ʿABD-AL-RAḤMĀN B. SAMORA, ABŪ SAʿĪD, Arab general who campaigned in Sīstān; d. 50/670. He was a Meccan of the clan of ʿAbd Šams and a maternal cousin of ʿOṯmān b. ʿAffān. Originally called ʿAbd-al-Kaʿba, he was renamed ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān by Moḥammad when he converted to Islam. His public career began in the caliphate of ʿOṯmān, who relied on solidarity among his own kinsmen in governing the state; and it was tied to the career of ʿAbdallāh b. ʿĀmer b. Korayz, who was also a cousin of ʿOṯmān. In 33/653-54 ʿAbdallāh b. ʿĀmer, as ʿOṯmān’s governor of Baṣra, appointed ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān governor of Sīstān to succeed Rabīʿ b. Zīād who had undertaken the first conquest of Sīstān in 31/651-52. Meanwhile the people of Zaranǰ rebelled and drove out Rabīʿ’s deputy. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān besieged the marzbān in his fortress at Zaranǰ with a force of 8,000 men on a festival day. When the latter submitted, a new treaty with the marzbān doubled the former tribute, raising it to 2,000 dirhams and 2,000 slave boys. A number of Muslims with knowledge of the religion arrived in Sīstān with the army and began to teach native converts the elements of Muslim faith and practice.
ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān began to campaign to the east, conquering the territory between Zaranǰ and Keš near India and the region between Roḵḵaǰ and Zamīndāvar. At Zamīndāvar he cut off the hand of the golden idol of Zūn and took out its two ruby eyes to show the marzbān the idol was impotent. Bost and Zābol were taken by treaty before the death of ʿOṯmān in 35/656 halted these campaigns. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān returned to Baṣra to join Ebn ʿĀmer but found that ʿAlī had dismissed him. After the battle of the Camel in 36/657 ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān joined Moʿāvīa in Syria and was one of his envoys to Ḥasan b. ʿAlī in 41/661. The same year Moʿāvīā reappointed Ebn ʿĀmer governor of Baṣra and its eastern dependencies, and ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān returned to Sīstān with a large army as Ebn ʿĀmer’s subordinate. He introduced the office of ṣāḥeb al-šorṭā (chief of police) to Sīstān and built the Friday mosque in Zaranǰ where Ḥasan Baṣrī taught for almost three years. The territories he had conquered under ʿOṯmān had to be retaken by force or by treaty. Zābolestān, Roḵḵaǰ, and Bost were reconquered, and he took Kabul after besieging it for one month with mangonels. He was then confirmed as governor of Sīstān by Moʿāvīā directly. But in 45/665, disassociating himself from ʿOṯmān’s practice of government through clan solidarity, Moʿāvīā dismissed Ebn ʿĀmer as governor of Baṣra, and one month afterwards ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān was dismissed as governor of Sīstān. He retired to Baṣra, where captive slave boys he brought back from Kabul made a mosque for him in his mansion (qaṣr) in the style of Kabul. When he died at Baṣra five years later in 50/670, Abū Bakra rode a mule in his funeral procession and Zīād b. Abīhe prayed over his body. Although he was only governor of Sīstān for a total of six or seven years, he was mainly responsible for the establishment of Arab-Muslim rule there.
Ebn Saʿd, Ketāb al-ṭabaqāt al-kabīr, Leiden, 1915, 1918, V, p. 32; VII, p. 8.
Balāḏorī, Fotūḥ (Cairo), pp. 401-02.
Ebn al-Aṯīr, II, p. 50. Tārīḵ-e Sīstān, pp. 83-89.
Caetani, Annali VII, p. 278.
C. E. Bosworth, Sīstān under the Arabs, Rome, 1968, pp. 17-22.
(M. G. Morony)
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, pp. 144-145
M. G. Morony, “'Abd-Al-Rahman B. Samora,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, pp. 144-145; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-rahman-b-samora (accessed on 16 January 2014).