See Also:Saffarid Dynasty

ID:15854 Section: Dynasty

Updated:Monday 13th October 2014

Saffarid Definition

(Wikipedia) - Saffarid dynasty   (Redirected from Saffarid)
Saffarid Empire
←   ← 861–1003 →   →
Saffarid dynasty at its greatest extent under Ya''qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar
Capital Zaranj
Languages Persian (mother tongue)
Religion Sunni Islam
Government Monarchy
 -  861–879 Ya''qub bin Laith as-Saffar
 -  963–1002 Khalaf I
Historical era Medieval
 -  Established 861
 -  Disestablished 1003
Today part of Countries today
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The Saffarids (Persian: سلسله صفاریان‎) were a Muslim Persianate dynasty from Sistan that ruled over parts of eastern Iran, Khorasan, Afghanistan and Balochistan from 861 to 1003. The dynasty, of Persian origin, 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 Iran and Afghanistan, as well as parts of Pakistan, Tajikestan and Uzbekistan.

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.

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.

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


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.

"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.".

—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 and Fars. These attacks forced the Abbasid caliphate to recognize him as governor of Kerman.

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.

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


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.

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.

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

Rulers of the Saffarid dynasty History of Afghanistan
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  • v
  • t
  • e
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 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
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 ولي الدولة 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.
  • The Saffarid dynasty and its neighbors at its peak in 900 CE

  • Saffarid Soldier

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