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  1. Description: When and how was Shia sect founded? And how can we say that more than one billion Muslims are wrong and Shia that is in minority is right? Response: Dear friend, in Quran logic, majority is never the criteria of rightfulness, as god almighty has mentioned to this point in Quran, god says in Quran fifteen times: “أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ” Most of them do not know. Chapters: AL-ANAAM / 37 /// AL-ARAF/ 13 /// AL-ANFAL / 34 /// YUNUS / 55,… Or this verse: “أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ” Most of them do not understand. Chapters: AL-ANKABOOT / 63 and AL-HUJRAAT, 55 On the other hand if you take a look around, you’ll see that most of the people around the world are “Christian”. According to studies done by experts and global statisticians in 2005, 33% of people around the world ore “Christian” while Muslims have the second place by 21%. So, if we say that majority is the criteria of rightfulness, so you should become “Christian”, because in your opinion, is that possible 33% of people are wrong and 21% of people of the world are right? Source: Wikipedia If you’re fair, you’ll find out that you’re wrong. As for this matter that why the population of Sunni is more than Shias, it requires independent conversation and it has different reasons either, at this time it’s irrelevant to our discussion, but we’ll talk about it later if it’s necessary. But about this saying of yours that Shia sect was founded in “Safvid dynasty”, we take it for granted that you’re not aware of history and issues written in your own books {Sunni books}, to resolve any ambiguity, pay attention to following issues: قال تعالي ( إن الذين آمنوا وعملوا الصالحات أولئك هم خير البرية ) . لما نزلت هذه الآية قال الرسول لعلي يا علي ( ع ) هم أنت و شيعتك . When this verse: “But those who believe and do good deeds are the best of all creatures” was sent down, Prophet Muhammad [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] said to commander of the faithful Ali [AS]: the meaning of this verse is you and your Shias. Sura AL-BAYYINA, verse 7 “ibn Hajar al-Haytam”, Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, p 96 /// “Al-Hakim Haskani”, Shawahid al-Tanzil, v 2, p 356 // “Al-Khwarizmi”, Al-Manaqib, p 62 and 187 // Al-Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur, v 6, p 379 // “Tafsir al-Tabari”, v 3, p 146 /// “Al-Shukani”, Fath al-Qadir, v 5, p 477 // “Al-Juwayni”- Fara’id al-Simtayn- v 1, p 156 and …. “... أمير المؤمنين علي بن أبي طالب قال قال رسول الله ( صلي الله عليه وسلم ) يا علي إذا كان يوم القيامة يخرج قوم من قبورهم لباسهم النور علي نجائب من نور أزمتها يواقيت حمر تزفهم الملائكة إلي المحشر فقال علي تبارك الله ما أكرم هؤلاء علي الله قال رسول الله ( صلي الله عليه وسلم ) يا علي هم أهل ولايتك وشيعتك ومحبوك يحبونك بحبي ويحبوني بحب الله هم الفائزون يوم القيامة” Commander of the faithful Ali [AS] said: prophet [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] told me: O “Ali” when day of resurrection comes up, some will come out of their graves that their clothing is made of light and are riding camels made by light and those camels’ tether is made of ruby, and angels will see them off to resurrection, then prophet said: they are those who have accepted your guardianship and Imamate, they’re your Shias, they like you because they like me and they like me because they like god, they get to salvation on the day of resurrection. “Ibn Asakir”- The History of Damascus, v42, p 332 روي ابن عساكر بإسناده عن جابر بن عبد اللّه، قال: كنّا عند النبي صلي اللّه عليه وسلّم، فأقبل علي بن أبي طالب، فقال رسول اللّه: «قد أتاكم أخي، ثمّ التفت الي الكعبة فضربها بيده. ثمّ قال: والذي نفسي بيده، إنّ هذا وشيعته لهم الفائزون يوم القيامة. ثمّ قال: إنّه أوّلكم إيماناً معي، وأوفاكم بعهد اللّه، وأقومكم بأمر اللّه، وأعدلكم في الرعيّة، وأقسمكم بالسويّة، وأعظمكم عند اللّه مزية». قال: وفي ذلك الوقت نزلت فيه: (إِنَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّلِحَتِ أُولَئِكَ هُمْ خَيْرُ الْبَرِيَّةِ). البيّنة:7/98. كان أصحاب محمد صلي اللّه عليه وسلّم إذا أقبل علي قالوا: قد جاء خير البرية. “Ibn Asakir” quotes from “Jabir bin Ansari” who said: I was with prophet [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] that “Ali” [AS] came to us, then messenger of god [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] said: your brother came, Then he turned towards “Ka’aba” and knocked it and said: swear by god that my life is in his hands, indeed, this man and his Shias get to solvation on the day of resurrection. Then prophet Muhammad [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] said: “Ali” is the first guy who believed in me, amongst you, he’s the most loyal one to divine promise and is the most steadfast one in divine orders and the most righteous one in dealing with subordinates and the fairest one and is better than all of you with god. “Jabir” said: then this verse “But those who believe and do good deeds are the best of all creatures”, was sent down about Hadrat “Ali” [AS], and whenever “Ali” [AS] would come, prophet [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] would say: the best creature of god has come. “Ibn Asakir”, The History of Damascus- v 42- p 371 وعن ابن عباس ( رض ) قال : لما نزلت هذه الآية : ان الذين امنوا وعملوا الصالحات أولئك هم خير البرية قال : لعلي هو أنت وشيعتك تأتي يوم القيامة أنت وشيعتك راضين مرضيين ويأتي عدوك غضبانا مقحمين ... “Ibn Abbas” says: when this verse “But those who believe and do good deeds are the best of all creatures” was sent down, messenger of god [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] said to “Ali” [AS]: the meaning of this verse is you and your Shias, on the day of resurrection, you and your Shias will come while you’re pleased of god and god is pleased of you and your enemy will come while he’s angry and perished… “Zarandi al-Hanafi”- Nazm durari al-Simtayn- p 92 ... عن الشعبي عن علي قال : قال رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم : " أنت وشيعتك في الجنة " “Shu’bi” quotes from commander of the faithful [AS] that prophet Muhammad [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] said: {O Ali}, you and your Shias will go to paradise on the day of resurrection. “History of Baghdad”- v 12, p 284 “أن رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم قال لعلي أنت وشيعتك تردون علي الحوض رواة مرويين بيضة وجوهكم وان عدوك يردون علي الحوض ظمأ مقمحين” Messenger of god [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] said: O “Ali”! {On the day of resurrection} you and your Shias will come to me next to “Al Kawthar” {name of a river, its pool and springs} while you’re watered and your faces are bright and your enemy will come to me next to “Al-Kawthar” while he’s thirsty and perished. “Al-Tabarani”- al-Mu’jam al-Kabir- v 1, p 319, Hadith No. 948 There are about forty narratives with such contents in Sunni resources. Names of some of companions of prophet [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] who were Shia: “Al-Dhahabi” says about “Hujr bin ‘Adi bin Jabala bin ‘Adi”: “وهو حجر الخير ... أبو عبد الرحمن الشهيد . له صحبة ووفادة ... وكان شريفا ، أميرا مطاعا ، أمارا بالمعروف ، مقدما علي الانكار ، من شيعة علي رضي الله عنهما” He’s “Hujr bin ‘Adi”, his nickname is “Abu abd ar-Rahman” who was martyred. He’s amongst the companions of Prophet Muhammad [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] and he was honorable man and obedient ruler and would order to the good a lot and he was always pioneer in forbidding from the evil and he’s amongst the Shias of “Ali” [AS]. “Al-Dhahabi”- Siyar al’A’lam al-Nubala- v 3, p 463 “Al-Dhahabi” writes about “Wahab al-Hamdani al-Khaywani al-Kufi”: “من كبراء شيعة علي ... أسلم في حياة النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم” He was amongst great Shias of “Ali” [AS]… he became Muslim during prophet [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)]’s life. “Al-Dhahabi”- Siyar al-A’lam al-Nubala- v 3, p 180 “Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr” says about “abu al-Tufail al-Sahabi”: أبو الطفيل عامر بن واثلة الكناني .. وقد ذكره ابن أبي خيثمة في شعراء الصحابة... وكان متشيّعاً في علي. “Abu Tufail” …. “Ibn abi Khithamah” has said his names amongst poet companions and he was amongst Shias of “Ali” [AS]. “Al-Isti’ab”- Ibn Abd al-Barr, v 4, p 1696 “Ibn abi al-Hadid” says: “وكان سلمان من شيعة علي ( عليه السلام ) وخاصته” “Salman” was amongst Shias of “Ali” [AS] and his particular companions. “Ibn abu al-Hadid”- comments on the Peak of Eloquence- v 18, p 39 “Mas’udi Shafi’i” says: “أن الإمام عليا أقام ومن معه من شيعته في منزله بعد أن تمت البيعة لأبي بكر” After people swore allegiance with “Abu-Bakr”, Imam “Ali” [AS] and his Shias sat-in in Ali [AS]’s house. “Al-Mas’udi”- Ithbat al-Wasiyyah “Taqi al-Din Sabki” writes in the book “Al-Tabaqat al-Shafi’iyah” that “Mas’udi Sahafi’i” is one of the Shafi’i-faith scholars. “Al-Tabaqat al-Shafi’iyah”- v 3, p 456-457 “Subhi Saleh” says: “كان بين الصحابة حتي في عهد النبي ( صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم ) شيعة لربيبه علي ، منهم : أبو ذر الغفاري ، والمقداد بن الأسود ، وجابر بن عبد الله ، وأبي بن كعب ، وأبو الطفيل عمر بن وائلة ، والعباس بن عبد المطلب وجميع بنيه ، وعمار بن ياسر ، وأبو أيوب الأنصاري” even during prophet [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)]’s life, some of companions of prophet were Shias of Ali -trained by prophet- such as: “Abu Dhar Ghifari”, “Meqdad bin Aswad”, “Jabir bin Abdullah, “Ubay bin Ka’b”, “Abu Tufail ‘Amir bin Wathilah”, “Abbas bin abd al-Mattalib”, “Ammar bin Yasir” and “Abu Ayyub al-Ansari”. “Al-Nazm al-Islamiyyah”- p 96 “Muhammad Kurd Ali” writes: عرف جماعة من كبار الصحابة بموالاة علي في عصر رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم ، مثل سلمان الفارسي ، القائل : بايعنا رسول الله علي النصح للمسلمين ، والائتمام بعلي بن أبي طالب ، والموالاة له ، ومثل أبي سعيد الخدري ... ومثل أبي ذر الغفاري وعمار بن ياسر ، وحذيفة بن اليمان وذي الشهادتين ، وأبي أيوب الأنصاري ، وخالد بن سعيد ، وقيس بن سعد . At the time prophet Muhammad [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)], many of companions would be known as the friends and followers of “Ali” [AS], such as “Salman” who said: we swore allegiance with prophet [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] to do good deeds to Muslims and accept the Imamate and guardianship of “Ali” and like him. Other guys such as: “Abi Sai’id Khederi”… and “Abu Dhar Ghaffari”, “Ammar ibn Yasir”, “Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman”, “Abi Ayyub Ansari”, “Khālid ibn Sa`īd” and “Qais ibn Sa’d” were amongst those companions as well. “Khitat al-Sham”, v 5, p 251 – 256 “Ibn Hazm” says: “وروينا عن نحو عشرين من الصحابة أن أكرم الناس علي رسول الله ( صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم ) علي بن أبي طالب” We have narrative from about twenty of companions of prophet [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] that “Ali bin Abi Talib” was the most respectable person with prophet [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)]. “Al-Fasl fi al-Melal wa aI-Ahwa’ wa al-Nihal- v 3, p 32 The foundation of Shia in Sunni scholars’ quotation “Ibn Khaldun” says about the beginning of the appearance of Shia: “مبدأ دولة الشيعة: اعلم أنّ مبدء هذه الدولة، أنّ أهل البيت لمّا توفي رسول اللّه صلي اللّه عليه وسلّم كانوا يرون أنّهم أحق بالأمر وأنّ الخلافة لرجالهم دون سواهم من قريش. وفي قصّة الشوري أنّ جماعة من الصحابة كانوا يتشيعون لعلي ويرون استحقاقه علي غيره ولمّا عدل به إلي سواه تأففوا منه وأسفوا له مثل الزبير ومعه عمار بن ياسر والمقداد بن الأسود وغيرهم” “Ibn Khaldun” says about the beginning of the appearance of Shia: Know that the beginning