Converting Persia: Religion and Power in the Safavid Empire by Rula Jurdi Abisaab

By Rula Jurdi Abisaab

Below the Safavids (1501-1736 CE) Persia followed Shi'ism as its legitimate faith. Rula Abisaab explains how and why this particular model of Shi'ism--urban and legally-based--was delivered to the zone by means of major Arab 'Ulama from Ottoman Syria, and adjusted the face of the area until eventually today. those emigre students provided detailed resources of legitimacy for the Safavid monarchs, and an ideological protection opposed to the Ottomans. simply as very important on the time used to be a awake and brilliant means of Persianization either on the country point and in society. changing Persia is key interpreting for anthropologists, historians and students of faith, and any attracted to Safavid Persia, in Shi'ism, and within the wider background of the center East.

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The jurists were struggling to provide religious guidance for the urban lower classes whose artisans and guildsmen drew upon popular Sufi creed and possibly the futuvvat heritage. Notably, al-Karaki directed a subtle criticism at ‘government officials’ for their inexcusable leniency toward guilds leaders given their obvious disdain for clerics. 126 These leaders, al-Karaki stated, had declared licit what God had otherwise forbidden, such as the shaving of beards, mustaches and eyebrows. Al-Karaki encouraged his community to ostracize these leaders and humiliate them publicly.

142 Similarly, under Shah Tahmasb, Mir Sayyid Husayn al-Mujtahid (d. 1001AH/ 1592–3CE), the grandson of al-Karaki, was directly involved in arbitration among the populace and the local elite alike. 143 He issued injunctions on a wide array of topics and registered his rulings as part of the official ascriptions. 144 Sanson wrote that the shaykh al-Islam was ‘the Judge that dispatches most business. 145 Simplified and concise legal manuals, translated into Persian and short enough to be committed to memory, became essential guides for a systematic application of Shi’ite precepts in everyday life.

These views may have dispelled the fears of the Persian aristocrats about the shuyukh al-Islam, seen now as religious servicemen rather than ultimate models of imitation or authoritative guides. Husayn also openly opposed al-Karaki’s delineation of the direction of prayer in ‘Iraq al-‘Ajam and Khurasan. He explained in proper mathematical calculations and geometric illustrations the correct angle at which the prayer niche should be situated. 41 Obviously, this was a vindication of the Persian sadr, Ghiyath al-Din Dashtaki, who had previously questioned al-Karaki’s rulings on the direction of prayer.

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