Writing Biblical History Daniel 11

By place[edit]
Byzantine Empire[edit]
• Byzantine–Sasanian War: Emperor Heraclius sails from Constantinople with an expeditionary force (probably 50,000 men) and starts a counter-offensive against the Persian Empire. His young son, Constantine III, is left behind as regentunder the charge of Sergius I, patriarch of Constantinople, and patrician Bonus. He lands a few days later at the junction of Cilicia and Syria, near Alexandretta and ancient Issus.
• Battle of Issus: Heraclius defeats the Persian forces under Shahrbaraz in Cappadocia. He recaptures Anatolia, but returns to Constantinople to deal with the threat pose to his Balkan domains by the Avars and puts the Byzantine army into winter quarters in Pontus.[1]
• The Western Turks conquer the Oxus valley and cooperate with Heraclius against Persia, taking Khorasan (modern Afghanistan).
By topic[edit]
• September 9[2] or June 17[3] – The Islamic prophet Muhammad, after being warned of a plot to assassinate him, secretly leaves his home in Mecca to make the Hegira (emigrate) to Yathrib (later renamed by him toMedina) along with his companion Abu Bakr. They take refuge in the Cave of Thawr south of Mecca for three days, departing on September 13 or June 21.
• September 20[2] or June 28[3] – Muhammad does not enter Yathrib directly, but stops at its outlying environs of Quba. He establishes the Quba Mosque here, the first mosque of Islam. On September 24 or July 2 he makes his first visit to Yathrib for Friday prayers.
• October 4[2] or July 13 – After a fourteen days’ stay in Quba, Muhammad finally moves from Quba to Yathrib, and is greeted cordially by its people. Here he drafts the Constitution of Medina, an agreement between the various Muslim, Jewish, Christian and pagan tribal communities in the city, forming the basis of a multi-religious Islamic state, and begins construction of the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi mosque. Later during the caliphate of Umar in 638, the lunar year during which the emigration to Medina occurred (Friday 16 July 622 – 4 July 623) is designated “Year One” of the new Hijri year (Anno Hegirae – AH).

By place[edit]
• March 19 – Prophet Muhammad announces that Ali ibn Abi Talib would be his successor at Ghadir Khumm.[1]
• June 8 – Muhammad dies at Medina at the age of 63 after an illness and fever. According to Shias, he was succeeded by Ali ibn Abi Talib; according to Sunnis, he was succeeded by Abu Bakr.
• Imamah (Shia doctrine) of Ali Ibn Abi Talib for religious, spiritual and political leadership of the Ummah starts
• Ridda Wars: Abu Bakr launches a series of military campaigns against rebel Arabian tribes to re-establish the power of the Rightly Guided Caliphs and to secure Muhammad’s legacy.
• September – Battle of Buzakha: An Islamic column (6,000 men) under Khalid ibn al-Walid defeat the Apostate rebels under Tulayha near Ha’il (Saudi Arabia).
• December – Battle of Aqraba: Muslim forces of Abu Bakr defeat the Apostate rebels (40,000 men) under Musaylimah on the plain of Aqraba.
• April 8 – King Charibert II is assassinated at Blaye (Gironde)—possibly on orders of his half-brother Dagobert I—along with his infant son. He claims Aquitaine and Gascony, becoming the most powerful Merovingian king in the West.
• Kubrat, ruler of the Dulo clan,[2] establishes the confederation of Great Bulgaria. He takes power over his tribe, the Utigur Bulgars, and expels the Avars from his lands. Kubrat’s rule stretches from the Danube Delta to the Volga River.
• June 16 – Yazdegerd III, age 8, ascends to the throne as king (shah) of the Persian Empire. He becomes the last ruler of the Sassanid Dynasty (modern Iran).
• January 27 – Annular eclipse of the sun.[3]
• Seondeok is crowned queen of Silla (Korea).
By topic[edit]
• March 9 – Friday, 9 Zulhijja, 10 AH, The Last Sermon (Khutbah, Khutbatul Wada’) delivered by Muhammad, Islamic prophet, in the Uranah valley of Mount Arafat to the Muslims who has accompanied him for the Hajj(pilgrimage).
• June 8 – Muhammad dies in Medina, at the age of 63, and is succeeded by Abu Bakr who becomes the first caliph (viceregent of the messenger of God). He establishes the Rashidun Caliphate until 661.

Rashidun Caliphate
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Rashidun Caliphate
الخلافة الراشدة

The Rashidun Empire reached its greatest extent under Caliph Uthman, in 654.
Capital Medina (632–656)
Kufa (656–661)

Languages Arabic, Aramaic/Syriac,Armenian, Berber,Coptic, Georgian, Greek,Hebrew, Middle Persian,Kurdish, Vulgar Latin[citation needed]

Religion Islam

Government Caliphate


• 632–634 Abu Bakr (first)

• 634–644 Umar

• 644–656 Uthman

• 656-661 Ali (last)

• Established 8 June 632
• First Fitna(internal conflict) ends 28 July 661

• 655[1]
6,400,000 km²(2,471,054 sq mi)

• est. 21,400,000
Currency Dinar, Dirham

Preceded by Succeeded by
Muhammad in Medina

Byzantine Empire

Sasanian Empire

Exarchate of Africa

Umayyad Caliphate

Today part of 30 countries[show]

Amir al-Mu’minin (أمير المؤمنين), Caliph (خليفة)

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Rashidun Caliphate at greatest extent (Orthographic projection).
The Rashidun Caliphate (Arabic: الخلافة الراشدة‎‎ al-Khilāfah ar-Rāshidah) was the Islamic caliphate in the earliest period of Islam, comprising the first four caliphs—the “Rightly Guided” or Rashidun caliphs (Arabic: الخلفاء الراشدون‎‎ al-Khulafā’ ar-Rāshidūn). It was founded after Muhammad’s death in 632 (year 11 AH in the Islamic calendar). At its height, the Caliphate controlled an empire from the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant, to theCaucasus in the north, North Africa from Egypt to present-day Tunisia in the west, and the Iranian plateau to Central Asia in the east.
• 1Origin
• 2History
o 2.1Succession of Abu Bakr
o 2.2Succession of Umar
o 2.3Election of Uthman
o 2.4Siege of Uthman
o 2.5Crisis and fragmentation
• 3Military expansion
o 3.1Conquest of the Persian empire
o 3.2Wars against the Byzantine empire
 3.2.1Conquest of Byzantine Syria
 3.2.2Occupation of Anatolia
 3.2.3Conquest of Egypt
 3.2.4Conquest of North Africa
 against Nubia (Sudan)
 3.2.5Conquest of the islands of the Mediterranean Sea
 3.2.6First Muslim invasion of the Iberian peninsula
o 3.3Treatment of conquered peoples
• 4Political administration
o 4.1Judicial administration
o 4.2Electing or appointing a Caliph
o 4.3Sunni belief
o 4.4Majlis al-Shura: Parliament
o 4.5Accountability of rulers
o 4.6Rule of law
• 5Economy
o 5.1Bait-ul-Maal
o 5.2Establishment of Bait-ul-Maal
o 5.3Economic resources of the State
 5.3.1Zakat
 5.3.2Jizya
 5.3.3Fay
 5.3.4Khums
 5.3.5Kharaj
 5.3.6Ushr
o 5.4Allowance
 5.4.1Beginning of the allowance
 5.4.2Evaluation
• 6Welfare works
• 7Military
• 8List of Rashidun Caliphs
• 9See also
• 10References
See also: Succession to Muhammad

Expansion of the Rashidun Caliphate.
Expansion under the Prophet Muhammad, 622-632
Expansion during the Rashidun Caliphate, 632-661
Expansion during the Umayyad Caliphate, 661-750
After Muhammad’s death in 632 CE, the Medinan Ansar debated which of them should succeed him in running the affairs of the Muslims while Muhammad’s household was busy with his burial. Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah pledged their loyalty to Abu Bakr, with the Ansar and the Quraysh soon following suit. Abu Bakr thus became the first Khalīfatu Rasūli l-Lāh “successor of the Messenger of God”, or caliph, and embarked on campaigns to propagate Islam. First he would have to subdue the Arabian tribes which had claimed that although they pledged allegiance to Muhammad and accepted Islam, they owed nothing to Abu Bakr. As a caliph, Abu Bakr was not a monarch and never claimed such a title; nor did any of his three successors. Rather, their election and leadership were based upon merit.[2][3][4][5]
Notably, according to Sunnis, all four Rashidun Caliphs were connected to Muhammad through marriage, were early converts to Islam,[6] were among ten who were explicitly promised paradise, were his closest companions by association and support, and were often highly praised by Muhammad and delegated roles of leadership within the nascent Muslim community.
According to Sunni Muslims, the term Rashidun Caliphate is derived from a famous[7] hadith of Muhammad, where he foretold that the caliphate after him would last for 30 years[8] (the length of the Rashidun Caliphate) and would then be followed by kingship.[9][10] Furthermore, according to other hadiths in Sunan Abu Dawood and Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, towards the end times, the Rightly Guided Caliphate will be restored once again by God.[11]
Succession of Abu Bakr[edit]
Abu Bakr, the oldest companion of Muhammad, was caliph for only 2 years before he died. When Muhammad died, Abu Bakr and Umar, his two companions, were in the Saqifah meeting to select his successor while the family of Muhammad was busy with his funeral. Controversy among the Muslims emerged about whom to name as Caliph. There was disagreement between the Meccan followers of Muhammad who had emigrated with him in 622 (the Muhajirun”Emigrants”) and the Medinans who had become followers (Ansar “Helpers”). The Ansar, considering themselves being the hosts and loyal companions of Muhammad, nominated Sad bin Ubadah as their candidate for the Caliphate.[12] In the end, however, Muhammad’s closest friend, Abu Bakr, was named thekhalifa (caliph) or “Successor” of Muhammad.[13] A new circumstance had formed a new, untried political formation: the caliphate.
Troubles emerged soon after Muhammad’s death, threatening the unity and stability of the new community and state. Apostasy spread to every tribe in theArabian Peninsula with the exception of the people in Mecca and Medina, the Banu Thaqif in Ta’if and the Bani Abdul Qais of Oman. In some cases, entire tribes apostatised. Others merely withheld zakat, the alms tax, without formally challenging Islam. Many tribal leaders made claims to prophethood; some made it during the lifetime of Muhammad. The first incident of apostasy was fought and concluded while Muhammad still lived; a supposed prophet Aswad Ansi arose and invaded South Arabia;[14] he was killed on 30 May 632 (6 Rabi’ al-Awwal, 11 Hijri) by Governor Fērōz of Yemen, a Persian Muslim.[15] The news of his death reached Medina shortly after the death of Muhammad. The apostasy of al-Yamama was led by another supposed prophet, Musaylimah,[16] who arose before Muhammad’s death; other centers of the rebels were in the Najd, Eastern Arabia (known then as al-Bahrayn) and South Arabia (known as al-Yaman and including the Mahra). Many tribes claimed that they had submitted to Muhammad and that with Muhammad’s death, their allegiance was ended.[16] Caliph Abu Bakr insisted that they had not just submitted to a leader but joined a community or Ummah of which he was the new head.[16] The result of this situation was the Ridda wars.[16]
Abu Bakr planned his strategy accordingly. He divided the Muslim army into several corps. The strongest corps, and the primary force of the Muslims, was the corps of Khalid ibn al-Walid. This corps was used to fight the most powerful of the rebel forces. Other corps were given areas of secondary importance in which to bring the less dangerous apostate tribes to submission. Abu Bakr’s plan was first to clear Najd and Western Arabia near Medina, then tackle Malik ibn Nuwayrah and his forces between the Najd and al-Bahrayn, and finally concentrate against the most dangerous enemy, Musaylimah and his allies in al-Yamama. After a series of successful campaigns Khalid ibn Walid defeated Musaylimah in the Battle of Yamama.[17] The Campaign on the Apostasy was fought and completed during the eleventh year of the Hijri. The year 12 Hijri dawned on 18 March 633 with the Arabian peninsula united under the caliph in Medina.[citation needed]
Once the rebellions had been put down, Abu Bakr began a war of conquest. Whether or not he intended a full-out imperial conquest is hard to say; he did, however, set in motion a historical trajectory that in just a few short decades would lead to one of the largest empires in history. Abu Bakr began with Iraq, the richest province of the Sasanian Empire.[18] He sent general Khalid ibn Walid to invade the Sasanianan Empire in 633.[18] He thereafter also sent four armies to invade the Roman province of Syria,[19] but the decisive operation was only undertaken when Khalid, after completing the conquest of Iraq, was transferred to the Syrian front in 634.[20]
Succession of Umar[edit]

• Family tree of Umar
• Umm Kulthum bint Ali(Wife)
• Abdullah ibn Umar (son)
• Hafsa bint Umar (Daughter)
• Asim ibn Umar (son)

• Sunni view of Umar
• Ten Promised Paradise
• Shi’a view of Umar

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• Succession to Muhammad
• Succession to Abu Bakr
• Military conquests
• Reforms (Pact of Umar)

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Despite the initial reservations of his advisers, Abu Bakr recognised military and political prowess in Umar and desired him to succeed as caliph. The decision was enshrined in his will, and on the death of Abu Bakr in 634, Umar was confirmed in office. The new caliph continued the war of conquests begun by his predecessor, pushing further into the Sasanian Persian Empire, north into Byzantine territory, and west into Egypt. It is an important fact to note that Umar never participated in any battle as a commander of a Muslim Army throughout his life. These were regions of great wealth controlled by powerful states, but long internecine conflict between Byzantines and Sasanians had left both sides militarily exhausted, and the Islamic armies easily prevailed against them. By 640, they had brought all of Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine under the control of the Rashidun Caliphate; Egypt was conquered by 642, and the entire Persian Empire by 643.
While the caliphate continued its rapid expansion, Umar laid the foundations of a political structure that could hold it together. He created the Diwan, a bureau for transacting government affairs. The military was brought directly under state control and into its pay. Crucially, in conquered lands, Umar did not require that non-Muslim populations convert to Islam, nor did he try to centralize government. Instead, he allowed subject populations to retain their religion, language and customs, and he left their government relatively untouched, imposing only a governor (amir) and a financial officer called an amil. These new posts were integral to the efficient network of taxation that financed the empire.
With the booty secured from conquest, Umar was able to support its faith in material ways: the companions of Muhammad were given pensions on which to live, allowing them to pursue religious studies and exercise spiritual leadership in their communities and beyond. Umar is also remembered for establishing the Islamic calendar; it is lunar like the Arabian calendar, but the origin is set in 622, the year of the Hijra when Muhammad emigrated to Medina.
Umar was killed in an assassination by the Persian slave Piruz Nahavandi during morning prayers in 644.
Election of Uthman[edit]
Main article: The election of Uthman
The Generous – (Al Ghani)

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• Rashidun Caliph
• Family tree of Uthman
• The election
• Siege of Uthman
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Before Umar died, he appointed a committee of six men to decide on the next caliph, and charged them with choosing one of their own number. All of the men, like Umar, were from the tribe of Quraysh.
The committee narrowed down the choices to two: Uthman and Ali. Ali was from the Banu Hashim clan (the same clan as Muhammad) of the Quraish tribe, and he was the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad and had been a companion to the Prophet from the inception of his mission. Uthman was from the Umayyad clan of the Quraish.
Uthman reigned for twelve years as caliph, during the first half of his reign he enjoyed a position of the most popular caliph among all the Rashiduns, while in the later half of his reign he met increasing opposition. This opposition was led by the Egyptians and was concentrated around Ali, who would, albeit briefly, succeed Uthman as caliph.
Despite internal troubles, Uthman continued the wars of conquest started by Umar. The Rashidun army conquered North Africa from the Byzantines and even raided Spain, conquering the coastal areas of the Iberian peninsula, as well as the islands of Rhodes and Cyprus.[citation needed] Also coastal Sicily was raided in 652.[21] The Rashidun army fully conquered the Sasanian Empire, and its eastern frontiers extended up to the lower Indus River.
Uthman’s most lasting project was the final compilation of the Qur’an. Under his authority diacritics were written with the Arabic letters so that non-native speakers of Arabic could easily read the Qur’an without difficulty.
Siege of Uthman[edit]
Main article: Siege of Uthman
After a protest turned into a siege, Uthman refused to initiate any military action, in order to avoid civil war between Muslims, and preferred negotiations.[citation needed] After the negotiations, the protestors returned but found a man following them, holding an order to execute the protestors. The protestors returned and Uthman swore he didn’t write the order. He refuted the claim and tried to talk it through. The protestors demanded he retired from being a caliph. Uthman refused and returned to his room. This emboldened the protestors and they broke into Uthman’s house and killed him while he was reading the Qur’an.[citation needed] It was later discovered that it wasn’t his autograph, but a forgery under his cousin Mu’awiya’s autograph.
Crisis and fragmentation[edit]
Main article: First Fitna
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Aisha leading the Battle of the Camel against the armies of the fourthRashidun Caliph of Islam, Ali.
After the assassination of the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, the Companions of Muhammad in Medina selected Ali to be the new Caliph who had been passed over for the leadership three times since the death of Muhammad. Soon thereafter, Ali dismissed several provincial governors, some of whom were relatives of Uthman, and replaced them with trusted aides such as Malik al-Ashtar and Salman the Persian. Ali then transferred his capital from Medina to Kufa, a Muslim garrison city in current-day Iraq.
Demands to take revenge for the assassination of Caliph Uthman rose among parts of the population, and a large army of rebels led by Zubayr, Talha and the widow of Muhammad, Ayesha, set out to fight the perpetrators. The army reached Basra and captured it, upon which 4,000 suspected seditionists were put to death. Subsequently Ali turned towards Basra and the caliph’s army met the army of Muslims who demanded revenge for the murder of Uthman. Though neither Ali nor the leaders of the opposing force, Talha and Zubayr, wanted to fight, a battle broke out at night between the two armies. It is said, according to Sunni Muslim traditions, that the rebels who were involved in the assassination of Uthman initiated combat, as they were afraid that as a result of negotiation between Ali and the opposing army, the killers of Uthman would be hunted down and killed. The battle thus fought was the first battle between Muslims and is known as the Battle of the Camel. The Caliphate under Ali emerged victorious and the dispute was settled. The eminent companions of Mohammad, Talha and Zubayr, were killed in the battle and Ali sent his son Hassan ibn Ali to escort Ayesha back to Medina.
After this episode of Islamic history, another cry for revenge for the blood of Uthman rose. This time it was by Mu’awiya, kinsman of Uthman and governor of the province of Syria. However, it is regarded more as an attempt by Mu’awiya to assume the caliphate, rather than to take revenge for Uthman’s murder. Ali fought Mu’awiya’s forces at the Battle of Siffinleading to a stalemate, and then lost a controversial arbitration that ended with arbiter ‘Amr ibn al-‘As pronouncing his support for Mu’awiya. After this Ali was forced to fight the rebellious Kharijites in the Battle of Nahrawan, a faction of his former supporters who, as a result of their dissatisfaction with the arbitration, opposed both Ali and Mu’awiya. Weakened by this internal rebellion and a lack of popular support in many provinces, Ali’s forces lost control over most of the caliphate’s territory to Mu’awiya while large sections of the empire such as Sicily, North Africa, the coastal areas of Spain and some forts in Anatolia were also lost to outside empires.

Combat between the forces of Ali and Muawiyah I during the Battle of Siffin, from the Tarikhnama.
In 661, Ali was assassinated by Ibn Muljam as part of a Kharijite plot to assassinate all the different Islamic leaders meaning to end the civil war, whereas the Kharijites failed to assassinate Mu’awiya and ‘Amr ibn al-‘As.
Ali’s son Hasan ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, briefly assumed the caliphate and came to an agreement with Mu’awiya to fix relations between the two groups of Muslims that were each loyal to one of the two men. The treaty stated that Mu’awiya would not name a successor during his reign, and that he would let the Islamic World choose the next leader (This treaty would later be broken by Mu’awiya as he names his son Yazid I successor). Hasan was assassinated, and Mu’awiya gained control of the Caliphate and founded the Umayyad Caliphate, marking the end of the Rashidun Caliphate.
Military expansion[edit]
The Rashidun Caliphate expanded gradually; within the span of 24 years of conquest, a vast territory was conquered comprising Mesopotamia, the Levant, parts of Anatolia, and most of the Sasanian Empire.
Unlike the Sasanian Persians, the Byzantines, after losing Syria, retreated back to Anatolia. As a result, they also lost Egypt to the invading Rashidun army, although the civil wars among the Muslims halted the war of conquest for many years, and this gave time for the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire to recover.
Conquest of the Persian empire[edit]
Further information: Islamic conquest of Persia

Map detailing the route of Khalid ibn Walid’s conquest of Iraq.
The first Islamic invasion of the Sasanian Empire launched by Caliph Abu Bakr in 633 was a swift conquest in the time span of only four months led by general Khalid ibn Walid. Abu Bakr sent Khalid to conquerMesopotamia after the Ridda wars. After entering Iraq with his army of 18,000, Khalid won decisive victories in four consecutive battles: the Battle of Chains, fought in April 633; the Battle of River, fought in the third week of April 633; the Battle of Walaja, fought in May 633 (where he successfully used a pincer movement), and the Battle of Ullais, fought in mid May of 633. In the last week of May 633, the capital city of Iraq fell to the Muslims after initial resistance in the Battle of Hira.
After resting his armies, Khalid moved in June 633 towards Al Anbar, which resisted and was defeated in the Battle of Al-Anbar, and eventually surrendered after a siege of a few weeks in July 633. Khalid then moved towards the south, and conquered the city of Ein ul Tamr after the Battle of ein-ul-tamr in the last week of July 633. By now, almost the whole of Iraq was under Islamic control. Khalid received a call of help from northern Arabia at Daumat-ul-jandal, where another Muslim Arab general, Ayaz bin Ghanam, was trapped among the rebel tribes. Khalid went to Daumat-ul-jandal and defeated the rebels in the Battle of Daumat-ul-jandal in the last week of August 633. Returning from Arabia, he received news of the assembling of a large Persian army. Within a few weeks, he decided to defeat them all separately in order to avoid the risk of defeat by a large unified Persian army. Four divisions of Persian and Christian Arab auxiliaries were present at Hanafiz, Zumiel, Sanni and Muzieh.
Khalid divided his army into three units, and decided to attack these auxiliaries one by one from three different sides at night, starting with the Battle of Muzieh, then the Battle of Sanni, and finally the Battle of Zumail. In November 633, Khalid defeated the enemy armies in a series of three sided attacks at night. These devastating defeats ended Persian control over Iraq. In December 633, Khalid reached the border city of Firaz, where he defeated the combined forces of the Sasanian Persians, Byzantines and Christian Arabs in the Battle of Firaz. This was the last battle in his conquest of Iraq.[22]
After the conquest of Iraq, Khalid left Mesopotamia to lead another campaign in Syria against the Byzantine Empire, after which Mithna ibn Haris took command in Mesopotamia. The Persians once again concentrated armies to regain the lost Mesopotamia, while Mithna ibn Haris withdrew from central Iraq to the region near the Arabian desert to delay war until reinforcement came from Medina. Umar sent reinforcements under the command of Abu Ubaidah Saqfi. With some initial success this army was finally defeated by the Sasanian army at the Battle of the Bridge in which Abu Ubaid was killed. The response was delayed until after a decisive Muslim victory against the Romans in the Levant at the Battle of Yarmuk in 636. Umar was then able to transfer forces to the east and resume the offensive against the Sasanians. Umar dispatched 36,000 men along with 7500 troops from the Syrian front, under the command of Sa`d ibn Abī Waqqās against the Persian army. The Battle of al-Qādisiyyah followed, with the Persians prevailing at first, but on the third day of fighting, the Muslims gained the upper hand. The legendary Persian general Rostam Farrokhzād was killed during the battle. According to some sources, the Persian losses were 20,000, and the Arabs lost 10,500 men.
Following this Battle, the Arab Muslim armies pushed forward toward the Persian capital of Ctesiphon (also called Madā’in in Arabic), which was quickly evacuated by Yazdgird after a brief siege. After seizing the city, they continued their drive eastwards, following Yazdgird and his remaining troops. Within a short span of time, the Arab armies defeated a major Sasanian counter-attack in the Battle of Jalūlā’, as well as other engagements at Qasr-e Shirin, and Masabadhan. By the mid-7th Century, the Arabs controlled all of Mesopotamia, including the area that is now the Iranian province of Khuzestan. It is said that Caliph Umar did not wish to send his troops through the Zagros mountains and onto the Iranian plateau. One tradition has it that he wished for a “wall of fire” to keep the Arabs and Persians apart. Later commentators explain this as a common-sense precaution against over-extension of his forces. The Arabs had only recently conquered large territories that still had to be garrisoned and administered. The continued existence of the Persian government was however an incitement to revolt in the conquered territories and unlike the Byzantine army, the Sasanian army was continuously striving to regain their lost territories. Finally Umar decided to push his forces to further conquests, which eventually resulted in the wholesale conquest of the Sasanian Empire. Yazdegerd, the Sasanian king, made yet another effort to regroup and defeat the invaders. By 641 he had raised a new force, which made a stand at the Battle of Nihawānd, some forty miles south of Hamadan in modern Iran. The Rashidun army under the command of Umar’s appointed general Nu’man ibn Muqarrin al-Muzani, attacked and again defeated the Persian forces. The Muslims proclaimed it the Victory of Victories (Fath alfotuh) as it marked the End of the Sasanians, shattering the last strongest Sasanian army.
Yazdegerd was unable to raise another army and became a hunted fugitive. In 642 Umar sent the army to conquer the whole of the Persian Empire. The whole of present-day Iran was conquered, followed by the conquest of Greater Khorasan (which included the modern Iranian Khorasan province and modern Afghanistan), Transoxania, and Balochistan, Makran, Azerbaijan, Dagestan (Russia), Armenia and Georgia, this regions were later also re-conquered during Caliph Uthman’s reign with further expansion into the regions which were not conquered during Umar’s reign, hence the Rashidun Caliphate’s frontiers in the east extended to the lower river Indus and north to the Oxus River.
Wars against the Byzantine empire[edit]
Conquest of Byzantine Syria[edit]
Further information: Muslim conquest of Syria

Map detailing the Rashidun Caliphate’s invasion of the Levant.
After Khalid captured Iraq and firmly took control of it, Abu Bakr sent armies to Syria on the Byzantine front. Four armies were sent under four different commanders; Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah (acting as their supreme commander), Amr ibn al-As, Yazid ibn Abu Sufyan and Shurhabil ibn Hasana. These armies were all assigned their objectives. However their advance was halted by a concentration of the Byzantine army at Ajnadayn. Abu Ubaidah then sent for reinforcements. Abu Bakr ordered Khalid, who by now was planning to attack Ctesiphon, to march from Iraq to Syria with half of his army. Khalid took half of his army and took an unconventional route to Syria. There were 2 major routes to Syria from Iraq, one passing through Mesopotamia and the other through Daumat ul-Jandal. Khalid took a route through the Syrian Desert, and after a perilous march of 5 days, appeared in north-western Syria.
The border forts of Sawa, Arak, Tadmur, Sukhnah, al-Qaryatayn and Hawarin were the first to fall to the invading Muslims. Khalid marched on to Bosra via the Damascus road. At Bosra, the Corps of Abu Ubaidah and Shurhabil joined Khalid, after which here as per orders of Caliph Abu Bakr, Khalid took the high command from Abu Ubaidah. Bosra was not ready for this surprise attack and siege, and thus surrendered after a brief siege in July 634, (seeBattle of Bosra) this effectively ending the Dynasty of the Ghassanids.

