Ya'qub-i Laith Saffari

Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar or Ya'qub-i Laith Saffari (840-879) was the founder of the Saffarid dynasty in Sistan, with its capital at Zaranj (a city now in south-western Afghanistan). He ruled territories that are now in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Early life

Ya'qub's was born of a plebeian family in Qarnin, a small village in Sistan. He moved to the city of Zaranj and worked as a copper smith, while his brother Amr-i Laith Saffari (who later became his successor) worked as a mule-hirer. He started his campaign as a bandit (Ayyar) The right translation for Ayyar is not outlaw/bandit rather freedom seekers and protectors of the poor as there is no direct translation of this term in many languages the nearest in English is the "Knight" who with their loyalty and bravery could protect the poor and absolutely not anything like robin-hood.and formed his own army. In Iranian folkloric stories, Ya'qub is regarded as an Iranian Robin Hood because he stole from the wealthy and helped the poor.

Saffarid Dynasty

He attracted the attention of an Abbasid caliph by conquering non-Muslim territories in the east, which are now mostly part of modern Afghanistan/Pakistan. Then he began acting as an independent ruler and eventually succeeded in gaining control of much of what is now Iran, Afghanistan and large parts of Pakistan. He became the sovereign monarch of the first Iranian dynasty after the Arab Islamic conquest. In many cases, the people he conquered had rebelled against their Islamic overloards and reverted to prior forms of worship.

From his capital Zaranj, he conquered a vast area that included: Kabul Valley, Sind, Tocharistan, Makran (Baluchistan), Kerman, Fars, Khorasan. He attempted to conquer Baghdad but was defeated by the forces of the caliph al-Mu'tamid. It was during his rule that Persian was introduced as an official language, ending the pervasive influence of the Arabic language. Laith has been accorded the historical status of a popular folk hero in history because his court began the revitalization of the Persian language after two centuries of domination by the Arabic language.

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