The History Of The Sunni Community Of Iṣfahān, Persia

Iṣfahān (Persian: اصفهان‎, romanized: Esfahān, historically also rendered in English as Ispahan, Spahan, Sepahan, Esfahan or Hispahan and known in classical Arabic as Aṣbahān/أصبهان) is the third-largest city in Iran after Tehran and Mashhad, but was once one of the largest cities in the world, it is one of the ancient Persian cities and is known in Persian as Nesf-e Jahan, “Half the World”.






Iṣfahān was conquered at the end of year 20, during the reign of ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb (may Allah be pleased with him). Several reports mentioned that the Prophet’s (ﷺ) companion, Abū Mūsā al-Ash’arī (may Allah be pleased with him), took part in the conquest of the city. Other companions are cited as well.

Iṣfahān – like other major Persian Sunni cities – used to be one of the strongholds of Sunni Islam in Pre-Safavid Iran, it was a major source of Sunnī and ḥadīthist scholarship.

The Jāmeh Mosque of Isfahān or Jāme’ Mosque of Isfahān, also known as the Atiq Mosque (مسجد عتیق) and the Friday Mosque (مسجد جمعه), was the grand, congregational mosque (Jāmeh) of Isfahān city, within Isfahān Province, Iran. The mosque was built during the Umayyad dynasty. It is one of the oldest mosques still standing in Iran and one of the remnants of the Sunni heritage of Isfahan that has been vigorously violated by Twelver Shia rulers, starting with the (openly) anti-Sunni Shia Safavid dynasty (who desecrated the graves of Sunni scholars in Isfahan and beyond and removed the names of the Sahabah, particularly, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar from all ancient mosques) to the modern-day Khomeinist regime of Iran.











Continue reading

Al-Layth ibn Sa’d the Persian (Laythi Madhab)

Al-Layth Ibn Saʿd Ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Fahmī al-Qalqashandī (الليث بن سعد بن عبد الرحمن الفهمي القلقشندي) was the chief representative, Imam, and eponym of the Laythi school of Islamic jurisprudence from Egypt and of Persian origin.

There is agreement on his Persian origin.

Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn ‘Othman AL-DHAHABI (Al-Turkistani) says in his Siyar A’lam Al-Nubala`:


Continue reading

Imam from Ray (Tehran) – Imam Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi

Imam Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi (the Tehrani) Shafi’i Ash’ari scholar

Abu Abdullah (also known as Abu Al-Fadhl) Muhammad ibn Omar ibn Al-Hussein Al-Taymi Al-Bakri Al-Tabaristani Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (Arabic:أبو عبدالله محمد بن عمر بن الحسن بن الحسين بن علي التيمي البكري فخرالدین الرازی ) was a Persian Sunni Muslim scholar (of Taymite Bakrite descent i.e. a descendant of Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq). His family were originally from northern Persia, Tabaristan (today known as Mazandaran) from the city of Amol.

Continue reading

The forgotten Persian Sunni Empire

The Samanid dynasty (Persian: سامانیان, Sāmāniyān), also known as the Samanid Empire (819–999). It was the first native Persian empire after Arabs ruled Persia for around 300 years. This first ever Persian empire after the Muslim conquest by Caliph ‘Omar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) was not just Muslim but Sunni to the core. The Samanids ruled in Khorassan and Transoxiana. During the era of the Abbasids they ruled as Amirs of Khorasan, appointed by the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad. The Samanids were of Persian dehqan origin with roots stemming from Balkh (to this day a majority Persian-Tajik area in Afghanistan) in present-day northern Afghanistan.They claimed descent from the House of Mihran, high nobility of the Sassanian and Parthian (ancient Khorassan) empires conquered by the Muslims.

Continue reading

Great Tabaristan – The land that used to produce beacons of Knowledge

A map of northern Iran, ancient Tabaristan.

Tabaristan, also known as Tapuria, was the name of the former historic region in the southern coasts of Caspian Sea roughly in the location of the northern and southern slopes of Elburz range in Iran. The region roughly corresponded to the modern Iranian provinces of Mazandaran, Gilan, Golestan, northern Semnan, and a little part of Turkmenistan.