Map detailing the route of Khalid ibn Walid’s invasion of Syria.
From Bosra Khalid sent orders to other corps commanders to join him at Ajnadayn, where according to early Muslim historians, a Byzantine army of 90,000 (modern sources state 9,000)[23] was concentrated to push back the Muslims. The Byzantine army was defeated decisively on 30 July 634 in the Battle of Ajnadayn. It was the first major pitched battle between the Muslim army and the Christian Byzantine army and cleared the way for the Muslims to capture central Syria. Damascus, the Byzantine stronghold, was conquered shortly after on 19 September 634. After the Muslim Conquest of Damascus, the Byzantine army was given a deadline of 3 days to flee as far as they could, with their families and treasure, or simply agree to stay in Damascus and pay tribute.

Byzantine temple in Idlib, Syria.
After the three-day deadline was over, the Muslim cavalry under Khalid’s command attacked the Roman army by catching up to them using an unknown shortcut at the battle of Maraj-al-Debaj.[citation needed]
On 22 August 634 Abu Bakr died, making Umar his successor. As Umar became caliph, he relieved Khalid of command of the Islamic armies and appointed Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah as the new commander. The conquest of Syria slowed down under him while Abu Ubaida relied heavily on the advices of Khalid, and kept him beside him as much as possible.[24]

Map detailing the route of the Muslim invasion of central Syria.
The last large garrison of the Byzantine army was at Fahl, which was joined by survivors of Ajnadayn. With this threat at their rear the Muslim armies could not move further north nor south, thus Abu Ubaidah decided to deal with the situation, and had this garrison defeated and routed at the Battle of Fahl on 23 January 635. This battle proved to be the “Key to Palestine”. After this battle Abu Ubaidah and Khalid marched north towards Emesa, Yazid was stationed in Damascus while Amr and Shurhabil marched south to capture Palestine.[24] While the Muslims were at Fahl, sensing the weak defense of Damascus, Emperor Heraclius sent an army to re-capture the city. This army however could not make it to Damascus and was intercepted by Abu Ubaidah and Khalid on their way to Emesa. The army was routed and destroyed in the battle of Maraj-al-Rome and the 2nd battle of Damascus. Emesa and the strategical town of Chalcis made peace with the Muslims for one year. This was, in fact, done to let Heraclius prepare for defences and raise new armies. The Muslims welcomed the peace and consolidated their control over the conquered territory. As soon as the Muslims received the news of reinforcements being sent to Emesa and Chalcis, they marched against Emesa, laid siege to it and eventually captured the city in March 636.[25]

Map detailing the route of the Muslim invasion of northern Syria.
The prisoners taken in the battle informed them about Emperor Heraclius’s final effort to take back Syria. They said that an army possibly two hundred thousand (200,000) strong would soon emerge to recapture the province. Khalid stopped here on June 636. This huge army set out for their destination. As soon as Abu Ubaida heard the news, he gathered all his officers to plan their next move. Khalid suggested that they should summon all of their forces present in the province of Syria (Syria, Jordan, Palestine) and to make a powerful joint force and then move towards the plain of Yarmouk for battle.
Abu Ubaida ordered all the Muslim commanders to withdraw from all the conquered areas, return the tributes that they previously gathered, and move towards Yarmuk.[26] Heraclius’s army also moved towards Yarmuk. The Muslim armies reached it in July 636. A week or two later, around mid July, the Byzantine army arrived.[27] Khalid’s mobile guard defeated Christian Arab auxiliaries of the Roman army in a skirmish.
Nothing happened until the third week of August in which the Battle of Yarmouk was fought. The battle lasted 6 days during which Abu Ubaida transferred the command of the entire army to Khalid. The five times larger Byzantine army was defeated in October 636 CE. Abu Ubaida held a meeting with his high command officers, including Khalid to decide on future conquests. They decided to conquer Jerusalem. The siege of Jerusalem lasted four months after which the city agreed to surrender, but only to Caliph Umar Ibn Al Khattab in person. Amr ibn Al As suggested that Khalid should be sent as Caliph, because of his very strong resemblance of Caliph Umar.
Khalid was recognized and eventually, Caliph Umar ibn Al Khattab came and Jerusalem surrendered on April 637 CE. Abu Ubaida sent the commanders Amr bin al-As, Yazid bin Abu Sufyan, and Sharjeel bin Hassana back to their areas to reconquer them. Most of the areas submitted without a fight. Abu Ubaida himself along with Khalid, moved to northern Syria once again to conquer it with a 17,000 man army. Khalid along with his cavalry was sent to Hazir and Abu Ubaidah moved to the city of Qasreen.
Khalid defeated a strong Byzantine army at the Battle of Hazir and reached Qasreen before Abu Ubaidah. The city surrendered to Khalid. Soon, Abu Ubaidah arrived in June 637. Abu Ubaidah then moved against Aleppo. As usual Khalid was commanding the cavalry. After the Battle of Aleppo the city finally agreed to surrender in October 637.
Occupation of Anatolia[edit]

Map detailing the route of Khalid ibn al-Walid’s invasion of Eastern Anatolia andArmenia.
Abu Ubaida and Khalid ibn Walid, after conquering all of northern Syria, moved north towards Anatolia conquering the fort of Azaz to clear the flank and rear from Byzantine troops. On their way to Antioch, a Roman army blocked them near a river on which there was an iron bridge. Because of this, the following battle is known as the Battle of the Iron Bridge. The Muslim army defeated the Byzantines and Antioch surrendered on 30 October 637 CE. Later during the year, Abu Ubaida sent Khalid and another general named Ayaz bin Ghanam at the head of two separate armies against the western part of Jazira, most of which was conquered without strong resistance, including parts of Anatolia, Edessa and the area up to the Ararat plain. Other columns were sent to Anatolia as far west as the Taurus Mountains, the important city of Marash and Malatya which were all conquered by Khalid in the autumn of 638 CE. During Uthman’s reign, the Byzantines recaptured many forts in the region and on Uthman’s orders, a series of campaigns were launched to regain control of them. In 647 Muawiyah, the governor of Syria sent an expedition against Anatolia. They invaded Cappadocia and sacked Caesarea Mazaca. In 648 the Rashidun army raided Phrygia. A major offensive into Cilicia and Isauria in 650–651 forced the Byzantine Emperor Constans II to enter into negotiations with Uthman’s governor of Syria, Muawiyah. The truce that followed allowed a short respite, and made it possible for Constans II to hold on to the western portions of Armenia. In 654–655 on the orders of Uthman, an expedition was preparing to attack the Byzantine capital Constantinople but this plan was not carried out due to the civil war that broke out in 656.
The Taurus Mountains in Turkey marked the western frontiers of the Rashidun Caliphate in Anatolia during Caliph Uthman’s reign.
Conquest of Egypt[edit]
Further information: Muslim conquest of Egypt

Map detailing the route of the Muslim invasion of Egypt.
At the commencement of the Muslim conquest of Egypt, Egypt was part of the Byzantine Empire with its capital in Constantinople. However, it had been occupied just a decade before by the Sasanian Empire under Khosrau II (616 to 629 CE). The power of the Byzantine Empire was shattered during the Muslim conquest of Syria, and therefore the conquest of Egypt was much easier. In 639 some 4000 Rashidun troops led by Amr ibn al-Aswere sent by Umar to conquer the land of the ancient pharaohs. The Rashidun army crossed into Egypt from Palestine in December 639 and advanced rapidly into the Nile Delta. The imperial garrisons retreated into the walled towns, where they successfully held out for a year or more. But the Muslims sent for reinforcements and the invading army, joined by another 12,000 men in 640, defeated a Byzantine army at the Battle of Heliopolis. Amr next proceeded in the direction of Alexandria, which was surrendered to him by a treaty signed on 8 November 641. The Thebaid seems to have surrendered with scarcely any opposition.
The ease with which this valuable province was wrenched from the Byzantine Empire appears to have been due to the treachery of the governor of Egypt, Cyrus,[28] Melchite (i.e., Byzantine/Chalcedonian Orthodox, notCoptic) Patriarch of Alexandria, and the incompetence of the generals of the Byzantine forces, as well as due to the loss of most of the Byzantine troops in Syria against the Rashidun army. Cyrus had persecuted the localCoptic Christians. He is one of the authors of monothelism, a seventh-century heresy, and some supposed him to have been a secret convert to Islam.
During the reign of Caliph Uthman an attempt was made in the year 645 to regain Alexandria for the Byzantine empire, but it was retaken by Amr in 646. In 654 an invasion fleet sent by Constans II was repulsed. From that time no serious effort was made by the Byzantines to regain possession of the country.
The Muslims were assisted by some Copts, who found the Muslims more tolerant than the Byzantines, and of these some turned to Islam. In return for a tribute of money and food for the troops of occupation, the Christian inhabitants of Egypt were excused from military service and left free in the observance of their religion and the administration of their affairs. Others sided with the Byzantines, hoping that they would provide a defense against the Arab invaders.[29] During the reign of Caliph Ali, Egypt was captured by rebel troops under the command of former Rashidun army general Amr ibn al-As, who killed Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr the governor of Egypt appointed by Ali.
Conquest of North Africa[edit]

The Roman ruins of Sbeitla (Sufetula).
After the withdrawal of the Byzantines from Egypt, the Exarchate of Africa had declared its independence under its exarch, Gregory the Patrician. The dominions of Gregory extended from the borders of Egypt to Morocco. Abdullah Ibn Sa’ad used to send raiding parties to the west. As a result of these raids the Muslims got considerable booty. The success of these raids made Abdullah Ibn Sa’ad feel that a regular campaign should be undertaken for the conquest of North Africa.
Uthman gave him permission after considering it in the Majlis al Shura. A force of 10,000 soldiers was sent as reinforcement. The Rashidun army assembled in Barqa in Cyrenaica, and from there they marched west to capture Tripoli, after Tripoli the army marched to Sufetula, the capital of King Gregory. He was defeated and killed in the battle due to superb tactics used by Abdullah ibn Zubayr. After the Battle of Sufetula the people of North Africa sued for peace. They agreed to pay an annual tribute. Instead of annexing North Africa, the Muslims preferred to make North Africa a vassal state. When the stipulated amount of the tribute was paid, the Muslim forces withdrew to Barqa. Following the First Fitna, the first Islamic civil war, Muslim forces withdraw from north Africa to Egypt. The Ummayad Caliphate, re-invaded north Africa in 664.
Campaign against Nubia (Sudan)[edit]

Pyramids of the Kushite rulers atMeroë, Sudan.
A campaign was undertaken against Nubia during the Caliphate of Umar in 642, but failed after the Makurians took victory at the First Battle of Dongola. The army was pulled out of Nubia without any success. Ten years later, Uthman’s governor of Egypt, Abdullah ibn Saad, sent another army to Nubia. This army penetrated deeper into Nubia and laid siege to the Nubian capital of Dongola. The Muslims damaged the cathedral in the center of the city, but the battle also went in favor of Makuria. As the Muslims were not able to overpower Makuria, they negotiated a peace with their king Qaladurut. According to the treaty that was signed, each side agreed not to make any aggressive moves against the other. Each side agreed to afford free passage to the other party through its territories. Nubia agreed to provide 360 slaves to Egypt every year, while Egypt agreed to supply grain, horses and textiles to Nubia according to demand.
Conquest of the islands of the Mediterranean Sea[edit]
Further information: History of Islam in southern Italy

The gymnasium, Salamis,Cyprus.
During Umar’s reign, the governor of Syria, Muawiyah I, sent a request to build a naval force to invade the islands of the Mediterranean Sea but Umar rejected the proposal because of the risk of death of soldiers at sea. During his reign Uthman gave Muawiyah permission to build a navy after concerning the matter. In 650 CE the Arabs made the first attack on the island of Cyprus under the leadership of Muawiya. They conquered the capital, Salamis – Constantia, after a brief siege, but drafted a treaty with the local rulers. In the course of this expedition a relative of Muhammad, Umm-Haram fell from her mule near the Salt Lake at Larnaca and was killed. She was buried in that same spot which became a holy site for both many local Muslims and Christians and, much later in 1816, the Hala Sultan Tekke was built there by the Ottomans. After apprehending a breach of the treaty, the Arabs re-invaded the island in 654 CE with five hundred ships. This time, however, a garrison of 12,000 men was left in Cyprus, bringing the island under Muslim influence.[30] After leaving Cyprus the Muslim fleet headed towards the island of Creteand then Rhodes and conquered them without much resistance. In 652-654, the Muslims launched a naval campaign against Sicily and they succeeded in capturing a large part of the island. Soon after this Uthman was murdered, and no further expansion efforts were made, and the Muslims accordingly retreated from Sicily. In 655 Byzantine Emperor Constans II led a fleet in person to attack the Muslims at Phoinike (off Lycia) but it was defeated: 500 Byzantine ships were destroyed in the battle, and the emperor himself narrowly avoided death.
First Muslim invasion of the Iberian peninsula[edit]
In Islamic history the conquest of Spain was undertaken by forces led by Tariq ibn Ziyad and Musa ibn Nusair in 711–718 C.E, in the time of the Umayyad Caliph Walid ibn Abd al-Malik. According to Muslim historian Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Spain was first invaded by Muslims some sixty years earlier during the caliphate of Uthman in 653[citation needed]. Other prominent Muslim historians like Ibn Kathir have repeated Al-Tabari’s assertion.[citation needed]
According to al-Tabari’s account, when North Africa had been conquered by Abdullah Ibn Sa’ad, two of his generals, Abdullah ibn Nafiah ibn Husain, and Abdullah ibn Nafi’ ibn Abdul Qais, were commissioned to invade coastal areas of Spain by sea.[citation needed]
No details of the campaigns in Spain during the caliphate of Uthman are given by al-Tabari. The account is merely to the effect that an Arab force, aided by a Berber force, landed in Spain and took possession of some coastal areas.[citation needed] The account is vague about what happened and where and whether or not it involved a prolonged local occupation or was merely a short lived military operation. As these regions were populated, an occupation would not have gone unnoticed by the inhabitants. Nor do later Muslim accounts mention any pre-Ummayad Muslim settlements or forts in the Iberian Peninsula. Al-Tabari’s assertion remains unconfirmed by independent sources.
Treatment of conquered peoples[edit]
See also: Dhimmi
The non-Muslim monotheist inhabitants – Jews, Zoroastrians, and Christians of the conquered lands were called dhimmis (the protected people). Those who accepted Islam were treated in a similar manner as other Muslims, and were given equivalent rights in legal matters. Non-Muslims were given legal rights according to their faiths’ law except where it conflicted with Islamic law.
In some senses, Islamic law made dhimmis second-class citizens. For instance, a Muslim woman could not marry a Non-Muslim man, and the son of a Muslim man and a dhimmi woman was always considered a Muslim, with no choice left to the individual. Dhimmiswere allowed to “practice their religion, and to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy” and were guaranteed their personal safety and security of property, but only in return for paying tax and acknowledging Muslim rule.[31] Dhimmis were also subject to pay jizya(Muslims were expected to pay zakāt and kharaj[32]). Disabled dhimmis did not have to pay jizya and, were even given a stipend by the state.
The Rashidun caliphs had placed special emphasis on relative fair and just treatment of the dhimmis. They were also provided ‘protection’ by the Islamic empire and were not expected to fight; rather the Muslims were entrusted to defend them. Sometimes, in particular when there were not enough qualified Muslims, dhimmis were given important positions in the government.
Political administration[edit]

Mount Damavand, Iran’s tallest mountain, is located in Alborz mountain range.
The basic administrative system of the Dar al-Islamiyyah (The House of Islam) was laid down in the days of the Prophet. Caliph Abu Bakr stated in his sermon when he was elected: “If I order any thing that would go against the order of Allah and his Messenger; then do not obey me”. This is considered to be the foundation stone of the Caliphate. Caliph Umar has been reported to have said: “O Muslims, straighten me with your hands when I go wrong”, and at that instance a Muslim man stood up and said “O Amir al-Mu’minin (Leader of the Believers) if you are not straightened by our hands we will use our sword to straighten you!”. Hearing this Caliph Umar said “Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) I have such followers.”[citation needed]
In the administrative field Umar was the most brilliant among the Rashidun caliphs, and it was due to his exemplary administrative qualities that most of the administrative structures of the empire were established.[citation needed]
Under Abu Bakr the empire was not clearly divided into provinces, though it had many administrative districts.
Under Umar the Empire was divided into a number of provinces which were as follows:
1. Arabia was divided into two provinces, Mecca and Medina;
2. Iraq was divided into two provinces, Basra and Kufa;
3. the province of Jazira was created in the upper reaches of the Tigris and the Euphrates;
4. Syria was a province;
5. Palestine was divided in two provinces: Aylya and Ramlah;
6. Egypt was divided into two provinces: Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt;
7. Persia was divided into three provinces: Khorasan, Azarbaijan, and Fars.
In his testament Umar had instructed his successor not to make any change in the administrative set up for one year after his death. Thus for one year Uthman maintained the pattern of political administration as it stood under Umar, however later he made some amendments. Uthman made Egypt one province and created a new province comprising North Africa. Syria, previously divided into two provinces, also become a single division.
During Uthman’s reign the empire was divided into twelve provinces. These were:
1. Medina
2. Mecca
3. Yemen
4. Kufa
5. Basra
6. Jazira
7. Fars
8. Azerbaijan
9. Khorasan
10. Syria
11. Egypt
12. North Africa
During Ali’s reign, with the exception of Syria (which was under Muawiyah I’s control) and Egypt (that he had lost during the latter years of his caliphate to the rebel troops of Amr ibn Al-A’as), the remaining ten provinces were under his control, which kept their administrative organizations as they were under Uthman.
The provinces were further divided into districts. Each of the 100 or more districts of the empire, along with the main cities, were administered by a governor (Wāli). Other officers at the provincial level were:
1. Katib, the Chief Secretary.
2. Katib-ud-Diwan, the Military Secretary.
3. Sahib-ul-Kharaj, the Revenue Collector.
4. Sahib-ul-Ahdath, the Police chief.
5. Sahib-ul-Bait-ul-Mal, the Treasury Officer.
6. Qadi, the Chief Judge.
In some districts there were separate military officers, though the governor was in most cases the commander-in-chief of the army quartered in the province.
The officers were appointed by the Caliph. Every appointment was made in writing. At the time of appointment an instrument of instructions was issued with a view to regulating the conduct of Governors. On assuming office, the Governor was required to assemble the people in the main mosque, and read the instrument of instructions before them.[33]
Umar’s general instructions to his officers were:
Remember, I have not appointed you as commanders and tyrants over the people. I have sent you as leaders instead, so that the people may follow your example. Give the Muslims their rights and do not beat them lest they become abused. Do not praise them unduly, lest they fall into the error of conceit. Do not keep your doors shut in their faces, lest the more powerful of them eat up the weaker ones. And do not behave as if you were superior to them, for that is tyranny over them.

Moving sand dunes in Tadrart Acacus
During the reign of Abu Bakr the state was economically weak, while during Umar’s reign because of increase in revenues and other sources of income, the state was on its way to economic prosperity. Hence Umar felt it necessary that the officers be treated in a strict way as to prevent the possible greed for money that may lead them to corruption. During his reign, at the time of appointment, every officer was required to make the oath:
1. That he would not ride a Turkic horse (which was a symbol of pride).
2. That he would not wear fine clothes.
3. That he would not eat sifted flour.
4. That he would not keep a porter at his door.
5. That he would always keep his door open to the public.
Caliph Umar himself followed the above postulates strictly. During the reign of Uthman the state become more economically prosperous than ever before; the allowance of the citizens was increased by 25% and the economical condition of the ordinary person was more stable, which lead Caliph Uthman to revoke the 2nd and 3rd postulates of the oath. At the time of appointment a complete inventory of all the possessions of the person concerned was prepared and kept in record. If there was an unusual increase in the possessions of the office holder, he was immediately called to account, and the unlawful property was confiscated by the State. The principal officers were required to come to Mecca on the occasion of the hajj, during which people were free to present any complaint against them. In order to minimize the chances of corruption, Umar made it a point to pay high salaries to the staff. Provincial governors received as much as five to seven thousand dirhams annually besides their share of the spoils of war (if they were also the commander-in-chief of the army of their sector).
Judicial administration[edit]
As most of the administrative structure of the Rashidun Empire was set up by Umar, the judicial administration was also established by him and the other Caliphs followed the same system without any type of basic amendment in it. In order to provide adequate and speedy justice for the people, an effective system of judicial administration was set up, hereunder justice was administered according to the principles of Islam.
Qadis (Judges) were appointed at all administrative levels for the administration of justice. The Qadis were chosen for their integrity and learning in Islamic law. High salaries were fixed for the Qadis so that there was no temptation to bribery. Wealthy men and men of high social status were appointed as Qadis so that they might not have the temptation to take bribes, or be influenced by the social position of any body. The Qadis were not allowed to engage in trade. Judges were appointed in sufficient number, and there was no district which did not have a Qadi.
Electing or appointing a Caliph[edit]
Fred Donner, in his book The Early Islamic Conquests (1981), argues that the standard Arabian practice during the early Caliphates was for the prominent men of a kinship group, or tribe, to gather after a leader’s death and elect a leader from amongst themselves, although there was no specified procedure for this shura, or consultative assembly. Candidates were usually from the same lineage as the deceased leader, but they were not necessarily his sons. Capable men who would lead well were preferred over an ineffectual direct heir, as there was no basis in the majority Sunni view that the head of state or governor should be chosen based on lineage alone.
This argument is advanced by Sunni Muslims that Muhammad’s companion Abu Bakr was elected by the community, and this was the proper procedure. They further argue that a caliph is ideally chosen by election or community consensus. The caliphate became a hereditary office or the prize of the strongest general after the Rashidun caliphate. However, Sunni Muslims believe this was after the ‘rightly guided’ caliphate ended (Rashidun caliphate).
Abu Bakr Al-Baqillani has said that the leader of the Muslims simply should be from the majority. Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man also wrote that the leader must come from the majority.[34]
Sunni belief[edit]
Following the death of Muhammad, a meeting took place at Saqifah. At that meeting, Abu Bakr was elected caliph by the Muslim community. Sunni Muslims developed the belief that the caliph is a temporal political ruler, appointed to rule within the bounds of Islamic law (The rules of life set by Allah in the Qur’an). The job of adjudicating orthodoxy and Islamic law was left to Islamic lawyers, judiciary, or specialists individually termed as Mujtahids and collectively named the Ulema. The first four caliphs are called the Rashidun, meaning the Rightly Guided Caliphs, because they are believed to have followed the Qur’an and the sunnah (example) of Muhammad in all things.
Majlis al-Shura: Parliament[edit]
See also: Shura, Majlis, Majlis-ash-Shura, and Islamic democracy
Traditional Sunni Islamic lawyers agree that shura, loosely translated as “consultation of the people”, is a function of the caliphate. The Majlis al-Shura advise the caliph. The importance of this is premised by the following verses of the Qur’an:
… those who answer the call of their Lord and establish the prayer, and who conduct their affairs by Shura. [are loved by God][42:38]
… consult them (the people) in their affairs. Then when you have taken a decision (from them), put your trust in Allah[3:159]
The majlis is also the means to elect a new caliph. Al-Mawardi has written that members of the majlis should satisfy three conditions: they must be just, they must have enough knowledge to distinguish a good caliph from a bad one, and must have sufficient wisdom and judgment to select the best caliph. Al-Mawardi also said in emergencies when there is no caliphate and no majlis, the people themselves should create a majlis, select a list of candidates for caliph, then the majlis should select from the list of candidates.[34]
Some modern interpretations of the role of the Majlis al-Shura include those by Islamist author Sayyid Qutb and by Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, the founder of a transnational political movement devoted to the revival of the Caliphate. In an analysis of the shura chapter of the Qur’an, Qutb argued Islam requires only that the ruler consult with at least some of the ruled (usually the elite), within the general context of God-made laws that the ruler must execute. Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, writes that Shura is important and part of “the ruling structure” of the Islamic caliphate, “but not one of its pillars,” and may be neglected without the Caliphate’s rule becoming unislamic. Non-Muslims may serve in the majlis, though they may not vote or serve as an official.
Accountability of rulers[edit]
Sunni Islamic lawyers have commented on when it is permissible to disobey, impeach or remove rulers in the Caliphate. This is usually when the rulers are not meeting public responsibilities obliged upon them under Islam.
Al-Mawardi said that if the rulers meet their Islamic responsibilities to the public, the people must obey their laws, but if they become either unjust or severely ineffective then the Caliph or ruler must be impeached via the Majlis al-Shura. Similarly Al-Baghdadi[clarification needed] believed that if the rulers do not uphold justice, the ummah via the majlis should give warning to them, and if unheeded then the Caliph can be impeached. Al-Juwayni argued that Islam is the goal of the ummah, so any ruler that deviates from this goal must be impeached. Al-Ghazali believed that oppression by a caliph is enough for impeachment. Rather than just relying on impeachment, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani obliged rebellion upon the people if the caliph began to act with no regard for Islamic law. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said that to ignore such a situation is haraam, and those who cannot revolt inside the caliphate should launch a struggle from outside. Al-Asqalani used two ayahs from the Qur’an to justify this:
And they (the sinners on qiyama) will say, “Our Lord! We obeyed our leaders and our chiefs, and they misled us from the right path. Our Lord! Give them (the leaders) double the punishment you give us and curse them with a very great curse” …[33:67–68]
Islamic lawyers commented that when the rulers refuse to step down via successful impeachment through the Majlis, becoming dictators through the support of a corrupt army, if the majority agree they have the option to launch a revolution against them. Many noted that this option is only exercised after factoring in the potential cost of life.[34]
Rule of law[edit]
See also: Sharia and Islamic ethics
The following hadith establishes the principle of rule of law in relation to nepotism and accountability[35]
Narrated ‘Aisha: The people of Quraish worried about the lady from Bani Makhzum who had committed theft. They asked, “Who will intercede for her with Allah’s Apostle?” Some said, “No one dare to do so except Usama bin Zaid the beloved one to Allah’s Apostle.” When Usama spoke about that to Allah’s Apostle Allah’s Apostle said: “Do you try to intercede for somebody in a case connected with Allah’s Prescribed Punishments?” Then he got up and delivered a sermon saying, “What destroyed the nations preceding you, was that if a noble amongst them stole, they would forgive him, and if a poor person amongst them stole, they would inflict Allah’s Legal punishment on him. By Allah, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad (my daughter) stole, I would cut off her hand.”
Various Islamic lawyers do however place multiple conditions, and stipulations e.g. the poor cannot be penalised for stealing out of poverty, before executing such a law, making it very difficult to reach such a stage. It is well known during a time of drought in the Rashidun caliphate period, capital punishments were suspended until the effects of the drought passed.
Islamic jurists later formulated the concept of the rule of law, the equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law of the land, where no person is above the law and where officials and private citizens are under a duty to obey the same law. A Qadi (Islamic judge) was also not allowed to discriminate on the grounds of religion, gender, colour, kinship or prejudice. There were also a number of cases where caliphs had to appear before judges as they prepared to take their verdict.[36]
According to Noah Feldman, a law professor at Harvard University, the legal scholars and jurists who once upheld the rule of law were replaced by a law governed by the state due to the codification of Sharia by the Ottoman Empire in the early 19th century:[37]
During the Rashidun Caliphate there was an economic boom in the lives of the ordinary people due to the revolutionary economic policies developed by Umar and his successor Uthman. At first it was Umar who introduced these reforms on strong bases, his successor Uthman who himself was an intelligent businessman, further reformed them. During Uthman’s reign the people of the empire enjoyed a prosperous life.
Main article: Bayt al-mal
Bait-ul-Maal, (literally, The house of money) was the department that dealt with the revenues and all other economic matters of the state. In the time of Muhammad there was no permanent Bait-ul-Mal or public treasury. Whatever revenues or other amounts were received were distributed immediately. There were no salaries to be paid, and there was no state expenditure. Hence the need for the treasury at the public level was not felt.
Abu Bakr earmarked a house where all money was kept on receipt. As all money was distributed immediately the treasury generally remained locked up. At the time of the death of Abu Bakr there was only one dirham in the public treasury.
Establishment of Bait-ul-Maal[edit]
Main article: Bayt al-mal
In the time of Umar things changed. With the extension in conquests money came in larger quantities, Umar also allowed salaries to men fighting in the army. Abu Huraira who was the Governor of Bahrain sent a revenue of five hundred thousand dirhams. Umar summoned a meeting of his Consultative Assembly and sought the opinion of the Companions about the disposal of the money. Uthman ibn Affan advised that the amount should be kept for future needs. Walid bin Hisham suggested that like the Byzantines separate departments of treasury and accounts should be set up.
After consulting the Companions Umar decided to establish the central Treasury at Medina. Abdullah bin Arqam was appointed as the Treasury Officer. He was assisted by Abdur Rahman bin Awf and Muiqib. A separate Accounts Department was also set up and it was required to maintain record of all that was spent. Later provincial treasuries were set up in the provinces. After meeting the local expenditure the provincial treasuries were required to remit the surplus amount to the central treasury at Medina. According to Yaqubi the salaries and stipends charged to the central treasury amounted to over 30 million dirhams.
A separate building was constructed for the royal treasury by the name bait ul maal, which in large cities was guarded by as many as 400 guards.

