Sufism and the Safavids in Iran: A further challenge to ‘decline'

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Abstract / Description of output

The conventional portrayal of the development of Sufism over the years of the Safavid period has privileged the history of known Sufi orders, generally depicting that history as one of incorporation/disappearance into Safavid “polity”. Based in Ardabil the popularity of order’s discourse among local tribal elements who provided the military force behind region’s various polities may well have been the reason the Safavids attracted the attention of the Aq Quyunlu leader Uzun Hasan. The Safavids thus successfully combined regional political-military power and association with a heterodox discourse that embodied many of the same features as other of the various Sufi-Shii discourses extant in the region at the same time. The belief system of Ahl al-Haqq, identified in years as located in the modern areas of western Iran and north-eastern Iraq, is perhaps more typical of the “popular” “extremist Shii” doctrines that permeated the region across these years that did not later go on to attain “formal” status as “order”.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook on Sufism
EditorsLloyd Ridgeon
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781315175348
ISBN (Print)9781138040120
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2020


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