Eastern Arabia was known as Al-Bahrain until the 18th century. This region stretched from the south of Basra along the Persian Gulf coast and included the regions of Bahrain, Kuwait, Al-Hasa, United Arab Emirates, Southern Iraq, Northern Oman; the entire coastal strip of Eastern Arabia was known as "Bahrain" for ten centuries. Until recently, the whole of Eastern Arabia, from southern Iraq to the mountains of Oman, was a place where people moved around and married unconcerned by national borders; the people of Eastern Arabia shared a culture based on the sea. The Arab states of the Persian Gulf are Eastern Arabia, the borders of the Arabic-speaking Gulf do not extend beyond Eastern Arabia; the modern-day states of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and UAE are the archetypal Gulf Arab states. Saudi Arabia is considered a Gulf Arab state although most Saudis do not live in Eastern Arabia. In Arabic, Baḥrayn is the dual form of baḥr, so al-Baḥrayn means "the Two Seas". However, which two seas were intended remains in dispute.
The term appears five times in the Qur'an, but does not refer to the modern island—originally known to the Arabs as “Awal”—but rather to the oases of al-Katif and Hadjar. It is unclear when the term began to refer to the Awal islands, but it was after the 15th century. Today, Bahrain's "two seas" are instead taken to be the bay east and west of the coast, the seas north and south of the island, or the salt and fresh water present above and below the ground. In addition to wells, there are places in the sea north of Bahrain where fresh water bubbles up in the middle of the salt water, noted by visitors since antiquity. An alternate theory offered by Al-Hasa was that the two seas were the Great Green Ocean and a peaceful lake on the mainland; the term "Gulf Arab" refers, geographically, to inhabitants of eastern Arabia. The term "Khaleejis" is misused to identify all the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula; the inhabitants of Eastern Arabia's Gulf coast share similar cultures and music styles such as fijiri and liwa.
The most noticeable cultural trait of Eastern Arabia's Gulf Arabs is their orientation and focus towards the sea. Maritime-focused life in the small Gulf Arab states has resulted in a sea-oriented society where livelihoods have traditionally been earned in marine industries; the Arabs of Eastern Arabia speak a dialect known as Gulf Arabic. Most Saudis do not speak Gulf Arabic. There are 2 million Gulf Arabic speakers in Saudi Arabia in the coastal eastern region. Before the GCC was formed in 1981, the term "Khaleeji" was used to refer to the inhabitants of Eastern Arabia. Before the 7th century CE, the population of Eastern Arabia consisted of Christianized Arabs, Arab Zoroastrians and Aramaic-speaking agriculturalists; some sedentary dialects of Eastern Arabia exhibit Akkadian and Syriac features. The sedentary people of ancient Bahrain were Aramaic speakers and to some degree Persian speakers, while Syriac functioned as a liturgical language. Dilmun appears first in Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets dated to the end of fourth millennium BC, found in the temple of goddess Inanna, in the city of Uruk.
The adjective'Dilmun' is used to describe a type of one specific official. Dilmun was mentioned in two letters dated to the reign of Burna-Buriash II recovered from Nippur, during the Kassite dynasty of Babylon; these letters were from a provincial official, Ilī-ippašra, in Dilmun to his friend Enlil-kidinni in Mesopotamia. The names referred to are Akkadian; these letters and other documents, hint at an administrative relationship between Dilmun and Babylon at that time. Following the collapse of the Kassite dynasty, Mesopotamian documents make no mention of Dilmun with the exception of Assyrian inscriptions dated to 1250 BC which proclaimed the Assyrian king to be king of Dilmun and Meluhha. Assyrian inscriptions recorded tribute from Dilmun. There are other Assyrian inscriptions during the first millennium BC indicating Assyrian sovereignty over Dilmun. Dilmun was later on controlled by the Kassite dynasty in Mesopotamia. One of the early sites discovered in Bahrain indicate that Sennacherib, king of Assyria, attacked northeast Persian Gulf and captured Bahrain.
