CKM 2018-19 / Aziz Yardımlı




Persarum imperium (L)


About this Item


Persarum imperium.

Contributor Names
Moulart-Sanson, Pierre, -1730.

Created / Published
[S.l.], 1721.

Subject Headings
- Iran--History--to 640--Maps
- Iran

- Shows Iran and adjacent counties.
- Available also through the Library of Congress web site as a raster image.

Medium 1 map ; 40 x 56 cm.

Call Number/Physical Location
G7621.S23 1721 .S2 TIL

Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650 dcu

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

Language Latin

Online Format

OCLC Number

Shows Iran and adjacent counties. Available also through the Library of Congress web site as a raster image.

LCCN Permalink

Additional Metadata Formats

MODS Record
Dublin Core Record

IIIF Presentation
Manifest Manifest (JSON/LD)


  Lands Inhabited and/or Controlled by Iranic peoples
Lands ever historically Inhabited and/or Controlled by Iranian (Iranic) peoples

Iranian does not necessarily = Persian. Persians are one of many Iranian peoples.

📹 Why were the Iranian Empires so Successful? (VİDEO)

Why were the Iranian Empires so Successful? (LINK)

Iranian civilization is among the most ancient and its empires were some of the earliest and strongest in history. In this animated historical documentary we will describe how and why the Iranian empires were so strong and stable, going over the administrative system which dominated the region for thousands of years.


  🕑 Iran Timeline

🕑 Iran Timeline

Iran Timeline (LINK)
Iran Timeline


  • 2700 — The Elamite civilization emerges in western Iran.

  • 1500 — The Anshanite dynasties begin to rule over Elam.

  • 1100 — The Elamite empire reaches the peak of its power.

  • 678 — The Medes of northern Iran rise to power with the fall of the Assyrian Empire and form the Median Empire.

  • 550 — Cyrus the Great and the Achaemenid Empire conquers much of the region forming the Persian Empire.

  • 330 — Alexander the Great leads the Greeks to victory over the Persians.

  • 312 — The Seleucid Empire is formed by one of Alexander's generals. It will rule much of the region until overthrown by the Roman Empire.

  • 140 — The Parthian Empire takes control and rules Iran and the surrounding region.



  • 224 — The Sassanid Empire is founded by Ardashir I. It will rule for over 400 years and is the last of the Iranian Empires.

  • 421 — Bahram V becomes king. He will later become the subject of many tales and legends.

  • 661 — The Arabs invade Iran and conquer the Sassanid Empire. They bring the Islamic religion and Islam rule to the region.

  • 819 — The Samanid Empire rules the region. Islam is still the state religion, but the Persian culture is revived.

  • 977 — The Ghaznavid dynasty takes over much of the region.

  • 1037 — The rise of the Seljuq Empire founded by Tughril Beg.

  • 1220 — The Mongols invade Iran after Mongol emissaries are killed. They destroy many cities, killed much of the population, and caused devastation across Iran.

  • 1350 — The Black Death hits Iran killing around 30% of the population.

  • 1381 — Timur invades and conquers Iran.

  • 1502 — The Safavid Empire is established by Shah Ismail.

  • 1587 — Shah Abbas I the Great becomes king of the Safavid Empire. The empire reaches its peak under his rule becoming a major world power.

  • 1639 — The Safavid Empire agrees to a peace agreement with the Ottoman Empire called the Treaty of Zuhab.

  • 1650s — Iran begins to lose territories to European countries such as Great Britain, Russia, and France.

  • 1736 — A weakened Safavid Empire is overthrown by Nadir Shah.

  • 1796 — The Qajar dynasty is established after a civil war.

  • 1813 — The Russians defeat the Persians in the Russo-Persian War.

  • 1870 — A great famine kills over a million people in Persia.

  • 1905 — The Persian Constitutional Revolution occurs. A parliamentary government is created. The parliament is called the Majlis.

  • 1908 — Oil is discovered.



🕑 Chronology of Iranian History — Prehistory to Alexander

Chronology of Iranian History — Prehistory to Alexander (LINK)
Prehistory to Alexander
Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation


c. 100,000 Cave deposits in the Zagros mountains of western Iran show evidence of human habitation dated to the Middle Paleolithic times.

c. 8000 Evidence of the development of settled village agricultural life based on the domestication of animals and plants in Zagros region and sites such as Sarāb, Gurān, and Ali Koš.

c. 5500 The oldest settlements in Sialk (near Kashan, Central lran).

c. 4500 Hāji Firuz Tepe Wine Jar, purported to be the oldest archeological find of a wine-making device in existence.

c. 4200 Susa is founded in southwestern Persia.

c. 3500 In Susa, Elamite painted pottery shows an advanced stage of geometric design and stylized human and animal forms.

c. 3200-2700 Proto-Elamite period.

3rd mill. Jiroft culture in Kerman exhibiting vases and objects made of chlorite, a soft greenish stone that is easy to carve, with original and interesting reliefs.

c. 2700 The Chinese begin weaving silk.

c. 2700 Elamite Kingdom created with Susa as its capital.

c. 2700-1600 Old Elamite period.

c. 2680-2180 The age of the pyramids.

c. 2094-2047 Conquest of Elam by Šulgi of the 3rd dynasty of Ur.

2,004 Elam finally brings down the Ur empire.

2nd mill. Rig-Veda, the oldest Sanskrit hymns, are composed.

c. 1900 Cotton is woven into fabric for the first time by the Harappan culture, natives to South Asia.

c. 1595 The Hittites overrun Babylonia, defeat its army and plunder its wealth.

c. 1500 The Harappan civilization is overrun by northern invaders known as Aryans.

c. 1500 Glass bottles are first used in Egypt.

c. 1500-1100 Middle Elamite period.

c. 1400 First evidence of the production of iron in Hittite controlled Armenia.

c. 1350 An inscription found in Boḡazköy in Anatolia records a marriage treaty between the Hittite king and the Mitanni ruler in which the Indo-Iranian deities Mitra-Varuṇa, Indra, and Nasatyas are invoked, apparently showing that a wave of Indo-Iranians had reached northwestern Iran.

c. 1350 Migration of waves of Iranian tribes begin from the Bactriana-Margiana complex westwards to the Iranian plateau and western Iran.

c. 1244-1208 Increasing conflict between Elam and the rising power of Assyria; Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria invades the mountains north of Elam; Elamites counter with a raid on Babylonia under King Kidin-Ḵutran.

c. 1100-770 Anshan still in part Elamite. Alliances form between Elam and Babylonia aganist the Assyrians.

c. 1100-539 Neo-Elamite period.

c. 1000 Some estimates put the birth of Zoroaster, Iranian prophet and founder of the Zoroastrian religion, about this time. (Date of Zoroaster is controversial with estimates ranging from c. 1200 to c. 600 B.C.).

835 The name of the Medes appears for the first time on an inscription of the Assyrian Šalmaneser III.

c. 770-646 Persian tribes push the Elamites of Anšān towards Susa.

753 Rome founded.

c. 708 Deioces founds Median Kingdom with its capital in Ecbatana.

c. 705 Birth of Achaemenes (d. circa 675), the eponymous forbear of the Achaemenid dynasty.

c. 675 Accession of Median king Phraortes, according to Herodotus.

639 King Ashurbanipal of Assyria defeats Elam and sacks Susa. Elam is never to rise again as an independent power.

633 Scythian Invasion of Media.

625 Death of Ashurbanipal, the powerful Assyrian king and the destroyer of Elam.

624 Medians defeat and oust the Scythians.

624 Accession of Median king Cyaxares.

612 In an alliance with the Babylonians, Cyaxares attacks the Assyrian capital, Nineveh; the alliance succeeds in bringing down the Assyrian Empire.

584 Death of Cyaxares. His son Astyages succeeds him to the Median throne.

561 Croesus becomes king of Lydia.

558 Accession of Cyrus the Great to the throne of Anšān in Fars and Khuzestan; he moves the Achaemenid capital to Susa.

550 Cyrus defeats Astyages, king of the Medes, and captures Ecbatana, succeeding the Median king and uniting Media and Persia.

549-548 Cyrus takes Parthia, Hyrcania, and possibly Armenia.

546 Cyrus invades Lydia, defeats the Lydian king Croesus, and captures his capital, Sardis.

539 Cyrus captures Babylon, the richest city of western Asia, without much resistance after defeating the Babylonian army at the shores of the Tigris.

539 Cyrus allows the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem; he assists the liberated Jews to build the Temple in Jerusalem.

529 Cyrus invades Saka (Scythian) tribes in the northeast and is killed in battle against the Massagetae, a Scythian tribe of Central Asia. He is buried in Pasargadae and is succeeded by his son, Cambyses.

525 Persian troops under Cambyses conquer, or complete the conquest, of Egypt.

521 Death of Cambyses on his way back from Egypt; usurpation of the throne by Gaumata, a magus who claims to be Smerdis (Bardia), son of Cyrus.

521 Darius, a relative of Cyrus, with help from some Persian nobles, stages a palace attack on Gaumata, kills him, and ascends the throne.

519 Darius suppresses the widespread rebellions that flare up upon his accession in a large number of satrapies.

518 Darius establishes a new capital of Persia in Persepolis.

514 Darius invades Scythia, north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea.

494 Revolt of Ionian cities in Asia Minor against Persia; they burn Sardis.

494 Invasion of Greece by Darius, after Darius’ naval fleet defeat the Greeks off the island of Lade.

490 Defeat of Persians at the Battle of Marathon, marking the first time the Greeks had defeated the Persians on land.

486 Darius dies at the age of 63 and is succeeded by his son, Xerxes I.

485 Xerxes suppresses the revolt in Egypt and appoints his brother Achaemenes as its satrap.

484 Xerxes suppresses the revolt in Babylon, destroying its fortifications and the statue of the god Marduk.

480 Persian forces invade Greece and march on Athens, but the Persian fleet is defeated at the Battle of Salamis, putting an end to the invasion’s progress.

479 Battle of Plataea results in the Greek defeat of the Persians.

465 Xerxes is murdered by his counselor, Artabanus, and is succeeded by Artaxerxes I.

c. 465-424 Building of temples to Mithra and Anahita.

424 Death of Artaxerxes I; Xerxes II ascends the throne.

423 Xerxes II is assassinated; Darius II ascends the throne.

405 The Persian Empire loses Egypt.

404 Accession of Artaxerxes II to the throne.

387 Peace of Antalcidas; Greeks recognize the Persian claim to Asia Minor.

359 Accession of Artaxerxes III.

342 Egypt is re-conquered after a number of failed attempts in the previous decade.

338 Artaxerxes III is poisoned on the orders of Baogas; accession of Arses to the throne.

336 Arses is murdered; Darius III, the last Achaemenid king, ascends to the throne.

336 Philip, King of Macedonia is assassinated, and is succeeded by his son, Alexander.

334 Alexander (the Great) invades Asia and defeats the Persian army at the Dardanelles.

334 Persians are defeated by Alexander at the Battle of Granicus (in present day Turkey).

333 Alexander’s troops defeat Persian forces led by Darius III at the Battle of Issus (in present day Turkey).

331 The Battle of Gaugamela (east of present day Mosul) results in the decisive defeat of the Persians by Alexander’s forces.

330 Assassination of Darius III. Alexander captures Ecbatana and destroys Persepolis; end of Achaemenid dynasty.

330-328 Alexander conquers eastern and northeastern Iran, founding or naming a number of Alexandrias. He appoints a number of Persians as satraps, and Persians are also appointed generals of his army.

327-326 Alexander invades India.

323 Alexander returns to Babylon, falls ill, and dies at the age of 33.

Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation


📹 The History of Iran/Persia / Every Year (VİDEO)

The History of Iran/Persia / Every Year (LINK)

Here is the video showing the history of Iran (fromer Persia) starting from the Medes until today's Islamic Republic, passing through the Achaemenid, Parthian, Sassanid empires and more.


📹 Empires of Ancient Persia (History of Iran) (VİDEO)

Empires of Ancient Persia (History of Iran) (LINK)

Empires of Ancient Persia explained in 10 minutes (History of Iran).


📹 History of Iran in 5 minutes (3200 BCE - 2013 CE) (VİDEO)

History of Iran in 5 minutes (3200 BCE - 2013 CE) (LINK)

A summary of the rich History of Iran & Greater Iran from 3200 BCE to 2013 CE (present). (Atlas) (Norouz special)


📹 Iranian Language Family (VİDEO)

Iranian Language Family (LINK)

The Iranian languages or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, which in turn are a branch of the Indo-European language family.

The speakers of Iranian languages are known as Iranian peoples. Historical Iranian languages are grouped in three stages:

  • Old Iranian (until 400 BC),
  • Middle Iranian (400 BC-900 AD), and
  • New Iranian (since 900 AD).

Of the Old Iranian languages, the better understood and recorded ones are Old Persian (a language of Achaemenid Iran) and Avestan (the language of the Avesta). Middle Iranian languages included Middle Persian (a language of Sassanid Iran), Parthian, and Bactrian. As of 2008, there were an estimated 150-200 million native speakers of Iranian languages. Ethnologue estimates that there are 86 Iranian languages, the largest among them being Persian, Pashto and Kurdish dialect continuum.