Continue reading

The Sunni Imam of Persian-Isfahani descent – Dawud ibn Abli Al-Zahiri

Imam Abu Sulayman Dawud b. ‘Ali b. Khalaf al-Asbahani (Isfahani) al-Kufi (815–883/4 CE, 199-269/270 AH) was a scholar of Islamic law (formely a Shafi’i) during the Islamic Golden Age. He is widely regarded as the founder of the Zahiri school of thought.

Imam al-Sam’ani mentions that the family of Dawud b. ‘Ali belonged to Kashan, a small town in the neighbour­hood of Isfahan (a large province). His father was a secretary (katib) to `Abd Allah ibn Khalid, judge of Isfahan, in the days of the Caliph al‑Mamun. According to al-Dhahabi, Dawud was a mawla (client/freedman) of of ‘Abbasid caliph al-Mahdi bi-‘llah (born in Iraq and died in what is known today as Khuzestan/Ahwaz). Dawud himself a was born in Kufah (hence al-Kufi) in 202/817.

Continue reading

The Kurdish-Shirazi authority on the Qur’an – Imam Al-Jazari


ultimate authority of sciences of Qur’an – Ibn Al-Jazari the Kurdish (Iranic) and Shirazi Beacon of knowledge.

His full Name was Abu al-Khayr Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Yusuf al-Jazari (1350 CE/751 AH – 1429 CE/833 AH) was a distinguished and prolific scholar in the field of the Qira’at of the Qur’an, whom al-Suyuti regarded as the “ultimate authority on these matters”.

Continue reading

Islamic (Sunni) Kerman VS Rafidi Safawi Kerman

Kerman province is home to ethnic Persians, the absolute majority of them have been forced to Shi’ism during Safavid onslaught in 16th century. Today, a minority (mainly Baloch tribes) is Sunni (Hanafi), mainly in the south of the province.

Major Muslim-Sunni authorities and Imams in Fiqh, Aqidah, Hadith, Tafsir, Arabic (grammar, poetry etc.) uses to emerge from the famous Kerman region of the Persian lands.

Continue reading

Al-Raghib Al-Isfahani

His full name was Abul-Qasim Hussein ibn Muhammad Al-Raghib Al-Isfahani (often written as Asbahani), also known as Ibn Al-Mufaddal. He was of Persian descent, born in Isfahan (modern day Iran). He lived in around 502 AH (eleventh-century A.D.) and was a scholar of Qur’anic exegesis and the Arabic language.

Imam Al-Dhahabi (in his Siyaar A’laam Al-Nubala’) says about him:

العلامة الماهر ، المحقق الباهر أبو القاسم ; الحسين بن محمد [ ص: 121 ] بن المفضل الأصبهاني ، الملقب بالراغب ، صاحب التصانيف .

“The profound Allamah, outstanding Muhaqqiq, Abu Al-Qassim; Al-Hussein ibn Muhammad ibn Al-Mufaddal Al-Asbahani, known as Al-Raghib …”

Continue reading

Persian (Larestani/Khodmooni) Sunnis – A shaping force in Bahrain

13782152_1035808076456955_4890186205364983131_nWhen the Safavids under Ismail I decided to convert everyone residing in current day Iran from Sunni to Shiite Islam in 1501, they started arranged attacks and massacres against the Sunni Persians who refused to convert. As a result, many Sunni Persians left their hometowns for the Zagros mountains. After the Battle of Chaldiran where the Safavids lost to the Ottoman the Sunni Persians descended from the mountains to begin a new life in the land they named “Bastak”, meaning barrier or backstop signifying barrier from Shiite Safavids’ attacks and influences.

Sunni Persians are therefore present in the neighbour areas of Iran such as the Persian Gulf. In fact, people of Sunni Persians origin make up large numbers of the population of Kuwait, the USE and Bahrain (many Bahraini Sunnis are actually of Persian Sunni origin, although many have been Arabised). In the UAE Sunni Persians have ministers like the minister of Education who is originally from Bastak (Persian Sunni city in south Iran) and two other ministers that come from the town of Evaz (people from Evaz are known as ‘Awadhis in the Gulf, like the famous preacher Nabil al-‘Awadhi). They are generally known as very educated and successful (often tradesmen) people, loyal to their respective countries, and staunchly adhering to their Sunni faith.

