"It will try to challenge the fact there is nothing interesting happening in the Muslim word and what the empire means for Muslims [today], especially Iranians. "Look at the Chinese today. They look back through the lens of glory at Isfahan. Safi al-Din converted to Shi'ism and was a Persian nationalist. That's what we are trying to question. This was surprising, since the Safavids owed their origins to a Sufi order and to a form of Shi'ism that they now banned. The most significant of these was Ashura, when Shia Muslims mark the death of Husayn. Power passed to the Shi'a ulama (a religious council of wise men) which eventually deposed the Shahs and proclaimed the world's first Islamic Republic in the eighteenth century. The religious leaders effectively became a tool of the government. If you want to run an empire, there is a toolkit. There is a lesson there for the Islamic republic," says Matthee. The Safavid Empire began in Azerbaijan. The Safavid empire collapsed in the 18th century and the reasons for this are complex. The Americans are now supposedly in decline. It was a period of “political fragmentation and decentralization” [Richard C. Martin]. The empire continued to expand during Shah Abbas's reign but after his death, the dynasty gradually lost its vigor. The ulama retained control of religious practice; and enforced the Sharia (Qur'anic Law) in personal and family matters. ... older notions of the Safavid fall. It's a balancing act. Blog. The Decline and Fall of the Safavid Empire is at NYUAD on September 14 from 6.30pm to 8pm and is open to the public. Safavid Empire Made by: Megan Powell, Vicky Rodriguez, Keely Hoppmeyer, and Brennen Powell Safavid vs Other Empires Social: The Safavids gave women more rights while the Ottomans tried to remain more traditional Mughals began to take away women's freedoms such a making them veil "The British Empire declined. Any citizen who did not convert to Shi'ism was put to death. They appointed an official (the Sadr) to co-ordinate this elite - and ensure that it did what the Shah wanted. In its heyday it was also one of the largest with a population of one million; 163 mosques, 48 religious schools, 1801 shops and 263 public baths. Summarize why the Safavid Empire declined The leaders who followed Shah Abbas combined lavish lifestyles and military spending with failing revenues thuse creating a weak economy. This is the subject of a talk at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) on Sunday on the decline and fall of the Safavid empire - a powerful Persian dynasty that was the forerunner of the modern Iranian state. With their major enemy keeping quiet, the Safavid Shahs became complacent, and then corrupt and decadent. That's exactly what happened with the Safavids - the tribal fringe, mostly Sunnis, were alienated and they paid back by revolting. "There was a clear hierarchy. The Safavid Empire, although driven and inspired by strong religious faith, rapidly built the foundations of strong central secular government and administration. The Safavid Empire was based in what is today Iran. The rise of the Pahlavis (1925 -79) saw the reaffirmation of a strong central authority in Iran and the re-emergence of the dynastic principle. The Sunni ulama (a religious council of wise men) either left or were killed. When did the Roman empire end? Alix Barry C&C Period 6 Islam Project, Shah Ismail of the Safavid Empire Ismail I lived during a turbulent time in Iran’s history. Dec. 15, 2020. The decline of the empire was evident. They became rich on the growing trade between Europe and the Islamic civilisations of central Asia and India. After Shah Abbas's death, the central government began to decline. In the tenth and eleventh centuries, the Buwayhids, who were of Zeydi a branch of Shi'ism ruled in Fars, Isfahan, and Baghdad. The ulama developed a theory that only a Mujtahid - one deeply learned in the Sharia (Qur'anic law) and one who has had a blameless life, could rule. It became a military group as well as a religious one in the 15th century. The Safavids gave up on the smart way of doing that and there is a lesson there for empires in general.". In 1726 an Afghan group destroyed the ruling dynasty. The lecture is part of a broader two-day workshop examining the Muslim world in the 18th century on the eve of European ­colonialism. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Islam was on top, but Jews, and especially Armenians, were relatively well-treated. Members of the Safavid Dynasty likely were of Kurdish Persian descent and belonged to a unique order of Sufi -infused Shi'a Islam called Safaviyya. It's a mix, says Matthee. After initial Persian success in recapturing Baghdad and most of modern Iraq, having lost it for 90 years, the war became a stalemate as the Persians were unable to press further into the Ottoman Empire, and the Ottomans themselves were distracted by wars in Europe and weakened by internal turmoil. Early on, the Safavids were at a disadvantage to the better-armed Ottomans, but they soon closed the arms gap. However, as is so often the case, there's also a warning from history. The first result of this was that the military forces became less effective. Read more. Over the following centuries the brotherhood became stronger, by attracting local warlords and by political marriages. Practically speaking, Portuguese empire was just