Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sa'd ibn Mu'adh ibn al-Nu'man - Sa'id ibn Sultan

Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh ibn al-Nu‘man
Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh ibn al-Nu‘man (d. 627).  Contemporary of the Prophet.  He showed great zeal for the new faith and was appointed the Prophet’s deputy in Medina.  Mortally wounded, he decreed that all the men of the Banu Qurayza were to be put to death.

Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubada ibn Dulaym al-Khazraji
Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubada ibn Dulaym al-Khazraji (d. c. 636).  Contemporary of the Prophet.  He was one of the few people in the Arabia of his time who were able to write.  He played a role at al- ‘Aqaba, and at Uhud he tended the wounded Prophet.  He proved himself by great liberality.  At the Prophet’s death, he was proposed as his successor.  After Abu Bakr had received homage as Caliph, Sa‘d went to al-Hawran, where he died.

Sa‘dids (Sadites) (Saadis) (Bani Zaydan) (Banu Sa‘d).  Sharif dynasty of Sus in southern Morocco  (r.1544 [1554?]-1659).  Their main capitals were Marrakech and Fez.  The Banu Sad, who migrated from the Hijaz to the Daratal (southern Morocco) at the start of the 14th century.  After 1505, they extended through southern Morocco with the help of religious brotherhoods, fought against the ruling Wattasids, and became leaders in the defensive action against the Portuguese (occupation of Marrakech in 1525, conquest of Agadir in 1541 by the Portuguese, capture of Fez in 1549).  In 1554, Muhammad al-Sheikh (r. 1549-1557) toppled the Wattasids, secured Sadite rule with great harshness, and captured Tlemcen.  His son, Mulai Abdallah (r. 1557-1574), successfully averted the controlling influence of the Ottomans.  Next came conflicts between the pretenders.  In 1578, the Sadites annihilated the Portuguese at al-Qasr al-Kabir.  The political zenith came under the rule of Ahmad al-Mansur (r. 1578-1603), who secured economic prosperity and organized a state administration that would endure for centuries (the Makhzan system).  In 1603, division of the territory led to a decline in power and the off-shoot of an independent dynastic branch in Fez (r. 1610-1626).  In 1659, the last Sadite ruler was murdered and Morocco fell to the Alawids. The Sadites were replaced by the Filali Sharifs from Tafilalt.    

The Saadi Dynasty of Morocco (in English also Saadite or Saadian, original name Bani Zaydan), began with the reign of Sultan Mohammed ash-Sheikh in 1554. From 1509 to 1554 they had ruled only in the south of Morocco. The Saadian rule ended in 1659 with the end of the reign of Sultan Ahmad el Abbas. The Saadī family claimed descent from Muhammad through the line of Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatima Zahra (Muhammad's daughter). The Saadi came from Tagmadert in the valley of the Draa River. The family's village of origin in the Draa was Tidzi (some 10 kilometers north of Zagora). They claimed sharifian origins through an ancestor from Yanbu and rendered Sufism respectable in Magreb. The name Saadi or Saadian was given to the Bani Zaydan (shurafa of Tagmadert) by later generations and rivals for power, who tried to deny their Hassanid descent by claiming that they came from the family of Halimah Saadiyya, Muhammad's wet nurse. The most famous sultan of the Saadi was Ahmad al-Mansur (1578–1603), builder of the El Badi Palace in Marrakech and contemporary of Elizabeth I. One of their most important achievements was defeating the Portuguese at the Battle of Ksar El Kebir and defending the country against the Ottomans. Before they conquered Marrakech, they had Taroudant as their capital city.

The Saadi dynasty rulers were:

    * Abu Abdallah al-Qaim (1509-1517)
    * Ahmad al-Araj (1517-1544)
    * Mohammed ash-Sheikh (1544-1557) (ruling all of Morocco after 1554)
    * Abdallah al-Ghalib (1557–1574)
    * Abu Abdallah Mohammed II (1574–1576)
    * Abu Marwan Abd al-Malik I (1576–1578)
    * Ahmad al-Mansur (1578–1603)
    * Abou Fares Abdallah (1603–1608 in parts of Morocco)

1603-1659 the Saadian rulers of Morocco based in Marrakesh

    * Zidan Abu Maali (1603–1627)
    * Abu Marwan Abd al-Malik II (1627–1631)
    * Al Walid ibn Zidan (1631–1636)
    * Mohammed esh Sheikh es Seghir (1636–1655)
    * Ahmad el Abbas (1655–1659)

1603-1627 the Saadian rulers based in Fes (with only local power)

    * Mohammed esh Sheikh el Mamun (1604-1613)
    * Abdallah II (1613-1623)
    * Abd el Malek (1623-1627)

Sadites see Sa‘dids
Saadis see Sa‘dids
Bani Zaydan see Sa‘dids
Banu Sa'd see Sa‘dids

Sa‘d I ibn Zangi, ‘Izz al-Din Abu Shuja’
Sa‘d I ibn Zangi, ‘Izz al-Din Abu Shuja’ (‘Izz al-Din Abu Shuja’ Sa‘d I ibn Zangi).  Salghurid atabeg of Fars (r. 1203-1231).  He waged war with his cousin and predecessor Tughril ibn Sunqur during the latter’s reign (r.1194-1203).  Under his rule Fars enjoyed considerable prosperity, although he had to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Khwarazm-Shahs.
‘Izz al-Din Abu Shuja’ Sa‘d I ibn Zangi see Sa‘d I ibn Zangi, ‘Izz al-Din Abu Shuja’

Sa‘di, Shaykh Muslih al-Din
Sa‘di, Shaykh Muslih al-Din (Shaykh Muslih al-Din Sa‘di) (Musharrif al-Din bin Muslih Sa‘di) (Abu Muhammad Musharrif al-Din Muslih ibn Abd Allah Shirazi) (Sa'di) (Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī) (Musharrif al-Dīn ibn Muṣlih al-Dīn) (c.1213 – December 9, 1291).  One of the greatest of Persian poets.  His works have always been esteemed and much quoted in the Muslim world for their homely and practical wisdom.  Little is known for certain about his life, as the autobiographical references he makes in his writings can not all to be taken seriously.

Sa’di  was the pen name of Abu Muhammad Musharrif al-Din Muslih ibn Abd Allah Shirazi.  Sa‘di was one of the great poets of the world and truly the best and most multi-faceted author in Persian literature.  He is often refered to by his countrymen as Afsah al-Mutakallimin (“most eloquent of speakers”).  He was born in Shiraz to a family of religious scholars and received his earliest education from his father.  His father died while Sa‘di was still very young, and he continued his education under the direction of his maternal grandfather.  Sa‘di might have continued his education in Shiraz, then a major center of learning, had not political turmoil in 1224, when the province of Fars was ravaged by the forces of the Khwarazmshah, forced him to leave his home town for further study at the Nizamiyya college of Baghdad.  

Sa‘di’s teachers at the Nizamiyya included Jamal al-Din Abu al-Faraj ibn Yahya al-Jauzi, a lecturer at the Mustansariyya college in Baghdad, to whom Sa‘di refers in his Gulistan.  During the years that Sa‘di was studying in Baghdad, Iran was being severely ravaged by the Mongol hordes, who destroyed cities and massacred their populations.  In about 1227, rather than going back to Shiraz, Sa‘di embarked on a traveling adventure in the Middle East, visiting scholars, theologians, Sufi shaikhs, and other distinguished figures of the time.  

Sa‘di made several pilgrimages to Mecca (fourteen by one account) and, if a story in his Gulistan is to be taken as true, was taken captive by the Crusaders in Tripoli.  The stories of his visits to India and Central Asia are most probably fictitious.  

In 1257, Sa‘di was back in Shiraz, which, under the wise administration of the Salghurid atabegs, had managed to escape unscathed the destruction brought by the Mongols to the other parts of Iran.  He became attached to the court of Atabeg Abu Bakr ibn Sa’d and his son Sa’d.  Except for another pilgrimage to Mecca Sa‘di spent the remaining years of his life in peace in Shiraz, enjoying the great honor and esteem that he deservedly received as a sage and great poet from kings, noblemen, and commoners alike.  He died in Shiraz and was buried to the east of the modern town, where his mausoleum, the Sa‘diyya, now stands.  

The enormous respect and reputation that Sa‘di enjoyed during his lifetime only increased after his death and is unmatched by any other poet in the Persian language.  His own remark that his poetry was eagerly sought after like gold leaves is hardly an exaggeration.  His contemporary, Amir Khusrau, a great poet in his own right, felt embarrassed that he dared to write poetry in Sa‘di’s age.  His poetry was put to music in China only half a century after his death.  His impact on later poetry has been tremendous, and his prose marked a turning point in Persian literary style.  For centuries, his Bustan and Gulistan have been the standard textbooks for serious students of Persian.

Sa‘di’s works (known as the Kulliyyat) include the Sa’dinama, or Bustan (Orchard), completed in 1257, in ten versified chapters; Gulistan (Rose Garden), an entertaining book on practical wisdom in rhymed prose (in the form of anecdotes) interspersed with short poems (it was called the “Bible of the Persians” by Emerson); ghazals (lyrics); qasidas (odes, a few in Arabic); satires; and a few short pieces in prose.

In 1258, Sa‘di completed Gulistan (“The Rose Garden”).  Gulistan is a collection of gnomic anecdotes written in rhyming prose with verse passages interspersed.  Gulistan is also known as Sa‘di-nama.   Gulistan is a collection of poems on ethical subjects, the latter a collection of moral stories in prose.  

The rest of his life was spent at Shiraz, where his tomb is still revered.

Sa‘di was also a prolific writer of occasional verse -- panegyric, elegies, and lyrics (ghazals).  As the popularizer of the ghazal form, Sa‘di paved the way for Hafiz.   

Sa‘di also wrote a volume of odes, and collections of poems known as Pleasantries, Jests and Obscenities.  He is regarded as the master of the ghazal.  His influence on Persian, Turkish and Indian literature has been very considerable, and his works were often translated into European languages from the seventeenth century onwards.

byname of Musharrif al-Dīn ibn Muṣlih al-Dīn

born c. 1213, Shīrāz, Iran died Dec. 9, 1291, Shīrāz

Sa'di lost his father, Muṣliḥ al-Dīn, in early childhood. Later he was sent to study in Baghdad at the renowned Neẓāmīyeh College, where he acquired the traditional learning of Islam. The unsettled conditions following the Mongol invasion of Persia led him to wander abroad through Anatolia, Syria, Egypt, and Iraq. He refers in his work to travels in India and Central Asia, but these cannot be confirmed. He claimed that he was held captive by the Franks and put to work in the trenches of the fortress of Tripoli (now in Lebanon). However, this story, like many of his other “autobiographical” anecdotes, is considered highly suspect. When he returned to his native Shīrāz, he was middle-aged. He seems to have spent the rest of his life in Shīrāz.

Saʿdī took his nom de plume from the name of a local atabeg (prince), Saʿd ibn Zangī. Saʿdī’s best-known works are the Būstān (1257; The Orchard) and the Gulistān (1258; The Rose Garden). The Būstān is entirely in verse (epic meter) and consists of stories aptly illustrating the standard virtues recommended to Muslims (justice, liberality, modesty, contentment) as well as of reflections on the behavior of dervishes and their ecstatic practices. The Gulistān is mainly in prose and contains stories and personal anecdotes. The text is interspersed with a variety of short poems, containing aphorisms, advice, and humorous reflections. The morals preached in the Gulistān border on expediency—e.g., a well-intended lie is admitted to be preferable to a seditious truth. Saʿdī demonstrates a profound awareness of the absurdity of human existence. The fate of those who depend on the changeable moods of kings is contrasted with the freedom of the dervishes.

For Western students the Būstān and Gulistān have a special attraction; but Saʿdī is also remembered as a great panegyrist and lyricist and as the author of a number of masterly general odes portraying human experience and also of particular odes such as the lament on the fall of Baghdad after the Mongol invasion in 1258. His lyrics are to be found in Ghazalīyāt (“Lyrics”) and his odes in Qaṣāʿīd (“Odes”). Six prose treatises on various subjects are attributed to him. He is also known for a number of works in Arabic. The peculiar blend of human kindness and cynicism, humor, and resignation displayed in Saʿdī’s works, together with a tendency to avoid the hard dilemma, make him, to many, the most widely admired writer in the world of Iranian culture.

Shaykh Muslih al-Din Sa‘di see Sa‘di, Shaykh Muslih al-Din
Musharrif al-Din bin Muslih Sa‘di see Sa‘di, Shaykh Muslih al-Din
Abu Muhammad Musharrif al-Din Muslih ibn Abd Allah Shirazi see Sa‘di, Shaykh Muslih al-Din
Sa'di see Sa‘di, Shaykh Muslih al-Din
Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī see Sa‘di, Shaykh Muslih al-Din
Musharrif al-Dīn ibn Muṣlih al-Dīn see Sa‘di, Shaykh Muslih al-Din

Sa‘diyya (Jibawiyya).  Order of dervishes in Syria, named after Sa‘d al-Din al-Jibawi (d.1300).  The order spread to Turkey and Egypt, where in the nineteenth century the so-called dawsa ceremony was practised, in which the shaykh rode on horseback over the backs of the dervishes without allegedly inflicting any harm.  
Jibawiyya see Sa‘diyya

Sadji, Abdoulaye
Sadji, Abdoulaye (Abdoulaye Sadji) (b. 1910, Rufisque, Senegal - d. December 25, 1961, Dakar, Senegal) was a Senegalese writer.  Born in Rufisque, Senegal, he went to the Qur’anic schools until he was eleven, then to the French elementary school and finally to a teachers’ training college, obtaining his diploma in 1929.  In 1932, he obtained his baccalaureate.  He worked for radio, then became an inspector of elementary schools in Senegal.  He published a school reader with Leopold Senghor, La belle histoire de Leuk-le-Lievre (1953); and a novelette in Trois ecrivains noirs (1954) about Nini, a child of a mixed union.  His only full-length novel is Maimouna (1953), the story of a Senegalese woman.  He has also written a volume of tragic short stories, Tounka.Sadji shows a passionate love of country in his books, is at home in describing the violence and warmth of big-city life, and has an ability to portray women unequalled by any other African writer.

Abdoulaye Sadji was a Senegalese writer and teacher. The son of a Muslim priest, a marabout, Sadji was educated in a Quranic school. In the 1950's, Sadji worked for a radio station in Dakar, and together with Léopold Sédar Senghor he wrote a reading-book for the elementary school.

Sadji published two novels, Maïmouna: petite fille noire (1953) and Nini, mulâtresse du Sénégal (1954), along with a number of short stories, of which "Tounka" (1952) and "Modou-Fatim" (1960) are the most well-known. His works often revolve around young girls from the countryside who are trying to adapt to a life in the city.

Sadji was a Senegalese writer and teacher who was one of the founders of African prose fiction in French. Sadji was the son of a marabout (Muslim holy man) and attended Qurʾānic school before entering the colonial school system. He was graduated from the William Ponty teacher training college in 1929 and took a bachelor’s degree three years later.

His early writings appeared locally in the 1940s. The story “Tounka,” which dealt with the original migrations that had brought Sadji’s people to the sea, later became the title story for a book of short stories, Tounka, nouvelle (1965; Tounka, a Novella). A determination to preserve traditional oral lore was also at work in La Belle Histoire de Leuk-le-Lièvre (1953; “The Splendid History of Leuk-the-Hare”), which he co-authored with Léopold Senghor.

Sadji’s two novels—Maïmouna: petite fille noire (1953; “Maïmouna: Little Black Girl”) and Nini, mulâtresse du Sénégal (1954; “Nini, Mulatress of Senegal”)—focus on heroines who become victims of urban society. These works are filled with shrewd observations and warm compassion for the writer’s fellow Africans.

Sadji’s last piece of fiction, which many also regard as his best, is a 50-page story entitled “Modou-Fatim” (1960), in which he describes the plight of a peasant who has to leave his land during the dry season to work in Dakar.
Abdoulaye Sadji see Sadji, Abdoulaye

Sadr. Originally an Arabic honorific, sadr has been used informally since at least the tenth century to denote a prominent member of the ‘ulama’ (community of religious scholars).  It became a more institutionalized title in the late eleventh century, particularly in Islamic Central Asia and Iran.  The title became hereditary in certain influential learned families, hence the survival of Sadr as a surname, particularly among Twelver Shi‘a Muslims.  The title, however, was not originally confined to Shi‘a scholars.  Indeed, it seems to have first emerged in Sunni Hanafi circles, as in, for example, the Al-i Burhan family of Bukhara whose leader was first invested under the Seljuks (c. 1105) with the title sadr al-sudur (chief sadr) -- a position with religious, fiscal, and political aspects.

Sadr as an official religious or political title occurs with significant variation according to regime and period, particularly in late medieval and early modern Iran, India, and Turkey.  In early Mughal India, qadis (judges) often held the title of sadr, while the sadr al-sudur, initially the chief spokesman of the ‘ulama’, was the chief qadi and head of the judiciary, often with extraordinary powers.  The emperor Akbar’s appointment of six provincial sadrs (c.1581) was probably an attempt to curb the centralized authority of the sadr al-sudur. In Iran, the sadr, already an important religious dignitary under the fifteenth-century Timurid dynasty, was made a political appointee by the first Safavid ruler, Isma‘il I (r.1502-1524), with the double aim of ensuring legitimacy for the new regime and controlling the religious establishment.  Thus, the sadr’s political influence under the early Safavids was soon curtailed and his role eventually limited to supervision of the waqfs (religious endowments), with some juridical duties.  The sadarah (office of sadr) was further weakened by its division into two positions around 1666 that were subordinate to the newly created divanbagi to whose decisions the two sadrs gave religious sanction.  Eventually the sadr’s role in the Safavid polity was eclipsed by that of shaykh al-islam and the new position of the mullabashi (chief mullah).

