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Safavid Dynasty in Persia (1501-1722 AD)

The Safavid dynasty in Persia ruled between 1501-1722 AD This dynasty was one of the large Islamic kingdoms in Persia. The beginning of this Kingdom originated from a tarekat movement in Ardabil, a city in Azerbaijan. The Safavid name was attributed to the name of one of the Sufi teachers in Ardabil named Shaykh Ishak Saifuddin. According to history, he was descended from Musa al-Khadim, the seventh imam Syi'ah Itsna ‘Asyariyah.

This congregation stood at the same time as the establishment of the Ottoman Empire. This tarekat movement has many followers who are very firm in holding religious teachings.

This movement changed the model of its movement from religious movements to political movements. When it became a great power, the Safavid Dynasty faced several times with the Ottomans. The Safavid dynasty declared Shi'ah a state school, the Safavid Dynasty was known as the foundation of the formation of the Iranian state.

The Safavid dynasty reached its heyday during Abbas I. However, that glory was not maintained by his successors. This is because the powerful sultans are weak. So that it triggers rebellion and prolonged problems.

History of the Establishment of the Safavid Dynasty


The forerunner of the establishment of the Safavid Dynasty originated from the tarekat movement which was named Safavid. This movement appeared in Persia, precisely in Ardabil, a city in Azerbaijan. This region is inhabited by Kurds and Armenians. The Safavid name was attributed to the name of one of the Sufi teachers in Ardabil named Sheikh Ishak Safiuddin or Shafi Ad-Din. According to history, he was descended from Musa al-Khadim, the seventh imam Syi'ah Itsna ‘Asyariyah. Shafi Ad-Din came from the descendants of people who were and chose the Sufi as a way of life. His teacher was named Syaikh Tajuddin Ibrahim Zahidi (1216-1301 AD) known as Zahid Al-Gilani. Due to his achievements and perseverance in Sufism, Shafi Ad-Din was taken by his teacher's son-in-law.

Shafi Ad-Din founded the Safavid Order after he replaced the teacher and at the same time his father-in-law who died in 1301 AD The followers of this tarekat were very firm in holding on to the teachings of religion. In the beginning, the Safaweed Sufism movement was aimed at fighting against the people of disbelief, then fighting the groups they called "Expert Bid'ah". This Shafi Ad-Din-led congregation was increasingly important, especially after changing the form of the tarekat from the recitation of local pure Sufism into a well-known movement which had great influence in Persia, Syria, and Anatolia. In countries outside Ardabil, Shafi Ad-Din placed a representative to lead his students. The deputy was given the title of caliph and would later become a war commander.

Then the tarekat students supported the Safavid order to gather strength by becoming soldiers and very fanatical about their beliefs. In fact, they also oppose people who don't agree with them. The Safavid Order was widely accepted by the community so that this tarekat changed the model of the religious spiritual movement into a political movement. This began to appear when the tarekat movement was led by Junaid 1447-1460 M. Junaid expanded political activities in religious activities. The expansion of this activity gets obstacles. One of them was from the rulers of Qara Qayunlu and Aq-Qayunlu who were the two strongest tribes of Turkey. So that there was a conflict between Junaid and the Turkish authorities.

The involvement of the Safavid Order in increasingly large politics led the Safavid order to confront the powerful forces at that time namely the Ottoman Turks. When Junaid had a conflict with Qara Qayunlu, he suffered defeat and was exiled to a place. In that place, Junaid got protection from the ruler of Diyar Bakr who was also a Turkic nation. Junaid lived in the palace of Uzun Hasan, who at that time controlled parts of Persia. While in exile, Junaid did not remain silent. He married one of Uzun Hasan's sisters. In 1459 AD, Junaid tried to take Ardabil but failed. Then in 1460 M Junaid tried to capture the city of Circassia but the troops he led were intercepted by Sarwan's army. Junaid was finally killed in the battle.

The leadership of the Safavid movement was then given to the son of Junaid, Haidar, but Haidar was still very small at that time. After waiting a few years, Haidar was mature enough to marry one of Uzun Hasan's daughters. From this marriage, Ismail was born who later became the founder of the Safavid dynasty in Persia.

Development and Progress of the Safavid Dynasty


At the time of Ismail I came to power for approximately 23 years (1501-1524 AD) he succeeded in expanding his domain, he could also destroy the remnants of the power of Aqqayunlu in Hamadan 1503 AD, control of the Caspian province in Mazandaran, Gurgan and Yazd in 1504 M, Diyar Bakr 1505-1507, Baghdad and the southwestern Persian region in 1508 AD, Sirwan 1509 AD and Khurasan in 1510 M. Ismail I only needed ten years to control all Persia.

The political ambition to encourage Ismail I was to expand his territory to the Ottoman Turks, but because the Ottoman Turks were a very strong dynasty at that time, Ismail I finally suffered defeat. That defeat undermined Ismail's pride and confidence. As a result, his life has changed. Ismail I was more fanatical and this situation had a negative impact on the Safavid dynasty, namely the emergence of a power struggle between the leaders of the Turkish tribes, Persian officials, and Qizilbash.

After the death of Ismail I, the authority of the Safavid dynasty was continued by Tahmasp I (1524-1576 AD), then after that was followed by Ismail II (1576-1577 AD) and Muhammad Khubanda (1577-1587 AD). However, in the reign of the three sultans the Safavid Dynasty suffered a setback. The setback continued until finally Abbas I ascended the throne. During the time of Abbas I, the Safavid dynasty slowly progressed. The steps were taken by Abbas I in advancing the Safavid dynasty include:

Trying to eliminate Qizilbash's domination of the Safavid dynasty by forming new forces whose members consisted of slaves who came from captives of the Georgians, Armenians, and Circassia who had existed since the reign of Tahmasp I.

