The Iranian general, Amir Yaqoub ibn Laith Saffari
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On April 8, 876 AD, the usurper Abbasid caliphate survived definite annihilation when pride and overconfidence cost the Iranian general, Amir Yaqoub ibn Laith Saffari, victory in the Battle of Dayr al-Aqoul at Estarband, some 80 km southeast of Baghdad.
Yaqoub Saffari, who from his base in Zaranj in Sistan, after taking control of Sindh, Baluchestan and Kabul, had carried the banner of Islam to the then Buddhist ruled areas of Bamiyan, Balkh, Badghis, and Ghor (in present-day Afghanistan), now turned towards the west, and swept through Khorasan, conquering Fars and Khuzestan on the way to Iraq.
Mu’tamid – the 15th self-styled caliph of the Abbasid regime and murderer of Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS), the 11th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) – terrified at the idea of the Saffarids joining the raging Zanj revolt in Basra and southern Iraq, offered Yaqoub the governorships of Khorasan, Fars, Tabaristan, Gorgan, and Rayy, if he spared Iraq, but the latter sensing the weakness of the caliphate, from which Egypt, North Africa, Syria and Central Asia, had already broken away, resolved to end Abbasid rule.
He advanced north of Waset, but here the clever tactic of the pro-Abbasid fellow Iranian general, Masrour al-Balkhi, in flooding the adjoining lands slowed down his march. This provided the Abbasids ample time to gather troops and Turkic mercenaries, and thus save their rule that had been established a century and 26 years ago in 750 by Abu’l-Abbas Saffah by overthrowing the Omayyads with Iranian help.
The result of the battle, completely halted Yaqoub's advance, as he fell back broken-hearted after a valiant fight, and in the next three years that he was alive, did not make any campaigns in Iraq. In 879, his brother and successor, Amr ibn Laith concluded peace with the caliph. The Abbasids, who had become puppets of the Turkic slave generals, continued to be in power, until all executive authority was taken away from them by the Iranian general, Moiz od-Dowla Daylami on the fall of Baghdad in 945 to the Buwaihids, who ruled Iraq, Oman and most of Iran for the next 110 years. Finally in 1258, the Abbasids were thrown into the dustbin of history with the sack of Baghdad by the bloodthirsty Buddhist Mongol hordes of Hulaku Khan, the grandson of Chingiz Khan.