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Shi'ism in the 4th/10th Century

In the 4th/10th century, certain conditions again prevailed which aided greatly the spread and strengthening of Shi' ism. Among them were the weaknesses that appeared in the central 'Abbasid government and administration and the appearance of the Buyid rulers. The Buyids, who were Shi ite, had the greatest influence not only in the provinces of Persia but also in the capital of the caliphate in Baghdad, and even upon the caliph himself. This new strength of considerable proportions enabled the Shi' ites to stand up before their opponents who previously had tried to crush them by relying upon the power of the caliphate. It also made it possible for the Shi' ites to propagate their religious views openly.

As recorded by historians, during this century most of the Arabian Peninsula was Shi'ite with the exception of some of the big cities. Even some of the major cities, like Hajar, Oman, and Sa'dah were Shi'ite. In Basra, which had always been a Sunni city and competed with Kufah which was considered a Shi'ite center, there appeared a notable group of Shi'ites. Also in Tripoli, Nablus, Tiberius, Aleppo, Nayshapur and Herat there were many Shi ites, while Ahwaz and the coast of the Persian Gulf on the Persian side were also Shi'ites. 1

At the beginning of this century, N?sir Utrush, after many years of propagation of his religious mission in northern Persia, gained power in Tabaristan and established a kingdom which continued for several generations after him. Before Utrush, Hasan ibnZayd al- 'Alawi had reigned for many years in Tabaristan. 2 Also in this period, the Fatimids, who were Isma'ili, conquered Egypt and organized a caliphate which lasted for over two centuries (296/908-567/1171). 3 Often disputation and fighting occurred in major cities like Baghdad, Cairo and Nayshapur between Shi'ites and Sunnis, in some of which the Shi ites would gain the upper hand and come out victorious.

1 Al-Hadarah al-Isl?miyyah of Adam Mez, Cairo, 1366, vol. I, pp. 97.

2 Muruj al-Dhahab, vol. IV, pp. 373; al-Milal wa 'l-Nihal of Shahristani, Cairo, 1368, vol. 1, pp. 254.

3 Abu 'l-Fida', vol. II, pp. 63 and vol. III, pp. 50.

Adapted from: "Shi'ah" by: "Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i"

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