Hold a peace treaty with the Ottoman Turks. In addition, Abbas I promised not to insult the first three caliphs in Islam, namely Abu Bakr, Umar bin Khattab and Uthman ibn Affan in Friday sermons. As a guarantee of these conditions, Abbas I handed over his cousin Haidar Mirza as a hostage in Istanbul.

After the Safavid dynasty became strong again, Abbas I began to expand and reclaim his lost territories. Abbas I also attacked the Ottoman Turks. At that time the Ottoman Turks under the leadership of Sultan Muhammad II, Abbas I attacked the Ottoman Turks and succeeded in conquering the territories of Tabriz, Sirwan and Baghdad. After that, Abbas I also succeeded in taking control of the city of Nakhchivan Erivan, Ganja and Tiflis in 1605-1606 AD In 1622 AD, Abbas I succeeded in seizing the Hurmuz archipelago and turning the port of Gumrun into the port of Abbas.

In Abbas I's reign was the height of the Safavid dynasty. Politically, Abbas I was able to overcome various internal turmoil which disrupted the stability of the country and succeeded in recapturing territories which had been taken by other dynasties before the previous sultans. Other advances achieved by the Safavid dynasty include:

# Economics

After Abbas I succeeded in seizing the Hurmuz archipelago and turning the port of Gumrun into the port of Abbas, the trade routes that were usually contested by the Dutch, British and French was completely managed by this dynasty.

# Field of education

In the Safavid dynasty, many well-known scientists emerged including Baha 'al-Din al-'Amili (generalist of science), Sadr al-Dîn al-Syîrâzî (philosopher) and Muhammad Baqir ibn Muhammad Damad (philosophers, historians, theologians, who had made observations on the life of the bee).

# Field of Urban Development and Art

The rulers of this dynasty changed Isfahan, which was the capital of this dynasty to become a very beautiful city. Isfahan is a city that is very important for political and economic purposes. In the city stands magnificent buildings such as mosques, hospitals, schools, giant bridges above Zende Rud, and Chihil Satun palace. The city of Isfahan is increasingly beautiful with the making of tourist parks. When Abbas I died, in Isfahan there were 162 mosques, 48 academies, 1802 inns, and 273 public baths.

In the field of art, it can be seen from the architecture of the buildings, as seen in the Shah mosque and the Syaikh Lutf Allah mosque. Other art elements are also seen in handicrafts, ceramics, rugs, carpets, clothing, pottery and others. The painting also began to emerge at this time precisely when the Sultan of Tahmaps I came to power.

Setback and Destruction of the Syafawiyah Kingdom


The Safavid kingdom suffered a post-government setback led by Abbas I. Six subsequent sultans were unable to maintain the progress made by their predecessors. The sultan is also weak in leading and has a bad character which also affects the running of the government. So that the Safavid kingdom suffered a lot of setbacks and did not experience development.

After the death of Abbas I, the government was taken over by Safi Mirza (1628-1642), he was the grandson of Abbas I. During his reign, he was known as a weak and cruel sultan of the royal dignitaries. He was also unable to maintain the progress made by Abbas I. In addition, the city of Kandahar was successfully controlled by the Mughal Dynasty led by Sultan Syah Jihan. Similarly, Baghdad was captured by the Ottoman Turks.

After Safi Mirza, the government was held by Abbas II (1642-1667). He was a sultan who liked to drink, was suspicious of the dignitaries and treated him cruelly. The people were not very concerned about Abbas II's government. Abbas II died due to illness. Then led by Sulaiman (1667-1694), he had bad habits like Abbas II who was also a drunkard. Many cases of oppression and extortion occurred. Especially against scholars and Sunni adherents and tends to impose Shia ideology. So that there were no significant developments during his reign.

The situation worsened during the reign of Hussein (1694-1722). He gave freedom to the Shia clerics to impose Shi'ism and his opinion on Sunnis. This sparked outrage from Sunni groups in Afghanistan, so they made a rebellion. The Afghans first rebelled in 1709 led by Mir Vays and succeeded in seizing the Qandahar region. On the other hand, the rebellion took place in Herat carried out by the Ardabil tribe of Afghanistan and succeeded in occupying Marsyad. Mir Vays was replaced by Mir Mahmud and he could unite his forces and Ardabil's forces. So that he was able to reclaim Afghan territories from Safavid rule.

Shah Husein felt pressured because of threats from Mir Mahmud. Finally, Syah Husein acknowledged his authority and appointed Mir Mahmud to become Governor in Qandahar with the title Husein Quli Khan (Husein's slave). This power was utilized by Mir Mahmud to expand the territory. He succeeded in seizing Kirman and Isfahan and again forced Shah Hussein to surrender unconditionally. On October 12, 1722 AD, Shah Husein surrendered and on October 25 Mir Mahmud entered the city of Isfahan triumphantly. Then Mir Mahmud was replaced by Ashraf to rule Isfahan.

The next government was continued by one of the sons of Husein named Tahmasp II (1722-1732), he received full support from the Qazar tribe from Russia. Thus, he proclaimed himself a legitimate ruler with a central government in the city of Astarabad. Tahmasp II collaborated with Nadir Khan of the Afshar tribe to conquer the Afghans who were in Isfahan in 1726 AD Nadir Khan's forces succeeded in capturing Isfahan in 1729 M. Ashraf was killed in the war. The Syafawiyah dynasty returned to power.

However, Tahmasp II was dismissed by Nadir Khan and replaced by Abbas III (1733-1736) who was the son of Nadir Khan. His son was still very small, so on March 8, 1736, Nadir Khan appointed himself as sultan. During the reign of Nadir Khan, the Safavid Dynasty was successfully conquered by the Qajar Dynasty. So ended the Safavid dynasty in Persia.

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