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The Iranian adventurer, Yaqoub Ibn Laith Saffar

Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 19th of the Islamic month of Shawwal in 265 AH, the Iranian adventurer, Yaqoub Ibn Laith Saffar, who founder of the short-lived Saffarid Dynasty, died in Jondi Shapour in Khuzestan, due to severe stomachache and was succeeded by his brother Amr. A coppersmith by profession, he led an ascetic life and gradually started gathering fighting men around him in the town of Zaranj, which is now in Afghanistan, to annihilate the “khwarej” (renegades) in the region.
This earned him fame, and he soon brought the whole of Sistan under his control before participating in wars in Kirman and Fars. He then ousted from Naishapur, Mohammad Ibn Taher, the Abbasid governor of Khorasan, which led to conflict with the caliphate. Yaqoub next attacked Tabaristan on the Caspian Sea and collected taxes there before withdrawing to Rayy. Mo’tamed-Billah, the self-styled caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime, offered him the governorship of Khorasan, Tabaristan, Gorgan, Rayy, and also the position of security-chief in Baghdad.
Yaqoub who despised ease, pleasure, squandering of the public treasury and oppression of the masses, paid scant regard to the caliph, and resorted to battle, but was defeated through treachery. He then withdrew from Iraq into Khuzestan, and was preparing for another attack when he died. There are conflicting reports about Yaqoub Saffar’s religious beliefs, with claims that he had Ismaili Shi’ite tendencies.

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