  History of Iran



Prehistory (W)

The earliest attested archaeological artifacts in Iran, like those excavated at Kashafrud and Ganj Par in northern Iran, confirm a human presence in Iran since the Lower Paleolithic. Iran's Neanderthal artifacts from the Middle Paleolithic have been found mainly in the Zagros region, at sites such as Warwasi and Yafteh. From the 10th to the seventh millennium BC, early agricultural communities began to flourish in and around the Zagros region in western Iran, including Chogha Golan, Chogha Bonut, and Chogha Mish.

The emergence of Susa as a city, as determined by radiocarbon dating, dates back to early 4,395 BC. There are dozens of prehistoric sites across the Iranian Plateau, pointing to the existence of ancient cultures and urban settlements in the fourth millennium BC. During the Bronze Age, the territory of present-day Iran was home to several civilizations, including Elam, Jiroft, and Zayanderud. Elam, the most prominent of these civilizations, developed in the southwest alongside those in Mesopotamia, and continued its existence until the emergence of the Iranian empires. The advent of writing in Elam was paralleled to Sumer, and the Elamite cuneiform was developed since the third millennium BC.

From the 34th to the 20th century BC, northwestern Iran was part of the Kura-Araxes culture, which stretched into the neighboring Caucasus and Anatolia. Since the earliest second millennium BC, Assyrians settled in swaths of western Iran and incorporated the region into their territories.



Elam (W) (L 2)

Elam (Elamite: 𒁹𒄬𒆷𒁶𒋾 haltamti, Sumerian: 𒉏𒈠𒆠 NIM.MAki) was an ancient Pre-Iranian civilization centered in the far west and southwest of what is now modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq. The modern name Elam stems from the Sumeriantransliteration elam(a), along with the later Akkadian elamtu, and the Elamite haltamti.Elamite states were among the leading political forces of the Ancient Near East.In classical literature, Elam was also known as Susiana, which is a name derived from its capital, Susa.

Elam was part of the early urbanization during the Chalcolithic period (Copper Age). The emergence of written records from around 3000 BC also parallels Sumerian history, where slightly earlier records have been found. In the Old Elamite period (Middle Bronze Age), Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. Its culture played a crucial role during the Persian Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded Elam, when the Elamite language remained among those in official use. Elamite is generally considered a language isolate unrelated to the much later arriving Persian and Iranic languages. In accordance with geographical and archaeological matches, some historians argue that the Elamites comprise a large portion of the ancestors of the modern day Lurs, whose language, Luri, split from Middle Persian.



Persis (W)

Persis (Greek: Περσίς), better known as Persia (Old Persian: Parsa; Persian: پارس‎, Pars), or "Persia proper", was originally a name of a region near the Zagros mountains at Lake Urmia. The country name Persia was derived directly from the Old Persian Parsa. Over time, the area of settlement shifted to the southwest of modern Iran (now Fars).

The ancient Persians were present in the region from about the 10th century BC, and became the rulers of the largest empire the world had yet seen under the Achaemenid dynasty which was established in the late 6th century BC, at its peak stretching from Thrace-Macedonia, Bulgaria-Paeonia and Eastern Europe proper in the west, to the Indus Valley in its far east. The ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, two of the four capitals of the Achaemenid Empire, are located in Fars.

The Achaemenid Empire was defeated by Alexander the Great in 333 BC, incorporating most of their vast empire. Shortly after this the Seleucid Empirewas established. However it never extended its power beyond the main trade routes in Fars, and by the reign of Antiochus I or possibly later Persis emerged as an independent state that minted its own coins.

The Seleucid Empire was subsequently defeated by the Parthians in 238 BC. By 205 BC, Antiochus III had extended his authority into Persis and it ceased to be an independent state.



Medes (W)

Capital Ecbatana
Common languages Median
Religion Old Iranian religion (related to Mithraism, early Zoroastrianism)
Government Monarchy
• 678–665 BC Deioces or Kashtariti
• 665–633 BC Phraortes
• 625–585 BC Cyaxares
• 589–549 BC Astyages
Historical era Iron Age
Established 678 BC
Conquered by Cyrus the Great 549 BC
Area 585 BC 2,800,000 km2
Preceded by Neo-Assyrian Empire; Urartu
Succeeded by Achaemenid Empire

The Medes (Old Persian Māda-, Ancient Greek: Μῆδοι) were an ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media between western and northern Iran. Under the Neo-Assyrian Empire, late 9th to early 7th centuries BC, the region of Media was bounded by the Zagros Mountains to its west, to its south by the Garrin Mountain in Lorestan Province, to its northwest by the Qaflankuh Mountains in Zanjan Province, and to its east by the Dasht-e Kavir desert. Its neighbors were the kingdoms of Gizilbunda and Mannea in the northwest, and Ellipi and Elam in the south.

In the 7th century BC, Media's tribes came together to form the Median Kingdom, which remained a Neo-Assyrian vassal. Between 616 and 609 BC, King Cyaxares (624-585 BC), allied with King Nabopolassar of the Neo-Babylonian Empire against the Neo-Assyrian Empire, after which the Median Empire stretched across the Iranian Plateau as far as Anatolia. Its precise geographical extent remains unknown.

A few archaeological sites (discovered in the "Median triangle" in western Iran) and textual sources (from contemporary Assyrians and also ancient Greeks in later centuries) provide a brief documentation of the history and culture of the Median state. Apart from a few personal names, the language of the Medes is unknown. The Medes had an ancient Iranian religion (a form of pre-Zoroastrian Mazdaism or Mithra worshipping) with a priesthood named as "Magi". Later during the reigns of the last Median kings, the reforms of Zoroaster spread into western Iran.

Median rhyton in shape of rams head gold, turn of the 7/6th century BC.


  • Apart from a few personal names, the language of the Medes is unknown.
  • Median people spoke the Median language, which was an Old Iranian language.
  • No original deciphered text has been proven to have been written in the Median language.


📹 Alexander the Great’s Letter to Darius, King of Persia // Ancient Greek Primary Source (VİDEO)

📹 Alexander the Great’s Letter to Darius, King of Persia // Ancient Greek Primary Source (LINK)

This the speech attributed to Alexander by the historian Arrian (92-175 AD), said to have been sent to the defeated Darius, King of Persia after the battle of Guagamela in 331 BC.

Though he wrote his account 'The Anabasis', several hundred years after Alexander's time, his account of the Macedonian ruler turned' King of the World' is thought to be one of the more accurate.


Achaemenid Empire

Achaemenid Empire (c. 550-330 BC) (W)

Capital Babylon (main capital), Pasargadae, Ecbatana, Susa, Persepolis
Common languages Old Persian, Aramaic, Babylonian, Median, Greek, Elamite, Sumerian, Egyptian, many others

Religion Zoroastrianism, Babylonian religion
Government Monarchy
King or King of Kings
• 559-529 BC Cyrus the Great
• 336-330 BC Darius III
Historical era Classical antiquity
• Persian Revolt 550 BC
• Conquest of Lydia 547 BC
• Conquest of Babylon 539 BC
• Conquest of Egypt 525 BC
• Greco-Persian Wars 499-449 BC
• Corinthian War 395-387 BC
• Second conquest of Egypt 343 BC
• Fall to Macedonia 330 BC

500 BC 5,500,000 km2
• 500 BC 17 million to 35 million
Currency Daric, siglos
Preceded by
Median Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt
Gandhara Kingdom
Succeeded by
Empire of Alexander the Great
Twenty-eighth Dynasty of Egypt

The Achaemenid Empire (c. 550-330 BC), also called the First Persian Empire, was an empirebased in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration (through satraps under the King of Kings), for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, and the development of civil services and a large professional army. The empire's successes inspired similar systems in later empires.

By the 7th century BC, the Persians had settled in the south-western portion of the Iranian Plateau in the region of Persis, which came to be their heartland. From this region, Cyrus the Great advanced to defeat the Medes,Lydia, and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, establishing the Achaemenid Empire. Alexander the Great, an avid admirer of Cyrus the Great, conquered most of the empire by 330 BC. Upon Alexander's death, most of the empire's former territory came under the rule of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Seleucid Empire, in addition to other minor territories which gained independence at that time. The Iranian elites of the central plateau reclaimed power by the second century BC under the Parthian Empire.

The Achaemenid Empire is noted in Western history as the antagonist of the Greek city-states during the Greco-Persian Wars.


Parthian Empire

Parthian Empire (247 BC-224 AD) (W)

Capital Ctesiphon, Ecbatana, Hecatompylos, Susa, Mithradatkirt, Asaak, Rhages
Common languages Greek (official), Parthian (official), Persian, Aramaic (lingua franca), Akkadian
Religion Zoroastrianism; Babylonian religion
Government Feudal monarchy
• 247-211 BC Arsaces I (first)
• 208-224 AD Vologases VI (last)
Historical era Classical antiquity
• Established 247 BC
• Disestablished 224 AD
Area 1 AD 2,800,000 km2
Preceded by
Seleucid Empire
Succeeded by
Sasanian Empire
Kushan Empire

From 247 BC to 224 AD, Persia was ruled by the Parthian Empire, which supplanted the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, and then by theSassanian Empire, which ruled up until the mid-7th century.

The Parthian Empire (247 BC-224 AD), also known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy (province) under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia (r. c. 171-138 BC) greatly expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran. The empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han Empire of China, became a center of trade and commerce.



Sogdiana (W)

Sogdiana 300 BCE.

Sogdia or Sogdiana was an ancient Iranian civilization that at different times included territory located in present-day Tajikistan and Uzbekistan such as: Samarkand, Bukhara, Khujand, Panjikent and Shahrisabz. Sogdiana was also a province of the Achaemenid Empire, eighteenth in the list on the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great (i. 16). In the Avesta, Sogdiana is listed as the second best land that the supreme deity Ahura Mazda had created. It comes second, after Airyanem Vaejah, "homeland of the Aryans", in the Zoroastrian book of Vendidad, indicating the importance of this region from ancient times. Sogdiana was first conquered by Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. The region would then be annexed by the Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great in 328 BC. The region would continue to change hands under the Seleucid Empire, Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, Kushan Empire, Hephthalite Empire, and Sasanian Empire.

The Sogdian states, although never politically united, were centred on the main city of Samarkand.

Sogdiana lay north of Bactria, east of Khwarezm, and southeast of Kangju between the Oxus (Amu Darya) and the Jaxartes (Syr Darya), embracing the fertile valley of the Zeravshan (ancient Polytimetus). Sogdian territory corresponds to the modern provinces of Samarkand and Bokhara in modern Uzbekistan as well as the Sughdprovince of modern Tajikistan. During the High Middle Ages, Sogdian cities included sites stretching towards Issyk Kul such as that at the archeological site of Suyab. Sogdian, an Eastern Iranian language, is no longer a spoken language, but its direct descendant, Yaghnobi, is still spoken by the Yaghnobis of Tajikistan. It was widely spoken in Central Asia as a lingua franca and even served as one of the Turkic Khaganate's court languages for writing documents.

Sogdians also lived in Imperial China and rose to special prominence in the military and government of the Chinese Tang dynasty (618-907 AD). Sogdian merchants and diplomats traveled as far west as the Byzantine Empire. They played an important part as middlemen in the trade route of the Silk Road.

While originally following the faiths of Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Buddhism, and to a lesser extent, Nestorian Christianity from West Asia, the gradual conversion to Islam among the Sogdians and their descendants began with the Muslim conquest of Transoxiana in the 8th century. The Sogdian conversion to Islam was virtually complete by the end of the Samanid Empire in 999, coinciding with the decline of the Sogdian language, as it was largely supplanted by Persian.



Ariana (W)

Ariana, the Latinized form of the Ancient Greek Ἀρ(ε)ιανή Ar(e)ianē (inhabitants: Ariani; Ἀρ(ε)ιανοί Ar(e)ianoi), was a general geographical term used by some Greek and Roman authors of the ancient period for a district of wide extent between Central Asia and the Indus River, comprising the eastern provinces of the Achaemenid Empire that covered the whole of modern-day Afghanistan, as well as the easternmost part of Iran and up to the Indus River in Pakistan (former Northern India).

At various times, various parts of the region were governed by

Iranian peoples
from Persia and Central Asia (the Parthians from 160 BC to 225 AD, the Indo-Scythiansfrom 90 BC to 20 AD, the Indo-Parthians from 20 to 225 AD and the Kushans from 110 BC to 225 AD), the Xionites (the Kidarites from 360 to 465 AD and the Hephthalites from 450 to 565 AD) and Indian empires (the Mauryans from 275 to 185 BC).


Sasanian Empire

Sasanian Empire (224-651) (W)

The Sasanian Empire at its greatest extent c. 620 CE, under Khosrow II
Istakhr (224-226)
Ctesiphon (226-637)
Common languages
Middle Persian (official); Middle Aramaic (lingua franca); Parthian (administration, until the late 3rd-century); Greek (administration, until the late 3rd-century, and regional); Other languages
Religion Zoroastrianism (also Babylonian, Christianity, Manichaeism, Mazdakism, Judaism, Mandaeism, Paganism, Mithraism, Hinduism, Buddhism)
Government Feudal monarchy
• 224-241 Ardashir I (first)
• 632-651 Yazdegerd III (last)
Historical era Late Antiquity
• Battle of Hormozdgan 28 April 224
• The Iberian War 526-532
• Climactic Roman-Persian War of 602-628 602–628
• Civil war 628-632
• Muslim conquest 633-651
• Empire collapses 651
Area 550 3,500,000 km2
Preceded by
Parthian Empire
Kingdom of Iberia
Kushan Empire
Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity)
Aksumite Empire
Succeeded by
Qarinvand dynasty
Rashidun Caliphate
Dabuyid dynasty
Masmughans of Damavand
Bavand dynasty

The Sasanian Empire, also known as the Sassanian, Sasanid, Sassanid or Neo-Persian Empire (known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr, or Iran, in Middle Persian), was the last kingdom of the Persian Empire before the rise of Islam. Named after the House of Sasan, it ruled from 224 to 651 AD. The Sasanian Empire succeeded the Parthian Empire and was recognised as one of the leading world powers alongside its neighbouring arch-rival the Roman-Byzantine Empire for a period of more than 400 years.