Continue reading

The story of a Persian Khariji state in north Africa that defeated the Rafidi “Fatimids”

13619867_1032410296796733_50395029171349235_nPersian Kharijis once ruled Algeria and other parts of North Africa and defeated (along with the Sunnis) the Rafidis.

As for the Kharijis:

The Rustamids (767-909) – founded by a Khariji missionary named ʿAbdu r-Rahman ibn Bahram ibn Rustam (Rustam being a pre-Islam Sassanian name which is still very common amongst Shiites in Iran. Rustum is the historical general who fought at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah for the Sasanian Empire, and ultimately lost and saw Persia being conquered by Islam) were a dynasty of Ibadi Khawarij Imams of Persian descent that ruled mostly in the central Maghreb for a century and a half from their capital Tiaret (in modern Algeria) until the Ismaili Fatimid Caliphate destroyed it. Their realm extended mostly to current central Algeria, but also Libya, Morocco and Mauritania. Despite their (light) Khariji theology, they were just rulers and allied with Sunnis in fighting against the Rafidi Fatimids.

Continue reading

The Persian Sunni Muslim Samanid Empire

12291840_913355128702251_8228486039471214070_oThe Samanid dynasty (Persian: سامانیان, Sāmāniyān), also known as the Samanid Empire (819–999). It was the first native Persian empire after Arabs ruled Persia for around 300 years. This first ever Persian empire after the Muslim conquest by Caliph ‘Omar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) was not just Muslim but Sunni to the core. The Samanids ruled in Khorassan and Transoxiana. During the era of the Abbasids they ruled as Amirs of Khorasan, appointed by the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad. The Samanids were of Persian dehqan origin with roots stemming from Balkh (to this day a majority Persian-Tajik area in Afghanistan) in present-day northern Afghanistan.They claimed descent from the House of Mihran, high nobility of the Sassanian and Parthian (ancient Khorassan) empires conquered by the Muslims.


Continue reading

A Persian companion narrated the most authentic form of Takbirat!

The following is an Arabic fatwa by Shaikh Abdel-Aziz At-Tarifi (Saudi).


He mentions one of the Sunan (pl. of Sunnah) of ‘Eid, which is the takbirat. He says no authentic Sigha (form) has been directly transmitted from the Prophet (peace be upon him), rather from the Sahabah. The ONE Sahabi who narrates the most authentic narration (amongst all) is Salman the Persian (Al-Farsi), in the Musannaf of Abdel-Razzaq. A Persian narrated the most authentically known form of the takbirat which is recited from Morocco to Indonesia, by all Arabs and ‘Ajam (Non-‘Arabs) alike. This is Islam, no racism and no nationalism.


Video translations of the epic “Minhaj Al-Sunnah” by Ibn Taymiyyah in Farsi!

16281145For some time now the well established Persian Sunni satellite channel ‘Kalame TV’ (run by ethnic Persian Sunnis of South Iran, of course from abroad Iran, Sunnis in Iran aren’t even allowed to run a radio station) has aired readings of the translation of the notorious ‘Minhaj Al-Sunnah’ book of Shaykh Al-Islam Abul-Abbas Ibn Taymiyyah. The book is a classic, originally a refutation against ‘Allamah’ Hilli the Rafidi of Iraq, who by Allah is as dumb as their modern Ayatullats when it comes to ‘refuting Sunnism’. The irony is that this book has been never translated into Persian except recently in this very century, roughly twenty years ago by an ex-Shia Ayatullah named Abul-Fadhl Al-Borqei from Qom/Iran who was an opponent of Khomeini and Shiism during the revolution (!), they tried to assassinate him many times, he even write a whole book I refutation of the pillars of Shiism such as grave worship, the belief of Wilayah and a whole book in refutation of Al-Kafi (he named that book ‘The idol breaker ie breaking Al-Kafi and Shiism). These are hidden (to most Shias and even Sunnis) gems and facts that due to the poor support of Sunni countries haven’t been exposed to he Muslim masses, however at least they are being aired 24/h on air and the Iranian regime has little to no chance to block satellite TV channels in our modern world so the axe that will break the Rafidi idol has entered the homes of Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan etc. wal-Hamdulillah.