of founding Shia is that when prophet Muhammad [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] passed away, “Ahl al-Bayt” [AS] would say that caliphate is our inalienable right and believed that men of “Bani Hashim” deserve caliphate and other men of “Quraysh” tribe have no right in caliphate. In the matter of “council” -in which Abu-Bakr was selected as caliph- some of companions were considered as Shias of “Ali” [AS] and they believed that no one deserves to be caliph other than “Ali bin abi Talib” [AS] and when another guy became caliph they express hatred, such as: “Zubayr”, “Ammar bin Yasir”, “Meqdad bin Aswad” and others. The history of Ibn Khaldun”- v 3, p 171 Master “Muhammad ibn Abd Allah Anan” says: “من الخطأ أن يقال : إن الشيعة ظهرت ولأول مرة عند انشقاق الخوارج . بل كان بدء الشيعة وظهورهم في عصر الرسول ( صلي الله عليه وآله وسلم ) حين أمره الله بإنذار عشيرته في الآية 214 من الشعراء : (وأنذر عشيرتك الأقربين) ولبي النبي فجمع عشيرته في بيته وقال لهم مشيرا إلي علي : هذا أخي ووصيي وخليفتي فيكم فاسمعوا له وأطيعوا” It’s wrong if someone says Shia was first founded at the time of “Khawarij” sedition, but the beginning of appearing Shia was during prophet [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)]’s life, the beginning of prophetic mission, it means the same time that god said to his prophet [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)]: “Warn your tribe and your near kinsmen”, then prophet [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] gathered his relatives in his home and pointed out to “Ali” and said: this person is my brother, ad my successor amongst you after me, so listen to him and obey him. “Abd Allah Ni’ma”- The Sprite of Tashayyu’ – p 20 “Abu Hatam Razi Sahl ibn Muhammad ibn Uthman Sajistani” says: “الشيعة لقب لقوم كانوا قد ألفوا أمير المؤمنين علي بن أبي طالب - صلوات الله عليه - في حياة رسول الله - صلي الله عليه وسلم - وعرفوا به ، مثل سلمان الفارسي ، وأبي ذر الغفاري ، والمقداد بن الأسود ، وعمار بن ياسر ، وكان يقال لهم شيعة علي ، وأصحاب علي” Shia was the title of those who were the friends of commander of the faithful at the time of prophet [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] and would be known as those who like “Ali” [AS], guys such as: “Salamn Farsi”, “Abu Dhar Ghaffari”, “Meqdad ibn Aswad”, “Amamr ibn Yasir”, and they were called Shia of “Ali” and companions of “Ali”. “Muhammad bin Sajestani”- the book of al-Zinat, p 65 /// “Saleh al-Wardani al-Mustabsar”- Shia in Egypt, p 10 “وكان عامّة المهاجرين وجلّ الأنصار لا يشكّون أنّ عليّاً هو صاحب الأمر بعد رسول اللّه” Most of “Muhajirin” {those who emigrated with Prophet Muhammad [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)] from Mecca to Medina, the event known in Islam as The Hijra} and “Ansar” had no doubt that after messenger of god [(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)], “Ali” [AS] is the caliph. “The History of Ya’qubi”- v 2, p 103
  2. Origin of the Turban The first person who wore a turban was Prophet Adam (عليه السلام) after he was expelled from Paradise [1]. A tradition states that the angel Gabriel descended from heaven and dressed him in an amaama (turban). This became a substitute for the crown that he had reportedly worn in Paradise [2]. In the hadith literature, the turban is also projected as a headgear of the angels. Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (عليه السلام) narrates that the Holy Prophet (s) once bound a turban on his head, allowing the ends to hang down in front and behind and said, "The crowns of the angels are thus. [3]" When the Prophet ascended to heaven he saw that the majority of the angels were wearing turbans [4]. The angels sent to assist the Muslims at the Battle of Badr are also recorded to have worn turbans, some yellow and others white [5]. Sheikh Kulayni, in Al Kafi, narrates several traditions which state that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) had sent four angels to destroy the community of Prophet Lut (عليه السلام). When they passed by Prophet Abraham (عليه السلام) he did not recognize them as they wore turbans. It was only when Gabriel removed his turban that Prophet Abraham (عليه السلام) recognized him [6]. Sheikh Kulayni cites another hadith stating that besides the angels, jinns also wore turbans [7]. Other reports indicate that even Satan wore a turban when he came down from heaven [13]. Reports such as these depict the turban as an angelic dress and enhance its importance. Merits of wearing a Turban There are many traditions reported from the Holy Prophet (s) regarding the merits of wearing a turban. He (s) is reported to have said that the "turban is the crown of Arabs [14]. Imam Musa al-Kazim (عليه السلام), reportedly stated that the Holy Prophet (s) called the turban "the authority of Allah" [15]. Other traditions state that it is Allah's dominion (sultan) [16]. Due to the proliferation of hadith about the turbans, the Holy Prophet (s) was known as "sahib ul-amaama" (the wearer of the turban). Both Shia and Sunni texts cite various hadith regarding the significance of wearing a turban at all times. According to a hadith, wearing a turban brings a person closer to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) since it is a sign of angels [20]. The only time it is forbidden is when a person is in a state of ihram during the pilgrimage. Even in that state, Ima Ja'far al-Sadiq (عليه السلام) states that the pilgrim can tie the amaama around his stomach [21]. Traditions such as these underscore the importance of the turban; they also amplify the status of those who wear it and differentiate them from non-believers. Besides the traditions enunciating the merits of wearing a turban, the headgear symbolized, among other things, authority, power, dignity, and respect. When the Arabs wanted to treat someone with respect they adorned him with a turban; preferably with their own turban. In contrast, the removal of a man's turban in public by an authoritative figure was a form of public humiliation and punishment. The turban was so important that people sometimes swore oaths on their turbans [26]. Burial with a Turban The practice of being buried with a turban can be traced to the times of the Imams (عليه السلام) even though the traditions clearly enunciate that the amaama is not a part of the shroud (kafan) hence it is not obligatory to bury a person with it [94]. Before his death, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (عليه السلام) made his last testimony to his son Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (عليه السلام). He (عليه السلام) asked him to shroud him in the cloak in which he used to perform the Friday prayer, to put on him his turban, make his grave square, and raise it to the height of four fingers above the ground [95]. In another tradition, Imam Baqir (عليه السلام) commands Imam al-Sadiq (عليه السلام) to bury him with his own turban which he used during his life [96]. The eleventh Imam, al-Hasan al-Askari (عليه السلام) buried his father in the following manner: "I shrouded my father with two pieces of winter clothes that he had used as the clothes for Ihram […]. Also one of his shirts and the amaama that belonged to 'Ali b. al-Husayn and a gown that he had bought for forty dinars were used" [97]. However, a turban can only be buried with the corpse if a person had willed it before his death. Color of the Turban The Holy Prophet (s) and his companions wore different colors of turbans ranging from white, blue, black to even red [54]. He would sometimes wear a white-colored turban for which he was referred to as Sahab (cloud) [55]. The Holy Prophet (s) wore a yellow turban on the day of Badr [56]. A tradition states that he would sometimes dye his clothes, including the turban, in yellow [57]. The Imams also wore different colored turbans. For example, Imam Zayn al-'Abidin often wore a white turban. Other reports indicate that he would also wear a black turban [58]. When Asbagh b. Nubata went to see Imam Ali (عليه السلام) on his death bed, Imam Ali (عليه السلام) was wearing a yellow turban [59]. Al-Mufid notes that on the day of his coronation to succeed al-Ma'mun (d. 833), the eighth Imam al-Reza (عليه السلام) wore a white turban [60]. During his time, the 'Alids would wear green as that was their preferred color [61]. Al-Ma'mun changed the official color of the 'Abbasids to green after he appointed Imal al-Reza (عليه السلام) as his heir. After the death of Imam al-Reza (عليه السلام), al-Ma'mun changed it back to black [62]. Although the color of the turban is not stated, al-Majlisi states that when Imam Mahdi (ajtf), reappears he will wear the turban of the Prophet [63]. Significantly, although the traditions mention the different colored turbans the Imams used to wear, they do not state what color of turbans their followers should wear. Neither do they tell us what color they should not wear. Stated differently, the color of the turban is left to the followers of the Imams to decide. When did the Shia 'Alids start wearing black turbans to the exclusion of other colors? Given that black was the official color of the Abbasids, where and when did the Shia practice of wearing black turbans by the descendants of the Prophet start from? Without quoting his source, Ibn Anbah claims that Syed Razi (d. 1016) was the first 'Alid to wear black. It was only after him, it is said, that black turbans became a prominent feature among sayyeds (those that claim to be the desendents of the Holy Prophet) and those from the tribe of Bani Hashim [64]. "White is the best color to wear; the next best color is yellow and then comes green. After that are pale red, purple, and brown. Dark red is considered an abominable (makruh) due, especially during prayer. One must avoid wearing it [dark red], and wearing black is loathsome for everything except for the turban, aba (inner robe), and high boots. However, if the turban and aba are not black, it is better [65]. Significantly, in the chapter dedicated to the wearing of turbans, one would have expected Majlisi to discuss the various colors of the turban that should be worn. The fact that he does not mention anything suggests that in his period, the color of the turban was not significant. Safavids and the rise of the Black Turban The significance attached to the black turban probably increased during the Safavid period when turbans became important to identify a person's socio-political affiliations. Given the Holy Prophet's (s) penchant to the color black, descendants of the Prophet gradually came to favor wearing black turbans. It is within this context that we can discern why the sayyeds became especially fond of black. When the Safavids came to power in Iran in 1501 they adopted Shiasm as the state religion. They resorted to different ways to promote their new faith. They popularized Shiasm by encouraging the public cursing of the first three caliphs, enacting public mourning ceremonies to mark the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (عليه السلام) and by pronouncing the name of 'Ali in the adhan (call to prayer) [70]. The political ideology of the Safavids was demonstrated in the headgear of its rulers. They used the turban to enunciate their dissociation from the Sunni Ottomans and to proclaim their religious affiliation. Apart from political affiliation, the color of the turban was used to demarcate different religious groups and social rankings. In Safavid culture, white was the dominant color of the turbans. It is within this context that we may be able to surmise the exclusive use of black turbans by sayyeds [75]. As mentioned earlier, since the time of the Holy Prophet (s), black