The most recent reference to Dilmun came during the Neo-Babylonian dynasty. Neo-Babylonian administrative records, dated 567 BC, stated that Dilmun was controlled by the king of Babylon; the name of Dilmun fell from use after the collapse of Neo-Babylon in 538 BC. There is both literary and archaeological evidence of extensive trade between Ancient Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley civilization. Impressions of clay seals from the Indus Valley city of Harappa were evidently used to seal bundles of merchandise, as clay seal impressions with cord or sack marks on the reverse side testify. A number of these Indus Valley seals have turned up at other Mesopotamian sites; the “Persian Gulf” types of circular, stamped seals known from Dilmun, that appear at Lothal in Gujarat and Failaka, as well as in Mesopotamia, are convincing corroboration of the long-distance sea trade. What the commerce consisted of is less known: timber and precious woods, lapis lazuli and luxury goods such as carnelian and glazed s
The Umayyad Caliphate spelt Omayyad, was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. The caliphate was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty; the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, was a member of the Umayyad clan. The family established dynastic, hereditary rule with Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, long-time governor of Syria, who became the sixth Caliph after the end of the First Muslim Civil War in 661. After Mu'awiyah's death in 680, conflicts over the succession resulted in a Second Civil War and power fell into the hands of Marwan I from another branch of the clan. Syria remained the Umayyads' main power base thereafter, Damascus was their capital; the Umayyads continued the Muslim conquests, incorporating the Transoxiana, the Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula into the Muslim world. At its greatest extent, the Umayyad Caliphate covered 11,100,000 km2 and 33 million people, making it one of the largest empires in history in both area and proportion of the world's population.
The dynasty was overthrown by a rebellion led by the Abbasids in 750. Survivors of the dynasty established themselves in Cordoba in the form of an Emirate and a Caliphate, lasting until 1031; the Umayyad Caliphs were considered too secular by some of their Muslim subjects. Christians, who still constituted a majority of the Caliphate's population, Jews were allowed to practice their own religion but had to pay a head tax from which Muslims were exempt. There was, the Muslim-only zakat tax, earmarked explicitly for various welfare progammes. Muawiya's wife Maysum was a Christian. Relations between the caliphate's Muslim and Christian subjects were stable in this time; the Umayyads were involved in frequent battles with the Christian Byzantines without being concerned with protecting themselves in Syria, which had remained Christian like many other parts of the empire. Prominent positions were held by Christians, some of whom belonged to families that had served in Byzantine governments; the employment of Christians was part of a broader policy of religious accommodation, necessitated by the presence of large Christian populations in the conquered provinces, as in Syria.
This policy boosted Muawiya's popularity and solidified Syria as his power base. According to tradition, the Umayyad family and Muhammad both descended from a common ancestor, Abd Manaf ibn Qusai, they came from the city of Mecca in the Hijaz. Muhammad descended from Abd Manāf via his son Hashim, while the Umayyads descended from Abd Manaf via a different son, Abd-Shams, whose son was Umayya; the two families are therefore considered to be different clans of the same tribe. While the Umayyads felt deep animosity towards the Hashimites before Muhammad, their animosity deepened after the Battle of Badr of 624; the battle saw. This fueled the opposition of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, the grandson of Umayya, to Muhammad, his family, Islam as a whole. Abu Sufyan sought to exterminate the adherents of the new religion by waging another battle against the Medina-based Muslims only a year after the Battle of Badr, he did this to avenge the defeat at Badr. Scholars regard the Battle of Uhud as the first defeat for the Muslims, since they incurred greater losses than the Meccans.