Top scholars of the Salaf: The Persian students of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (RA)


A Saudi school named after a Persian student of a companion of the final Messenger of God (peace be upon him).

Our master Abdallah Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his uncle our master Al-‘Abbas) had many famous students, amongst them many non-Arabs such as THE chief of the Salaf, Sa’id Ibn Jubayr (Habashi/Ethiopian), ‘Ikramah (Berber, North African) and ‘Ataa Ibn Abi Rabah(Nubian/Sudani) and many others.

Another two whose names are not just familiar to every student of knowledge but also to the laymen are Mujahid and Tawus who are both of Persian descent. Yet another two gems that Sunni (pre-Safavid) and Islamic Persia produced:



Continue reading

TAWUS IBN KAYSAN – The Persian-Yemeni beacon of knowledge

10891657_769096356461463_8397232044373351267_nAnother great Persian scholar, rather a giant amongst the scholars, a Tabi’i, a direct student of the Sahabah:

TAWUS IBN KAYSAN (Arabic: طاووس بن كيسان) (died 723). he was named Tawus because of his fine reading of the Qur’an. Tawus means ‘peacock’:

He was one of the scholars of the Tabi‘in, one of the narrators of hadith, and a companion of, Ali Zayn al-Abidin, Ali Ibn al-Hussein. Ibn Hajar related that Tawus was a Persian who inhabited an area called al-Jund and that he was the master of Hamadan in Iran. Ibn Hayyan said about him: “He was among the worshipers of the people of the Yemen* and the masters of the leading members of the next generation.” He performed the hajj forty times and narrated some of the whispered prayers of Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin. Ibn Kaysan was also a student of Abdullah ibn Abbas. It was said that he was a great tabi’i who met over 50 companions. Tawus heard all the ahadeeth from the mouth of ibn Abbas (Radiyyallahu ‘anhumaa). Tawus himself was the main teacher of Umar ibn Abdul Aziz.

Continue reading

The Perso-Arabic script – A beauty & honour for Persia

599px-Khatt-e_NastaliqAfter Muslim conquest of Persia (currently known as Iran), Persians adopted Arabic alphabet for Farsi language by modifying it. They added 4 new letters to 28 letters in Arabic alphabet and thus, the new Persian alphabet -based on Arabic letters- was introduced as 32 letters. Arabic hence served the Persian since even before the arrival of Islam, the Persians used to write in script that also originated from a semite nation, namely the Arameans. The Middle Persian script developed from the Aramaic script and became the official script of the Sassanian empire (224-651 AD). It changed little during the time it was in use, but around the 5th century AD, it spawned a number of new scripts, including the Psalter and Avestan scripts. Essentially there is no “pure” Persian script, hence adopting Arabic (just like Aramaic script in the past) was not forced upon Persians nor did it strip them of their identity (as Anti-Islam bigot and Iranian chauvinists usually claim to tarnish the image of Islam).

Continue reading

A giant of the Salaf, Al-A’mash from Tehran (Ray)

1466299_763568920347540_595432581514418912_nAL-A’MASH (61-148 AH), from Ray (Tehran), can you imagine?

Another gem of Persia, even many Arab scholars are not aware of the lineage of this giant of a man until they read up his full name and nassab/lineage that containts one of the most obvious Persian names, no Arab would ever carry, even if he was a Zoroastrian Arab (yes, there were some Zoroastrian Arabs, particularly before the Fath of Persia). Like many other Persian he was a mawla (client) of an Arab tribe, but his origin has been recorded in history.