Meanwhile, under the nineteenth century Ottoman Tanzimat (period of reform), the two kazasker (chief judges), who had already come under the jurisdiction of the grand mufti of Istanbul, where given the titles of sadri Rumeli and sadri Anadolu, while other chief qadis were also known by the title of sadr.   The title sadr was by no means limited to religious dignitaries, since the chief minister in Safavid and Qajar Iran and in Ottoman Turkey held the title of sadri azam (grand vizier).

The decline of the sadarah as an influential religious institution in Mughal India, Safavid Iran, and Ottoman Turkey, reflects the policies of Muslim rulers.  Such rulers sought the legitimacy flowing from the religious establishment, they transformed the ‘ulama’ into official functionaries deprived of economic independence and the respect and support of their less worldly colleagues and the wider Muslim community.  This might explain the eventual rise of independent and more “authentic” ‘ulama’ (e.g., mujtahids in Iran) capable of criticizing the rulers.

Sadr-i a‘zam
Sadr-i a‘zam (Vezir-i Azam) (Vazir-e Azam) (Sadr-i Azam) (Serdar-i Ekrem).  Arabic-Turkish term which means “grand vizier.”

The Sadr-ı Azam, was the greatest minister of the Sultan, with absolute power of attorney and, in principle, was dismissible only by the Sultan himself. He held the imperial seal and could convene all other viziers to attend to affairs of the state. The viziers in conference were called "Kubbealtı viziers" in reference to their meeting place, the Kubbealtı ('under the dome') in Topkapı Palace. His offices were located at the Sublime Porte. "Grand Vizier" (Vazīr-e Azam) is also the official Urdu title of the Pakistani Prime Minister.

During the nascent phases of the Ottoman state, "Vizier" was the only title used. The first of these Ottoman Viziers who was titled "Grand Vizier" was Çandarlı Kara Halil Hayreddin Pasha. The purpose in instituting the title "Grand Vizier" was to distinguish the holder of the Sultan's seal from other viziers. The initially more frequently used title of vezir-i âzam was gradually replaced by sadrazam, both meaning grand vizier in practice. Throughout Ottoman history, the grand viziers have also been termed sadr-ı âlî ('high vizier'), vekil-i mutlak ('absolute attorney'), sâhib-i devlet ('holder of the state'), serdar-ı ekrem, serdar-ı azam and zât-ı âsafî ('vizieral person').

In the Köprülü Era (1656–1703) the Empire was controlled by a series of powerful grand viziers. The relative ineffectiveness of the sultans and the diffusion of power to lower levels of the government was a feature of the Köprülü Era.

After the Tanzimat period of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, the grand viziers came to assume a role more like that of the prime ministers of contemporary Western monarchies.
Vezir-i Azam see Sadr-i a‘zam
Sadr-i Azam see Sadr-i a‘zam
Serdar-i Ekrem see Sadr-i a‘zam
Grand Vizier see Sadr-i a‘zam
Vazir-e Azam see Sadr-i a‘zam

Sadr, Muhammad Baqir al-
Sadr, Muhammad Baqir al- (Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr) (Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr) (b. March 1, 1935, al-Kazimiya, Iraq - d. April 9, 1980,  Baghdad, Iraq).  Innovative and influential Iraqi Islamic thinker and political leader.  An important figure not only in Iraq but also  in the Shi‘a world, and indeed in the Muslim world at large, Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was both a prominent scholar of Islamic law and its contemporary applications and a political leader whose writ transcended his native country to reach Iran and the rest of Southwest Asia.

Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr’s production is probably the most varied for a Muslim author of the twentieth century.  Sadr wrote books on philosophy, Qur’anic interpretation, logic, education, constitutional law, economics, interest-free banking, as well as more traditional works of usul al-fiqh (principles of Islamic jurisprudence), compilations of devotional rites, commentaries on prayers, and historical investigations into early Sunni-Shi‘a controversies.

As an innovative thinker on the issue of the desired shape and structure of a contemporary Muslim society, his most important work, which established his fame early on in his career, is a book on Islamic economics, which was published in two volumes in 1959-1961.  This book, iqtisaduna (Our Economics), probably remains the most scholarly twentieth-century study of Islamic economics as an alternative ideological system to capitalism and communism.

Methodologically, in Iqtisaduna, Sadr acknowledges that there is no scientific discipline in Islam which can be identified as economics and that the main elements in the approach to an Islamic economy must be derived from what he calls “the legal superstructure.”  The resultant process leads to the well-known operation of ijtihad, which is understood by Sadr in its wider definition as an intellectual endeavor into the law and jurisprudence of classical Islam and is consequently acknowledged as an exercise which is prone to human error.  For Sadr, “Islamic economics is not a science” and will only stand as an original and serious discipline after a long process of legal discovery.  Only after this research can one speak of an original Islamic discipline of economics, in which the moral imperative derived from the law is clear but in which, also, there is a difficult and patient scholarly investigation into the riches of the classical fiqh (jurisprudence) tradition.

From a substantive point of view, Sadr introduces in Iqtisaduna a detailed critique of Marxist socialism and Western capitalism before proceeding with the presentation of his alternative system.  Because of the particular strength of communist ideology in Iraq at the time Iqtisaduna was composed, the book is devoted primarily to refuting various brands of Marxist socialism.  Against capitalism, Sadr’s arguments rest on the usual criticism of the hollowness of the concept of liberty when applied to unequal parties in economic exchange.  Against socialism, Sadr develops a long-winded and informed argument demonstrating the fallacies of Marxist periodization of history, its overemphasis on the class struggle, and its unrealistic prescriptions against the basic (and natural) instincts of economic self-interest in mankind.  Then, Islamic economics as a discipline is introduced by a series of principles, mostly of a methodological nature, which the author follows with a dirigiste (i.e., involving extensive state intervention) and generally egalitarian reading of the concept of property in a predominantly agricultural context.

Without going into the intricacies of his theory of landed property, Sadr’s thesis can be presented as a call for the state’s systematic intervention to ensure that land ownership depends as directly as possible on the actual laborer who works on it.  The central concept of labor in Iqtisaduna requires an interventionist operation of the ruler (called in that book wali al-amr), who combines two tools to redress “the social balance”; one is the guidance of legal principles of property which connect ownership of land and means of production with labor.  The other is “need,” and the state is free, according to Sadr, to fill in the discretionary area with adequate measures in order to suppress what Sadr did not shy from calling, on the eve of the Iranian Revolution two decades later, “the exploitation of man by man.”

Beyond these general principles, Sadr elaborately develops the guiding rules to property within the frame of what he calls “distribution in the phase that precedes production.”  Both in this phase and in the actual productive process, the most original dimension of Iqtisaduna appears in the method of discovering Islamic economics.  By quoting classical jurists of the fiqh tradition, Sadr engages the field with the most serious such investigation among Muslim authors in the twentieth century, by basing it on the legal books of a millennium old legal tradition.

The detour through classical law is also Sadr’s path to a lengthy treatise on Islamic banking.  Here again, he is a forerunner in a field which has become, a decade after his Interest Free Bank was published in 1969, fashionable and controversial.  Islamic finance is premised on a narrow interpretation of the ban on riba (a word which for Sadr means interest), which has led Islamic banks to creat operations allowing access to their coffers by depositors, in return for the bank’s pooling these resources for investment operations that do not bear a predetermined and fixed rate of return.

The system devised by Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr needs to be appraised against the common practice of present-day Islamic institutions.  If a deposit invested by an Islamic bank in a successful venture is profitable, the depositor and the bank (as entrepreneur) will share the profit according to a predetermined rate -- for example, a 50-50 or 60-40 split.  But the endeavor can also be a total failure, eating up the deposit as capital.  In this case, under the classical contract of mudarabah, which is also known as commenda, or partnership for profit and loss, the depositor has no recourse against the bank in normal circumstances.

Under classical Islamic law, mudarabah operates as a two-party contract, with the agent-entrepreneur endeavoring to make money entrusted to him by the owner of capital.  The operations of a modern Western bank, in contradistinction, involve as a matter of course three parties: the depositors, the bank, and the borrowers.  The answers of present-day Islamic banks, although based in theory on the idea of mudarabah, have to square the original two-party contract of mudarabah with three parties.  They sever the tripartite relationship by fictitiously considering the operation to consist of a double contract entered into by the bank on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the depositor and the borrower as separate parties.  In the first contract, the depositor would be the owner of capital, and the bank the agent-entrepreneur.  In the second contract, the bank would be the owner of capital, and the borrower the agent-entrepreneur.

Sadr has a more original and elaborate scheme in his book, Interest-Free Bank.  He considers that the bank is actually only a mediator to a single mudarabah contract between the pool of depositors and the pool of entrepreneurs.  He goes on to elaborate on the rights and duties of each of the three parties and to provide interesting, if not altogether convincing, arithmetic formulas to assess the rate of profit and the resulting shares in the profits and losses of the three parties to the operation.

Beyond the rearrangements of contracts to avoid interest, the problem facing theoreticians and practitioners of Islamic banking can be summed up in the crucial question, can a bank refuse to tie itself down to a fixed interest rate offered to its depositors while guaranteeing the safety of these deposits?  For present day Islamic banks, the answer is generally negative.  Guarantees on deposits cannot be offered, as the bank operates on the basis of a partnership for profit and loss.  Sadr, in the main, partakes of this idea, although he seems to be inclined, in a treatise written ten years after his Interest-Free Bank, to acknowledge the necessity of preserving the depositor’s capital, even if the venture it is used for is lost.

A third area of innovation in Sadr’s thought is related to the concept of an Islamic state: how would the constitution of such a state be conceived in theory and practice?  Here, the influence of Sadr on the Iranian Revolution was remarkable, and there is an identifiable thread from his 1979 treatise on the subject to the constitution passed in the Islamic Republic of Iran a few months later.

The thrust of Sadr’s idea appears in a two-tier separation of powers and in the Iranian Constitution: onto the traditional separation of powers between the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial powers) was grafted an Islamic scheme which is derived from a combination of Shi‘a features of scholarship and the representation of the Platonic figure of the philosopher-king in the form of a jurist.  The guardian of the city became the classical faqih (a jurisprudent), hence the concept of wilayat al-faqih (guardianship of the jurisconsult), which Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989) had adumbrated in his Najaf classes of 1970 and which was brought into a more-precise constitutional rendering by Sadr in 1979.  As for the Shi‘a imprint, it was obvious in the remodeling of the elaborate marja‘iyah system in modern Shi‘a society, which recognizes a power of guidance at large to the most learned jurists of the tradition.  These are called marja’s (“reference”) represented by the top mujtahids (those who practice ijtihad, or ‘ulama’ [scholars]) in the clerical system known for this reason as marja‘iyah.  In the Western world, the better known word which stands for marja’ is ayatollah (in Arabic, ayat allah).  

But whether in Sadr’s system or in the Iranian Constitution, the power of the ayatollahs was brought into the Islamic state alongside more Western type offices, such as a president and parliamentarians who are elected under universal suffrage.  The Iranian system has struggled with the two-tier separation of powers since its inception, although the inevitable tug-of-war had been best described, on the eve of the revolution, by Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr.

Considering the influence of his ideas in the Shi‘a milieu at large, it is not surprising to see the title of Sadr in 1979-1980 turning into the “Khomeini of Iraq.”  The sobriquet came as the result of a slow assertion of his leadership, first on the scholarly level and then directly on the political scene.  Sadr, who ws born in 1935, showed early signs of intellectual superiority.  His father, who died when he was very young, was, like his older brother and uncles, versed in traditional legal scholarship.  Sadr grew up in the southern Holy City of Najaf in an Iraqi world which was witnessing a combination of mistrust toward a system perceived as corrupt and prone to Western influence and domination and a sharp rise in radical doctrines, most remarkably Ba‘thism and communism.

It is against the tidal wave of communism that the ‘ulama’ of Najaf, Sadr’s seniors, were most exercised when the monarchy was overturned in 1958.  But it was the Ba‘th party which proved to be their most terrible nemesis.  Sadr had countered the communist appeal by trying to expound a rational Islamic system, including such arcane topics as philosophy, banking, and economics.  His more direct political appeal can be traced back to the early and mid-1960s, in small circles of militant ‘ulama’ who proved extremely influential across the Shi‘a world in the 1980s.  With the accession of the Ba‘th party of Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr and Saddam Hussein to power in the summer of 1968, the relatively sheltered world of the schools of law and ‘ulama’ in Najaf came directly under attack by a massive system of absolute repression which was combined with an increased “Sunnization” of the regime in Baghdad.  Then started a cycle of repression which culminated, inside Iraq in 1980, in the execution of Sadr and his sister and, outside Iraq, in an all-out war against Iran.

The development of the antagonism between Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad and Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr’s Najaf between 1968 and 1980 has yet to be fully chronicled, but the occasion of ‘Ashura’ (the yearly mourning day for the martyred Imam Husayn in 680) proved often to be violent.  Especially in 1974 and in 1977, and more abruptly after the accession of Khomeini to power in February 1979, the antagonism flared up in full-fledged rioting. It was reported that already during the 1977 riots, the security agents of the Ba’thist government would question those detained about their relationship with Sadr.  Later, after Sadr was clearly turning into a major threat to the government, the rulers of Iraq moved directly to curb his activities and influence.

Sadr was arrested several times through the 1970s, but in June 1979, as he was reportedly getting ready to lead an Iraqi delegation to congratulate Khomeini in Tehran, he was forbidden to leave his home in Najaf.  The tension continued to rise, until grenade attacks against leading Ba‘thists in Baghdad led to the removal of Sadr from Najaf on the evening of April 5, 1980.  He and his sister Bint al-Huda were taken to Baghdad, where it is believed that they were killed on April 8.

In the last years of his life, Sadr had tried to take advantage of the Shi‘a network to strengthen his appeal, but the organization was not sufficiently and effectively structured, and the government had been alerted by the success of the Iranian precedent.  But his death marked the real beginning for the dissemination of his influence across the Middle East, in the midst of a confrontation between Tehran and Baghdad which turned into the bloodiest war in the Middle East of the twentieth century.

In Iran, both the debates on constitutional law and economics and banking saw the mark of Sadr’s reasoning.  In Iraq, Pakistan, and Lebanon, the Najaf network of Sadr’s companions and students produced several leaders to whom the Shi‘a community looked up.  But the intellectual influence of Sadr can also be seen in other areas of the Middle East, where his thought was received despite the skepticism of a Sunni world toward Shi‘a legal scholarship.  In Egypt and Jordan, his books were taught in universities, and critical works were published.  In Algeria, where the Islamic movement lacked an original thinker to rest its views on, Iqtisaduna’s concepts could be found in the literature of the Front Islamique du Salut (FIS).

It is, however, in Iraq that Sadr will be remembered first and foremost.  For a few days after the Gulf War, in March 1991, as Najaf was freed from Ba‘thist rule, Sadr’s pictures were paraded in his native city.  The government of Saddam Hussein regained brutal control immediately afterward.  However, whatever the future of central rule in Baghdad, it is only a matter of time before Sadr gains the respect of all Iraqis for a legacy with which they may or may not agree from an ideological point of view, but which can only be acknowledged as formidable in modern Islamic thought.

Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr see Sadr, Muhammad Baqir al-
Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr see Sadr, Muhammad Baqir al-

Sadr, Musa al-
Sadr, Musa al- (Musa al-Sadr) (Mūsá aṣ-Ṣadr) (Musa-ye Sader) (Moussa Sadr) (1929-disappeared in 1978).  Iranian born Shi‘a cleric of Lebanese descent who made an indelible mark on the Lebanese political scene.  Musa al-Sadr is one of the most intriguing and fascinating political personalities to have appeared in the modern Middle East.  He was an ambitious but tolerant man whose controversial career had an enormous impact on the Shi‘a Muslim community of Lebanon.  His admirers describe him as a man of vision, political acumen, and profound compassion, while his detractors remember him as a deceitful, manipulative political chameleon.  Musa al-Sadr was a towering presence in Lebanon’s political history (literally as well as figuratively, as he was well over six feet tall).  Though he disappeared in 1978, he still inspires his followers and troubles his enemies in Lebanon.

Sadr was born in Qom, Iran, in 1928, the son of Ayatollah Sadr al-Din Sadr, an important Shi‘a Muslim mujtahid (a Shi‘a jurisprudent qualified to make independent interpretations of law and theology).  In Qom, he attended primary and secondary school, and a Shi‘a seminary, and then he went on to Tehran University, where he matriculated into the School of Political Economy and Law of Tehran University, the first mujtahid to do so.  He did not intend to pursue a career as a cleric, but on the urging of his father he discarded his secular ambitions and agreed to continue an education in fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence).  One year after his father’s death in 1953, he moved to Najaf, Iraq, where he studied under Ayatollahs Muhsin al-Hakim and ‘Abd al-Qasim Khu’i (Abol-Qasem Kho’i).  