The coins were of Persian origin, and had an image of the last Persian emperor. Muslims added the sentenceBismillah to it.
In most of the historical accounts it states that among the Rashidun Caliphs Uthman ibn Affan was the first to strike coins; some accounts however state that Umar was the first to do so. When Persia was conquered three types of coins were current in the conquered territories, namely Baghli of eight dang; Tabari of four dang; and Maghribi of three dang. Umar (according to some accounts Uthman) made an innovation and struck an Islamic dirham of six dang.
Social welfare and pensions were introduced in early Islamic law as forms of zakāt (charity), one of the Five Pillars of Islam, since the time of the Rashidun caliph Umar in the 7th century. The taxes (including zakāt and jizya) collected in the treasury of an Islamic government were used to provide income for the needy, including the poor, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. According to the Islamic jurist Al-Ghazali (Algazel, 1058–1111), the government was also expected to stockpile food supplies in every region in case a disaster or famine occurred. The Caliphate was thus one of the earliest welfare states.[38][39]
Economic resources of the State[edit]
The economic resources of the State were:
1. Zakāt
2. Ushr
3. Jazya
4. Fay
5. Khums
6. Kharaj
Main article: Zakat
Zakāt (Arabic: زكاة‎‎) is the Islamic concept of luxury tax. It was taken from the Muslims in the amount of 2.5% of their dormant wealth (over a certain amount unused for a year) to give to the poor. Only persons whose annual wealth exceeded a minimum level (nisab) were collected from. The nisab does not include primary residence, primary transportation, moderate amount of woven jewelry, etc. Zakāt is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and it is obligation on all Muslims who qualify as wealthy enough.
Main article: Jizya
Jizya or jizyah (Arabic: جزْية‎‎; Ottoman Turkish: cizye). It was a per capita tax imposed on able bodied non-Muslim men of military age since non-Muslims did not have to pay zakāt. The tax was not supposed to be levied on slaves, women, children, monks, the old, the sick,[40] hermits and the poor.[41] It is important to note that not only were some non-Muslims exempt (such as sick, old), they were also given stipends by the state when they were in need.[41]
Fay was the income from State land, whether an agricultural land or a meadow, or a land with any natural mineral reserves.
Main article: Khums
Ghanimah or Khums was the booty captured on the occasion of war with the enemy. Four-fifths of the booty was distributed among the soldiers taking part in the war while one-fifth was credited to the state fund.
Main article: Kharaj
Kharaj was a tax on agricultural land.
Initially, after the first Muslim conquests in the 7th century, kharaj usually denoted a lump-sum duty levied upon the conquered provinces and collected by the officials of the former Byzantine and Sasanian empires, or, more broadly, any kind of tax levied by Muslim conquerors on their non-Muslim subjects, dhimmis. At that time, kharaj was synonymous with jizyah, which later emerged as a poll tax paid by dhimmis. Muslim landowners, on the other hand, paid only ushr, a religious tithe, which carried a much lower rate of taxation.[42]
Ushr was a reciprocal 10% levy on agricultural land as well as merchandise imported from states that taxed the Muslims on their products. Umar was the first Muslim ruler to levy ushr.
When the Muslim traders went to foreign lands for the purposes of trade they had to pay a 10% tax to the foreign states. Ushr was levied on reciprocal basis on the goods of the traders of other countries who chose to trade in the Muslim dominions.
Umar issued instructions that ushr should be levied in such a way so as to avoid hardship, that it will not affect the trade activities in the Islamic empire. The tax was levied on merchandise meant for sale. Goods imported for consumption or personal use but not for sale were not taxed. The merchandise valued at 200 dirhams or less was not taxed. When the citizens of the State imported goods for the purposes of trade, they had to pay the customs duty or import tax at lower rates. In the case of the dhimmis the rate was 5% and in the case of the Muslims’ 2.5%. In the case of the Muslims the rate was the same as that of zakāt. The levy was thus regarded as a part of zakāt and was not considered a separate tax.
Beginning of the allowance[edit]
After the Battle of Yarmouk and Battle of al-Qadisiyyah the Muslims won heavy spoils. The coffers at Medina became full to the brim and the problem before Umar was what should be done with this money. Someone suggested that money should be kept in the treasury for the purposes of public expenditure only. This view was not acceptable to the general body of the Muslims. Consensus was reached on the point that whatever was received during a year should be distributed.
The next question that arose for consideration was what system should be adopted for distribution. One suggestion was that it should be distributed on an ad hoc basis and whatever was received should be equally distributed. Against this view it was felt that as the spoils were considerable, that would make the people very rich. It was therefore decided that instead of ad hoc division the amount of the allowance to the stipend should be determined beforehand and this allowance should be paid to the person concerned regardless of the amount of the spoils. This was agreed to.
About the fixation of the allowance there were two opinions. There were some who held that the amount of the allowance for all Muslims should be the same. Umar did not agree with this view. He held that the allowance should be graded according to one’s merit with reference to Islam.
Then the question arose as to what basis should be used for placing some above others. Suggested that a start should be made with the Caliph and he should get the highest allowance. Umar rejected the proposal and decided to start with the clan of Muhammad.
Umar set up a committee to compile a list of persons in nearness to Muhammad. The committee produced the list clan-wise. Bani Hashim appeared as the first clan. Then the clan of Abu Bakr, and in third place the clan of Umar. Umar accepted the first two placements but delegated his clan lower down on the scale with reference to nearness in relationship to Muhammad.
In the final scale of allowance that was approved by Umar the main provisions were:[citation needed]
1. The widows of Muhammad received 12,000 dirhams each;
2. `Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib, the uncle of Muhammad received an annual allowance of 7000 dirhams;
3. The grandsons of Muhammad, Hasan ibn Ali and Hussain ibn Ali got 5000 dirhams each;
4. The veterans of the Battle of Badr got an allowance of 6000 dirhams each;
5. Those who had become Muslims by the time of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah got 4000 dirhams each;
6. Those who became Muslims at the time of the Conquest of Mecca got 3000 dirhams each;
7. The veterans of the Apostasy wars got 3000 dirhams each.
8. The veterans of the Battle of Yarmouk and the Battle of al-Qadisiyyah got 2000 dirhams each.
In this award Umar’s son Abdullah ibn Umar got an allowance of 3000 dirhams. On the other hand, Usama ibn Zaid got 4000.
The ordinary Muslim citizens got allowances of between 2000 and 2500. The regular annual allowance was given only to the urban population, because they formed the backbone of the state’s economic resources . The Bedouin living in the desert, cut off from the states affairs making no contributions in the developments were often given stipends. On assuming office, Caliph Uthman ibn Affan increased these stipends by 25%.[citation needed]
That was an economic measure which contributed to the prosperity of the people at lot. The citizens of the Islamic empire became increasingly prosperous as trade activities increased. In turn, they contributed to the department of bait al maal and more and more revenues were collected.
Welfare works[edit]
The mosques were not mere places for offering prayers; these were community centers as well where the faithful gathered to discuss problems of social and cultural importance. During the caliphate of Umar as many as four thousand mosques were constructed extending from Persia in the east to Egypt in the west. The Masjid-e-Nabawi and al-Masjid al-Haram were enlarged first during the reign of Umar and then during the reign of Uthman ibn Affan who not only extended them to many thousand square meters but also beautified them on a large scale.
During the caliphate of Umar many new cities were founded. These included Kufa, Basra, and Fustat. These cities were laid in according with the principles of town planning. All streets in these cities led to the Friday mosque which was sited in the center of the city. Markets were established at convenient points, which were under the control of market officers who was supposed to check the affairs of market and quality of goods. The cities were divided into quarters, and each quarter was reserved for particular tribes. During the reign of Caliph Umar, there were restrictions on the building of palatial buildings by the rich and elites, this was symbolic of the egalitarian society of Islam, where all were equal, although the restrictions were later revoked by Caliph Uthman because of the financial prosperity of ordinary men, and the construction of double story building was permitted. As a result, many palatial buildings were constructed throughout the empire with Uthman himself building a huge palace for in Medina which was famous and, namedAl-Zawar; he constructed it from his personal resources.
Many buildings were built for administrative purposes. In the quarters called Dar-ul-Amarat government offices and houses for the residence of officers were provided. Buildings known as Diwans were constructed for the keeping of official records. Buildings known as Bait-ul-Mal were constructed to house royal treasuries. For the lodging of persons suffering sentences as punishment, Jails were constructed for the first time in Muslim history. In important cities Guest Houses were constructed to serve as rest houses for traders and merchants coming from far away places. Roads and bridges were constructed for public use. On the road from Medina to Mecca, shelters, wells, and meal houses were constructed at every stage for the ease of the people who came for hajj.
Military cantonments were constructed at strategic points. Special stables were provided for cavalry. These stables could accommodate as many as 4,000 horses. Special pasture grounds were provided and maintained for Bait-ul-Mal animals. Canals were dug to irrigate fields as well as provide drinking water for the people. Abu Musa canal (after the name of governor of Basra Abu-Musa al-Asha’ari ) was a nine-mile (14 km) long canal which brought water from the Tigris to Basra. Another canal known as Maqal canal was also dug from the Tigris. A canal known as the Amir al-Mu’minin canal’ (after the title Amir al-Mu’minin that was ordered by Caliph Umar) was dug to join the Nile to the Red Sea. During the famine of 639 food grains were brought from Egypt to Arabia through this canal from the sea which saved the lives of millions of inhabitants of Arabia. Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas canal (After the name of governor of Kufa Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas) dug from the Euphrates brought water to Anbar. ‘Amr ibn al-‘As the governor of Egypt, during the reign of Caliph Umar, even proposed the digging of a canal to join the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. This proposal, however, did not materialize due to unknown reasons, and it was 1200 years later that such a canal was dug, today’s Suez Canal. Shuaibia was the port for Mecca. but it was inconvenient, so Caliph Uthman selected Jeddah as the site of the new seaport, and a new port was built there. Uthman also reformed the cities police departments.
Main article: Rashidun Army

A Muslim elite soldier equipped for infantry warfare. Wearing an Iron-bronze helmet, as armor he is wearing a hauberk, and lamellarleather armor. His sword is hung from a baldric, and he carried a leather shield.
The Rashidun army was the primary military body of the Islamic armed forces of the 7th century, serving alongside the Rashidun navy. The Rashidun army maintained a very high level of discipline, strategic prowess and organization, along with motivation and self initiative of the officer corps. For much of its history this army was one of the most powerful and effective military forces in all of the region. At the height of the Rashidun Caliphate the maximum size of the army was around 100,000 troops.[43]
The Rashidun army was divided into the two basic categories, infantry and light cavalry. Reconstructing the military equipment of early Muslim armies is problematic. Compared with Roman armies or later medieval Muslim armies, the range of visual representation is very small, often imprecise and difficult to date. Physically very little material evidence has survived and again, much of it is difficult to date.[44] The soldiers used to wear iron and bronze segmented helmets that came from Iraq and were of Central Asian type.[45]
The standard form of protective body armor was chainmail. There are also references to the practice of wearing two coats of mail (dir’ayn), the one under the main one being shorter or even made of fabric or leather. Hauberksand large wooden or wickerwork shields were used as a protection in combat.[44] The soldiers were usually equipped with swords that were hung in a baldric. They also possessed spears and daggers.[46][page needed] Umar was the first Muslim ruler to organize the army as a state department. This reform was introduced in 637. A beginning was made with the Quraish and the Ansar and the system was gradually extended to the whole of Arabia and to Muslims of conquered lands.
The basic strategy of early Muslim armies sent out to conquer foreign lands was to exploit every possible weakness of the enemy army in order to achieve victory. Their key strength was mobility. The cavalry had both horses and camels. The camels were used as both transport and food for long marches through the desert (Khalid bin Walid’s extraordinary march from the Persian border to Damascus utilized camels as both food and transport). The cavalry was the army’s main striking force and also served as a strategic mobile reserve. The common tactic used was to use the infantry and archers to engage and maintain contact with the enemy forces while the cavalry was held back till the enemy was fully engaged.
Once fully engaged the enemy reserves were absorbed by the infantry and archers, and the Muslim cavalry was used as pincers (like modern tank and mechanized divisions) to attack the enemy from the sides or to attack enemy base camps. The Rashidun army was quality-wise and strength-wise below standard compared with the Sasanian and Byzantine armies. Khalid ibn Walid was the first general of the Rashidun Caliphate to conquer foreign lands and to trigger the wholesale deposition of the two most powerful empires. During his campaign against the Sasanian Empire (Iraq 633 – 634) and the Byzantine Empire (Syria 634 – 638) Khalid developed brilliant tactics that he used effectively against both the Sasanian and Byzantine armies.
Abu Bakr’s strategy was to give his generals their mission, the geographical area in which that mission would be carried out, and the resources that, could be made available for that purpose. He would then leave it to his generals to accomplish their missions in whatever manner they chose. On the other hand, Caliph Umar in the latter part of his Caliphate used to direct his generals as to where they would stay and when to move to the next target and who was to be commanding the left and right wing of the army in each particular battle. This made the phase of conquest comparatively slower but provided well-organized campaigns. Caliph Uthman used the same method as Abu Bakr: he would give missions to his generals and then leave it to them how they should accomplish it. Caliph Ali also followed the same method.
List of Rashidun Caliphs[edit]
Period Caliph Calligraphic Relationship with Muhammad
Parents House
8 June 632 – 22 August 634 Abū Bakr
(أبو بكر)
Aṣ-Ṣiddīq Father of Aisha, Muhammad’s wife • ‘Uthman Abu Quhafa,ṣaḥābī
• Salma Umm-ul-Khair,ṣaḥābīyah
Banu Taim
• Commonly known as Aṣ-Ṣiddīq (Arabic: الصديق, “The Truthful”)
• Reigned until his death
23 August 634 – 3 November 644 ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab
(عمر بن الخطاب)
Amir al-Mu’minin
Father of Hafsa, Muhammad’s wife • Khattab ibn Nufayl
• Hantamah bint Hisyam Banu Adi
• Also known with his epithet Al-Farooq (“the one who distinguishes between right and wrong”)
• Assassinated by Persians in response to the Muslim conquest of Persia
11 November 644 – 20 June 656 ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan
(عثمان بن عفان)
Dhun Nurayn
Amir al-Mu’minin
Husband of Muhammad’s daughters, Ruqayya and laterUmm Kulthum
• ‘Affan ibn Abi al-‘As
• Arwa bint Kurayz,ṣaḥābīyah
Banu Ummaya
• Also known as Dhun-Nurayn (Possessor of Two Lights) because he married two Muhammad’s daughters
• Assassinated at the end of a siege upon his house
20 June 656 – 29 January 661 ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib
(علي بن أبي طالب)
Amir al-Mu’minin
• Muhammad’s first cousin
• Husband of Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah
• Husband of Umamah bint Zainab, Muhammad’s granddaughter • Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib
• Fatimah bint Asad,ṣaḥābīyah
Banu Hashim
• Also known as First Imam of Shia
• Assassinated during Fajr prayer in Kufa
See also[edit]

