Persian Literature, C. E. Bosworth, Iran, Vol. 7, (1969), 104. ^ 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. ^ Pandjhir, Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. VIII, 258.

External links[edit]

has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Ṣaffārids.

Encyclopædia Iranica Saffarids

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