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Kings Collge Chapel Essay

1025 words - 5 pages

Safawid rule over Persia originates from Shah Isma'il’s capture of Tabriz after hisvictory over the Aq-Qoyunlu ruler Alwand at Sharur in 1501 A.D. However, before Isma'il could be regarded the successor to the Aq-Qoyunlu in Azarbayjan he would have to defeat the ozbegs and the Ottomans to produce a contiguous Persian State. This would take decades to accomplish.
Overall, The Safawid state established by Shah Isma'il relied on three elements to maintain power. The first was the loyalty of the Qizilbash tribesmen—providing a military capacity to the shah in his capacity as head of the Safawid order. The second was the local bureaucracy, recruited especially from members of the urban ...view middle of the document...

Regarding such sentiments, Bemard Lewis states, "When modern man ceased to accord first place to religion in his own concems, he also ceased to believe that other men, in other times, could ever truly have done so, and so he began to re-examine the great religious movements of the past in search of interests and motives acceptable to modern minds.'' It is therefore possible to say that adopting Shi’ism may have played a role in helping to define the political and cultural identity of Persia and Persians apart from inhabitants of other Muslim countries in its vicinity.
Another related reason for the adoption of Twelver Shi’ism centres on the utility of the ritual curse contained in the Shia tradition which can be used to keep widespread dissent from developing. Although the roots of ritual cursing are older than Shi‘ism, the practice is most associated with the Shi‘ite practice of religious dissimulation (taqiya). Prior to the establishment of the Safavid house in Iran, Shi‘ite
doctrinal disavowal from the first three caliphs was difficult to do given the Sunnite political hold in the area. Rather than publicly disavow themselves (tabarra’/ v.n. tabarru’) from the three caliphs, Abu Bakr, `Umar, and `Uthman, Shi’ites practiced taqiya requiring tabarru’ to be pronounced in the heart rather than out loud. When the political situation changed when Isma’il assumed power, it can be reasonably ascertained that requirement of reciting such a ritual curse now out-loud could be used ''…as a term of surrender to subdue the population''. Thus in addition to providing a separate identity for Persia from other Muslim states, Twelver Shi’ism also had elements—through ritual curses--that allowed the Persian state to instill fear into its population and strengthen its hold upon them.
Yet, there are some inconsistencies in Shah Isma’il’s adoption of Twelver Shi’ism for his domain among which is his claim that this sect allowed him and...

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