Rasul Ja`fariyan, Tārīkh tashayyuʻ dar Īrān az āghāz tā qarn haftum hijrī [History of Shiism in Persia: From the Beginning to the Seventh/ 14th Century], Tehran: Sazman Tablighat Islami, 1368 Sh/ 1989. 429 pp.
Tārīkh tashayyuʻ dar Īrān az āghāz tā qarn haftum hijrī [History of Shiism in Persia: From the Beginning to the Seventh/ 14th Century].
Text: Throughout history, one finds that certain religions or denominations are associated with special places or regions. Such is the case regarding the spread of Shiis and Shiism in Persia or this part of the Middle East. The present book is just one of the sources that highlights various relations that have existed between Persia and Shiism. Defined essentially as Islamic religious belief in the immediate successorship of the first Infallible Imam ʻAlī to the Prophet Muḥammad, Shiism has got a steady spread in Persia and the Middle East. The present book is an endeavor to study its various aspects.
Having defined Shiism in terms of politics, doctrines, and mere devotion to the Ahl al-Bayt, the book pays particular attention to the social backgrounds of the spread of Shiism in Persia. Its roots go back to the time when Persians sensed the fair and just treatments of the Ahl al-Bayt with non-Arab Muslims, hence their participation and presence in various cities of Iraq, e.g., Kufah and their participation in al-Mukhtār’s retaliation against the war criminals who committed the Karbala massacre that resulted in the tragic martyrdom of Imam al-Ḥusayn and his companions on Ashura in 61 AH/ 680. Due to the Persians’ being attached to the Ahl al-Bayt, they were present in the circles associated with the Infallible Imams.
Qum is among the earliest Persian cities where Shiism found its firm social basis due to the migration of Shiis from Medina and Kufa. It is therefore one of the reasons for so many of its religious scholars who have been very active in the spread of its doctrines in Persia.
Another powerful element in the spread of Shiism in Persia was the migration of the eighth Infallible Imam ʻAlī b. Mūsā “al-Riḍā”. His presence in Persia was followed by a wave of mass migration of sayyids from Hijaz and particularly Medina to Persia.
Focusing on Shiism, the book deals with the spread of Shii beliefs in various cities and regions in Persia. It deals with the spread of Shiis and Shiism in Khurāsān, Ṭabaristān, Ray, Bayhaq (Sabzivār), and other regions. In reaction to the tyranny of the Abbasids, and being away from the Arabic-speaking regions of the Muslim world, certain Persian Shii dynasties revolted and formed their own states. Among them the Ṣaffārids and the ʻAlīids in Ṭabaristān. Ismailis also some movements. Certainly, the Buyids were very powerful, for they captured Baghdad and deposed the Abbasids from their seats of power.
The Buyids made significant contributions to the formation of Shii states. They benefited from the presence of Shii ulema and insisted on holding Shii religious ceremonies on the anniversaries of Ashura and Ghadir.
The final pages of the book deals with the spread of Shiism in Baghdad and its fall due to the invasions of the Moghuls. At that time, Khwājah Naṣīr al-Dīn of Ṭūs was the renowned Shii figure in Iraq who lived in Baghdad. He rescued Baghdad from the mass bloodshed by the Moghuls and helped them to depose the last Abbasid caliph. In this way, he showed his sagacity and rescued Baghdad from their plague.
The book has useful indexes at the end, coupled with a bibliography of over 205 Arabic and Persian sources.