There is a humble translation of the Prophet’s historic Ghadir Khumm sermon. The reader can review the original Arabic text included in this book.
All Praise is due to Allah Who is Exalted in His Unity, Near in His Uniqueness, Sublime in His Authority, Magnanimous in His Dominance. He knows everything; He subdues all creation through His might and evidence. He is Praised always and forever, Glorified and has no end. He begins and He repeats, and to Him every matter is referred.
Allah is the Creator of everything; He dominates with His power the earth and the heavens. Holy, He is, and Praised, the Lord of the angels and of the spirits. His favours overwhelm whatever He creates, and He is the Mighty over whatever He initiates. He observes all eyes while no eye can observe Him. He is Generous, Clement, Patient. His mercy encompasses everything, and so is His giving. He never rushes His revenge, nor does He hasten the retribution they deserve. He comprehends what the breast conceals and what the conscience hides. No inner I thought can be concealed from Him, nor does He confuse one with another. He encompasses everything, dominates everything, and subdues everything. Nothing is like Him. He initiates the creation from nothing; He is everlasting, living, sustaining in the truth; there is no god but He, the Omnipotent, the Wise One.
He is greater than can be conceived by visions, while He conceives all visions, the Eternal, the Knowing. None can describe Him by seeing Him, nor can anyone find out how He is, be it by his intellect or by a spoken word except through what leads to Him, the Sublime, the Mighty that He is.
I testify that He is Allah, the One Who has filled time with His Holiness, the One Whose Light overwhelms eternity, Who effects His will without consulting anyone; there is no partner with Him in His decisions, nor is He assisted in running His affairs. He shaped what He made without following a preexisting model, and He created whatever He created without receiving help from anyone, nor did doing so exhaust Him nor frustrated His designs. He created, and so it was, and He initiated, and it became visible. So He is Allah, the One and Only God, the One Who does whatever He does extremely well. He is the Just One Who never oppresses, the most Holy to Whom all affairs are referred.
I further testify that He is Allah before Whom everything is humbled, to Whose Greatness everything is humiliated, and to Whose Dignity everything submits. He is the King of every domain and the One Who places planets in their orbits. He controls the movements of the sun and of the moon, each circles till a certain time. He makes the night follow the day and the day follow the night, seeking it incessantly. He splits the spine of every stubborn tyrant and annihilates every mighty devil.
Never has there been any opponent opposing Him nor a peer assisting Him. He is Independent; He never begets nor is He begotten, and none can ever be His equal. He is One God, the Glorified Lord. His will is done; His word is the law. He knows, so He takes account. He causes death and gives life. He makes some poor and others rich. He causes some to smile and others to cry .He brings some nearer to Him while distancing others from Him. He withholds and He gives. The domain belongs to Him and so is all the Praise. In His hand is all goodness, and He can do anything at all.
He lets the night cover the day and the day cover the night; there is no god but He, the Sublime, the oft-Forgiving One. He responds to the supplication; He gives generously; He computes the breath; He is the Lord of the jinns and of mankind, the One Whom nothing confuses, nor is He annoyed by those who cry for His help, nor is He fed-up by those who persist. He safeguards the righteous against sinning, and He enables the winners to win. He is the Master of the faithful, the Lord of the Worlds Who deserves the appreciation of all those whom He created and is praised no matter what.
I praise Him and always thank Him for the ease He brings me and for the constriction, in hardship and in prosperity, and I believe in Him, in His angels, in His Books and messengers. I listen to His Command and I obey, and I initiate the doing of whatever pleases Him, and I submit to His decree hoping to acquire obedience to Him and fear of His penalty, for He is Allah against Whose designs nobody should feel secure, nor should anyone ever fear His “oppression.”
I testify, even against my own soul, that I am His servant, and I bear witness that he is my Lord. I convey what He reveals to me, being cautious lest I should not do it, so a catastrophe from Him would befall upon me, one which none can keep away, no matter how great his design may be and how sincere his friendship. There is no god but He, for He has informed me that if I do not convey what He has just revealed to me in honor of’ Ali in truth, I will not have conveyed His Message at all, and He, the Praised and the Exalted One, has guaranteed for me to protect me from the (evil) people, and He is Allah, the One Who suffices, the Sublime. He has just revealed to me the following (verse):
In The Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
O Messenger! Convey what has (just) been revealed to you (with regard to ‘Ali), and if you do not do so, you will not have conveyed His Message at all, and Allah shall Protect you from (evil) people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.(Qur’an, 5:67)
O people! I have not committed any shortcoming in conveying what Allah Almighty revealed to me, and I am now going to explain to you the reason behind the revelation of this verse: Three times did Gabriel command me on behalf of the Peace, my Lord, Who is the source of all peace, to thus make a stand in order to inform everyone, black and white, that: ‘ Ali ibn Abu Talib is my Brother, Wasi, and successor over my nation and the Imam after me, the one whose status to me is like that of Aaron to Moses except there will be no prophet after me, and he is your master next only to Allah and to His Messenger, and Allah has already revealed to me the same in one of the fixed verses of His Book saying, “Your Master is Allah and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay zakat even as they bow down” (Qur’an, 5:55), and, Ali ibn Abu Talib the one who keeps up prayers, who pays zakat even as he bows down, seeking to please Allah, the Sublime, the Almighty, on each and every occasion.
I asked Gabriel to plead to the Peace to excuse me from having to convey such a message to you, O 1 Fixed verses are those which are never abrogated; the injunction(s) they contain remain valid forever.
people, due to my knowledge that the pious are few1 while the hypocrites are many, and due to those who will blame me, and due to the trickery of those who ridicule Islam and whom Allah described in His Book as saying with their tongues contrarily to what their hearts conceal, thinking lightly of it, while it is with Allah magnanimous, and due to the abundance of their harm to me, so much so that they called me “ears” and claimed that I am so because of being so much in his (‘ Ali’s) company, always welcoming him, loving him and being so much pleased with him till Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime One, revealed in this regard the verse saying: ” And there are some of them who harm the (feelings of the) Prophet and say: He is an ear (uthun; i.e. he always listens to’ Ali).
1 The pious are always few in any age or time, creed or faith or clime,in any place, in every space. As many as 72 verses in the Holy Qur’an condemnthe majority, praising the minority, underscoring what mankind knew, that thepious are always few. Indeed, the Prophet’s statement is quite weighty, wise,terse, and not hasty. Nowadays, only a few pious ones remember this historic sermon and try their best to keep its memory alive. Yes; it is true, the pious are always few …
Say: One who listens (to’ Ali) is good for you; He believes in Allah and testifies to the conviction of the believers and a mercy for those of you who believe; and those who (thus ) harm the Messenger of Allah shall have a painful punishment” (Qur’an, 9:61). Had I wished to name those who have called me so, I would have called them by their names, and I would have pointed them out. I would have singled them out and called them by what they really are, but I, by Allah, am fully aware of their affairs. Yet despite all of that, Allah insisted that I should convey what He has just revealed to me in honor of’ Ali. Then the Prophet recited the following verse:)
O Messenger! Convey what has (just) been revealed to you (with regard to ‘Ali), and if you do not do so, you will not have conveyed His Message at all, and Allah shall protect you from (evil) people. (Qur’an, 5:67)
O people! Comprehend (the implications of) what I have just said, and again do comprehend it, and be (further) informed that Allah has installed him (‘ Ali) as your Master and Imam, obligating the Muhajirun and the Ansar and those who follow them in goodness to obey him, and so must everyone who lives in the desert or in the city, who is a non-Arab or an Arab, who is a free man or a slave, who is young or old, white or black, and so should everyone who believes in His Unity. His decree shall be carried out. His (‘ Ali’s) word is binding; his command is obligating; cursed is whoever opposes him, blessed with mercy is whoever follows him and believes in him, for Allah has already forgiven him and forgiven whoever listens to him and obeys him.
O people! This is the last stand I make in such a situation; so, listen and obey, and submit to the Command of Allah, your Lord, for Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime One, is your Master and Lord, then next to Him is His Messenger and Prophet who is now addressing you, then after me ‘Ali is your Master and Imam according to the Command of Allah, your Lord, then the lmams from among my progeny, his offspring, till the Day you meet Allah and His Messenger.
Nothing is permissible except what is deemed so by Allah, His Messenger, and they (the Imams), and nothing is prohibitive except what is deemed so by Allah and His Messenger and they (the Imams). Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime One, has made me acquainted with what is permissible and what is prohibitive, and I have conveyed to you what my Lord has taught me of His Book, of what it decrees as permissible or as prohibitive.
O people! Prefer him (‘ Ali) over all others! There is no knowledge except that Allah has divulged it to me, and all the knowledge I have learned I have divulged to Imam al-Muttaqin (leader of the righteous), and there is no knowledge (that I know) except that I divulged it to’ Ali, and he is al-Imam al-Mubin (the evident Imam) whom Allah mentions in Surat ya-Sin: “… and everything We have computed is in (the knowledge of) an evident Imam” (Qur’an, 36:12).
O people! Do not abandon him, nor should you flee away from him, nor should you be too arrogant to accept his authority, for he is the one who guides to righteousness and who acts according to it. He defeats falsehood and prohibits others from acting according to it, accepting no blame from anyone while seeking to please Allah. He is the first to believe in Allah and in His Messenger; none preceded him as such. And he is the one who offered his life as a sacrifice for the Messenger of Allah and who was in the company of the Messenger of Allah while no other man was. He is the first of all people to offer prayers and the first to worship Allah with me. I ordered him, on behalf of Allah, to sleep in my bed, and he did, offering his life as a sacrifice for my sake.
O people! Prefer him (over all others), for Allah has preferred him, and accept him, for Allah has appointed him (as your leader).
O people! He is an Imam appointed by Allah, and Allah shall never accept the repentance of anyone who denies his authority, nor shall He forgive him; this is a must decree from Allah never to do so to anyone who opposes him, and that He shall torment him with a most painful torment for all time to come, for eternity; so, beware lest you should oppose him and thus enter the fire the fuel of which is the people and the stones prepared for the unbelievers.
O people! By Allah! All past prophets and messengers conveyed the glad tiding of my advent, and I, by Allah, am the seal of the prophets and of the messengers and the argument against all beings in the heavens and on earth. Anyone who doubts this commits apostasy similar to that of the early jahiliyya, and anyone who doubts anything of what I have just said doubts everything which has been revealed to me, and anyone who doubts any of the Imams doubts all of them, and anyone who doubts us shall be lodged in the fire.
O people! Allah, the most Exalted and the Almighty, has bestowed this virtue upon me out of His kindness towards’ Ali and as a boon to’ Ali and there is no god but He; to Him all praise belongs in all times, for eternity, and in all circumstances.
O people! Prefer’ Ali (over all others), for he is the very best of all people after me, be they males or females, so long as Allah sends down His sustenance, so long as there are beings. Cursed and again cursed, condemned and again condemned, is anyone who does not accept this statement of mine and who does not agree to it. Gabriel himself has informed me of the same on behalf of Allah Almighty Who he said (in Gabriel’s words): ” Anyone who antagonizes’ Ali and refuses to accept his wilayat shall incur My curse upon him and My wrath.” “… and let every soul consider what it has sent forth for the morrow, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah” (Qur’an, 59:18), “And do not make your oaths a means of deceit between you lest a foot should slip after its stability” (Qur’an, 16:94), ” Allah is fully aware of all what you do” (Qur’an, 58: 13).
O people! He (‘ Ali) is janb-Allah mentioned in the Book of Allah, the Sublime One: The Almighty, forewarning his (‘ Ali’s) adversaries, says, “Lest a soul should say: O woe unto me for what I fell short of my duty to Allah, and most surely I was of those who laughed to scorn” (Qur’an, 39:56).
O people! Study the Qur’an and comprehend its verses, look into its fixed verses and do not follow what is similar thereof, for by Allah, none shall explain to you what it forbids you from doing, nor clarify its exegesis, other than the one whose hand I am taking and whom I am lifting to me, the one whose arm I am taking and whom I am lifting, so that I may enable you to understand that: Whoever among you takes me as his master, this, Ali is his master, and he is’ Ali ibn Abu Talib, my Brother and wasi, and his appointment as your wali is from Allah, the Sublime, the Exalted One, a commandment which He revealed to me.
O people! ‘ Ali and the good ones from among my offspring from his loins are the Lesser Weight, while the Qur’an is the Greater One: each one of them informs you of and agrees with the other. They shall never part till they meet me at the Pool (of Kawthar). They are the Trustees of Allah over His creation, the rulers on His earth.
Indeed now I have performed my duty and conveyed the Message. Indeed you have heard what I have said and explained. Indeed Allah, the Exalted One and the Sublime, has said, and so have Ion behalf of Allah, the Exalted One and the Sublime, that there is no Ameerul-Mo’mineen (Commander of the Faithful) save this Brother of mine; no authority over a believer is permissible after me except to him.
Then the Prophet patted ‘ Ali’s arm, lifting him up. Since the time when the Messenger of Allah ascended the pulpit, Ameerul-Mo’mineen was one pulpit step below where the Messenger of Allah had seated himself on his pulpit, while’ Ali was on his (Prophet’s) right side, one pulpit step lower, now they both appeared to the gathering to be on the same level; the Prophet lifted him up. The Prophet then raised his hands to the heavens in supplication while’ Ali’s leg was touching the knee of the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet continued his sermon thus:
O people! This is’ Ali, my Brother, Wasi, the one who comprehends my knowledge, and my successor over my nation, over everyone who believes in me. He is the one entrusted with explaining the Book of Allah, the most Exalted One, the Sublime, and the one who invites people to His path. He is the one who does whatever pleases Him, fighting His enemies, befriending His friends who obey Him, prohibiting disobedience to Him. He is the successor of the Messenger of Allah and Ameerul- Mo’mineen, the man assigned by Allah to guide others, killer of the renegades and of those who believe in equals to Allah, those who violate the Commandments of Allah. Allah says, “My Word shall not be changed, nor am I in the least unjust to the servants” (Qur’an, 50.29), and by Your Command, O Lord, do I (submit and) say, O Allah! Befriend whoever befriends him (Ali) and be the enemy of whoever antagonizes him; support whoever supports him and abandon whoever abandons him; curse whoever disavows him, and let Your Wrath descend on whoever usurps his right.
O Lord! You revealed a verse in honor of’ Ali, Your wali, in its explanation and to effect Your own appointment of him this very day did You say, “This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour on you, and chosen for you Islam as a religion” (Qur’an, 5.3); “And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers” (Qur’an, 3:85).
Lord! I implore You to testify that I have conveyed (Your Message).
O people! Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime, has perfected your religion through his (‘ Ali’s) Imamate; so, whoever rejects him as his Imam or rejects those of my offspring from his loins who assume the same status (as lmams) till the Day of Judgment when they shall all be displayed before Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime, these are the ones whose (good) deeds shall be nil and void in the life of this world and in the hereafter, and in the fire shall they be lodged forever, ” …their torture shall not be decreased, nor shall they be given a respite” (Qur’an,2:162).
O people! Here is’ Ali, the one who has supported me more than anyone else among you, the one who most deserves my gratitude, the one who is closest of all of you to me and the one who is the very dearest to me. Both Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime, and I are pleased with him, and no verse of the Holy Qur’an expressing Allah’s Pleasure except that he is implied therein, nor has any verse of praise been revealed in the Qur’an except that he is implied therein, nor has the Lord testified to Paradise in the (Qur’anic) Chapter starting with “Has there not come over man a long period of time when he was nothing (not even) mentioned?” (Qur’an, 76:1) nor was this Chapter revealed except in his praise.
O people! He is the one who supports the religion of Allah, who argues on behalf of the Messenger of Allah. He is the pious, the pure, the guide, the one rightly guided. Your Prophet is the best of all prophets, and your wasi is the best of all wasis, and his offspring are the best of wasis .
O people! Each prophet’s progeny is from his own loins whereas mine is from the loins of Arneerul-Mo’mineen ‘ Ali.
O people! Iblis caused Adam to be dismissed from the garden through envy; so, do not envy him lest your deeds should be voided and lest your feet should slip away, for Adam was sent down to earth after having committed only one sin, and he was among the elite of Allah’s creation. How, then, will be your case, and you being who you are, and among you are enemies of Allah?
Indeed, none hates’ Ali except a wretch, and none accepts ‘ Ali’s wilayat except a pious person. None believes in him except a sincere mu’min, and in honor of, Ali was the Chapter of ‘Asr (Ch. 103) revealed, I swear to it by Allah: “In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. I swear by time that most surely man is in loss” (Qur’an, 103:1-2) except’ Ali who believed and was pleased with the truth and with perseverance.
O people! I have sought Allah to be my Witness and have conveyed my Message to you, and the Messenger is obligated only to clearly convey (his Message).
O people! ” Fear Allah as Re ought to be feared, and do not die except as Muslims” (Qur’an, 3:102). O people! ” …Believe in what We have revealed, verifying what you have, before We alter faces then turn them on their backs or curse them as We cursed the violators of the Sabbath” (Qur’an, 4:47). By Allah! Redid not imply anyone in this verse except a certain band of my sahaba whom I know by name and by lineage, and I have been ordered (by my Lord) to pardon them; so, let each person deal with ‘ Ali according to what he finds in his heart of love or of hatred.
O people! The noor from Allah, the Exalted One and the Sublime, flows through me then through ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib then in the progeny that descends from him till al-Qa’imal-Mehdi, who shall effect the justice of Allah, and who will take back any right belonging to us because Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime, made us Hujjat over those who take us lightly, the stubborn ones, those who act contrarily to our word, who are treacherous, who are sinners, who are oppressors, who are usurpers, from the entire world.
O people! I warn you that I am the Messenger of Allah; messengers before me have already passed away; so, should I die or should I be killed, are you going to turn upon your heels? And whoever turns upon his heels shall not harm Allah in the least, and Allah shall reward those who are grateful, those who persevere. ‘Ali is surely the one described with perseverance and gratitude, then after him are my offspring from his loins.
O people! Do not think that you are doing me a favour by your accepting Islam. Nay! Do not think that you are doing Allah such a favour lest He should void your deeds, lest His wrath should descend upon you, lest He should try you with a flame of fire and brass; surely your Lord is ever-watchful.
O people! There shall be Imams after me who shall invite people to the fire, and they shall not be helped on the Day of Judgment.
O people! Allah and I are both clear of them.
O people! They and their supporters and followers shall be in the lowest rung of the fire; miserable, indeed, is the resort of the arrogant ones. Indeed, these are the folks of the sahifa; so, let each one of you look into his sahifa!
This reference to the sahifa has been overlooked by most people with the exception of a small band, and we will, Insha-Allah, shed a light on this sahifa later on.
The Prophet continued his historic sermon thus: O people! I am calling for it to be an Imamate and a succession confined to my offspring till the Day of Judgment, and I have conveyed only what I have been commanded (by my Lord) to convey to drive the argument home against everyone present or absent and on everyone who has witnessed or who has not, who is already born or he is yet to be born; therefore, let those present here convey it to those who are absent, and let the father convey it to his son, and so on till the Day of Judgment.
And they shall make the Imamate after me a property, a usurpation; may Allah curse the usurpers who usurp1, and it is then that you, O jinns and mankind, will get the full attention of the One Who shall cause a flame of fire and brass to be hurled upon you, and you shall not achieve any victory!
O people! Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime, is not to let you be whatever you want to be except so that He may distinguish the bad ones from among you from the good, and Allah is not to make you acquainted with the unknown.
O people! There shall be no town that falsifies except that Allah shall annihilate it on account of its falsehood before the Day of Judgment, and He shall give al-lmam al-Mehdi (U authority over it, and surely Allah’s promise is true.
1 This is surely a Prophetic prediction that’ Ali’s right to the caliphate would be usurped. The usurpers were the very first to swear the oath of allegiance to Ameerul-Mo’mineen ‘ Ali and the very first to violate it.
O people! Most of the early generations before you have strayed, and by Allah, He surely annihilated the early generations, and He shall annihilate the later ones. Allah Almighty has said, “Did We not destroy the former generations? Then did We follow them up with later ones. Even thus shall We deal with the guilty. Woe on that Day to the rejecters!” (Qur’an, 77: 16-19).
O people! Allah has ordered me to do and not to do, and I have ordered ‘Ali to do and not to do, so he learned what should be done and what should not; therefore. you should listen to his orders so that you may be safe, and you should obey him so that you may be rightly guided. Do not do what he forbids you from doing so that you may acquire wisdom. Agree with him, and do not let your paths be different from his.
O people! I am al-Sirat al-Mustaqeem (the Straight Path) of Allah whom He commanded you to follow, and it is after me ‘Ali then my offspring from his loins, the Imams of Guidance: they guide to the truth and act accordingly.
Then the Prophet recited the entire text of Surat al-Fatiha and commented by saying: It is in my honor that this (Sura) was revealed, including them (the Imams) specifically; they are the friends of Allah for whom there shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve; truly the Party of Allah are the winners. Indeed, it is their enemies who are the impudent ones, the deviators, the brethren of Satan; they inspire each other with embellished speech out of their haughtiness.
Indeed, their (Imams’) friends are the ones whom Allah, the Exalted One, the Great, mentions in His Book saying, “You shall not find a people who believe in Allah and in the latter Day befriending those who act in opposition to Allah and to His Prophet, even though they may be their own fathers or sons or brothers or kinsfolk; these are they into whose hearts He has impressed conviction” (Qur’an, 58:22). Indeed, their (Imams’) friends are the mu’mins (believers) whom Allah, the Exalted One, the Sublime, describes as: “Those who believe and do not mix up their faith with iniquity, those are the ones who shall have the security, and they are the rightly guided” (Qur’an, 6:82).
Indeed, their friends are those who believed and never doubted. Indeed, their friends are the ones who shall enter Paradise in peace and security; the angels shall receive them with welcome saying, “Peace be upon you! Enter it and reside in it forever!”
Indeed, their friends shall be rewarded with Paradise where they shall be sustained without having to account for anything.
Indeed, their enemies are the ones who shall be hurled into the fire.
Indeed, their enemies are the ones who shall hear the exhalation of hell as it increases in intensity, and they shall see it sigh.
Indeed, their enemies are the ones thus described by Allah: “Whenever a nation enters, it shall curse its sister…” (Qur’an, 7:38).
Indeed, their enemies are the ones whom Allah, the Exalted One and the Sublime, describes thus: “Whenever a group is cast into it, its keepers shall ask them: Did any warner not come to you? They shall say: Yea! Indeed, there came to us a warner but we rejected (him) and said: Allah has not revealed anything; you are only in a great error. And they shall say: Had we but listened or pondered, we would not have been among the inmates of the burning fire. So they shall acknowledge their sins, but far will be forgiveness) from the inmates of the burning fire” (Qur’an, 67:8-11).
Indeed, their friends are the ones who fear their Lord in the unseen; forgiveness shall be theirs and a great reward.
O people! What a difference it is between the fire and the great reward! .
O people! Our enemy is the one whom Allah censures and curses, whereas our friend is everyone praised and loved by Allah.
O people! I am the Warner (nathir) and’ Ali is the one who brings glad tidings (bashir).
O people! I am the one who warns (munthir) while ‘Ali is the guide (hadi).
O people! I am a Prophet (nabi) and’ Ali is the successor (wasi).
O people! I am a Messenger (rasul) and’ Ali is the Imam and the Wasi after me, and so are the Imams after him from among his offspring. Indeed, I am their father, and they shall descend from his loins.
Indeed, the seal of the lmams from among us is al-Qa’im al-Mehdi. He, indeed, is the one who shall come out so that the creed may prevail. He, indeed, is the one who shall seek revenge against the oppressor. He, indeed, is the one who conquers the forts and demolishes them. He, indeed, is the one who subdues every tribe from among the people of polytheism and the one to guide it.
He is the one who shall seek redress for all friends of Allah. He is the one who supports the religion of Allah. He ever derives (his knowledge) from a very deep ocean. He shall identify each man of distinction by his distinction and every man of ignorance by his ignorance. He shall be the choicest of Allah’s beings and the chosen one. He is the heir of all (branches of) knowledge, the one who encompasses every perception. He conveys on behalf of his Lord, the Exalted and the Sublime, who points out His miracles. He is the wise, the one endowed with wisdom, the one upon whom (Divine) authority is vested.
Glad tidings of him have been conveyed by past generations, yet he is the one who shall remain as a Hujja, and there shall be no Hujja after him nor any right except with him, nor any noor except with him. None, indeed, shall subdue him, nor shall he ever be vanquished. He is the friend of Allah on His earth, the judge over His creatures, the custodian of what is evident and what is hidden of His.
O people! I have explained (everything) for you and enabled you to comprehend it, and this ‘Ali shall after me explain everything to you.
At the conclusion of my khutba, I shall call upon you to shake hands with me to swear your allegiance to him and to recognize his authority, then to shake hands with him after you have shaken hands with me.
I had, indeed, sworn allegiance to Allah, and ‘Ali had sworn allegiance to me, and I on behalf of Allah, the Exalted One and the Sublime, I require you to swear the oath of allegiance to him: “Surely those who swear (the oath of) allegiance to you do but swear allegiance to Allah; the hand of Allah is above their hands; therefore, whoever reneges (from his oath), he reneges only to the injury of his own soul, and whoever fulfills what he has covenanted with Allah, He will grant him a mighty reward” (Qur’an,48:10).
O people! The pilgrimage (hajj) and the ‘umra are among Allah’s rituals; “So whoever makes a pilgrimage to the House or pays a visit (to it), there is no blame on him if he goes round them [Safa and Marwa] both” (Qur’an, 2:158).
O people! Perform your pilgrimage to the House, for no members of a family went there except that they became wealthy, and receive glad tidings! None failed to do so except that their lineage was cut-off and were impoverished.
O people! No believer stands at the standing place [at ‘Arafa] except that Allah forgives his past sins till then; so, once his pilgrimage is over, he resumes his deeds.
O people! Pilgrims are assisted, and their expenses shall be replenished, and Allah never suffers the rewards of the doers of good to be lost.
O people! Perform your pilgrimage to the House by perfecting your religion and by delving into fiqh, and do not leave the sacred places except after having repented and abandoned (the doing of anything prohibited).
O people! Uphold prayers and pay the zakat as Allah, the Exalted One and the Sublime, commanded you; so, if time lapses and you were short of doing so or you forgot, ‘ Ali is your wali and he will explain for you.
He is the one whom Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime, appointed for you after me as the custodian of Hiscreation. He is from me and I am from him, and he and those who will succeed him from my progeny shall inform you of anything you ask them about, and they shall clarify whatever you do not know.
Halal and haram things are more than I can count for you now or explain, for a commandment to enjoin what is permissible and a prohibition from what is not permissible are both on the same level, so I was ordered (by my Lord) to take your oath of allegiance and to make a covenant with you to accept what I brought you from Allah, the Exalted One and the Sublime, with regards to’ Ali Ameerul-Mo’mineen and to the wasis after him who are from me and from him, a standing Imamate whose seal is al-Mehdi till the Day he meets Allah Who decrees and Who judges.
O people! I never refrained from informing you of everything permissible or prohibitive; so, do remember this and safeguard it and advise each other to do likewise; do not alter it; do not substitute it with something else.
I am now repeating what I have already said: Uphold the prayers and pay the zakat and enjoin righteousness and forbid abomination.
The peak of enjoining righteousness is to resort to my speech and to convey it to whoever did not attend it and to order him on my behalf to accept it and to (likewise) order him not to violate it, for it is an order from Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime, and there is no knowledge of enjoining righteousness nor prohibiting abomination except that it is with a ma’soom Imam.
0 people! The Qur’an informs you that the Imams after him are his (‘ Ali’s) descendants, and I have already informed you that they are from me and from him, for Allah says in His Book, ” And he made it a word to continue in his posterity so that they may return ” (Qur’an, 43:28) while I have said: “You shall not stray as long as you uphold both of them (simultaneously).”
O people! (Uphold) piety, (uphold) piety, and be forewarned of the Hour as Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime, has said, “0 people! Guard (yourselves) against (punishment from) your Lord; surely the violence of the Hour is a grievous thing” (Qur’an, 22:1).
Remember death, resurrection, the judgment, the scales, and the account before the Lord of the Worlds, and (remember) the rewards and the penalty. So whoever does a good deed shall be rewarded for it, and whoever commits a sin shall have no place in the Gardens.
O people! You are more numerous than (it is practical) to shake hands with me all at the same time, and Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime, commanded me to require you to confirm what authority I have vested upon ‘Ali Ameerul-Mo’mineen and to whoever succeeds him of the Imams from me and from him, since I have just informed you that my offspring are from his loins.
You, therefore, should say in one voice: “We hear, and we obey; we accept and we are bound by what you have conveyed to us from our Lord and yours with regard to our Imam’ Ali (V’ Ameerul-Mo’mineen, and to the Imams, your sons from his loins. We swear the oath of allegiance to you in this regard with our hearts, with our souls, with our tongues, with our hands. According to it shall we live, and according to it shall we die, and according to it shall we be resurrected. We shall not alter anything or substitute anything with another, nor shall we doubt nor deny nor suspect, nor shall we violate our covenant nor abrogate the pledge. You admonished us on behalf of Allah with regard to’ Ali (V’ Ameerul-Mo’mineen, and to the Imams whom you mentioned to be from your offspring from among his descendants after him: al-Hasan and al-Husain and to whoever is appointed (as such) by Allah after them. The covenant and the pledge are taken from us, from our hearts, from our souls, from our tongues, from our conscience, from our hands. Whoever does so by his handshake, it shall be so, or otherwise testified to it by his tongue, and we do not seek any substitute for it, nor shall Allah see our souls deviating there from. We shall convey the same on your behalf to anyone near and far of our offspring and families, and we implore Allah to testify to it, and surely Allah suffices as the Witness and you, too, shall testify for us.”
O people! What are you going to say?! Allah knows every sound and the innermost of every soul; “Whoever chooses the right guidance, it is for his own soul that he is rightly guided, and whoever strays, it is only to its detriment that he goes astray” (Qur’an, 17:15).
O people! Swear the oath of allegiance to Allah, and swear it to me, and swear it to’ Ali Ameerul-Mo’mineen, and to al-Hasan and al-Husain and to the Imams from their offspring in the life of this world and in the hereafter, a word that shall always remain so. Allah shall annihilate anyone guilty of treachery and be merciful upon everyone who remains true to his word: “Whoever reneges (from his oath), he reneges only to the harm of his own soul, and whoever fulfills what he has covenanted with Allah, He will grant him a mighty reward” (Qur’an, 48:10)
O people! Repeat what I have just told you to, and greet’ Ali with the title of authority of “Ameerul-Mo’mineen” and say: “We hear, and we obey, O Lord! Your forgiveness (do we seek), and to You is the eventual course” (Qur’an, 2:285), and you should say: “All praise is due to Allah Who guided us to this, and we would not have found the way had it not been for Allah Who guided us” (Qur’an, 7:43).
O people! The merits of’ Ali ibn Abu Talib with Allah, the Exalted and the Sublime, the merits which are revealed in the Qur’an, are more numerous than I can recount in one speech; so, whoever informs you of them and defines them for you, you should believe him.
O people! Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger and’ Ali (U and the Imams to whom I have already referred shall attain a great victory. O people! Those foremost from among you who swear allegiance to him and who pledge to obey him and who greet him with the greeting of being the Commander of the Faithful are the ones who shall win the Gardens of Felicity.
O people! Say what brings you the Pleasure of Allah, for if you and all the people of the earth disbelieve, it will not harm Allah in the least.
O Lord! Forgive the believers through what I have conveyed, and let Your Wrath descend upon those who renege, the apostates, and all Praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
Thus did the Prophet of Allah speak on behalf of the Almighty Who sent him as the beacon of guidance not only for the Muslims but for all mankind. But the question that forces itself here is: “What happened after that historic event? Why did the Muslims forget, or pretend to have forgotten, their Prophet’s instructions with regards to’ Ali and “elected” someone else in his stead? To answer this question requires another book, and indeed many such books have been written. May the Almighty grant all of us guidance, and may He count us among His true servants who recognize the truth when they see it, who abide by His tenets, Who revere His Prophet and follow his instructions in all times, in all climes, Allahomma Ameen.

Alqaeda by their manual believes all of world should submit or be cut off place alqaeda manual pic here

NORTH <> SYRIA 632 Sasanian Last Persian Empire Conquered by Islam
The Sasanian Empire was founded by Ardashir I, after the fall of the Parthian Empire and the defeat of the last Arsacid king, Artabanus V. At its greatest extent, the Sasanian Empire encompassed all of today’s Iran,Iraq, Eastern Arabia (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatif, Qatar, UAE), the Levant (Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan), the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan, South Ossetia, Abkhazia), Egypt, large parts of Turkey, much of Central Asia (Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan), Yemen and Pakistan.
Sasanian Empire
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sasanian Empire


Derafsh Kaviani

The Sasanian Empire at its greatest extent c. 620 CE., under Khosrau II
• Normal domains
• Greatest temporary extent during Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628

Capital • Istakhr (224–226)[3]
• Ctesiphon (226–637)

Languages • Middle Persian(official)[4][5]
• Middle Aramaic(lingua franca)[6]
• Parthian(administration, until the late 3rd-century) spoken in the north and east, and by theseven Parthian clans)[4]
• Greek(administration, until the late 3rd-century) and regional)[4]
• Other languages

Religion Zoroastrianism
(also Babylonian,Christianity, Manichaeism,Judaism, Mandaeism,Paganism, Mithraism,Hinduism, Buddhism)

Government Feudal monarchy[7]


• 224–241 Ardashir I (first)

• 632–651 Yazdegerd III (last)

Historical era Late Antiquity

• Battle of Hormozdgān
28 April 224
• Climactic Roman–Persian War of 602-628
• Civil war[8]
• Muslim conquest
• Empire collapses

• 550[9][10]
3,500,000 km²(1,351,358 sq mi)
Preceded by Succeeded by
Parthian Empire


Kingdom of Iberia

Kushan Empire

Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity)


Qarinvand dynasty


Rashidun Caliphate

Dabuyid dynasty

Masmughans of Damavand

Bavand dynasty

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The Sasanian Empire (/səˈsɑːnɪən/ or /səˈseɪnɪən/), also known as Sassanian, Sasanid, Sassanid or Neo-Persian Empire),[12] known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr[1] in Middle Persian language,[a] was the lastIranian empire before the rise of Islam, ruled by and named after the Sasanian dynasty from 224 to 651.[2][14] The Sasanian Empire, which succeeded the Parthian Empire, was recognized as one of the leading world powers alongside its neighboring arch-rival the Roman-Byzantine Empire, for a period of more than 400 years.[15][16][17]
The Sasanian Empire was founded by Ardashir I, after the fall of the Parthian Empire and the defeat of the last Arsacid king, Artabanus V. At its greatest extent, the Sasanian Empire encompassed all of today’s Iran,Iraq, Eastern Arabia (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatif, Qatar, UAE), the Levant (Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan), the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan, South Ossetia, Abkhazia), Egypt, large parts of Turkey, much of Central Asia (Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan), Yemen and Pakistan. According to a legend, the vexilloid of the Sasanian Empire was the Derafsh Kaviani.[18]
The Sasanian Empire during Late Antiquity is considered to have been one of Iran’s most important and influential historical periods, and constituted the last great Iranian empire before the Muslim conquest and the adoption of Islam.[19] In many ways, the Sasanian period witnessed the peak of ancient Iranian civilization. Persia influenced Roman culture considerably during the Sasanian period.[20] The Sasanians’ cultural influence extended far beyond the empire’s territorial borders, reaching as far as Western Europe,[21] Africa,[22] China and India.[23] It played a prominent role in the formation of both European and Asian medieval art.[24] Much of what later became known as Islamic culture in art, architecture, music and other subject matter was transferred from the Sasanians throughout the Muslim world.[25]
• 1History
o 1.1Origins and early history (205–310)
o 1.2First Golden Era (309–379)
o 1.3Intermediate Era (379–498)
o 1.4Second Golden Era (498–622)
o 1.5Decline and fall (622–651)
o 1.6Descendants
• 2Government
o 2.1Sasanian military
 2.1.1Role of priests
 2.1.2Infantry
 2.1.3Navy
 2.1.4Cavalry
• 3Relations with neighboring regimes
o 3.1Frequent warfare with the Romans and to a lesser extent others
o 3.2War with Axum
o 3.3Relations with China
o 3.4Relations with India
• 4Society
o 4.1Urbanism and Nomadism
o 4.2Shahanshah
o 4.3Class division
o 4.4Slavery
• 5Culture
o 5.1Education
o 5.2Art, science and literature
• 6Economy
o 6.1Industry and trade
• 7Religion
o 7.1Zoroastrianism
 7.1.1Tansar and his justification for Ardashir I’s rebellion
 7.1.2Influence of Kartir
 7.1.3Zoroastrian calendar reforms under the Sasanians
 7.1.4Three Great Fires
 7.1.5Iconoclasm and the elevation of Persian over other Iranian languages
 7.1.6Developments in Zoroastrian literature and liturgy by the Sasanians
o 7.2Christianity
o 7.3Other religions
• 8Language
o 8.1Official languages
o 8.2Regional languages
• 9Legacy and importance
o 9.1In Europe
o 9.2In Jewish history
o 9.3In India
• 10Sasanian Empire chronology
• 11See also
• 12Notes
• 13References
• 14Bibliography
• 15Further reading
• 16External links
See also: Timeline of Sasanian Empire
Origins and early history (205–310)

Ghal’eh Dokhtar (or “The Maiden’s Castle”) in present-day Fars,Firuzabad, Iran, built by Ardashir in 209, before he was finally able to defeat the Parthian empire.
Conflicting accounts shroud the details of the fall of the Parthian Empire and subsequent rise of the Sasanian Empire in mystery.[26] The Sassanid Empire was established in Estakhr by Ardashir I.
Papak was originally the ruler of a region called Khir. However, by the year 200, he managed to overthrow Gochihr, and appoint himself as the new ruler of the Bazrangids. His mother, Rodhagh, was the daughter of the provincial governor of Pars. Papak and his eldest son Shapur managed to expand their power over all of Pars. The subsequent events are unclear, due to the elusive nature of the sources. It is certain, however, that following the death of Papak, Ardashir who at the time was the governor of Darabgerd, got involved in a power struggle of his own with his elder brother Shapur. Sources reveal that Shapur, leaving for a meeting with his brother, was killed when the roof of a building collapsed on him. By the year 208, over the protests of his other brothers who were put to death, Ardashir declared himself ruler of Pars.[27][28]
Once Ardashir was appointed shahanshah, he moved his capital further to the south of Pars and founded Ardashir-Khwarrah (formerly Gur, modern day Firuzabad). The city, well supported by high mountains and easily defendable through narrow passes, became the center of Ardashir’s efforts to gain more power. The city was surrounded by a high, circular wall, probably copied from that of Darabgird, and on the north-side included a large palace, remains of which still survive today. After establishing his rule over Pars, Ardashir I rapidly extended his territory, demanding fealty from the local princes of Fars, and gaining control over the neighboring provinces of Kerman, Isfahan, Susiana and Mesene. This expansion quickly came to the attention of Artabanus V, the Parthian king, who initially ordered the governor of Khuzestan to wage war against Ardashir in 224, but the battles were victories for Ardashir. In a second attempt to destroy Ardashir, Artabanus V himself met Ardashir in battle at Hormozgan, where Artabanus V met his death. Following the death of the Parthian ruler, Ardashir I went on to invade the western provinces of the now defunct Parthian Empire.[29]