He first visited Lebanon, which was his ancestral home, in 1957.  During this visit he made a very positive impression on the Lebanese Shi‘a, including his relative al-Sayyid ‘Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din, the Shi‘a religious leader of the southern Lebanese coastal city of Tyre.  Following the death of Sharaf al-Din in 1957, he was invited to become the senior Shi‘a religious authority in Tyre.  Initially he spurned the invitation, but the urgings of his mentor Ayatollah al-Hakim proved persuasive.  In 1960, he moved to Tyre.  In 1963, he was granted Lebanese citizenship, an early mark of his looming influence in Lebanon.  Although he was a man of Qom, he understood Lebanon and the fundamental need for compromise in a land of sects, insecurity, and long memories.  He emphasized ecumenicalism.  His was an assertiveness laced with empathy.

One of his first significant acts was the establishment of a vocational institute in the southern town of Burj al-Shimali (near Tyre), where Shi‘a youths could gain the training that would allow them to escape the privation which marked their community.  The institute would become an important symbol of Musa al-Sadr’s leadership.  It is still in operation -- now bearing his name -- and provides vocational training for about five hundred orphans under the supervision of Sadr’s strong-willed sister Rabab (who is married to a member of the important Sharaf al-Din family of Tyre).

A man of keen intelligence, widely noted personal charm, and enormous energy, Sadr attracted a wide array of supporters, ranging from Shi‘a merchants making their fortunes in West Africa to petit-bourgeois youth.  The Shi‘a migrants to West Africa, who had fled the poverty of Lebanon to seek their fortunes, proved to be an important source of financial support for Musa al-Sadr.  Many of these men had done very well, and they were attracted to a man who promised to challenge the old system that had humiliated them and denied them a political voice.  If there is an Arabic equivalent of “charisma,” it is haybah -- a word that describes the dignified presence and allure of this man from faraway Qom and Najaf.

Imam Musa -- as he came to be called by his followers -- set out to establish himself as the paramount leader of the Lebanese Shi‘a community, noted at the time for its poverty and general underdevelopment.  He helped to fill a yawning leadership void which resulted from the growing inability of the za‘ims (traditional political bosses) to meet the cascading needs of their clients.  From the 1960s onward, the Shi‘ah had experienced rapid social change and economic disruption, and the old village based patronage system, which presumed the underdevelopment and the apathy of the clients, was proving an anachronism.

Musa al-Sadr was able to stand above a fragmented and often victimized community and see it as a whole.  Through his organizational innovations, his speeches, and his personal example, he succeeded in giving many Shi‘as an inclusive communal identity.  Furthermore, he reminded his followers that their deprivation was not to be fatalistically accepted, for so long as they could speak out through their religion, they could overcome their condition.  He once observed, “whenever the poor involve themselves in a social revolution it is a confirmation that injustice is not predestined.”

He shrewdly recognized that his power lay in part in his role as a custodian of religious symbols.  He used the central myths of Shi‘ism, especially the martyrdom of Imam Husayn at Karbala thirteen centuries earlier, to spur his followers.  The day of martyrdom is called ‘Ashura’, and it was a frequent motif of Sadr.  The following excerpt from one of his speeches was reported by the newspaper Al-hayah on February 1, 1974: “This revolution did not die in the sands of Karbala, it flowed into the life stream of the Islamic world, and passed from generation to generation, even to our day.  It is a deposit placed in our hands so that we may profit from it, that we extract from it a new source of reform, a new position, a new movement, a new revolution, to repel the darkness, to stop tyranny and to pulverize evil.”

The record of his political alliances shows that Musa al-Sadr was -- above all else -- a pragmatist.  It is both a tribute to his political skill and a commentary on his tactics that well-informed Lebanese should have commented that nobody knew where Imam Musa stood.  According to reliable reports, Musa was friendly with both King Hussein of Jordan and President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt, and he traveled regularly throughout the Arab world and Europe.

His followers today often characterize him as a vociferous critic of the shah of Iran, but it was only after the October War of 1973, when Iran supported Israel against the Arabs, that his relations with the shah deteriorated.  In the autumn of 1973, he accused the shah of suppressing religion in Iran, denounced him for his pro-Israel stance, and described him as an “imperialist stooge.”  Although his Iranian citizenship was soon revoked, for more than a decade he had maintained close, even cordial, ties with the Pahlavi regime, and it seems that the shah provided financial subsidies to Imam Musa and his Iraqi cousin, the learned Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr.

Musa al-Sadr was a strong supporter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.  Indeed, the last article he published was a polemic in Le Monde (August 23, 1978), castigating the shah and and paraising Khomeini.  Yet, Sadr’s vision of Shi‘ism was more moderate, more humanistic than Khomeini’s.  He was a friend of ‘Ali Shari‘ati (d. 1977), the writer who propounded a liberal, modernist Shi‘ism and thereby inspired many opponents of the shah (including, the Mujahidin-i Khalq, the organization that has proved to be the staunchest opponent of the Islamic Republic regime.  Musa al-Sadr’s admiration for Shari‘ati was rooted in the intellectual’s commitment to confront tyranny and injustice through the renovation of Shi‘ism, rather than through the rejection of faith.  In Iran, Shari‘ati’s ideological message, with its stress on humanism, anti-imperialism, and self-reliance, appealed to the educated classes; while his emphasis on the martyrdom of Husayn as a revolutionary exemplar appealed across socioeconomic lines.  Absent from Shari‘ati’s writings and lectures was the vengefulness, the anger, and the intolerance that marked Iran’s post-shah rulers.  Many observers suspect that al-Sadr would have moderated the course of the revolution in Iran, if he had not been consumed by it.

Like the Maronite Christians, the Shi‘is are a minority in a predominantly Sunni Muslim Arab world, and for both sects Lebanon is a refuge in which sectarian identity and security can be preserved.  Al-Sadr’s message to the Maronites in the period before the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1976 was a combination of muted threat and impassioned egalitarianism.  In his ecumenical sermons to Christian congregations, he won many admirers among his listeners.  He was said to be the first Shi‘a mujtahid to visit the Maronite patriarch in his bastion in Bkerke.  Many Maronites, not surprisingly, saw a natural ally in Imam Musa.  He was a reformer, not a revolutionary, and he sought the betterment of the Shi‘a in a Lebanese context.  He often noted, “For us Lebanon is one definitive homeland.”  The covenant or pact of the Movement of the Deprived, which al-Sadr wrote in 1974, emphasizes that the movement “adheres to the principles of national sovereignty, the indivisibility of the motherland, and the integrity of her soil.”

Musa al-Sadr recognized the insecurity of the Maronites, and he acknowledged their need to maintain their monopoly hold on the presidency.  Yet he was critical of the Maronites for their arrogant stance toward the Muslims, and particularly the Shi‘as.  He argued that the Maronite-dominated government had neglected the south, where as many as fifty percent (50%) of the Shi‘as lived, since independence, and had made the Shi‘as a disinherited class in Lebanon.  Quoting from the Qur’an, he often reminded his listeners that “He who sleeps while having a needy neighbor is not considered a believer.”

He was anti-communist, one suspects not only on principled grounds but because the various communist organizations were among his prime competitors for Shi‘a recruits.  He claimed to reject ideologies of the right and the left, noting that “we are neither of the right nor the left, but we follow the party of the just [al-sirat al-mustaqim].”  Yet when the two branches of the Ba‘th party (pro-Iraqi and pro-Syrian) were making significant inroads among the Shi‘as of the south and the Beirut suburbs, he appropriated their Pan-Arab slogans.

Although the movement he founded, Harakat al-Mahrumin (Movement of the Deprived), was aligned with the Lebanese National Movement (LNM) in the early stages of the Lebanese civil war Imam Musa found the LNM’s Druze leader, Kamal Jumblatt, irresponsible and exploitative of the Shi‘as.  As he once noted, the LNM was willing “to combat the Christians to the last Shi‘a.” According to Karim Bakraduni, a thoughtful militia figure, al-Sadr imputed to Jumblatt the prolongation of the war.

After the 1970 defeat of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Jordan, the bulk of the PLO fighters relocated to south Lebanon where they proceeded to supplant the legitimate authorities.  For their part, some PLO officials believed that Musa al-Sadr was a creation of the army’s Deuxieme Bureau (the Second [or intelligence] Bureau), or the CIA.  Imam Musa prophetically warned the PLO that it was not in its interests to establish a state within a state in Lebanon.  After he was gone, Shi‘a militiamen invoking his memory fought pitched battles with the PLO and its Lebanese allies, applauded the defeat of the fida’i at the hands of Israel in 1982, laid siege to their camps in 1985, and pledged never to permit the re-creation of the Palestinian state-within-a-state in Lebanon.  

In 1967, the Chamber of Deputies (the Lebanese parliament) passed a law establishing a Supreme Islamic Shi‘a Council (SISC), which would for the first time provide a representative body for the Shi‘as independent of the Sunni Muslims.  The council actually came into existence in 1969, with Imam Musa as its chairman for a six year term -- a stunning confirmation of his status as the leading Shi‘a cleric in the country, and certainly one of the most important political figures in the Shi‘a community. The council quickly made itself heard with demands in the military, social, economic, and political realms, including: improved measures for the defense of the South, the provision of development funds, construction and improvement of schools and hospitals, and an increase in the number of Shi‘as appointed to senior government positions.  The SISC quickly became a locus of action for the Shi‘a intelligentsia, the emerging middle class, as well as many of the traditional elites.

One year after the formation of the SISC, and following a string of bloody Israeli incursions and bombardments, Musa al-Sadr organized a general strike “to dramatize to the government the plight of the population of southern Lebanon vis-a-vis the Israeli military threat.”  Shortly thereafter, the government created the Council of the South (Majlis al-Janub) which was capitalized at 30 million Lebanese pounds and was chartered to support the development of the region.  Unfortunately, the Majlis al-Janub reputedly became more famous as a cockpit of corruption than as a fount of worthwhile projects.  

Kamil al-As‘ad, the powerful Shi‘a political boss from the south, quite accurately viewed al-Sadr as a serious threat to his political power base and opposed him at almost every move.  For Musa al-Sadr and his followers, al-As‘ad was the epitome of all that was wrong with the za‘im system.  Although the creation of the Council of the South was a victory for al-Sadr, it was the formidable al-As‘ad who dominated its operation.

On March 17, 1974, the arba‘in -- the fortieth day after ‘Ashura’ -- Mus al-Sadr was in the Bekaa (Biqa’) Valley city of Baalbek at a now famous gathering.  Standing before an estimated crowd of 75,000, Imam Musa declared the launching of the Harakat al-Mahrumin.  He ranged over Shi‘a grievances -- poor schools, non-existent public services,

governmental neglect -- and vowed to struggle relentlessly until the social grievances of the deprived were satisfactorily addressed by the government.  He recalled that a Kufan judge had accused Imam Husayn of straying from the way of his grandfather, the Prophet, and noted that he too was now accused of abandoning his grandfather’s way.  But he refused to relegate himself to a life of quiet scholarship and prayer:

"The rulers say that the men of religion must only pray and not meddle in other things.  They exhort us to fast and to pray for them so thatthe foundations of their reign will not be shaken, while they move away from religion and exploit it to hold on to their seats of power .... [Those in power] are the infidel of the infidels and the most atheist of the atheists.  They want us to give ourselves up to them."

Just one year later, al-Sadr’s efforts were overtaken by the onset of civil war in Lebanon.  By July 1975, it became known that a militia adjunct to Harakat al-Mahrumin had been formed.  The militia, Afwaj al-Muqawamah al-Lubnaniyah (the Lebanese Resistance Detachments), better known by the acronym AMAL (which also means “hope”), was initially trained by al-Fatah (the largest organization in the PLO) and it played a minor role in the fighting of 1975 and 1976.  Musa al-Sadr’s movement was affiliated with the LNM and its PLO allies during the first year of the civil war, but it broke with them when the Syrians intervened in June 1976 to prevent the defeat of the Maronite dominated Lebanese Front.

Impressive as Imam Musa’s influence was, it is important not to exaggerate his impact in terms of the political mobilization of the Shi‘as.  The multi-confessional parties and militias attracted the majority of Shi‘a recruits and many more Shi‘as carried arms under the colors of these organizations than under Amal’s.  Even in war the Shi‘as suffered disproportionately; by a large measure they incurred more casualties than any other sect in Lebanon.  Perhaps the single most important success achieved by al-Sadr was the reduction of the authority and the influence of the traditional Shi‘a elites, but it was the civil war, and the associated growth of extralegal organizations, that conclusively rendered these personalities increasingly irrelevant in the Lebanese political system.

Despite his occasionally vehement histrionics, Musa al-Sadr was hardly a man of war. (He seems to have played only an indirect role in directing the military actions of the Amal militia.)  In a poignant effort to curtail the violence, he declared a hunger strike, but the combination of visceral fury and frustration, government impotence, and the strength of the emerging warlords dwarfed the gesture.  His weapons were words, and as a result his political efforts were short-circuited by the war.  In the months preceding the outbreak of mayhem Musa al-Sadr’s star was still rising, but his political fortunes plummeted by 1976.

Ironically, it was the still mysterious disappearannce of Musa al-Sadr in 1978 that helped to retrieve the promise of his earlier efforts.  In August 1978, he visited Libya with two companions, Shaykh Muhammad Shihadah Ya‘qub and journalist ‘Abbas Badr al-Din.  The party has not been heard from since.  Although his fate is not known, it is widely suspected that he died at the hands of the Libyan leader, Colonel Mu‘ammar al-Qadhhafi for reasons that remain obscure.  The anniversary of his disappearance, August 31, is celebrated annually with a national strike in Lebanon.

Musa al-Sadr has become a hero to his followers, who revere his memory and take inspiration from his words and his suffering.  The symbol of a missing imam -- reminiscent as it is of the central dogma of Shi‘ism -- is hard to assail, and even his blood enemies are now heard to utter words of praise.  The movement he founded, now simply called Amal, has -- since his disappearance -- become the largest Shi‘a organization in Lebanon and one of the most powerful.  Simultaneously, the more militant Hizbullah (Party of God) claims the Imam al-Gha’ib (or the Hidden Imam) as its forebear.

The competition for supremacy in Lebanon among the Shi‘as is in large measure a matter of who is the rightful heir to the legacy of Musa al-Sadr.  On the one side is Hizbullah, under the strong influence of Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah, which emerged after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and has been authoritatively associated with the kidnappings of foreigners.  On the other side is Amal, still a reform movement, but an angrier, more vengeful one than it was under al-Sadr’s leadership.  Musa al-Sadr would probably recognize neither organization, but his message that deprivation or second-class citizenship need not be passively accepted retains its power.

Musa al-Sadr see Sadr, Musa al-
Musa as-Sadr see Sadr, Musa al-
Musa-ye Sader see Sadr, Musa al-
Moussa Sadr see Sadr, Musa al-

Safadi, Salah al-Din Khalil ibn Aybak al-
Safadi, Salah al-Din Khalil ibn Aybak al- (Salah al-Din Khalil ibn Aybak al-Safadi) (d.1362).  Head of the treasury at Damascus and a prolific author.  All of his works practically are compilations from earlier authors, a fact which he frequently states faithfully.
Salah al-Din Khalil ibn Aybak al-Safadi see Safadi, Salah al-Din Khalil ibn Aybak al-

Safavi (Safaviya) (Safaviyya).  Name given by Shaikh Safi al-Din Ishaq to a Sufi order (tariqa) located in the province of Gilan in northern Persia.  The order was known as the Zahidiyya up to the year 1301, when Shaikh Safi became its head.  Shaikh Safi transformed what had been a Sufi order of purely local significance into a religious movement whose influence was felt throughout Persia, Syria, and Asia Minor.

The Persia of Shaikh Safi’s time was under the rule of the Mongol Ilkhans.  Under Shaikh Safi’s son and successor, Sadr al-Din (d. 1391/1392), the Safavid da’wa, or religious propaganda, was said to have made converts among the Mongol military commanders.  Sadr al-Din selected the town of Ardabil in eastern Azerbaijan as the new headquarters of the order and, from this center, lieutenants of the shaikh, known as khalifas, carried out proselytizing missions in eastern Anatolia, northern Syria and Iraq, the Armenian highlands, and in Persia itself.  This network of adherents to the order was controlled by an official known as khalifat al-khulafa; his office has been called by Vladimir Minorsky the “special secretariat for Sufi affairs.”

The early shaikhs of the order were Sunni Muslims, but at some point, probably when Khwaja Ali was its head (1391/1392-1427), Ithna Ashari (Twelver) Shi‘ite tendencies became apparent, and, under Junaid (1447-1460), the order became an openly militant movement aiming at temporal power.  This aspiration brought the order into conflict with the political rulers of the day, and three successive leaders of the order were killed in battle (Junaid in 1460, Haidar in 1488, and Ali in 1494).  Yet the order survived.  Three factors enabled it to do so: (1) its tightly knit organization, compared by Minorsky to the single-party organization of a modern totalitarian state; (2) the military prowess of the disciples of the order, drawn largely from the Turkish tribes living in areas affected by Safavid propaganda; and (3) the fanatical devotion of these disciples to their leader (commented on with astonishment by contemporary Italian merchants visiting Persia).  This devotion stemmed from the belief that their leader possessed quasi-divine powers or was even a manifestation of God incarnate.  In 1501, the Safavi order achieved its goal of political power when its leader, Isma’il, became shah of Persia and established the new Safavid dynasty.

The Safaviyya was a Sufi order founded by the Persian mystic Sheikh Safi-ad-din Ardabili (1252-1334). It held a prominent place in the society and politics of northwestern Iran in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, but today it is best known for having given rise to the Safavid dynasty.

