The Islamic Era

The Islamic Era

Originally posted at

635-650 AD

After Arabs completed the invasion of Western Iran and Tispoon (Ctesiphon), they continued their way to the east. They conquered Kermanshah and Khoozestan and opened Isphahan and Estakhr. In Pars, they faced the local people’s armies that tried to drive them back, but Arabs defeated locals in several fights.

Omavid Rule

Around this time, the news of the assassination of second Islamic Caliph, Omar, spread throughout the Islamic territories. An Iranian prisoner called Peerooz, killed Omar while he was on prayer. Omar’s successor, Othman, who was a very weak ruler did not encourage Arab armies to continue their conquests as fast as they did during Omar’s reign, so Iranian freedom fighters got more time to organize themselves. These early revolutionaries were usually from the noble families, called “vasteriushan” in Sasanid empire, they really did nothing, mostly because of lack of popularity.

In the next 20 years, Arabs completed their conquest of Iran, and they established their first empire, Omavid Dynasty. Omavid rulers where amongst the most cruel of the Islamic rulers. During their 98 years of Caliphate, many of the invaded territories began their independence movements.


Sasanid Principalities

During the first three decades of Arab rule to Iran, a Sasanid prince called Dabooyeh, a descendant of Peerooz established a little principality on the northern part of the country. His territory was located between the Alburz mountains and Caspian sea, an area called Deylaman. The people in Deylaman were Zoroasterian and they did not convert to Islam for a long time(since 1000 AD), so they supported Dabooyeh and his successors, who were also Zoroasterian. He was able to keep his territories independence, and he did not let the Arabs come to his land.

Dabooyeh’s dynasty ruled Deylaman for 150 years. After that, two other branches of Sasanid princes divided Dabooyeh’s territory between themselves. One of them was called “Padoospanian”(descendants of Dabooyeh’s brother, Padoospan) and another one called, Bavandi(descendants of Kavoos, brother of Khosro I). These two dynasties later converted to Islam(in the 11th century AD), but they never lost their territories to Arabs, and they ruled it for 950 years! Longest of any dynasty in Iranian history.


Abbasid Caliphate

Around 750 AD, an Iranian military genius called “Abu-Moslem” leaded the armies of “Saffah” against the last Omavid caliph, Marvan II. Saffah was a great-grandson of Abbas, prophet Mohammad’s uncle, thus he called the new dynasty “Abbasid”.

Abbasid dynasty is the most famous dynasty of Islamic world. They were the patrons of Islamic arts and civilization. Many of the Caliphs were cruel and un-just, but they all were supporters of cultural developments throughout their country.

Mansour, Saffah’s brother and successor, killed Abu-Moslem and tried to decrease the Iranian influence in the Caliphate, but he was not very successful in his act. Iranian culture and governmental system continued to play an important role in the Islamic world. Some of most famous Abbsid rulers are: Haroon al-rashid (the caliph that opened the relations with Charlemagne), Ma’moon(the first half Iranian Caliph), and Motevakkel(the cruelest Caliph). After Ma’moon’s death (around 830 AD), one of Iranian nationalists separated a part of Eastern Iran from the Caliphate and called himself king, his name was “Taaher” and his dynasty, which is the first Islamic -Iranian dynasty, is called Taaherian.


Iranian Independence Movements

After Taaher, other Iranian revolutionaries started to make their own kingdoms, some of them are: Yaghoub Leis (Saffaris, 868-908 AD), Amir Esmaeel(Samanids,874-998), Mardavij(Ziary,928-1077), and Booye brothers(Booye,932-1055). “Booye” or “Aal-e Booye”, was established by three brothers, Ali, Hassan, and Ahmad, sons of Booye. They were from Deylaman, and they were living under the Bavandi rule(see above). They raised an army and began conquering northern and western parts of the country. In December of 945, Ahmad the youngest brother, invaded Baghdad, the capital of Abbasid caliphs, and deposed the caliph and blinded him. From then on, the caliphate was always under Iranian influence and Iranian rulers could install the caliphs of their own choice.

