How Four Muslim Brothers Established the Samanid Empire

Ljuba brank from sl / GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

One of the most prominent Muslim nations in the world today is the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, one thing that is of interest to many people is how Iran became Muslim because, for thousands of years, Iran (then called Persia) was the global headquarters of an ancient religion called Zoroastrianism. This is the gripping tale of how four Muslim brothers established the Samanid Empire and entrenched Islam in what is now modern-day Iran.

Even though the focus here is about the Samanid Empire concerning Iran, its extent went beyond Iran. It also covered what are now Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. This mighty empire was established in 819 by four Muslim brothers namely Ahmad, Ilyas, Yahya, and Nuh. Each brother had its sphere of control and that contributed to the efficiency of their reigns.

The Samanid Empire left its influence all over the region and it was known for being a giant as far as the pursuit of knowledge was concerned. It aggressively pursued science and literature and its capital, Bukhara was as prestigious as Baghdad as an intellectual centre. As it became a place of knowledge, the Samanid Empire attracted many illustrious scholars. These included legends like Avicenna, Ferdowsi, and Rudaki.

It is also to the credit of the Samanids that they brought back the Persian language. They massively promoted arts and culture did a lot to advance the arts and culture of Persia, which is now Iran. However, as they were doing this, the Samanids are made sure that Arabic remained the language of the sciences. So overall, Persian was used in the court and as the official language but for theology, Arabic was employed.

In the Samanid Empire, the amir held power as the ruler of the state, and under him were governors who ruled over assigned provinces. It was the job of the governors to collect the taxes and also provide military support to the Samanid emperor whenever there was a need for it. Apart from the impressive political administration, the Samanids also did a lot for the promotion of Islam. It was due to the efforts of the Samanid rulers that the very first total translation of the Quran into Persian was done.

They also embarked on massive missionary efforts and this led to a remarkable number of those who converted to Islam. This is important because as at that time, the prevalent religion in the region was Zoroastrianism. Even though some of the population decided to stick to Zoroastrianism, the Muslim Samanid rulers never disturbed them, they demonstrated the highest level of religious tolerance – just as Islam preaches.

The missionary efforts were so great and productive that waves upon waves of people turned to Islam and that was how an area that was non-Muslim before turned to an Islamic region. From literature to arts to science to philosophy and theology, the Samanids left their impact in different areas of scholarship. Today, Iran is an Islamic nation and we have the Samanids to thank mainly for that, may Allah (SWT) bring ease unto our affairs, aameen.