The history of Islam in Herat, Afghanistan, dates back to the 7th century when Arab armies first invaded the region. However, it was not until the 9th century that Islam began to take hold in Herat, as it did throughout the wider region of Central Asia. Over the centuries, Herat became an important center for Islamic civilization, with a rich history that is closely tied to the development of Islam in the region.
During the early Islamic period, Herat was ruled by the Samanids, who were known for their patronage of art, literature, and scholarship. Many famous scholars and poets, including Abu Rayhan al-Biruni and Ferdowsi, were born or spent time in Herat during this period. The city was also an important center for Islamic mysticism, with many Sufi orders establishing themselves in the region.
In the 11th century, Herat was conquered by the Ghaznavids, who were known for their military prowess and their patronage of Islamic art and literature. The Ghaznavids built many impressive monuments in Herat, including the Citadel of Herat and several mosques and madrasas. They also established a court that was known for its cultural achievements, with many famous scholars and artists being attracted to Herat during this period.
During the 14th and 15th centuries, Herat became a major center for Islamic culture and art under the Timurids, who ruled over much of Central Asia and Iran. The Timurids built many impressive monuments in Herat, including the Goharshad Mosque and the Madrasa of Gawharshad. They also patronized many artists and scholars, including the famous poet Jami, who was born in Herat.
In the 16th century, Herat became part of the Safavid Empire, which was based in Iran. The Safavids promoted Shia Islam and built many impressive monuments in Herat, including the Masjid-i Jami and the Mausoleum of Khwaja Abdullah Ansari, a famous Sufi saint.
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Herat experienced a series of political and social changes that had an impact on the development of Islam in the region. During the 19th century, Herat became a center of resistance against British colonialism, and many Islamic scholars and leaders played an important role in this movement.
In the 20th century, Afghanistan underwent a series of political changes that had an impact on the development of Islam in the region. In the 1970s, a Marxist government came to power in Afghanistan, which was opposed by many Islamic groups. This led to a period of civil war and instability, which continued into the 21st century.
Today, Herat remains an important center for Islamic culture in Afghanistan, with many mosques, madrasas, and other Islamic institutions located in the city. Despite the challenges faced by Afghanistan in recent years, the history of Islam in Herat remains an important part of the country’s cultural heritage.