about three centuries from the colonization of Asia and Brazil in 1500s to the independence of Brazil in the 1800s. The ulama continued to tolerate the non-religious Shahs right up until the 1970s but they finally overthrew the monarchy in 1979. According to Matthee, this stands in direct contrast to the Safavids, whose treatment of minorities was an important part of their success. The problems of this division of spiritual and political authority is something that Iran is still working out today. By terminating the wars with the Ottomans, Qaṣr-e Širin also put an end to the most imminent threat to Persia’s survival, thus further contributing to the decline of the Safavid army. Isfahan had parks, libraries and mosques that amazed Europeans, who had not seen anything like this at home. Why did the Safavid Empire decline so quickly? It's a diverse land and they are oppressing their fringes and, in some way, are running the same risk," he says. Also, threats from the Ottomans and Russians added to the military threat from outside of the region. They give up war against the Ottomans and are unable to combat the nomadic invaders from the east.". This led to power being exercised through the highest officials of the ulama, the Ayatollahs. The early Safavid empire was effectively a theocracy. "The hardening of religious sentiment towards the end did come at the expense of minorities and more importantly, Sunnis. The artistic achievements and the prosperity of the Safavid period are best represented by Isfahan, the capital of Shah Abbas. The Safavid Empire was strengthened by important Shi'a soldiers from the Ottoman army who had fled from persecution. In finding a successor, Shah Abbas made the same mistake the Ottoman monarch Suleyman made. "Don't oppress minorities or it will come back and haunt you. To promote Shi'ism the Safavids brought in scholars from Shi'ite countries to form a new religious elite. The people of the Empire soon embraced the new faith with enthusiasm, celebrating Shi'ite festivals with great piety. The empire expanded greatly through the use of gunpowder, which gave it a technical superiority over neighboring states. The world stands at a dangerous moment: tensions in Eastern Europe, war in Syria, the rise of militant Islamists and recent hostilities in Gaza. "It was the last time Iran stood tall and was a proud independent country before the coming of the westerners, the imperialists. The Persians called it Nisf-e-Jahan, 'half the world', meaning that to see it was to see half the world. The years between the victory at Panipat and Babur’s death in 1530 were marked by con… As a result of Mongol conquest, and relative religious tolerance of Ilhanids, Shi'a dynasties were established in Iran—Sarbedaran in Khorasan being the most i… Shah Ṣafi died in 1642, aged thirty-one, and exhausted from excessive drinking. The Safavids ruled from 1501 to 1722 and, at their height, they controlled all of what is now Iran, Azerbaijan Republic, Bahrain, Armenia, eastern Georgia, parts of the North Caucasus, Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan, as well as parts of Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The Safavids also spent money to promote religion, making grants to shrines and religious schools. "They were not as powerful as the Ottomans but it was very sophisticated and well-run.". "The shah retreats and becomes less visible. Religious problems, old ways, invasion from Ottoman and Mughal empires In 1526, Ibrahim Lodi, the last Lodi ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, was defeated by Babur at the First Battle of Panipat, thus marking the beginning of the Mughal Empire. Today we call it Iran. Decline The Safavid Empire was held together in the early years by conquering new territory, and then by the need to defend it from the neighbouring Ottoman Empire. At first, Shah Ismail, the founder of the Safavid dynasty, tried to convert members of the Ottoman Empire into Shiites. BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more. But is decline inevitable and what lessons can be learnt from history? The Afghan revolt brought down the Safavid Empire; although partially checked by the rise of the warlord Nader Shah and his empire, eventually modern Afghanistan was founded in … According to Justin Stearns, assistant professor in Arab crossroads studies at NYUAD, and the organiser of the event, many people understand the Muslim world at this time to be in decline and both events seek to question this. Isfahan became one of the world's most elegant cities. Even though Safavids were not the first Shi'a rulers in Iran, they played a crucial role in making Shi'ism the official religion in Iran. The Safavid Empire. Sunnis in Iraq still tend to call Shias the Safavids," says Professor Rudi Matthee, who will deliver the lecture. The Safavid Empire lasted until 1736. And most craftily of all, they used grants of land and money to create a new class of wealthy religious aristocrats who owed everything to the state. Assisting in the downfall was the degradation of the power at the state level, thereby providing more authority to the … Why did the Safavid Empire collapse so easily? One of Shah Ismail's most important decisions was to declare that the state religion would be the form of Islam called Shi'ism, that at the time was completely foreign to Iranian culture. See how the