Transformation Of Islam: Islam In The Societies Of Central Asia

984 words - 4 pages

The next work used to study the Islamic government is “Siyasatnama” (“Treatise on government”) which provides a model of statecraft and administrative practice. “Siyasatnama” was written by a distinguished statesman of 11th century, a grand vizier, Abu ‘Ali al-Hasan al-Tusi (1018-92), who was given a title of “Nizam al-Mulk” (“the regulator of the state”) for faithful service to Seljuk sultans Alp Arslan and Malik-Shakh (Ibn Khallikan, page 90). “Siyasatnama” is chosen for present investigation because it reflects social and political life and moral values of the Seljuk period (Scott Meisami, page 145). “Siyasatnama” allows approaching the Islamic government from two perspectives. First, the Seljuk environment in the late 11th century will be discussed, and last, Nizam al-Mulk’s life experience will be considered.
The 11th century Islamic world was characterized by strife and turmoil (Zakhodyor, page 244). Different sects appeared undermining the unity of the ummah, and the Ismailian sect of Muslims was gaining strength in Khorasan (Scott Meisami, page 161). Constant struggle for power between Shiites, Sunnis, and heterodoxy weakened the protection of the state, what was enjoyed by other nations taking military campaigns against Seljuks (for example, Dandanaqan battle) (lecture 2, week 7). In such political situation viziers were especially important, and a valuable contribution to strengthen the Seljuk Empire was made by Nizam al-Mulk, who conducted the state's domestic and foreign policies. Nizam al-Mulk’s theory of government is mainly based on a religious approach. Indeed, Seljuk court was important protectors of Islamic traditions (lecture 2, week 7). A picture of Seljuks as ardent Muslims is given by Aristakes Lastivertc’I and by Ibn Khallikan. Moreover, all Nizam al-Mulk’s advices are based on Islamic approach and are mainly influenced by the Sunni doctrine Shafi, which was the dominant teaching during Seljuk period (Abazov, page 41). On the other hand, Seljuks had dual political system whereby both caliph and sultan were considered leaders of caliphate (lecture 2, week 7). However, since “Siyasatnama” was dedicated to sultan not to caliph, and since the image of Malikshah was noticeably idealized (Malikshah was described as a “Master of the World”) sultan seemed to have more actual power, and caliph - more nominal dominion. Thus, it may be assumed that for Seljuks Islam was considered as a tool to legitimate power.
Sometimes biographies can tell more about a particular question rather than general overview of a given period, as in case of Nizam al-Mulk. Not only political environment but also Nizam al-Mulk’s own life experience contributed him to emphasize the role of Islam in the government. First, Nizam al-Mulk was born into a small nobility family, he grew up among the common people (Ibn Khallikan, page 90), and thus, he was familiar with the needs of a simple folk. This experience is reflected in his work in which Nizam al-Mulk...

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