Booye dynasty, also known as Deylami because of their birth place, ruled most of Iran for over 150 years. They were great kings who loved their country, and they were great supporters of Iranian traditions and culture.Their most famous and beloved ruler was “Panah-Khosro Ezad-al-doleh” who was the creator of many cities and constructions in Iran. Their last ruler, Sama-al-doleh was deposed by his uncle.


Ghaznavid, Saljuqs, and other Turkic dynasties

After Booye, their territory broke to pieces and divided between local rulers. Around 1040 AD, a local ruler in Ghazna(now in Afghanistan) named Mahmoud, claimed all of the Booye territories. Mahmoud was from a Turkic origin, and his parents where soldiers and commanders in Booye army. Mahmoud called himself Sultan, and started conquering Iranian and northern Indian lands. By 1060 AD, he was ruling a country almost as large as Sasanid empire. After him, his successors lost most of the country to another Turkic tribe called “Saljuqs”.

The leader of Saljuqs, called Toghrol, chose Isphahan as his capital. His successors, Aleb Arsalan and Malek Shah, were among the most powerful of Islamic rulers. Malek Shah invaded Syria and Anatolia(present day Turkey), and his country was the biggest country in the Islamic world. After his death (1092), the country divided to three parts: Iran went to his sons, Turkey went to his cousin, and Malek Shah’s brother, Tatesh, established his rule in Syria.

The last Saljuqid king of Iran, Toghrol III, was deposed by Eel Arsalan, king of Kharazm. He was the first king of “Kharazmshahian” dynasty, the dynasty that ruled most of Iran until the Mongol attack.


Esmaeelian , Kharazmshahan, and Mongol Attack

One of the branches of Islam is called Esmaeeli. From the beginning of Sultan Mahmoud’s reign, they were living in concealment because the Turkic rulers were very prejudice sunnies who believed that Esmaeelis are heretics. During the reign of Malek Shah, one of the Esmaeeli leaders called “Hassan-e Sabbah”, started a revolt (around 1080 AD), and because he wanted to protect his followers, he took refuge in a grand and out of reach fort in northern Iran. This fort was called “Alamoot”. Hassan orders his followers to capture the forts throughout the country, and when they did, he organized a system called “Esmaeeli brotherhood”, better known to westerners as “Assassins”. This organization was the first establishment to use murder and terror as a weapon to reach its goals.

Hassan and his followers made a country within a country. Esmaeeli forts and castles were independent from the government and they had a better and most successful economy than other parts of the kingdom, selling herbal medicines and armors. Although they were great in making herbal medicines, it is a myth that Esmaeelis were under drug use when they did their murders, it was only the power of Hassans will and their faith that guide them through their assignments.

Hassan’s successors continued to rule Iran until the Mongol attack, when the last Esmaeeli ruler, Khoor Shah, was executed by Hologu Khan. Another branch of Esmaeelis in Syria were active players in Crusades, where they killed Baldwin II of Jerusalem.

Kharzmashahans, the dynasty that ruled northern and eastern Iran after the Saljuqs, were also from Turkish descend. The last of Kharazmshah’s, Alaa ol-Din Mohammad, was living in 13th century. He is most famous for his encounters with the great Mongol conqueror, Ghenghis Khan. Ghenghis(pronounced “Chan-geez” in Iran), invaded Mohammad’s country in 1219. He and his successors sacked Iranian cities, killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and ruled the country for over three generations.

The most famous Mongol ruler in Iran, after Ghenghis himself, is Hologu Khan, the founder of Il-Khans. He became Mongol ruler of Iran in 1256, after his brother Guyuk was elected as great Khan of all Mongols. Hologu’s descendants ruled Iran until 1342, when their last ruler, Abu-Saeed was killed by his commander. Mongols accepted Islam, and defused in Iran’s culture, but they also left their influence in Iranian’s soul, eternal fear! An Iranian historian wrote something that is the best way to describe Mongol attack “They came, they killed, they sacked, they burned, and they took, and they left!”.


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