Shi'ism from the 5th/11th to the 9th/15th Centuries
- :Allamah Tabataba'i
From the 5th/11th to the 9th/15th centuries, Shi'ism continued to expand as it had done in the 4th/10th century. 1 Many kings and rulers who were Shi ite appeared in different parts of the Islamic world and propagated Shi'ism. Toward the end of the 5th/11th century, the missionary activity of Isma'ilism took root in the fort of Alamut and for nearly a century and a half the Isma'ilis lived in complete independence in the central regions of Persia. Also the Sadat-i Mar'ashi, who were descendants of the Holy Prophet, ruled for many years in Mazandaran (Tabaristan). 2 Shah Muhammad Khudabandah one of the well-known Mongol rulers, became Shi'ite and his descendants ruled for many years in Persia and were instrumental in spreading Shi'ism. 3 Mention must also be made of the kings of the Aq Qoyunlu and Qara Qoyunlu dynasties who ruled in Tabriz and whose domain extended to Fars and Kerman, 4 as well as of the Fatimid government which was ruling in Egypt.
Of course, religious freedom and the possibility of exerting religious power by the populace differed under different rulers. For example, with the termination of Fatimid rule and coming to power of the Ayyubids, the scene changed completely and the Shi'ite population of Egypt and Syria lost its religious independence. Many of the Shi' ites of Syria were killed during this period merely on the accusation of following Shi'ism. One of these was al-Shahid al-Awwal (the First Martyr) Muhammad ibn Makki, one of the great figures in Shi'ite jurisprudence, who was killed in Damascus in 786/1384. 5 Also Shaykh al-Ishraq Shihab al-Din Sahrawardi was killed in Aleppo on the accusation that he was cultivating Batini teachings and philosophy. 6 Altogether during this period, Shi' ism was growing from the point of view of numbers, even though its religious power and freedom depended upon local conditions and the rulers of the time. During this period, however, Shi'ism never became the official religion of any Muslim state.
1 See the books of history: al-K?mil of lbn Athir, Cairo, 1348; Rawdat al-Safa' and Habib al-Siyar of Khwand Mir, Tehran. 1333.
2 Al-Kamil of lbn Athir, Cairo, 1348; Rawdat al-Safa' and Habib a1-Siyar of Khwand Mir, Tehran. 1333.
3 Al-Kamil of lbn Athir, Cairo, 1348; Rawdat al-Safi' and Habib al-Siyar of Khwand Mir, Tehran. 1333.
4 Al-Kamil of 1bn Athir, Cairo, 1348; Rawdat al-Safa' and Habib al-Siyar of Khwand Mir, Tehran. 1333.
5 Rayhanat al-Adab of Muhammad 'Ali Tabrizi, Tehran 1326-32, vol. 11, pp. 365, and most works on the biography of men.
6 Rayhanat al-Adab, vol. II, pp. 380.
Adapted from: "Shi'ah" by: "Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i"
Share this article