symbolized power and authority. Amidst the plethora of different colored and types of turbans, in order to enhance their unique status and authority in society, the sayyeds adopted the black turban as their official emblem. Although it is not possible to know exactly when the black turban became an exclusively sayyed insignia, the importance given to sayyeds, especially in the Safavid era, suggests that it probably started in this period. To understand why the sayyeds chose a specific color that differentiated them from the masses, it is important to comprehend the importance given to the descendants of the Prophet in Muslim societies. Sayyeds and religious authority in Shia Islam The social and financial advantages that accrue from being recognized a sayyed can be corroborated from the fact that throughout history there have been many false claimants to Prophetic descent. In fact people devised ingenious ways to fabricate their genealogy. People falsely claimed descent from extinct Prophetic lines in places such as Egypt, Rayy, Hamadan, Khurasan and Kufa [87]. The fact that special punishments had to be invented to expose false claimants (including having their heads shaven and/or being exiled) further demonstrates the extent of fabricated genealogies [88]. Due to the forgeries, an official system of monitoring of genealogies had to be established in many cities [89]. Various groups, agnate descendants claimed to be sayyeds. The descendants of Imam Ali's (عليه السلام) father Abu Talib through his other sons Ja'far and Aqil claimed to be sayyeds through Hashimi descent. Some have claimed that even Zaynabis, the descendants of Zaynab (sa), daughter of Imam Ali (عليه السلام) and Bibi Fatima (sa), should also be considered as sayyeds [90]. In the Shia religion khums is payable on savings, not just on war booty. This means that the share payable to sayyeds was enormous, fifty percent of the khums payable, a sum that not only encouraged people to proclaim their lineage but also enticed some to fabricate their genealogy. Sayyeds are also believed to have inherited the baraka (blessings) of the Prophet. These sacred personages may transmit baraka to the masses, either during their lifetime or after their deaths. Due to the principle of Prophetic lineage, it is also believed that children of holy men become contemporary recipients of the baraka that is transmitted by the saint. The emphasis on honoring the descendants of the Prophet precipitated the cult of the shrines of sayyeds, or imamzadeh as they came to be called. Especially in Safavid Iran, the tombs of many sayyeds became a focus of pilgrimage, a phenomenon widely prevalent in many parts of the Shia world today. It should be remembered that when they came to power, the Safavids claimed Prophetic genealogy. They reportedly forged descent from Imam Musa al-Kazim [91]. This empowered the kings to invoke their noble ancestors in the legitimization of their rule. As Arjomand says, "The rulers possessed great charisma of lineage as descendants of the Imams, and even claimed an attribute of the Imams: infallibility or sinlessness [92]. The devotional attachment to the Imams and their descendants helped the Safavids enhance their own stature as the progeny of these noble figures. The claim to 'Alid descent also helped them win wider acceptance among the masses. Since the Safavids claimed prophetic descent, the sayyeds enjoyed great respect and prestige under their rule. In all probability, the social prestige combined with the financial benefits that accrued to sayyeds led to their public proclamation as the descendants of the Prophet. As previously mentioned, white was the dominant color of the majority of turbans in that period. The sayyeds had to differentiate themselves from the laity by deploying a color that was not in common usage, and, as descendants of the Prophet, a color that could be closely linked to him. In the Islamic world, sayyeds generally wore green turbans. For example, when Mustafa Celebi wore a green turban in Turkey in 1632, people raised questions whether he was a real sayyed. He claimed sayyed descent from his mother's side. The right to wear a green turban was accorded only to those whose father was a sayyed [93]. The Safavids sought a distinctive stratification of the Shia community into believers and sayyeds. It was through Prophetic descent that they sought to legitimize their privileges and superior status. The best way that a person could publicly proclaim himself to be a sayyed and differentiate himself from a non-sayyed was either by adopting the title sayyed or by donning a black turban. Undoubtedly, the turban was the more powerful tool since it conveyed one's nobility without having to verbalize it. It should be remembered that during the Safavid period, the wearing of turbans was not restricted to scholars. On the contrary, the masses wore turbans since these were popular costumes. Thus, the black turban became an important tool of identifying and signifying a sayyed, bestowing him, thereby, the respect, honor, and financial rewards that was due to him. Although a national costume, the westernization policies of Reza Shah in the 1930s forced most Iranians to abandon their traditional headgear in favor of western clothing. Only scholars were exempt from this proscription. With time, the turban became what it is today: a headgear worn primarily by scholars to distinguish them from the rest of society. Within the scholarly elite, color was used to mark Prophetic genealogy. The turban was used not only to differentiate between Muslims and non-Muslims but also between Muslims themselves. The reason for this genealogical distinction was both social status and financial benefits. It is not possible to know exactly when the sayyeds chose to wear black turbans. Majlisi, who died in 1699, does not cite any special merit for wearing a black turban; in fact, he discourages it. It is possible that sayyeds started wearing black turbans after his time or during the Qajar period. Why did the sayyeds choose to wear black turbans? It has to be remembered that when the Safavids came to power, they encouraged the public expression and enactment of various forms mourning rituals for the family of the Prophet in general and for Husayn in particular. These rituals ranged from passion plays to flagellations and self-immolation. It is possible that the sayyeds decided around this time to wear black as it was the color of mourning. They wished to proclaim that they were the descendants of the family that was being publicly mourned and venerated. Another possible reason why the sayyeds switched to black turbans was because, as previously discussed, the Holy Prophet (s) himself had worn a black turban on various important occasions. Gabriel had donned him with a black turban; the Holy Prophet (s) also wore black when he was delivering sermons and when he conquered Mecca. He had put a black turban on'Ali before sending him to fight. Another possible reason for switching from green to black was because of sectarianism. With the increased sectarian tensions with the Ottoman Sunnis and the public cursing of the first three caliphs under the Safavids, it is possible that the Shia sayyeds wanted to differentiate themselves from Sunni sayyeds who wore green turbans. The form (style) of a Turban and how to wear it The turban, its color, form and size impacted one's social and financial standing. The method of wearing the turban is also important. The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have left the "tail" ('adhaba) of his turban hanging between his shoulder blades. This practice was imitated by the companions, and became a part of the Prophetic sunna [98]. According to the Holy Prophet's (s) companion Abd al-Rahman b. Awf (d. 653): "The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) put a turban on me and let the ends hang in front of him and behind me [99]. The letting down of the 'adhaba was included in the Prophetic injunction on wearing the amaama. Besides letting the fringe down, some traditions also required the tying of the turban under the chin. Sunni scholars are divided on this practice. Jurists like Malik b. Anas favored this mode of dressing but the Shafi'is did not consider the fastening of the amaama under the chin as sunna [100]. This practice was also used as a mark of differentiation from non-Muslims who wore turbans. Hence, it was not only wearing the turban that was important, the method of wearing it was also significant. According to some traditions, the Holy Prophet (s) said: "Disagree with the Jews and do not wear turbans that are not fastened under the chin, or with their fringes not let down, as this method of wearing the turban is the fashion of the Jews [101]. Importance of Tahannuk Within the Shia school, both the 'adhaba and the fastening the under the chin (called the tahannuk) were important in identifying true believers. Sheikh Kulayni narrates in Al Kafi, that <strong>al-Tabiqiyah (a layered turban without tahannak is the turban of Iblees</strong> [102]. Al-Saduq cites a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s) stating that the difference between a Muslim and a polytheist is the hanging down (talahi) of the amaama [103]. This was a Prophetic practise that was replicated by the Imams. When the eighth Imam Ali al-Reza went out in public for his coronation, he hung one part of the turban on his breast and the other between his shoulders [104]. <strong>The Imams also urged their followers to observe the custom of fastening the turban under their chin since this was also considered a mark of a true believer.</strong> The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have stated: "The distinction between the Muslims and the unbelievers is the fastening of the turbans under their chin [105]. The Shia emphasized the tahannuk even more than the Sunnis did. So important was this practice that disregarding it could lead to incurable ailments. A tradition from al-Sadiq states: "He who wore the amaama and did not fasten it under his chin, let him not blame anyone except himself if he is inflicted with a disease for which there is no remedy [106]. In another tradition, the same Imam is reported to have guaranteed one who travels while observing the tahannuk that he will return home safely [107]. At one point in history, within the Shia circles it was considered detestable to wear the amaama without tying it under the chin [108]. When he discusses the question of how to wear a turban, Majlisi states in Chapter 7 entitled dar bayan-e bastan-e ammameh (on how to wrap the amaama): "To wear an ammameh is a tradition and to wrap it under the chin is also a tradition. Wearing the amaama with one end thrown at the back and one end kept loose in the front is also the tradition of the sadat (I.e. sayyeds)...to wrap an ammameh while in a standing position is also a tradition. According to the Holy Prophet (s), ammameh is the crown of the Arabs. When a man stops wearing his turban Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) will stop honoring him. Imam Reza (عليه السلام) said that the Holy Prophet (s) wrapped his turban with the ends, one in the front and one at the back and Jibrail (Gabriel) did the same.109 Most Shia scholars have recommended that the tahannuk be practiced at all times. The medieval jurist Allama Hilli (d. 1325) states: The tahannuk is recommended by the words of Imam al-Sadiq, "Whoever wears the turban and does not put the tahannuk an ailment has struck him for which there is no cure. Thus, he should blame nobody but himself [110]". Hilli further states: it is abominable to pray