After the battle, Abu Sufyan's wife Hind, the daughter of Utba ibn Rabi'ah, is reported to have cut open the corpse of Hamza, taking out his liver which she attempted to eat. In 629, within five years of the defeat in the Battle of Uhud, Muhammad took control of Mecca and announced a general amnesty for all. Abu Sufyan and his wife Hind embraced Islam on the eve of the conquest of Mecca; the Umayyad's ascendancy began when Uthman ibn Affan, an early companion, second cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad became the third Caliph. Uthman placed some members of his clan at positions of power. Most notably, he appointed his first cousin, Marwan ibn al-Hakam, as his top advisor, which created a stir among the Hashimite companions of Muhammad, as Marwan had been permanently exiled from Medina by Muhammad. Uthman appointed his half-brother, Walid ibn Uqba, whom Hashimites accused of leading prayer while under the influence of alcohol, governor of Kufa and appointed his foster-brother Abdullah ibn Saad as the Governor of Egypt, replacing Amr ibn al-As.
Most notably, Uthman consolidated Muawiyah's governorship of Syria by granting him control over a larger area. Muawiyah proved a successful governor, he built up a loyal and disciplined army composed of Syrian Arabs and befriended Amr ibn al-As, the ousted governor of Egypt. In 639 Muawiyah was appointed as the governor of Syria after the previous governor Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah died in a plague along with 25,000 other people. In 649 Muawiyah set up a navy manned by Monophysite Christian and Jacobite Syrian Christian sailors and Muslim troops, who defeated the Byzantine navy at the Battle of the Masts in 655, opening up the Mediterranean. Uthman's rule saw the relaxing of restrictions instituted by the second Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khatt
The Rashidun Caliphate was the first of the four major caliphates established after the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was ruled by the first four successive caliphs of Muhammad after his death in 632 CE; these caliphs are collectively known in Sunni Islam as the Rashidun. This term is not used in Shia Islam as Shia Muslims do not consider the rule of the first three caliphs as legitimate; the Rashidun Caliphate is characterized by a twenty-five year period of rapid military expansion, followed by a five-year period of internal strife. The Rashidun Army at its peak numbered more than 100,000 men. By the 650s, the caliphate in addition to the Arabian Peninsula had subjugated the Levant, to the Transcaucasus in the north; the caliphate arose out of the death of Muhammad in 632 CE and the subsequent debate over the succession to his leadership. Abu Bakr, a close companion of Muhammad from the Banu Taym clan, was elected the first Rashidun leader and began the conquest of the Arabian Peninsula.
He ruled from 632 to his death in 634. Abu Bakr was succeeded by Umar, his appointed successor from the Banu Adi clan, who began the conquest of Persia from 642 to 651, leading to the defeat of the Sassanid Empire. Umar was assassinated in 644 and was succeeded by Uthman, elected by a six-person committee arranged by Umar. Under Uthman began the conquest of Armenia and Khorasan. Uthman was assassinated in 656 and succeeded by Ali, who presided over the civil war known as the First Fitna; the war was between those who supported Uthman's cousin and governor of the Levant and those who supported the caliph Ali. The civil war permanently consolidated the divide between Sunni and Shia Muslims, with Shia Muslims believing Ali to be the first rightful caliph and Imam after Muhammad. A third faction in the war supported the governor of Egypt; the war was decided in favour of the faction of Muawiyah, who established the Umayyad Caliphate in 661. After Muhammad's death in 632 CE, his Medinan companions 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 Khalīfaṫu Rasūli l-Lāh, or Caliph, 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 never claimed such a title. Rather, their election and leadership were based upon merit. Notably, according to Sunnis, all four Rashidun Caliphs were connected to Muhammad through marriage, were early converts to Islam, were among ten who were explicitly promised paradise, were his closest companions by association and support and were 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 hadith of Muhammad, where he foretold that the caliphate after him would last for 30 years and would be followed by kingship.