Rock-face relief at Naqsh-e Rustamof Persian emperor Shapur I (on horseback) capturing Roman emperorValerian (standing) and Philip the Arab(kneeling), suing for peace, following the victory at Edessa.
At that time the Arsacid dynasty was divided between supporters of Artabanus V and Vologases VI, which probably allowed Ardashir to consolidate his authority in the south with little or no interference from the Parthians. Ardashir was aided by the geography of the province of Fars, which was separated from the rest of Iran.[30] Crowned in 224 at Ctesiphon as the sole ruler of Persia, Ardashir took the title shahanshah, or “King of Kings” (the inscriptions mention Adhur-Anahid as his Banbishnan banbishn, “Queen of Queens”, but her relationship with Ardashir is not established), bringing the 400-year-old Parthian Empire to an end, and beginning four centuries of Sassanid rule.[31]
In the next few years, local rebellions would form around the empire. Nonetheless, Ardashir I further expanded his new empire to the east and northwest, conquering the provinces of Sistan, Gorgan, Khorasan, Margiana(in modern Turkmenistan), Balkh and Chorasmia. He also added Bahrain and Mosul to Sassanid’s possessions. Later Sassanid inscriptions also claim the submission of the Kings of Kushan, Turan and Mekran to Ardashir, although based on numismatic evidence, it is more likely that these actually submitted to Ardashir’s son, the future Shapur I. In the west, assaults against Hatra, Armeniaand Adiabene met with less success. In 230, he raided deep into Roman territory, and a Roman counter-offensive two years later ended inconclusively, although the Roman emperor,Alexander Severus, celebrated a triumph in Rome.[32][33][34]

The Humiliation of Valerian by Shapur (Hans Holbein the Younger, 1521, pen and black ink on a chalk sketch, Kunstmuseum Basel)
Ardashir I’s son Shapur I continued the expansion of the empire, conquering Bactria and the western portion of the Kushan Empire, while leading several campaigns against Rome. Invading Roman Mesopotamia, Shapur I captured Carrhae and Nisibis, but in 243 the Roman general Timesitheus defeated the Persians at Rhesaina and regained the lost territories.[35]The emperor Gordian III’s (238–244) subsequent advance down the Euphrates was defeated at Meshike (244), leading to Gordian’s murder by his own troops and enabling Shapur to conclude a highly advantageous peace treaty with the new emperor Philip the Arab, by which he secured the immediate payment of 500,000 denarii and further annual payments.
Shapur soon resumed the war, defeated the Romans at Barbalissos (253), and then probably took and plundered Antioch.[35][36] Roman counter-attacks under the emperor Valerianended in disaster when the Roman army was defeated and besieged at Edessa and Valerian was captured by Shapur, remaining his prisoner for the rest of his life. Shapur celebrated his victory by carving the impressive rock reliefs in Naqsh-e Rostam and Bishapur, as well as a monumental inscription in Persian and Greek in the vicinity of Persepolis. He exploited his success by advancing into Anatolia (260), but withdrew in disarray after defeats at the hands of the Romans and their Palmyrene ally Odaenathus, suffering the capture of his harem and the loss of all the Roman territories he had occupied.[37][38]

The spread of Manichaeism (300– 500)[39]
Shapur had intensive development plans. He ordered the construction of the first dam bridge in Iran and founded many cities, some settled in part by emigrants from the Roman territories, including Christians who could exercise their faith freely under Sassanid rule. Two cities, Bishapur and Nishapur, are named after him. He particularly favored Manichaeism, protected Mani (who dedicated one of his books, the Shabuhragan, to him) and sent many Manichaean missionaries abroad. He also befriended a Babylonian rabbi called Samuel.
This friendship was advantageous for the Jewish community and gave them a respite from the oppressive laws enacted against them. Later kings reversed Shapur’s policy of religious tolerance. Under pressure from Zoroastrian Magi and influenced by the high-priest Kartir, Bahram I killed Mani and persecuted his followers. Bahram II was, like his father, amenable to the wishes of the Zoroastrian priesthood.[40][41] During his reign, the Sassanid capital Ctesiphon was sacked by the Romans under Emperor Carus, and most of Armenia, after half a century of Persian rule, was ceded to Diocletian.[42]
Succeeding Bahram III (who ruled briefly in 293), Narseh embarked on another war with the Romans. After an early success against the Emperor Galerius near Callinicum on the Euphrates in 296, Narseh was decisively defeated. Galerius had been reinforced, probably in the spring of 298, by a new contingent collected from the empire’s Danubian holdings.[43]Narseh did not advance from Armenia and Mesopotamia, leaving Galerius to lead the offensive in 298 with an attack on northern Mesopotamia via Armenia. Narseh retreated to Armenia to fight Galerius’ force, to Narseh’s disadvantage: the rugged Armenian terrain was favorable to Roman infantry, but not to Sassanid cavalry. Local aid gave Galerius the advantage of surprise over the Persian forces, and, in two successive battles, Galerius secured victories over Narseh.[44]

Rome and vassal Armenia around 300, after Narseh’s defeat
During the second encounter, Roman forces seized Narseh’s camp, his treasury, his harem, and his wife along with it.[44] Galerius advanced into Media and Adiabene, winning successive victories, most prominently nearErzurum, and securing Nisibis (Nusaybin, Turkey) before October 1, 298. He moved down the Tigris, taking Ctesiphon. Narseh had previously sent an ambassador to Galerius to plead for the return of his wives and children. Peace negotiations began in the spring of 299, with both Diocletian and Galerius presiding.
The conditions of the peace were heavy: Persia would give up territory to Rome, making the Tigris the boundary between the two empires. Further terms specified that Armenia was returned to Roman domination, with the fort of Ziatha as its border; Caucasian Iberia would pay allegiance to Rome under a Roman appointee; Nisibis, now under Roman rule, would become the sole conduit for trade between Persia and Rome; and Rome would exercise control over the five satrapies between the Tigris and Armenia: Ingilene, Sophanene (Sophene), Arzanene (Aghdznik), Corduene, and Zabdicene (near modern Hakkâri, Turkey).[45]
The Sassanids ceded five provinces west of the Tigris, and agreed not to interfere in the affairs of Armenia and Georgia.[46] In the aftermath of this defeat, Narseh gave up the throne and died a year later, leaving the Sassanid throne to his son, Hormizd II. Unrest spread throughout the land, and while Hormizd II suppressed revolts in Sakastan and Kushan, he was unable to control the nobles and was subsequently killed by Bedouins in a hunting trip in 309.
First Golden Era (309–379)
Following Hormizd II’s death, Arabs from the north started to ravage and plunder the eastern cities of the empire, even attacking the province of Fars, the birthplace of the Sassanid kings. Meanwhile, Persian nobles killed Hormizd II’s eldest son, blinded the second, and imprisoned the third (who later escaped to Roman territory). The throne was reserved for Shapur II, the unborn child of one of Hormizd II’s wives who was crowned in utero: the crown was placed upon his mother’s stomach.[47] During his youth the empire was controlled by his mother and the nobles. Upon Shapur II’s coming of age, he assumed power and quickly proved to be an active and effective ruler.
Shapur II first led his small but disciplined army south against the Arabs, whom he defeated, securing the southern areas of the empire.[48] He then started his first campaign against the Romans in the west, where Persian forces won a series of battles but were unable to make territorial gains due to the failure of repeated sieges of the key frontier city of Nisibis, and Roman success in retaking the cities of Singara and Amida, after they had fallen to the Persians.
These campaigns were halted by nomadic raids along the eastern borders of the empire, which threatened Transoxiana, a strategically critical area for control of the Silk Road. Shapur therefore marched east toward Transoxiana to meet the eastern nomads, leaving his local commanders to mount nuisance raids on the Romans.[49] He crushed the Central Asian tribes, and annexed the area as a new province. He completed the conquest of the area now known as Afghanistan.
Cultural expansion followed this victory, and Sassanid art penetrated Turkestan, reaching as far as China. Shapur, along with the nomad King Grumbates, started his second campaign against the Romans in 359 and soon succeeded in taking Singara and Amida again. In response, the Roman emperor Julian struck deep into Persian territory and defeated Shapur’s forces at Ctesiphon. He failed to take the capital, however, and was killed while trying to retreat to Roman territory.[50] His successor Jovian, trapped on the east bank of the Tigris, had to hand over all the provinces the Persians had ceded to Rome in 298, as well as Nisibis and Singara, to secure safe passage for his army out of Persia.
Shapur II pursued a harsh religious policy. Under his reign, the collection of the Avesta, the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, was completed, heresy and apostasy were punished, and Christians were persecuted. The latter was a reaction against the Christianization of the Roman Empire by Constantine the Great. Shapur II, like Shapur I, was amicable towards Jews, who lived in relative freedom and gained many advantages in his period (see also Raba). At the time of Shapur’s death, the Persian Empire was stronger than ever, with its enemies to the east pacified and Armenia under Persian control.[50]
Intermediate Era (379–498)

Bahram V is a great favorite inPersian literature and poetry. “Bahram and the Indian princess in the black pavilion.” Depiction of a Khamsa (Quintet) by the great Persian poetNizami, mid-16th-century Safavid era.
From Shapur II’s death until Kavadh I’s first coronation, there was a largely peaceful period with the Romans (by this time the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire), interrupted only by two brief wars, the first in 421–422 and the second in 440.[51][52][53][54][55] Throughout this era, Sassanid religious policy differed dramatically from king to king. Despite a series of weak leaders, the administrative system established during Shapur II’s reign remained strong, and the empire continued to function effectively.[51]
After Shapur II died in 379, he left a powerful empire to his half-brother Ardashir II (379–383; son of Vahram of Kushan) and his son Shapur III (383–388), neither of whom demonstrated his predecessor’s talent. Ardashir II, who was raised as the “half-brother” of the emperor, failed to fill his brother’s shoes, and Shapur III was too much of a melancholy character to achieve anything. Bahram IV (388–399), although not as inactive as his father, still failed to achieve anything important for the empire. During this time Armenia was divided by treaty between the Roman and Sassanid empires. The Sassanids reestablished their rule over Greater Armenia, while the Byzantine Empire held a small portion of western Armenia.
Bahram IV’s son Yazdegerd I (399–421) is often compared to Constantine I. Like him, he was powerful both physically and diplomatically. Much like his Roman counterpart, Yazdegerd I was opportunistic. Like Constantine the Great, Yazdegerd I practiced religious tolerance and provided freedom for the rise of religious minorities. He stopped the persecution against the Christians and even punished nobles and priests who persecuted them. His reign marked a relatively peaceful era. He made lasting peace with the Romans and even took the young Theodosius II (408–450) under his guardianship. He also married a Jewish princess who bore him a son called Narsi.
Yazdegerd I’s successor was his son Bahram V (421–438), one of the most well-known Sassanid kings and the hero of many myths. These myths persisted even after the destruction of the Sassanid empire by the Arabs. Bahram V, better known as Bahram-e Gur, gained the crown after Yazdegerd I’s sudden death (or assassination) against the opposition of the grandees with the help of al-Mundhir, the Arabic dynast of al-Hirah. Bahram V’s mother was Shushandukht, the daughter of the Jewish Exilarch. In 427, he crushed an invasion in the east by the nomadic Hephthalites, extending his influence into Central Asia, where his portrait survived for centuries on the coinage of Bukhara (in modern Uzbekistan). Bahram V deposed the vassal King of the Persian part of Armenia and made it a province.

Coin of Hormizd I, issued in Khorasan, and derived from Kushandesigns
Bahram V is a great favorite in Persian tradition, which relates many stories of his valor and beauty, of his victories over the Romans, Turkic peoples, Indians and Africans, and of his adventures in hunting and in love; he is called Bahram-e Gur, Gur meaning onager, on account of his love for hunting and, in particular, hunting onagers. He symbolized a king at the height of a golden age. He had won his crown by competing with his brother and spent time fighting foreign enemies, but mostly kept himself amused by hunting and court parties with his famous band of ladies and courtiers. He embodied royal prosperity. During his time, the best pieces of Sassanid literature were written, notable pieces of Sassanid music were composed, and sports such as polo became royal pastimes, a tradition that continues to this day in many kingdoms.[56]
Bahram V’s son Yazdegerd II (438–457) was a just, moderate ruler, but in contrast to Yazdegerd I, practiced a harsh policy towards minority religions, particularly Christianity.[57]However, by the 451 Battle of Avarayr, the Armenian subjects led by Vardan Mamikonian managed to affirm Armenia’s right to profess Christianity freely.[58][59] This was to be later confirmed by the Nvarsak Treaty (484).
At the beginning of his reign, Yazdegerd II gathered a mixed army of various nations, including his Indian allies, and attacked the Eastern Roman Empire in 441, but peace was soon restored after small-scale fighting. He then gathered his forces in Nishapur in 443 and launched a prolonged campaign against the Kidarites. Finally, after a number of battles, he crushed the Kidarites and drove them out beyond the Oxus river in 450.[60]
During his eastern campaign, Yazdegerd II grew suspicious of the Christians in the army and expelled them all from the governing body and army. He then persecuted the Christians and, to a much lesser extent, the Jews.[61] In order to reestablish Zoroastrianism in Armenia, he crushed an uprising of Armenian Christians at the Battle of Vartanantz in 451. The Armenians, however, remained primarily Christian. In his later years, he was engaged yet again with Kidarites until his death in 457. Hormizd III (457–459), younger son of Yazdegerd II, ascended to the throne. During his short rule, he continually fought with his elder brother Peroz I, who had the support of nobility,[61] and with the Hephthalites in Bactria. He was killed by his brother Peroz in 459.

A coin of Yazdegerd II
In the beginning of the 5th century, the Hephthalites (White Huns), along with other nomadic groups, attacked Persia. At first Bahram V and Yazdegerd II inflicted decisive defeats against them and drove them back eastward. The Huns returned at the end of the 5th century and defeated Peroz I (457–484) in 483. Following this victory, the Huns invaded and plundered parts of eastern Persia for two years. They exacted heavy tribute for some years thereafter.
These attacks brought instability and chaos to the kingdom. Peroz I tried again to drive out the Hephthalites, but on the way to Herat, he and his army were trapped by the Huns in the desert; Peroz I was killed, and his army was wiped out. After this victory, the Hephthalites advanced forward to the city of Herat, throwing the empire into chaos. Eventually, a noble Iranian from the old family of Karen, Sukhra, restored some degree of order. He raised Balash, one of Peroz I’s brothers, to the throne, although the Hunnic threat persisted until the reign of Khosrau I. Balash (484–488) was a mild and generous monarch, who made concessions to the Christians; however, he took no action against the empire’s enemies, particularly, the White Huns. Balash, after a reign of four years, was blinded and deposed (attributed to magnates), and his nephew Kavadh I was raised to the throne.
Kavadh I (488–531) was an energetic and reformist ruler. Kavadh I gave his support to the sect founded by Mazdak, son of Bamdad, who demanded that the rich should divide their wives and their wealth with the poor. His intention evidently was, by adopting the doctrine of the Mazdakites, to break the influence of the magnates and the growing aristocracy. These reforms led to his being deposed and imprisoned in the “Castle of Oblivion” in Susa, and his younger brother Jamasp (Zamaspes), was raised to the throne in 496. Kavadh I, however, escaped in 498 and was given refuge by the White Hun king.
Djamasp (496–498) was installed on the Sassanid throne upon the deposition of Kavadh I by members of the nobility. Djamasp was a good and kind king, and he reduced taxes in order to relieve the peasants and the poor. He was also an adherent of the mainstream Zoroastrian religion, diversions from which had cost Kavadh I his throne and freedom. His reign soon ended when Kavadh I, at the head of a large army granted to him by the Hephthalite king, returned to the empire’s capital. Djamasp stepped down from his position and restored the throne to his brother. No further mention of Djamasp is made after the restoration of Kavadh I, but it is widely believed that he was treated favorably at the court of his brother.[62]
Second Golden Era (498–622)
The second golden era began after the second reign of Kavadh I. With the support of the Hephtalites, Kavadh I launched a campaign against the Romans. In 502, he took Theodosiopolis in Armenia, but lost it soon afterwards. In 503 he took Amida on the Tigris. In 504, an invasion of Armenia by the western Huns from the Caucasus led to an armistice, the return of Amida to Roman control and a peace treaty in 506. In 521/522 Kavadh lost control of Lazica, whose rulers switched their allegiance to the Romans; an attempt by the Iberians in 524/525 to do likewise triggered a war between Rome and Persia.
In 527, a Roman offensive against Nisibis was repulsed and Roman efforts to fortify positions near the frontier were thwarted. In 530, Kavadh sent an army under Perozes to attack the important Roman frontier city of Dara. The army was met by the Roman generalBelisarius, and though superior in numbers, was defeated at the Battle of Dara. In the same year, a second Persian army under Mihr-Mihroe was defeated at Satala by Roman forces under Sittas and Dorotheus, but in 531 a Persian army accompanied by aLakhmid contingent under Al-Mundhir III defeated Belisarius at the Battle of Callinicum, and in 532 an “eternal” peace was concluded.[63] Although he could not free himself from the yoke of the Hephthalites, Kavadh succeeded in restoring order in the interior and fought with general success against the Eastern Romans, founded several cities, some of which were named after him, and began to regulate the taxation and internal administration.

Hunting scene on a gilded silverbowl showing king Khosrau I
After Kavadh I, his son Khosrau I, also known as Anushirvan (“with the immortal soul”; ruled 531–579), ascended to the throne. He is the most celebrated of the Sassanid rulers. Khosrau I is most famous for his reforms in the aging governing body of Sassanids. He introduced a rational system of taxation based upon a survey of landed possessions, which his father had begun, and he tried in every way to increase the welfare and the revenues of his empire. Previous great feudal lords fielded their own military equipment, followers, and retainers. Khosrau I developed a new force of dehqans, or “knights”, paid and equipped by the central government[64] and the bureaucracy, tying the army and bureaucracy more closely to the central government than to local lords.[65]
Emperor Justinian I (527–565) paid Khosrau I 440,000 pieces of gold as a part of the “eternal peace” treaty of 532. In 540, Khosrau broke the treaty and invaded Syria, sacking Antioch and extorting large sums of money from a number of other cities. Further successes followed: in 541 Lazica defected to the Persian side, and in 542 a major Byzantine offensive in Armenia was defeated at Anglon. In the same year of 541, upon requests of the Lazic king, king Khosrau I, entered Lazica, captured the Byzantine main stronghold of Petra, and established another protectorate over the country,[66] commencing the Lazic War. A five-year truce agreed to in 545 was interrupted in 547 when Lazica again switched sides and eventually expelled its Persian garrison with Byzantine help; the war resumed but remained confined to Lazica, which was retained by the Byzantines when peace was concluded in 562.
In 565, Justinian I died and was succeeded by Justin II (565–578), who resolved to stop subsidies to Arab chieftains to restrain them from raiding Byzantine territory in Syria. A year earlier, the Sassanid governor of Armenia,Chihor-Vishnasp of the Suren family, built a fire temple at Dvin near modern Yerevan, and he put to death an influential member of the Mamikonian family, touching off a revolt which led to the massacre of the Persian governor and his guard in 571, while rebellion also broke out in Iberia. Justin II took advantage of the Armenian revolt to stop his yearly payments to Khosrau I for the defense of the Caucasus passes.
The Armenians were welcomed as allies, and an army was sent into Sassanid territory which besieged Nisibis in 573. However, dissension among the Byzantine generals not only led to an abandonment of the siege, but they in turn were besieged in the city of Dara, which was taken by the Persians who then ravaged Syria, causing Justin II to agree to make annual payments in exchange for a five-year truce on the Mesopotamian front, although the war continued elsewhere. In 576 Khosrau I led his last campaign, an offensive into Anatolia which sacked Sebasteia and Melitene, but ended in disaster: defeated outside Melitene, the Persians suffered heavy losses as they fled across the Euphrates under Byzantine attack. Taking advantage of Persian disarray, the Byzantines raided deep into Khosrau’s territory, even mounting amphibious attacks across the Caspian Sea. Khosrau sued for peace, but he decided to continue the war after a victory by his general Tamkhosrau in Armenia in 577, and fighting resumed in Mesopotamia. The Armenian revolt came to an end with a general amnesty, which brought Armenia back into the Sassanid Empire.[64]
Around 570, “Ma ‘d-Karib”, half-brother of the King of Yemen, requested Khosrau I’s intervention. Khosrau I sent a fleet and a small army under a commander called Vahriz to the area near present Aden, and they marched against the capital San’a’l, which was occupied. Saif, son of Mard-Karib, who had accompanied the expedition, became King sometime between 575 and 577. Thus, the Sassanids were able to establish a base in south Arabia to control the sea trade with the east. Later, the south Arabian kingdom renounced Sassanid overlordship, and another Persian expedition was sent in 598 that successfully annexed southern Arabia as a Sassanid province, which lasted until the time of troubles after Khosrau II.[64]
Khosrau I’s reign witnessed the rise of the dihqans (literally, village lords), the petty landholding nobility who were the backbone of later Sassanid provincial administration and the tax collection system.[67] Khosrau I was a great builder, embellishing his capital, founding new towns, and constructing new buildings. He rebuilt the canals and restocked the farms destroyed in the wars. He built strong fortifications at the passes and placed subject tribes in carefully chosen towns on the frontiers to act as guardians against invaders. He was tolerant of all religions, though he decreed that Zoroastrianism should be the official state religion, and was not unduly disturbed when one of his sons became a Christian.
After Khosrau I, Hormizd IV (579–590) took the throne. The war with the Byzantines continued to rage intensely but inconclusively until the general Bahram Chobin, dismissed and humiliated by Hormizd, rose in revolt in 589. The following year, Hormizd was overthrown by a palace coup and his son Khosrau II (590–628) placed on the throne. However, this change of ruler failed to placate Bahram, who defeated Khosrau, forcing him to flee to Byzantine territory, and seized the throne for himself as Bahram VI. Khosrau asked the Byzantine Emperor Maurice (582–602) for assistance against Bahram, offering to cede the western Caucasus to the Byzantines. To cement the alliance, Khosrau also married Maurice’s daughter Miriam. Under the command of Khosrau and the Byzantine generals Narses and John Mystacon, the new combined Byzantine-Persian army raised a rebellion against Bahram, defeating him at the Battle of Blarathon in 591. When Khosrau was subsequently restored to power he kept his promise, handing over control of western Armenia and Caucasian Iberia. The new peace arrangement allowed the two empires to focus on military matters elsewhere: Khosrau expanded the Sassanid Empire’s eastern frontier while Maurice restored Byzantine control of the Balkans.
After Maurice was overthrown and killed by Phocas (602–610) in 602, however, Khosrau II used the murder of his benefactor as a pretext to begin a new invasion, which benefited from continuing civil war in the Byzantine Empire and met little effective resistance. Khosrau’s generals systematically subdued the heavily fortified frontier cities of Byzantine Mesopotamia and Armenia, laying the foundations for unprecedented expansion. The Persians overran Syria and captured Antioch in 611.
In 613, outside Antioch, the Persian generals Shahrbaraz and Shahin decisively defeated a major counter-attack led in person by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. Thereafter, the Persian advance continued unchecked. Jerusalem fell in 614, Alexandria in 619, and the rest of Egypt by 621. The Sassanid dream of restoring the Achaemenid boundaries was almost complete, while the Byzantine Empire was on the verge of collapse. This remarkable peak of expansion was paralleled by a blossoming of Persian art, music, andarchitecture.
Decline and fall (622–651)

The Siege of Constantinople in 626 by the combined Sassanid, Avar, and Slavic forces depicted on the murals of the Moldovița Monastery, Romania
Main articles: Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628, Fall of the Sasanian Empire, and Muslim conquest of Persia
While successful at first glance, the campaign of Khosrau II had actually exhausted the Persian army and Persian treasuries. In an effort to rebuild the national treasuries, Khosrau overtaxed the population. Thus, seeing the opportunity, Heraclius (610–641) drew on all his diminished and devastated empire’s remaining resources, reorganized his armies, and mounted a remarkable counter-offensive. Between 622 and 627, he campaigned against the Persians in Anatolia and the Caucasus, winning a string of victories against Persian forces under Khosrau, Shahrbaraz, Shahin, and Shahraplakan, sacking the great Zoroastrian temple at Ganzak, and securing assistance from the Khazars and Western Turkic Khaganate.