Safi al-Din grew up in Ardabil, but left it, for lack of adequate teachers, and traveled to Shiraz and then Gilan. In Gilan he became the disciple of Sheikh Zahid, leader of the Zahidi Sufi order. He eventually became Sheikh Zahid's chief disciple and married his daughter. Upon Zahid's death, The Zahidiyya came under Safi al-Din's leadership and was renamed the Safaviyya.

Safi al-Din's importance is attested in two letters by Rashid al-Din. In one, Rashid al-Din pledges an annual offering of foodstuffs. In the other, Rashid al-Din writes to his son, the governor of Ardabil, advising him to show proper consideration to the sheikh.

After Safi al-Din's death, leadership of the order passed to his son Sadr al-Dīn Mūsā, and subsequently passed down from father to son. In the mid-fifteenth century the Safaviyya changed in character and became militant under sheikh Junayd Safavi and Sheikh Haydar, launching jihads against the Christians of Georgia. Haydar's grandson, Isma'il, further altered the nature of the order when he founded the Safavid empire in 1501 and proclaimed Twelver Shi'ism the state religion.

Safaviya see Safavi
Safaviyya see Safavi

Safavids. Turkoman dynasty of the shahs of Persia (r.1501-1736).  Their main capitals were Tabriz, Qazvin (in 1548), and Isfahan (from 1598).  The Sufi order founded around 1300 by Sheik Sufi (Shaykh Safi al-Din al-Ardabili) (1252-1334) in Ardabil (eastern Azerbaijan) soon acquired significance as a religious and political focus.  In the mid-15th century, the Safavids became converts to Shi‘ism.  Their rise to power came under the spiritual sheikhs Junaid (r. 1447-1460) and Haidar (r. 1460-1488), who created a rigid political organization and gathered together their own troops (named “Qizilbash” or “Red Heads/Caps” after their headgear) to spread their doctrine.  Shah Isma‘il (r. 1501-1524), successor to Haidar after 1494 and a fervent Shi‘ite propagandist, seized power in Iran (1499-1501), starting with the province of Gilan, by driving out the related dynasty of the Qara Qoyunlu.  It was Shah Isma‘il who made Shi‘ism the state religion and who virtually extinguished the Sunnis in Persia.

In 1507, he occupied Iraq, immediately elevated Twelver Shi‘ism to the national religion, and sought political reconciliation between the Turkomans (the Qizilbash, the military) and the Iranian population (the administration).  A defeat by the Ottomans at Chaldiran in 1514 was followed by ongoing conflict with the Ottomans in the west and the Uzbeks in the east.  

Under Tahmasp (r. 1524-1576) there was substantial diplomatic neutralization of the enemy, normalization of religious policy, and the beginning of patronage of the arts.  Following subsequent troubles, there was a re-consolidation of the state under Abbas I the Great (r. 1587-1629).  He annexed Bahrain in 1601, occupied Azerbaijan in 1603, and conquered Shirwan, Armenia, Georgia, and parts of Afghanistan in 1608.  In 1623-1624, he was able to re-annexed Kurdistan and Iraq to the Safavid Empire.  Internally, he undertook army reform with Christian military slaves, developed Isfahan into the “Pearl of the World,” and generated prosperity through skillful economic policy and control of the Persian Gulf.  His successors were often weak personalities, yet complicated court rituals were developed and a shah cult.  The last high point was the rule of Abbas II (r. 1642-1666) through an intensive exchange of goods and European trading partners and internal political reforms.  In 1648, he annexed parts of Afghanistan.  

A rapid economic decline began under the last Safavid, Sultan Husain (r. 1694-1722), who, through religious intolerance and compulsory conversion to the Shi‘ite faith, provoked the Sunnite parts of the empire.  As a result, the Sunnite Afghans (the Ghalzal) moved into Persia from 1719, beleaguered and conquered Isfahan in 1722 and deposed Husain, who was executed in 1726.  Up until 1736, (in some provinces 1773) Safavid shadow rulers were installed.  Power was transferred to the Afsharids and Zand, and finally to the Qajars.  

The Safavids were rulers of Iran (Persia) effectively from 1501 to 1722 and, through two rois faineants, to 1736.  The first king of this dynasty, Shah Isma’il I, came to power in 1501.  His accession marked the culmination of two hundred years of preparation, initially by means of quiet propaganda on behalf of the Safavid family, ultimately through revolutionary activity.  After the establishment of the Safavid state, its rulers deliberately tampered with historical evidence that showed that the early Safavid leaders were Sunnis, and consequently the origins of the family remain obscure.

It seems certain that Isma’il’s ancestors were of native Iranian stock and probably hailed from Kurdistan, although some scholars have claimed that the was a Turk.  It is true that Isma’il, and most if not all of his successors, spoke Azeri, the dialect of Turkish used in Azerbaijan, but this was necessitated by the fact that the vast majority of their supporters, both during the revolutionary phase of the Safavi movement and during the formative period of the Safavid state, were Turkmen tribesmen from eastern Anatolia, the Armenian highlands, and norther Syria and Iraq, who became known as Kizilbash (“red heads”) because of their distinctive headgear commemorating the twelve Ithna Ashari Shi’ite imams.  

At the time of his accession, Isma’il was master only of the province of Azerbaijan in northwestern Persia. During the first decade of his reign, Safavid power was consolidated throughout the rest of Persia.  This process culminated with the withdrawal of the Uzbeks from the important northeastern frontier province of Khurasan following their defeat in a great battle outside Merv on November 22, 1510.  Isma’il also extended Safavid sovereignty over two regions outside Persia proper: the province of Diyar Bakr (corresponding today to northern Iraq), and the principality of Shirvan in the southern Caucasus, an area in which both his grandfather and great-grandfather had met their end in battle.

Isma’il attempted to find solutions to a number of urgent problems that faced him at his accession.  Both he and his successors devised short-term solutions, but their failure to solve them permanently played its part in the eventual decline and fall of the dynasty.  In 1501, Isma’il I promulgated the Ithna Ashari form of Islam, which had been espoused by supporters of the Safavids during the fifteenth century, as the official religion of the newly established Safavid state.  This decision, taken primarily for political reasons, was designed to create a sense of national identity among his subjects and to differentiate his realm from that of the Sunni Ottoman Empire.  Many Persians had adopted the Ithna Ashari form of Islam in early Islamic times as a form of protest against political and social domination by their Arab conquerors.  In 1258, the caliphate, the symbol of the unity of the Islamic world and of the dominance of that world by the Sunni form of Islam, was destroyed by the Mongols as they swept through the region.  Thereafter, Shi’ism steadily increased its influence and power in Persia and elsewhere, often using Sufi orders (tariqas) as a vehicle for its propaganda.

Unfortunately, Isma’il’s decision institutionalized another problem that has remained unsolved to this day, namely, the problem of government in such a state.  According to Ithna Ashari political theory, the only legitimate ruler of an Ithna Ashari Shi‘ite state is the twelfth imam, known as the Hidden Imam or the Mahdi.  Since 940, when Ithna Ashari Shi‘ites ceased to hope for the imminent return to earth of the Mahdi, and the period of the “Greater Occultation” began, they have accepted the claim of the mujtahids (leading scholars in religious jurisprudence and theology) to act as the representatives on earth of the Mahdi.  Isma’il’s decision thus made inevitable a struggle for power between the mujtahids, endowed with the aura of infallibility of the imams and aspiring to establish theocratic government, and the shahs, representing secular government.

The Safavid shahs attempted to defuse this potentially explosive situation by claiming that they, and not the mujtahids, were the legitimate representatives on earth of the Mahdi.  This claim, based on a spurious genealogy linking the Safavid family with the seventh imam, was largely accepted by the common people but not, of course, by the religious classes.  In effect, Isma’il preempted the role claimed by the mutahids by himself establishing a theocratic state.  He attempted to secure political control over the religious classes by appointing as their head an official termed the sadr, who was answerable to himself for their good behavior.  Isma’il’s aura of infallibility and invincibility was shattered by the crushing defeat inflicted on him by the Ottomans at the battle of Chaldiran on August 23, 1514.  Henceforth, the shahs were able to stave off the challenge to their authority from the mujtahids only if they were strong and effective rulers.

A second problem that faced Isma’il was how to incorporate the revolutionary organization of the Safavi tariqa into the fabric of the state.  Isma’il tried to solve the problem by creating the office of vakil-i nafs-i nafis-i humayun.  This officer was to act as the shah’s viceregent in both temporal and spiritual matters, and his office was intended to constitute an umbrella under which the khalifat al-khulafa, the head of the Sufi order, could find shelter.  The latter, however, resented the diminution of his authority implicit in the creation of the office of vakil, and he and his successors remained a thorn in the flesh of the shahs at least until the time of Abbas I.  Isma’il also hoped that the vakil would act as a bridge between the two rival ethnic groups in the early Safavid state: the Turkish military elite and the Persian bureaucratic and religious classes.  This idea also failed.  If a Kizilbash chief was vakil, he became too powerful.  If the office was held by a Persian, the jealousy of the Kizilbash was such that on several occasions they assassinated a Persian vakil.   

Tahmasp was only ten and a half years of age when he succeeded his father Isma’il as shah.  This gave the Kizilbash chiefs, no longer constrained by their mystical loyalty to a semi-divine leader, the opportunity to challenge the shah’s authority in a turbulent manner reminiscent of the behavior of the barons of medieval England.  For the first ten years of Tahmasp’s reign, power was taken away from him by successive groups of Kizilbash chiefs.  In 1533, a group of seditious Kizilbash had the temerity to pursue their private quarrel into the shah’s apartments, and an arrow shot by one of them struck the shah’s hat.  Tahmasp managed to quell the mutiny and assert his authority as ruler.  Between 1533 and 1574, when the serious illness of Tahmasp prompted a recrudescence of factionalism, the shah walked a precarious tightrope between the various internal factions.  Despite Kizilbash disloyalty, and the treachery of two of his own brothers, he succeeded in holding the state together but was not able to keep inviolate its boundaries.  Between 1524 and 1538, the Uzbeks launched five major attacks on Khurasan.  Between 1533 and 1553, Sulaiman the Magnificent, the greatest of the Ottoman sultans, made four large-scale invasions of Persia.   Baghdad was recaptured by the Ottomans.  Tabriz, the Safavid capital, was occupied on several occasions, and Tahmasp transferred his capital to Qazvin, a city farther from the Ottoman frontier.  Tahmasp has not been given sufficient credit for the way in which, with numerically far inferior forces, he kept these powerful enemies at bay.  In 1555, he negotiated with the Ottomans the Treaty of Amasya, which was not totally unfavorable to Persia, and gave it a much needed respite from war for more than thirty years.

Between 1540 and 1553, Tahmasp waged four campaigns in the sourthern Caucasus against the “infidel” Georgian, Circassian, and Armenian populations of that region.  From the last of these campaigns, thirty thousand prisoners were brought back to Persia, but it is not clear whether Tahmasp intended to use these new ethnic elements to offset the power of the Kizilbash in the formal, institutionalized manner later devised by Abbas I.

When the illness of Tahmasp in 1574 led to a further struggle for power, the new “third force” in the state, the Georgians, Circassians, and Armenians, made its presence felt for the first time.  Those Georgian and Circassian women in the royal harem who were mothers of princes engaged in constant intrigue, assisted by ambitious bureaucrats and members of the royal household, in order to secure the throne for their favorite son.  The Kizilbash awoke rather belatedly to the realization that their hitherto dominant position in the state was threatened.  Their problem was that only two of Tahmasp’s nine sons were the offspring of Turkmen mothers, and one of these, Muhammad Khudabanda, was purblind and was initially considered ineligible for kingship.

Following the death of Tahmasp in 1576, the Kizilbash, in order to block the accession of a Caucasian candidate, were thus obliged to place on the throne as Shah Isma’il II the only remaining Turkmen candidate.  It soon became clear that Isma’il II’s mind had been impaired by nearly twenty years of incarceration in the fortress-prison of Qahqaha, and his brief and bloody reign was terminated by his assassination by the Kizilbash in November 1577.  The Kizilbash now had no alternative but to put on the throne Isma’il’s elder brother Muhammad Khudabanda.  Subject to the physical disability already mentioned, and of a mild and scholarly disposition, Sultan Muhammad Shah, as he was styled, was a puppet in the hands of two ambitious and ruthless women: his own wife, Mahd’i Ulya, and his sister Pari Khan Khanum, who had assisted the assassins in murdering his younger brother Isma’il II.  Mahd-i Ulya had her rival, Pari Khan Khanum, strangled.  She then directed the affairs of state for eighteen months until she, too, was murdered by the Kizilbash because she had, in their view, acted contrary to the considered opinions of the Kizilbash elders, and had constantly attempted to humiliate them by giving appointments to Persians.  A turbulent period followed the assassination of Mahd-i Ulya, and the Ottomans seized the opportunity to occupy Tabriz in 1585.  In 1588, a Kizilbash coup d’etat deposed Sultan Muhammad Shah and placed his son, Abbas, on the throne.

Abbas I did not come to the throne at an auspicious moment in the history of the Safavid state.  Rent by Kizilbash factionalism, it appeared to be powerless before the attacks of its traditional enemies, the Ottomans and the Uzbeks.  However, Abbas approached his task with strength and determination.  In order to free his hands to deal with pressing internal problems of restoring law and order and the machinery of government, Abbas signed with the Ottomans in 1589-1590 a peace treaty that ceded to them large areas of Ottoman occupied Persian territory.  Among Abbas’ achievements were the creation of a standing army, of which regiments drawn from “third force” elements formed a conspicuous part, and the sequestration to the crown of a number of provinces formerly under the jurisdiction of Kizilbash military governors.  The provinces thus sequestered were placed under the administration of royal intendants, and their revenues were remitted to the royal treasury to pay for the new standing army.  Abbas also opened the highest offices of the state to “third force” elements by means of a training system designed especially for them, and he reorganized the administrative system in ways designed to effect a greater degree of centralization.  He was responsible for the development of diplomatic and commercial relations with the West and the fostering of a climate of religious tolerance that encouraged Armenian and Jewish merchants to trade freely, a policy that in turn increased the economic prosperity of the country.  During his reign arts and crafts were patronized on a large scale, and a new capital at Isfahan remarkable for its beauty and imaginative planning was created; roads and bridges were constructed and improved, and caravansaries were built along the main highways for the benefit of the wayfarer.  The considered opinion of the shrewd Huguenot jeweler Chardin, who spent much time in Persia in the seventeenth century, was that, “When this great prince ceased to live, Persia ceased to prosper!”

The decline of Safavid fortunes indeed begins with the reign of Abbas’ successor, his grandson Shah Safi.  This decline, checked by Abbas II (1642-1666), began again and accelerated during the second half of the seventeenth century.  Forty years ago, Vladimir Minorsky listed the basic causes of the decline of the Safavid dynasty: (1) the disappearance of the “basic theocratic nucleus” of the state and the failure to substitute for it “some other dynamic ideology”; (2) the antipathy between Turkish and Persian officers in the military command structure; (3) the practice of converting “state” into “crown” provinces, which solved the immediate problem of finding funds with which to pay the newly created standing army, but in the long term reduced the fighting efficiency of the army; (4) “the irresponsible character of the ‘shadow government’ represented by the harem, the Queen Mother and the eunuchs”; (5) “the degeneration of the dynasty whose scions were brought up in the atmosphere of the harem, in complete ignorance of the outside world.”  This analysis is still valid, but to it should be added (6) the breakdown of the concordat between the ruler and the religious leaders.  As noted earlier, the latter regarded any form of secular government as illegitimate, but, since they had benefitted from the promulgation of Ithna Ashari Shi’ism as the official religion of the Safavid state, they had tolerated, though grudgingly, the rule of strong Safavid kings.  Weak kings, however, gave them the opportunity to increase their power, and an important feature of the last half-century of Safavid rule is the greatly enhanced authority of the religious classes, as they freed themselves progressively from political control.  Ithna Ashari Shi’ism was formulated in ever more dogmatic terms by powerful theologians, whose religious bigotry eroded the multi-cultural society developed by Abbas I.

The military weakness of the state was dramatically demonstrated in 1699 and again in 1709, when marauding bands of Baluchi and Afghan tribesmen, respectively, penetrated deep into southeastern Persia.  The Afghans were not the only neighbors of Persia to sense that the collapse of the Safavid state was near.  In 1715, a Russian ambassador reported to Tsar Peter the Great that the Persian army was so demoralized and inefficient that the country could easily be conquered by a small Russian army.  In 1721, the Afghan chief Mahmud invaded Persia, reaching Isfahan, the Safavid capital.  After defeating a Persian army outside Isfahan on March 8, 1722, he laid siege to the city and starved it into surrender on October 12, 1722.  At least eighty thousand people are said to have perished from starvation and disease.  Mahmud assumed the throne of Persia, and he and his cousin and successor Ashraf controlled central and southern Persia until 1729.  The last substantive Safavid shah, Sultan Husain, was put to death by Ashraf in 1726.  One of the shah’s sons, Tahmasp, who was as weak and ineffectual as his father, escaped to Qazvin, and former Safavid capital, where he proclaimed himself Shah Tahmasp II.