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. Shortly before his death, Muhammad called all the Muslims who had accompanied him on the final Hajj to gather around at a place known as Ghadir Khumm. Muhammad gave a long sermon; the Muslims responded, "Allah and His messenger." Muhammad said: Behold! Whosoever I am his master, this Ali is his master. O Allah! Stay firm in supporting those who stay firm in following him, be hostile to those who are hostile to him, help those who help him, forsake those who forsake him. O people! This Ali is my brother, the executor of my, the container of my knowledge, my successor over my nation, over the interpretation the Book of Allah, the mighty and the majestic, the true inviter to its, he is the one who acts according to what pleases Him, fights His enemies, causes to adhere to His obedience, advises against His disobedience. He is the successor of the Messenger of Allah, the commander of the believers, the guiding Imam, the killer of the oath breakers, the transgressors, the apostates.
I speak by the authority of Allah. The word with me shall not be changed; this event has been narrated by both Shia and Sunni sources. Further, after the sermon, Abu Bakr and Uthman are all said to have given their allegiance to Ali, a fact, reported by both Shia and Sunni sources. In Medina, after the Farewell Pilgrimage and the event of Ghadir Khumm, Muhammad ordered an army to be mustered under the command of Usama bin Zayd, he commanded all the companions, except for his family, to go with Usama to Syria to avenge the Muslims’ defeat at the Battle of Mu'tah. Muhammad gave Usama the banner of Islam on the 18th day of the Islamic month of Safar in the year 11 A. H. Abu Bakr and Umar were among those. However, Abu Bakr and Umar resisted going under the command of Usama because they thought that he
Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabarī was an influential Persian scholar and exegete of the Qur'an from Amol, who composed all his works in Arabic. Today, he is best known for his expertise in Qur'anic exegesis, Islamic jurisprudence and world history, but he has been described as "an impressively prolific polymath, he wrote on such subjects as poetry, grammar, ethics and medicine."His most influential and best known works are his Qur'anic commentary known as Tafsir al-Tabari and his historical chronicle Tarikh al-Rusul wa al-Muluk referred to Tarikh al-Tabari. Although it became extinct, al-Tabari's madhhab flourished among Sunni ulama for two centuries after his death, it was designated by the name Jariri. Tabari was born in Amol, Tabaristan in the winter of 838–9, he memorized the Qur'an at seven, was a qualified prayer leader at eight and began to study the prophetic traditions at nine. He left home to study in 236AH, he retained close ties to his home town. He returned at least twice, the second time in 290AH when his outspokenness caused some uneasiness and led to his quick departure.
He first went to Rayy. A major teacher in Rayy was Abu Abdillah Muhammad ibn Humayd al-Razi, who had earlier taught in Baghdad but was now in his seventies. While in Ray, he studied Muslim jurisprudence according to the Hanafi school. Among other material, ibn Humayd taught Jarir Tabari the historical works of ibn Ishaq al-Sirah, his life of Muhammad. Tabari was thus introduced in youth to early Islamic history. Tabari quotes ibn Humayd but little is known about Tabari's other teachers in Rayy. Tabari travelled to study in Baghdad under ibn Hanbal, however, had died. Tabari made a pilgrimage prior to his first arrival in Baghdad, he left Baghdad in 242 A. H. to travel through the southern cities of Basra and Wasit. There, he met a number of venerable scholars. In addition to his previous study of Hanafi law, Tabari studied the Shafi'i, Maliki and Zahiri rites. Tabari's study of the latter school was with the founder, Dawud al-Zahiri, Tabari hand-copied and transmitted many of his teacher's works. Tabari was well-versed in four of the five remaining Sunni legal schools before founding his own independent, yet extinct, school.
His debates with his former teachers and classmates were known, served as a demonstration of said independence. Notably missing from this list is the Hanbali school, the fourth largest legal school within Sunni Islam in the present era. Tabari's view of Ibn Hanbal, the school's founder, became decidedly negative in life. Tabari did not give Ibn Hanbal's dissenting opinion any weight at all when considering the various views of jurists, stating that Ibn Hanbal had not been a jurist at all but a recorder of Hadith. On his return to Baghdad, he took a tutoring position from the vizier, Ubaydallah ibn Yahya ibn Khaqan; this would have been before A. H. 244 since the vizier was out of office and in exile from 244 to 248. There is an anecdote told that Tabari had agreed to tutor for ten dinars a month, but his teaching was so effective and the boy's writing so impressive that the teacher was offered a tray of dinars and dirhams; the ever-ethical Tabari declined the offer saying he had undertaken to do his work at the specified amount and could not honourably take more.