The Sasanian Empire was founded by Ardashir I, after the fall of the Parthian Empire and the defeat of the last Arsacid king, Artabanus V. At its greatest extent, the Sasanian Empire encompassed all of today's Iran, Iraq, Eastern Arabia (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatif, Qatar, UAE), the Levant (Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan), the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan), Egypt, large parts of Turkey, much of Central Asia (Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan), Yemen and Pakistan. According to a legend, the vexilloid of the Sasanian Empire was the Derafsh Kaviani.

The Sasanian Empire during Late Antiquity is considered to have been one of Iran’s most important, and influential historical periods and constituted the last great Iranian empire before the Muslim conquest and the adoption of Islam. In many ways, the Sasanian period witnessed the peak of ancient Iranian civilisation. The Sasanians' cultural influence extended far beyond the empire's territorial borders, reaching as far as Western Europe, Africa,China and India. It played a prominent role in the formation of both European and Asian medieval art. Much of what later became known as Islamic culture in art, architecture, music and other subject matter was transferred from the Sasanians throughout the Muslim world.


Buyid dynasty

Buyid dynasty (934-1062) (W)

The Buyid dynasty in 970
Shiraz (Buyids of Fars, 934-1062)
Ray (Buyids of Jibal, 943-1029)
Baghdad (Buyids of Iraq, 945-1055)
Common languages
Arabic (official and court language; lingua franca); Middle Persian (secondary court language); Persian (popular); Daylami (native)
Religion Shia Islam (also Sunni, Mu'tazila Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism)
Government Hereditary monarchy
• 934-949 Imad al-Dawla
• 1048-1062 Abu Mansur Fulad Sutun
Historical era Middle Ages
• Established 934
• Imad al-Dawla proclaimed himself "Emir" 934
• Adud al-Dawla becomes the supreme ruler of the Buyid dynasty 979
• Disestablished 1062
Area 980 est. 1,600,000 km2
Preceded by
Samanid Empire
Banu Ilyas
Succeeded by
Great Seljuq Empire
Uqaylid dynasty

📹 The Buyids (VİDEO)

The Buyids (LINK)

The Rise and Fall of the Medieval Buyid Dynasty.


The Buyid dynasty or the Buyids (Persian: آل بویهĀl-e Buye), also known as Buwaihids, Bowayhids, Buyahids, or Buyyids, was a Shia Iranian dynasty of Daylamite origin. Coupled with the rise of other Iranian dynasties in the region, the approximate century of Buyid rule represents the period in Iranian history sometimes called the ‘Iranian Intermezzo’ since, after the Muslim conquest of Persia, it was an interlude between the rule of the Abbasid Caliphate and the Seljuk Empire.

The Buyid dynasty was founded by 'Ali ibn Buya, who in 934 conquered Fars and made Shiraz his capital. His younger brother Hasan ibn Buya conquered parts of Jibal in the late 930s, and by 943 managed to capture Ray, which he made his capital. In 945, the youngest brother, Ahmad ibn Buya, conquered Iraq and made Baghdad his capital. He received the laqab or honorific title of Mu'izz al-Dawla ("Fortifier of the State"). The eldest, 'Ali, was given the title of 'Imad al-Dawla ("Support of the State"), and Hasan was given the title of Rukn al-Dawla ("Pillar of the State").

As Daylamite Iranians, the Buyids consciously revived symbols and practices of Iran’s Sasanian Empire. Beginning with 'Adud al-Dawla, they used the ancient Sasanian title Shahanshah (شاهنشاه), literally "king of kings".

At its greatest extent, the Buyid dynasty encompassed territory of most of today's Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Syria, along with parts of Oman, the UAE, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan. During the 10th and 11th centuries, just prior to the invasion of the Seljuq Turks, the Buyids were the most influential dynasty in the Middle East. Under king 'Adud al-Dawla, it became briefly the most powerful dynasty in the Middle East.


📹 The Rise of The Sassanid Empire — Persia before Islam (VİDEO)

📹 The Rise of The Sassanid Empire — Persia before Islam (LINK)

The Sassanid or Sassanian Empire was the last Persian Empire before the rise of Islam. It was named after the dynasty that ruled this land from 3rd Century to 7th Century. The Sasanian Empire succeeded the Parthian Empire and and became a world power and a true rival for the Roman Empire at that time.


Iran in the mid-10th century

Iran in the mid-10th century.

Saffarid dynasty

Saffarid dynasty (861-1003) (W)

Saffarid dynasty at its greatest extent under Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar.
Capital Zaranj
Common languages Persian (mother tongue)
Religion Sunni Islam
Government Monarchy
• 861-879 Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar
• 963-1002 Khalaf I
Historical era Medieval
• Established 861
• Disestablished 1003
Preceded by
Tahirid dynasty
Abbasid Caliphate
Succeeded by
Samanid dynasty

The Saffarid dynasty (Persian: سلسله صفاریان‎) was a Muslim Persianate dynasty from Sistan that ruled over parts of eastern Iran, with its capital at Zaranj (a city now in southwestern Afghanistan). Khorasan, Afghanistan and Sistan from 861 to 1003. The dynasty, of Persian origin, was founded by Ya’qub bin Laith as-Saffar, born in 840 in a small town called Karnin (Qarnin), which was located east of Zaranj and west of Bost, in what is now Afghanistan — a native of Sistan and a local ayyar, who worked as a coppersmith (ṣaffār) before becoming a warlord. He seized control of the Sistan region and began conquering most of Iran and Afghanistan, as well as parts of Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The Saffarids used their capital Zaranj as a base for an aggressive expansion eastward and westward. They first invaded the areas south of the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan and then overthrew the Persian Tahirid dynasty, annexing Khorasan in 873. By the time of Ya'qub's death, he had conquered the Kabul Valley, Sindh, Tocharistan, Makran (Balochistan), Kerman, Fars, Khorasan, and nearly reached Baghdad but then suffered a defeat by the Abbasids.

The Saffarid empire did not last long after Ya'qub's death. His brother and successor, Amr bin Laith, was defeated at the Battle of Balkh against Ismail Samani in 900. Amr bin Laith was forced to surrender most of his territories to the new rulers. The Saffarids were subsequently confined to their heartland of Sistan, with their role reduced to that of vassals of the Samanids and their successors.


Samanid Empire

Samanid Empire (819-999) (W)

The Samanid Empire at its greatest extent under Isma'il ibn Ahmad.

Samarkand (819-892)
Bukhara (892-999)
Common languages Persian (lingua franca, court, academia), Arabic (theology)
Religion Sunni Islam (minority Shia Islam, Nestorianism, Zoroastrianism)
Government Emirate
• 819-864/5 Ahmad ibn Asad
• 999 'Abd al-Malik II
Historical era Middle Ages
• Established 819
• Disestablished 999
Area 928 est. 2,850,000 km2
Preceded by
Saffarid dynasty
Abbasid Caliphate
Alid dynasties of northern Iran
Bukhar Khudahs
Principality of Ushrusana
Principality of Farghana
Succeeded by
Ghaznavid dynasty
Banu Ilyas
Buyid dynasty

The Samanid Empire (Persian: سامانیان‎, Sāmāniyān), also known as the Samanian Empire, Samanid dynasty, Samanid Emirate, or simply Samanids, was a Sunni Iranian empire, ruling from 819 to 999. The empire was centered in Khorasan and Transoxiana during its existence; at its greatest extent, the empire encompassed all of today's Afghanistan, large parts of Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. Kyrgyzstan, and parts of Kazakhstan and Pakistan.

The Samanid state was founded by four brothers; Nuh, Ahmad, Yahya, and Ilyas — each of them ruled their own territory under Abbasid suzerainty. In 892, Isma'il ibn Ahmad (892-907) united the Samanid state under one ruler, thus effectively putting an end to the feudal system used by the Samanids. It was also under him that the Samanids became independent of Abbasid authority.

The Samanid Empire is part of the Iranian Intermezzo, which saw the creation of a Persianate culture and identity that brought Iranian speech and traditions into the fold of the Islamic world. This would lead to the formation of the Turko-Persian culture.

The Samanids promoted the arts, giving rise to the advancement of science and literature, and thus attracted scholars such as Rudaki, Ferdowsi, and Avicenna. While under Samanid control, Bukhara was a rival to Baghdad in its glory. Scholars note that the Samanids revived Persian language and culture more than the Buyids and the Saffarids, while continuing to patronize Arabic for sciences as well as the religious studies. They considered themselves to be descendants of Sasanian Empire. In a famous edict, Samanid authorities declared that "here, in this region, the language is Persian, and the kings of this realm are Persian kings."




Tajiks (W)

Major ethnic groups in Tajikistan.

Tajiks (Persian: تاجيک‎: Tājīk, Tajik: Тоҷик) are a Persian-speaking Iranian ethnic group native to Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Tajiks are the largest ethnicity in Tajikistan, and the second largest in Afghanistan which constitutes over half of the global Tajik population. They speak varieties of Persian, a Western Iranian language. In Tajikistan, since the 1939 Soviet census, its small Pamiri and Yaghnobi ethnic groups are included as Tajiks. In China, the term is used to refer to its Pamiri ethnic groups, the Tajiks of Xinjiang, who speak the Eastern Iranian Pamiri languages. In Afghanistan, the Pamiris are counted as a separate ethnic group.

As a self-designation, the literary New Persian term Tajik, which originally had some previous pejorative usage as a label for eastern Persians or Iranians, has become acceptable during the last several decades, particularly as a result of Soviet administration in Central Asia. Alternative names for the Tajiks are Eastern Persian, Fārsīwān (Persian-speaker), and Dīhgān (cf. Tajik: Деҳқон) which translates to "farmer or settled villager", in a wider sense "settled" in contrast to "nomadic" and was later used to describe a class of land-owning magnates as "Persian of noble blood" in contrast to Arabs, Turks and Romans during the Sassanid and early Islamic period.

The Tajiks are an Iranian people, speaking a variety of Persian, concentrated in the Oxus Basin, the Farḡāna valley (Tajikistan and parts of Uzbekistan) and on both banks of the upper Oxus, i.e., the Pamir Mountains (Mountain Badaḵšān, in Tajikistan) and northeastern Afghanistan and western Afghanistan (Badaḵšān, Kābol, Herat, Balkh, Mazar-i-Sharif, Ghazni and other urban regions). Historically, the ancient Tajiks were chiefly agriculturalists before the Arab Conquest of Iran. While agriculture remained a stronghold, the Islamization of Iran also resulted in the rapid urbanization of historical Khorasan and Transoxiana that lasted until the devastating Mongolian invasion. Several surviving ancient urban centers of the Tajik people include Herat, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khujand, Termez and Kabul.



📹 Battle of Dara 530 / Roman-Sassanid Iberian War (VİDEO)

Battle of Dara 530 / Roman-Sassanid Iberian War (LINK)

The fall of the Western Roman Empire prompted a response from the Eastern Empire. Emperor Justinian was eager to restore Rome to its former glory, but he first needed to deal with the Sassanid Empire to the East. Iberian War of 526-532 gave him this chance, ashis new commander Belisarius showed his mettle and talent in the battle of Dara and other engagements.


📹 Byzantine-Sasanian War of 602-628 (VİDEO)

Byzantine-Sasanian War of 602-628 (LINK)

This video is dedicated to the war of 602-628 between the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) and Sassanid Shahdom.

This conflict was the very last that happened between these two empires, as shortly after it ended, Sasanians were conquered by the Caliphate.

The sheer devastation and meaninglessness of this war allowed it to be a turning point in the human history.


📹 Battle of Dhi Qar (609) / Arab-Sassanid Wars (VİDEO)

Battle of Dhi Qar (609) / Arab-Sassanid Wars (LINK)

Previously we have made animated historical documentaries on the battles of Yarmouk ( and al-Qadisiyyah ( in our series on the rise of the Muslim Caliphate.

Yet, there were many other reasons for the rapid expansion of the Rashidun realm, and the fall of the Lakhmid kingdom, which was the vassal of the Sassanid Empire for centuries was one of them. It sparked an anti-Sassanid sentiment among the Arab tribes and culminated at the battle of Dhi Qar in 609.


📹 Last Sassanids and the anti-Caliphate alliance with Tang (VİDEO)

Last Sassanids and the anti-Caliphate alliance with Tang (LINK)

The Sassanid Empire was weakened after the war of 602-628 against the Byzantine Empire and their defeats at al-Qadisiyyah and Nahavand at the hands of the Caliphate forces effectively ended the empire. Still, representatives of the House of Sasan continued resisting and found allies - the Tang dynasty in China.