Queen Boran, daughter ofKhosrau II, the last woman and one of the last rulers on the throne of the Sasanian Empire, she reigned from 17 June 629 to 16 June 630
In 626, the Byzantine capital of Constantinople was besieged by the combined Persian, Slavic, and Avar forces. The Sassanids led by Shahrbaraz attacked the city the eastern side of the Bosphorus, while the Avar and Slavic allies invaded from the western side. Attempts to ferry the Persian forces across to aid their Slavic and Avar allies, the former being by far the strongest in siege power, were blocked by the Byzantine fleet who heavily guarded the Bosphorus and the siege ended in failure. In 627-628, Heraclius mounted a winter invasion of Mesopotamia and, despite the departure of his Khazar allies, defeated a Persian army commanded by Rhahzadh in the Battle of Nineveh. He then marched down the Tigris, devastating the country and sacking Khosrau’s palace at Dastagerd. He was prevented from attacking Ctesiphon by the destruction of the bridges on the Nahrawan Canaland conducted further raids before withdrawing up the Diyala into north-western Iran.[68]
The impact of Heraclius’s victories, the devastation of the richest territories of the Sassanid Empire, and the humiliating destruction of high-profile targets such as Ganzak and Dastagerd fatally undermined Khosrau’s prestige and his support among the Persian aristocracy. In early 628, he was overthrown and murdered by his son Kavadh II (628), who immediately brought an end to the war, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territories. In 629, Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in a majestic ceremony.[68] Kavadh died within months, and chaos and civil war followed. Over a period of four years and five successive kings, including two daughters of Khosrau II and spahbed Shahrbaraz, the Sassanid Empire weakened considerably. The power of the central authority passed into the hands of the generals. It would take several years for a strong king to emerge from a series of coups, and the Sassanids never had time to recover fully.[67]

Extent of the Sasanian Empire in 632
In early 632, a grandson of Khosrau I who had lived in hiding in Estakhr, Yazdegerd III, ascended the throne. The same year, the first raiders from the Arab tribes, newly united by Islam, arrived in Persian territory. According to Howard-Johnston, years of warfare had exhausted both the Byzantines and the Persians. The Sassanids were further weakened by economic decline, heavy taxation, religious unrest, rigid social stratification, the increasing power of the provincial landholders, and a rapid turnover of rulers, facilitating the Islamic conquest of Persia.[69]
The Sassanids never mounted a truly effective resistance to the pressure applied by the initial Arab armies. Yazdegerd was a boy at the mercy of his advisers and incapable of uniting a vast country crumbling into small feudal kingdoms, despite the fact that the Byzantines, under similar pressure from the newly expansive Arabs, no longer threatened. Caliph Abu Bakr’s commander Khalid ibn Walid, once one of Muhammad’s chosen companions-in-arms and leader of the Arab army, moved to capture Iraq in a series of lightning battles. Redeployed to the Syrian front against the Byzantines in June 634, Khalid’s successor in Iraq failed him, and Muslims were defeated in the Battle of the Bridge in 634, which resulted in a Sassanid victory. However, the Arab threat did not stop there and reappeared shortly from the disciplined armies of Khalid ibn Walid.
In 637, a Muslim army under the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattāb defeated a larger Persian force led by general Rostam Farrokhzad at the plains of al-Qādisiyyah and advanced on Ctesiphon, which fell after a prolonged siege. Yazdegerd fled eastward from Ctesiphon, leaving behind him most of the Empire’s vast treasury. The Arabs captured Ctesiphon shortly afterward, acquiring a powerful financial resource and leaving the Sassanid government strapped for funds. A number of Sassanid governors attempted to combine their forces to throw back the invaders, but the effort was crippled by the lack of a strong central authority, and the governors were defeated at the Battle of Nihawānd. The empire, with its military command structure non-existent, its non-noble troop levies decimated, its financial resources effectively destroyed, and the Asawaran (Azatan) knightly caste destroyed piecemeal, was now utterly helpless in the face of the invaders.
Upon hearing of the defeat in Nihawānd, Yazdegerd along with Farrukhzad and with some of the Persian nobles fled further inland to the eastern province of Khorasan. Yazdegerd was assassinated by a miller in Merv in late 651, while some of the nobles settled inCentral Asia, where they contributed greatly to spreading Persian culture and language in those regions and to the establishment of the first native Iranian Islamic dynasty, the Samanid dynasty, which sought to revive Sassanid traditions.
The abrupt fall of the Sassanid Empire was completed in a period of five years, and most of its territory was absorbed into the Islamic caliphate; however, many Iranian cities resisted and fought against the invaders several times. Islamic caliphates repeatedly suppressed revolts in cities such as Rey, Isfahan, and Hamadan.[70] The local population was initially under little pressure to convert to Islam, remaining as dhimmi subjects of the Muslim state and paying a jizya.[71] Jizya practically replaced poll taxes imposed by the Sassanids. In addition, the old Sassanid “land tax” (known in Arabic as Kharaj) was also adopted. Caliph Umar is said to have occasionally set up a commission to survey the taxes, to judge if they were more than the land could bear.[72] Conversion of the Persian population to Islam would take place gradually, particularly as Persian-speaking elites attempted to gain positions of prestige under the Abbasid Caliphate.
It is believed that the following dynasties and noble-families have ancestors among the Sassanian rulers:
• The Dabuyid dynasty (642–760) descendant of Djamasp.[73]
• The Paduspanids (665-1598) of Mazandaran, descendant of Djamasp.[74]
• The Shahs of Shirwan (1100–1382) from Hormizd IV’s line.[75]
• The Banu Munajjim (9th-10th century) from Mihr Gushnasp, an Sasanian prince.
• The Kamkarian family (9th-10th century) a dehqan family descended from Yazdegerd III.
• The Mikalids (9th-11th century) a family descended from the Sogdian ruler Divashtich, who was in turn a descendant of Bahram V Gur.
The Sassanids established an empire roughly within the frontiers achieved by the Parthian Arsacids, with the capital at Ctesiphon in the Asoristan province. In administering this empire, Sassanid rulers took the title of shahanshah (King of Kings), becoming the central overlords and also assumed guardianship of the sacred fire, the symbol of the national religion. This symbol is explicit on Sassanid coins where the reigning monarch, with his crown and regalia of office, appears on the obverse, backed by the sacred fire, the symbol of the national religion, on the coin’s reverse.[76] Sassanid queens had the title of Banbishnan banbishn (Queen of Queens).
On a smaller scale, the territory might also be ruled by a number of petty rulers from a noble family, known as shahrdar, overseen directly by the shahanshah. The districts of the provinces were ruled by a shahrab and a mowbed (chief priest). The mowbed’s job was to deal with estates and other things relating to legal matters. [77] Sasanian rule was characterized by considerable centralization, ambitious urban planning, agricultural development, and technological improvements.[67] Below the king, a powerful bureaucracy carried out much of the affairs of government; the head of the bureaucracy was the wuzurg framadar (vizier or prime minister). Within this bureaucracy the Zoroastrian priesthood was immensely powerful. The head of the Magi priestly class, the mowbedan mowbed, along with the commander-in-chief, the spahbed, the head of traders and merchants syndicate Ho Tokhshan Bod and minister of agriculture (wastaryoshan-salar), who was also head of farmers, were, below the emperor, the most powerful men of the Sassanid state.[78]
The Sassanian rulers always considered the advice of their ministers. A Muslim historian, Masudi, praised the “excellent administration of the Sasanian kings, their well-ordered policy, their care for their subjects, and the prosperity of their domains”. In normal times, the monarchical office was hereditary, but might be transferred by the king to a younger son; in two instances the supreme power was held by queens. When no direct heir was available, the nobles and prelates chose a ruler, but their choice was restricted to members of the royal family.[79]
The Sasanian nobility was a mixture of old Parthian clans, Persian aristocratic families, and noble families from subjected territories. Many new noble families had risen after the dissolution of the Parthian dynasty, while several of the once-dominant Seven Parthian clans remained of high importance. At the court of Ardashir I, the old Arsacid families of the House of Karen and the House of Suren, along with several other families, the Varazes and Andigans, held positions of great honor. Alongside these Iranian and non-Iranian noble families, the kings of Merv, Abarshahr, Carmania, Sakastan, Iberia, and Adiabene, who are mentioned as holding positions of honor amongst the nobles, appeared at the court of the shahanshah. Indeed, the extensive domains of the Surens, Karens and Varazes, had become part of the original Sassanid state as semi-independent states. Thus, the noble families that attended at the court of the Sassanid empire continued to be ruling lines in their own right, although subordinate to the shahanshah.
In general, Wuzurgan from Iranian families held the most powerful positions in the imperial administration, including governorships of border provinces (marzban). Most of these positions were patrimonial, and many were passed down through a single family for generations. The marzbans of greatest seniority were permitted a silver throne, while marzbans of the most strategic border provinces, such as the Caucasus province, were allowed a golden throne.[80] In military campaigns, the regional marzbans could be regarded as field marshals, while lesser spahbeds could command a field army.[81]
Culturally, the Sassanids implemented a system of social stratification. This system was supported by Zoroastrianism, which was established as the state religion. Other religions appear to have been largely tolerated, although this claim has been debated.[82]Sassanid emperors consciously sought to resuscitate Persian traditions and to obliterate Greek cultural influence.[67]
Sasanian military
Main article: Military of the Sasanian Empire

Sasanian army helmet
The active army of the Sassanid Empire originated from Ardashir I, the first shahanshah of the empire. Ardashir restored the Achaemenid military organizations, retained the Parthian cavalry model, and employed new types of armour and siege warfare techniques.
Role of priests
The relationship between priests and warriors was important, because the concept of Ērānshahr had been revived by the priests. Without this relationship, the Sassanid Empire would not have survived in its beginning stages. Because of this relationship between the warriors and the priests, religion and state were considered inseparable in the Zoroastrian religion. However, it is this same relationship that caused the weakening of the Empire, when each group tried to impose their power onto the other. Disagreements between the priests and the warriors led to fragmentation within the empire, which led to its downfall.[83]
The Paygan formed the bulk of the Sassanid infantry, and were often recruited from the peasant population. Each unit was headed by an officer called a “Paygan-salar,” which meant “commander of the infantry” and their main task was to guard the baggage train, serve as pages to the Asvaran (a higher rank), storm fortification walls, undertake entrenchment projects, and excavate mines.[84]
Those serving in the infantry were fitted with shields and lances. To make the size of their army larger, the Sassanids added soldiers provided by the Medes and the Dailamites to their own. The Medes provided the Sassanid army with high-quality javelin throwers, slingers and heavy infantry. Iranian infantry are described by Ammianus Marcellinus as “armed like gladiators” and “obey orders like so many horse-boys”.[85] The Dailamite people also served as infantry and were Iranian people who lived mainly within Gilan, Iranian Azerbaijan and Mazandaran. They are reported as having fought with weapons such as daggers, swords and javelins and reputed to have been recognized by Romans for their skills and hardiness in close-quarter combat. One account of Dailamites recounted their participation in an invasion of Yemen where 800 of them were led by the Dailamite officer Vahriz.[84] Vahriz would eventually defeat the Arab forces in Yemen and its capital Sana’a making it a Sasanian vassal until the invasion of Persia by Arabs.[86]
The Sasanian navy was an important constituent of the Sasanian military from the time that Ardashir I conquered the Arab side of the Persian gulf. Because controlling the Persian gulf was an economic necessity, the Sasanian navy worked to keep it safe from piracy, prevent Roman encroachment, and keep the Arab tribes from getting hostile. However, it is believed by many historians that the naval force could not have been a strong one, as the men serving in the navy were those who were confined in prisons.[87] The leader of the navy bore the title of nāvbed.[88]

A Sassanid king posing as an armored cavalryman, Taq-e Bostan, Iran
The cavalry used during the Sassanid Empire were two types of heavy cavalry units: Clibanarii and Cataphracts. The first cavalry force, composed of elite noblemen trained since youth for military service, was supported by light cavalry, infantry and archers.[89] Mercenaries and tribal people of the empire, including the Turks, Kushans, Sarmatians, Khazars, Georgians, and Armenians were included in these first cavalry units. The second cavalry involved the use of the war elephants. In fact, it was their specialty to deploy elephants as cavalry support.
Unlike the Parthians, the Sassanids developed advanced siege engines. The development of siege weapons was a useful weapon during conflicts with Rome, in which success hinged upon the ability to seize cities and other fortified points; conversely, the Sassanids also developed a number of techniques for defending their own cities from attack. The Sassanid army was much like the preceding Parthian army, although some of the Sassanid’s heavy cavalry were equipped with lances, while Parthian armies were heavily equipped with bows.[90] The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus’s description of Shapur II’s clibanarii cavalry manifestly shows how heavily equipped it was, and how only a portion were spear equipped:
“ All the companies were clad in iron, and all parts of their bodies were covered with thick plates, so fitted that the stiff-joints conformed with those of their limbs; and the forms of human faces were so skillfully fitted to their heads, that since their entire body was covered with metal, arrows that fell upon them could lodge only where they could see a little through tiny openings opposite the pupil of the eye, or where through the tip of their nose they were able to get a little breath. Of these, some who were armed with pikes, stood so motionless that you would have thought them held fast by clamps of bronze. ”
Horsemen in the Sassanid cavalry lacked a stirrup. Instead, they used a war saddle which had a cantle at the back and two guard clamps which curved across the top of the rider’s thighs. This allowed the horsemen to stay in the saddle at all times during the battle, especially during violent encounters.[91]
The Byzantine emperor Maurikios also emphasizes in his Strategikon that many of the Sassanid heavy cavalry did not carry spears, relying on their bows as their primary weapons. However the Taq-i Bustan reliefs and Al-Tabari’s famed list of equipment required for dihqan knights which included the lance, provide a contrast. What is certain is that the horseman’s paraphernalia was extensive.
The amount of money involved in maintaining a warrior of the Asawaran (Azatan) knightly caste required a small estate, and the Asawaran (Azatan) knightly caste received that from the throne, and in return, were the throne’s most notable defenders in time of war.
Relations with neighboring regimes
See also: Roman relations with the Parthians and Sassanids, Roman-Persian Wars, and Byzantine-Sassanid Wars
Frequent warfare with the Romans and to a lesser extent others

A fine cameo showing an equestrian combat of Shapur I and Byzantine emperor Valerian in which the Roman emperor is seized following the Battle of Edessa, according to Shapur’s own statement, “with our own hand”, in year 256
The Sassanids, like the Parthians, were in constant hostilities with the Roman Empire. The Sassanids, who thus succeeded the Parthians, were recognized as one of the leading world powers alongside its neighboring arch rival the Roman-Byzantine Empire, for a period of more than 400 years.[15][16][17] Following the division of the Roman Empire in 395, the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire), with its capital at Constantinople, continue as Persia’s principal western enemy, and main enemy in general. Hostilities between the two empires became more frequent.[67] The Sassanids, similar to the Roman Empire, were in a constant state of conflict with neighboring kingdoms and nomadic hordes. Although the threat of nomadic incursions could never be fully resolved, the Sassanids generally dealt much more successfully with these matters than did the Romans, due to their policy of making coordinated campaigns against threatening nomads.[92]
The last of the many and frequent wars with the Byzantines, the climactic Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628, which included the siege of the Byzantine capital Constantinople, ended with both rivalling sides having drastically exhausted their human and material resources. Furthermore, social conflict within the Empire had considerably weakened it even further.[93][94] Consequently, they were vulnerable to the sudden emergence of the IslamicRashidun Caliphate, whose forces invaded both empires only a few years after the war. The Muslim forces swiftly conquered the entire Sasanian Empire and deprived the Byzantine Empire of its territories in the Levant, the Caucasus, Egypt, and North Africa. Over the following centuries, half the Byzantine Empire and the entire Sasanian Empire came under Muslim rule.
In general, over the span of the centuries, in the west, Sassanid territory abutted that of the large and stable Roman state, but to the east, its nearest neighbors were the Kushan Empire and nomadic tribes such as the White Huns. The construction of fortifications such as Tus citadel or the city of Nishapur, which later became a center of learning and trade, also assisted in defending the eastern provinces from attack.
In south and central Arabia, Bedouin Arab tribes occasionally raided the Sassanid empire. The Kingdom of Al-Hirah, a Sassanid vassal kingdom, was established to form a buffer zone between the empire’s heartland and the Bedouin tribes. The dissolution of the Kingdom of Al-Hirah by Khosrau II in 602, contributed greatly to decisive Sassanid defeats suffered against Bedouin Arabs later in the century. These defeats resulted in a sudden takeover of the Sassanid empire by Bedouin tribes under the Islamic banner.

Sassanian fortress in Derbent,Dagestan. Now inscribed on Russia’sUNESCO world heritage list since 2003.
In the north, Khazars and other Turkic nomads frequently assaulted the northern provinces of the empire. They plundered Media in 634. Shortly thereafter, the Persian army defeated them and drove them out. The Sassanids built numerous fortifications in the Caucasus region to halt these attacks, of which perhaps the most notably are the imposing fortifications built in Derbent (Dagestan, North Caucasus, now a part of Russia) that to a large extent, have remained intact up to this day.
On the eastern side of the Caspian Sea, the Sassanians erected the Great Wall of Gorgan, a 200 km-long defensive structure probably aimed to protect the empire from northern peoples, such as the White Huns.
War with Axum
Main article: Ethiopian–Persian wars

Egyptian woven pattern woolen curtain or trousers, which was a copy of a Sassanid silk import, which was in turn based on a fresco of King Khosrau II fighting Axum Ethiopian forces inYemen, 5–6th century
In 522, before Khosrau’s reign, a group of monophysite Axumites led an attack on the dominant Himyarites of southern Arabia. The local Arab leader was able to resist the attack but appealed to the Sassanians for aid, while the Axumites subsequently turned towards the Byzantines for help. The Axumites sent another force across the Red Sea and this time successfully killed the Arab leader and replaced him with an Axumite man to be king of the region.[95]
In 531, Justinian suggested that the Axumites of Yemen should cut out the Persians from Indian trade by maritime trade with the Indians. The Ethiopians never met this request because an Axumite general named Abraha took control of the Yemenite throne and created an independent nation.[95] After Abraha’s death one of his sons, Ma’d-Karib, went into exile while his half-brother took the throne. After being denied by Justinian, Ma’d-Karib sought help from Khosrau, who sent a small fleet and army under commander Vahriz to depose the new king of Yemen. After capturing the capital city San’a’l, Ma’d-Karib’s son, Saif, was put on the throne.[95]
Justinian was ultimately responsible for Sassanian maritime presence in Yemen. By not providing the Yemenite Arabs support, Khosrau was able to help Ma’d-Karib and subsequently established Yemen as a principality of the Sassanian Empire.[96]
Relations with China
Main article: Iran-China relations
Like their predecessors the Parthians, the Sassanid Empire carried out active foreign relations with China, and ambassadors from Persia frequently traveled to China. Chinese documents report on thirteen Sassanid embassies to China. Commercially, land and sea trade with China was important to both the Sassanid and Chinese Empires. Large numbers of Sassanid coins have been found in southern China, confirming maritime trade.
On different occasions, Sassanid kings sent their most talented Persian musicians and dancers to the Chinese imperial court at Luoyang during the Jin and Northern Wei dynasties, and to Chang’an during the Sui and Tangdynasties. Both empires benefited from trade along the Silk Road and shared a common interest in preserving and protecting that trade. They cooperated in guarding the trade routes through central Asia, and both built outposts in border areas to keep caravans safe from nomadic tribes and bandits.
Politically, there is evidence of several Sassanid and Chinese efforts in forging alliances against the common enemy, the Hephthalites. Upon the rise of the nomadic Göktürks in Inner Asia, there is also what looks like a collaboration between China and Sassanid to defuse Turkic advances. Documents from Mt. Mogh talk about the presence of a Chinese general in the service of the king of Sogdiana at the time of the Arab invasions.
Following the invasion of Iran by Muslim Arabs, Peroz III, son of Yazdegerd III, escaped along with a few Persian nobles and took refuge in the Chinese imperial court. Both Peroz and his son Narsieh (Chinese neh-shie) were given high titles at the Chinese court. On at least two occasions, the last possibly in 670, Chinese troops were sent with Peroz in order to restore him to the Sassanid throne with mixed results, one possibly ending in a short rule of Peroz in Sakastan), from which we have a few remaining numismatic evidences. Narsieh later attained the position of a commander of the Chinese imperial guards, and his descendants lived in China as respected princes. The sister of the Sassanian Prince Peroz III was married into the imperial court, which allowed Sassanian refugees fleeing from the Arab conquest to settle in China.[97] The Emperor of China at this time was Emperor Gaozong of Tang.
Relations with India
Main article: Indo-Sasanians

Coin of the Indo-Sassanidkushansha Varhran I (early 4th century)
Obv: King Varhran I with characteristic head-dress
Rev: Shiva and bull
Following the conquest of Iran and neighboring regions, Shapur I extended his authority eastwards into the northwestern Indian subcontinent (Pakistan and Afghanistan). The previously autonomous Kushans were obliged to accept his suzerainty. These were the western Kushans with control of Afghanistan while the eastern Kushans were still active in India. Although the Kushan empire declined at the end of the 3rd century, to be replaced by the Indian Gupta Empire in the 4th century, it is clear that the Sassanids remained relevant in India’s northwest throughout this period.
Persia and northwestern India, the latter that made up formerly part of the Kushans, engaged in cultural as well as political intercourse during this period, as certain Sassanid practices spread into the Kushan territories. In particular, the Kushans were influenced by the Sassanid conception of kingship, which spread through the trade of Sassanid silverware and textiles depicting emperors hunting or dispensing justice.
This cultural interchange did not, however, spread Sassanid religious practices or attitudes to the Kushans. While the Sassanids always adhered to a stated policy of religious proselytization, and sporadically engaged in persecution or forced conversion of minority religions, the Kushans preferred to adopt a policy of religious tolerance.
Lower-level cultural interchanges also took place between India and Persia during this period. For example, Persians imported chess from India and changed the game’s name from chaturanga to chatrang. In exchange, Persians introduced backgammon to India.
During Khosrau I’s reign, many books were brought from India and translated into Pahlavi, the language of the Sassanid Empire. Some of these later found their way into the literature of the Islamic world. A notable example of this was the translation of the Indian Panchatantra by one of Khosrau’s ministers, Borzuya. This translation, known as the Kelileh va Demneh, later made its way into Arabia and Europe.[98] The details of Burzoe’s legendary journey to India and his daring acquisition of the Panchatantra are written in full details in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, which says:
“ In Indian books, Borzuya read that on a mountain in that land there grows a plant which when sprinkled over the dead revives them. Borzuya asked Khosrau I for permission to travel to India to obtain the plant. After a fruitless search, he was led to an ascetic who revealed the secret of the plant to him: The “plant” was word, the “mountain” learning, and the “dead” the ignorant. He told Borzuya of a book, the remedy of ignorance, called the Kalila, which was kept in a treasure chamber. The king of India gave Borzuya permission to read the Kalila, provided that he did not make a copy of it. Borzuya accepted the condition but each day memorized a chapter of the book. When he returned to his room he would record what he had memorized that day, thus creating a copy of the book, which he sent to Iran. In Iran, Bozorgmehr translated the book into Pahlavi and, at Borzuya’s request, named the first chapter after him.[99]

Urbanism and Nomadism
In contrast to Parthian society, the Sassanids renewed emphasis on a charismatic and centralized government. In Sassanid theory, the ideal society could maintain stability and justice, and the necessary instrument for this was a strong monarch.[100] Thus, the Sasanians aimed to be an urban empire, which were quite successful at. During the late Sasanian period, Mesopotamia had the largest population density in the medieval world.[101] This can be credited to, among other things, the Sasanians founding and re-founding a number of cities, which is talked about in the surviving Middle Persian text Šahrestānīhā ī Ērānšahr (the provincial capitals of Iran).[101] Ardashir I himself built and re-built many cities, which he named after himself, such as Veh-Ardashir in Asoristan,Ardashir-Khwarrah in Pars and Vahman-Ardashir in Meshan. During the Sasanian period, many cities with the name “Iran-khwarrah” were established. This was because Sasanians wanted to revive Avesta ideology.[101]
Many of these cities, both new and old, were populated not only by native ethnic groups, such as the Iranians or Assyrians, but also by Roman prisoners of war, such as Goths, Slavs, Latins, and others.[101] Many of these prisoners were experienced workers, who were used to build things such as cities, bridges, and dams. This allowed the Sasanians to become familiar with Roman technology. The impact these foreigners made on the economy was very important, but many of them were Christians, they helped accelerate the spread of the religion throughout the empire.[101]
Unlike the amount of information about the settled people of the Sasanian Empire, there is little about the nomadic/unsettled ones. It is known that they were called “Kurds” by the Sasanians, and that they regularly served the Sasanian military. Particularly theDailamite and Gilani nomads. This way of handling the nomads continued into the Islamic period, where the service of the Dailamites and Gilanis continued unabated.[102]

Bust of a Sasanian king, most likely Shapur II.
The head of the Sasanian Empire was the shahanshah (king of kings), also simply known as the shah (king). His health and welfare was always important and the phrase “May you be immortal” was used to reply to him with. By looking on the Sasanian coins which appeared from the 6th-century and afterwards, a moon and sun is noticeable. The meaning of the moon and sun, in the words of the Iranian historian Touraj Daryaee, “suggest that the king was at the center of the world and the sun and moon revolved around him. In effect he was the “king of the four corners of the world,” which was an old Mesopotamian idea.”[103] The king saw all other rulers, such as the Romans, Turks, and Chinese, as being beneath him. The king wore colorful clothes, makeup, a heavy crown, while his beard was decorated with gold. The early Sasanian kings considered themselves of divine descent; they called themselves for “bay” (divine).[104]
When the king went to the publicity, he was hidden behind a curtain,[103] and had some of his men in front of him, whose duty was to keep the masses away from the king and to make his way clear.[105] When one came to the king, he/she had to prostrate before him, also known as proskynesis. The king was guarded by a group of royal guards, known as the pushtigban. On other occasions, the king was protected by a group of palace guards, known as the darigan. Both of these groups were enlisted from royal families of the Sasanian Empire,[105] and were under the command of the hazarbed, who was in charge of the king’s safety, controlled the entrance of the kings palace, presented visitors to the king, and was allowed to be given military command or used in negotiations. The hazarbed was also allowed in some cases to serve as the royal executioner.[105] During Nowruz (Iranian new year) and Mihragan (Mihr’s day), the king would hold a speech.[104]
Class division
Sassanid society was immensely complex, with separate systems of social organization governing numerous different groups within the empire.[106] Historians believe society comprised four[107][108] social classes:
1. Asronan (priests)
2. Arteshtaran (warriors)
3. Wastaryoshan (commoners)
4. Hutukhshan (artisans)
At the center of the Sasanian caste system the shahanshah ruled over all the nobles.[109] The royal princes, petty rulers, great landlords and priests, together constituted a privileged stratum, and were identified as wuzurgan, or grandees. This social system appears to have been fairly rigid.[67]
The Sasanian caste system outlived the empire, continuing in the early Islamic period.[109]
In general, mass slavery was never practiced by the Iranians, and in many cases the situation and lives of semi-slaves (prisoners of war) were, in fact, better than those of the commoner.[110] The term “slave” was also used on people who were in debt and had to use some of their time to serve in a fire-temple.[111]
The most common slaves in the Sasanian Empire were the household servants, who worked in private estates and at the fire-temples. Usage of a woman slave in a home was common, and her master had outright control over her and could even produce children with her if he wanted to. Slaves also received wages and were able to have their own families whether they were female or male.[111] Harming a slave was considered a crime, and not even the king himself was allowed to do it.[112]
The master of a slave was allowed to free the person when he wanted to, which, no matter what faith the slave believed in, was considered a good deed.[112] A slave could also be freed if his/her master died.[111]
There was a major school, called the Grand School, in the capital. In the beginning, only 50 students were allowed to study at the Grand School. In less than 100 years, enrollment at the Grand School was over 30,000 students.[citation needed]
Membership in a class was based on birth, although it was possible for an exceptional individual to move to another class on the basis of merit. The function of the king was to ensure that each class remained within its proper boundaries, so that the strong did not oppress the weak, nor the weak the strong. To maintain this social equilibrium was the essence of royal justice, and its effective functioning depended on the glorification of the monarchy above all other classes.[100]
On a lower level, Sasanian society was divided into Azatan (freemen), who jealously guarded their status as descendants of ancient Aryan conquerors, and the mass of originally non-Aryan peasantry. The Azatan formed a large low-aristocracy of low-level administrators, mostly living on small estates. The Azatan provided the cavalry backbone of the Sasanian army.[106]
Art, science and literature
See also: Sasanian music, Sasanian art, Science and medical academy of Gundishapur, Pahlavi literature, Sasanian architecture

A bowl with Khosrau I’s image at the center

Horse head, gilded silver, 4th century, Sasanian art

A Sasanian silver plate featuring a simurgh

A Sasanian silver plate depicting a royal lion hunt
The Sasanian kings were enlightened patrons of letters and philosophy. Khosrau I had the works of Plato and Aristotle translated into Pahlavi taught at Gundishapur, and even read them himself. During his reign, many historical annals were compiled, of which the sole survivor is the Karnamak-i Artaxshir-i Papakan (Deeds of Ardashir), a mixture of history and romance that served as the basis of the Iranian national epic, the Shahnameh. When Justinian I closed the schools of Athens, seven of their professors fled to Persia and found refuge at Khosrau’s court. In time they grew homesick, and in his treaty of 533 with Justinian, the Sasanian king stipulated that the Greek sages should be allowed to return and be free from persecution.[79]
Under Khosrau I, the Academy of Gundishapur, which had been founded in the 5th century, became “the greatest intellectual center of the time”, drawing students and teachers from every quarter of the known world.Nestorian Christians were received there, and brought Syriac translations of Greek works in medicine and philosophy. Neoplatonists too, came to Gundishapur, where they planted the seeds of Sufi mysticism; the medical lore of India, Persia, Syria and Greece mingled there to produce a flourishing school of therapy.[79]
Artistically, the Sasanian period witnessed some of the highest achievements of Iranian civilization. Much of what later became known as Muslim culture, including architecture and writing, was originally drawn from Persian culture. At its peak, the Sasanian Empire stretched from western Anatolia to northwest India (nowadays Afghanistan/Pakistan), but its influence was felt far beyond these political boundaries. Sasanian motifs found their way into the art of Central Asia and China, the Byzantine Empire, and even Merovingian France. Islamic art however, was the true heir to Sasanian art, whose concepts it was to assimilate while, at the same time instilling fresh life and renewed vigor into it.[24] According to Will Durant:
“ Sasanian art exported its forms and motifs eastward into India, Turkestan and China, westward into Syria, Asia Minor, Constantinople, the Balkans, Egypt and Spain. Probably its influence helped to change the emphasis in Greek art from classic representation to Byzantine ornament, and in Latin Christian art from wooden ceilings to brick or stone vaults and domes and buttressed walls.[79]

Sasanian carvings at Taq-e Bostan and Naqsh-e Rustam were colored; so were many features of the palaces; but only traces of such painting remain. The literature, however, makes it clear that the art of painting flourished in Sasanian times; the prophet Mani is reported to have founded a school of painting; Firdowsi speaks of Persian magnates adorning their mansions with pictures of Iranian heroes; and the poet al-Buhturi describes the murals in the palace at Ctesiphon. When a Sasanian king died, the best painter of the time was called upon to make a portrait of him for a collection kept in the royal treasury.
Painting, sculpture, pottery, and other forms of decoration shared their designs with Sasanian textile art. Silks, embroideries, brocades, damasks, tapestries, chair covers, canopies, tents and rugs were woven with patience and masterly skill, and were dyed in warm tints of yellow, blue and green. Every Persian but the peasant and the priest aspired to dress above his class; presents often took the form of sumptuous garments; and great colorful carpets had been an appendage of wealth in the East since Assyrian days. The two dozen Sasanian textiles that have survived are among the most highly valued fabrics in existence. Even in their own day, Sasanian textiles were admired and imitated from Egypt to the Far East; and during the Middle Ages, they were favored for clothing the relics of Christian saints. When Heraclius captured the palace of Khosrau II Parvez at Dastagerd, delicate embroideries and an immense rug were among his most precious spoils. Famous was the “Winter Carpet”, also known as “Khosrau’s Spring” (Spring Season Carpet قالى بهارستان) of Khosrau Anushirvan, designed to make him forget winter in its spring and summer scenes: flowers and fruits made of inwoven rubies and diamonds grew, in this carpet, beside walks of silver and brooks of pearls traced on a ground of gold. Harun al-Rashid prided himself on a spacious Sasanian rug thickly studded with jewelry. Persians wrote love poems about their rugs.[79]
Studies on Sasanian remains show over 100 types of crowns being worn by Sasanian kings. The various Sasanian crowns demonstrate the cultural, economic, social and historical situation in each period. The crowns also show the character traits of each king in this era. Different symbols and signs on the crowns–the moon, stars, eagle and palm, each illustrate the wearer’s religious faith and beliefs.[113][114]
The Sasanians Dynasty, like the Achaemenid, originated in the province of Pars. The Sasanians saw themselves as successors of the Achaemenids, after the Hellenistic and Parthian interlude, and believed that it was their destiny to restore the greatness of Persia.
In reviving the glories of the Achaemenid past, the Sasanians were no mere imitators. The art of this period reveals an astonishing virility, in certain respects anticipating key features of Islamic art. Sasanian art combined elements of traditional Persian art with Hellenistic elements and influences. The conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great had inaugurated the spread of Hellenistic art into Western Asia. Though the East accepted the outward form of this art, it never really assimilated its spirit. Already in the Parthian period, Hellenistic art was being interpreted freely by the peoples of the Near East. Throughout the Sasanian period, there was reaction against it. Sasanian art revived forms and traditions native to Persia, and in the Islamic period, these reached the shores of the Mediterranean.[115] According to Fergusson:
“ With the accession of the [Sasanians], Persia regained much of that power and stability to which she had been so long a stranger … The improvement in the fine arts at home indicates returning prosperity, and a degree of security unknown since the fall of the Achaemenidae.[116]

Surviving palaces illustrate the splendor in which the Sasanian monarchs lived. Examples include palaces at Firuzabad and Bishapur in Fars, and the capital city of Ctesiphon in the Asoristan province (present-day Iraq). In addition to local traditions, Parthian architecture influenced Sasanian architectural characteristics. All are characterized by the barrel-vaulted iwans introduced in the Parthian period. During the Sasanian period, these reached massive proportions, particularly at Ctesiphon. There, the arch of the great vaulted hall, attributed to the reign of Shapur I (241–272), has a span of more than 80 feet (24 m) and reaches a height of 118 feet (36 m). This magnificent structure fascinated architects in the centuries that followed and has been considered one of the most important examples of Persian architecture. Many of the palaces contain an inner audience hall consisting, as at Firuzabad, of a chamber surmounted by a dome. The Persians solved the problem of constructing a circular dome on a square building by employing squinches, or arches built across each corner of the square, thereby converting it into an octagon on which it is simple to place the dome. The dome chamber in the palace of Firuzabad is the earliest surviving example of the use of the squinch, suggesting that this architectural technique was probably invented in Persia.
The unique characteristic of Sasanian architecture was its distinctive use of space. The Sasanian architect conceived his building in terms of masses and surfaces; hence the use of massive walls of brick decorated with molded or carved stucco. Stucco wall decorations appear at Bishapur, but better examples are preserved from Chal Tarkhan near Rey (late Sasanian or early Islamic in date), and from Ctesiphon and Kish in Mesopotamia. The panels show animal figures set in roundels, human busts, and geometric and floral motifs.
At Bishapur, some of the floors were decorated with mosaics showing scenes of banqueting. The Roman influence here is clear, and the mosaics may have been laid by Roman prisoners. Buildings were decorated with wall paintings. Particularly fine examples have been found on Mount Khajeh in Sistan.