Let me quote and then straight translate from Imam al-Dhahabi’s (who was of Turkmen descent) ‘Siyaar A’laam al-Nubalaa”:

سليمان بن مهران ، الإمام شيخ الإسلام ، شيخ المقرئين والمحدثين أبو [ ص: 227 ] محمد الأسدي الكاهلي ، مولاهم الكوفي الحافظ . أصله من نواحي الري . فقيل ولد بقرية أمه من أعمال طبرستان في سنة إحدى وستين وقدموا به إلى الكوفة طفلا ، وقيل : حملا .

ulayman Ibn MEHRAN, the Imam, Shaykhul-Islam, Shaykh of the Qur’an reciters (!) and Muhaddithin (!). He was originally from Ray (located today in Iran’s capital, Tehran. It is also said that he was born in a village in Tabaristan (north Iran, today’s Mazandaran), then as a young kid he moved to Kufa/Iraq.

al-A’mash is one of the major Salaf and giants of Ahl al-Sunnah. He met and learnt from a number of Sahaba, amongst them are:

– Anas Ibn Malik
– Abdallah Ibn Abi Awfa

he also narrated from all the major Tabi’in, including Said Ibn Jubayr

Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari – The gem of the Sunnis from the lands of Persia

11084_763191373718628_9049749461134459669_nImam al-Tabari (Rahimahullah) said,
“I am amazed by the one who reads the Qur’an but doesn’t understand it, how can he enjoy its recitation.”

Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (Persian: محمد بن جریر طبری, Arabic: أبو جعفر محمد بن جرير بن يزيد الطبري) (224–310 AH; 839–923 AD), was a prominent and influential Persian scholar, historian and exegete of the Qur’an (known as the IMAM of the Mufassirin) from Tabaristan, modern Mazandaran in Iran, from the city of Amol. A polymath who on such subjects as poetry, lexicography, grammar, ethics, mathematics, and medicine. Amongst his teachers were Abu Abdillah Muhammad ibn Humayd al-Razi, another Persian giant of knowledge, a Hadithists from Ray (today’s Tehran which used to be a stronghold of many Ahl al-Hadith!). Amongst his teachers was also Muhammad bin Dawud al-Zahiri, the founder of the Zahiri Madhab who was from Isfahan (heartland of Persia!). 

Unknown to many: Imam al-Tabari wa well-versed in four of the five Sunni legal schools (except the Hanbali school with which he had a lot of differences) before founding his own independent, yet eventually extinct, school, the Tabari Madhab (that did not reach us just like many other Madhabs). Imam al-Tabari is not to be confused with another Persian al-Tabari, namely Muhammad bin Jarir bin RUSTUM. Rafidis usually misuse the narrations of the Rafidi one (ascribing it to Imam al-Tabari).

He is one of the most influencial Sunni scholars ever, his Tafsir is amongst the most ancient Tafsirs available, a gem of Persia who enriched the Ummah like many other Persian Sunni scholars. He died in Baghdad on February 17, 923. May Allah have mercy upon him.

Imam Muhammad Abu Mansur Al-Maturidi of Samarqand (ancient Persian city)


The famous Imam Muhammad Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (853–944 AD) was a Persian (some mention that he was a descendant from the Sahabi Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari) Sunni from the ancient Persian city of Samarqand. Samarqand is located in Uzbekistan today (but used to be part of the Persian empire), however, the ancient Persian-Tajik parts of Uzbekistan are still Tajik-Persian to this very day, cities such as Bokhara (where Imam Al-Bukhari is from) and Samarqand (where many major scholars were from).

Tajik Persians (over 30% of Afghanistan’s population), the absolute majority of the inhabitants of Tajikistan and a minority in Uzbekistan and some other Asian states are a majority Sunni people. They are the Khorassani Persians of the east, the brothers of the Persians in the west (what is known as Iran today).

Were all the six Masters of Hadith originally Persians?

Abu Huraira reported: We were sitting in the company of Allaah’s Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) that Sura al-Jumu’a was revealed to him and when he recited (these words):” Others from amongst them who have not yet joined them,” a person amongst them (those who were sitting there) said: Allaah’s Messenger! But Allaah’s Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) made no reply, until he questioned him once, twice or thrice. And there was amongst us Salman the Persian. The Prophet of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) placed his hand on Salman and then said: Even if faith were near the Pleiades, a man from amongst these would surely find it.