📹 Overview of ancient Persia — Khan Academy (VİDEO)

Overview of ancient Persia — Khan Academy (LINK)

This overview of Ancient Persia explains the origins of the term "Persia" and Zoroastrianism; it also puts the Median, Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, Sassanian dynasties in context.


  Safavid Empire (1501-1736)
Rise of the Safavids and Ottoman Expansion (c. 1500-1700)

Safavid dynasty

Safavid dynasty (1501-1736) (W)

Shāh Ismāʻil's empire
Status Empire
Capital Tabriz (1501-1555); Qazvin (1555-1598); Isfahan (1598-1736)
Common languages Persian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Circassian, Armenian
Religion Twelver Shiʻi Islam
Government Monarchy
• 1501-1524 Ismail I (first)
• 1732-1736 Abbas III (last)
Grand Vizier
• 1501-? Mohammad Zakariya Kujuji (first)
• 1729-1736 Nader Qoli Beg (last)
Legislature Council of State
• Establishment of the Safavid order by Safi-ad-din Ardabili 1301
• Established 1501
• Hotaki Invasion 1722
• Reconquest under Nader Shah 1726-1729
• Disestablished 8 March 1736
• Nader Shah crowned 1 October 1736
Preceded by
Timurid Empire
Aq Qoyunlu
Afrasiab dynasty
Karkiya dynasty
Kingdom of Ormus

Succeeded by

Hotaki dynasty
Afsharid dynasty
Russian Empire
Ottoman Empire

The Safavid Empire under Shah Abbas the Great.

The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran, often considered the beginning of modern Iranian history. The Safavid shahs ruled over one of the Gunpowder Empires. They ruled one of the greatest Iranian empires after the 7th-century Muslim conquest of Iran, and established the Twelver school of Shia Islam as the official religion of the empire, marking one of the most important turning points in Muslim history.

The Safavid dynasty had its origin in the Safavid order of Sufism, which was established in the city of Ardabil in the Azerbaijan region. It was of mixed ancestry (Kurdish and Azerbaijani, which included intermarriages with Georgian, Circassian, and Pontic Greek dignitaries). From their base in Ardabil, the Safavids established control over parts of Greater Iran and reasserted the Iranian identity of the region, thus becoming the first native dynasty since the Sasanian Empire to establish a national state officially known as Iran.

The Safavids ruled from 1501 to 1722 (experiencing a brief restoration from 1729 to 1736) and, at their height, they controlled all of what is now Iran, Azerbaijan Republic, Bahrain, Armenia, eastern Georgia, parts of the North Caucasus, Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan, as well as parts of Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Despite their demise in 1736, the legacy that they left behind was the revival of Iran as an economic stronghold between East and West, the establishment of an efficient state and bureaucracy based upon "checks and balances", their architectural innovations and their patronage for fine arts. The Safavids have also left their mark down to the present era by spreading Twelver Islam in Iran, as well as major parts of the Caucasus, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia.


Rise of Shāh Ismāʻil I (W)

Ismail declares himself "Shah" by entering Tabriz; his troops in front of Arg of Tabriz, painter Chingiz Mehbaliyev, in private collection.

The Safavid dynasty was founded about 1501 by Shāh Ismāʻil I. His background is disputed: the language he used is not identical with that of his "race" or "nationality" and he was bilingual from birth. Ismāʻil was of mixed Azeri, Kurdish, and Pontic Greek descent, although others argue that he had no Azeri ancestry and was a direct descendant of Kurdish mystic Sheikh Safi al-Din. As such, he was the last in the line of hereditary Grand Masters of the Safaviyeh order, prior to its ascent to a ruling dynasty. Ismāʻil was known as a brave and charismatic youth, zealous with regards to his Shi’a faith, and believed himself to be of divine descent — practically worshipped by his Qizilbash followers.

The Safavids

The Ṣafavids (1501-1736) (B)

Shah  Ismāʿīl

In 1501 Ismāʿīl I (reigned 1501-24) supplanted the Ak Koyunlu in Azerbaijan. Within a decade he gained supremacy over most of Iran as a ruler his followers regarded as divinely entitled to sovereignty. The Ṣafavids claimed descent — on grounds that modern research has shown to be dubious — from the Shīʿite imams. Muslims in Iran, therefore, could regard themselves as having found a legitimateimam-ruler, who, as a descendant of ʿAlī, required no caliph to legitimate his position. Rather, Ṣafavid political legitimacy was based on the religious order’s mixture of Sufi ecstaticism and Shīʿite extremism (Arabic ghulū), neither of which was the dusty scholasticism of the  Sunni or Shīʿite legal schools.


The dynasty’s military success was based both on Ismāʿīl’s skill as a leader and on the conversion of a number of Turkmen tribes—who came to be known as the Kizilbash (Turkish: “Red Heads”) for the 12-folded red caps these tribesmen wore, representing their belief in the 12 imams — to this emotionally powerful Sufi-Shīʿite syncretism.


The Kizilbash became the backbone of the Ṣafavid military effort, and their virtual deification of Ismāʿīl contributed greatly to his swift military conquest of Iran. In later years, though, extremist (ghulāt) zeal and its chiliastic fervour began to undermine the orderly administration of the Ṣafavid state.


Ismāʿīl’s attempt to spread Shīʿite propaganda among the Turkmen tribes of eastern Anatolia prompted a conflict with the Sunni Ottoman Empire. Following Iran’s defeat by the Ottomans at the Battle of Chaldiran, Ṣafavid expansion slowed, and a process of consolidation began in which Ismāʿīl sought to quell the more extreme expressions of faith among his followers. Such actions were largely preempted, however, by Ismāʿīl’s death in 1524 at the age of 36.


The new Iranian empire lacked the resources that had been available to the caliphs of  Baghdad in former times through their dominion over Central Asia and the West: Asia Minor and Transoxania were gone, and the rise of maritime trade in the West was detrimental to a country whose wealth had depended greatly on its position on important east-west overland trade routes. The rise of the Ottomans impeded Iranian westward advances and contested with the Ṣafavids’ control over both the Caucasus and Mesopotamia. Years of warfare with the Ottomans imposed a heavy drain on the Ṣafavids’ resources. The Ottomans threatened Azerbaijan itself. Finally, in 1639 the Treaty of Qaṣr-e Shīrīn (also called the Treaty of Zuhāb) gave Yerevan in the southern Caucasus to Iran and Baghdad and all of Mesopotamia to the Ottomans.


📹 The Safavid Empire (VİDEO)

The Safavid Empire (LINK)

The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran, often considered the beginning of modern Iranian history.The Safavid shahs ruled over one of the Gunpowder Empires.They ruled one of the greatest Iranian empires after the 7th-century Muslim conquest of Iran, and established the Twelver school of Shia Islam as the official religion of the empire, marking one of the most important turning points in Muslim history.

This video is extracted from 36 Lectures course called "Turning Points in Middle Eastern History" instructed by Professor Eamonn Gearon


📹 The Rise and Fall of the Safavid Empire (VİDEO)

The Rise and Fall of the Safavid Empire (LINK)

The Safavids carved out a mighty empire in Persia which rivaled the Mughals to the East and the Ottomans to the West.


📹 History of Islamic Iran (VİDEO)

History of Islamic Iran (LINK)

Correction: I left out the short-lived Hotak dynasty that overthrew the eastern majority of the Safavid Empire, before Nader Shah conquered their territory and more.


  Devlet ve Din

Devlet Kavramı

  • evrensel hak eşitliği,
  • duyunç özgürlüğü, ve
  • yasa egemenliği

kavramlarını kapsar.

Din Kavramı da, tıpkı Devlet Kavramı gibi,

  • evrensel eşitlik,
  • duyunç özgürlüğü, ve
  • özgür istenç

kavramlarını kapsar.

Kavramına göre —

  • Devlet tüm insanlar arasında hak eşitliği temelinde etik yaşamdır.
  • Din Kavramı da evrensel hak eşitliğini anlatır.
  • Devlet özgürlüktür çünkü hak özgürlüktür.


  • Devlet duyunç özgürlüğü üzerine dayanır.
  • Şiilik ve Yahudilik duyunç özgürlüğünü tanımaz.


  • Duyunç özgürlüğü inancın saltık koşuludur.
  • Duyunç özgürlüğü olmaksızın insan moral bir varlık olamaz.
  • Duyunç insanın moral yargıda bulunma, iyiyi ve kötüyü, haklıyı ve haksızı ayırdetme yetisidir.
  • Duyunç özgürlüğü birey olmanın, etik karakter kazanmanın saltık koşuludur.
  • İnanç ancak duyunç üzerine, özgürce yargıda bulunma yetisi üzerine olanaklıdır.
  • Zor yoluyla dine döndürmeler duyuncun özgür kararı üzerine dayanmadığı için yalnızca görünüşte dindarlıkta sonuçlanır ve dürüstlük, içtenlik ve ahlak bütünüyle yiter.
  • Duyunç özgürlüğü olmaksızın korku yoluyla ve zor yoluyla inandırma insanı yalancı yapar, kişiliğini siler, ve bireysel ve kitlesel olarak tam moral düşüklükte sonuçlanır.
  • Özgürlüksüz despotik kültürler zorunlu olarak moral karakter gelişimine izin vermezler.
  • Cengiz Han için, Timur için, Attila için iyi ve kötü ayrımı saçmadır.
  • Benzer olarak, şeyhler, pirler, dedeler, mürşidler, Şii imam ve mollalar vb. moral yetkeler olarak, başkalarının duyunçlarının sorumlusu olarak duyunç özgürlüğünü ortadan kaldırırlar.
Tarih devlet kavramına uymayan devletlerin ortaya çıkış ve ortadan kalkış sürecidir. Din tarihi de din kavramına uymayan dinlerin ortaya çıkış ve ortadan kalkışı ile belirlenen bir oluş sürecidir. Tarihsel süreçte din ve devlet kavramları aynı kültürel dizgenin bileşenleri olarak birbiri ile bağdaşabilir olmalıdır ve bu zorunluk devlet ve din arasındaki etkileşimlerde kendini gösterir. Laiklik problemi pozitif dinsel öğretiler modern özgür politik yapı ile geçimsiz olduğu zaman ortaya çıkar. Modern demokratik devlet evrensel insan haklarını, duyunç özgürlüğünü ve yasa egemenliğini tanımayan ve çiğneyen boşinanç artıkları ile çatışır.
Devlet kavramı "evrensel etik yaşam" anlatımı ile birdir — bir ve aynı anayasa altında özgür yurttaşlar olarak varolmayı, duyunç özgürlüğü yoluyla tam moral gelişimi ve özgür bireyler arasındaki evrensel etik türdeşliği anlatır. Bir olanak olarak Devlet Kavramının bütün bir yerküre üzerinde edimselleşmesi reel Tarihin asıl işidir.
Din Kavramında Tanrı kendi yaratısı olan homo sapiens tarafından sonlulaştırılmaz, çünkü onu kendi tözünden yaratmıştır. Onunla Bir olarak onda bir sınır ile, bir olumsuz ile karşılaşmaz. Bu Birlik insan özgürlüğünün, değerinin ve büyüklüğünün kanıtıdır, İnsan doğasının bir gizillik olarak veri olması olgusu karşısında, tüm ussal gizilliğini edimselleştirmek insanın hakkı ve ödevi olarak görünür.

"İdeal Devlet" terimi birinin kendi kafasında ürettiği bir devlet şemasını değil, Devlet Kavramını anlatır. Platon'un kendi Devlet tasarımı da öznel idi ve Devlet İdeasına karşılık düşmüyordu. Devletin gerçekliği evrensel etik yaşamdır. Platon’un devlet tasarımı tikel kent-devletleri çokluğu düzleminde kaldı.


Tarih Devletin oluş sürecidir ve reel Devletler tarihsel süreçte henüz Devlet İdeasına karşılık düşmezler. Tarih özgürlüğün ve istencin işi olduğu için, ve istencin ereği kendine tam realite vermek olduğu için, bu nedenle evrensel insan hakları tam realite kazanıncaya, insanlık evrensel olarak haklarının bilincine erişinceye dek Tarihin işi tamamlanmış değildir. Neyin hak ve haklı olduğunu yargılamak duyuncun işidir ve duyunç gelişimi duyuncun kendisinin tam özgürlüğü koşulunda olanaklıdır. Özgür olmayan inanç dışsal duyunçtan, kölece boyun eğme alışkanlığından başka birşey değildir ve gerçekte tam bir inançsızlık ve iki-yüzlülüktür. Hak ve ahlak tarafından belirlenen yasa egemenliği insanın kendi kendini yönetmeyi öğrendiğinin belgesidir.


Şah İsmail’in Safevi devleti insan haklarını, duyunç özgürlüğünü ve yasa egemenliğini tanımayan usdışı bir devlet, bir korku devleti idi. "Etnik devlet" ya da "mezhep devleti" gibi sözde "devletler" ancak nüfusların istençsizliği ve güçsüzlüğü koşulunda olanaklı olan geçici yapılardır ve özgürlük bilincinin gelişimi ile realiteden çekilirler. Şah İsmail’in sözde dinsel politikası İran’ın dünyadan yalıtılması sonucunu getirdi.