in black clothes [...] and to abandon the tahannuk [111]". He concludes by stating, "It appears from these narrations that the tahannuk is recommended at all times, whether one is praying or not [112]". Hilli's ruling is shared by scholars like Muhammad Jamal al-din al-Makki al-Amili (also known as Shahid al-Awwal - d. 1385) who states in his Lum'a Dimishqiyya, "It is makruh to abandon the tahannuk at any time [113]". Baha' al‐Din Muhammad b. Husayn al‐'Amili (also known as Shaykh Baha'I - d. 1621) further emphasizes the point stating that "the tahannuk is recommended for anyone who wears the turban -whether he is praying or not. There is nothing in the traditions to suggest that it is recommended only during prayers [114]. Other scholars like Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita (d. 1812) go even further, quoting al-Saduq (d. 991) as saying: "I heard our teachers say that it is not permitted for one who wears a turban to pray unless if he observes the tahannuk [115]. Although Shia traditions greatly emphasize the tahannuk it is not practiced by most contemporary scholars. In explaining this, the commentator of Majlisi's Hilya al-Muttaqin states that in the past, the tahannuk was observed at all times. However, this is no longer a common practice. Tahannuk Ignored by the Usuli Shias Despite the numerous traditions on the merits and virtues of observing the tahannuk and the negative ramifications for ignoring it, most Shia scholars who wear turbans do not observe it. In all probability, this is because, in the past, tahannuk was performed by the Akhbaris, the dominant school in the medieval ages. Most contemporary scholars are Usulis who consider the Akhbaris as literalists and their nemesis. They have thus labeled the tahannuk as a sign of Akhbarism [116]. Whereas medieval scholars emphasized the importance of observing the tahannuk, later scholars like Fayd al-Kashani (d. 1680) claimed that the changing milieu and custom had dictated that the tahannuk be avoided in public. He states that, in his time, the tahannuk had become an abandoned sunna because it had become a mode of dressing that attracts attention (libas shuhra) and could be an object of derision, which is prohibited. Hence, he argues, it is not necessary to observe it [117]. With time, the tahannuk became symbolic of the ideological battle between the two schools within Shiasm. An act that was highly emphasized by the Imams (عليه السلام) was abandoned by the very scholars who claimed to transmit their teachings. This is further proof of how the turban and the method of wearing it has been used as a tool of differentiation not only between Muslims and non-Muslims but also within the Shia community itself. Conclusion Although a pre-Islamic costume, the turban was endorsed by Islam which subsequently became an important component of Islamic clothing. Shia traditions on the turban are replicated in Sunni hadith literature which also sees the turban as the crown of Arabs. Within the Shia tradition, the importance of the turban was further highlighted by reports which recommended that turbans accompany the dead to their graves. Clearly, the attachment to the turban was so deep that it accompanied the wearer to the hereafter. Subsequently, the turban started to perform various functions in society; one of them was to differentiate Muslims from others. The turban (through its color) was also used in the Safavid era as a tool for social stratification. In order to enhance the status of the sayyeds in Safavid Shiasm, black turbans were reserved exclusively for the sayyeds. White turbans were used for non-sayyeds since this was the norm in much of Safavid society. The differentiation between black and white turbans was thus a historical construct, based on social and financial rather than religious considerations. Wearing a black turban for sayyeds became a customary rather than religious requirement. Also published on blog: https://ahlulbaytmission.org/2019/07/28/history-of-the-turban/ References This article is based on the paper: Black or White: Turbanization of Islam By Liyakat Takim [1] M. J. Kister, "The Crowns of This Community...: Some Notes on the Turban in the Muslim Tradition," in Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 24 (2000): 230. [2] Hamid Algar, Amama, http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/amama-or-ammamaarabic-emama-the-turban. [3] Mottaqi Hindi, Kanz al-'Ummal, ed. M.'Abd-al-Mu'id Khan (Hyderabad: Deccan, 1973), 10/45. [4] M. J. Kister, "The Crowns of This Community," 243. [5] Algar, "Amama." Traditions on the color of the turbans worn by the angels. [6] Al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi fi 'Ilm al-Din (Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyya, Tehran, 1986), 5/546. [7] Kulayni narrates that: "Ahmad b. Idris and Muhammad b. Yahya narrated from alHasan b. 'Ali al-Kufi from ibn al-Faddal from a group of our people from Sa'd al-Askaf who said: "Once I asked permission to meet Abu Ja'far (Muhammad alBaqir). I found saddles of camels lined up in front of the door and I heard very loud noises coming from inside. Then a people came out with turbans like those of Indian gypsies. I asked Abu Ja'far about them and said, "May Allah take my soul be in service for your cause. Today it took a long time to receive permission to meet you. I saw a people coming out with turbans whom I could not recognize." He said, "Do you know, O Sa'd, who they are?" I said, "No, I do not know." The Imam said, "They were your brethren in religion from the Jinns. They come to us for religious instructions, to learn the lawful and unlawful matters and the principles of their religion." Kulayni, Kitab al-Kafi, 1/394-5; Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Saffar, Basa'ir al-Darajat fi Fada'il Al Muhammad (Qom: Maktabat Ayat Allah al-Mar'ashi, 1983), 1/97, hadith # 18; 1/100, hadith #10. [13] M. J. Kister, "The Crowns of This Community," 227. [14] Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani, Fada'il al-Qur'an al-Karim, (Beirut: 1986), 144. [15] Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni al-Razi, Kitab al-Kafi, translated into English by Muhammad Sarwar, vol. 1-8 (n.p., the Islamic Seminary, n.d.), 453; H 827, Ch. 72, h 14. [16] Muhammad al-Baqir Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar: al-Jami'a Lidurari Akhbar alA'imma al-Athar, 110 vols (Beirut: Dar al-Ihya al-Turath al-'Arabi, 1983), 48/310; 50/26. Kulayni, al-Kafi, 2/82. [17] Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, Al-Musnadu Al-Sahihu bi Naklil Adli known as Sahih Muslim, Converted by Bill McLean, http://www.mclean.faithweb.com. last accessed 6 August 2015, 167-168. [18] M. J. Kister, "The Crowns of This Community," 242-3. [19] On wearing a turban especially in salat, see Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, 80/193. In another tradition, al-Sadiq says "one who offers the prayers on the days of the two eids must wear an amaama. See Muhammad b. al-Hasan al [20] Muhammad Fahad Badri, Al-Imama (Baghdad: Government Publication, 1968), 10. [21] al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, 12/533. [22] Kulayni, al-Kafi, 3/145. [23] Al-'Amili, Wasail, 1/455. [24] In Shiasm, the maraji' are the sources of reference for ordinary believers on issues pertaining to Islamic law. [25] Email communication July 2015. [26] Shelagh Weir, Palestinian Costumes (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989), 6. [27] See al-'Amili, Wasa'il, 5/57; al-Majlisi, Bihar, 80/199. [28] Al-Mufid, al-Amali (Qom: International Congress of Millennium of Shaykh Mufid, 1992), 318. [29] Al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad, trans I. Howard (London: Balagha & Muhammadi Trust, 1981), 67. [30] M. J. Kister, "The Crowns of This Community," 233. [31] John Alden Williams, Themes of Islamic Civilization (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971), 159-60. [32] Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), 15. [33] For other restrictions and acts of humiliation inflicted on the dhimmis see, Majid Khadduri, War and Peace in the Law of Islam (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1955), 197-98. [34] Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book 32: hadith 4067; Hafidh al-Tirmidhi, Jami'I, https://islamfuture.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/jami-at-tirmidhi-6-vol-set/, vol. 3, chapter 42, hadith 1784. [35] M. J. Kister, "The Crowns of This Community," 225. [36] Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Ahkam ahl al-Dhimma (Damascus: 1961), 2/742-44. [37] Ibid., 2/739-40. [38] Muslim, Sahih, The Book of Pilgrimage (Kitab Al-Hajj), Book 7, Hadith 3146; 3148; Tirmidhi, Jami', vol.3, chapter 11; hadith 1735. [39] al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, 5/57. [40] Bukhari, Sahih, Penalty of Hunting while on Pilgrimage Book 3: Volume 29 Hadith 72; Book 5; Volume 59, Hadith 582: Book 7; Volume 72, Hadith 699; Malik b. Anas, al-Muwatta', K. al-Hajj: Book 20: Hadith 20.76.256. [41] Muslim, Sahih, The Book of Pilgrimage, Book 7, Hadith 3149. [42] M. J. Kister, "The Crowns of This Community," 237. [43] Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, 16/250. [44] Ibid., 41/77. [45] M. J. Kister, "The Crowns of This Community," 221, fn. 16. [46] Ibid., 233. [47] See the example cited of Abu Nadra in Muhammad b. Sa'd, Tabaqat al-Kubra. 9 vols. (Beirut Dar Sadir, n.d.), 7/208. [48] Ibn Dawud, Sunan, Kitab al-Libas, Book 32, Hadith #4027. [49] Kulayni, al-Kafi, 3/403; Muhammad b. 'Ali b. al-Husayn al-Saduq, Man La Yahduru'l Faqih (Qom: Jamia Mudarrisin Islamic Publications office, 1992), 1/251. al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, 4/382, 4/387. [50] Nazemian Fard, Vakavi-e Karbord-e Rang-e Siah dar Mian-e Abbasian, 2, 7, (2011): 147-148. [51] Teresa Bernheimer, The 'Alids: the First Family of Islam 750-1200 (Edinburgh: Edinburg University Press, 2014), 43. [52] See the example of Qasim b. 'Abdullah cited by Bernheimer, The 'Alids, 70. [53] al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, 4/385. [54] See the example cited of the famous companion Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari seated in the mosque of Medina looking for al-Baqir while wearing a black turban. Muhammad b. Ya'qub al-Kulayni al-Razi, Kitab al-Kafi, trans. Muhammad Sarwar, vol. 1-8 (n.p., the Islamic Seminary, n.d.), H 1267, Ch. 118, h 2, p. 664. [55] Abdul-Hussein Ahmad Amini Najafi, Al-Ghadir fil-Kitab wal-Sunnah wal-Adab, vol. 3/290-293. Stillman, "Libas," EI. [56] 'Abd al-Rahman Jalal al-Din Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur fi tafsir bi'l ma'thur (Cairo, 1896), 2/70. [57] Ibn Dawud Sunan, Book 32, hadith, 4053. [58] al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, 5/57. [59] Al-Mufid, al-Amali, 352. [60] Al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad, trans. I. Howard (London: Balagha & Muhammadi Trust, 1981), 474. Kafi, 686, H 1234, Ch. 121, h 7. [61] Even in Syria in the 1960s, among the Sunni community, the green turban was reserved for the descendants of the Prophet. See Thomas Pierret, Religion and State in Syria: The Sunni Ulama from Coup to Revolution (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013), 21. [62] Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari, Ta'rikh al-Umam Wa'l-Muluk. 