That is one of a number of stories about him declining gifts or giving gifts of equal or greater amount in return. In his late twenties, he travelled to Syria and Egypt. In Beirut, he made the significant connection of al-Abbas b. al-Walid b. Mazyad al-'Udhri al-Bayruti. Al-Abbas instructed Tabari in the Syrian school's variant readings of the Qur'an and transmitted through his father al-Walid the legal views of al-Awza'i, Beirut's prominent jurist from a century earlier. Tabari arrived in Egypt in 253AH, some time after 256/870, he returned to Baghdad making a pilgrimage on the way. If so, he did not stay long in the Hijaz. Tabari had a private income from his father while he was still living and the inheritance, he took money for teaching. Among Tabari's students was Ibn al-Mughallis, a student of Tabari's own teacher Muhammad bin Dawud al-Zahiri, he never took a judicial position. Tabari was some fifty years old, he was well past seventy in the year. During the intervening years, he was famous, if somewhat controversial, personality.
Among the figures of his age, he had access to sources of information equal to anyone, except those who were directly connected with decision making within the government. Most, if not all, the materials for the histories of al-Mu'tadid, al-Muktafi, the early years of al-Muqtadir were collected by him about the time the reported events took place, his accounts are as authentic. Tabari's final years were marked by conflict with the Hanbalite followers of Al-Hasan ibn'Ali al-Barbahari, a student of the students of Ibn Hanbal. Tabari was known for his view that Hanbalism was not a legitimate school of thought, as Ibn Hanbal was a compiler of traditions and not a proper jurist; the Hanbalites of Baghdad would stone Tabari's house, escalating the persecuti
A caliphate is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the title of caliph, a person considered a religious successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a leader of the entire ummah. The caliphates were polities based in Islam which developed into multi-ethnic trans-national empires. During the medieval period, three major caliphates succeeded each other: the Rashidun Caliphate, the Umayyad Caliphate and the Abbasid Caliphate. In the fourth major caliphate, the Ottoman Caliphate, the rulers of the Ottoman Empire claimed caliphal authority from 1517. During the history of Islam, a few other Muslim states all hereditary monarchies, have claimed to be caliphates. Prior to the rise of Muhammad and the unification of the tribes of Arabia under Islam, Arabs followed a pre-Islamic Arab polytheism, lived as self-governing sedentary and nomadic communities, raided their neighbouring tribes. Following the early Muslim conquests of the Arabian Peninsula, the region became unified and most of the tribes adopted Islam.
The first caliphate, the Rashidun Caliphate, was established after Muhammad's death in 632. The four Rashidun caliphs, who directly succeeded Muhammad as leaders of the Muslim community, were chosen through shura, a process of community consultation that some consider to be an early form of Islamic democracy; the fourth caliph, who, unlike the prior three, was from the same clan as Muhammad, is considered by Shia Muslims to be the first rightful caliph and Imam after Muhammad. Ali reigned during the First Fitna, a civil war between supporters of Ali and supporters of the assassinated previous caliph, from Banu Umayya, as well as rebels in Egypt; the second caliphate, the Umayyad Caliphate, was ruled by Banu Umayya, a Meccan clan descended from Umayya ibn Abd Shams. The caliphate continued the Arab conquests, incorporating the Caucasus, Sindh, the Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula into the Muslim world; the caliphate had considerable acceptance of the Christians within its territory, necessitated by their large numbers in the region of Syria.