Özgürlük eşitliğin biricik olanağıdır ve ancak özgür insanlar eşit olabilirler. Duyunç özgürlüğü devletin, kilisenin, tarikatların vb. insan duyuncuna karışmamaları koşulunu anlatır. İnsan duyuncu ancak özgürlük koşulu altında gelişebilir ve neyin İyi ve neyin Kötü olduğunu saptayabilir. Din kavramına karşılık düşmeyen pozitif dinler kendileri duyunç özgürlüğünü bastırırlar. Kölelik koşulunda inanç yalnızca boşinançtır. Korkutulan insan pekala saçmaya inanabilir. Korku, zor, şiddet, baskı din kavramından saltık olarak dışlanır.

  Safavid conversion of Iran to Shia Islam

🗺️ Ethnicities and religions in Iran

Ethnicities and religions in Iran (W)





Safavid conversion of Iran to Shia Islam

Safavid conversion of Iran to Shia Islam (16th - 18th centuries) (W)

(W) The Safavid conversion of Iran from Sunni Islam to Shia Islam took place roughly over the 16th through 18th centuries and made Iran the spiritual bastion of Shia Islam. It also ensured the dominance of the Twelver sect within Shiism over the Zaydiyyah and Ismaili sects – each of whom had previously experienced their own eras of dominance within Shiism. Through their actions, the Safavids reunified Iran as an independent state in 1501 and established Twelver Shiism as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in the history of Islam.

As a direct result, the population of the territory of present-day Iran and neighbouring Azerbaijan were converted to Shia Islam at the same time in history. Both nations still have large Shia majorities, and the Shia percentage of Azerbaijan's population is second only to that in Iran.

Pre-Safavid Iran

Iran's population after the Islamic conquest and conversion was mostly Sunni of the Shafi`i and Hanafi legal rites until the triumph of the Safavids (who had initially been Shafi`i Sufis themselves). Ironically, this was to the extent that up until the end of the 15th century the Ottoman Empire (the most powerful and prominent Sunni state and future arch-enemy of the Shia Safavids) used to send many of its Ulama (Islamic scholars) to Iran to further their education in Sunni Islam, due to a lack of Madrasahs (Islamic schools) within the Empire itself. Persia was also a seat of Sunni learning. The Sunni Iranians had always held the family of Muhammad in high esteem. In contrast, before the Safavid period, a minority of Iranians were Shia and there had been relatively few Shia Ulama in Iran.

Shah Ismail I, the Sheikh of the Safaviyya Tariqa, the founder of Safavid Dynasty of Iran, and the Commander-in-chief of the Qizilbash Armies of the Safavid Empire.

Shah Ismail I of Persia (1487-1524)

(W) From 1500-2 Ismail I conquered Tabriz in Iran, as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, and parts of Dagestan (North Caucasus, nowadays part of Russia). He would take most of the next decade to consolidate his control over Iran, where most of the Persian population was still Sunni. His army spread out first to the central regions in 1504. He captured southwestern Iran between 1505 and 1508 before finally conquering the Khorasan region and the city of Herat in 1510. According to Daniel W. Brown, Isma'il was “the most successful and intolerant Shi’i ruler since the fall of the Fatimids.” It appears that he aimed for complete destruction of Sunni Islam, and he largely achieved that goal in the lands over which he ruled. His hatred of the Sunnis knew no bounds, and his persecution of them was ruthless. He required the first three caliphs to be ritually cursed, abolished Sunni Sufi orders, seizing their property, and gave Sunni ulama a choice of conversion, death, or exile. Shi'i scholars were brought in from other regions to take their place.
Reasons for Ismail’s conversion policy (W)


More than most Muslim dynasties the Safavids worked for conversion to their branch of Islam and for ideological conformity. The reasons for this conversion policy included:

(1) One of the main reasons why Ismail and his followers pursued such a severe conversion policy was to give Iran and the Safavid lands as distinct and unique an identity as was possible compared to its two neighboring Sunni Turkic military and political enemies, its main enemy and arch rival the Ottoman Empire and, for a time, the Central Asian Uzbeks — to the west and north-east respectively.

(2) The Safavids were engaged in a lengthy struggle with the Ottomans — including numerous wars between the two dynasties — and this struggle continuously motivated the Safavids to create a more cohesive Iranian identity to counter the Ottoman threat and possibility of a fifth-column within Iran among its Sunni subjects.

(3) The conversion was part of the process of building a territory that would be loyal to the state and its institutions, thus enabling the state and its institutions to propagate their rule throughout the whole territory.

Methods of converting Iran (W)

Ismail consolidated his rule over the country and launched a thorough and at times brutal campaign to convert the majority Sunni population to Twelver Shiism and thus transform the religious landscape of Iran. His methods of converting Iran included:

— (1) Imposing Shiism as the state and mandatory religion for the whole nation and much forcible conversions of Iranian Sufi Sunnis to Shiism.

— (2) He reintroduced the Sadr (Arabic, leader) – an office that was responsible for supervising religious institutions and endowments. With a view to transforming Iran into a Shiite state, the Sadr was also assigned the task of disseminating Twelver doctrine.

— (3) He destroyed Sunni mosques. This was even noted by Tomé Pires, the Portuguese ambassador to China who visited Iran in 1511-12, who when referring to Ismail noted: "He (i.e. Ismail) reforms our churches, destroys the houses of all Moors who follow (the Sunnah of) Muhammad…"

— (4) He enforced the ritual and compulsory cursing of the first three Sunni Caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman) as usurpers, from all mosques, disbanded Sunni Tariqahs and seized their assets, used state patronage to develop Shia shrines, institutions and religious art and imported Shia scholars to replace Sunni scholars.

— (5) He shed Sunni blood and destroyed and desecrated the graves and mosques of Sunnis. This caused the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II (who initially congratulated Ismail on his victories) to advise and ask the young monarch (in a "fatherly" manner) to stop the anti-Sunni actions. However, Ismail was strongly anti-Sunni, ignored the Sultan's warning, and continued to spread the Shia faith by the sword.

— (6) He persecuted, imprisoned and executed stubbornly resistant Sunnis.

— (7) With the establishment of Safavid rule, there was a very raucous and colourful, almost carnival-like holiday on 26 Dhu al-Hijjah (or alternatively, 9 Rabi' al-awwal) celebrating the murder of Caliph Umar. The highlight of the day was making an effigy of Umar to be cursed, insulted, and finally burned. However, as relations between Iran and Sunni countries improved, the holiday was no longer observed (at least officially).

— (8) In 1501 Ismail invited all the Shia living outside Iran to come to Iran and be assured of protection from the Sunni majority.

Conversions beyond Iran (W)

After conquering Tabriz in Iran, along with Azerbaijan, southern Dagestan, and Armenia from 1500-02, one of the first acts of Ismail was to declare Twelver Shiism to be the state religion, despite the predominance of Sunni Muslims in the newly acquired territories. After the declaration, a conversion campaign was launched and Muslim peoples of the Caucasus, came under heavy pressure to accept Shiism. The imposition of Shiism was especially harsh in Shirvan, where a large Sunni population was massacred. Thus, the population of Azerbaijan was forcibly converted to Shiism in the early 16th century at the same time as the people of what is nowadays Iran, when the Safavids held sway over it. Modern-day Azerbaijan therefore contains the second largest population of Shia Muslims by percentage right after Iran, and the two and Bahrain are the only countries where a majority of the population is, at least nominally, Shia Muslim.

Ismail peacefully seized Baghdad in 1508. However, his armies zealously murdered Sunnis and actively persecuted them through tribal allies of the Shah. His armies also destroyed several important Sunni sites, including the tombs of Abū Ḥanīfa and Abdul-Qadir Gilani. The Safavids even expelled the family of Gilani from Mesopotamia. After declaring Shiism the official form of Islam in Iraq, Ismail forced his new Iraqi subjects to convert to Shiism and outlawed Sunni practices. He then returned to Persia. These draconian actions by the conquering Safavids caused the Mesopotamian Sunnis to seethe with resentment.
Ismail II (W)

Ismail II
's reign (1576-77) was marked by a pro-Sunni policy. With the assistance of Makhdum Sharifi Shirazi, the new Sadr, Ismail II strove to reverse the anti-Sunni practices among the populace. More specifically he strove to halt the public defamation of Aisha and the ritual cursing of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman (including the banning of the tabarrā'iyān, known as the tabaqa-yi tabarrā'i, whose official occupation was to publicly curse such figures and other supposed enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt),which rose during the early Safavid rule.

Abbas I of Persia (W)

Shiism did not become fully established until the reign of Abbas I of Persia (1587–1629). Abbas hated the Sunnis, and forced the population to accept Twelver Shiism. Thus by 1602 most of the formerly Sunnis of Iran had accepted Shiism. A significant number, however, did not accept Safavid rule, prompting Abbas to institute a number of administrative changes in order to further transform Iran into a Twelver Shia state.

Muhammad Baqir Majlisi (W)

Under the guidance of Muhammad Baqir Majlisi (1616-98, one of the most important Shiite clerics of all time), who devoted himself to (among other things) the eradication of Sunnism in Iran, the Safavid state made major efforts, in the 17th century to Persianize Shiite practice and culture in order to facilitate its spread in Iran among its Sunni populace. It was only under Majlisi that Shi'a Islam truly took hold among the masses.
Nader Shah (W)

During the reign of Nader Shah, an anti-Shiite policy was implemented. ... The reasons for his anti-Shia policy included:

— (1) Most of his troops were Sunni Afghan, Steppe Turkmen, Caucasians, Khorasan Kurds and Baluchis and Christian Georgians and Armenians, since his own pro-Sunni beliefs had alienated his Shiite Iranian soldiers, who included the Shia Turkoman and ethnic Persian soldiers from central and western Iran, who made up the Safavid partisans.

— (2) It was an original religious policy, aimed at weakening Shia power, promoting his own rule in Sunni lands outside Iran and making Shiism a 5th school of orthodox Sunni Islam — a proposal rejected by both Sunni rulers and Shiites.

— (3) In 1736 after being chosen by an assembly of notables to be Shah, Nader agreed to accept on condition that they accept his new religious policy of restoring Sunnism in Iran. The abandonment of Shiism was necessary as the linchpin of a peace treaty he wanted to conclude with the Sunni Ottomans and was probably intended also as a way of diminishing the religious prestige of the Safavid house and of making himself a more attractive figure to the Sunni populations of areas he was planning to conquer. However, his religious policy fueled discontent in Iran itself

He implemented the following anti-Shia policies:

— (1) Nader abandoned Shiism and instead founded a mixed Shia/Sunni Islamic school of theology, to add to the other four Sunni schools of law.

— (2) Nader had the leading cleric in Persia strangled.

— (3) He relied on his army, which was increasingly recruited from Sunni Afghans, Kurds, Turkmen, Baluchis and others (who naturally were gratified by the new religious policy).

— (4) The Persians were not simply ordered to adopt Sunnism as practiced elsewhere in the Muslim world; they were to retain their own discrete religious identity.

— (5) Internally, he banned certain Shia practices; the more extreme ones, typical of the early Safavid period. He issued instructions to the Ulema that Imam Ali should be venerated as before, but that the formula naming him as the deputy of God should no longer be spoken, because it had caused enmity between Shias and Sunnis. Externally he presented the policy as a wholesale conversion to Sunnism. In general, this religious policy did not provoke popular opposition within Persia because the people simply adapted.

— (6) Nader attempted to integrate a redefined Shiism into the Sunni tradition. He rejected the Shia condemnation of the first three Sunni Caliphs and enforced that position within his realm. In addition, he tried to secure Ottoman recognition of Twelver Shiism as a fifth Sunni school of law, to be called the Jaafari school after the 6th Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq. The whole pattern of Shiism as built on the idea of the Imamate was to be replaced. However, neither the Sunni Ottomans nor the major Shia scholars of the time accepted his redefinition.

— (7) Nader also confiscated large sections of the religious endowment lands (Waqfs) belonging to Shia religious institutions. Fearful for their lives and feeling threatened in Iran, many Persian clergymen sought refuge and settlement in Iraq and formed the core of the Shia religious infrastructure that has persisted until the present around the Shia shrines in Iraq, such as Najaf and Karbala.

After Nader's death and the rapid disintegration of his empire, Shiism was quickly restored and religious properties were built up again in the following century.

Emergence of a clerical aristocracy (W)

Because of the relative insecurity of property ownership in Persia, many private landowners secured their lands by donating them to the clergy as so called vaqf. They would thus retain the official ownership and secure their land from being confiscated by royal commissioners or local governors, as long as a percentage of the revenues from the land went to the ulama and the quasi-religious organizations run by dervishes (futuvva). Increasingly, members of the religious class, particularly the mujtahids and the seyyeds, gained full ownership of these lands, and, according to contemporary historian Iskandar Munshi, Persia started to witness the emergence of a new and significant group of landowners.
Historical outcome of Ismail’s conversion policy (W)

— (1) Although conversion was not as rapid as Ismail's forcible policies might suggest, the vast majority of those who lived in the territory of what is now Iran and Azerbaijan did identify with Shiism by the end of the Safavid era in 1722. Thus, the population of Azerbaijan was forcibly converted to Shiism in the early 16th century at the same time as the people of what is nowadays Iran, when the Safavids held sway over it.

— (2) The Safavid experience largely created the clear line of political demarcation and hostility between Twelver Shiism and Sunnism, even though doctrinal differences had long been recognized.

