Between 1992 and 1997, Rahmonov's rule was opposed by the United Tajik Opposition in the Tajik Civil War in which up to 100,000 people died. Rahmonov survived an assassination attempt in April 1997 in Khujand, as well as two attempted coups in August 1997 and in November 1998.
On November 6, 1994, Rahmonov was elected to the newly created post of president of Tajikistan, and he was sworn in on November 16. Following constitutional changes, he was re-elected on November 6, 1999 to a seven-year term, taking 97% of the vote. On June 22, 2003, he won a referendum that would allow him to run for two more consecutive seven-year terms after his present term expired in 2006. The opposition alleges that this amendment was hidden in a way that verged upon electoral fraud. Rahmonov was re-elected in a controversial on November 6, 2006, with about 79% of the vote according to the official results.
He is married to Azizmo Asadullayeva and has nine children.
The added i at the end of his first name is a Persian ezafe meaning Emomali of Rahmon. It can be used to link two nouns or a noun and an adjective. For a first name, it can be used when followed by the surname.
Rahmon convinced UNESCO to declare 2002-2003 the third millennium since Zoroaster's birth, and in his book, The Tajiks in the Mirror of History, he claimed that Zoroaster was a Tajik from Bactria. In this book, Rahmon also wrote:
Many principles of the Zarathushtrian religion have left a deep imprint on the [Tajik] people's mind. The habit has been preserved prohibiting the killing of animals when they are pregnant and the cutting of trees in blossom. Water, earth and fire have to be protected from any impurity. The fumes of some fragrant herbs are still used to keep away sickness and the force of evil.
These and many other examples give evidence that in every Tajik house we may find trace of Zarathushtra's teachings.
Let us hope in the new millennium, the Tajik people will continue to live under the spiritual guidance of Zarathushtra, the prophet of truth and light.
Rahmon is a Sunni Muslim and has performed the hajj when he went to Mecca on March 1997. He has called for closer ties with other Muslim nations in the region, notably the Persian speaking nations of Iran and Afghanistan. His reply to the critics of the election standards of the 2006 Tajikistani presidential elections was:
Tajikistan is a country where more than 99 percent of the population is Muslim. We have a different culture, and this has to be taken account of.