Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Saqaliba - Shaaban Robert

Saqaliba (Siqlabi).  Arabic term which means “Slavs.”  Under the Ottomans, the Saqaliba was comprised of a contingent of slaves of Slavic descent who were bought in Frankish territory and who were used as elite soldiers or faithful palace servants.

Saqaliba refers to the Slavs, particularly Slavic slaves and mercenaries in the medieval Arab world, in the Middle East, North Africa, Sicily and Al-Andalus. The Arabic term is a Byzantine loanword. Saqlab, siklab, saqlabi etc. are corruptions of the Greek Sklavinoi for "Slavs". The word was also often used more generally to refer to all slaves from Central and Eastern Europe. (The English word "slave" is ultimately derived from the same source.)

The Arab chronicler Ibn al-Faqih wrote that there were two types of saqaliba: those with swarthy skin and dark hair that live by the sea and those with fair skin and light hair that live farther inland.

Ibrahim ibn Yaqub placed the people of "Saqalib" in the mountainous regions of Central Balkans, west of the Bulgarians and east from the "other Slavs" (Croats), thus in the Serb lands. The Saqalib had the reputation of being "the most courageous and violent".

There were several major routes of the trade of Slav slaves into the Muslim world: through Central Asia (Mongols, Tatars, Khazars, etc.); through the Mediterranean (Byzantium); through Central and Western Europe to Al-Andalus and further to North Africa (Morocco, Egypt). The Volga trade route and other European routes, according to Ibrahim ibn Jakub, were serviced by Radanites, Jewish merchants. Theophanes mentions that the Umayyad caliph Muawiyah I settled a whole army of 5,000 Slavic mercenaries in Syria in the 660s.

In the Muslim world, Saqaliba served or were forced to serve in a multitude of ways: servants, harem girls, eunuchs, craftsmen, soldiers, and as Caliph's guards. Many of them became prominent, and unlike millions of nameless slaves, their fate is generally known. In Iberia, Morocco, Damascus and Sicily, their role may be compared with that of the Mamelukes in the Ottoman Empire. Some Saqāliba became rulers of taifas (principalities) in Iberia after the collapse of the Caliphate of Cordoba.

It is possible that in some old texts "Saqaliba" may refer to other peoples of Eastern Europe. In particular, Ibn Fadlan referred to the ruler of the Volga Bulgaria, Almış, as "King of the Saqaliba". This may also have been because many Slavs, both slaves and ordinary settlers, lived in his domain at that time.

Siqlabi see Saqaliba

Saracens. Name used by the Christians to indicate their opponents, both Arabs and Turks.  In the first three centuries of the Christian calendar, the term refers to an Arab tribe living in the Sinai Peninsula, called Sarakenoi.  After the foundation of the Arab Empire, the Byzantines used the term for all the Muslim peoples subject to the caliph, not however for the Saljuqs and the Turks, who were called Persians or Hagarenes.  Through the Crusades, the term spread to the West.

Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to people who inhabited the deserts near the Roman province of Syria and who were distinct from Arabs. The term was later applied to Arab peoples and by the time of European chroniclers during the time of the Crusades came to be synonymous with Muslim.

One of earliest references is in Ptolemy's Geography, which refers to a Sarakenoi people living in the north-western Arabian peninsula, and distinct from Arabs. The term spread into Western Europe through the Byzantines and Crusaders. After the rise of Islam, and especially at the time of the Crusades, its usage was extended to refer to all Muslims, including non-Arab Muslims, particularly those in Sicily and southern Italy.

In Christian writing, the name was interpreted to mean "those empty of Sarah" or "not from Sarah". Both Christians and Muslims adopted the extra-biblical Jewish tradition that Arabs descended from Hagar's son Ishmael. Christians also called them the Hagarenes or Ishmaelites.

The earliest datable reference to Saracens is found in Ptolemy's Geography (2nd century C.C.), which describes "Sarakene" as a region in the Northern Sinai named after the town Saraka located between Egypt and Palestine. Ptolemy also makes mention of a people called the Sarakenoi living in north-western Arabia. Eusebius of Caesarea references Saracens in his Eccelastical history, in which he narrates an account wherein Dionysus the Bishop of Alexandria mentions Saracens in a letter while describing the Roman emperor Decius's persecution: "Many were, in the Arabian mountain, enslaved by the barbarous sarkenoi." The Historia Augusta, written in 400 [AD] also refers to an attack by Saraceni on Pescennius Niger's army in Aegyptus, 193 [C.C.] but provides little information on who they might be.