Safavids carved out a mighty empire in Persia which rivaled the Mughals to the East and the Ottomans to the West. During this period, painting, metalwork, textiles and carpets reached new heights of perfection. At this point the Safavids were no longer militarily capable and that led to the collapse of the state. "There is this narrative of decline, a narrative of stasis strongly present in people's understanding - both Muslim and non-Muslim, Middle Eastern, westerner - of the Muslim world on the eve of colonialism. In specifically religious terms the Safavids not only persecuted Sunni Muslims, but Shi'ites with different views, and all other religions. It covered all of Iran, and parts of Turkey and Georgia, All other religions, and forms of Islam were suppressed, The Empire's economic strength came from its location on the trade routes, The capital, Isfahan, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, The Empire declined when it became complacent and corrupt. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. The army itself ceased to be reliable and began to loot and plunder the empire's inhabitants. It lasted from 1501 to 1722 and was strong enough to challenge the Ottomans in the west and the Mughals in the east. As the nature of the state became more Shia, persecution of minorities went up, but by and large there is a great deal of toleration. The Afghan Shahs controlled the state and foreign policy, and could levy taxes and make secular laws. They effectively give up war and an army that does that gets rusty. If they don't, well, God will take care of that but in the meantime, they pay higher taxes.". The Period of the Gunpowder Empires also known as the Era of the Islamic Gunpowders refers to the epoch of the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires from the 16th century to the 18th century. How to increase brand awareness through consistency; Dec. 11, 2020. "The Safavids were significant because they declared Shia as the state religion, which endures to this day. Internal corruption and poor leadership led to a steady decline until the empire was abolished and the country of Turkey was declared a republic in 1923. The Long Fall of the Safavid Dynasty 283 balance-of-trade deficit and an inflationary dynamic, and through the growing fiscal problems of the Safavid state and their impact on the social formation by the late 17th or early 18th century. Internal and External Factors Ushering the Decline of the Ottoman and Safavid Empires The Safavid Empire lost control as the country was overrun by Afghan tribes, according to Black (236). It ceased to expand and began to face economic competition from India and Europe. After the conquest a division of powers was agreed between the new Afghan Shahs and the Shi'a ulama. There had been, however, Shi'a communities in some cities like Qom and Sabzevar as early as eighth century. Many were attracted by the brotherhood's allegiance to Ali, and to the 'hidden Imam'. At one point, the empire stretched from the Caucasus to Afghanistan and the Safavids were one of the "gunpowder" empires, along with the Mughals and Ottomans. Its beautiful square, its mosques, its aura that is still visible today," says Matthee, a professor of history at the University of Delaware in the United States. Safavid history is rife with clashes and wars between the Shi'a Muslim Safavid Persians and the Sunni Ottoman Turks. But in the seventeenth century the Ottoman threat to the Safavids declined. Under Safavid rule eastern Persia became a great cultural centre. Bandit chiefs and feudal lords plundered it at will, further weakening the Empire, and people yearned for strong central rule and stability. Islam Project, Shah, The Empire Of The Safavid Empire 1427 Words | 6 Pages. Over the past months, the extremist group ISIL has rampaged through parts of Iraq and Syria, expelling minorities and often killing them. This was not entirely for love of beauty. The Safavid Empire was, for a time, one of the most important empires in the Muslim world, along with its neighbors, the Mughals and the Ottomans. Eṣfahān fell to the Ghilzai Afghans of Kandahār in 1722. What caused the Safavid empire and the Ottoman empire to decline? Learn about the Islamic empire. With Nadir Shah's death in 1747, the Safavid Empire fell apart. The Safavid Empire dates from the rule of Shah Ismail (ruled 1501-1524). He killed or blinded his ablest sons. Their patronage, which included opening royal workshops for artists, created a favourable climate for the development of art. from 6.30pm to 8pm and is open to the public. You don't chop off heads, you bring people in, you invite them to convert. They also reduced the importance of the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), replacing it with pilgrimage to Shi'ite shrines. This Islamic Empire was strong enough to challenge the Ottomans in the west and the Mughals in the east. Iran's predicament was part of a worldwide trend. India - India - The Mughal Empire, 1526–1761: The Mughal Empire at its zenith commanded resources unprecedented in Indian history and covered almost the entire subcontinent. Top 10 blogs in 2020 for remote teaching and learning; Dec. 11, 2020 With the overthrow of Shah Soltan Hosein (r. 1694 - 1722) by Mir Mahmud Hotaki, an Afghan warrior, in 1722 the Safavid Empire had come to a close. However by this period the Empire was disintegrating, and for the next two centuries it lay in decay. In the face of this, the argument that the West, and America in particular, is in decline has been put forward as one of the contributing reasons for this turmoil. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Ali eventually became the fourth caliph (or Imam, as Shiites call their leaders), but only after the two that preceded him had both been assassinated. Despite their demise in 1736, the legacy that they left behind was the revival of Iran as an economic stronghold … It is often considered the beginning of modern Iranian history, as well as one of the gunpowder empires. A 12 year old boy who conquered all Iran for the Safavids, became a religious tyrant. John Dennehy is deputy editor of The Review. "There is this narrative of decline, a narrative of stasis strongly present in people's understanding - both Muslim and non-Muslim, Middle Eastern, westerner - of the Muslim world on the eve of colonialism. Isma'il. The Safavids benefited from their geographical position at the centre of the trade routes of the ancient world. After the death of Shah ʿAbbās I (1629), the Safavid dynasty lasted for about a century, but, except for an interlude during the reign of Shah ʿAbbās II (1642–66), it was a period of decline. Some look back and think, what if things had gone a different way," says Stearns. The Safavid Empire was held together in the early years by conquering new territory, and then by the need to defend it from the neighbouring Ottoman Empire. he Decline and Fall of the Safavid Empire is at NYUAD. Shah Ismail was a poet and Shah Tahmasp a painter. One of the reasons for the Safavids' success was its harnessing of minorities - something that could be in danger of evaporating today. The Empire was founded by the Safavids, a Sufi order that goes back to Safi al-Din (1252-1334). In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the Safavid Empire began to disintegrate. In the 15th century the brotherhood became more militarily aggressive, and waged a jihad (Islamic holy war) against parts of what are now modern Turkey and Georgia. That's what we are trying to question." The Safavid brotherhood was originally a religious group. For art to succeed at this scale, patronage had to come from the top. In 1501, the Safavid Shahs declared independence when the Ottomans outlawed Shi'a Islam in their territory. Because Shi'ism was now a state religion, with major educational establishments devoted to it, its philosophy and theology developed greatly during the Safavid Empire. But the legacy lives on in the state that exists today and also in the culture of the Safavids - literature, architecture, art and poetry, seen particularly in Isfahan, a capital of the empire for a period. He was the founder of the Safavid Empire. "If you want to run an empire, the best possible way is to have unity through diversity. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so. References: Wiki entry on Safavid Dynasty; Shapour Ghassemi, History of Iran: Safavid Empire, 1502-1736 Although Babur was born in Ferghana (in modern day Uzbekistan), it was the accomplishments of direct ancestor, Timur, that inspired him to head south to invade the Indian subcontinent. Afghan forces sacked Isfahan which made the outcome was an impedement in tax collections and centralization. The Safavids were often artists themselves. 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This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. Safavid Iran or Safavid Persia (/ ˈ s æ f ə v ɪ d, ˈ s ɑː-/), also referred to as the Safavid Empire, was one of the greatest Iranian empires after the 7th-century Muslim conquest of Persia, ruled from 1501 to 1736 by the Safavid dynasty. The Safavids launched a vigorous campaign to convert what was then a predominantly Sunni population by persuasion and by force. Religious and political power were completely intertwined, and encapsulated in the person of the Shah. Nadir Shah was so cruel that one of his own troops assassinated him. The Safavid Empire long fought its two enemies - the Ottomans on the west and the Uzbeks on the east and naturally, that sucked out all the energy out … Alien shrines were vandalised, and Sufi mystic groups forbidden. Ayatollah Khomeini's challenge to the Shah's Royal authority confirmed a deep religious tradition in Iranian society and history. The Safavid Empire, based in Persia , ruled over much of southwestern Asia from 1501 to 1736. A few hundred years ago, people called it Persia, and it was a name they knew pretty well. When the Safavids came to power, Shah Ismail was proclaimed ruler at the age of 14 or 15, and by 1510 Ismail had conquered the whole of Iran. Finally, after fighting on the side of Germany in World War I and suffering defeat, the empire was dismantled by treaty and came to an end in 1922, when the … Much of the early art was devoted to celebrating the glories of the earlier Iranian kingdom, and thus, by implication, making legitimate the Safavids as that kingdom's current heirs. Decline The Ottoman Empire began to decline in the late 1600s. It is still possible to find history books that give a very precise answer to this question. The Safavid Empire was based in what is today Iran. The wealth from oil enabled him to head an opulent and corrupt court. 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