8 vols. (Beirut: Mu'assasa al-A'lami), 1983, 3/1013, 1037. [63] Majlisi, Bihar, 52/302. Ibn Abu Zaynab, Kitab al-Ghayba, trans. Abdullah al-Shahin (Qom: Ansariyan, 2003), 439. [64] http://www.erfan.ir/Arabic/article/view/78723. [65] Muhammad al-Baqir al-Majlisi, Hilyat al-Muttaqin (Tehran: Yas Publication 1993), 5-6. The text is closely studied by Faegheh Shirazi in her article entitled "Manly Matters in Iran: From Beards to Turbans", In Critical Encounters, Essays in Persian Literature and Culture in Honor of Peter Chelkowski. Mohammed Mehdi Khorrami and M.R. Ghanoonparvar eds., (Costa Mesa: Mazda Publications, 2007), 146-166. [66] al-Majlisi, Hilyat al-Muttaqin, 3. [67] Ibid., 10. [68] Ibid. [69] Ibid.Sayyids and the Black Emblem [70] Liyakat Takim, "From Bid'a to Sunna: The Wilaya of 'Ali in the Shia Adhan." Journal of the American Oriental Society 120, no. 2 (2000): 66-77. [71] Yedidah Stillman, "Libas," 749. [72] Cambridge History of Islam. Edited by Peter Holt, Ann Lambton, and Bernard Lewis. 2 vols. (Cambridge: l970), 1/396. [73] http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/safa_f/hd_safa_f.htm. See also http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/clothing-x [74] Faegheh Shirazi-Mahajan, "The Semiotics of the Turban: the Safavid Era in Iran," in Journal of International Association of Costume, 9, 67-87 (1992):72. [75] Pierret notes that the white turban in Syria was a symbol of religious knowledge, and is worn by religious scholars even today. Pierret, Religion and State in Syria, 9 – 10, 41. [76] al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad, 296. [77] Bosworth, "Sayyid," Encyclopedia of Islam, 9:115. See also Muhammad b. 'Ali b. al-Husayn al-Saduq, Risala al-I'tiqadat (A Shi'ite Creed), trans. A. Fyzee (Oxford: 1942), 108-9. [78] Bernheimer, The 'Alids, 17. [79] Bosworth, "Sayyid," Encyclopedia of Islam, 9/115. See also Liyakat Takim, [80] Ruya Kilic, "The Reflection of Islamic Tradition on Ottoman Social Structure: The Sayyids and Sharifs" in Morimoto Kazuo ed., Sayyids and Sharifs in Muslim Societies: The Living Links to the Prophet (Routledge: New York, 2012), 123. [81] Ibid., 132-133. [82] Mercedes Garcia-Arenal, "Shurafa in the Last Years of al-Andalus and in the Morisco Period: Laylat al-Mawlid and Genealogies of the Prophet Muhammad," in Morimoto Kazuo ed., Sayyids and Sharifs, 162. [83] Valerie Hoffman, "The Role of the Masharifu on the Swahili Coast in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries" in Morimoto Kazuo ed., Sayyids and Sharifs, 191. [84] Arthur Buehler, "Trends of Ashrafization in India" in Morimoto Kazuo ed., Sayyids and Sharifs, 235. [85] See Morimoto Kazuo, "How to Behave towards Sayyids and Sharifs: a TransSectarian Tradition of Dream Accounts, in Morimoto Kazuo ed., Sayyids and Sharifs, 22-25. Other stories talk of the inviolability of Sayyids, ibid. [86] Abu al-Qasim al-Khu'I, Minhaj al-Salihin, 9th edition, 1:371. [87] Bernheimer, The 'Alids, Ibid., 24 – 6. [88] Ibid., 26 – 8. [89] Arthur Buehler, "Trends of Ashrafization in India" in Morimoto Kazuo ed., Sayyids and Sharifs, 235. [90] Teresa Bernheimer, Genealogy, Marriage, and the Drawing of Boundaries among the 'Alids (Eighth-Twelfth Centuries), in Morimoto Kazuo ed., Sayyids and Sharifs,83-85. [91] This was reiterated under Shah Tahmasp. See Kathryn Babayan, "Sufis, Dervishes and Mulla: the Controversy over Spiritual and Temporal Dominion in Seventeenth-Century Iran" in Charles Melville ed., Safavid Persia (Tauris: London, 1996), 123. See also op. cit. page 135 fn. 26 for details of tampering with Safavid genealogy. [92] Sa'id Amir Arjomand, The Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam: Religion, Political Order and Societal Change in Shi'ite Iran from the Beginning to 1890 (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1986), 211. [93] Ruya Kilic, "The Reflection of Islamic Tradition" in Morimoto Kazuo ed., Sayyids and Sharifs, 130-131. In his descriptions of contemporary Ottoman society Nicolas de Nicolay (d. 1583) discusses the green turbans worn by the emirs (another title for the family of the Prophet). [94] Kulayni, al-Kafi, 3/144. In another tradition, al-Sadiq states that my father told me to bury him with three items of clothing, but the amaama is not a part of the kafn. Kulayni, al-Kafi, 3/144. The donning of the amaama on a male corpse is considered a sunna. Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, 110/342. [95] Al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad, 410; al-Kafi, 443; h. 797,ch. 70, #8. [96] al-Kafi, 537.forty dinars were used".97 However, a turban can only be buried with the corpse if a person had willed it before his death. [97] al-Kafi, 672. [98] Tirmidhi, Jami', vol.3, Chapter 12, hadith 1736. [99] Ibn Dawud, Sunan, Kitab al-Libas, Book 32: Hadith 4068. [100] "M. J. Kister, The Crowns of This Community," 227-228. [101] Ibid., 229. [102] Al Kafi V6 Ch 15 - The book of outfits and beautification [103] Al-Saduq, Man La Yahduru, 1/266 hadith # 821. [104] Al-Mufid, Kitab al-Irshad, 474. [105] Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, 83/194. [106] Yusuf al-Bahrani, Hadaiq al-Nadhira (Najaf, 1379), 7/126. Majlisi, Bihar, 83/194. Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid al-Barqi, Kitab al-Mahasin (Qom: Dar alKutub al-Islamiyya, 1951), 378. [107] Al-Saduq, Man La Yahduru, 1/265. [108] Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, 80/193. The tenth century jurist al-Saduq considered that one who wears an amaama has to observe tahannuk. Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, 80/193-4. [109] Majlisi, Hilya, p.7. [110] Hilli, Tadhkira al-Fuqaha' (Qom: Mu'assassa Al-Bayt, 1993), 2/451. [111] Qawa'id al-Ahkam (Qom: Mu'assassa al-Tabi'a al-Jami'a, 1992), 1/257. [112] Hilli, Muntaha al-Matlab, 4/251. [113] Muhammad Jamal al-din al-Makki al-Amili, al-Lum'a al-Dimishqiyya (Qom: Manshurat Dar al-Fiqr, 1990), 2/62. [114] Al-Amili, al-Habl al-Matin (Qom: Manshuurat Maktab al-Basirat, 1999), 187. [115] Al-Ghita, Kashf al-Ghita' (Isfahan: Intisharat al-Mahdawi, 1999), 1/202. [116] Observation of Ayatullah al-Sayyid Fadhil Milani. [117] See al-Saduq, Man La Yahduru, 1/266 fn 2. Also published on blog: https://ahlulbaytmission.org/2019/07/28/history-of-the-turban/
  3. How does everyone on Shiachat view the Monarch of Safavid dynasty Shah Ismail I? Was he good? Was he evil? Some Shia Muslims praise him, some distance themselves from him and most Sunnis tend to dislike him because of his efforts to make Persia the bastion of Shia Islam. I know we've discussed the history of Iran being converted to Shia Islam before but I want to discuss this person alone and what you think his motivations and intentions might've been.
  4. (bismillah) ÇáÓáÇã Úáíßã æÑÍãÉÇááå æÈÑßÇÊå As been stated on a few threads here on SC, our classical Shi'i scholars did not permit or did not include the third shahada in the athan/iqama. In the modern era we see the exact opposite with many of our scholars. So, does anyone know when Shi'i scholars began allowing (or saying it's mustahab with niyya of qurba) the third shahada in athan/iqama? I am wondering if it was during the Safavid era (which would easily explain it's origins and motivations) or if it is even more recent, like the Pahlavi era. If anyone has any sources, like citing scholars from the different time periods saying or not saying it in the athan, please post. And if anyone has any other resources to add, please share those as well. I am wanting to look at this historically inshaa Allah. Thank you.
  5. Brief Biography: Ismail Safavi the First, known more formally as Abu l-Muzaffar bin Haydar as-Safavi, was born in Ardabil in Northwestern Iran on July 17, 1487. As an heir to the leadership of the Safaviyyah Sufi Order established by Shaykh Safi ad-Din Ardabili (1252-1334 CE), Ismail found himself as the official head of the order of his ancestors at the tender age of 7 years old. His family over the course of several years had earned the ire of the Aq-Qoyunlu, a prominent Turkish tribal federation in Anatolia. When Ismail was just barely a year old, his father Haydar Safavi was killed by the Shirvanshah king Furruk Yassar in battle. In 1494, the Aq-Qoyunlu would take the city of Ardabil, the ancestral home of the Safavi family, killing his brother, Ali Mirza, who had taken control of the Safavi Sufi Order upon Haydar's death, forcing young Ismail to seek refuge in Gilan among the Shi'ite leaders there, who along with the high ranking members of the Safaviyyah, provided Ismail with his education and training. At the age of 12, Ismail would come out of hiding and with the aid of the Turkmen devotees of the Safaviyyah, known collectively as the "Qizilbash" for the distinctive red head gear would conquer Azerbaijan from the Shirvanshah, avenging his father's death. In July 1501, he crowned himself Shah of Azerbaijan and by 1502 would also take the title of Shah of Iran, leading many more conquests until the whole of his territory included modern day Iran, parts of Iraq and Anatolia, as well as portions of present day Afghanistan. However, in spite of his successes, Shah Ismail eventually stretched his empire as far as he could and after suffering a critical defeat against the Ottomans at the Battle of Chaldiran on August 23, 1514, retreated from direct management of the Safavid state as well as leading his military campaigns, gradually succumbing to his alcoholism and eventually dying on May 23, 1524 at the young age of 36, possibly as a result of his heavy consumption. Upon his death, he was buried in his birthplace of Ardabil and succeeded by a dynasty which would last little over 200 years, reaching its high point under the reign of his successor Shah Abbas I (1571-1629 CE). Perhaps Shah Ismail and the Safavid dynasty's most everlasting achievement was the establishment of the first unified Iranian empire since the Arab conquest and the establishment of Twelver Shi'ism as the state religion of that empire. Being well versed in Shi'ite doctrine and the Sufism of his forefathers of the Safaviyyah, Ismail developed a talent for mystical poetry which he composed in both Persian and Azeri Turkish (although little remains of the former) under the pen-name "Khatai" or "sinner." Shortly after his death, many poems attributed to the first Twelver Shah of Iran were collected into several divans. Although a complete translated publishing of Khatai's work based on all the available manuscripts preserved since the Safavid era has yet to surface, some have undertaken the effort to translate some of the most essential of these poems for the purpose of gaining a window into the thoughts and personality of the man who converted Persia. Ismail I is an odd historical figure if not simply because in spite of the fact that his legacy is still felt in almost every corner of the Middle East and Central Asia today, he is simultaneously reviled, criticized and ignored by many, sometimes even by those who owe the most to him. Even Shi'ite intellectuals of the revolutionary variety in modern times such as Ali Shariati or, more recently, Hamid Algar have shared thoughts either on Ismail himself or the Safavid dynasty he established that are less than full of praise. Others see him as significant only for his conversion of Persia and little more than just another tyrant after that. However, strangely enough, Ismail's person and his poetry are fondly remembered by many Alevi/Alawites as well as the post-Islamic religion, the Ahl-i Haqq. One look at Ismail's poems certainly reveals a extreme sense of his self-importance, heavily influenced by Sufi ideas and Shi'ite messianism in which Ismail sees himself as the emissary of a new epoch and an embodiment of the spirit of Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì, Muhammad (pbuh) and Ali (as) from the realm of Pre-Eternity that to those perhaps not well versed or open to the ecstatic sayings of