Hippolytus, the book of the laws of countries and Uranius mention three distinct peoples in Arabia during the first half of the third century, the Saraceni, Taeni and Arabes. The Taeni, later identified with the Arab tribe called Tayyi, were located around the Khaybar Oasis all the way up to the eastern Euphrates while the Saracenoi were placed north of them. These Saracens located in the Northern Hejaz appear as people with a certain military ability and opponents of the Roman Empire who are characterized by the Romans as barbaroi. They are described in a Notitia dignitatum dating from the time of Diocletian, during the 3rd century, as comprising distinctive units in the composition of the Roman army distinguishing between Arabs, Iiluturaens and Saracens. The Saracens are described as forming the equites (heavy cavalry) from Phoenicia and Thamud. In a praeteritio, the defeated enemies of the Diocletians campaign in the Syrian desert are described as Saracens and other 4th century military reports make no mention of Arabs but refer to groups as far as Mesopotamia, involved in battles on both the Persian as well as Roman sides, as Saracens.

The Historia Augusta carries an account of a letter to the Roman Senate, ascribed to Aurelian, that describes the Palmyrian queen Zenobia as: "I might say such was the fear that this woman inspired in the peoples of the east and also the Egyptians that neither Arabes, nor Saraceni, nor Armenians moved against her." Another early Byzantine source chronicling the Saracens are the 6th century works by Ioannes Malalas. The difference between the two accounts of Saracens is that Malalas saw Palmyrans and all inhabitants of the Syrian desert as Saracens and not Arabs, while the Historia Augusta saw the Saracens as not being subjects of Zenobia and distinct from Palmyrans and Arabs. Writing at the end of the fourth century Ammianus Marcellinus, a historian of Julian the Apostate, notes that the term Saraceni designating "desert-dwellers" of the Syrian desert had replaced Arabes scenitae. After the time of Ammianus the Saracens were known as warriors of the desert. The term Saracen, popular in both Greek and Roman literature, over time came to be associated with Arabs and Assyrians as well, and carried a definitive negative connotation.

The Middle Persian correspondent terms for Saracens are tazigan and tayyaye; who were located by Stephanus of Byzantium in the 6th century at the Lakhmid capital city of Al-Hirah.

Eusebius and Epiphanius Scholasticus in their Christian histories places Saracens east of the Gulf of Aqaba but beyond the Roman province of Arabia and mention them as Ishmaelites through Kedar. Thus, they are outside the promise given to Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and also therefore, in Christian theology, beyond a privileged place in the family of nations or divine dispensation. The Jews viewed them as pagans and polytheists in ancient times and in later Christian times they became associated with cruel tyrants from early Christian history such as: Herod the Great, Herod Antipas and Agrippa I. Christian writings, such as those by Origen, viewed them as heretics who had to be brought into the Orthodox fold. To the Christian Saint Jerome, the Arabs, who were also considered in Christian theology as Ishmaelites, were also seen to fit the definition of Saracens; pagan tent-dwelling raiders of the lands on the eastern fringes of the Roman empire.

The term Saracen carried the connotation of people living on the fringes of settled society, living off raids on towns and villages, and eventually became equated with both the "tent-dwelling" Bedouin as well as sedentary Arabs. Church writers of the period commonly describe Saracen raids on monasteries and their killing of monks. The term and the negative image of Saracens was in popular usage in both the Greek east as well as the Latin west throughout the Middle Ages. With the advent of Islam, in the Arabian peninsula, during the seventh century among the Arabs, the terms strong association with Arabs tied the term closely with not just race and culture, but also the religion. The rise of the Arab Empire and the ensuing hostility with the Byzantine Empire saw itself expressed as conflict between Islam and Christianity and the association of the term with Islam was further accentuated both during and after the Crusades.

Sarakhsi, Shams al-A’imma Abu Bakr al-
Sarakhsi, Shams al-A’imma Abu Bakr al- (Shams al-A’imma Abu Bakr al-Sarakhsi) (Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abi Sahl Abu Bakr al-Sarakhsi -- from Sarakhs in Khorasan) (d. 1106). was a Hanafi jurist from Transoxiana.  He was thrown into prison by the Ilek-Khan Hasan ibn Sulayman (r.1073-1102) for having stigmatized as illegal the ruler’s conduct when he married his manumitted umm al-walad without observing the period of abstention (in Arabic, ‘idda).  His most important, multi-volumed law books which he dictactes entirely from memory to his pupils, who sat before his prison.  He also wrote several commentaries, especially on Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Shaybani’s works.

Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abi Sahl Abu Bakr al-Sarakhsi (from Sarakhs in Khorasan) was an Islamic scholar of the Hanafi school, traditionally known as Shams al-A'imma ("the sun of the leaders"), who lived and worked in Transoxiana. His family background is unknown; he died around the year 1106.

Al-Sarakhsi wrote many books on Islamic law and jurisprudence; his most important, Kitāb al-Mabsūṭ, a commentary on an epitome (mukhtaṣar) of Muhammad al-Shaybani's work, is spread over 30 volumes in which Sarakhsi explores juristic material, often through discussion of differences of opinion (ikhtilāf) both within the Hanafi tradition and with the other madhhabs. His other important work, Uṣūl al-Fiqh, is in two volumes. He was thrown into prison for criticizing the king and questioning the validity of the king's marriage to the slave woman of a palace servant. In prison, he authored parts of Kitāb al-Mabsūṭ and most of Siyar al-Kabīr. After 15 years of captivity, he was released from prison, and died soon after completing Siyar al-Kabīr.

Al-Sarakhsi has been called the "Hugo Grotius of the Muslims". He is greatly admired for his phenomenal memory, as evidenced from his accurate recollection of the classics while being held in prison. He was a strong advocate of the doctrine of istiḥsān, which he describes as abandonment of systematic reasoning about the scriptures in favor of a different opinion supported by stronger evidence and more accommodating of the population's needs.

He should be distinguished from Ahmad ibn al-Tayyib al-Sarakhsi, a scholar and littérateur who was a pupil of al-Kindi and lived in the second half of the ninth century.
Shams al-A’imma Abu Bakr al-Sarakhsi see Sarakhsi, Shams al-A’imma Abu Bakr al-
Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abi Sahl Abu Bakr al-Sarakhsi see Sarakhsi, Shams al-A’imma Abu Bakr al-
The Sun of the Leaders see Sarakhsi, Shams al-A’imma Abu Bakr al-
The Hugo Grotius of the Muslims see Sarakhsi, Shams al-A’imma Abu Bakr al-

Sarbadarids (1336-1381).  Militant Shi‘ite group in western Khurasan centered in the city of Sabzavar.  The dozen leaders of this polity, not strictly speaking a dynasty, adopted the name Sarbadar, that is, those prepared to put their “heads on the gallows” rather than accept injustice.  

The state was one of the several that arose in Iran during a time of weak central authority.  It was founded by a local amir, Abd al-Razzaq Bashtini, as a protest against social and economic repression.  His successor, Vajih al-Din Mas’ud, greatly expanded the movement and enhanced its legitimacy by allying with the leader of a local Sufi tariqa, Shaikh Hasan Juri.

Power sharing between the Sufi shaikhs and the local amirs was a hallmark of the Sarbadarid state, but it was ineffective and eventually contributed to the state’s downfall.  The followers of the shaikhs were an armed group recruited from urban workers.  They expected the imminent arrival of the Mahdi and wanted to establish a theocracy.  The “secular” Sarbadarid leaders, on the other hand, had less extreme religious ideas and were prepared to work within the framework of a larger state.

The last and longest ruling of the Sarbadarids, Ali Mu’ayyad (r. 1364-1381), was opposed to establishing a theocracy and tried to destroy the Sufi organization.  He planned to substitute a more moderate Imami (Twelver) Shi’ism for the radical variety they espoused.  However, the state was put to an end before he could institute this.

Internal divisions combined with external enemies such as the (Sunni) Kart dynasty at Herat seriously weakened the Sarbadarid state.  It surrendered to Timur in 1381, and the last of the Sarbadarids served as military commanders in other parts of Timur’s empire.  The Sarbadarid effort, while ultimately unsuccessful, foreshadowed the establishment of the Safavid Empire by another militant Sufi group in western Iran in 1501.

Sardar Muhammad Akbar
Sardar Muhammad Akbar. Ambitious son of Amir Dost Muhammad (r.1826-1838 and 1842-1863) and “Hero of Jamrud,” who defeated the Sikh army of Hari Singh in April 1837.  He was a major figure in the defeat of the British in the First Anglo-Afghan War.  Akbar was the premier of the Afghan chiefs with whom the British force of occupation sought to negotiate safe passage from Kabul to India.  During negotiations with William Macnaghten, he killed the British envoy “in a fit of passion.”  He saved the lives of British women and children as well as a number of officers whom he had taken into “protective” custody during the arduous retreat.  Few others survived the massacre of the British expeditionary force of some 16,000 troops and camp followers.  Akbar wanted to regain territory lost in the Punjab, but his father, Amir Dost Muhammad, who had been restored to the throne in 1842, favored a policy of accommodation with Britain.  In 1845 Akbar rebelled, but he died at the age of 29 of poisoning before he could pose a serious challenge to his father.  He is revered by Afghans and called Ghazi (Victor against Infidels), and a residential area of Kabul and a major hospital, Wazir Akbar Khan, have been named after him.