— (3) The hierarchical organization of the Shiite clergy began under Ismail.

— (4) The Sunni majority was treated brutally.

— (5) Iran was a Shia country and gradually became an isolated island


Safavid dynasty

Genealogy — ancestors of the Safavids and its multi-cultural identity (W)

The Safavid Kings themselves claimed to be sayyids, family descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, although many scholars have cast doubt on this claim. There seems now to be a consensus among scholars that the Safavid family hailed from Iranian Kurdistan, and later moved to Azerbaijan, finally settling in the 11th century CE at Ardabil. Traditional pre-1501 Safavid manuscripts trace the lineage of the Safavids to the Kurdish dignitary, Firuz-Shah Zarrin-Kolah.

According to some historians, including Richard N. Frye, the Safavids were of Turkicized Iranian origin:

“The Turkish speakers of Azerbaijan are mainly descended from the earlier Iranian speakers, several pockets of whom still exist in the region. A massive migration of Oghuz Turks in the 11th and 12th centuries not only Turkified Azerbaijan but also Anatolia. The Azeri Turks are Shiʿites and were founders of the Safavid dynasty.”

Other historians, such as Vladimir Minorsky and Roger Savory, support the following idea:

“From the evidence available at the present time, it is certain that the Safavid family was of indigenous Iranian stock, and not of Turkish ancestry as it is sometimes claimed. It is probable that the family originated in Persian Kurdistan, and later moved to Azerbaijan, where they adopted the Azari form of Turkish spoken there, and eventually settled in the small town of Ardabil sometimes during the eleventh century.”

By the time of the establishment of the Safavid empire, the members of the family were native Turkish-speaking and Turkicized, and some of the Shahs composed poems in their native Turkish language. Concurrently, the Shahs themselves also supported Persian literature, poetry and art projects including the grand Shahnameh of Shah Tahmasp, while members of the family and some Shahs composed Persian poetry as well.

The authority of the Safavids was religiously based, and their claim to legitimacy was founded on being direct male descendants of Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, and regarded by the Shiʻa as the first Imam.

Furthermore, the dynasty was from the very start thoroughly intermarried with both Pontic Greek as well as Georgian lines. In addition, from the official establishment of the dynasty in 1501, the dynasty would continue to have many intermarriages with both Circassian as well as again Georgian dignitaries, especially with the advent of king Tahmasp I.

Background — the Safavid Sufi order (W)

Safavid history begins with the establishment of the Safaviyya by its eponymous founder Safi-ad-din Ardabili (1252-1334). In 700/1301, Safi al-Din assumed the leadership of the Zahediyeh, a significant Sufi order in Gilan, from his spiritual master and father-in-law Zahed Gilani. Due to the great spiritual charisma of Safi al-Din, the order was later known as the Safaviyya. The Safavid order soon gained great influence in the city of Ardabil, and Hamdullah Mustaufi noted that most of the people of Ardabil were followers of Safi al-Din.

Religious poetry from Safi al-Din, written in the Old Azari language — a now-extinct Northwestern Iranian language — and accompanied by a paraphrase in Persian that helps its understanding, has survived to this day and has linguistic importance.

After Safī al-Dīn, the leadership of the Safaviyya passed to Sadr al-Dīn Mūsā († 794/1391–92). The order at this time was transformed into a religious movement that conducted religious propaganda throughout Iran, Syria and Asia Minor, and most likely had maintained its Sunni Shafi’ite origin at that time. The leadership of the order passed from Sadr ud-Dīn Mūsā to his son Khwādja Ali († 1429) and in turn to his son Ibrāhīm († 1429-47).

When Shaykh Junayd, the son of Ibrāhim, assumed the leadership of the Safaviyya in 1447, the history of the Safavid movement was radically changed. According to R.M. Savory, "'Sheikh Junayd was not content with spiritual authority and he sought material power.’” At that time, the most powerful dynasty in Iran was that of the Kara Koyunlu, the "Black Sheep", whose ruler Jahan Shah ordered Junāyd to leave Ardabil or else he would bring destruction and ruin upon the city. Junayd sought refuge with the rival of Kara Koyunlu Jahan Shah, the Aq Qoyunlu (White Sheep Turkomans) Khan Uzun Hassan, and cemented his relationship by marrying Uzun Hassan's sister, Khadija Begum. Junayd was killed during an incursion into the territories of the Shirvanshah and was succeeded by his son Haydar Safavi.

Haydar married Martha 'Alamshah Begom, Uzun Hassan's daughter, who gave birth to Ismail I, founder of the Safavid dynasty. Martha's mother Theodora — better known as Despina Khatun — was a Pontic Greek princess, the daughter of the Grand Komnenos John IV of Trebizond. She had been married to Uzun Hassan. in exchange for protection of the Grand Komnenos from the Ottomans.

After Uzun Hassan's death, his son Ya'qub felt threatened by the growing Safavid religious influence. Ya'qub allied himself with the Shirvanshah and killed Haydar in 1488. By this time, the bulk of the Safaviyya were nomadic Oghuz Turkic-speaking clans from Asia Minor and Azerbaijanand were known as Qizilbash "Red Heads" because of their distinct red headgear. The Qizilbash were warriors, spiritual followers of Haydar, and a source of the Safavid military and political power.

After the death of Haydar, the Safaviyya gathered around his son Ali Mirza Safavi, who was also pursued and subsequently killed by Ya'qub. According to official Safavid history, before passing away, Ali had designated his young brother Ismail as the spiritual leader of the Safaviyya.



📹 Sunni and Shia Islam (Part 1) — Khan Academy (VİDEO)

Sunni and Shia Islam (Part 1) — Khan Academy (LINK)

An introduction to the Sunni and Shia schism that forms in Islam after the death of Muhammed.


📹 Sunni and Shia Islam (Part 2) — Khan Academy (VİDEO)

Sunni and Shia Islam (Part 2) — Khan Academy (LINK)

As Ali becomes caliph, the Ummayads under the leadership of Muawiya refuse to recognize him, sparking the first Muslim Civil War. The increased division leads eventually to the Tragedy at Karbala which is a defining event for Shia Muslims.



Mistik Devlet, Mistik Politika ve Mistik Politikacılar

Safevilik ‘modern’ İran’ın başlangıcı olarak kabul edilir. Ama Safevi devlet-dini olarak Şiilik insanın kutsal insanların altında olmasını ve onlara boyun eğmesini ister. Modernlik özgürlük ile olanaklıdır. Çağdaş İran modern değil ama eskidir ve Şiilik inancı altında (tıpkı etnik Yahudi dini altındaki İsrail gibi) özgür, ussal ve modern olması ancak doğaüstü bir tansık yoluyla olanaklıdır.


İran Cumhuriyeti Anayasasına göre —

  • “Egemenlik Tanrıya aittir.” (Anayasa, Madde 2)
    (Article 2: The Islamic Republic is a system based on the faith: 1. in one God (“There is no god but God”), the exclusive attribution of sovereignty and the legislation of law to Him, and the necessity of surrender to His commands; 2. divine inspiration and its foundational role in the articulation of the laws; ...)

  • “Ülke kamu oyuna dayanarak ve seçimler yoluyla yönetilmelidir.” (Anayasa, Madde 6)
    (Article 6: In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the country’s affairs must be administered by reliance on the public vote, and through elections. These will include the election of the president, the deputies of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majles), the members of the councils, and other such institutions, or through a referendum in such instances as are determined in other articles of this document.)

  • “İran’ın resmi dini İslam ve [şii] dininin Onikici Jafari okuludur. Bu ilke sonsuza dek değişmeden kalacaktır.” (Anayasa, Madde 12)

    (Article 12. The official religion of Iran is Islam and the Twelver Ja‘fari school of [shi‘ī] religion. This principle shall remain eternally unchangeable.) Article 13: Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian Iranians are considered the only recognized religious minorities.

  • İslamik Cumhuriyet “yasaların belirlenişinde tanrısal esine inanç” üzerine dayanır. (Anayasa, Madde 2)
    “... divine inspiration and its foundational role in the articulation of the laws.” (Article 2)

  • İslamik Cumhuriyet “İmamlara (imamat), sürekli önderliğe ve bunun İslamik Devrimin sürekliliğindeki temel rolüne inanç” üzerine dayanır. (Anayasa, Madde 2)

    “... belief in the Imams (imamat), continuous leadership, and its fundamental role in the continuity of the Islamic Revolution.” (Article 2)



Sorun İran’da egemenliğin seçimler yoluyla belirlenip belirlenmemesi değildir. Özgürlüğün olmadığı yerde seçim yalnızca köleliğin bir kez daha onaylanmasıdır, çünkü istençsiz halka efendileri tarafından tanınan seçme hakkının onun egemenliği ile bir ilgisi yoktur. Ancak ulus özgür ve egemendir. İstençsiz halklar her zaman yönetilme gereksinimi içindedirler, moral olarak büyümemişlerdir, ve kendilerini yönetemedikleri için etik bir yaşam geliştiremezler. Korkarak yaşarlar. Önemli olan nokta Onikicilik inancı altında (salt bir boşinanç yaratısı olan ve “mahdi”yi bekleyen “marja”lara boyun eğme koşulu altında) İran’ın hiçbir zaman kendi duyunç ve istençleri ile özgür olan bireylerin bir toplumu, bir yurttaş toplumu olamayacağıdır. Despotik dizge tikel bir bileşeninde, yalnızca inanç biçiminde reforma ve duyunç özgürlüğüne izin vermez, çünkü duyunç ve istenç özgürlüğü onu evrensel insan hakları ile uyum içinde bütününde dönüştürecektir. Taş devrine, mağara devrine, tarih-öncesine doğru bakan kadim kültürler sözde bekalarını değişim, gelişim, özgürlük karşısında gösterdikleri dirence ve direnişe borçludur. Köleler sorumluluk bilincinden yoksun oldukları için her zaman efendileri olan sorumlulara gereksinim içindedirler.

  • Şiilik Muhammed’in Ali’yi “ardıl” (“halife”) olarak atadığına inanır.
  • Sünnilik Muhammed’in böyle bir atama yapmadığını, önderin bir tür “topluluk uylaşımı” yoluyla seçildiğini kabul eder.
  • Şiilik Ali’nin tanrısal olarak atandığına inanır ve bu niteliği Muhammed’in ailesine genişletir. Bu inanca göre, bu aileden gelen kimi İmamların topluluk üzerinde özel “tinsel” ve “politik” yetkeleri vardır ve “yanılmaz”dırlar.


  • Şiilik Kuran ve hadisler üzerine dayanır.
  • Onikicilik (%85), İsmailizm ve Zaidiler Şiilikteki üç büyük bölüngüdür.
  • Onikicilik, İsmailizm, Zaidizm ve Alevilik inanç konusunda kişilere ve ailelere bağlılık gösterir.

  Shia Islam

Shia Islam; Twelver; Ismailism; Infallibility; Qizilbash

Shia Islam (W)

Shia (Arabic: شيعةShīʿah, from Shīʿatu ʿAlī, “adherent of Ali”), also transliterated Shiah and Shiʿah, is a branch of Islam which holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and the Imam (leader) after him, most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from the caliphate as a result of the incident at Saqifah. This view primarily contrasts with that of Sunni Islam, whose adherents believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor and consider Abu Bakr, who they claim was appointed Caliph through a Shura, i.e. community consensus in Saqifa, to be the first rightful Caliph after the Prophet.

Unlike the first three Rashidun caliphs, Ali was from the same clan as Muhammad, Banu Hashim as well as being the prophet's cousin and being the first male to become Muslim.

Adherents of Shia Islam are called Shias of Ali, Shias or the Shi'a as a collective or Shi'i or Shi'ite individually. Shia Islam is the second largest branch of Islam: as of the late 2000s, Shia Muslims constituted 10-15%. Twelver Shia (Ithnā’ashariyyah) is the largest branch of Shia Islam, with 2012 estimates saying that 85% of Shias were Twelvers.

Shia Islam is based on the Quranand the message of Muhammad attested in hadith, and on hadith taught by their Imams. Shia consider Ali to have been divinely appointed as the successor to Muhammad, and as the first Imam. The Shia also extend this Imammah doctrine to Muhammad’s family, the Ahl al-Bayt ("the people/family of the House"), and some individuals among his descendants, known as Imams, who they believe possess special spiritual and political authority over the community, infallibility and other divinely ordained traits. Although there are many Shia subsects, modern Shia Islam has been divided into three main groupings: Twelvers, Ismailis and Zaidis, with Twelver Shia being the largest and most influential group among Shia.

Infallibility (W)

Infallibility is the inability to be wrong.

Islam teaches that the teachings and guidance by the Prophets with regard to bringing the message of the One true God was infallible. Islam also teaches that the Qur'an is an infallible text.

In Shi'a theology, the belief is that the Ahl al-Bayt, including Muhammad, his daughter Fatima Zahra and Shi’a Imams are all infallible and do not make mistakes. It is believed that they are infallible in the sense that all statements or teachings made by them can be relied on to be certainly true, that all information believed by themselves is true, and that they have complete knowledge about right and wrong and never intend to disobey God, in a sense, perfect creation. It is also held by Shi’as that there were 124,000 Prophets, beginning with Adam and ending with Muhammad — with all, including the latter, being infallible in the same sense as the Ahl al-Bayt. However, for information about whether or not Islam states that Moḥammad and other Messengers or Prophets were always infallible, or unquestionable for any of their acts, see the Qur'an (5: 116) (11: 36 - 37, 40 - 47) (37: 139 - 142) (66: 1).

