Qom is thought to have existed in pre-Islamic ages. Archeological
discoveries indicate Qom as a residential area from the 5th millennium
BCE. According to the pre-Islamic remaining relics and historical texts,
Qom was a large city. 'Kom' was the name of the ancient rampart of the
city of Qom, thus, the Arabs called it Qom during the Arab conquests of
It was during the reign of the second caliph Omar, that the Muslims
captured Qom’s center. In 644-645 CE, Abu Moosa Ashari, dispatched
forces under his command to Qom. Conflicts arose between the invading
Arabs and the residents of the area.
During the persecution of the Alavids by the Abbasids and Umayyads,
many Alavids fled to Qom, making it their permanent home. The Caliph
Al-Ma'mun sent forces to Qom in the year 825 CE, resulting in a public
massacre and destruction of the city.
On hearing of the demise of al-Ma'mun, the inhabitants of Qom
revolted and were successful in overthrowing the representative of the
Caliph in 831 CE. However al-Ma'mun's successor, al-Mu'tasim, dispatched
forces to Qom
in order to curb the riots and once again the city was set aflame. The
unrest continued until the Buwayhid dynasty (Al e Booyeh in Persian)
came to power, being of the Alavid community. It was during this reign
that the city of Qom expanded and thrived.
In the Saljuqi era the city flourished once more. During the first
wave of the Mongol invasion, the city witnessed destruction, but after
Mongol rulers, particularly after Sultan ?ljeitü Khoda bandeh of the
Ilkhanate dynasty converted to Islam, the city received special
attention, thus witnessing a revival once again.
In the late 14th century, the city came under the plunder of
Tamerlane when the inhabitants were massacred again. During the periods
of the rule of the Qarah Qoyoonloo, Aq Qoyoonloo, and especially during
the reign of the Safavids, Qom gained special attention and gradually
By 1503, Qom became one of the important centers of theology in
relation to the Shia Islam, and became a vital pilgrimage site and
During the Afghan invasion, the city of Qom suffered heavy damages,
and its inhabitants witnessed severe economic hardships. Qom further
sustained damages during the reigns of Nadir Shah, and the conflicts
between the two households of Zandieh and Qajar in order to gain power
In 1798, Qom came under the control of Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar. On
being victorious over his enemies, Fath Ali Shah made repairs to the
sepulchre and Holy Shrine of Hazrat Ma'soumeh, fulfilling his vow.
The city of Qom thrived in the Qajar era. After Russian forces
entered Karaj in 1915, many of the inhabitants of Tehran moved to Qom.
The transfer of the capital from Tehran to Qom was discussed, but the
British and Russians demolished the plan by bringing the monarch of the
times, Ahmad Shah Qajar under pressure. Coinciding with this period, a
'National Defense Committee' was set up, and Qom turned into a political
and military apex against the Russian and British colonial powers. Qom
was also the center from which Ayatollah Khomeini based his opposition
to the Pahlavi dynasty, while in Iran.
Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization lists 195 sites of historical
and cultural significance in Qom. The most visited sites are:
- Kahak cave
- Vashnuh cave
- Howz e Soltan Salt Lake
- Namak Great Salt Lake
- Mar'ashi Najafi Library, with over 500,000 handwritten texts and copies.
- Astaneh Moqaddaseh Museum
- Qom Bazaar
- Feyzieh Seminary
- Jamkaran Mosque
- Qom Jame' Mosque
- Qom Atiq Mosque
- A'zam Mosque
- Shrine of Hazrat Masoumeh
- Jami' Mosque Qom
- Atiq Mosque in Qom
- Shrine of Fatimah al-Masumah
- 'Molasadra' house.
- 'Ayatollah Borujerdi' house.
- 'HajAli khan Zand' house.
- 'Haji khan' house.
as an urban settlement existed in the pre-Islamic ages. Architectural
discoveries indicate that Qom was a residential area from the 5th
millennium BC. Pre-Islamic remaining relics and historical texts point
to the fact of Qom being a large regional city. Kum was known to be the
name of this ancient city, thus, the incoming 7th century Arabs called
it Qom during the conquests of Iran.
During the caliphate of ?Umar ibn al-Khatt?b, the area of Qom fell
to the invading Arab armies of Islam. In 645 A.D., Abu Musa Ash'ari also
dispatched forces under his command to the area. Conflicts resulted
between the incoming Arab army and the residents of the area.
In Seljuki times, the city flourished as well. During the Mongol
invasion of Persia the city witnessed widespread destruction, but after
the Mongol ruling dynasty, also known as the Ilkhanate, converted to
Islam during the reign of ?ljeitü (Persian Muhammad Khudab?nde), the
city received special attention, thus undergoing a revival once more.
In the late 14th century, the city was plundered by Tamerlane and
the inhabitants were massacred. But during the periods of rule of the
Qara Qoyunlu, Aq Qoyunlu and especially during the reign of the
Safavids, Qom gained special attention and gradually developed due to
its religious shrine
By 1503 Qom became one of the important centers of theology in
relation to the Shia Islam, and became a significant religious
pilgrimage site and pivot.
The city suffered heavy damages again during the Afghan invasions,
resulting in consequent severe economic hardships. Qom further sustained
damages during the reigns of Nadir Shah and the conflicts between the
two households of Zandieh and Qajariyeh in order to gain power over
Finally in 1793 Qom came under the control of Agha Muhammad Khan
Qajar. On being victorious over his enemies, the Qajar Sultan F?teh ?li
Shah was responsible for the repairs done on the sepulchre and Holy
Shrine of H?zr?t M?'sume, as he had made such a vow.
The city of Qom began another era of prosperity in the Qajar era.
After Russian forces entered Karaj in 1915, many of the inhabitants of
Tehran moved to Qom due to reasons of proximity, and the transfer of the
capital from Tehran to Qom was even discussed. But the British and
Russians defeated prospects of the plan by putting Ahmad Shah Qajar
under political pressure. Coinciding with this period, a "National
Defense Committee" was set up in Tehran, and Qom turned into a political
and military apex opposed to the Russian and British colonial powers.
As a center of religious learning Qom fell into decline for about a
century from 1820 to 1920, but had a resurgence when Shaykh Abdul Karim
Haeri Yazdi accepted an invitation to move from Sultanabad (now called
Arak, Iran), where he had been teaching, to Qom.
In 1964 and 65, before his exile from Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini
led his opposition to the Pahlavi dynasty from Qom. After the Islamic
revolution in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini also spent some time in the city
before and after moving to Tehran.