Akbar, Sardar Muhammad see Sardar Muhammad Akbar.

Sarekat Islam
Sarekat Islam (originally Sarekat Dagang Islam). First large Indonesian nationalist party, was founded in 1912 by Raden Mas Tirtodisoerjo.  It changed its name to Partai Sarekat Islam in 1923 and in 1929 to Partai Sarekat Islam Indonesia (PSII).  Many people joined it, in particular in its early years, and even before 1920 the Sarekat Islam claimed a membership of more than one and a half million.  In those years, it also became involved in instances of local unrest, for example in West Java.  Among its well-known leaders were Haji Umar Said Tjokroaminoto, Agus Salim, Abdul Muis, and Abikusno Tjokrosujoso.  In its first years, the Sarekat Islam also had a number of Communists among its leaders, including Semaoen and Alimin, who were also active in another party, the Indische Sociaal-Democratische Vereeniging (ISDV), the predecessor of the Partai Komunis Indonesia.  At first, they worked in uneasy cooperation with the Islamic leaders, but they were forced out of the Sarekat Islam in the early 1920s.

Originally an organization for all Muslims, Sarekat Islam became associated more and more with modernist Islam, in particular after traditionalists had established the Nahdatul Ulama in 1926.  In the 1930s, the Sarekat Islam experienced a number of conflicts, mainly over the question of cooperation or non-cooperation with the colonial government.  These resulted in a number of splinter groups.  In 1933, Sukiman founded the Partai Islam Indonesia (PARII); in 1934 the later Darul Islam leader Kartosuwirjo established a second PSII, and in 1935 the Barisan Penjedar PSII of Agus Salim and Mohammad Rum was founded.

The PSII first entered the Masjumi after 1945 but broke away from it in 1947.  As it turned out, the PSII continued to exist as a minor party, and in the national election of 1955 it received only three percent of the vote.  In 1973, the PSII entered the new Islamic party Partai Persatuan Pembangunan, continuing its non-political activities under the name of Syarekat Islam.

Sarekat Islam, formerly Sarekat Dagang Islam, was a Javanese batik traders's cooperative in Indonesia.Sarekat Dagang Islam, or Union of Islamic Traders, had as its goal the empowerment of local merchants, especially in the batik industry.

As Sarekat Dagang Islam grew, it was reorganized under the name Sarekat Islam. Sarekat Islam's general office was in Surabaya. Early prominent figures of Sarekat Islam included H.O.S. Cokroaminoto (Hajj Umar Said Tjokroaminoto) and Haji Agus Salim. H.O.S. Cokroaminoto had three famous students, who went on to play a dominant role in Indonesian politics: Soekarno (Sukarno) the nationalist, Semaun the socialist and Islamist Kartosoewiryo. Haji Agus Salim joined Sarekat Islam in 1915 and promoted Islamic modernism. Some of Salim's students such as Kasman Singodimedjo, Mohammad Roem and Mohammad Natsir later became prominent Islamic and Nationalist leaders.

The Sarekat Dagang Islam was the first nationalist political party in Indonesia to gain wide popular support. Founded in 1912 the party originated as an association of those Muslim merchants who wanted to advance their economic interests in relation to Chinese merchants in Java, but the association became political. It quickly gained mass support and started working for the self-government of the Dutch East Indies. The party’s most prominent leader was Omar Said Tjokroaminoto.

Its religious appeal helped the Sarekat Islām to grow rapidly. By 1916 the organization claimed 80 branches throughout Indonesia with a total membership of about 350,000. The Dutch authorities did not attempt to suppress the organization, presumably because they wanted to channel the increasingly radical movement into a constitutional stream.

The Sarekat Islām, however, became more and more involved in revolutionary activities. Communist elements entered the organization, and the struggle for power between the religious leaders and the communists culminated in the division of the Sarekat Islām in 1921. Before the division the orthodox Marxist party, the Indies Social Democratic Association, changed its name to the Indies (after 1924, Indonesian) Communist Party (PKI). In 1920 the communists tried to draw the movement into the orbit of the international communist movement. The religious leaders of the Sarekat Islām, Agus Salim and Abdul Muis, aware of the communist activities, urged a motion, passed in 1921 at a national party congress, that no member of the Sarekat Islām could hold dual party membership. This led to the departure of the left wing of the party. The latter group set up the Sarekat Islām Merah (Red Islāmic Association), which later changed its name to the Sarekat Rakjat (People’s Association), to serve as the mass organization of the PKI. The split severely undermined the Sarekat Islām, which eventually declined into a secondary party.