Twelver (W)

Twelver (Arabic: اثنا عشرية‎, translit. Athnā‘ashariyyah or Ithnā‘ashariyyah; Persian: شیعه دوازده‌امامی) or Imamiyyah (Arabic: إمامية‎) is the largest branch of Shia Islam. The term Twelverrefers to its adherents' belief in twelve divinely ordained leaders, known as the Twelve Imams, and their belief that the last Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, lives in occultation and will reappear as the promised Mahdi. According to Shia tradition, the Mahdi’s tenure will coincide with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Isa), who is to assist the Mahdi against the Masih ad-Dajjal (literally, the “false Messiah” or Antichrist).

Twelvers believe that the Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to the theology of Twelvers, the Twelve Imams are exemplary human individuals who not only rule over the community with justice, but are also able to preserve and interpret sharia and the esoteric meaning of the Quran. The words and deeds (Sunnah) of Muhammad and the Imams are a guide and model for the community to follow; as a result, Muhammad and the Imams must be free from error and sin, a doctrine known as Ismah or infallibility, and must be chosen by divine decree, or nass, through Muhammad.

Twelver Shiism is the largest branch of Shia Islam, with about 85% of all Shias, or approximately 150 to 200 million Twelver Shias.

Twelvers make majorities among Muslims in Iran, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain. Also, they make significant minorities in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Nigeria, Chad, and Tanzania.

Iran is the only country with state religion as (Twelver) Shia Islam.

Twelvers share many tenets of Shia with related sects, such as the belief in Imams, but the Ismaili Shias believe in a different number of Imams and, for the most part, a different path of succession regarding the Imamate. They also differ in the role and overall definition of an Imam. Twelvers are also distinguished from Ismailis by their belief in Muhammad's status as the "Seal of the Prophets" (Khatam an-Nabiyyin), in rejecting the possibility of abrogation of Sharia laws, and in considering both esoteric and exoteric aspects of the Quran. Alevis in Turkey and Albania, and Alawites in Syria and Lebanon, share belief in the Twelve Imams with Twelvers, but their theological doctrines are markedly different.


Isma’ilism (W)

Ismāʿīlism (Arabic: الإسماعيليةal-Ismāʿīliyya; Persian: اسماعیلیان‎; Sindhi: اسماعيلي‎; Esmāʿīliyān) is a branch of Shia Islam. The Ismāʿīlī get their name from their acceptance of Imam Isma'il ibn Jafar as the appointed spiritual successor (Imām) to Ja'far al-Sadiq, wherein they differ from the Twelvers who accept Musa al-Kadhim, younger brother of Isma'il, as the true Imām.

Ismailism rose at one point to become the largest branch of Shī‘ism, climaxing as a political power with the Fatimid Caliphate in the tenth through twelfth centuries. Ismailis believe in the oneness of God, as well as the closing of divine revelation with Muhammad, whom they see as "the final Prophet and Messenger of God to all humanity". The Ismāʿīlī and the Twelvers both accept the same initial Imams.

After the death of Muhammad ibn Isma'il in the 8th century CE, the teachings of Ismailism further transformed into the belief system as it is known today, with an explicit concentration on the deeper, esoteric meaning (batin) of the Islamic religion. With the eventual development of Twelverism into the more literalistic (zahir) oriented Akhbari and later Usuli schools of thought, Shi'i Islam developed into two separate directions: the metaphorical Ismaili group focusing on the mystical path and nature of God, with the "Imām of the Time" representing the manifestation of esoteric truth and intelligible reality, with the more literalistic Twelver group focusing on divine law (sharia) and the deeds and sayings (sunnah) of Muhammad and the Twelve Imams who were guides and a light to God.

Ismaili thought is heavily influenced by neoplatonism.

Though there are several paths (tariqat) within Ismailism, the term in today's vernacular generally refers to the Nizaris, who recognize Aga Khan IV as the 49th hereditary Imam and are the largest Ismaili group. In recent centuries Ismāʿīlīs have largely been a Pakistani and Indian community, but Ismailis are also found in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq, East Africa, Angola, Lebanon, and South Africa, and have in recent years emigrated to Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Trinidad and Tobago. There are also a significant number of Ismāʿīlīs in Central Asia.

Zaidiyyah (W)

Zaidiyyah or Zaidism (Arabic: الزيديةaz-zaydiyya, adjective form Zaidi or Zaydi) is one of the Shia sects closest in terms of theology to the Ibadhi and Mutazila schools. Zaidiyyah emerged in the eighth century out of Shi'aIslam. Zaidis are named after Zayd ibn ʻAlī, the grandson of Husayn ibn ʻAlī and the son of their fourth Imam Ali ibn 'Husain. Followers of the Zaydi Islamic jurisprudence are called Zaydi and make up about 30% of Muslims in Yemen, with the vast majority of Shia Muslims in the country being Zaydi.

Zaydis are the oldest branch of the Shia and are currently the second largest group after Twelvers. Zaidis do not believe in the infallibility of Imāms, but promote their leadership and divine inspiration. Zaydis believe that Zayd ibn Ali in his last hour was betrayed by the people in Kufa. Zaydis as of 2014 constitute roughly 0.5% of the world's Muslim population.


Qizilbash (W)

Mannequin of a Safavid Qizilbash soldier, exhibited in Sa'dabad, Iran.

or Kizilbash (Turkish: Kızılbaş - "Red-Head", sometimes also Qezelbash or Qazilbash, Persian: قزلباش‎ / qezelbāš) is the label given to a wide variety of Shi’i militant units that flourished in Azerbaijan (historic Azerbaijan, also known as Iranian Azerbaijan), Anatolia and Kurdistan from the late 15th century onwards, some of which contributed to the foundation of the Safavid dynasty of Iran.

The origin of the Qizilbash can be dated from the 15th century onward, when the spiritual grandmaster of the movement, Shaykh Haydar (the head of the Safaviyya Sufi order), organized his followers into militant troops.

The Qizilbash were a coalition of many different tribes of predominantly (but not exclusively) Turkic-speaking background united in their adherence to Safavi Shia Islam.

As murids of the Safavi sheikhs (pirs), the Qizilbash owed implicit obedience to their leader in his capacity as their murshid-e kāmil “supreme spiritual director” and, after the establishment of the kingdom, as their padishah,changing the purely religious pir-murid relationship into a political one. As a consequence, any act of disobedience of the Qizilbash Sufis against the order of the spiritual grandmaster (Persian: nāsufigari "improper conduct of a Sufi") became “an act of treason against the king and a crime against the state,” as was the case in 1614 when Padishah Abbas the Great put some followers to death.



📹 What’s the Difference Between Sunni and Shiite Muslims? (VİDEO)

What’s the Difference Between Sunni and Shiite Muslims? (LINK)



Bektashi Order; Dervish; Hurifism

Bektashi Order; Dervish; Hurifism

Bektashi Order (W)

Bektashi Order or Shī‘ah Imāmī Alevī-Bektāshī Ṭarīqah (Albanian: Tarikati Bektashi; Turkish: Bektaşi Tarîkatı) is a Sufi dervish order (tariqat) named after the 13th century Alevi Wali (saint) Haji Bektash Veli from Khorasan, but founded by Balım Sultan. The order, whose headquarters is in Tirana, Albania, is mainly found throughout Anatolia and the Balkans, and was particularly strong in Albania, Bulgaria, and among Ottoman era Greek Muslims from the regions of Epirus, Crete and Macedonia. However, the Bektashi order does not seem to have attracted quite as many adherents from among Bosnian Muslims, who tended to favor more mainstream Sunni orders such as the Naqshbandiyya and Qadiriyya. The order represents the official ideology of Bektashism (Turkish: Bektaşilik).

In addition to the spiritual teachings of Haji Bektash Veli, the Bektashi order was later significantly influenced during its formative period by the Hurufis (in the early 15th century), the Qalandariyya stream of Sufism, and to varying degrees the Shia beliefs circulating in Anatolia during the 14th to 16th centuries. The mystical practices and rituals of the Bektashi order were systematized and structured by Balım Sultan in the 16th century after which many of the order's distinct practices and beliefs took shape.

A large number of academics consider Bektashism to have fused a number of Shia and Sufi concepts, although the order contains rituals and doctrines that are distinct. Throughout its history Bektashis have always had wide appeal and influence among both the Ottoman intellectual elite as well as the peasantry.

Dervish (W)

Dervish or darwish (from Persian: درویش‎, Darvīsh) in Islam can refer broadly to members of a Sufi fraternity (tariqah), or more narrowly to a religious mendicant, who chose or accepted material poverty. The latter usage is found particularly in Persian and Turkish, corresponding to the Arabic term faqir. Their focus is on the universal values of love and service, deserting the illusions of ego to reach God. In most Sufi orders, a dervish is known to practice dhikr through physical exertions or religious practices to attain the ecstatic trance to reach God. Their most common practice is Sama, which is associated with the 13th-century mystic Rumi.

In folklore, dervishes are often credited with the ability to perform miracles and described with supernatural powers.

Hurufism (W)

Hurufism (Arabic: حُرُوفِيَّةḥurūfiyyah) was a Sufi doctrine based on the mysticism of letters (ḥurūf), which originated in Astrabad and spread to areas of western Persia and Anatolia in the late 14th–early 15th century.

The founder and spiritual head of the Hurufi movement was Fażlu l-Lāh Astar-Ābādī, also called Nāimī (1340-94). Born in Astrabad, Iran, he was strongly drawn to Sufism and the teachings of Mansur Al-Hallaj and Rumi at an early age.

According to Fazlallah, the key to open seventh sealed book, the Qurʾan, is a kabbalistic system of letters that is expounded by later Hurufis in the Hidayat Namah, Jawidan and in the Mahram Namah. The Universe is eternal and moves by rotation. Divine countenance is imperishable and is manifest in Man, the best of forms — zuhur kibriya. God is incarnated in every atom. Hurufis considered Fazlallah Astarabadi a manifestation of God's force after Adam, Moses and Muhammad. God is also embodied in words and the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet and the 32 letters of Persian one are the basis for love and beauty in the world.

Seven is a key number corresponding to noble parts of the face, the verses of Al-Fatiha and verbal confession of faith. Man is a supreme copy of the divine and the key to haqiqa.

According to R. N. Frye's The Cambridge History of Iran, Hurufism was an expression of Isma'ilism in its mystical identification of human figure, but differed in its recognition of haqiqa in the substance of letters rather than in the person of the Imam.


  Sufilik ve İslam

Din Kavramına göre —
  • Tanrı ile Bir olmak bilginin olanağıdır (aynılar aynıları bilir).
  • Bilinmeyen Tanrı bir inanç nesnesi de değildir.
  • “İslamik Gizemcilik” terimi bir oxymorondur, çünkü inanç Tanrı inancıdır ve anlaşılmayana ve bilinmeyene inanmak olanaksızdır.
Gizemcilik Kavramına göre —
  • Gizemcilik (mistisizm) “anlaşılamaz” ve “bilinemez” olan şeylerin varlığını ‘bilir.’
  • Sufi için “gizemli gerçeklik” ve “gizemli bilgi” olanaklıdır.
  • İnanç gizemciliği reddeder çünkü inanç gerçekliğe inançtır.
  • Sufi için en son gerçeklik (“hakikat”) anlaşılamazdır.
  • Sufi gizemcilik “bilinemez” ile özel bir kişisel deneyimin olanağını ileri sürer.
  • İnsanın değeri ve büyüklüğü ussallığından, duygusundan ve duyarlığından doğar.
  • Gizemcilik anlaşılamaz ve bilinemez olanı öne çıkararak bilgiyi ve usu yadsır.
  • Bu bilgisizlik ve kuşkuculuk içinde Sufilik tarikat (düzen), tekke, şeyh vb. gibi terimlere gereksinir.
  • Şeyhlik vb. özsel olarak insan kaprisinin bir belirişidir.
  • Sufiliğin “Kamil İnsanı” yeterince kamil değildir, çünkü gizemcilik bilgiye izin vermez (kamil olanı ancak kamil olan bilebilir).
  • Sufilik gizemciliğe ve bilinemeze sarılmasında bilgiyi reddeder.
  • Sufiler soysal olarak Peygamber Muhammed’e giden büyük efendilerin yetkeleri altında hiyerarşik tekkeler kurarlar.
  • Sünni İslam bu eşitsizliği tanımaz, çünkü insanları Tanrının, gerçekliğin kulları olarak eşitler.



  • Gizemcilik kuşkucu bir inanç biçimi, kuşkuya duyulan inançtır.


Sufism (W)

Sufism, or Taṣawwuf (Arabic: الْتَّصَوُّف‎; personal noun: صُوفِيّṣūfiyy / ṣūfī, مُتَصَوِّفmutaṣawwif), variously defined as “Islamic mysticism,” "the inward dimension of Islam" or "the phenomenon of mysticism within Islam", is mysticism in Islam, “characterized ... [by particular] values, ritual practices, doctrines and institutions” [[Knysh, Alexander]] which began very early in Islamic history and represents "the main manifestation and the most important and central crystallization of" mystical practice in Islam. Practitioners of Sufism have been referred to as "Sufis" (Arabic plurals: صُوفِيَّةṣūfiyyah; صُوفِيُّونṣūfiyyūn; مُتَصَوُّفََةmutaṣawwifah; مُتَصَوُّفُونmutaṣawwifūn).