more famous figures such as Mansur al-Hallaj (as) would appear to border on incarnationism. On top of that, Ismail's purported behavior as a warrior can be described as frightening. In 1510, when Ismail's forces moved against Uzbek/Moghol ruler Muhammad Shaybani, it has been said that Ismail had Shaybani's body dismembered and hung in various parts of his empire and his skull coated in gold and bejeweled, which the young Shah Ismail kept as a drinking goblet which he would use during social gatherings. On top of this, during the initial phases of Safavid rule under Ismail, Sunnis and rival Sufi orders who refused to convert to Shi'ism are said to have had many of their places of worship destroyed and were forced to choose conversion, exile or death (though it's important to bear in mind some of the harsher accusations against Ismail which accuse him of excessive cruelty and religious blasphemy are mostly found in Ottoman records). During the initial phases of the Safavid revolution, as itinerant dervishes spread the word of Twelver Shi'ism and the excellence of the new Shah throughout the empire, Qizilbash warriors would parade through towns and villages shouting curses on the first three caliphs and anyone who didn't respond positively and join in the practice was suspect. It is also said that early Safavid society organized the public burning of effigies of the first three caliphs: Abu Bakr, Omar and Uthman. Some details on this period can be somewhat sketchy, but it is clear that Ismail made a serious impact when he arrived so suddenly on the political scene. Certainly for those in the Shi'ite community who find themselves more taken in by the ideals of Republicanism and/or Khomeini's doctrine of wilayat al-faqih or seek a more ecumenical relationship with Sunni Muslims, or even are turned off by anything associated with irfan or Sufism, Ismail's apparent radicalism is unsettling, and may present a kind of obstacle. Even today, the legacy of Ismail's conquests and policies sours the relations between Sunni and Shia Muslims as Sunni puritans and radicals invoke the memory of the Safavids in their verbal or even physical attacks on the Shi'ites to the point that "Safavid" has become a pejorative term used against Shi'ite Muslims. Among some Shi'ites, there almost appears a desire to forget Ismail, to think of him as inconsequential himself, but it is my opinion that we cannot just sweep Ismail under the rug because regardless of how we have come into Shi'ism, all of us live with his legacy every day. While we may wish to question Ismail's behavior or his more esoteric beliefs, it was his actions which ultimately allowed for the establishing of a fertile ground for Twelver Shi'ism to grow and develop beyond that of a marginal religious denomination into the majorly influential faith it is today and certainly many of our proud Iranian or Azeri brothers and sisters would be singing a different nationalist tune today, a more Sunnite one, were it not for the young Shah. I think also we have to address a very important matter which concerns Ismail as a historical figure but which also is part of the matter of our own religious self-identity, regardless of our own personal ethnic origins. We can't just act as though if Ismail Safavi hadn't come along and assisted in the conversion of these regions, they would have been converted all the same anyway as though Ismail being one of the chief vanguards of this process was merely an arbitrary part of the cosmic plan. Being religious individuals, and Shi'ites, we understand that this is not how the world works and that in fact all things happen one way or another according to Allah's will and permission as time progresses towards the end Allah has decreed. To reduce Ismail, whether one loves or despises him, to irrelevance in the course of the divine plan is simply dodge important questions. Regardless of whether we find Ismail a wholly agreeable historical figure, or even a good person, the fact remains that of all the individuals Allah could have utilized in his ultimate plan, it was Ismail and so I think a critical examination of Ismail's personality through his poetic writings can perhaps reveal what it was about him which Allah saw most fit for his purposes and in this process, we may possibly see what it is about ourselves, as Muslims and Shi'ites Allah finds most pleasing. Simply put, if we are to believe that Ismail's victories were ordained by God, that the conversion of Persia is Allah's will and was more pleasing to God than displeasing and that ultimately, in spite of whatever flaws of character we may perceive in Ismail, that he himself did more good in the name of God than he did bad as far as our fait is concerned, what does that tell us about the kinds of roles Allah has set in store for the rest of us Shia in the present day who live in the shadow and memory of this young Turk? Also, how do we, either consciously or unconsciously, continue to reflect the qualities of the first Safavid Shah? Not too long ago, I wrote a report for one of my classes dealing specifically with some of the similarities I felt existed between the Ayatollah Khomeini and his Safavid predecessor. Both were controversial figures, simultaneously venerated and despised in their own times. Both, as has been revealed, composed mystical poetry embedded with controversial gnostic ideas and themes drawn from the well of Sufi literature. Both were paradoxes of generosity and what critics might call cruel or aggressive behavior and rhetoric, thus making them rather controversial. And both helped to start and eventually take a dominant charge of critical moments of revolutionary social and political change which, for better or for worse, have altered the course of geo-politics in the Islamic world. Even though Khomeini was known to believe monarchies were unIslamic, there's no doubt in my mind that, upon close examination, he himself reflects many traits that almost feel as though they were spiritually passed down to him from Shah Ismail. Below I have gathered selections of Ismail's poetry as translated by V.Minorsky in his "The Poetry of Shah Ismail I," in the tenth volume of the Bulletin of the School of African Studies, University of London. All selections are translated from the earliest manuscripts of Shah Ismail aka "Khatai's" Divan in Azeri Turkish. Some of these are said to be written as Ismail himself was leading his forces against the Aq-Qoyunlu and the Ottomans, while in his late teens and early twenties. Terms such as "ghazi" are generally used to refer to those who join Ismail on his jihad, typically the Qizilbash to whom some of the poems are obviously addressed. While "Shah" is generally used to refer specifically to Ali (as) and the Imams. There are also references to the Safavi family's supposed lineage from Ali. Ismail could even be said to purposely conflate his father, Haydar Safavi, and Ali ibn Abi Talib who was also referred to by the same title when he speaks of avenging the "blood of Haydar" or refers to himself as Haydar's son, believing both "Haydar's" to equally be his sires in both a physical and spiritual sense. The third Mathnavi which I've posted makes many references to characters of the Shahnameh and is believed to have been written soon after Ismail's defeat at the Battle of Chaldiran, which account for the pleading nature of the poem in its prayers to God. Ismail employs many Turkish and Tajik/Persian literary themes in addition to tacit references to Greek ideas or figures (Ismail's mother, Martha, was in fact the child of a union between the daughter of the Greek emperor of Trebizond and the sultan of the Aq-Qoyunlu, Uzun Hasan, given to Ismail's father in marriage when Uzun protected the Safavids from his fellow tribesmen). Ismail himself was a mixed breed of Turk, Persian, Greek and possibly Arab descent. I have also posted, for good measure, a letter exchange between Shah Ismail I and Ottoman Sultan Selim I shortly before the ill-fated Battle of Chaldiran. --SAMPLES OF ISMAIL'S POETRY FROM THE EARLIEST MSS-- No.7 That Sultan of generosity is the Master of Reason; he is Sanctity and the light of the eyes. Should the ghazis put on their swords and arms, fear of danger will invade the soul of hypocrites Let Yazid's host be one hundred thousand, before it all the giaours and Marvans will be scattered The moon-faced Shah can be recognized by the taj on his head and the precious belt around his waist The one who does not find the way to the Mystery of Sanctity is a blind man and an ignorant fool. When the ghazis enter the arena, the "outsiders' will be utterly under their feet. Know for certain: Ali is the Sea of Truth (haqiqat), he is the eternal life of honour. The day the ghazis (preceded by the red pennons and banners don their red tak, will be the day of warning. Moawiya's host on seeing one ghazi will grow worse than that sheep at which a wolf clutches The akhis who recognize the Pir are true pearls; those whose word is but one art true men. In the path of the Shah, Khatai sacrifices his soul, to say nothing of the kingdom, property, gold, and silver. No.15 My name is Shah Ismail. I am God's mystery. I am the leader of all these ghazis. My mother is Fatima, my father is Ali; and eke I am the Pir of the Twelve Imams. I have recovered my father's bloof from Yazid, Be sure that I am of Haydarian essence. I am the lving Khider and Jesus, son of Mary. I am the Alexander of my contemporaries. Look you, Yazid, polytheist and the adept of the Accursed one, I am free from the Ka'ba of hypocrites. In me is Prophethood and the mysery of Holiness. I follow the path of Muhammad Mustafa. I have conquered the world at the point of my sword. I am the Qanbar of Murtada Ali. My sire is Safi, my father Haydar. Truly I am the Ja'far of the audacious I am a Husaynid and have curses for Yazid. I am Khatai, a servant of the Shah's. No. 18 O, fighters in the path of God, say: "Allah, Allah! I am the faith of the Shah (Ali). Come to meet (me), prostrate yourselves. I am the faith of the Shah. In flying I am a parakeet, I am the leader of a mighty army, a companion of Sufis. Wherever you sow me, I will grow; whenever you call me, I will come up. I shall catch the Sufis by the hand. I was on the gibbet with Mansur; with Abraham in the fire, and with Moses on Sinai Come from the eve, celebrate the New Year, join the King. With discernment come to know the King. O ghazis, prostrate yourselves. I wear a red crown, my charger is grey, I (lead a) mighty army. I have the virutes of the Prophet Joseph (i.e. am beautiful). I am Khatai, my charger is sorrel; my words are sweeter than sugar, I have the essence of Murtada Ali. I am the faith of the Shah. No. 22 Know for certain that Khatai is of divine nature, that he is related to Muhammad Mustafa He is issued from Safi, he is the scion of Junayd and Haydar, he is related to Ali Murtada. For the love of Hasan he has entered the arena, for he is related to Husayn of Kerbela. [He posseses the qualities of the other Imams.] He is like a beggar at the gate of Mahdi, Master of the Time. My name is Vali Shah Ismail; my surname is Khatai No. 30 Do not think, o moon-face one, that my sould remains to me after thou has gone. My sould has gone after you and (only) the impotent body remains to me. Since thou hast quitted my side, o peace of my heart, only (dream) of my joining you keeps watch over my heart. Although the flower garden of thy beatuy has gone from my eyes, in my heart grows the stately poplar of thy sunny forms. Let that Peri-like idol be hidden from my looks, the moon in the sky is for me a symbol of (her) face. From the