Sarekat Dagang Islam see Sarekat Islam
Union of Islamic Traders see Sarekat Islam

Sari ‘Abd Allah Efendi
Sari ‘Abd Allah Efendi (d. 1660).  Ottoman poet and man of letters.  He wrote a commentary in Turkish on the first volume of the mathnawi of Jalal al-Din Rumi, and composed several original works.

Sari Saltiq Dede
Sari Saltiq Dede. Turkish dervish and Bektashi saint from Bukhara of the thirteenth century.  He is said to have led a large body of people to the western coast of the Black Sea.
Dede, Sari Saltiq see Sari Saltiq Dede.

Sarkin.  Hausa title for headman or ruler.

Sarkis, Elias
Sarkis, Elias (Elias Sarkis) (July 20, 1924 - June 27, 1985). Lebanese politician and the president of Lebanon (1976-1982).

Sarkis was born on June 20, 1924, into a Maronite Christian family in Chebanyeh. In the 1940s, Sarkis studied law at the Saint Joseph University in Beirut.

In 1953, Sarkis began working at the legal section of the government’s audit department.Around 1960, Sarkis began working in the secretariat of President Fuad Chehab.  In 1962, Sarkis became director-general for the presidential bureau.  In 1966, Sarkis was appointed governor of the central bank.  

In 1970, Sarkis ran for president against Suleiman Franjieh, but lost by only one vote in the parliament. In 1975, with the start of the Lebanese Civil War, Sarkis represented a moderate Maronite group.  In September of 1976, with the support of president Hafez al-Assad of Syria, Sarkis was the only candidate for president and was appointed.  In December, Sarkis appointed Selim al-Hoss as prime minister.

During the late 1970s, while Sarkis replaced top officials with pro-Syrian people, he still tried to limit Syrian power, but in vain.  The relationship with Prime Minister Selim al-Hoss was tense, as al-Hoss considered Sarkis to be too pro-Syrian. On March 5, 1980, Sarkis formulated his policy, as part of trying to create national accord: unity, independence, parliamentarian democracy, rejection of the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, support for a future Palestinian state and cooperation with Syria.  In June, Selim al-Hoss resigned in protest against the president’s inability to create peace in Lebanon.  In October, after many difficulties, Sarkis was able to appoint a new government with Chafic al-Wazzan as prime minister.

In June 1982, Sarkis was kicked out of his presidential office by the Israelis, and lost all effective power.  In September, Sarkis’ presidency came to an official end. Sarkis then retired from Lebanese politics.

In 1985, Sarkis died.  Sarkis’ task as president was unusually difficult.  The country was in a civil war that nobody could see the end of (it would not end until fourteen years later).  He was put in his position by the Syrians, and knew that he had to govern in accordance with their interests to survive.  However, he was pushed by many Lebanese groups to limit Syrian power.

Sarkis became gradually weaker and weaker through his presidency, and in the end he was even ushered out of his office by Israeli forces.  Among of the few conclusions possible to make over his six years in office, is that he tried seriously to bring an end to the Civil War, but achieved next to nothing.  Through his six years in office, the situation deteriorated, due to many more reasons than just the quality of his leadership.

Elias Sarkis see Sarkis, Elias

Sarliyya (Sarliyah-Kaka'iyah).  Name of a sect in northern Mesopotamia to the south of Mosul.  Their language is said to be a mixture of Kurdish, Persian, and Turkish.  They are said to be monotheists, believing in certain prophets, paradise and hell, but are not obliged to fast or pray.
Sarliyah-Kaka'iyah see Sarliyya

Sarraj, Abd al-Hamid
Sarraj, Abd al-Hamid (Abd al-Hamid Sarraj) (Abdel Hamid Sarraj) (b. 1925, Hama, Syria).  Syrian Arab nationalist.

Abdel Hamid Sarraj was a Syrian Army officer and political figure in the mid-20th century. He was a very close aide to Gamal Abdel Nasser during the short-lived time of the United Arab Republic (UAR) and served as its Minister of Interior and later Vice President. Before the union, he served as the head of the military intelligence, and was known for his ruthlessness.