Sasanian silk twill textile of asimurgh in a beaded surround, 6th–7th century. Used in the reliquary of Saint Len, Paris
Due to the majority of the inhabitants being of peasantry stock, the Sasanian economy relied on farming and agriculture, Khuzestan and Iraq being the most important provinces for it. The Nahravan Canal is one of the greatest examples of Sasanian irrigation systems, and many of these things can still be found in Iran. The mountains of the Sasanian state was used on lumbering by the nomads of the region, and due to the great centralization of the Sasanians, they also managed to impose tax on the nomads and inhabitants of the mountains. During the reign of Khosrau I, further land was brought under centralization.[117]
Two trade routes were used during the Sasanian period, one in the north, the famous Silk Route, and one less prominent route in the southern Sasanian coast. The factories of Susa, Gundeshapur, and Shushtar were famously known for their production of silk, and rivaled the Chinese factories. The Sasanians showed great toleration to the inhabitants of the countryside, which was important to create a great deal of stuff in case of famine.[117]
Industry and trade

Sasanian sea trade routes
Persian industry under the Sasanians developed from domestic to urban forms. Guilds were numerous. Good roads and bridges, well patrolled, enabled state post and merchant caravans to link Ctesiphon with all provinces; and harbors were built in the Persian Gulf to quicken trade with India.[79] Sasanian merchants ranged far and wide and gradually ousted Romans from the lucrative Indian ocean trade routes.[118] Recent archeological discovery has shown an interesting fact that Sasanians used special labels (commercial labels) on goods as a way of promoting their brands and distinguish between different qualities.[119]
Khosrau I further extended the already vast trade network. The Sasanian state now tended toward monopolistic control of trade, with luxury goods assuming a far greater role in the trade than heretofore, and the great activity in building of ports, caravanserais, bridges and the like, was linked to trade and urbanization. The Persians dominated international trade, both in the Indian Ocean, Central Asia and South Russia, in the time of Khosrau, although competition with the Byzantines was at times intense. Sassanian settlements in Oman and Yemen testify to the importance of trade with India, but the silk trade with China was mainly in the hands of Sasanian vassals and the Iranian people, the Sogdians.[120]
The main exports of the Sasanians were silk; woolen and golden textiles; carpets and rugs; hides; and, leather and pearls from the Persian Gulf. There were also goods in transit from China (paper, silk) and India (spices), which Sasanian customs imposed taxes upon, and which were re-exported from the Empire to Europe.[121]
It was also a time of increased metallurgical production, so Iran earned a reputation as the “armory of Asia”. Most of the Sasanian mining centers were at the fringes of the Empire – in Armenia, the Caucasus and above all,Transoxania. The extraordinary mineral wealth of the Pamir Mountains on the eastern horizon of the Sasanian empire led to a legend among the Tajiks, an Iranian people living there, which is still told today. It said that when God was creating the world, he tripped over Pamirs, dropping his jar of minerals, which spread across the region.[118]
Main article: Zoroastrianism

Ruins of Adur Gushnasp, one of three main Zoroastrian temples in Sassanian Empire.
Under Parthian rule, Zoroastrianism had fragmented into regional variations which also saw the rise of local cult-deities, some from Iranian religious tradition but others drawn from Greek tradition too. Greek paganism and religious ideas had spread and mixed with Zoroastrianism when Alexander the Great had conquered the Persian Empire from Darius III; a process of Greco-Persian religious and cultural synthesisation which had continued into the Parthian era too. But under the Sassanids, an orthodox Zoroastrianism was revived and the religion would undergo numerous and important developments.
Sassanid Zoroastrianism would develop to have clear distinctions from the practices laid out in the Avesta, the holy books of Zoroastrianism. It is often argued that the Sassanid Zoroastrian clergy later modified the religion in a way to serve themselves, causing substantial religious uneasiness.[specify] Sassanid religious policies contributed to the flourishing of numerous religious reform movements, most importantly the Mani and Mazdak religions.
The relationship between the Sassanid Kings and the religions practiced in their empire became complex and varied. For instance, while Shapur I tolerated and encouraged a variety of religions and seems to have been aZurvanite himself, religious minorities at times were suppressed under later Kings, such as Bahram II. Shapur II, on the other hand, tolerated religious groups except Christians, whom he only persecuted in the wake of Constantine’s conversion.[122][122][123][123]
Tansar and his justification for Ardashir I’s rebellion
From the very beginning of Sassanid rule in 224 an orthodox Pars-oriented Zoroastrian tradition would play an important part in influencing and lending legitimization to the state until its collapse in the mid-7th century. AfterArdashir I had deposed the last Parthian King, Artabanus V, he sought the aid of Tansar, a herbad (high priest) of the Iranian Zoroastrians to aid him in acquiring legitimization for the new dynasty. This Tansar did by writing to the nominal and vassal kings in different regions of Iran to accept Ardashir I as their new King, most notably in the Letter of Tansar, which was addressed to Gushnasp, the vassal king of Tabarestan. Gushnasp had accused Ardashir I of having forsaken tradition by usurping the throne, and that while his actions ‘may have been good for the World’ they were ‘bad for the faith’. Tansar refuted these charges in his letter to Gushnasp by proclaiming that not all of the old ways had been good, and that Ardashir was more virtuous than his predecessors. The Letter of Tansar included some attacks on the religious practices and orientation of the Parthians, who did not follow an orthodox Zoroastrian tradition but rather a heterodox one, and so attempted to justify Ardashir’s rebellion against them by arguing that Zoroastrianism had ‘decayed’ after Alexander’s invasion, a decay which had continued under the Parthians and so needed to be ‘restored’.[124]
Tansar would later help to oversee the formation of a single ‘Zoroastrian church’ under the control of the Persian magi, alongside the establishment of a single set of Avestan texts, which he himself approved and authorised.
Influence of Kartir
Kartir, a very powerful and influential Persian cleric, served under several Sassanid Kings and actively campaigned for the establishment of a Pars-centred Zoroastrian orthodoxy across the Sassanid Empire. His power and influence grew so much that he became the only ‘commoner’ to later be allowed to have his own rock inscriptions carved in the royal fashion (at Sar Mashhad, Naqsh-e Rostam, Ka’ba-ye Zartosht and Naqsh-e Rajab). Under Shapur I, Kartir was made the ‘absolute authority’ over the ‘order of priests’ at the Sassanid court and throughout the empire’s regions too, with the implication that all regional Zoroastrian clergies would now for the first time be subordinated the Persian Zoroastrian clerics of Pars. To some extent Kartir was an iconoclast and took it upon himself to help establish numerous Bahram fires throughout Iran in the place of the ‘bagins / ayazans’ (monuments and temples containing images and idols of cult-deities) that had proliferated during the Parthian era. In expressing his doctrinal orthodoxy, Kartir also encouraged an obscure Zoroastrian concept known as khvedodah among the common-folk (marriage within the family; between siblings, cousins). At various stages during his long career at court, Kartir also oversaw the periodic persecution of the non-Zoroastrians in Iran, and secured the execution of the prophet Mani during the reign of Bahram I. During the reign of Hormizd I (the predecessor and brother of Bahram I) Kartir was awarded the new Zoroastrian title of mobad – a clerical title that was to be considered higher than that of the eastern-Iranian (Parthian) title of herbad.[124]
Zoroastrian calendar reforms under the Sasanians
The Persians had long known of the Egyptian calendar, with its 365 days divided into 12 months. However, the traditional Zoroastrian calendar had 12 months of 30 days each. During the reign of Ardashir I, an effort was made to introduce a more accurate Zoroastrian calendar for the year, so 5 extra days were added to it. These 5 extra days were named the Gatha days and had a practical as well as religious use. However, they were still kept apart from the ‘religious year’, so as not to disturb the long-held observances of the older Zoroastrian calendar.
Some difficulties arose with the introduction of the first calendar reform, particularly the pushing forward of important Zoroastrian festivals such as Hamaspat-maedaya and Nowruz on the calendar year by year. This confusion apparently caused much distress among ordinary people, and while the Sassanids tried to enforce the observance of these great celebrations on the new official dates, much of the populace continued to observe them on the older, traditional dates, and so parallel celebrations for Nowruz and other Zoroastrian celebrations would often occur within days of each other, in defiance of the new official calendar dates, causing much confusion and friction between the laity and the ruling class. A compromise on this by the Sassanids was later introduced, by linking the parallel celebrations as a 6-day celebration/feast. This was done for all except Nowruz.
A further problem occurred as Nowruz had shifted in position during this period from the spring equinox to autumn, although this inconsistency with the original spring-equinox date for Nowruz had possibly occurred during the Parthian period too.
Further calendar reforms occurred during the later Sassanid era. Ever since the reforms under Ardashir I there had been no intercalation. Thus with a quarter day being lost each year, the Zoroastrian holy year had slowly slipped backwards, with Nowruz eventually ending up in July. A great council was therefore convened and it was decided that Nowruz be moved back to the original position it had during the Achaemenid period – back to spring. This change probably took place during the reign of Kavad I in the early 6th century. Much emphasis seems to have been placed during this period on the importance of spring and on its connection with the resurrection and Frashegerd.[124]
Three Great Fires
Reflecting the regional rivalry and bias the Sassanids are believed to have held against their Parthian predecessors, it was probably during the Sassanid era that the two great fires in Pars and Media – the Adur Farnbag and Adur Gushnasp respectively – were promoted to rival, and even eclipse, the sacred fire in Parthia, the Adur Burzen-Mehr. The Adur Burzen-Mehr, linked (in legend) with Zoroaster and Vishtaspa (the first Zoroastrian King), was too holy for the Persian magi to put an end to veneration for it, however, it was demoted during the Sassanid era.
It was therefore during the Sassanid era that the three Great Fires of the Zoroastrian world were given specific associations. The Adur Farnbag in Pars became associated with the magi, Adur Gushnasp in Media with warriors, and Adur Burzen-Mehr in Parthia with the lowest estate; farmers and herdsmen.
The Adur Gushnasp eventually became, by custom, a place of pilgrimage by foot for newly enthroned Kings after their coronation. It is likely that during the Sassanid era that these three Great Fires became central places for pilgrimage among Zoroastrians.[124]
Iconoclasm and the elevation of Persian over other Iranian languages
The early Sassanids ruled against the use of cult images in worship, and so statues and idols were removed from many temples and where possible – sacred fires were installed instead. This policy extended even to the ‘non-Iran’ regions of the empire during some periods. Hormizd I allegedly destroyed statues erected for the dead in Armenia. However, only cult-statues were removed. The Sassanids continued to use images to represent the deities of Zoroastrianism, including that of Ahura Mazda, in the tradition that was established during the Seleucid era.
In the early Sassanid period royal inscriptions often consisted of Parthian, Middle Persian and Greek. However, the last time Parthian was used for a royal inscription came during the reign of Narseh, son of Shapur I. It is likely therefore that soon after this, the Sassanids made the decision to impose Persian as the sole official language within Iran, and forbade the use of written Parthian. This had important consequences for Zoroastrianism, given that all secondary literature, including the Zand, were then recorded only inMiddle Persian, having a profound impact in orienting Zoroastrianism towards the influence of the Pars region, the homeland of the Sassanids.[124]
Developments in Zoroastrian literature and liturgy by the Sasanians
Some scholars of Zoroastrianism such as Mary Boyce have speculated that it is possible that the yasna service was lengthened during the Sassanid era ‘to increase its impressiveness’.[125] This appears to have been done by joining the Gathic Staota Yesnya with the haoma ceremony. Furthermore, it is believed that another longer service developed, known as the Visperad, which derived from the extended yasna. This was developed for the celebration of the seven holy days of obligation (the Gahambars plus Nowruz) and was dedicated to Ahura Mazda.
While the very earliest Zoroastrians eschewed writing as a form of demonic practice, the Middle Persian Zand, along with much secondary Zoroastrian literature, was recorded in writing during the Sassanid era for the first time. Many of these Zoroastrian texts were original works from the Sassanid period. Perhaps the most important of these works was the Bundahishn – the mythical Zoroastrian story of ‘Creation’. Other older works, some from remote antiquity, were possibly translated from different Iranian languages into Middle Persian during this period. For example, two works, the Drakht-i Asurig (Assyrian Tree) and Ayadgar-i Zareran (Exploits of Zarter) were probably translated from Parthian originals.
Of great importance for Zoroastrianism was the creation of the Avestan alphabet by the Sassanids, which enabled the accurate rendering of the Avesta in written form (including in its original language/phonology) for the first time. The alphabet was based on thePahlavi one, but rather than the inadequacy of that script for recording spoken Middle Persian, the Avestan alphabet had 46 letters, and was well suited to recording Avestan in written form in the way the language actually sounded and was uttered. The Persianmagi where therefore finally able to record all surviving ancient Avestan texts in written form.
As a result of this development, the Sasanian Avesta was then compiled into 21 nasks (divisions) to correspond with the 21 words of the Ahunavar invocation. The nasks were further divided into 3 groups of 7. The first group contained the Gathas and all texts associated with them, while the second group contained works of scholastic learning. The final section contained treatises of instruction for the magi, such as the Vendidad, law-texts and other works, such as yashts.
An important literary text, the Khwaday-Namag (Book of Kings) was composed during the Sasanian era. This text is the basis of which the later Shahnameh of Ferdowsi drew from. Another important Zoroastrian text from the Sasanian period includes the Dadestan-e Menog-e Khrad (Judgements of the Spirit of Wisdom).[124]
Main article: Church of the East
See also: Christianisation of Armenia and Church of Caucasian Albania
Christians in the Sasanian Empire belonged mainly to the Nestorian Church (Church of the East) and the Jacobite Church (Syriac Orthodox Church) branches of Christianity. Although these churches originally maintained ties with Christian churches in the Roman Empire, they were indeed quite different from them. One reason for this was that the liturgical language of the Nestorian and Jacobite Churches was Syriac rather than Greek, the language of Roman Christianity during the early centuries (and the language of Eastern Roman Christianity in later centuries). Another reason for a separation between Eastern and Western Christianity was strong pressure from the Sasanian authorities to sever connections with Rome, since the Sasanian Empire was often at war with the Roman Empire.
Christianity was recognized by king Yazdegerd I in 409 as an allowable faith within the Sasanian Empire.[126]
The major break with mainstream Christianity came in 431, due to the pronouncements of the First Council of Ephesus. The Council condemned Nestorius, a theologian of Cilician/Kilikian origin and the patriarch of Constantinople, for teaching a view of Christologyin accordance with which he refused to call Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, “Theotokos” or Mother of God. While the teaching of the Council of Ephesus was accepted within the Roman Empire, the Sasanian church disagreed with the condemnation of Nestorius’ teachings. When Nestorius was deposed as patriarch, a number of his followers fled to the Sasanian Empire. Persian emperors used this opportunity to strengthen Nestorius’ position within the Sasanian church (which made up the vast majority of the Christians in the predominantly Zoroastrian Persian Empire) by eliminating the most important pro-Roman clergymen in Persia and making sure that their places were taken by Nestorians. This was to assure that these Christians would be loyal to the Persian Empire, and not to the Roman.[citation needed]
Most of the Christians in the Sasanian empire lived on the western edge of the empire, predominantly in Mesopotamia, but there were also important extant communities in the more northern territories, namely Caucasian Albania, Lazica, Iberia, and the Persian part of Armenia. Other important communities were to be found on the island of Tylos (present day Bahrain), the southern coast of the Persian Gulf, and the area of the Arabian kingdom of Lakhm. Some of these areas were the earliest to be Christianized; the kingdom of Armenia became the first independent Christian state in the world in 301. While a number of Assyrian territories had almost become fully Christianized even earlier during the 3rd century, they never became independent nations.[62]
Other religions
Some of the recent excavations have discovered the Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish religious sites in the empire.[127] Buddhism and Hinduism were competitors of Zoroastrianism in Bactria and Margiana,[128] in the far easternmost territories. A very large Jewish community flourished under Sasanian rule, with thriving centers at Isfahan, Babylon and Khorasan, and with its own semiautonomous Exilarchate leadership based in Mesopotamia. Jewish communities suffered only occasional persecution. They enjoyed a relative freedom of religion, and were granted privileges denied to other religious minorities.[129] Shapur I (Shabur Malka in Aramaic) was a particular friend to the Jews. His friendship with Shmuel produced many advantages for the Jewish community.[130] He even offered the Jews in the Sasanian empire a fine white Nisaean horse, just in case the Messiah, who was thought to ride a donkey or a mule, would come.[131] Shapur II, whose mother was Jewish, had a similar friendship with a Babylonian rabbi named Rabbah. Raba’s friendship with Shapur II enabled him to secure a relaxation of the oppressive laws enacted against the Jews in the Persian Empire. Moreover, in the eastern portion of the empire, various Buddhist places of worship, notably in Bamiyan were active as Buddhism gradually became more popular in that region.
Official languages
During the early Sasanian period, Middle Persian along with Greek and Parthian appeared in the inscriptions of the early Sasanian kings. However, by the time Narseh (r. 293–302) was ruling, Greek was no longer in use, perhaps due to the disappearance of Greek or the anti-Hellenic Zoroastrian clergy had finally managed to remove it once and for all. This was probably also because Greek was a commonplace among the Romans/Byzantines, the rival of the Sasanians.[4] Parthian soon disappeared as an administrate language too, but was continued to be spoken and written in the eastern part of the Sasanian Empire, the homeland of the Parthians.[132] Furthermore, many of the Parthian aristocrats who had entered into Sasanian service after the fall of the Parthian Empire, still spoke Parthian, such as the seven Parthian clans, who possessed much power within the empire. Sometimes one of the members of the clans would even protest against Sasanian rule.
Aramaic, like in the Achaemenid Empire, was widely used in the Sasanian Empire, and provided scripts for Middle Persian and other languages.[6]
Regional languages
Although Middle Persian was the native language of the Sasanians (who, however, were not originally from Pars), it was only a minority spoken-language in the vast Sasanian Empire; it only formed the majority of Pars, while it was widespread around Media and its surrounding regions. However, there were several different Persian dialects during that time. Besides Persian, Adhari along with one of its dialects, Tati, was spoken in Adurbadagan (Azerbaijan). Daylamite and Gilaki was spoken in Gilan, while Mazandarani (also known as Tabari) was spoken in Tabaristan (Mazandaran). Furthermore, many other languages and dialects were spoken in the two regions.[133]
In the Sasanian territories in the Caucasus, numerous languages were sproken including Georgian, various Kartvelian languages (notably in Lazica), Middle Persian,[134] Armenian, Caucasian Albanian, Scythian, Greek, and others.
In Khuzestan, several languages were spoken; Persian in the north and east, while Aramaic was spoken in the rest of the place.[135] Furthermore, Neo-Elamite was also spoken in the province.[133] In Meshan, the Arameans, along with settled Arabs (known as Mesenian Arabs), and the nomadic Arabs, formed the Semitic population of the province along with Nabataean and Palmyrene merchants. Iranians had also begun to settle in the province, along with the Zutt, who had been deported from India. Other Indian groups such as the Malays may also have been deported to Meshan, either as captives or recruited sailors.[136] In Asoristan, the majority of the people were Aramaic-speaking Assyrians, while the Persians, Jews and Arabs formed a minority in the province.
Due to invasions from the Scythians and their sub-group, the Alans into Azerbaijan, Armenia, and other places in Caucasus, the places gained a larger, although small, Iranian population.[137] Parthian, along with other Iranian dialects and languages was spoken inKhorasan, while to the further east in places which were not always controlled by the Sasanians, Sogdian, Bactrian and Khwarazmian was spoken. To the further south in Sistan, a place which during the Parthian period saw an influx of Scythians to the place, Sistaniwas spoken.[138][133] Kirman was populated by an Iranian group which closely resembled the Persians, while to the further east in Paratan, Turan and Makran, Balochi and non-Iranian languages were spoken.[138] In major cities such as Gundeshapur and Ctesiphon,Latin, Greek and Syriac was spoken by Roman/Byzantine prisoners of war. Furthermore, Slavic and Germanic was also spoken in the Sasanian Empire, once again due to the capture of Roman soldiers.[139]
Legacy and importance
The influence of the Sasanian Empire continued long after it fell. The empire, through the guidance of several able emperors prior to its fall, had achieved a Persian renaissance that would become a driving force behind the civilization of the newly established religion of Islam.[140] In modern Iran and the regions of the Iranosphere, the Sasanian period is regarded as one of the high points of Iranian civilization.[141]
In Europe

A Sasanian fortress in Derbent, Russia (the Caspian Gates)
Sasanian culture and military structure had a significant influence on Roman civilization. The structure and character of the Roman army was affected by the methods of Persian warfare. In a modified form, the Roman Imperial autocracy imitated the royal ceremonies of the Sasanian court at Ctesiphon, and those in turn had an influence on the ceremonial traditions of the courts of medieval and modern Europe. The origin of the formalities of European diplomacy is attributed to the diplomatic relations between the Persian governments and the Roman Empire.[142]
In Jewish history

“Parsees of Bombay” a wood engraving, c. 1878
Important developments in Jewish history are associated with the Sassanian Empire. The Babylonian Talmud was composed between the third and sixth centuries in Sasanian Persia [143] and major Jewish academies of learning were established in Sura and Pumbedita that became cornerstones of Jewish scholarship.[144] Several individuals of the Imperial family such as Ifra Hormizd the Queen mother of Shapur II and Queen Shushandukht, the Jewish wife of Yazdegerd I, significantly contributed to the close relations between the Jews of the empire and the government in Ctesiphon.[145]
In India
See also: Zoroastrianism in India
The collapse of the Sasanian Empire led to Islam slowly replacing Zoroastrianism as the primary religion of Iran. A large number of Zoroastrians chose to emigrate to escape Islamic persection. According to the Qissa-i Sanjan, one group of those refugees landed in what is now Gujarat, India, where they were allowed greater freedom to observe their old customs and to preserve their faith. The descendants of those Zoroastrians would play a small but significant role in the development of India. Today there are over 70,000 Zoroastrians in India.[146]
The Zoroastrians still use a variant of the religious calendar instituted under the Sasanians. That calendar still marks the number of years since the accession of Yazdegerd III, just as it did in 632. (See also: Zoroastrian calendar)
Sasanian Empire chronology
Main articles: List of shahanshahs of the Sasanian Empire and Timeline of the Sasanian Empire

