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Mirza Makhdum Sharifi: A 16th century Sunni sadr at the Safavid Court.

Author: Rosemary Stanfield; R D McChesney
Publisher: 1992.
Dissertation: Ph. D. New York University 1992
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : eBook   Computer File : EnglishView all editions and formats
Publication:Dissertation Abstracts International, 54-02A.
Summary:
It has traditionally been taught that Iran, a Sunni state was converted to Twelver Shi'ism almost overnight when the armies backing the Safavid house conquered the country in 1501. In recent years, however, scholars have begun to question how, and how rapidly, the process of conversion took place and what it meant to be Sunni or Shi'i in 16th century Iran. In this dissertation we have focused on these issues through
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Details

Genre/Form: Academic theses
Dissertations, Academic
Material Type: Document, Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Rosemary Stanfield; R D McChesney
OCLC Number: 768966352
Notes: Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 54-02, Section: A, page: 0654.
Adviser: R.D. McChesney.
Description: 1 online resource (168 pages)

Abstract:

It has traditionally been taught that Iran, a Sunni state was converted to Twelver Shi'ism almost overnight when the armies backing the Safavid house conquered the country in 1501. In recent years, however, scholars have begun to question how, and how rapidly, the process of conversion took place and what it meant to be Sunni or Shi'i in 16th century Iran. In this dissertation we have focused on these issues through the study of the anti-Shi'i polemic al-Nawagid li bunyan al-rawafid of Mirza Makhdum Sharifi (d. 1587), the Sunni who served as sadr under Isma'il II (d. 1577).

Our investigation covers the following specific topics: Sunnism in the Safavid capital of Qazwin in the mid- to late-sixteenth century; the sectarian political atmosphere at court among the learned; the anti-Shi'i religious policies of Isma'il II; and the substance of Mirza Makhdum's polemic against two sources of Shi'i authority, ijtihad and niyaba.

This study comprises an introduction, seven chapters and a conclusion. The Introduction and Chapter One set the historical, political and ideological context of the Safavid situation. Chapter Two deals with the author's genealogy. Chapter Three discusses the works of Mirza Makhdum, particularly al-Nawagid. Chapter Four investigates the status of Sunnism in Qazwin and other cities. Chapters Five and Six deal with Mirza Makhdum's career and political activities under Tahmasb (1524-1576) and Isma'il II. Chapter Seven sets out Mirza Makhdum's argument against ijtihad and niyaba.

This study concludes that, in contrast to the commonly taught maxim of "overnight conversion" to Twelver Shi'ism, Iran was still a confessionally heterogenous society in the 16th century. A Sunni community continued to flourish in Qazwin and other places despite pressure from the government, supported by the Shi'i religious elite, to convert the population.

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