Sarraj participated in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, including leading a detachment of six armored vehicles to surround Safad. Sarraj played a role in the 1949 coup that removed Husni al-Zaim from power and took over the personnel department of Adib Shishakli's government in 1952. When Shishakli was ousted, Sarraj was temporarily sent to Paris as an assistant military attache. However, in March 1955, he was appointed head of the Syrian military intelligence. From this position, he was able to play a crucial role in preventing conspiracies against the regime. Sarraj did not join any political parties, but cooperated with the ones in power, in particular against the Ba'ath. In September 1955, he helped negotiate the landing of 4,000 Egyptian troops to Latakia as part of the defense pact made between the two countries.

When union between Egypt and Syria was declared, Saraj, a staunch supporter of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, was handed a key position in the cabinet as Minister of Interior. His position was elevated when the Syrian gendarmerie, the desert patrol, and the department of general security were transferred to his jurisdiction on March 13, 1958. Following the resignation of Ba'ath party ministers from the UAR government, Sarraj was given the additional appointments of Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of Awqaf on January 1, 1960.

On September 20, 1960, Sarraj was appointed President of the Syrian Executive Council. By then, Sarraj at age 35, became the most powerful Syrian official in the UAR. Besides being interior minister and president of SEC, he also headed the Syrian branch of Nasser's National Union party and was chairman of the Syrian economic foundation established in March 1960. A British official visiting Damascus described him as the "Viceroy of Syria." However, his use of police methods, which were seen as ruthless, and his considerable power made him unpopular in Syria. Nonetheless, he was known to be an impeccable Arab nationalist who could "get things done." Pressure was exerted on Nasser to remove Sarraj from power, but he refused, feeling that there was no one more fit to run Syria on his behalf. Eventually, in August 1961, Nasser decided to appoint him Vice President, relocating him to Cairo and thus heralding his downfall as Syria's ultimate leader.

On September 18, when Nasser merged the two branches of the National Union, therefore, depriving Sarraj of his position as secretary-general of the Syrian branch and when Egyptian vice president Abdel Hakim Amer dismissed one of his closest associates, Sarraj submitted his resignation. The UAR's state minister, Abdel Qadir Hatem, was sent to mediate between Sarraj and Amer, but failed and the former began mobilizing his forces on September 19-20. Realizing an operation against Nasser was unlikely to succeed, he agreed to meet Nasser and Amer in Cairo. Although Nasser condemned Sarraj of ambitions to be sole-ruler of Syria, he replaced Amer as Minister of Syrian Affairs with Mahmoud Riad. Resuming his post as Syria's vice president, Sarraj also headed a ministerial committee for UAR administrative reform. However, he suddenly submitted a second resignation on September 26 and Nasser accepted it, sending Amer to replace him.

On September 28, a coup by disaffected officers occurred in Syria, dissolving the UAR. Sarraj was arrested and jailed in the Mezzeh Prison of Damascus. He escaped from the prison and moved to Cairo as a private citizen. Mustafa Tlass has been lobbying the Syrian government for the return of Sarraj to Syria. According to al-Ahram Weekly, he was expected to return in late 2005.
Abd al-Hamid Sarraj see Sarraj, Abd al-Hamid
Abdel Hamid Sarraj see Sarraj, Abd al-Hamid

Sarukhan (Saruhan).  Turkmen dynasty, which made itself independent in Anatolia on the collapse of the Rum Saljuqs in the early fourteenth century.  Their capital was Maghnisa.  The principality was conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I in 1390 but, like other petty dynasts, the ruler Khidr Shah Beg was restored to power by Timur.  The dynasty came to an end under the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad I.  Its governorship formed a stepping stone to influence and power, and so the position of governor was sometimes given to eldest sons of the House of ‘Othman.

The Anatolian beylik of Saruhan with its capital in Manisa was one of the frontier principalities established by Oghuz Turkish clans after the decline of the Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate. It was founded by the tribal chief Saruhan about 1300 and lasted for a first time until 1390, when Bayezid I overran the region and finally until 1410, when the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed I killed Hızır, the last Saruhan ruler, and absorbed the Beylik into the Ottoman Empire as a province.

The founder of the beylik, Saruhan Bey, was the grandson of a Khwarezmian commander who fought in the service of the Seljuk sultans. Saruhan himself began his military career as an emir of the Beylik of Germiyan. Sometime at the beginning of the 14th century, he seized territories for himself in the Gediz River (Hermus under its previous Byzantine rulers) valley and founded a dynasty that started to rule the region from its base in Manisa. Its principal towns included Menemen, Gördes, Demirci, Nif, and Turgutlu.