Sasanian Empire timeline including important events and territorial evolution.
224–241: Reign of Ardashir I:
• 224: Overthrow of the Parthian Empire
• 229–232: War with Rome
• Zoroastrianism is revived as official religion
• The collection of texts known as the Zend Avesta is assembled
241–271: Reign of Shapur I “the Great”:
• 241–244: War with Rome
• 252–261: War with Rome. Decisive victory of Persian at Edessa and Capture of Roman emperor Valerian
• 215–271: Mani, founder of Manicheanism
271–301: A period of dynastic struggles.
283: War with Rome.
293: Revolt of Narseh.
296-8: War with Rome – Persia cedes five provinces east of the Tigris to Rome.
309–379: Reign of Shapur II “the Great”:
• 325: Shapur II defeats many Arab tribes and makes the Lakhmid kingdom his vassal.
• 337–350: First war with Rome with relatively little success
• 359–363: Second war with Rome. Rome cedes Northern and Eastern Mesopotamia, Georgia and Armenia including fifteen fortresses as well as Nisibis to Persia.[147][148]
387: Armenia partitioned into Roman and Persian zones
399–420: Reign of Yazdegerd I “the Sinner”:
• 410: Church of the East formalised at the synod of Isaac under the patronage of Yazdegerd. Christians are permitted to publicly worship and to build churches
• 416–420: Persecution of Christians as Yazdegerd revokes his earlier order
420–438: Reign of Bahram V:
• 421–422: War with Rome
• 424: Council of Dad-Ishu declares the Eastern Church independent of Constantinople
• 428: Persian zone of Armenia annexed to Sasanian Empire
438–457: Reign of Yazdegerd II:
• 440: War with the Byzantine Empire, the Romans gives some payments to the Sasanians[149]
• 449–451: Armenian revolt. Battle of Avarayr fought in 451 against the Christian Armenian rebels led by Vardan Mamikonian.
482–3: Armenian and Iberian revolt
483: Edict of Toleration granted to Christians
484: Peroz I defeated and killed by Hephthalites. The Nvarsak Treaty grants the Armenians the right to profess Christianity freely.
491: Armenian revolt. Armenian Church repudiates the Council of Chalcedon:
• Nestorian Christianity becomes dominant Christian sect in Sasanian Empire
502–506: War with the Byzantine Empire. In the end the Byzantine Empire pays 1,000 pounds of gold to the Sasanian Empire[150] The Sasanians captures Theodosiopolis and Martyropolis.
Byzantine Empire received Amida for 1,000 pounds of gold.[150]
526–532: War with the Byzantine Empire. Treaty of Eternal Peace: The Sasanian Empire keeps Iberia and the Byzantine Empire receives Lazica & Persarmenia[151]
Byzantine Empire paid tribute 11,000 lbs gold/year[152]
531–579: Reign of Khosrau I, “with the immortal soul” (Anushirvan).
541–562: War with the Byzantine Empire.
572–591: War with the Byzantine Empire.
580: The Sasanians under Hormizd IV abolish the monarchy of the Kingdom of Iberia. Direct control through Sasanian-appointed governors starts.
590: Rebellion of Bahram Chobin and other Sasanian nobles, Khosrau II overthrows Hormizd IV but loses the throne to Bahram Chobin. 591: Khosrau II regains the throne with help from the Byzantine Empire and cedes Persian Armenia and western half of Iberia to the Byzantine Empire. 593: Attempted usurpation of Hormizd V 595-602: Rebellion of Vistahm
603–628: War with the Byzantine Empire. Persia occupies Byzantine Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and the Transcaucasus, before being driven to withdraw to pre-war frontiers by Byzantine counter-offensive
610: Arabs defeat a Sasanian army at Dhu-Qar
626: Unsuccessful siege of Constantinople by Avars, Persians, and Slavs.
627: Byzantine Emperor Heraclius invades Sasanian Mesopotamia. Decisive defeat of Persian forces at the battle of Nineveh
628: Kavadh II overthrows Khosrau II and becomes Shahanshah.
628: A devastating plague kills half of the population in Western Persia, including Kavadh II.[150]
628–632: Civil war
632–644: Reign of Yazdegerd III
636: Decisive Sasanian defeat at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah during the Islamic conquest of Iran
641: The Muslims defeats a massive Sasanian army with heavy casualties during the Battle of Nihawānd
644: The Muslims conquers Khorasan, Yazdegerd III becomes a hunted fugitive
651: Yazdegerd III fled eastward from one district to another, until at last he was killed by a local miller for his purse at Merv (present-day Turkmenistan), ending the dynasty. Yazdegerd is given a burial by the Assyrian bishop Mar Gregory.[153] His son, Peroz III, and many others went into exile in China.[154]
See also
• Sasanian art
• Sasanian family tree
• Sasanian music
• Military of the Sasanian Empire
• List of Sasanian revolts and civil wars
• Romans in Persia
1. Jump up^ Whence the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran,[13]
1. ^ Jump up to:a b Book Pahlavi spelling: (ʾylʾnštr’)
Inscriptional Pahlavi spelling: ????????? (ʾyrʾnštry),????????? (ʾylʾnštry)
Modern Persian: ایرانشهر
2. ^ Jump up to:a b (Wiesehofer 1996)
3. Jump up^ “CTESIPHON – Encyclopaedia Iranica”. Iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
4. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Daryaee 2008, pp. 99-100.
5. Jump up^ Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East, Vol.1, Ed. Jamie Stokes, (Infobase Publishing, 2009), 601.
6. ^ Jump up to:a b Chyet, Michael L. (1997). Afsaruddin, Asma; Krotkoff, Georg; Zahniser, A. H. Mathias, eds. Humanism, Culture, and Language in the Near East: Studies in Honor of Georg Krotkoff.Eisenbrauns. p. 284. ISBN 978-1-57506-020-0. In the Middle Persian period (Parthian and Sasanian Empires), Aramaic was the medium of everyday writing, and it provided scripts for writing Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian, and Khwarezmian.
7. Jump up^ https://books.google.dk/books?id=sP_hVmik-QYC&pg=PA179
8. Jump up^ Parvaneh Pourshariati, Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire: The Sasanian-Parthian Confederacy and the Arab Conquest of Iran, I.B. Tauris, 2008. (p. 4)
9. Jump up^ Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D (December 2006). “East-West Orientation of Historical Empires”. Journal of world-systems research. 12 (2): 223.ISSN 1076-156X. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
10. Jump up^ Taagepera, Rein (1979). “Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.”. Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 122. doi:10.2307/1170959. Retrieved11 September 2016.
11. Jump up^ Security and Territoriality in the Persian Gulf: A Maritime Political Geography by Pirouz Mojtahed-Zadeh, page 119
12. Jump up^ Fattah, Hala Mundhir (2009). A Brief History Of Iraq. Infobase Publishing. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-8160-5767-2. Historians have also referred to the Sassanian Empire as the Neo-Persian Empire.
13. Jump up^ MacKenzie, D. N. (2005), A Concise Pahlavi Dictionary, London & New York: Routledge Curzon, p. 120, ISBN 0-19-713559-5
14. Jump up^ “A Brief History”. Culture of Iran. Retrieved 11 September2009.[dead link]
15. ^ Jump up to:a b (Shapur Shahbazi 2005)
16. ^ Jump up to:a b Norman A. Stillman The Jews of Arab Lands pp 22 Jewish Publication Society, 1979 ISBN 0827611552
17. ^ Jump up to:a b International Congress of Byzantine Studies Proceedings of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies, London, 21–26 August 2006, Volumes 1-3 pp 29. Ashgate Pub Co, 30 sep. 2006 ISBN 075465740X
18. Jump up^ Khaleghi-Motlagh, Derafš-e Kāvīān
19. Jump up^ Hourani, p. 87.
20. Jump up^ J. B. Bury, p. 109.
21. Jump up^ Will Durant, Age of Faith, (Simon and Schuster, 1950), 150;Repaying its debt, Sasanian art exported it forms and motives eastward into India, Turkestan, and China, westward into Syria, Asia Minor, Constantinople, the Balkans, Egypt, and Spain..
22. Jump up^ “Transoxiana 04: Sasanians in Africa”. Transoxiana.com.ar. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
23. Jump up^ Sarfaraz, pp. 329–330
24. ^ Jump up to:a b “Iransaga: The art of Sassanians”. Artarena.force9.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
25. Jump up^ Abdolhossein Zarinkoob: Ruzgaran: tarikh-i Iran az aghz ta saqut saltnat Pahlvi, page 305
26. Jump up^ Frye 2005, p. 461
27. Jump up^ Farrokh 2007, p. 178
28. Jump up^ Zarinkoob 1999, p. 194 198
29. Jump up^ Farrokh 2007, p. 180
30. Jump up^ Frye & 2005 p-465 466
31. Jump up^ Frye 2005, p. 466 467
32. Jump up^ “5.1-6”. Livius.org. 2007-07-08. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
33. Jump up^ Dodgeon-Greatrex-Lieu 2002, p. 24 28
34. Jump up^ Frye 1993, p. 124
35. ^ Jump up to:a b Frye 1993, p. 125
36. Jump up^ Southern 2001, p. 235 236
37. Jump up^ Frye 1993, p. 126
38. Jump up^ Southern
39. Jump up^ World History Atlas, Dorling Kindersly
40. Jump up^ Zarinkoob 1999, p. 197
41. Jump up^ Frye 1968, p. 128
42. Jump up^ Zarinkoob 1999, p. 199
43. Jump up^ Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, p. 18.
44. ^ Jump up to:a b Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, p. 18; Potter, The Roman Empire at Bay, p. 293.
45. Jump up^ Michael H. Dodgeon; Samuel N. C. Lieu (1991). Galienus conquests:Google Book on Roman Eastern Frontier (part 1). Routledge. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
46. Jump up^ Zarinkoob 1999, p. 200
47. Jump up^ Agathias, Histories, 25, 2-5 translated by Dodgeon-Greatrex-Lieu (2002), I, 126
48. Jump up^ Zarinkoob 1999, p. 206
49. Jump up^ Blockley 1998, p. 421
50. ^ Jump up to:a b Frye 1968, p. 137 138
51. ^ Jump up to:a b Neusner 1969, p. 68
52. Jump up^ Bury 1923
53. Jump up^ “XIV.1”. Penelope.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
54. Jump up^ Frye 1993, p. 145
55. Jump up^ Greatrex-Lieu (2002), II, 37–51
56. Jump up^ “History of Iran, Chapter V:Sassanians”. Retrieved2009-09-17.
57. Jump up^ Zarinkoob, p. 218
58. Jump up^ Hewsen, Robert H. (August 17, 2011). “AVARAYR”.Encyclopædia Iranica. So spirited was the Armenian defense, however, that the Persians suffered enormous losses as well. Their victory was pyrrhic and the king, faced with troubles elsewhere, was forced, at least for the time being, to allow the Armenians to worship as they chose.
59. Jump up^ Susan Paul Pattie (1997). Faith in History: Armenians Rebuilding Community. Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 40.ISBN 1560986298. The Armenian defeat in the Battle of Avarayr in 451 proved a pyrrhic victory for the Persians. Though the Armenians lost their commander, Vartan Mamikonian, and most of their soldiers, Persian losses were proportionately heavy, and Armenia was allowed to remain Christian.
60. Jump up^ Zarinkoob, p. 217
61. ^ Jump up to:a b Zarinkoob, p. 219
62. ^ Jump up to:a b Khodadad Rezakhani. “Iranologie History of Iran Chapter V: Sasanians”. Iranologie.com. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
63. Jump up^ Zarinkoob, p. 229.
64. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Richard Frye “The History of Ancient Iran””. Fordham.edu. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
65. Jump up^ For more on the reforms of Khosrau I, visithttp://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/reforms_of_anushirvan.php.
66. Jump up^ Martindale, Jones & Morris 1992, pp. 559, 639; Bury 1958, pp. 101–102.
67. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f “Iran Chamber Society: The Sassanid Empire, 224–642 AD”. Iranchamber.com. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
68. ^ Jump up to:a b Haldon (1997), 46; Baynes (1912), passim; Speck (1984), 178
69. Jump up^ Howard-Johnston 2006, p. 291
70. Jump up^ Zarinkoob, pp. 305–317
71. Jump up^ Bashear, Suliman, Arabs and others in Early Islam, p. 117
72. Jump up^ The Caliphs and Their Non-Muslim Subjects. A. S. Tritton, pg.139.
73. Jump up^ “DABUYIDS – Encyclopaedia Iranica”. Iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
74. Jump up^ “BADUSPANIDS – Encyclopaedia Iranica”. Iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
75. Jump up^ Stokvis A.M.H.J., pp. 112, 129.
76. Jump up^ [1] Guitty Azarpay “The Near East in Late Antiquity The Sasanian Empire”
77. Jump up^ Daryaee 2008, p. 125.
78. Jump up^ Sarfaraz, p. 344
79. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f Durant.
80. Jump up^ Nicolle, p. 10
81. Jump up^ Nicolle, p. 14
82. Jump up^ Wiesehöfer, Ancient Persia, or the Cambridge History of Iran, vol. 3
83. Jump up^ Daryaee, Touraj (2009). Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. New York NY: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd. pp. 45–51.
84. ^ Jump up to:a b Kaveh Farrokh; Angus McBride (July 13, 2005). Sassanian elite cavalry AD 224-642. Osprey Publishing. p. 23.
85. Jump up^ Vadim Mikhaĭlovich Masson, History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Vol.II, (UNESCO, 1996), 52.[2]
86. Jump up^ Kaveh Farrokh (2007). Shadows in the desert: ancient Persia at war. Osprey Publishing. p. 237.
87. Jump up^ Daryaee, Touraj (2009). Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. New York NY: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd. pp. 46–47.
88. Jump up^ Daryaee 2008, p. 47.
89. Jump up^ Michael Mitterauer; Gerald Chapple (July 15, 2010). Why Europe?: The Medieval Origins of Its Special Path. University of Chicago Press. p. 106.
90. Jump up^ Yarshater, Ehsan (1983). The Cambridge History of Iran Volume 3 (1): The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian Periods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. Chapter 15.
91. Jump up^ Shahbazi, A. Sh. “History of Iran: Sassanian Army”. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
92. Jump up^ Nicolle, pp. 15–18
93. Jump up^ George Liska (1998). Expanding Realism: The Historical Dimension of World Politics. Rowman & Littlefield Pub Incorporated. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-8476-8680-3.
94. Jump up^ “The Rise and Spread of Islam, The Arab Empire of the Umayyads -Weakness of the Adversary Empires”. Occawlonline.pearsoned.com. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
95. ^ Jump up to:a b c Frye Ancient Iran
96. Jump up^ Farrokh 2007, 237
97. Jump up^ Kaveh Farrokh (2007), Shadows in the desert: ancient Persia at war, Osprey Publishing, p. 274, ISBN 1-84603-108-7, retrieved 2010-06-29
98. Jump up^ Zarinkoob, p. 239
99. Jump up^ “BORZŪYA – Encyclopaedia Iranica”. Iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
100. ^ Jump up to:a b Daniel, p. 57
101. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Daryaee 2008, pp. 39-40.
102. Jump up^ Daryaee 2008, pp. 40-41.
103. ^ Jump up to:a b Daryaee 2008, p. 41.
104. ^ Jump up to:a b Daryaee 2008, p. 42.
105. ^ Jump up to:a b c Morony 2005, p. 92.
106. ^ Jump up to:a b Nicolle, p. 11
107. Jump up^ These four are the three common “Indo-Euoropean” social tripartition common among ancient Iranian, Indian and Romans with one extra Iranian element (from Yashna xix/17). cf. Frye, p. 54.
108. Jump up^ Kāẓim ʻAlamdārī. Why the Middle East Lagged Behind: The Case of Iran. University Press of America. p. 72.
109. ^ Jump up to:a b Zarinkoob, p. 201
110. Jump up^ Farazmand, Ali (1998) “Persian/Iranian Administrative Tradition”, in Jay M. Shafritz (Editor), International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp 1640–1645 – Excerpt: “Persians never practiced mass slavery, and in many cases the situations and lives of semi-slaves (prisoners of war) were in fact better than the common citizens of Persia.” (pg 1642)
111. ^ Jump up to:a b c Daryaee 2008, pp. 58-59.
112. ^ Jump up to:a b K. D. Irani, Morris Silver, Social Justice in the Ancient World, 224 pp., Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995, ISBN 0-313-29144-6, ISBN 978-0-313-29144-9 (see p.87)
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114. Jump up^ Iranian cultural heritage news agency (CHN)[dead link]
115. Jump up^ Parviz Marzban, p.36
116. Jump up^ Fergusson, History of Architecture, vol. i, 3rd edition, pp. 381−3.
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118. ^ Jump up to:a b Nicolle, p. 6
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120. Jump up^ Frye, p. 325
121. Jump up^ Sarfaraz, p. 353
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123. ^ Jump up to:a b Manfred Hutter. Numen, Vol. 40, No. 1, “Manichaeism in the Early Sasanian Empire”, (BRILL, 1993), pp. 5–9
124. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, 2nd edition. Mary Boyce, (Routledge; Dec 2000).
125. Jump up^ Mark Boyce. Their Religious Beliefs and Practices The Library of Religious Beliefs and Practices. pp. 123–125.
126. Jump up^ Alexander A. Vasiliev, History of the Byzantine Empire, 324–1453, Vol. I, (University of Wisconsin Press, 1980), 96-97.
127. Jump up^ Front Cover Jamsheed Kairshasp Choksy (1997). Conflict and Cooperation: Zoroastrian Subalterns and Muslim Elites in Medieval Iranian Society. Columbia University Press. p. 5.
128. Jump up^ Ahmad Hasan Dani; B. A. Litvinsky. History of Civilizations of Central Asia: The crossroads of civilizations, A.D. 250 to 750. UNESCO. p. 410.
129. Jump up^ Zarinkoob, p. 272
130. Jump up^ Zarinkoob, p. 207
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132. Jump up^ Daryaee 2008, pp. 116-117.
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134. Jump up^ Shnirelman, V.A.(2001), ‘The value of the Past: Myths, Identity and Politics in Transcaucasia’, Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology. pp 79: “Yet, even at the time of Caucasian Albania and later on, as well, the region was greatly affected by Iran and Persian enjoyed even more success than the Albanian language”.
135. Jump up^ Christopher Brunner 1975, p. 754.
136. Jump up^ Christopher Brunner 1975, p. 755.
137. Jump up^ Christopher Brunner 1975, p. 763.
138. ^ Jump up to:a b Christopher Brunner 1975, pp. 772-773.
139. Jump up^ Daryaee 2008, p. 102.
140. Jump up^ Sasanian Iran, 224- 651 AD: portrait of a late antique empire – Page 20
141. Jump up^ The Iranians: Persia, Islam and the soul of a nation – Page 33
142. Jump up^ Bury, p. 109
143. Jump up^ [3]
144. Jump up^ The fire, the star and the cross by Aptin Khanbaghi(2006) pg 6
145. Jump up^ A. Khanbaghi(2006) pg 9
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148. Jump up^ “BYZANTINE-IRANIAN RELATIONS – Encyclopaedia Iranica”. Iranicaonline.org. 1990-12-15. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
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151. Jump up^ John W Barker, Justinian and the later Roman Empire, 118.
152. Jump up^ John W Barker, Justinian and the later Roman Empire, (University of Wisconsin Press, 1966), 118.
153. Jump up^ “All about Oscar”. P2.britannica.com. 2001-09-11. Retrieved2013-06-30.
154. Jump up^ “Pirooz in China”. Chinapage.com. 2000-08-11. Retrieved2013-06-30.
• G. Reza Garosi (2012): The Colossal Statue of Shapur I in the Context of Sasanian Sculptures. Publisher: Persian Heritage Foundation, New York.
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• Wiesehöfer, Josef: The Late Sasanian Near East. In: Chase Robinson (ed.), The New Cambridge History of Islam vol. 1. Cambridge 2010, pp. 98–152.
• Yarshater, Ehsan: The Cambridge History of Iran vol. 3 p. 1 Cambridge 1983, pp. 568–592.
• Zarinkoob, Abdolhossein (1999), Ruzgaran:Tarikh-i Iran Az Aghz ta Saqut Saltnat Pahlvi
• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “article name needed”. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Further reading
• Christensen, A (January 2, 1939), “Sassanid Persia”, in Cook, S. A., The Cambridge Ancient History, XII: The Imperial Crisis and Recovery (A.D. 193–324), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-04494-4
• Michael H. Dodgeon, Samuel N. C. Lieu. The Roman Eastern frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 226-363). Part 1. Routledge. London, 1994 ISBN 0-415-10317-7
• Howard-Johnston, J.D. (2006), East Rome, Sasanian Persia and the End of Antiquity: Historiographical and Historical Studies, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., ISBN 0-860-78992-6
• Labourt, J. Le Christianisme dans l’empire Perse, sous la Dynastie Sassanide (224-632). Paris: Librairie Victor Lecoffre, 1904.
• Oranskij, I. M. (1977), Les langues Iraniennes (translated by Joyce Blau) (in French), Paris: Klincksieck, ISBN 978-2-252-01991-7
• Edward Thomas (1868), Early Sassanian inscriptions, seals and coins, London: Trübner, p. 137, retrieved 2011-07-05(Original from the Bavarian State Library)
• Edward Thomas (1868), Early Sassanian inscriptions, seals and coins, London: Trübner, p. 137, retrieved 2011-07-05(Original from the New York Public Library)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sasanian Empire.

External links
• Sasanika: the History and Culture of Sasanians
• Sasanian rock reliefs, Photos from Iran, Livius.
• Sasanian Dynasty entry in the Encyclopædia Iranica
• The Sassanians The Sassanians by Iraj Bashiri, University of Minnesota.
• The Art of Sassanians, on Iran Chamber Society
• ECAI.org The Near East in Late Antiquity: The Sasanian Empire
• Google Book on Roman Eastern Frontier (part 1)
• A Review of Sassanid Images and Inscriptions, on Iran Chamber Society
• Sassanid crowns
• Sassanid coins
• Sassanid textile
• Islamic Metalwork The continuation of Sassanid Art
• Sasanians in Africa in Transoxiana 4.
• Ctesiphon; The capital of the Parthian and the Sassanid empires, on Iran Chamber Society
• Islamic Conquest of Persia
• Pirooz in China, By Frank Wong
• The Sassanian Empire BBC – Radio 4 In Our Time programme (available as .ram file)
• The Sassanian Empire: Further Reading
• Iranologie History of Iran Chapter V: Sasanians
• History of Iran on Iran Chamber Society
• Livius articles on ancient Persia
• Richard Frye “The History of Ancient Iran”
• Iransaga: Persian arts through the centuries
• Christianity in Ancient Iran: Aba & The Church in Persia, on Iran Chamber Society
• iranchamber.com
Thus did the Prophet of Allah speak on behalf of the Almighty Who sent him as the beacon of guidance not only for the Muslims but for all mankind. But the question that forces itself here is: “What happened after that historic event? Why did the Muslims forget, or pretend to have forgotten, their Prophet’s instructions with regards to’ Ali and “elected” someone else in his stead? To answer this question requires another book, and indeed many such books have been written. May the Almighty grant all of us guidance, and may He count us among His true servants who recognize the truth when they see it, who abide by His tenets, Who revere His Prophet and follow his instructions in all times, in all climes, Allahomma Ameen.

This is exactly what Daniel 11:, says
Decline and fall (622–651)

The Siege of Constantinople in 626 by the combined Sassanid, Avar, and Slavic forces depicted on the murals of the Moldovița Monastery, Romania
Main articles: Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628, Fall of the Sasanian Empire, and Muslim conquest of Persia
While successful at first glance, the campaign of Khosrau II had actually exhausted the Persian army and Persian treasuries. In an effort to rebuild the national treasuries, Khosrau overtaxed the population. Thus, seeing the opportunity, Heraclius (610–641) drew on all his diminished and devastated empire’s remaining resources, reorganized his armies, and mounted a remarkable counter-offensive. Between 622 and 627, he campaigned against the Persians in Anatolia and the Caucasus, winning a string of victories against Persian forces under Khosrau, Shahrbaraz, Shahin, and Shahraplakan, sacking the great Zoroastrian temple at Ganzak, and securing assistance from the Khazars and Western Turkic Khaganate.

Queen Boran, daughter ofKhosrau II, the last woman and one of the last rulers on the throne of the Sasanian Empire, she reigned from 17 June 629 to 16 June 630
In 626, the Byzantine capital of Constantinople was besieged by the combined Persian, Slavic, and Avar forces. The Sassanids led by Shahrbaraz attacked the city the eastern side of the Bosphorus, while the Avar and Slavic allies invaded from the western side. Attempts to ferry the Persian forces across to aid their Slavic and Avar allies, the former being by far the strongest in siege power, were blocked by the Byzantine fleet who heavily guarded the Bosphorus and the siege ended in failure. In 627-628, Heraclius mounted a winter invasion of Mesopotamia and, despite the departure of his Khazar allies, defeated a Persian army commanded by Rhahzadh in the Battle of Nineveh. He then marched down the Tigris, devastating the country and sacking Khosrau’s palace at Dastagerd. He was prevented from attacking Ctesiphon by the destruction of the bridges on the Nahrawan Canaland conducted further raids before withdrawing up the Diyala into north-western Iran.[68]
The impact of Heraclius’s victories, the devastation of the richest territories of the Sassanid Empire, and the humiliating destruction of high-profile targets such as Ganzak and Dastagerd fatally undermined Khosrau’s prestige and his support among the Persian aristocracy. In early 628, he was overthrown and murdered by his son Kavadh II (628), who immediately brought an end to the war, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territories. In 629, Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in a majestic ceremony.[68] Kavadh died within months, and chaos and civil war followed. Over a period of four years and five successive kings, including two daughters of Khosrau II and spahbed Shahrbaraz, the Sassanid Empire weakened considerably. The power of the central authority passed into the hands of the generals. It would take several years for a strong king to emerge from a series of coups, and the Sassanids never had time to recover fully.[67]

Extent of the Sasanian Empire in 632
In early 632, a grandson of Khosrau I who had lived in hiding in Estakhr, Yazdegerd III, ascended the throne. The same year, the first raiders from the Arab tribes, newly united by Islam, arrived in Persian territory. According to Howard-Johnston, years of warfare had exhausted both the Byzantines and the Persians. The Sassanids were further weakened by economic decline, heavy taxation, religious unrest, rigid social stratification, the increasing power of the provincial landholders, and a rapid turnover of rulers, facilitating the Islamic conquest of Persia.[69]
The Sassanids never mounted a truly effective resistance to the pressure applied by the initial Arab armies. Yazdegerd was a boy at the mercy of his advisers and incapable of uniting a vast country crumbling into small feudal kingdoms, despite the fact that the Byzantines, under similar pressure from the newly expansive Arabs, no longer threatened. Caliph Abu Bakr’s commander Khalid ibn Walid, once one of Muhammad’s chosen companions-in-arms and leader of the Arab army, moved to capture Iraq in a series of lightning battles. Redeployed to the Syrian front against the Byzantines in June 634, Khalid’s successor in Iraq failed him, and Muslims were defeated in the Battle of the Bridge in 634, which resulted in a Sassanid victory. However, the Arab threat did not stop there and reappeared shortly from the disciplined armies of Khalid ibn Walid.
In 637, a Muslim army under the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattāb defeated a larger Persian force led by general Rostam Farrokhzad at the plains of al-Qādisiyyah and advanced on Ctesiphon, which fell after a prolonged siege. Yazdegerd fled eastward from Ctesiphon, leaving behind him most of the Empire’s vast treasury. The Arabs captured Ctesiphon shortly afterward, acquiring a powerful financial resource and leaving the Sassanid government strapped for funds. A number of Sassanid governors attempted to combine their forces to throw back the invaders, but the effort was crippled by the lack of a strong central authority, and the governors were defeated at the Battle of Nihawānd. The empire, with its military command structure non-existent, its non-noble troop levies decimated, its financial resources effectively destroyed, and the Asawaran (Azatan) knightly caste destroyed piecemeal, was now utterly helpless in the face of the invaders.
Upon hearing of the defeat in Nihawānd, Yazdegerd along with Farrukhzad and with some of the Persian nobles fled further inland to the eastern province of Khorasan. Yazdegerd was assassinated by a miller in Merv in late 651, while some of the nobles settled inCentral Asia, where they contributed greatly to spreading Persian culture and language in those regions and to the establishment of the first native Iranian Islamic dynasty, the Samanid dynasty, which sought to revive Sassanid traditions.
The abrupt fall of the Sassanid Empire was completed in a period of five years, and most of its territory was absorbed into the Islamic caliphate; however, many Iranian cities resisted and fought against the invaders several times. Islamic caliphates repeatedly suppressed revolts in cities such as Rey, Isfahan, and Hamadan.[70] The local population was initially under little pressure to convert to Islam, remaining as dhimmi subjects of the Muslim state and paying a jizya.[71] Jizya practically replaced poll taxes imposed by the Sassanids. In addition, the old Sassanid “land tax” (known in Arabic as Kharaj) was also adopted. Caliph Umar is said to have occasionally set up a commission to survey the taxes, to judge if they were more than the land could bear.[72] Conversion of the Persian population to Islam would take place gradually, particularly as Persian-speaking elites attempted to gain positions of prestige under the Abbasid Caliphate.
Daniel 11^^^

By Arab League at English Wikipedia 15:54, 23 June 2008 (UTC – Own work (Original text: I created this work entirely by myself.), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7717426

Afghanistan, Black Sea Caspian Sea Islamic 9th and 10th Century