moment this sick-hearted Khatai became separated from thee, the musk of thy fragrant tresses has remained with me as a perfume-spreader. No. 92 There is a commandment in God's book: know for certain that it decrees blood for blood. May my head be a sacrifice on the path of the Guide of Truth: there many hundred like me (ready to) destroy their lives. (O Khatai) thou hast a hand: (how) thoroughly has though defeated Yazid; mayst thou be ruler of the world as long as the world exists. The blood of Shah Haydar is still (unavenged); Yazid still awaits a crushing defeat. Truly in the path of love sincerity is wanted. Go away, thou accursed denier, there is a doubt in thee! I call thee denier: thou dost not see that the Companions of Truth (Ahl-i Haqq) possess evidence clearer than the Sun. Treading this path in the state of impurity, how canst thou deny the word: there is some blood unavenged. Go, o zephyr, it is hight time (for you) to represent to the Shah in what state I am. Rise and march, o Khatai, make a journey; for (thy) paternal home is in the twon of Ardabil. No. 101 From Pre-Eternity the Shah is our Sultan, our pir and murshid, our soul. Having pronounced the name of the Shah we have walked along this path. We are Husayni, to-day is our period. We are slaves of the Imam, in all sincerity. Our token is to be martyrs and ghazis. Our path is narrow, narrower than anything. This time our fundamental rule is to give our heads away. I am Khatai. From Pre-Eternity I am the Myster of Haydar. He who does not recognize him as Truth (Haqq) is a stranger to us. No.102 In the arena of love, he who risks his head and life, sports wantonly with his eyes, eye-lashes, and eye-brows before the Beloved. On the path of the King of Men there are many people, but praise to the head which opposes a thousand heads! Let him be an intimate friend of the Shah, who is ready topart with his head and life. Do not think that a common farrash would (be allowed) to flirt in the presence of the Beloved. On the day of battle many give up their heads and lives; but should someone self-willed (bashinda) stay behind, the qulbash (corporal?) will make him play! O Khatai, do not grieve if all have become your enemies. A challenger always flings bricks and stones from afar. No. 103 Should my beauty sit with corssed legs, gorans will be roused in the world; should he rise and sit down, the ordeal of the end of the world will burst out. Let all the people of Shirvan rush to Tabris, the Persian ('Ajam) kingdom will but ask: when is the Last Day to come? As he arrives, the streets and homes of the will cease to exists, however many Turcomans may turn out from Baghdad. if (my Beauty) comes out of the palace, the tomb (sin) will engulf the stock of the world and a Guide to the tariqat, old and young (at the same time), will suddenly appear. Since in Pre-Eternity Khatai had contemplated the certainty of this issue, the signs of Noah have appeared in him and the Flood is to burst out. No. 123 Thy numerous arrows have pierced my breast, which is burning with fire. They came in multitudes, they arrows, they did not pour water (summadi) where water was needed. You would think that fledelings are flying with scream. Every moment, as thy arrows leave the bow, they make me groan. On the square of my breast they have formed an army in fighting array. Thou art my king over the land (yurt) where they arrows are arayed in review. I am dying of that pain, and the groans of my suffering have annihilated my hear; they flying arrows have no even left my soul in my body. Now wonder you make a lattice of Khatai's breast, for thy arrows pierce armour, coats of mail, and shields of steel. No. 168 It is I who have come now for this epoch (var. "to this world"). I have set myself in motion and have entered a soul (manifested myself in a soul). I am intoxicated with love for the Shah and dazzled by him. As a lover I have come to (my) family (home). By God, I was sorely longing for the Shah! Thanks to God, I have now come to the sanctuary. I shall uproot Yazid and the heretics, a-buring I have come to the source of light. By the Shah's comman I had come in Pre-Eternity. Do not be troubled, for now I have come again. From Pre-Eternity I am in love with the "Twelve Shahs" (Imams) but now I have come to this shop (i.e. this mundane world). (Like) Solomon's ring and the staff of Moses I have come to the world, as Noah (during) the Flood. Muhammad's miracles, the Shah's (sword) Dhul-Fiqar are signs in my have. Here I have come. I shall exterminate outsiders from the world. I am Khatai, I have come to serve as a proof (of Truth). No. 194 Lo, my truly Beloved is now Sultan in the world. If my friend accept my soul, to-day it is his sacrifice. O man, if thou hast brains, give not thy heart to the world; he who does so, shows his ignorance on the path. Those who do not recognize Ali as Truth (Haqq) are absolute unbelievers. They have no creed, no faith and are not Muslims. If you capture one heart, for you it will amount to a hundred. If you destroy one heart, one hundred Mekkas will lie in ruins. O Khatai, life is a boon (to profit by): know thyself. To-morrow we shall die, but to-day life is still a guest in your body. No. 195 To-day I have come to the world as a Master. Know truly that I am Haydar's son. I am Faridun, Khosrau, Jamshid, and Zohak. I am Zal's son (Rustam) and Alexander. The mystery of Anal-Haqq ('I am the Truth') is hidden in this my heart. I am the Absolute Truth and what I say is Truth. I belong to the religion of the "Adherents of the Vali (i.e. Ali)" and on the Shah's path I am a guide to every one who says: "I am a Muslim." My sign is the "Crown of Happiness". I am the signet-ring on Solomon's finger. Muhammad is made of light, 'Ali of Mystery. I am a pearl in the sea of Absolute Reality I am Khatai, the Shah's slave full of shortcomings. At thy gate I am the smallest and the last (servant. No. 204 I am God's eye; come now, o blind man gone astray, to behold Truth. I am that Absolute Doer of whome they speak. Sun and Moon are in my power. My being is God's House, know it for certain. Prostration before me is incumbent on thee, in the morn and even. Know for certain that with the People of Recognition (ahl-i iqrar) Heaven and Earth are all Truth. Do not stray! The garden of Sanctity has produced a (or one) fruit. How can it be plucked by a short-handed one? If you wish to join Truth to Truth, (here is) God who has reached the stage of Mim (maqam-i mim). The one of pure connections considers his own person. Suddenly, Khatai has come by a treasure. No. 211 A flower has blossomed on the tree, and is now come to be a companion to the Shah. In Pre-Eternity it was the Mystery of the Shah, and now it has come to be a companion of his Mystery. No one can become a Qizil-bash, until his heart (yuragi instead of yuzumi) is a-burning and his breast a-bleading like a ruby. In the time of the mystery of kuntu kanzan he was the Light of Muhammad, and now he has manifested himself to the world crowned with a red crown. His name is Ismail, he is homoousian (one) with the Prince of the Faithful (Ali); on seeing him the outsider would prefer to turn to stone. Mathnavi No. 3 In the name of God, Living and Bountiful, for His is might and His nature is old. It is He who exalts the "Nine Heavens" and purifies the face of the earth He produces the storm like unto Simoom; by the wind of the Day of Resurrection, he softens stones to wax. He makes some superior to others, some is suspense and some lowly; Some like Solomon, some like ants, some vilified and some strong. He makes some superior to the whole world, and some a refuge to men. He makes some lords of the world, and while He treats some as flowers, he creates others as thorns. He makes some (sit on) the throne and (wear) a crown; he makes others needy of half-a-farthing. He makes some awful like Rustam, and others less than a small hair (muchak?); Some endowed with courage (lit. liver), others without courage and carrion-like. To some He gives swords and good horses, while He checkmates others on their carpet. He creates some (as if) to stand (lit. fall) as Alexander's wall, and some as if to flee like deserters (or "like swift stallions") God is the Creator of all, He is cognizant of everybody's affairs. Has He not created five fingers to a narrow hand so that each of them should know its way? Were all the world equal, how would the affairs of the world be successful? Surely there is a difference between slave-girls and a man; Heaven and Earth are no equal. A man must know his perfection and do what work he can do. A mouse must know his perfection and do what work he can do. A mouse in the desert say: "I am wicked," but when it is confronted (with an enemy) it loses its way. Do not believe such pretensions before you have scanned them, do not lean on the wall of of an unmanly person. God (Haqq) is the Helper in this world; in bad days he shares the sorrow of his slaves. A brave bef (bag-igit) will conquer all lands: all Asia Minor (Rum), China, Khorasan, and Syria. Is he a man, he who marches with an army against a (single) man? Is an army (necessary) to crush an enemy? In a fight, lads (aran) would crush one single man, but in an army the beg becomes the leader of mean (ar-sarvari). I am he who will fight a crocodile, and wage war with the tiger and the panther. I am such that should I meet Afrasiyab, I will smite his head with my mace and stun him. I am he who will march without fear against the foe; do not be afraid that on looking (at him) I shall show hesitancy. I shall smash the fortess of Khaybar with my fist; shall I ever fear cannon and guns? I shall conquer Asia Minor and Syria, and then think of the Franks. Should Afrasiyab be my foe, I shall take it for a dishonour to come to blows with him. Should something happen to you in a fight, turn not your back, run not with shouts towards your companion. A pity! Would that there were a suitable occasion, that (the foe) should see a man better than himself! A pity! Would that Isfandiyar existed now, that I might spare neither his throne, nor his kingdom, nor his country. A pity! Would that Afrasiyab were there, that I might answer (his challenge) with my sword. A pity! Would that Give lived nowadays, that I might to him like a male div. A pity! Would that Zal were alive now, that he might see what a struggle is like. A pity! Would that the hero Sohrab were now in existence! He would not be striking with his sword in his hand. A pity that (on the battlefield) I am tied to females, that I encounter but effeminates and cowards. A pity, that there is no longer a price for a man, for a hero breaking through the enemy line, for a male lion. Neither Rustam nor Bijan are my opponents, a female wanted to command me. I wish there were a great fight that I might encounter the foe face to face. They would know that a Man has born of a moth; every one would that a Man has been born of a mother; every one would hear news of his talents (ardam). "A hero eats his bread in a manly way." This was said by the best of the braves. How can one eat bread without labor; every piece of bread is in a dragon's mouth. Go and annihilate the dragon, snatch that bread from his mouth. O God, sharpen my sword that it should smite the foe seeking my life. Exalt my sire through my hand, let my sire run at the envious. Let not the foe spit into my facem but rather at my dead body. Let thrity thousand men be my enemies, and each one of them be Rustam-like. When I make up my mind to take the field, let them come and let me fight them alone. Let met smit them all with the sword so that they should their