The dynasty's period as a regional power is largely limited to the long reign of its founder, Saruhan Bey (d. 1346), under whom the principality became known especially as an ally of its southern neighbor Aydınoğlu and its audacious ruler, Umur Bey. Saruhan and his sons assisted Umur Bey in his raids in the context of his close and intricate relations with the Byzantine Empire and also concluded treaties with the Republic of Genoa and engaged in battle with the Dukes of Naxos.

The most enduring monument of the Saruhan dynasty is the Great Mosque at Manisa. Constructed in 1374 by İshak Bey, the mosque has a prayer hall covered by a dome 14meters in diameter. Attached to the prayer hall is an innovative, semi-covered forecourt. The building likely served as inspiration for the Üç Şerefeli Mosque, constructed some sixty years later by the Ottoman sultan Murad II.

The region roughly corresponding to the area of extension of Saruhan dynasty's administration became an Ottoman sub-province (sanjak) under the continued name of Saruhan until the early years of the Republic of Turkey.

Saruhan see Sarukhan

Sasak.  Between the Indonesian islands of Bali and Sumbawa lies the island of Lombok, about 2,000 square miles in size and dominated along the north by high mountain ranges culminating in the second highest volcano in the country, Gunung Rinjani, 10,000 feet high.  Lombok and Sumbawa comprise the province of Nusa Tenggara Barat.  Its capital is Mataram on Lombok’s west coast.  The Lombok Straits is one of the most important waterways in the world of petroleum transportation.  The Sasak form the major ethnic group of the island.

The Sasak are divided into two groups: the more numerous Waktu Lima, who tend to be located in the plains and near roads and towns; and the Waktu Telu, located in the more marginal areas.  Waktu Lima Sasak are more involved with production for market and with the cash economy in general than are the Waktu Telu, who are geographically, economically and culturally more isolated.  Both are Muslim, but the Waktu Lima are more orthodox, while the Waktu Telu are more syncretistic and traditional.

Little is known about Sasak history except that Lombok was placed under direct rule of the Majapahit prime Minister, patih Gajah Mada. The Sasaks converted to Islam between the late 16th century to early 17th century under the influence of Sunan Giri and the Muslim Makassarese, frequently mixing basic Islamic beliefs alongside with Hindu-Buddhist beliefs, thus creating the Wektu Telu religion. Lombok was conquered by the Gelgel Balinese kingdom in the early 18th century, thus bringing a large population of Balinese to Lombok. The Balinese population of Lombok today is about 300,000, 10-15% of Lombok's population. The Balinese have also strongly influenced the Wektu Telu religion of Lombok.

Most of the Sasaks today are adherents of the Wektu Lima version of Islam. Wektu Lima or Five Times signifies the five daily prayers which Muslims are required to do.

The term Wektu Lima is used to distinguish them from the Sasaks who are practitioners of Wektu Telu or Three Times who only pray three times a day. Orthodox Islamic teachers generally instruct adherents to pray five times a day.

Large numbers of people adhering to the Wektu Telu faith can be still found throughout the island, especially in the village of Bayan, where the religion originated. Large Wektu Telu communities can be still found in Mataram, Pujung, Sengkol, Rambitan, Sade, Tetebatu, Bumbung, Sembalun, Senaru, Loyok and Pasugulan. A small minority of Sasaks called the Bodha are mainly found in the village of Bentek and on the slopes of Gunung Rinjani. They are totally untouched by Islamic influence and worship animistic gods, incorporating some Hindu and Buddhist influences in their rituals and religious vocabulary. This group of Sasak, due in part to the name of their tribe, are recognized as Buddhists by the Indonesian government.

The Bodha have the same magico-religious officials and institutions as the Wektu Telu (with the exception of course of the Kiyai, the Wektu Telu religious official dealing with all aspects of the Wektu Telu religion which mixes Islam and animism). The Bodhas recognize the existence of five main gods, the highest of which is Batara Guru, followed by Batara Sakti and Batara Jeneng with their wives Idadari Sakti and Idadari Jeneng, though they also believe in Spirits and Ghosts. The Bodha religion is also to some extent influenced by both Hindu and Buddhist concepts. Of late, they have come under the influence of mainstream Buddhism from Buddhist missionaries.

Originally the only inhabitants of Lombok, the Sasak were under the political domination of Bali from the 18th century until 1895, when the Dutch conquered the island. Today, the Sasak continue to recognize caste social divisions and observe one of two forms of religion: Wektu (Waktu) Telu (traditional practices with Islāmic modifications) in the smaller villages and Wektu (Waktu) Lima (strict Islām) in the larger settlements. Village officials, including a headman, are chosen from among both Muslim and traditional religious leaders. Islāmization has strengthened the patrilineal structure of the Sasak, reinforcing male dominance in family structure, inheritance, and economic control.

