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866-903 Saffar Dynasty

The province of Kerman was conquered in the early years of the Hijra, and Baluchistan soon shared the same fate. Whether Baluchistan was really permanently governed by the Mohamedans is doubtful, and it was first subdued by Yakub-bin-Lais of the Saffar dynasty. He ruled an empire which reached from the Indus to the Shat-el-Arab, but this brilliant position was short-lived. Ya'kub, the son of -Layth the Saffar ('Coppersmith'), was by a freak of fortune promoted from the leadership of a band of outlaws to a post of trust at the Court of the Caliph's governor of the province of Sijistan (Slstan, or ISfrnruz), whom he eventually succeeded, sometime before 868 (255). By that year he had annexed Herat and occupied Pars, including the capital Shiraz, to which he soon added Balkh and Tukharistan, and in 872 (259) took Khurasan from the Tahirids. After an expedition in Tabaristan, where he defeated Hasan b. Zayd the 'Alid, he openly revolted against the Caliph -Mu'tamid, and advanced through Shiraz and -Ahwaz upon Baghdad; but was routed by the Caliph's brother -Muwaffak, and died in 878 (265).

Minhaj-i-Saraj Jurjant, makes a short extract from the Tarikh or chronicle of Ibn Haisam-i-Sani, respecting the dynasty of the Suffariun. That chronicler and annalist relates, that Ya'kub-i-Lais, and 'Umro, 'AH, and Mu'addil-i-Lais, were four brothers, sons of Lais, the Suffar or worker in brass, who was head of the braziers of Sijistan1. [At this time] Ibrahim, son of Al-Husain, was the Wall [governor] of Sijistan on the part of Muhammad, son of Tahir, the last of the Tahiris, who was the Amir of Khurasan. This Ibrahim had appointed a deputy or lieutenant of his own to govern in Sijistan in his name, who was called Salih, son of Un-Nasr. This Lais the brazier was a restless and refractory fellow, and had a great number of assistants, servants, and followers.

Other historians greatly differ as to the origin and rise of the Saffaran. One says that Lais, the brazier, was in the service of Salih, son of Nasr, Kanaru ; and another, quoting the History of Khurasan of Moulana Mu'tn-ud-Din, Sabzwart, states, that the latter author had traced the descent of this family to Nushlrwan the Just, the celebrated ruler of Iran. Again, another author states, that Ya'kub, son of Lais, after the death of Darhim [sic], son of Un-Nasr, revolted against his sons Salih and Nasr, in 237 H., and managed to gain possession of some portion of the territory of Sijistan. His affairs prospered, and, the principal men among the partisans of Darhim's family having combined with him from time to time, in 253 H., he acquired the whole of Sijistan. Darhim's sons fled to the king of Kabul.

The power of Ya'qub increased to such an extent that he was not content with the caliph*s offer to recognize him as supreme in the provinces he had conquered, and military governor of Bagdad, but marched against Irak. The caliph himself, wearing the mantle and the staff of the Prophet, then went out against him, and after a vigorous resistance he was beaten by Mowaffaq, who had the command of the troops, and fled to Jondisapur in Khuzistan, where he died three years later, leaving his empire to his brother 'Amr.

Amr was confirmed in the governments of Khurasan, Fars, Kurdistan, and Sijistan. The Caliph, however, distrusting 'Amr's increasing power, induced Isma'Il the Samunid to attack him in 900 (287). Amr maintained himself in power till the year 900, when he was beaten and taken prisoner by Isma'Il b. Ahmed the Samanid. Ibn Khallikan, who narrates at some length his history and that of his brother, winds up with the remark, "So ended the power of the Saffaris, that is, of the braziers."

The Samanids had been governors of Transoxiana from the time of Mamun, and after the fall of the Tahirids, had been confirmed in this office by the caliph. After 287 (900) they were independent princes, and under tneir dominion these districts attained to high prosperity. Amr being captured by Ismail of the Saman family, was put to death at Baghdad. In spite of this the Saffar held Baluchistan for many centuries, but after the death of Tahir, grandson of Amr, who ruled Fars, Kerman, and Sistan until A.H. 295 (907), the dynasty grew weaker, Khalaf being captured by Mahmud of Ghazni. In Baluchistan the Saffar apparently became, in the course of centuries, a confederacy of chiefs.

Amr's grandson Tahir succeeded him in Sijistan, but, endeavouring to re-establish the power of his house in Fars, was imprisoned 903 (290). Two other members of the family vainly sought to recover its lost territory. In 296 Sijistan was granted to the Samanids, but the SafEarids continued for nearly a century to aim at the possession of this province, and several of them succeeded in holding it for a time.

In A.H. 1150 (1737), or by another account three years later, and more than a century after the last Persian invasion, Pir Mohamed, formerly Beglerbegi of Herat, accompanied by Amir Mahabbat3 of Kasarkand, marched by way of Jfruft towards Bampur. Malik Shir Khan, of the same Saffar dynasty, collected troops from Kech and more distant Kharan, and the two armies met at what is now known as Chili-Nadir. The Baluchis made a desperate onset, but probably Nadir's artillery was too much for them, and Malik Shir Khan being slain, the army fled with a loss of seven hundred warriors. However, Malik Ardeshfr, son of the dead chief, held Bampur successfully, and after a few days, the Persians raised the siege and captured Fahraj. Lashar was next conquered, and Amir Mahabbat installed as Governor of Baluchistan at Kasarkand.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:45:40 ZULU