(Source:Sahih Muslim, CHAPTER: THE MERITS OF THE PEOPLE OF PERSIA. Note how Imam Muslim who himself was Arab Qurashi from the Persian town of Nishabour made a whole chapter for basically one Hadith in the praise of the Persians)

Many extremist Shias try to turn the tables by saying that Sunnism (and not Shi’ism) has been heavily influenced by Zoroastrian (Majoosi) Persians. This is due to the misconception that all (or many) of the most famous Sunni scholars of the early Muslim generation were ethnic Persians. This assertion is wrong, since those who accuse the Shi’ite sect of being a Persian-Zoroastrian project due not do so due to the fact that the vast majority of modern day Shi’ite scholars (and Shi’ites in general) are Persians, rather due to the fact that Twelver Imamite Shi’ism does indeed carry elmens of Zoroastrianism and Pre-Islamic Sassanian hatred for Arabs and the early Muslim generation, see HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.

The reality is that most early Muslim scholars, in particular the four Imams of the Sunni schools of thought were all Arabs (even the Persian origin of Abu Hanifah is hugely disputed by Hanafi Sunni scholars), even the the Six Masters of Sunni Hadith were not all ethnic Persians as widely circulated on the net. But even if they were, it wouldn’t change anything nor would it make Sunnism “Iranian” for all classical Sunni scholars were raised in an Islamic environment with no interest in Zoroastrianism or Pre-Islamic Iran whatsoever (unlike the Safavids and the Shi’ite clergy of that time that reviced Persian nationalism and even Zoroastrian elments under the guise of Shi’ism). At that time concept of nation was very differant. It was this Islamic environment that despite it flaws (under some tyrannical rulers) gave everybody, including Persians, the opporunity to excell and become jurists, exegetes, physician etc. Personalities that Pre-Islamic Iran (with it’s caste system that was much worse than some Anti-Persian policies of some Umayyads) had never produced and Post-Safavid Iran has never re-produced.

In a scheme of Islamic history which is dominated by Arabo-centrism and in a contemporary world in which the association between Iran and Shi’ism is so central that one cannot think of one without the other, this fact of the Persian origin of some of the most important figures of authority in Sunni Islam becomes increasingly relevant in challenging the dominant narratives and assumptions which continue to pervade the historical understanding (and contemporary vision) of Islam and Iran.


Continue reading

Persians in al-Andalus

andalusiabannerWe have already written an article about the Persian origin of the great Muslim scholar Ibn Hazm of Andalusia. The following great article by the bellandalus blog sheds some more light on more famous Persian Sunni scholars of Andalusia

There really needs to be a comprehensive book or article written about the migration of Persians to al-Andalus in the early medieval period and their impact on the cultural and intellectual developments there. It is a little-known fact that there were several waves of migration (primarily of scholars) from the central Islamic lands to the Iberian peninsula between 800 and 1100. The evidence for such a phenomenon definitely exists and we can even trace the origins of a few key personalities, such as Ziryab (d. 857) and Ibn Hazm (d. 1064), back to the Iranian plateau. For the latter, the great fourteenth-century historian al-Dhahabi notes:

Continue reading

Kuwaiti parliament stripped Shaikh Nabil Al-‘Awadhi (of Persian descent) of his Kuwaiti passport

10487464_706828486021584_2753938362012487988_nMany important and influencial ‘Arab’ personalties in the Gulf are actually of Persian descent (including high ranking politicans and businessmen in KSA, UAE and Bahrain). Among them is the Islamic preacher Nabil Al-Awadhi (from Kuwait). He is not just beloved in the Arab and Islamic world, but particularly in south Iran where he is actually from. Shaikh Nabil Al-‘Awadhi’s ancestors immigrated from the Persian Sunni-Shafi’i town of Evaz (to this day fully Sunni and ethnic Persian) to Kuwait

Continue reading