Sufis and Shiites

May 20 2015

or, Sasanians, Safavis and Sikhs

The history of the Safawis is one example of the historical phenomenon of a would-be universal church becoming militant and paying the penalty of military success by turning into a local state. Other examples are the transformation of the Zoroastrian Church into the Sasanian Empire, and the history of the Sikhs.

The Sufi mystical orders of Islam are mainly Sunni, but some have been influenced by, and adopted by, Ismailis and Twelvers (and Zaidis?). The founder of the Safavid dynasty in Persia, Shah Ismail I, came out of the Iranian Shiite Sufi order of Safaviyya. When he took power, Twelver Shiism became the Persian state religion.

But did Iranian Shiism carry any signs of its founder’s background? Sufism is not popular with the religious authorities in Iran today. For how long did the original order, which had become militant, survive Ismail?

The Sufi challenge to Iran’s clergy, at al-monitor.com.

Posts on Sufism at On an Overgrown Path, sorted by date and not only about music.

Perhaps Sufis will be leaders in the coming reform of Islam.

A Study of History, Vol I, OUP, 1934 (footnote)

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