Effective resistance to the Afghans, however, was organized by a Kizilbash chief, Nadir Khan Afshar, who offered his services to Tahmasp II.  Together they drove the Afghans out of Isfahan in November 1729, and shortly afterwards from Persian territory.  Nadir Khan placed Tahmasp II on the throne but was himself the de facto ruler.  In 1732, in order to increase his power still further, he deposed Tahmasp II in favor of the latter’s infant son, who was crowned as Abbas III.  Finally, on March 8, 1736, Nadir Khan abandoned the fiction of Safavid rule and installed himself on the throne as Nadir Shah, the first ruler of the new Afsharid dynasty.  Although the Safavid state no longer existed as a political reality, the mystique that had surrounded its shahs and its institutions was so strong that Safavid pretenders continued to appear until 1773.

A brief chronology of the Safavids reads as follows:
In the fourteenth century, Sheikh Safi ud-Din formed a Sufi order in Ardabil, Azerbaijan.  

In 1399, the Safavid sect changed their Sunni orientation for a Shi‘a.  

In the fifteenth century, Junayd Safavi lost a succession dispute in the order, and travels with his supporters to eastern Anatolia.  They gained more members among Turkoman nomads, and through marriage Junayd Safavid was able to reach large areas in western and central Iran controlled by the Ay Qoyunlu Turkoman Confederation.  

In July of 1501, Junayd’s grandson, Isma’il took control over Tabriz with the help of local Turkomen tribes.  He was crowned as shah, and declared Shi’ism the state religion.

In 1502, Isma’il declared himself an infallible Shi ‘a imam, and a descendant of the seventh Shi‘a imam, Musa al-Kazim.

During the 1500s, the Safavids conquered Mosul and Baghdad.  In these cities, Shi’ism was also declared to be the state religion.

In August of 1514, Isma’il lost to the Ottoman sultan Selim I at Chaldiran.  This battle destroyed the claim of the shah that he was infallible and semi-divine.

During the 1510s, the Safavids lost the region of Kurdistan.  

In 1533, Baghdad was conquered by the Ottomans.  Esfahan became the temporary capital.  

In the middle sixteenth century, Iran became weaker due to bad leadership and attacked from neighbor peoples.  Some territorial advances were made in an eastern direction.

In the 1580s, Qizilbash chiefs had the heir to the crown murdered together with other important members of the royal family.  But the chiefs soon started fighting against each other.

In 1588, Abbas I became the shah, after hiding in the province of Khurasan, surviving the battle of power of the preceding years.

In 1590, Abbas I forged peace with the Ottoman Empire on unfavorable terms, and attacked the Uzbeks in the northeast instead, but without much success.  

In 1599, Abbas I received European aid in reforming his army.  The army was reorganized, and divided into slaves, musketeers and artillerymen.  They were supplied with European type arms and paid out of the royal treasury.

In 1602, Abbas I drove the Portuguese from the island of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.  

In 1603, Abbas I defeated the Ottomans, winning back all the territory they had gained from earlier Safavid shahs.  Abbas I even captured Baghdad.

In 1623, with help from British officers and troops, Abbas I drove the Portuguese from the island of Hormuz, which controlled the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

In the early seventeenth century, Esfahan became permanent capital.  

In 1624, the Safavids took back control over Baghdad.

In 1629, Abbas I died, and a period of slow decline starts.
In 1638, Safavid control over Baghdad was again lost.

In 1639, the Treaty of Qasr-e Shirin regulated the border between the Ottoman Empire and the Safavid state.  This border corresponded in most fields to today’s Iran’s western border.

In 1722, Esfahan was captured by the Ghilzai Afghans ruling from Kandahar.

In 1729, Shah Tahmasp II won back Esfahan.

In 1732, Tahmasp II was deposed by his own troops, under the leadership of Nader Qoli Beg (the future Nader Shah).

The following is a list of the Safavid rulers:

    * Ismail I (Isma'il I) 1501–1524
    * Tahmasp I 1524–1576
    * Ismail II (Isma'il II) 1576–1578
    * Mohammed Khodabanda (Muhammad Khudabanda) 1578–1587
    * Abbas I ('Abbas I) 1587–1629
    * Safi I 1629–1642
    * Abbas II ('Abbas II) 1642–1666
    * Suleiman I (Sulayman I) (Safi II) 1666–1694
    * Sultan Hoseyn I (Husayn I) 1694–1722
    * Tahmasp II 1722–1732
    * Abbas III ('Abbas III) 1732–1736

Nominal rulers in certain parts of Persia only:

1732 ‘Abbas III
1749 Sulayman II
1750 Isma‘il III
1753 Husayn II
1786 Muhammad

Qajar rule

Safdar Jang
Safdar Jang (Safdarjung) (Muhammad Muqim) (b. 1708, Nishapur, Khurasan, Persia - d. October 5, 1754, Sultanpur, India).  Second nawab, or ruler, of the North Indian state of Awadh (Oudh) from 1739 until his death.  Nephew, son-in-law, and successor to Sa’adat Khan, and like him an immigrant from Nishapur, he expanded his territory in the Ganges River valley while retaining as much power as possible within the declining Mughal empire.  He fought a civil war in and around Delhi in 1753 over the control of imperial offices, which by then were virtually powerless but invested with residual authority throughout India.  Although his reign marks the emergence of Awadh as an autonomous successor state, his tomb, a splendid example of late Mughal architecture, stands in what is now New Delhi.

Safdarjung was the Subadar Nawab of Oudh from March 19, 1739 to October 5, 1754. Safdarjung was born as Muhammad Muqim in Khurasan, Persia and migrated to India in 1722.  He succeeded his father-in-law and maternal uncle Burhan ul Mulk Sa'adat Khan to the throne of Oudh, apparently by paying Nadir Shah two crores of rupees. The Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah (Ahmad Shah) gave him the title of "Safdarjung" in 1748.

Safdarjung was an able administrator. He was not only effective in keeping control of Oudh, but also managed to render valuable assistance to the weakened Muhammad Shah. He was soon given governorship of Kashmir as well, and became a central figure at the Delhi court. During the later years of Muhammad Shah, he gained complete control of the administration in the Mughal Empire. When Ahmad Shah Bahadur ascended the throne at Delhi, Safdarjung became his Wazir ul-Mamalik-i-Hindustan or Chief Minister of India. However, court politics eventually overtook him and he was dismissed in 1753.

Safdarjung went to Oudh in December 1753.  He died there on October 5, 1754.

The Safdarjung's Tomb, built in 1754 is now situated on a road known as Safdarjung Road, in New Delhi.

There are several other structures that carry his name today in the area, like Safdarjung Airport, Safdarjang Hospital, Safdarjung Terminal, and a nearby residential neighborhood of Safdarjung (colony).

Jang, Safdar see Safdar Jang
Safdarjung see Safdar Jang
Muhammad Muqim see Safdar Jang
Muqim, Muhammad see Safdar Jang

Saffarids. Ruling dynasty in Persia, Afghanistan, and parts of Transoxiana (r.861-903).  Their main capital was Merv.  The adventurer Yaqub ibn Lait (r. 861-878), known as al-Saffar (“The Coppersmith”), built strong troop units from urban self-defense groups and gangs of robbers from the local region and made himself lord of his home town of Sistan (in eastern Persia).  From 8677, onwards he took possession of the territory of the Tahirids (Herat and Fars with Shiraz in 868, then Balkh and Tokharistan), whom he finally drove out of Khorasan in 873, as well as Afghanistan.  Recognized in 871 by the caliph as governor of the entire eastern half of the Abbasid Empire, he conducted a campaign against Baghdad in 876.  His brother, Amr (r. 878-900), was initially able to hold onto power and was even recognized as governor of Transoxiana in 895, but he was defeated by the Samanids in 900 and taken prisoner.  An attempt made by his grandson, Tahir (r. 900-903), to win back power from Satan proved unsuccessful.  His descendants ruled Sistan as governors from 921 (main capital, Nimruz), under Seljuk sovereignty from 1068, until removed by Timur in 1383.

Saffarids were a significant power in the Islamic world for only half a century (867-911), but they existed as a minor dynasty in the province of Sistan (essentially the Helmand River valley in Iran and Afghanistan) until the fifteenth century.  The dynasty was founded by a military adventurer named Ya’qub ibn Laith.  Ya’qub was of common origin, by profession a saffar, or coppersmith, from which term the name of the dynasty was derived.  He began his career as a member of a band of ayyar operating near the town of Bust.  The ayyar were at best a kind of popular militia that enforced some semblance of order during times of political weakness and protected local interests against outside powers.  At worst, they were little more than brigands.  In any event, Ya’qub managed to become the leader of the ayyar in Sistan and by 861 was the de facto ruler of the province.

Once in power, Ya’qub launched a series of military operations, each of which served quite different purposes.  His first efforts were aimed primarily at breaking the strength of the Kharijite groups in Sistan. The Kharijites, who were mostly Arab tribesmen, had endorsed an unconventional variety of Islam that held, among other things, that legitimate political power should be held by the most pious person in the community.  According to their view, Muslims who had committed a “grave sin” forfeited their status as believers and could be killed or dispossessed by the true, Kharijite, Muslims.  Some of the Kharijites had fled to remote Sistan to evade the authority of the caliphs and the hostility of the Sunni Muslims.  They thus came to play a major, if turbulent, role in the politics that province.  Ya’qub seems to have attacked them primarily in order to tame them rather than out of dislike for their religious views.  Once he defeated them, he incorporated them into his own forces.

Ya’qub initiated a second series of campaigns directed against the remaining pagan areas of Afghanistan and the Indian frontier.  He was able to crush the Zunbil of Zamindavar and to capture and plunder Kabul.  His seizure of many gold and silver idols from the pagan temples (along with the silver mines of central Afghanistan) contributed to the financial success of the early Saffarids and temporarily helped them capture the imagination and respect of the Muslim world, particularly since Ya’qub sent a portion of the spoils to the caliph, a deed required by Islamic law.  Thus, some sources refer to Ya’qub and his forces as “volunteer fighters for the faith,” and in this capacity they might be compared to the ghazis of later times.  However, the Saffarid reputation as champions of the faith suffered considerably when Ya’qub began a third series of wars, this time against the Muslim areas to the north and west of Sistan.  In the course of these campaigns, Ya’qub wrested control of the important province of Khurasan from the Tahirids and in 876 attempted unsuccessfully to occupy Baghdad.  Although the Abbasid caliphs were thus compelled to recognize the rule of the early Saffarids over southern Iran, they were always distrustful of Saffarid intentions, attempting to stir up popular resistance to them and withdrawing the certificates of investiture they had granted whenever possible.

Upon the death of Ya’qub in 879, leadership of the dynasty was assumed by his brother Amr.  Amr attempted to expand Saffarid territories at the expense of another favored client of the Abbasids, the Samanids of Transoxiana.  He first appointed his own governor of Khwarazm and the, in 898, invaded Samanid territory directly.  However, his army was decisively defeated, and Amr himself was taken prisoner (to be sent to the caliph and executed in 902).  Amr’s death marked the final collapse of the Saffarids as a regional power.  The Samanids took Khurasan, representatives of the caliph gradually reclaimed Fars and Kerman, and Sistan itself was occupied twice by the Samanid forces.  Yet the dynasty itself survived all these calamities, in addition to later invasions by the Ghaznavids (1003) and the Mongols (1221), until it finally disappeared around 1480.

The essentially popular and local character of the Saffarid dynasty is attested in the copious anecdotal material about Ya’qub and Amr as well as by what little we know of the society and culture they represented.  Although one important source gives the Saffarids a glorious genealogy tracing their descent from ancient Iranian kings, the family does not appear to have made a concerted effort to disguise their humble origins.  The Saffarids certainly made some attempt to copy the traditions, institutions, and etiquette of Islamic courts, but they are just as often depicted on campaign, sharing the simple diet and rough life of their military comrades.  They were often praised for their zeal in protecting the poor and weak in matters of taxation and water supply as well as for championing local interests against outside exploitation.  Saffarid culture was essentially unpretentious.  Ya’qub is famous for having been unimpressed by praise of his accomplishments in Arabic verse and instead promoted the use of the Persian vernacular for his “court” poetry.

In short, the Saffarids are something of an anomaly in Islamic history.   They broke virtually all of the rules of conventional political behavior in their dealings with the caliphs and their subjects, and yet their dynasty survived for more than six hundred years -- one of the longest dynastic successions in all of Islamic and Iranian history.  This longevity is extremely difficult to explain on the basis of anything other than their genuine popularity and their ability to represent, “the national interests and aspirations of the people of Sistan, from whose ranks they themselves had sprung.”

The rulers of the Saffarid dynasty were:

    * Ya`qûb ibn Layth as-Saffâr (867-879)
    * Amr I (Saffarides) (`Amr ibn Layth) (879-901)
    * Tâhir ibn Muhammad ibn `Amr (901-908)
    * Layth ibn `Alî (908-910)
    * Muhammad ibn `Alî (910-912)
    * `Amr ibn Ya`qûb ibn Muhammad ibn `Amr (912-913)
    * Ahmad ibn Muhammed ibn Khalaf ibn Layth ibn `Alî (922-963)
    * Walî ad-Dawlah Khalaf ibn Ahmad (963-1003)

The Saffarids were Iranian dynasty of lower class origins that ruled a large area in eastern Iran. The dynasty’s founder, Yaʿqūb ibn Leys̄ aṣ-Ṣaffār (“the coppersmith”), took control of his native province, Seistan, around 866. By 869 he had extended his control into northeastern India, adding the Kābul Valley, Sind, Tocharistan, Makran (Baluchistan), Kermān, and Fārs to his possessions. With the overthrow of the Ṭāhirids and the annexation of Khorāsān in 873 the Ṣaffārid Empire reached its greatest extent. Yaʿqūb then ventured to march against Baghdad in 876, but was defeated by the forces of the caliph al-Muʿtamid at Dayr al-ʿĀqūl.

The Caliph then acknowledged Yaʿqūb’s brother and successor (879), ʿAmr ibn Leys̄, as governor of Khorāsān, Isfahan, Fārs, Seistan, and Sind. But the Ṣaffārid Empire collapsed when ʿAmr, trying to wrest Transoxania from the Sāmānids, was defeated by Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad near Balkh in 900. Thereafter, few of the Ṣaffārids had any wide authority, though they maintained their position in Seistan intermittently at least until the 16th century, despite Sāmānid, Ghaznavid, and Mongol conquests.

Safi al-Din, ‘Abd al-Mu’min ibn Yusuf
Safi al-Din, ‘Abd al-Mu’min ibn Yusuf ('Abd al-Mu'min ibn Yusuf Safi al-Din) (Safi al-Din al-Urmawi) (Sufi al-Din al-Urmawi) (Abd al-Muʾmin ibn Yusuf ibn Fakhir al-Urmawi Baghdadi)  (b. 1216, Urmia - d. 1294).  One of the best known Arabic writers on the theory of music. He was at the service of the last ‘Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad al-Musta‘sim bi-llah.  Because of his performances on the lute, his life and that of his family was spared by the Mongol Il-Khan Huleguu when he conquered Baghdad in 1258.

Safi al-Din al-Urmawi was a renowned musician and writer on the theory of music. He is perhaps best known for developing in the thirteenth century the widely used seventeen tone scale later expanded to the Arabic scale of twenty-four quarter tones.

In his youth, Safi al-Din al-Urmawi went to Baghdad and was educated in the Arabic language, literature, history and penmanship. He made a name for himself as an excellent calligrapher and was appointed copyist at the new library built by the Abbassid caliph al-Mustaṣim.

Safi al-Din also studied Shafii law and comparative law (Khilaf Fiqh ) at the Mustansiriyya Madrasa. This qualified him to assume a post in al-Mustaʿsim's juridical administration and, after 1258, to head the supervision of the foundations (naẓariyyat al-waqf) in Iraq until 665/1267, when Nasir al-Din Tusi took over.

Al-Urmawi became known as a musician and an excellent lute (‘Ud) player.  He was accepted as a member of the private circle of boon companions, thanks to one of his music students, the caliph's favored songstress Luḥaẓ. His musical talent allowed him to survive the fall of Baghdad, by generously accommodating one of Hulaku’s officers. Hulagu, the Mongol ruler, was impressed by al-Urmawi and doubled his income relative to the Abbasid era.

Al-Urmawi's musical career, however, seems to have been supported mainly by the Juvayni family, especially by Shams al-Din Muḥammad and his son Sharaf Din Harun (put to death in 1285). After the demise of his patrons, al-Urmawi fell into oblivion and poverty. He was placed under arrest on account of a debt of 300 dinars. He died in the Shafii Madrasat al-Khalil in Baghdad.

As a composer, al-Urmawi cultivated the vocal forms of ṣawt, ḳawl and nawba. In the anonymous Persian Kanz al-tuḥaf, he is also credited with the invention of two stringed musical instruments, the nuzha and the mughnī.

Al-Urmawi's most important works are two books in Arabic Language on music theory, the Kitab al-Adwār and Risāla al-Sharafiyya fi 'l-nisab al-taʾlifiyya. The former was written while he still worked in the library of al-Mustasim. The Abbasid caliph was well-known for his fondness of music.

The Kitab al-Adwār is the first extant work on scientific music theory after the writings on music of Ibn Sina (Avicenna). It contains valuable information on the practice and theory of music in the Perso-ʿIraqi area, such as the factual establishment of the five-stringed lute (still an exception in Ibn Sina’s time), the final stage in the division of the octave into 17 steps, the complete nomenclature and definition of the scales constituting the system of the twelve Makams (called shudūd) and the six Awāz modes. It also contains precise depictions of contemporary musical metres, and the use of letters and numbers for the notation of melodies. It is the first time that this occurs in history, making it a unique work of great value. Al-Urmawi's 'international' modal system was intended to represent the predominant Arab and Persian local musical traditions.

