Meaning of 'AYYAR in English


( (Arabic: vagabond, scoundrel), ) Arabic plural 'ayyarun, Persian plural 'ayyaran, any member of a class of warriors common to Iraq and Iran in the 9th12th century, often associated in futuwah, medieval Islamic urban organizations. Though 'ayyarun were found fighting for Islam on the frontiers of inner Asia, the most thorough documentation of these warriors describes their activities in Baghdad in the 10th12th century, a picture that may not be typical of 'ayyarun in other areas. The Baghdad of this period, ruled by the Buyids (9451055), was an especially lawless city, troubled by violent battles between members of the Sunnite and Shi'ite sects of Islam. 'Ayyarun terrorized the city, extorting taxes on roads or at markets, burning wealthy quarters and markets, and looting the homes of the rich at night. For several years (102833), Al-Burjumi and Ibn al-Mawsili, leaders of the 'ayyarun, virtually ruled the city in the face of an ineffectual government. Although the 'ayyarun have been commonly labeled thieves and robbers, modern historians point out that their activities multiplied only in times of weak central government or in times of civil war, when their services were sought by many of the conflicting parties. Under strong rulers their lawlessness subsided, and, with the appearance of the Seljuqs in the 12th century, it ceased. The 'ayyarun, in reaction to social injustice, warred against the government and the wealthy, the police, and the merchant classes. Outside Baghdad, from inner Asia to Mesopotamia, the 'ayyarun identified more closely with the middle class, who depended on them to support the local dynasty or displace it. They even succeeded in setting up a dynasty of their own, the Saffarids (867c. 1495), in eastern Iran.

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