designs and their attack. Are the braves annoyed by death? Shall I keep (this) bag of ungnawed bones? Nobody says to the one devoid of energy: "This is a Man"; better is death for a liar lacking ardour. Do not associate me with cowards, who, in the eyes of a Man, are less than females. Lengthen my sword that I reach the enemy and scatter before me his array and his right flank. Even for an Isfandiyar I shall make the field too narrow; no lion or panther will stand my blows. O Lord, show me Thy friendliness and, though the foe be a Rustam, I will smash him. O God, accept my prayer for my need, my supplication at Thy gate, and my appeal to Thee, Through the merits of my Prophet who is the Miracle of Speech, and of Ali, who is the Perfect Imam. They did not turn away their faces, but on this path made sacrifice of their beings. Pray, let me work havoc in (the) ranks (of the foe), for only by the sword can the foe be abashed. THE EXCHANGE BETWEEN SELIM I and ISMAIL I: --SULTAN SELIM'S LETTER-- LETTER FROM SELIM TO ISMAIL, 1514: “It is from Solomon: ‘In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Do not exalt yourselves above me, but come to me in all submission.’” (Qur’an 27: 30-31) God’s blessings upon the best of his creatures, Muhammad, his family, and his companions all. “And now We have revealed this Scripture truly blessed. Observe it and keep from evil, so that you may find mercy. (Qur’an 6: 156) This missive, which is stamped with the seal of victory and which—like inspiration descending from the heavens—is witness to the verse “We do not punish a nation until We have sent forth a messenger to forewarn them.” (Qur’an 17: 15) has been graciously issued by our most glorious majesty—we who are the Caliph of God Most High in this world, far and wide; the proof of the verse “that which profits men remains on the earth” (Qur’an 13: 17) the Solomon of Splendor, the Alexander of eminence; haloed in victory, Faridun triumphant; slayer of the wicked and the infidel, guardian of the noble and the pious; the warrior in the Path, the defender of the Faith; the champion, the conqueror; the lion, son and grandson of the lion; standard-bearer of justice and righteousness, Sultan Selim Shah son of Sultan Bâyezid, son of Sultan Mehmet Khan —and is addressed to the ruler of the kingdom of the Persians, the possessor of the land of tyranny and perversion, the captain of the vicious, the chief of the malicious, the usurping Darius of the time, the malevolent Zahhak of the age, the peer of Cain, Prince Isma‘il. As the Pen of Destiny has drawn up the rescript “You bestow sovereignty on whom You will” (Qur’an 3: 26) in our sublime name and has signed it with the verse “The blessings God bestows on men none can withhold” (Qur’an 35: 2), it is manifest in the Court of Glory and the Presence of Deity that we, the instrument of Divine Will, shall hold in force upon the earth both the commandments and prohibitions of Divine Law as well as the provisions of royal proclamations. “Such is the grace of God: He bestows it on whom He will.” (Qur’an 57: 21). It has been heard repeatedly that you have subjected the upright community of Muhammad (Prayers and salutations upon its founder!) to your devious will, that you have undermined the firm foundation of the Faith, that you have unfurled the banner of oppression in the cause of aggression, that you no longer uphold the commandments and prohibitions of the Divine Law, that you have incited your abominable Shi‘i faction to unsanctified sexual union and to the shedding of innocent blood, that—like they “Who listen to falsehood and practice what is unlawful” (Qur’an 5: 42)—you have given ear to idle deceitful words and have partaken of that which is forbidden: He has laid waste to mosques, as it is said, Constructing idol temples in their stead, that you have rent the noble fabric of Islam with the hand of tyranny, and that you have called the Glorious Qur’an the myths of the Ancients. The rumor of these abominations has caused your name to become like that of Harith deceived by Satan. Indeed, as both the legal rulings of distinguished religious scholars who base their opinion on reason and tradition alike and the consensus of the Sunni community agree that the ancient obligation of extirpation, extermination, and expulsion of evil innovation must be the aim of our exalted aspiration, for “Religious zeal is a victory for the Faith of God the Beneficent:” then, in accordance with the words of the Prophet (Peace upon him!) “Whosoever introduces evil innovation into our order must be expelled” and “Whosoever does anything against our order must be expelled,” action has become necessary and exigent. Thus, when the Divine Decree of Eternal Destiny commended the eradication of the infamously wicked infidels into our capable hands, we set out for their lands like ineluctable fate itself to enforce the order “Do no leave a single unbeliever on the earth.” Qur’an 71: 26) If God Almighty wills, the lightning of our conquering sword shall uproot the untamed bramble grown to great heights in the path of the refulgent Divine Law and shall cast them down upon the dust of abjectness to be trampled under the hooves of our legions, for “They abase the mightiest of its inhabitants and these will do the same” (Qur’an 27: 34); the thunder of our avenging mace shall dash out the muddled brains of the enemies of the Faith as rations for the lionhearted ghazis. “The wrongdoers will realize what a reversal they shall have.” (Qur’an 26: 227) When I draw my keen-edged weapon from its sheath, Then shall I raise up doomsday on the earth; Then shall I roast the hearts of lion-hearted men, And toast the morning with a goblet of their blood. My crow-fletched shaft will fix the eagle in his flight; And my bare blade will shake the orb of day. Ask of the sun about the dazzle of my rein; Inquire of Mars about the brilliance of my arms. Although you wear a Sufi crown , I bear a trenchant sword, And he who holds the sword will soon possess the crown. O Mighty Fortune, pray grant this my single wish: Please let me take both crown and power from the foe. But “Religion is Counsel.” Therefore, should you turn the face of submission toward our angelic threshold—the refuge of the noble, the qibla of felicity, and the Ka‘ba of certainty —and lift the hand of oppression from the heads of your subjects bowed by oppression and sedition, take up a course of repentance and become like one blameless, return to the sublime straight path of the Sunna of Muhammad (Prayers and salutations upon him and God’s satisfaction upon his immaculate family and his rightly-guided companions all!)—for “My companions are like the stars: whomever you choose to follow, you will be guided aright.” —and consider your lands and their people a part of the well-protected Ottoman state, then shall you be granted our royal favor and our imperial condescension. He whose face touches the dust of my threshold in submission Will be enveloped in the shadow of my favor and my justice. How great the happiness of him who complies with this! On the other hand, if your evil and seditious habits have become ingrained in your nature, then that which has become essential can never again be accidental. Of what avail are sermons to the black-hearted? Then, with the support and assistance of God, I will crown the head of every gallows tree with the head of a crown-wearing Sufi and clear that faction from the face of the earth—“God’s followers are sure to triumph” (Qur’an 5: 56); I will break the oppressors’ grip with the power of the miraculous white hand of Moses, for “The Hand of God is above their hands.” (Qur’an 48: 10) Let them remove the cotton of negligence from the ears of their intelligence and, with their shrouds on their shoulders, prepare themselves for “That which you are threatened with is sure to come.” Qur’an 6: 134) The triumphant troops “As firm as a mighty edifice” (Qur’an 61: 4) crying out like fate evoked “When their hour is come, not for one moment shall they hold it back, nor can they go before it” (Qur’an 7: 34) and maneuvering in accordance with “Put them to death wherever you find them” (Qur’an 4: 89), will wreak ruin upon you and drive you from that land. “Such being the will of God before and after, and on that day the believers will rejoice in God’s help.” (Qur’an 30: 4) “Thus were the evil-doers annihilated. Praise be to God, Lord of the Universe.” (Qur’an 6: 45) --SHAH ISMAIL'S RESPONSE-- LETTER FROM ISMAIL TO SELIM, 1514: May his godly majesty, the refuge of Islam, the might of the kingdom, he upon whom God looks with favor, the champion of the sultanate and of the state, the hero of the faith and of the earth, Sultan Selim Shah (God grant him immortal state and eternal happiness!) accept this affectionate greeting and this friendly letter, considering it a token of our good will. Now to begin: Your honored letters have arrived one after another, for “No sooner has a thing doubled than it has tripled.” Their contents, although indicative of hostility, are stated with boldness and vigor. The latter gives us much enjoyment and pleasure, but we are ignorant of the reason for the former. In the time of your late blessed father (May God enlighten his proof!) when our royal troops passed through the lands of Rum to chastise the impudence of ‘Ala’ al-Dawla Dhu’l-Qadr, concord and friendship was shown on both sides. Moreover, when your majesty was governor at Trebizond there existed perfect mutual understanding. Thus, now, the cause of your resentment and displeasure yet remains unknown. If political necessity has compelled you on this course, then may your problems be soon resolved. Dispute may fire words to such a heat That ancient houses be consumed in flames. The intention of our inaction in this regard is twofold: (1) Most of the inhabitants of the land of Rum are followers of our forefathers (May God the All-Forgiving King have mercy upon them!). (2) We have always loved the ghazi-titled Ottoman house and we do not wish the outbreak of sedition and turmoil once again as in the time of Timur. Why should we then take umbrage at these provocations? We shall not. The mutual hostility of kings is verily an ancient rite. Should one embrace the bride of worldly rule too close, His lips will kiss those of the radiant sword. Nevertheless, there is no cause for improper words: indeed, those vain, heretical imputations are the mere fabrications of the opium-clouded minds of certain secretaries and scribes. We therefore think that our delayed reply was not completely without cause for we have now dispatched our honored personal companion and servant Shah Quli Aqa (May he be sustained!) with a golden casket stamped with the royal seal and filled with a special concoction for their use should they deem it necessary. May he soon arrive, so that with assistance from Above, the mysteries concealed behind the veil of fate might be disclosed. Keeping in view that regrets are of no avail in the end, one should always exercise free judgment and not be bound solely by the words of others. At this writing we were engaged upon the hunt near Isfahan. We now prepare provisions and our troops for the coming campaign and in all friendship we say, “Do what you will.” Bitter experience has taught that in this world of trial He who falls upon the house of ‘Ali always falls. Kindly give our ambassador leave to travel unmolested for “No soul shall bear another’s burden.” (Qur’an 6: 164; 53: 38) When war becomes inevitable, hesitation and delay must be set aside, and one must think on that which is to come. Farewell.
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