Following the Abbasid Revolution from 746–750, which arose from non-Arab Muslim disenfranchisement, the Abbasid Caliphate was established in 750. The third caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate was ruled by the Abbasids, a dynasty of Meccan origin which descended from Hashim, a great-grandfather of Muhammad, making them part of Banu Hashim, via Abbas, an uncle of Muhammad, hence the name. Caliph al-Mansur founded its second capital of Baghdad in 762 which became a major scientific and art centre, as did the territory as a whole during a period known as the Islamic Golden Age. From the 10th century, Abbasid rule became confined to an area around Baghdad. From 945 to 1157, the Abbasid Caliphate came under Buyid and Seljuq military control. In 1250, a non-Arab army created by the Abbasids called. In 1258, the Mongol Empire sacked Baghdad, ending the Abbasid Caliphate, in 1261 the Mamluks in Egypt re-established the Abbasid Caliphate in Cairo. Though lacking in political power, the Abbasid dynasty continued to claim authority in religious matters until the Ottoman conquest of Mamluk Egypt in 1517.
The fourth major caliphate, the Ottoman Caliphate, was established after their conquest of Mamluk Egypt in 1517. The conquest gave the Ottomans control over the holy cities of Mecca and Medina controlled by the Mamluks; the Ottomans came to be viewed as the de facto leaders and representatives of the Muslim world. In the Indian subcontinent, dominant powers such as the Delhi Sultanate's Alauddin Khilji, Mughal Empire's sixth ruler Aurangzeb, Mysore's kings Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan have been heralded as few of the Indian caliphs existed, due to their establishments of Islamic laws throughout South Asia. Following their defeat in World War I, their empire was partitioned by the United Kingdom and French Third Republic, on 3 March 1924, the first President of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as part of his reforms, constitutionally abolished the institution of the caliphate. A few other states that existed through history have called themselves caliphates, including the Isma'ili Fatimid Caliphate in Northeast Africa, the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in Iberia, the Berber Almohad Caliphate in Morocco and the Fula Sokoto Caliphate in present-day northern Nigeria.
The Sunni branch of Islam stipulates that, as a head of state, a caliph may come to power in one of four ways: either through an election, through nomination, through a selection by a committee, or by force. Followers of Shia Islam, believe a caliph should be an Imam chosen by God from the Ahl al-Bayt. In the early 21st century, following the failure of the Arab Spring and defeat of the self-proclaimed "Islamic State", there has seen "a broad mainstream embrace of a collective Muslim identity" by young Muslims and the appeal of a caliphate as a "idealized future Muslim state" has grown stronger. Before the advent of Islam, Arabian monarchs traditionally used the title malik, or another from the same root; the term caliph, derives from the Arabic word khalīfah, which means "successor", "steward", or "deputy" and has traditionally been considered a shortening of Khalīfat Rasūl Allāh. However, studies of pre-Islamic texts suggest that the original meaning of the phr
Iran called Persia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, to the west by Turkey and Iraq; the country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE, it was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history.
The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries. Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE; the Islamization of Iran led to the decline of Zoroastrianism, by the country's dominant religion, Iran's major contributions to art and science spread within the Muslim rule during the Islamic Golden Age. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were conquered by the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols; the rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses.
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocracy and growing Western political influence. Subsequent widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy led to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, a political system that includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader". During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq, which lasted for eight years and resulted in a high number of casualties and economic losses for both sides; the sovereign state of Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris and Lurs. Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Iran's women's rights record; the term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- and ary-, both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya-, recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta, remains in other Iranian ethnic names Alan and Iron.
Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due to the writings of Greek historians who referred to all of Iran as Persís, meaning "land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, today defined as Fars. As the most extensive interaction the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted long after the Greco-Persian Wars. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, effective March 22 that year; as The New York Times explained at the time, "At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country." Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceab
The Indian subcontinent known as the Asian subcontinent and Indo subcontinent, is a southern region and peninsula of Asia situated on the Indian Plate and projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas. Geologically, the Indian subcontinent is related to the land mass that rifted from Gondwana and merged with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago. Geographically, it is the peninsular region in south-central Asia delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush in the west, the Arakanese in the east. Politically, the Indian subcontinent includes Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Sometimes, the geographical term'Indian subcontinent' is used interchangeably with'South Asia', although that last term is used as a political term and is used to include Afghanistan. Which countries should be included in either of these remains the subject of debate. According to Oxford English Dictionary, the term "subcontinent" signifies a "subdivision of a continent which has a distinct geographical, political, or cultural identity" and a "large land mass somewhat smaller than a continent".
It is first attested in 1845 to refer to the North and South Americas, before they were regarded as separate continents. Its use to refer to the Indian subcontinent is seen from the early twentieth century, it was convenient for referring to the region comprising both British India and the princely states under British Paramountcy. The term Indian subcontinent has a geological significance. Similar to various continents, it was a part of the supercontinent of Gondwana. A series of tectonic splits caused formation of various basins, each drifting in various directions; the geological region called "Greater India" once included Madagascar, Seychelles and Austrolasia along with the Indian subcontinent basin. As a geological term, Indian subcontinent has meant that region formed from the collision of the Indian basin with Eurasia nearly 55 million years ago, towards the end of Paleocene; the geographical region has simply been known as "India". Other related terms are South Asia, and the terms "Indian subcontinent" and "South Asia" are sometimes used interchangeably.
There is no globally accepted definition on which countries are a part of South Asia or the Indian subcontinent. The less common term "South Asian subcontinent" has seen occasional use since the 1970s. Geologically, the Indian subcontinent was first a part of so-called "Greater India", a region of Gondwana that drifted away from East Africa about 160 million years ago, around the Middle Jurassic period; the region experienced high volcanic activity and plate subdivisions, creating Madagascar, Antarctica and the Indian subcontinent basin. The Indian subcontinent drifted northeastwards, colliding with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago, towards the end of Paleocene; this geological region includes Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The zone where the Eurasian and Indian subcontinent plates meet remains one of the geologically active areas, prone to major earthquakes; the English term "subcontinent" continues to refer to the Indian subcontinent. Physiographically, it is a peninsular region in south-central Asia delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush in the west, the Arakanese in the east.
It extends southward into the Indian Ocean with the Arabian Sea to the southwest and the Bay of Bengal to the southeast. Most of this region rests on the Indian Plate and is isolated from the rest of Asia by large mountain barriers. Using the more expansive definition – counting India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives as the constituent countries – the Indian subcontinent covers about 4.4 million km2, 10% of the Asian continent or 3.3% of the world's land surface area. Overall, it is home to a vast array of peoples; the Indian subcontinent is a natural physical landmass in South Asia, geologically the dry-land portion of the Indian Plate, isolated from the rest of Eurasia. Given the difficulty of passage through the Himalayas, the sociocultural and political interaction of the Indian subcontinent has been through the valleys of Afghanistan in its northwest, the valleys of Manipur in its east, by maritime routes. More difficult but important interaction has occurred through passages pioneered by the Tibetans.
These routes and interactions have led to the spread of Buddhism out of the Indian subcontinent into other parts of Asia. And the Islamic expansion arrived into the Indian subcontinent in two ways, through Afghanistan on land and to Indian coast through the maritime routes on the Arabian Sea. Whether called the Indian subcontinent or South Asia, the definition of the geographical extent of this region varies. Geopolitically, it had formed the whole territory of Greater India. In terms of modern geopolitical boundaries, the Indian subcontinent comprises the Republic of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, besides, by convention, the island nation of Sri Lanka and other islands of the Indian Ocean, such as the Maldives; the term "Indian continent" is first introduced in the early 20th century, when most of the territory was part of British India. The Hindu Kush, centered on eastern Afghanistan, is the boundary connecting the Indian subcontinent with Central Asia to the northwest, the Persian Plateau to the west.
The socio-religious history of Afghanistan are related to the Turkish-influenced Central Asia and no