By its conciseness, al-Urmawi's work became the most popular and influential book on music for centuries. No other Arabic (Persian or Ottoman Turkish) music treatise was so often copied, commented upon and translated into Asian (and Western) languages. The Kitab al-Adwār was conceived as a compendium (mukhtasar) of the standard musical knowledge of its time.

The Kitab al-Adwār was translated several times into the Persian language and there also exists an Ottoman Turkish translation.

Al-Urmawi’s second book, Risāla al-Sharafiyya, was written around 1267. It is dedicated to his student and later patron, Sharaf Din Juvayni (Juvayn is a town in Khorasan). He was part of the scientific, literary and artistic circle of the Juvayni family. Through these gatherings, al-Urmawi was in contact with the Persian scholar Nasir al-Din Tusi. Nasir al-Din Tusi, who left a short treatise on the proportions of musical intervals perceivable in the pulse may have stimulated al-Urmawī's interest in Greek science and music theory.

Al-Urmawi's two major books became the foundation of academic discourse on Arabic music. Commentaries on these theoretical works were written as early as the 1370s.
'Abd al-Mu'min ibn Yusuf Safi al-Din see Safi al-Din, ‘Abd al-Mu’min ibn Yusuf
Safi al-Din al-Urmawi see Safi al-Din, ‘Abd al-Mu’min ibn Yusuf
Urmawi, Safi al-Din al- see Safi al-Din, ‘Abd al-Mu’min ibn Yusuf
Abd al-Muʾmin ibn Yusuf ibn Fakhir al-Urmawi Baghdadi see Safi al-Din, ‘Abd al-Mu’min ibn Yusuf

Safi al-Din al-Ardabili, Shaykh
Safi al-Din al-Ardabili, Shaykh (Shaykh Safi al-Din al-Ardabili) (1252-1334).  Ancestor of the Safavids.  He was the founder of the dervish order of the Safawis, whose members later wore as a badge a twelve-gored cap of scarlet wool, from which comes the Turkish name Qizil-Bash.

The Safvat as-safa is a hagiography (a biography of a venerated person) of the Sufi shaykh Safi ad-Din al-Ardabili (1252-1334), founder of the Safawiyya Sufi order.

The Safvat as-safa was written by Ibn Bazzaz (d. 1391-2), a disciple of Safi ad-Din's son and successor, Sadr ad-Din, who prompted him to write the work. He probably completed it in 1358. Little else is known of his life.

The Safwat as-safa is divided into an introduction, 12 chapters, and a conclusion. Only two of the chapters (chapters 2 and 11) deal with the circumstances of his life. Most of the rest of the book recounts numerous episodes of the shaykh performing miraculous feats. The work also includes Shaykh Safi's commentaries on various passages of the Qur'an and hadith. The contents may be summarized as follows:

    * Introduction: Prophecies by the Prophet Muhammad and various holy men foretelling the coming of Sheikh Safi.
    * Chapter 1: Safi ad-Din's genealogy, childhood, discipleship under Sheikh Zahid, and succession to leadership of the order.
    * Chapter 2: Miracles in which Shaykh Safi saved people from perilous situations in the sea, the mountains, or from enemies or illness.
    * Chapter 3: Miracles motivated either by Shaykh Safi's grace or displeasure.
    * Chapter 4: Safi ad-Din's explanations of difficult passages or apparent contradictions in the Qur'an and hadith.
    * Chapter 5: Miracles of Safi ad-Din involving jinn, animals, and non-living things.
    * Chapter 6: Safi ad-Din's practice of dhikr.
    * Chapter 7: Various miracles performed by Safi ad-Din, such as reading minds, predicting the future, and contact with the dead.
    * Chapter 8: Safi ad-Din's virtues and pious acts.
    * Chapter 9: Safi ad-Din's final illness and death.
    * Chapter 10: Miracles Safi ad-Din performed after he died.
    * Chapter 11: The shaykh's greatness and fame throughout the world.
    * Chapter 12: Miracles performed by Safi ad-Din's disciples.

Safavid-era revisions

Shaykh Safi ad-Din was a Sunni and an adherent of the Shafi`i school of law. In 1501, members of the Sufi order he founded became the ruling family in the Safavid empire.  However, they converted to Shi`ism while at the same time continuing their role as head of the order. Certain elements in the Safvat as-safa, particularly Shaykh Safi's genealogy and his religious views, became inconsistent with the Safavid dynasty's self-image. Therefore in 1542, Shah Tahmasp commissioned Mir Abu al-Fat'h Husayni to revise the Safvat as-safa to give it an explicit Shi`i tone. Shaykh Safi ad-Din's genealogy was extended back to the Imam Musa al-Kazim, and his remarks on his religious affiliation were changed to make him sound Shi`i.

There have been two published editions of the Safvat as-Safa. The first was a lithographed edition prepared by Mirza Ahmad ibn Hajj Karim Tabrizi and published in Bombay in 1911. This has traditionally been the standard edition used by scholars, who call it the Bombay lithograph. The second published edition appeared in 1994 in Tehran, edited by Ghulam Reza Tabataba'i Majd. Since Majd based his edition on a larger set of manuscripts of better quality, it may become the new scholarly standard.
Shaykh Safi al-Din al-Ardabili see Safi al-Din al-Ardabili, Shaykh
Safvat as-safa see Safi al-Din al-Ardabili, Shaykh
Safvat al-safa see Safi al-Din al-Ardabili, Shaykh
Safwat al-safa see Safi al-Din al-Ardabili, Shaykh

Safi, Fakhr al-Din ‘Ali
Safi, Fakhr al-Din ‘Ali (Fakhr al-Din ‘Ali Safi) (d. after 1533). Persian author.  Among other works, he wrote a narrative work which contains anecdotes regarding individuals of various classes of society.
Fakhr al-Din ‘Ali Safi see Safi, Fakhr al-Din ‘Ali

Safi, Wadih El
Wadih El Safi (Arabic: وديع الصافي‎, born Wadi' Francis) (November 1, 1921 – October 11, 2013) was a Lebanese singer songwriter, and actor. He became a Lebanese cultural icon, and was often called the "Voice of Lebanon". Born in Niha, Lebanon, Wadih El Safi started his artistic journey at the age of seventeen when he took part in a singing contest held by Lebanese Radio and was chosen the winner among fifty other competitors.
Wadih El Safi was a classically trained tenor, having studied at the Beirut National Conservatory of Music. He became nationally known when, at seventeen, he won a vocal competition sponsored by the Lebanese Broadcasting Network. El Safi began composing and performing songs that drew upon his rural upbringing and love of traditional melodies, blended with an urban sound, and creating a new style of modernized Lebanese folk music.
In 1947, El Safi traveled to Brazil, where he remained until 1950.
El Safi toured the world, singing in many languages, including Arabic, Syriac, French, Portuguese and Italian.
In the spring of 1973, El Safi recorded and released a vinyl single with the songs "Grishlah Idi" (lyrics by Ninos Aho) and "Iman Ya Zawna" (lyrics by Amanuel Salamon), first one in Western Syriac and second one in Eastern Syriac. The music arrangements were done by Nuri Iskandar and the songs were produced especially for an Aramean Festival, which occurred in the UNESCO building in Beirut at that time where El Safi participated as a singer.
El Safi has written over 3000 songs. He is well known for his mawawil (an improvised singing style) of 'ataba, mijana, and Abu el Zuluf. He has performed and recorded with many well-known Lebanese musicians, including , Fairouz, and Sabah.
In 1990, Wadih El Safi underwent open heart surgery. In 2012, he broke his leg and had to have surgery to mend the fracture. After the surgery, his health declined quickly. In 2013, he was admitted to hospital, suffering from pulmonary consolidation. On October 11, 2013, he fell ill at his son's home and was rushed to the Bellevue Medical Center where he died. His funeral was held at Saint George Maronite Cathedral, Beirut on October 14, 2013.
The discography of Wadih El Safi as a singer includes the following:
  • Best of Wadi – Vol. 1
  • Best of Wadi – Vol. 2
  • Best of Wadi – Vol. 3
  • Inta Omri
  • The Two Tenors:Wadi Al Safi Aad Sabah Fakhri
  • Wadih El-Safi and José Fernandez
  • Wetdallou Bkheir
  • Rouh ya zaman al madi atfal qana
  • Chante Le Liban
  • Wadi El Safi / Legends Of The 20th Century
  • Mersal El Hawa
  • Mahrajan Al Anwar
  • Youghani Loubnan
  • Ajmal El Aghani
The discography of Wadih El Safi as a composer includes the following:
  • Cantiques de l'Orient
  • Psaumes Pour Le 3ème Millénaire

The discography of Wadih El Safi as a sideman includes the following:
  • Music of Arabia, Hanaan and her ensemble (withWadih El-Safi on oud)

Safiye (b. c. 1550 - d. 1605).  Ottoman Sultana.  The intriguing career of the Sultana Safiye is a remarkable chapter in the history of the Ottoman harem and the role that women played in the governance of the Ottoman Empire.  

Some historians note that the interference of the harem women in Ottoman state politics was instrumental in the decline and all of the Ottoman Empire.  Ironically, such meddling began during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566), the most powerful period in the empire’s history. It was during Suleiman’s reign (in 1541) that the women of the harem moved with Roxalena from the Old Palace, built by Muhammad the Conqueror, to the Seraglio harem, near the seat of power.  This move marked the beginning of the Sultanate, or the Reign of Women, which would last almost one hundred years, only ending with the struggle between Kosem and Turhan in 1651.

After Suleiman’s death, the Ottoman sultans no longer led their armies into battle.  Instead, the sultans retired to the confines of the Seraglio and the womb of the harem.  The sultans detached themselves from world affairs and spent most of their time in the company of women.  This royal seclusion greatly diminished the sultans’ ability to govern and, in varying degrees, the sultanas began exerting influence over the sultans and other state officials.  Soon bribery and patronage supplanted promotion on the basis of merit.  A succession of child sultans and mentally infirm ones after the death of Muhammad III in 1603 would only increase the power of the women behind the throne.  

As for the Sultana Safiye, she was a Venetian from the influential and noble Baffa family.  Safiye was captured by Turkish corsairs while en route to Corfu, where her father was the governor.  Sold to the harem of Murad III, Safiye made it her goal in life to undermine the Ottoman Empire in favor of her beloved Venice.

Safiye ultimately became a favorite of Murad and, indeed, in time became the favorite.  Murad would become one of the rare sultans who was faithful to one wife.  As the sultana -- the head woman -- Safiye wielded considerable influence and considerable power.  

When Venetian naval vessels insulted Turkish merchants, Safiye was able to dissuade the sultan from retaliating against the Venetians and to instead grant Venice especially favorable commercial advantages.  Both the Venetian ambassador and Catherine de Medici communicated with Baffa through a Jewess, Chiarezza (Kira), who posed as a bundle woman, bringing cloth and jewels to the Seraglio.  

Seduced by the gifts sent to her by Queen Elizabeth I, Safiye pledged assistance to the English, both in state and trade affairs.  Even though it was an act of treason to do so, Safiye maintained a correspondence with the English queen.

Safiye’s son, Sultan Muhammad III (Mehmed III), became aware of his mother’s treasonous activities.  However, he revered her too much to interfere.  Nevertheless, Safiye’s days came to end in rather gruesome fashion.  She was found strangled in the bed.

A Genoese paper reported the death of Safiye, a notable personage from the rival city state of Venice in this manner: “La stata assasine aquella Sultana, che si chiama La Sporca, che le fu una vecchia materola.”  (“That wicked old woman, the filthy Sultana, has been assassinated.”)

Safiye Sultan was the spouse of Ottoman Sultan Murad III and mother of Sultan Mehmed III. It is believed she was of Venetian descent. Her name "Safiye" means "the pure one". She was born about 1550, but her date of death is uncertain between 1605 and 1619. Born as Sofia Baffo, daughter of the Venetian Governor of Corfu and a relative of Giorgio Baffo, she was also related to the mother of Nurbanu Sultan.

Safiye Sultan was captured by corsairs and presented to the Ottoman harem sometime in the 1560s. She became chief wife of the Sultan after the death of her stepmother in 1574. Following in the steps of her cousin Nur Banu, Safiye Sultan played an important political role during the reigns of the next two Sultans after this year.

With Nur Banu, Safiye Sultan was one of the most influential Valide Sultans, a position Safiye held between 1583 and 1594.

Safiye followed Nur Banu's pro-Venetian policy and corresponded by letter with England's Queen Elizabeth I. In 1599, Elizabeth I presented Safiye with a carriage. Safiye had the carriage covered, and used it to go on excursions in the town, which was considered scandalous at the time.

Safiye Sultan is believed to have been strongly influenced by her kira, an agent employed to handle the economic affairs of the harem women. Kiras were typically Jewish women, who as non-Muslims were permitted an active life outside the harem. Safiye's kira was Esperanza Malchi. The two women were said to have been so close that people believed them to have been lovers. Esperanza was killed by a lynch mob in 1600.

Safiye Sultan is also famous for starting the construction of the Yeni Valide Mosque (New Mosque) in Istanbul in 1598. (The construction took more than half a century and is completed by another valide sultan Turhan Hatice.) The Al-Malika Safiyya Mosque (Malika Safiya) in Cairo is named in her honor. All the succeeding Sultans descended from Safiye Sultan.

Safiye was the favorite consort of the Ottoman sultan Murad III (r. 1574–95) and the mother of his son Mehmed III (r. 1595–1603). She exercised a strong influence on Ottoman affairs during the reigns of both sultans.

The name Safiye means “pure one". Until the death in 1583 of Nur Banu, the valide sultan (mother of the sultan on the throne), Safiye’s influence was limited. Thereafter, as haseki sultan (mother of the heir to the throne), and after 1595 as valide sultan, she wielded great influence at the Ottoman court. Among those who enjoyed her favor was the thrice grand vizier (chief minister) İbrahim Paşa. During the years of her greatest influence, she is said to have been partial to the interests of Venice. She was sent into retirement after the death of Mehmed III.

A mosque at Cairo, the Malikah Ṣafīyah, bears her name. Another mosque, in Istanbul, the Yeni Valide Cami, was begun on her orders and completed under Sultan Mehmed IV (reigned 1648–87).

Safiyya bint Huyayy ibn Akhtab
Safiyya bint Huyayy ibn Akhtab (d. c. 670).   The Prophet’s eleventh wife.  She belonged to the Jewish tribe of the Banu’l-Nadir and was married to the Prophet after the fall of Khaybar in 628.

Sagabamo.  An assistant judge among Muslim Hausa slaves in Brazil.

Sahaba (Sahabah) (Ashab).  The Arabic word sahaba means “companions.”  The term sahaba refers to the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad.  Since the time of the second caliph, ‘Umar, and in large part due to his register -- his divan --, the sahaba have occupied the position of highest prestige among Sunni Muslims.  They were the first Meccans to accept Muhammad’s ecstatic utterances as divine revelation and to become members of his community.  To the sahaba are attributed most of the hadith used to gauge the Prophet’s exemplary behavior -- the Sunna.  Ten of them, including the first four caliphs, were promised admission into Paradise -- Janna -- by Muhammad himself.  

Resenting Ali’s exclusion from the caliphate, Shi‘ites curse rather than praise all the sahaba except, of course, Ali.  They therefore reject the six Sunni collections of hadith as deliberate distortions of the Prophet’s conduct and discourse; they rely instead on hadith that omit mention of the sahaba and are traceable to Ali, his immediate family, and his most prominent descendants, the imams.

In Islām, the sahaba were followers of Muḥammad who had personal contact with him, however slight. In fact, any Muslim who was alive in any part of the Prophet’s lifetime and saw him may be reckoned among the Companions. The first four caliphs, who are the saḥāba held in highest esteem among Sunnite Muslims, are part of a group of 10 Companions to whom Muḥammad promised paradise. The muhājirūn (those who followed the Prophet from Mecca to Medina), the anṣār (the Medinese believers), and the badrīyūn (those who fought at the Battle of Badr) are all considered Companions of the Prophet. There are differing accounts of who belonged to the various groups.

The Companions, being eyewitnesses, are the most important sources of Ḥadīth, the record of Muḥammad’s sayings and activities.

Shīʿite Muslims disregard the ṣaḥāba, whom they consider responsible for the loss of the caliphate by the family of ʿAlī.

Some of the Sahaba were:

    * Abu Bakr
    * Umar bin Khattab
    * Uthman bin Affan
    * Ali bin Abu Talib
    * Musab bin Umair
    * Muadh bin Jabal
    * Abu Huraira
    * Hasan bin Ali
    * Husayn ibn Ali
    * Abdur Rahman bin Awf
    * Talha ibn Ubayd-Allah
    * Zubayr ibn al-Awam
    * Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas
    * Abu Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah
    * Saeed bin Zaid

Sahabah see Sahaba
Ashab see Sahaba

sahib al-khabar
sahib al-khabar. Arabic term which refers to the civil servant in charge of informing the ruler of everything that happens in the district.  The sahib al-khabar is often aided by the sahib al-barid.
khabar, sahib al- see sahib al-khabar.