Historically, Sufis have often belonged to different ṭuruq, or “orders” — congregations formed around a grand master referred to as a wali who traces a direct chain of successive teachers back to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. These orders meet for spiritual sessions (majalis) in meeting places known as zawiyas, khanqahs or tekke. They strive for ihsan (perfection of worship), as detailed in a hadith: "Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him; if you can't see Him, surely He sees you." Sufis regard Muhammad as al-Insān al-Kāmil, the primary perfect man who exemplifies the morality of God, and see him as their leader and prime spiritual guide.

All Sufi orders trace most of their original precepts from Muhammad through his cousin and son-in-law Ali, with the notable exception of one.

Although the overwhelming majority of Sufis, both pre-modern and modern, were and are adherents of Sunni Islam, there also developed certain strands of Sufi practice within the ambit of Shia Islam during the late medieval period. Although Sufis were opposed to dry legalism, they strictly observed Islamic law and belonged to various schools of Islamic jurisprudence and theology.

Sufis have been characterized by their asceticism, especially by their attachment to dhikr, the practice of remembrance of God, often performed after prayers. They gained adherents among a number of Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate (661-750) and have spanned several continents and cultures over a millennium, initially expressing their beliefs in Arabic and later expanding into Persian, Turkish, and Urdu, among others.

List of Sufi orders (LINK W)
Sufi Epistemology: Kashf
Islamic Mysticism — A Short History (p. 311)

At the center of Sufi epistemology lies the notion of a supersensory, revealed knowledge that is confined to the select few. In Sufi manuals, this kind of knowledge is variously described as “direct vision’’ (mushàhada), “flashes’’ (lawàqi˙), “gnosis’’ (ma'rifa), “illumination’’ (ishràq), “direct tasting’’ (dhawq), “verification’’ (ta˙qìq), etc.

Tariqa (W)

A tariqa (or tariqah; Arabic: طريقةṭarīqah) is a school or order of Sufism, or specifically a concept for the mystical teaching and spiritual practices of such an order with the aim of seeking Haqiqa, which translates as "ultimate truth".

A tariqa has a murshid (guide) who plays the role of leader or spiritual director. The members or followers of a tariqa are known as muridin (singular murid), meaning “desirous,” viz. “desiring the knowledge of God and loving God” (also called a Faqir).

The metaphor of “way, path” is to be understood in connection of the term sharia which also has the meaning of "path", more specifically "well-trodden path; path to the waterhole". The "path" metaphor of tariqa is that of a further path, taken by the mystic, which continues from the "well-trodden path" or exoteric of sharia towards the esoteric haqiqa. A fourth "station" following the succession of shariah, tariqa and haqiqa is called marifa. This is the “unseen center” of haqiqa, and the ultimate aim of the mystic, corresponding to the unio mystica in Western mysticism. Tasawwuf, Arabic word that refers to mysticism and Islamic esotericism, is known in the West as Sufism.

Tariqat (W)

Tariqa in Arabic means path and it denotes a Sufi brotherhood or chain or order. The orders are governed by shaykhs, spiritual leaders that mentor Sufis. Shaykhs are identified by the signs of God’s grace that are evident, such as the ability to perform miracles. They take on people, usually male, that are committed to the Sufi lifestyle and want to progress further in their spiritual education. It is common for the shaykh to test a new disciple by ignoring them, assigning humiliating tasks or being rude to them. When the disciple has passed these tests, he is introduced to the awrad, a series of prayers particular to that order. These prayers must be studied before they are recited, because mistakes made in the prayer are sins. When the disciple has studied and recited the awrad for an indeterminate amount of time, he is expected to experience visions and revelation from God. Sufis believe that at this point the disciple is able to see spiritual things that are veiled from most people.

Haqiqa (W)

Haqiqa (Arabic حقيقةḥaqīqa "truth") is one of "the four stages" in Sufism, shari’a (exoteric path), tariqa (esoteric path), haqiqa (mystical truth) and marifa (final mystical knowledge, unio mystica).

Sheikh (W)

Sheikh (Arabic: شيخšayḫ )— also transliterated Sheik, Shykh,Shayk, Shaykh, Cheikh, Shekh, and Shaikh—is an honorific title in the Arabic language. It commonly designates the ruler of a tribe, who inherited the title from his father. "Sheikh" is given to a royal male at birth and the related title "Sheikha" is given to a royal female at birth.

In Sufism, the word Sheikh is used to represent a wali who initiates a particular tariqa which leads to Muhammad, although many saints have this title added before their names out of respect from their followers. One prominent example is Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, who initiated the Qadiriyya order which relies strongly upon adherence to the fundamentals of Islam.



Alevism, Dede, Tekke

Alevism (W)

Alevism (Turkish: Alevîlik or Turkish: Anadolu Alevîliği/Alevileri, also called Qizilbash, or Shī‘ah Imāmī-Tasawwufī Ṭarīqah, or Shīʿah-ī Bāṭen’īyyah) is a syncretic, heterodox, and local Islamic tradition, whose adherents follow the mystical (bāṭenī) teachings of Ali, the Twelve Imams and a descendant — the 13th century Alevi saint Haji Bektash Veli. Alevis are found primarily in Turkey among ethnic Turks and Kurds, and make up between 11-12% of Turkey’s population, the largest belief after Sunni Islam.

After the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a dispute arose about his legitimate successor. The Islamic community was divided into those who adhered to Abu Bakr, named Sunnis, and those who sided with Ali, called Shia. Concurrently, people who sided with Ali were called Alevis, defined as “those who adore to Ali and his family.” Therefore, some authors uses Shiism synonymously with Alevism. However, Alevism is not Shiism, but affected by Shiism and although they share some common beliefs with the Twelver Shia, their rites and practises are wholly different from Shiism. Thus Alevism incorporates Turkish beliefs present during the 14th century such as Shamanism and Animism, which mixed with Extremist Shias and Sufi beliefs that were adopted by some Turkish tribes, similar to the Sufi-Ghulat view of the first Safavids, and later integrated with Sunnism.

"Alevi" is generally explained as referring to Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad. The name represents a Turkish form of the word ‘Alawi (Arabic: علوي‎) "of or pertaining to Ali", just as the word Musevi is linked to Musa (Moses), Isevi is linked to Isa (Jesus) and Mevlevi is linked to Mevlana (Rumi).

(A minority viewpoint is that of the Ishikists, who assert, “Alevi” was derived from “Alev” (“flame” in Turkish) in reference to fire which is extensively used in Alevi rituals. According to them the use of candles is based on Quranchapter 24, verses 35 and 36.

According to scholar Soner Cagaptay, Alevism is a “relatively unstructured interpretation of Islam.” Journalist Patrick Kingsley states that for some self-described Alevi, their religion is “simply a cultural identity, rather than a form of worship.”

Many teachings are based on an orally transmitted tradition, traditionally kept secret from outsiders (but now widely accessible). Alevis commonly profess the Islamic shahada, but adding "Ali is the friend of God".

The basis for Alevis' most distinctive beliefs is found in the Buyruks (compiled writings and dialogues of Sheikh Safi-ad-din Ardabili (eponym of the Safavi order), Ja'far al-Sadiq (the Sixth Imam), and other worthies). Also included are hymns (nefes) by figures such as Shah Ismail or Pir Sultan Abdal, stories of Hajji Bektash and other lore.

Alevism: God (W)

In Alevi cosmology, God is also called Al-Haqq (the Truth) or referred to as Allah. God created life (can) and gave part of Himself that is the soul, so the created world can reflect His Being. Alevis believe in the unity of Allah, Muhammad, and Ali, but this is not a trinity composed of God and the historical figures of Muhammad and Ali. Rather, Muhammad and Ali are representations of Allah’s light (and not of Allah himself), being neither independent from God, nor separate characteristics of Him. The exact meaning of this trinity is blurred. Some consider Haqq at the highest rank, with Muhammed and Ali equal below created from His light. Others consider them all to be one and the same.

Scriptures and prophets

Like orthodox Islam, most Alevis acknowledge at least four scriptures revealed from heaven. However they differ in regard of the authencity. While most Muslims consider the scriptures preceding the Quran to be altered or corrupted, many Alevis hold, the Quran known by today, is not the original either.

The Twelve Imams

The Twelve Imams are part of another common Alevi belief. Each Imam represents a different aspect of the Universe. They are realised as twelve services or On İki Hizmet which are performed by members of the Alevi community. Each Imam is believed to be a reflection of Ali ibn Abu Talib, the first Imam of the Shi'ites, and there are references to the "First Ali" (Birinci Ali), Imam Hasan the "Second 'Ali" (İkinci Ali), and so on up to the "Twelfth 'Ali" (Onikinci Ali), Imam Mehdi. The Twelfth Imam is hidden and represents the Messianic Age.

The perfect human being

Linked to the concept of the Prototypal Human is that of the “Perfect Human Being” (Insan-i Kamil). Although it is common to refer to Ali and Haji Bektash Veli or the other Alevi saints as manifestations of the perfect human being, the Perfect Human Being is also identified with our true identity as pure consciousness, hence the Qur'anic concept of human beings not having original sin, consciousness being pure and perfect. The human task is to fully realise this state while still in material human form.

Dede (religious figure) (W)

A dede is a socio-religious leader in the islamic Alevi and non-islamic Ishiki community. It is one of the 12 ranks of Imam in Alevism. The institution of dede is the most important of all the institutions integral to the social and religious organization of the Anatolian Alevis. Although much weakened as a result of the socio-economic transformation experienced in Anatolia towards the end of the nineteenth century, and particularly due to accelerated migration from the rural to the urban areas after the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, it played a primary role in the survival of Alevism until today.

The institution of dedes is based on a three tiered hierarchy:

  1. Murshid
  2. Pir
  3. Rehber

In some regions this hierarchy is modified in such a way that the Pir and Murshid change places. This is exclusively a functional hierarchy, as all involved come from a dede family. They fulfill functions that are complementary in nature, and would be meaningless in isolation from each other. The dede families, all of them called ocakzâdes, have distributed these duties among themselves.

An Alevi dede focuses on the mystical Islamic teachings of the Twelve Imams, the Buyruks (mainly the Imam Câfer-i Sadık Buyruğu) and Haji Bektash Veli.


According to the books of the Buyruk which include the basic principles of the Alevi faith, and the traditions that survive among the Alevis, a dede must have the following qualifications:

  • To be a descendant of the Prophet (ocakzâde).
  • To operate as an educator and a moral guide (mürebbi) for the community.
  • To be knowledgeable and exemplary in his character and manners (Al-Insān al-Kāmil).
  • To follow the principles written in the Buyruks, as well as the established traditions of Alevism.


The main functions of the dedes can be summarized as follows:

  • To guide and enlighten (irşad) the community in social and religious matters.
  • To lead the religious rituals.
  • To punish the criminals, and to serve as an arbiter between conflicting sides.
  • To lead ceremonies during occasions such as a wedding or a funeral.
  • To fulfill certain legal and educational functions.
  • Provide health provisions.
  • Provide socio-political leadership.
  • In some exceptional cases, such as in the Tunceli province (formerly Dersim), dedes share the leadership position with the large landowners, the Ağas.

Legal functions

For Alevis, “Yol” (path) is a very important concept. The pedigrees of the dedes consistently emphasize this by saying “Yol cümleden uludur” [the Path is the most exalted of all]. What is important is the Yol and not the personal desires and needs of an individual Alevi. All the latter are possible only in conformity with the former. Otherwise, the institution of düşkün would be activated. In other words, an Alevi would become a düşkün if he tries to satisfy his desires and needs without regard for the Yol. As Prof. Yusuf Ziya Yörükan noted “Dede declares one a ‘düşkün’ by saying to him ‘may your face be darkened.’ Any more that person is deprived of the law of men."

The following are major crimes that lead one to the state of düşkün:

  • killing a person
  • committing adultery
  • divorce
  • marrying a divorcee
  • stealing
Khanqah (tekke) (W)

A khanqah or khaniqah (also transliterated as khankahs, khaneqa, khanegah or khaneqah (Persian: خانقاه‎)), also known as a ribat (رباط) – among other terms – is a building designed specifically for gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood or tariqa and is a place for spiritual retreat and character reformation. In the past, and to a lesser extent nowadays, they often served as hospices for saliks (Sufi travelers), Murids (initiates) and talibs (Islamic students). Khanqahs are very often found adjoined to dargahs (shrines of Sufi saints), mosques and madrasas (Islamic schools).

In the Arab world, especially North Africa, the khanqah is known as a zāwiyah (Arabic: زاویه‎, plural zāwiyāt; also transliterated as zawiya, zāwiya or zaouia). In Turkey, Iran and formerly Ottoman areas like Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, they are locally referred to as tekije (تكيه; also transliterated as tekke, tekyeh, teqe or takiyah). In South Asia, the words khanqah and dargah are used interchangeably for Sufi shrines. In addition, there are lodges in Central and South Asia often referred to as Qalander Khane that serve as rest houses for the unaffiliated malang, dervishes and fakirs.

Khanqahs later spread across the Islamic world, from Morocco to Indonesia.


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