Sahinkaya, Tahsin
Tahsin Şahinkaya (b. 1925 – d. July 9, 2015) was a Turkish Air Force general. He was Commander of the Turkish Air Force from 1978 to 1983, and previously Secretary-General of the National Security Council (1977-1978). He was one of the five leaders of the 1980 military coup,  and after the coup he was a member of the Presidential Council. 
In 2012, a court case was launched against Şahinkaya and Kenan Evren (President of Turkey from 1980 to 1989) relating to the 1980 military coup. Both were sentenced to life imprisonment on June 18, 2014 by a court in Ankara, the capital of Turkey.
Şahinkaya died at age 90 in the military "Haydarpaşa GATA Hospital" in Istanbul on July 9, 2015. He was interred at Karacaahmet Cemetery on July 11 following a memorial ceremony held at the Turkish First Army headquarters in the Selimiye Barracks and subsequent religious funeral service at the nearby Buyuk Selimiye Mosque in Uskudar. He was survived by his wife Sema, son Serdar, daughter Sevgi Kartal and son-in-law Mustafa Kartal.

Sahir, Jelal
Sahir, Jelal (Jelal Sahir) (b.1883).  Ottoman poet and author.  He actively championed the simplification of the language, but in prosody he adhered strictly to the classical form.  His main theme was women and love, in a noble and ideal way, and with the Turkish constitution he became a champion of women’s rights.
Jelal Sahir see Sahir, Jelal

Sahl al-Tustari, Abu Muhammad
Sahl al-Tustari, Abu Muhammad (Abu Muhammad Sahl al-Tustari) (Abu Muhammed Sahl ibn 'Abd Allah) (b. 818, Shushtar, Iraq - d. 896, Basra, Iraq).  Arab Sunni theologian and mystic.  His Thousand Saying gave rise to the theological school of the Salimiyya.

Sahl al-Tustari was a Persian Muslim scholar and early classical Sufi mystic. He founded the Salimiyah Muslim theological school, which was named after his disciple Muhammad ibn Salim.

Tustari is most famous for his controversial claim that "I am the Proof of God for the created beings and I am a proof for the saints (awliya) of my time" and for his well-known Tafsir, a commentary on and interpretation of the Qur'an.

Sahl Al-Tustari was born in the fortress town of Tustar (Arabic) or Shushtar (Persian) in Khūzestān Province in what is now southwestern Iran.

From an early age he led an ascetic life with frequent fasting and study of the Qur'an and Hadith, the oral traditions, of the Prophet Muhammad. He practiced repentance (tawbah) and, above all, constant remembrance of God (dhikr). This eventually culminated in a direct and intimate rapport with God with whom he considered himself a special friend and one of the spiritual elect.

Tustari was under the direction of the Sufi saint Dhul-Nun al-Misri for a time, and Tustari in his turn was one of the Sufi mystic and later martyr Mansur Al-Hallaj's early teachers. In these early days when the Sufis were becoming established mostly in Baghdad (the capital of modern Iraq), the most notable Sufis of the time elsewhere were: Tustari in southwestern Iran, Al-Tirmidhi in Central Asia and the Malamatiyya or "People of Blame".

An Islamic scholar who commented on and interpreted the Qur'an, Tustari maintained that the Qur'an "contained several levels of meaning", which included the outer or zahir and the inner or batin. Another key idea that he unraveled was the meaning of the Prophet Muhammad's saying "I am He and He is I, save that I am I, and He is He", explaining it "as a mystery of union and realization at the center of the Saint's personality, called the sirr ('the secret'), or the heart, where existence joins Being." Tustari also "was the first to put" the Sufi exercise of remembrance of God, Dhikr, "on a firm theoretical basis."

Tustari maintained that ultimately it became clear to the recollector that the true agent of recollection was not the believer engaged in recollection but God Himself, who commemorated Himself in the heart of the believer. This realization of God's control over the heart led the believer to the state of complete trust in the Divine.

Abu Muhammad Sahl al-Tustari see Sahl al-Tustari, Abu Muhammad
Abu Muhammed Sahl ibn 'Abd Allah see Sahl al-Tustari, Abu Muhammad

Sahl ibn Harun
Sahl ibn Harun. Arab author and poet of the ninth century.  He held high offices in the chancellery at the court of several caliphs.  He was a fanatical adherent of the so-called Shu‘ubiyya. His greatest admirer was his younger contemporary al-Jahiz, and his name often occurs in the Thousand and One Nights.  
Ibn Harun, Sahl see Sahl ibn Harun.

Sahnun, ‘Abd al-Salam
Sahnun, ‘Abd al-Salam (‘Abd al-Salam Sahnun) (Sahnun ibn Sa'id ibn Habib at-Tanukhi) (b. 776-777- d. 854/855).  Maliki jurist from Qayrawan.  He was responsible for the spread of the Maliki school of law in the West, to which his monumental work, called Mudawwana, made a large contribution.

Sahnun ibn Sa'id ibn Habib at-Tanukhi was a jurist in the Maliki school from Qayrawan in modern-day Tunisia.

His original name was 'Abd al Salam. 'Sahnun' was a nickname given to him, meaning a type of sharp bird. This is said to have referred to his quickness of mind. His father was a soldier from Homs in Syria. The family claimed descent from Tanukh, a tribal confederation that originated in the south of the Arabian Peninsula.

In his youth Sahnun studied under the scholars of Qayrawan and Tunis. In particular, he learned from `Ali ibn Ziyad, who had learned from Imam Malik. In 795, he traveled to Egypt to study under other pupils of Malik, who died before Sahnun had the financial means to reach them. Later on, he continued to Medina and studied under other prominent scholars, returning to North Africa in 807.

At the age of 74, Sahnun was appointed Qadi (judge) of North Africa by the Aghlabid emir Muhammad I Abul-Abbas. He had refused the appointment for a year, only accepting after the emir swore to give him a free hand in matters of justice, even if this involved prosecuting members of the emir's family and court. He was known to be scrupulous in his judgments and courteous towards litigants and witnesses, but strict towards the men surrounding the emir. He refused to allow them to send representatives on their behalf in litigation, and refused a request from the emir not to interfere in their illegal ventures.

Sahnun died in Rajab. The men surrounding the emir famously refused to join his funeral prayer, due to his harshness against them. Nonetheless the emir conducted the funeral prayers in person, and the people of Qayrawan were greatly upset by his passing.

Sahnun was known for his strong orthodoxy, even to the point of refusing to pray behind a Mu'tazilite imam. He excluded heretical sects from the mosque, including the Ibadi, Mu'tazilites and others.

Sahnun's greatest contribution to Muslim scholarship was al-Mudawwana, a compendium of the legal opinions of the school of Medina as stated by Imam Malik, after the death of the Imam. The compilation and revision process involved four mujtahid imams of the Maliki school: Asad ibn al Furat (d. 829); Ibn al-Ashab (d. 820); Abu `Abd Allah `Abd al-Rahman Ibn al-Qasim al-`Utaqi, known as Ibn Qasim (d. 807), and Sahnun himself. It is referred to as "al Umm", or "the Mother", of the Maliki school. Sahnun's revision and transmission of the Mudawwana was the major factor in the spread of the Maliki school across the West of the Muslim world.

‘Abd al-Salam Sahnun see Sahnun, ‘Abd al-Salam

Sahrawi (Saharaui) (Saharaoui) (Saharawi) (Sahraoui) (Saharaui). People of the western Sahara.  They represent the original population in southern Morocco, the region that is internationally recognized as the sovereign state of Western Sahara.

Originally they were nomads, but due to drought, many have sought refuge in towns like Laayoune or emigrated to Morocco or other countries.  Many Sahrawis in Laayoune live under very basic conditions, in refugee camps set up in the middle of the town, while a majority live in normal houses.  

Sahrawis have been invited by Moroccan authorities to join the Moroccan society, and they enjoy the same rights as other citizens, but Moroccan occupation is probably only accepted by a minority of the population.

Their lifestyles are marked by strong families and tribes, and women enjoy an important position in the society.  The Sahrawi men have simple clothes, designed to ward off desert sand and summer heat -- women wear colorful garments.   

The Arabic word Sahrāwī literally means "of Sahara", and should be understood as "inhabitant of the Sahara" (Saharan). There are several transliterations of the word, several of which are used in English:

Western Saharan, pro-independence groups have tended to utilize the term Sahrawi (Saharan) in a manner as to give a nationalist connotation, specific to the Western Sahara Territory. Common Moroccan governmental and popular usage has tended to apply the term somewhat more broadly, to include Hassani speaking Saharan populations in regions under undisputed Moroccan rule, but with similar connotations. It is now routine to describe these same populations as (Moroccan) Sahrawi. The term Sahrawi includes both Beni Hassan, Haratin (dark skinned population) and other groups, and is not confined to nomadic populations.

Nomadic Berbers, mainly of the Sanhaja tribal confederation, inhabited the areas now known as Western Sahara, southern Morocco, Mauritania and western Algeria, before Islam arrived in the 8th century of the Christian calendar. The new faith achieved quick expansion, but Arab immigrants initially only blended superficially with the population, mostly confining themselves to the cities of present-day Morocco and Spain. However, they introduced the camel to the region, revolutionizing the traditional trade routes of North Africa. Caravans transported salt, gold and slaves between North Africa and West Africa, and the control of trade routes became a major ingredient in the constant power struggles between various tribes and sedentary peoples. On more than one occasion, the Berber tribes of Western Sahara/Mauritania would unite behind religious leaders to sweep the surrounding governments from power, then founding dynasties of their own. This was the case with the Almoravid dynasty of Morocco and Andalusia, and several emirates in Mauritania.

In the 11th century, the Arab Beni Hilal and Beni Sulaym tribes emigrated westwards from Egypt (the Fatimid Caliphate) and gained control of most of present-day Morocco, but Western Sahara remained largely unpenetrated by the Arab advances. However, in the early 13th century, the Yemeni Maqil tribes migrated westwards across the entirety of Arabia and northern Africa, to finally settle around today's Morocco. They were badly received by the Zenata Berber descendants of the Merinid dynasty, and among the tribes pushed out of the territory, were the Beni Hassan.

This tribe entered the domains of the Sanhaja, and over the following centuries imposed itself upon them, intermixing with the population in the process. Berber attempts to shake off the rule of Arab warrior tribes occurred sporadically, but assimilation gradually won out, and after the failed Char Bouba uprising (1644–74), the Berber tribes would virtually without exception embrace Arab culture and even claim Arab heritage. The Arabic dialect of the Beni Hassan, Hassaniya, remains the mother-tongue of Western Sahara and Mauritania to this day, and is also spoken in southern Morocco and western Algeria, among affiliated tribes. Berber vocabulary and cultural traits remain common, despite the fact that most if not all of the Sahrawi/Moorish tribes today claim Arab ancestry; several are even claiming to be descendants of Muhammad, so-called sharifian tribes (pl. shurfa or chorfa).

The modern ethnic group is thus an Arab and Berber people inhabiting the westernmost Sahara desert, in the area of modern Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria and, at its core, the Western Sahara (some tribes would also traditionally migrate into northern Mali and Niger, or even further along the Saharan caravan routes). As with most Saharan peoples, the tribes reflect a highly mixed heritage, combining Arab, Berber, and other influences, including black African ethnic and cultural characteristics. The latter were primarily acquired through mixing with Wolof, Soninke and other populations of the southern Sahel, and through the acquisition of slaves by wealthier nomad families.

In pre-colonial times, the Sahara was generally considered bled es-Siba or "the land of dissidence" by the authorities of the established Islamic states of North Africa, such as the Sultan of Morocco and the Deys of Algeria. The Islamic governments of the pre-colonial sub-Saharan empires of Mali and Songhai appear to have had a similar relationship with the tribal territories, which were once the home of undisciplined raiding tribes and the main trade route for the Saharan caravan trade. Central governments had little control over the region, although the Hassaniya tribes would occasionally extend "beya" or allegiance to prestigious rulers, to gain their political backing or, in some cases, as a religious ceremony. The Moorish populations of today's north Mauritania established a number of emirates, claiming the loyalty of several different tribes and through them exercising semi-sovereignty over traditional grazing lands. This could be considered the closest thing to centralized government that was ever achieved by the Hassaniya tribes, but even these emirates were weak, conflict-ridden and rested more on the willing consent of the subject tribes than on any capacity to enforce loyalty.

Modern distinctions drawn between the various Hassaniya speaking Sahrawi-Moorish groups are primarily political, but cultural differences dating from different colonial and post-colonial histories are also apparent. An important divider is whether the tribal confederations fell under French or Spanish colonial rule. France conquered most of North and West Africa largely during the late 19th century. This included Algeria and Mauritania, and, from 1912, Morocco. But Western Sahara and scattered minor parts of Morocco fell to Spain, and were named Spanish Sahara (subdivided into Río de Oro and Saguia el-Hamra) and Spanish Morocco respectively. These colonial intrusions brought the Muslim Saharan peoples under Christian European rule for the first time, and created lasting cultural and political divides between and within existing populations, as well as upsetting traditional balances of power in differing ways.

The Sahrawi-Moorish areas, then still undefined as to exact territorial boundaries, proved troublesome for the colonizers, just as they had for neighboring dynasties in previous centuries. The political loyalty of these populations were first and foremost to their respective tribes, and supra-tribal allegiances and alliances would shift rapidly and unexpectedly. Their nomadic lifestyle made direct control over the territories hard to achieve, as did general lawlessness, an absence of prior central authority, and a widely held contempt for the kind of settled life that the colonizers sought to bring about. Centuries of intra-tribal warfare and raids for loot (ghazzu) guaranteed that the populations were well armed and versed in guerrilla-style warfare. Tribes allied to hostile European powers would now also be considered fair game for cattle raids on those grounds, which tied the struggle against France and Spain into the traditional power play of the nomads, aggravating the internal struggles.

Uprisings and violent tribal clashes therefore took place with increasing frequency as European encroachment increased, and on occasion took the form of anti-European holy war, or Jihad, as in the case of the Ma el-Ainin uprising in the first years of the 20th century. It was not until the 1930s that Spain was able to finally subdue the interior of present-day Western Sahara, and then only with strong French military assistance. Mauritania's raiding Moors had been brought under control in the previous decades, partly through skillful exploitation by the French of traditional rivalries and social divisions between the tribes. In these encounters, the large Reguibat tribe proved especially resistant to the new rulers, and its fighters would regularly slip in and out of French and Spanish territory, similarly exploiting the rivalries between European powers. The last major Reguibat raid took place in 1934, after which the Spanish authorities occupied Smara, finally gaining control over the last unpatroled border territories.

The Sahrawi-Moorish tribes remained largely nomadic until the early to mid-20th century, when Franco-Spanish rivalries (as well as disagreements between different wings of the French colonial regime) managed to impose rigid, if arbitrary, borders on the previously fluid Sahara. The wide-ranging grazing lands of the nomads were split apart, and their traditional economies, based on trans-Saharan caravan trade and raiding of each other and the northern and southern sahel neighbors, were broken. Little attention was paid to existing tribal confederations and zones of influence, when dividing up the Saharan inlands.

French and Spanish colonial governments would gradually, and with varying force, impose their own systems of government and education over these territories, exposing the native populations to differing colonial experiences. The populations in Algeria were subjected to direct French rule, which was organized to enable the massive settlement of French and European immigrants. In Mauritania, they experienced a French non-settler colonial administration which, if light in its demands on the nomads, also deliberately overturned the existing social order, allying itself with lower-ranking marabout and zenaga tribes against the powerful warrior clans of the Hassane Arabs. In southern Morocco, France upheld indirect rule through the sultanate in some areas, while Spain exercised direct administration in others. The Spanish Sahara was treated first as a colony, and later as an overseas province, with gradually tightening political conditions, and, in later years, a rapid influx of Spanish settlers (making Spaniards about 20% of the population in 1975). By the time of decolonization in the 1950s-1970s, Sahrawi tribes in all these different territories had experienced roughly a generation or more of distinct experiences. Often, however, their nomadic lifestyle had guaranteed that they were subjected to less interference than what afflicted sedentary populations in the same areas.

The period of colonization destroyed existing power structures, leaving a confused legacy of contradictory political affiliations, European-drawn borders with little resemblance to ethnic and tribal realities, and the foundations of modern political conflict.

For example, both sides in the Western Sahara conflict (Morocco vs. the Polisario Front) draw heavily on colonial history to prove their version of reality. Proponents of the Greater Morocco ideology point to some Sahrawi tribes calling upon the Moroccan Sultan, who until 1912 remained the last independent Islamic ruler of the area, for assistance against the Europeans. Pro-independence Sahrawis, on the other hand, point out that such statements of allegiance were almost routinely given by various tribal leaders to create short-term alliances, and that other heads of tribes indeed similarly proclaimed allegiance to Spain, to France, to Mauritanian emirates, and indeed to each other; they argue that such arrangements always proved temporary, and that the tribal confederations always maintained de facto independence of central authority, and would even fight to maintain this independence.

The International Court of Justice issued a ruling on the matter in 1975, stating that there had existed ties between the Moroccan Sultan and some (mainly northernly Tekna) tribes in then-Spanish Sahara, but that these ties were not sufficient to abrogate Western Sahara's right to self-determination. The same kind of ruling was issued with regard to Mauritania, where the court found that there were indeed strong tribal and cultural links between the Sahrawis and Mauritanian populations, including historical allegiance to some Moorish emirates, but that these were not ties of a state or government character, and did not constitute formal bonds of sovereignty. Thus, the court recommended the United Nations to continue to pursue self-determination for the Sahrawis, enabling them to choose for themselves whether they wanted Spanish Sahara to turn into an independent state, or to be annexed to Morocco or Mauritania.

The area today referred to as Western Sahara, remains according to the United Nations one of the world's last remaining major non-self governing territories. Morocco controls most of the territory as its Southern Provinces, but the legality of this is not internationally recognized by any country, and disputed militarily by the Polisario Front, an Algerian-backed movement claiming independence for the territory as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). After 1991, there was a cease-fire between Morocco and Polisario, but disturbances in Moroccan-held territories as well as the ongoing dispute over the legal status of the territory, guarantees continued United Nations involvement and occasional international attention to the issue.

The Polisario Front was the Western Sahara's national liberation movement, militating for the independence of the Western Sahara after 1973 - originally against Spanish rule, but after 1975 against Mauritania and Morocco and after 1979 against Morocco only. The organization was based in Algeria, where it was responsible for the Tindouf refugee camps. The organization maintained a cease-fire with Morocco after 1991, but continued to strive for the territory's independence as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) through peaceful negotiations. The Polisario restricted its claims to the colonially-defined Western Sahara, holding no claim to, for example, the Sahrawi-populated Tarfaya Strip in Morocco, or any part of Mauritania.

Saharaui see Sahrawi
Saharaoui see Sahrawi
Saharawi see Sahrawi
Sahraoui see Sahrawi
Saharaui see Sahrawi

Sa’ib, Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali
Sa’ib, Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali (Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Sa’ib) (1601/1602/1603, Tabriz, Iran - 1677).  One of the most prolific poets of his time.  He is highly praised by critics.

Mīrzā Muḥammad ʿAlī Ṣāʾib, also called Ṣāʾib of Tabriz, or Ṣāʾib of Eṣfahān, was a Persian poet and one of the greatest masters of a form of classical Arabic and Persian lyric poetry characterized by rhymed couplets and known as the ghazel.

Ṣāʾib was educated in Eṣfahān, and in about 1626/27 he traveled to India, where he was received into the court of Shāh Jahān. He stayed for a time in Kabul and in Kashmir, returning home after several years abroad. After his return Shāh ʿAbbas II bestowed upon him the title King of Poets.

Ṣāʾib’s reputation is based primarily on some 300,000 couplets, including his epic poem Qandahār-nāma (“The Campaign Against Qandahār”). His “Indian style” verses reveal an elegant wit, a gift for the aphorism and the proverb, and a keen appreciation of philosophical and intellectual exercise. In addition to his remarkable output of Persian verse, Ṣāʾib wrote poetry in Turkish.

Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Sa’ib see Sa’ib, Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali
Sa'ib of Tabriz see Sa’ib, Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali
Sa'ib of Esfahan see Sa’ib, Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali
King of Poets see Sa’ib, Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali

Said, Edward
Said, Edward (Edward Said) (Edward Wadie Saïd) (Idwārd Wadīʿ Saʿīd) (Edward William Sa'id) (b. November 1, 1935, Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine - d. September 25, 2003, New York City, New York, United States). Palestinian-American literary theorist and advocate for Palestinian rights. Said’s broad fame was principally connected to his book Orientalism, published in 1978, in which he strong criticizes Western social, historical and religious studies of the Middle East and North Africa.  Said accuses Western scientists of often being victims of prejudices, of reducing Oriental cultures and religions in comparison to Western cultures and religions.  In general, Said protests against Western disposition to paint Asia as exotic, different, traditional sensual and fanatic.  Said was educated at Victoria College in Cairo, Mount Hermon School and Princeton and Harvard Universities.

Said was born in 1935 in Jerusalem -- then part of British-ruled Palestine -- and was raised in Egypt before moving to the United States as a student.  He was for many years the leading United States advocate for the Palestinian cause.

Said's writings have been translated into 26 languages and his most influential book, Orientalism was credited with forcing Westerners to re-examine their perceptions of the Islamic world. His work covered a plethora of other subjects from English literature, his academic specialty, to music and culture.  His later books include Musical Elaborations (1991) and Cultural Imperialism (1993).

Many of Said's books -- including The Question of Palestine (1979), Covering Islam (1981), After the Last Sky (1986), and Blaming the Victims (1988) -- were influenced directly by Said's involvement with Palestine.  He was a prominent member of the Palestinian parliament-in-exile for fourteen years before stepping down in 1991.  

A professor at Columbia University for most of his academic career, Said was consistently critical of Israel for what he regarded as mistreatment of the Palestinians.  He prompted a controversy in 2000 when he threw a rock toward an Israeli guardhouse on the Lebanese border.  Columbia did not censure him, saying the stone was not directed at anyone, no law was broken and that his actions were protected by principles of academic freedom.

Said's outspoken stance made him many enemies.  He suffered repeated death threats and, in 1985, he was called a Nazi by the Jewish Defense League and his university office was set on fire.

After the signing of the Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Said also criticized Yasser Arafat because he believed the PLO leader had made a bad deal for the Palestinians.  

Edward Wadie Said, sometimes Edward William Said, was a Palestinian American academic, political activist, and literary critic who examined literature in light of social and cultural politics and was an outspoken proponent of the political rights of the Palestinian people and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Said’s father, Wadie (William) Ibrahim, was a wealthy businessman who had lived some time in the United States and apparently, at some point, took United States citizenship. In 1947, Wadie moved the family from Jerusalem to Cairo in order to avoid the conflict that was beginning over the United Nations partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab areas. In Cairo, Said was educated in English-language schools before transferring to the exclusive Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts in the United States in 1951. He attended Princeton University (B.A., 1957) and Harvard University (M.A., 1960; Ph.D., 1964), where he specialized in English literature. He joined the faculty of Columbia University as a lecturer in English in 1963 and in 1967 was promoted to assistant professor of English and comparative literature. His first book, Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography (1966), was an expansion of his doctoral thesis. The book examines Conrad’s short stories and letters for the underlying tension of the author’s narrative style; it is concerned with the cultural dynamics of beginning a work of literature or scholarship.

Said was promoted to full professor in 1969, received his first of several endowed chairs in 1977, and in 1978 published Orientalism, his best-known work and one of the most influential scholarly books of the 20th century. In it Said examined Western scholarship of the “Orient,” specifically of the Arab Islamic world (though he was an Arab Christian), and argued that early scholarship by Westerners in that region was biased and projected a false and stereotyped vision of “otherness” on the Islamic world that facilitated and supported Western colonial policy.

Although he never taught any courses on the Middle East, Said wrote numerous books and articles in his support of Arab causes and Palestinian rights. He was especially critical of United States and Israeli policy in the region, and this led him into numerous, often bitter, polemics with supporters of those two countries. He was elected to the Palestine National Council (the Palestinian legislature in exile) in 1977, and, though he supported a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he became highly critical of the Oslo peace process between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel in the early 1990s.

His books about the Middle East include The Question of Palestine (1979), Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World (1981), Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question (1988; co-edited with Christopher Hitchens), The Politics of Dispossession (1994), and Peace and Its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process (1995). Among his other notable books are The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983), Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature: Yeats and Decolonization (1988), Musical Elaborations (1991), and Culture and Imperialism (1993). His autobiography, Out of Place (1999), reflects the ambivalence he felt over living in both the Western and Eastern traditions.

In addition to his political and academic pursuits, Said was an accomplished musician and pianist.

Edward Said died at age 67 in the early morning of September 25, 2003, in New York City, after a 12 year-long battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He was survived by his wife of 33 years, Mariam (née Cortas); a son, Wadie, and a daughter, Najla.

Edward Said see Said, Edward
Edward Wadie Saïd see Said, Edward
Idwārd Wadīʿ Saʿīd see Said, Edward
Edward William Sa'id see Said, Edward

Said Halim Pasha, Mehmed
Said Halim Pasha, Mehmed (Mehmed Said Halim Pasha) (Said Halim Pasha</I.) (b. January 18, 1865, Cairo, Egypt - December 6, 1921, Rome, Italy).  Islamic reformer and Ottoman grand vizier (1913-1916).  Born in Cairo, Said Halim was the grandson of Muhammad ‘Ali, the founder of modern Egypt.  At the age of six, he came to Istanbul when his father was exiled by Khedive Ismail.  Tutors taught Said Halim Arabic, Persian, French, and English.  Later he was sent to Switzerland where he read political science.  On his return to Istanbul he was appointed to the Council of State in May 1888 and given the rank of a civil pasha.  He continued to ascend the administrative ladder and gain new honors.

For an independent minded and cosmopolitan intellectual, life under Abdulhamid (r.1876-1908) was suffocating.  Therefore, Said Halim withdrew to his villa on the Bosphorus and devoted his energies to the study of history and religion, concerned as he was about the decline and stagnation of the Muslim world vis-a-vis the West.  An imperial spy denounced him as subversive, and he was exiled to Egypt and Europe.  There he joined the Young Turks, supporting their activities financially.  He returned to Istanbul after constitutional rule was restored in July 1908.

Said Halim became a member of the inner circle of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) and leader of the Islamist faction.  In December 1908, he was appointed to the senate and the Islamic Education Committee.  He entered the cabinet in January 1912 as president of the Council of State.  In January 1913, during the Balkan wars, he became foreign minister.  He was appointed grand vizier on June 11, 1913, while retaining the foreign ministry.  At a time when the Ottoman government was accused of pursuing a policy of Turkification, its Sadrazam was an ardent Islamist who wrote only in French and Arabic.  The appointment was designed to appease Arab/Islamic sentiment in the empire.  Said Halim resigned on February 3, 1917, but remained in the senate, devoting himself to writing.  The British who occupied Istanbul after the armistice of October 1918 arrested him in March 1919 and deported him to Malta.  Released on April 29, 1921, he went to Rome, where he was assassinated by an Armenian nationalist on December 6, 1921.

Apart from his political role, Said Halim Pasha was also the secularly educated spokesman for the conservative Islamist faction of the Young Turks.  His articles appeared in Sirat-i Mustakim and Sebil urresad, but not in the radical Islam mecmuasi, the organ of the Turkists.  Between 1910and 1921, he wrote influential essays later published in various editions under the title Buhranlarimiz (Our Crises).  Notable among these are “Islamic Fanaticism and its Meaning, and Fanaticism” and “Our Social Crisis” (1916), “Our Crisis of Ideas” (1917), “An Essay on the Decline of Islam” and “Islamization” (1918), and “Political Organization in Islam” (1921).  The last essay was also published in French.

Said Halim was concerned with countering the West’s criticism of Islam.  He argued that Islam was a rational religion that encouraged scientific thought and did not regard science as inimical to faith.  Since the problems of Western society were different from those of Islamic society, he thought it was damaging to imitate and borrow blindly ideas such as constitutionalism.  The world of Islam should find its own traditions and heritage, especially the shari‘a.  As for “Muslim fanaticism,” he argued that the phrase reflected “in reality, not the Muslims’ enmity towards Christians, but the West’s inherent enmity towards the East.”

Said Halim Pasha was one of the signers in Ottoman-German Alliance. Yet, he resigned after the incident of the pursuit of Goeben and Breslau, an event which served to cement the Ottoman-German alliance during World War I. It is claimed that Mehmed V wanted a person in whom he trusted as Vizier, and that he asked Said Halim to stay in his post as long as possible. Said Halim's second term lasted until 1916, made short because of continuous clashes between him and the Committee of Union and Progress, which was the Imperial Government of the Ottoman Empire.

During the military trials of World War I in the Ottoman Empire, he was accused of treason as he had his signature under Ottoman-German Alliance. He was exiled May 29, 1919 to a prison on Malta. He was acquitted from the accusations and set free in 1921 at which time he moved to Sicily. He wanted to return to the Turkish capital, Istanbul in 1921, but this request was rejected. He was assassinated in Rome soon after by agents of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation for his role in the Armenian Genocide.

Mehmed Said Halim Pasha
 see Said Halim Pasha, Mehmed
Said Halim Pasha see Said Halim Pasha, Mehmed

Sa‘id ibn al-‘As ibn Sa‘id
Sa‘id ibn al-‘As ibn Sa‘id (c.623-678).  Governor of Kufa and Medina.  He was nominated by the Caliph ‘Uthman as a member of the committee to establish a definite text of the Qur’an. 

Sa‘id ibn Sultan
Sa‘id ibn Sultan (Sayyid Sa'id ibn Sultan) (Said bin Sultan Al-Said) (Sa‘id bin Sulṭān) (1791 - October 19, 1856).  Sultan of Muscat and Oman from November 20, 1804 to June 4, 1856.  Member of the Al Bu Sa‘id dynasty and the greatest ruler of the united sultanate of Oman and Zanzibar who ruled 1806 to 1856. Under strong British pressure he restricted the slave trade.  In 1832, he made Zanzibar the capital of his empire.  His greatest achievement was the extension of his African dominions into a commercial empire.  He asserted his authority over the Arab and Swahili colonies from Mogadishu to Cape Delgado, including Mombasa.  In 1854, he ceded the Kuria Muria Islands to Great Britain.  

Born in 1791, Saʿīd succeeded his father jointly with his brother Salīm in 1804, but their cousin Badr immediately usurped the throne. In 1806, Saʿīd assassinated Badr and became virtual sole ruler, though Salīm, a non-entity, had titular status until his death in 1821. Although Europeans frequently called him imam and sultan, Saʿīd himself used the style sayyid. He was never elected to the purely religious office of imam that all his predecessors held.

His earlier years were complicated by family and tribal quarrels, by Anglo-French rivalry in the Indian Ocean, by the expansion of the Wahhābī Muslim puritan movement in Arabia, and by the incessant depredations of the Qawāsim pirates. He developed a small army and a fleet that also served mercantile purposes. His pilgrimage to Mecca in 1824 demonstrated that he had overcome both internal and external enemies and could risk absence from his own land.

At this time, the eastern African coast was divided into numerous small states owing allegiance to Oman because Oman had expelled the Portuguese from the states in 1698. At Saʿīd’s accession, Omani weakness made this allegiance little more than nominal, for at Mombasa the Mazarʾi family had set up a virtually independent dynasty. In 1822 Saʿīd sent an expedition that drove them from Pemba Island. A British naval force occupied Mombasa irregularly from 1824 to 1826, when the action was repudiated by the British government. In 1827 Saʿīd went to assert his authority in person. One effect was greatly to increase the revenues remitted. There ensued a struggle between Saʿīd and the Mazarʾi for Mombasa that ended only in 1837 when, by a ruse, he took some 30 of the enemy captive. All were deported and some were killed. If he preferred peaceable settlements, Saʿīd could show himself as ruthless as any Mamelūke.

Saʿīd first visited Zanzibar in 1828. Shortly thereafter, he acquired the only two properties on which cloves were then grown. He lived to make the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba the largest clove producers in the world. By 1834, it was believed that he intended to transfer his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar, but, until the 1840s, he divided his time more or less equally between them. His interest in East Africa was not simply to gain increased tax revenue.  It was primarily commercial. From the 1820s, caravans from Zanzibar reversed the immemorial system of trade by which African products had been brought to the coast by African caravans. At that time, the Zanzibar caravans, Saʿīd’s among them at latest by 1839, actively sought ivory, slaves, and other products, and a wholly new commercial system was created reaching beyond Lake Tanganyika and into modern Uganda. At a formal level, the transfer of Sa'id's
court and other changes were marked by the establishment in Zanzibar of foreign consulates: United States (1837), Britain (1841), France (1844). These countries, with Germany, became the principal buyers, but Saʿīd also exported goods in his own ships to Arabia and India and, occasionally, to Europe and to the United States. By the 1840s he had made Zanzibar the principal power in eastern Africa and the commercial capital of the western Indian Ocean. There was no false modesty in his remark, “I am nothing but a merchant.” Trade was his predominant interest.

Throughout his reign he was under British pressure to end the slave trade. He told a captain of the Royal Navy that “to put down the slave trade with the Muslims, that is a stone too heavy for me to lift without some strong hand to help me.” By a treaty of collaboration with Britain concluded in 1822, he agreed to forbid his subjects to sell slaves to the subjects of Christian powers. By 1842 the average annual import of slaves was reported as approximately 15,000, some doubtless necessitated by the development of the clove plantations. In 1845 he signed a further treaty with Britain, prohibiting both the export and import of slaves from or into his African dominions. His domestic slaves may have numbered more than 1,000. On his death, his will freed them but not his plantation slaves.

Saʿīd’s commercial empire had no developed system of administration. His government was essentially personal and patriarchal, and he sat daily in public to settle cases and complaints. He depended heavily in his commercial ventures on Indian merchants, whose immigration he encouraged. His naval force was commanded by officers who also traded on his behalf. Saʿīd belonged to the Ibāḍī sect of Islām, which, if puritanical, is notably tolerant of others. A majority of his subjects were Sunnite Muslims, and for them he appointed a special judge.

His daughter Salamah’s Memoirs of an Arabian Princess (1886) gives an intimate portrait of his private life. He left no children by his legal wives, but he maintained some 70 surias, or concubines, chiefly Circassians or Ethiopians, by whom he had 25 sons and an unknown number of daughters. Strict in his habits, lavish in his generosity, he was an affectionate father, taking great pleasure in elaborate family gatherings. He had a patriarchal relationship with his many slaves, whose weddings he sometimes attended. He was a keen horseman and practical seaman. He died at sea in 1856 and was greatly mourned by his subjects. His will divided his dominions between his sons Mājid, who became ruler of Zanzibar, and Thuwayn, who received Muscat and Oman. Saʿīd, wrote the British consul, was “most truly every man’s friend: he wishes to do good to all.”

Sayyid Sa'id ibn Sultan see Sa‘id ibn Sultan
Said bin Sultan Al-Said see Sa‘id ibn Sultan
Sa‘id bin Sulṭān see Sa‘id ibn Sultan

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