Sasan, Banu
Sasan, Banu (Banu Sasan).  Name for wanderers and vagrants, such as jugglers, beggars, conjurers, and those who go up and down the country accompanied by animals, who show real or feigned diseases and mutilations, gypsies etc.  Sasan (in Persian, “beggar”) is their patron saint.
Banu Sasan see Sasan, Banu

Sasanians (Sassanians) (Sasanids) (Sassanids) (Eranshahr) (Eran) .  Persian dynasty (r.224-651).  The rulers who belong to Islamic times are: Khusraw (II) Parwiz (r.591-628); Kawadh II (r.628); Ardashir III (r. 628-630); several ephemeral rulers; Yazdigird III (r.632-651).

The Sāsānian dynasty was an ancient Iranian dynasty evolved by Ardashīr I in years of conquest, 208–224, and destroyed by the Arabs during the years 637–651. The dynasty was named after Sāsān, an ancestor of Ardashīr I.

Under the leadership of Ardashīr I (r. 224–241), the Sāsānians overthrew the Parthians and created an empire that was constantly changing in size as it reacted to Rome and Byzantium to the west and to the Kushans and Hephthalites to the east. At the time of Shāpūr I (r. 241–272), the empire stretched from Sogdiana and Iberia (Georgia) in the north to the Mazun region of Arabia in the south; in the east it extended to the Indus River and in the west to the upper Tigris and Euphrates river valleys.

A revival of Iranian nationalism took place under Sāsānian rule. Zoroastrianism became the state religion, and at various times followers of other faiths suffered official persecution. The government was centralized, with provincial officials directly responsible to the throne, and roads, city building, and even agriculture were financed by the government.

Under the Sāsānians Iranian art experienced a general renaissance. Architecture often took grandiose proportions, such as the palaces at Ctesiphon, Fīrūzābād, and Sarvestan. Perhaps the most characteristic and striking relics of Sāsānian art are rock sculptures carved on abrupt limestone cliffs, for example at Shāhpūr (Bishapur), Naqsh-e Rostam, and Naqsh-e Rajab. Metalwork and gem engraving became highly sophisticated. Scholarship was encouraged by the state, and works from both the East and West were translated into Pahlavi, the language of the Sāsānians.

The Sassanid Empire (also spelled Sasanid Empire, Sassanian Empire, or Sasanian Empire), known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān, was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651. The Sassanid Empire, which succeeded the Parthian Empire, was recognized as one of the two main powers in Western Asia and Europe, alongside the Roman Empire and later the Byzantine Empire, for a period of more than 400 years.

The Empire was founded by Ardashir I, after the fall of the Arsacids and the defeat of the last Arsacid king, Artabanus IV. The Empire lasted until Yazdegerd III lost control of his empire in a series of invasions from the Arab Caliphate. During its existence, the Sassanid Empire encompassed all of today's Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Dagestan), southwestern Central Asia, part of Turkey, certain coastal parts of the Arabian Peninsula, the Persian Gulf area, and areas of southwestern Pakistan. The name for the Sassanid Empire in Middle Persian is Eran Shahr which means Aryan Empire. The vexilloid of the Sassanid Empire was the Derafsh Kaviani.

The Sassanid era, during Late Antiquity, is considered to have been one of Persia's/Iran's most important and influential historical periods. In many ways, the Sassanid period witnessed the peak of ancient Persian civilization, and constituted the last great Iranian empire before the Muslim conquest and the adoption of Islam. Persia influenced Roman civilization considerably during the Sassanid period, and the empires regarded one another as equals, as suggested in the letters written by the rulers of the two states addressing each other as "brother". The Sassanids' cultural influence extended far beyond the empire's territorial borders, reaching as far as Western Europe, Africa, China and India. It played a prominent role in the formation of both European and Asiatic medieval art.

These cultural influences remained in the early Islamic world after the Muslim conquest of Iran. What later came to be known as Islamic culture, architecture and writing owes much to the Sassanid Persians.

Sassanians see Sasanians
Sasanids see Sasanians
Sassanids see Sasanians
Eranshahr see Sasanians
Eran see Sasanians

Satan (in Arabic, Shaytan).   See Devil.

al-Saud (Al Sa‘ud).  Arab ruling family in central Arabia up to 1735, and the reigning kings of Saudi Arabia from 1932.   Their main capital was Riyadh.  Their roots lie in the Dariya oasis in Najd.   The family was founded by Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud, the chieftain of al-Dir‘iyya in Najd.  Under Sheikh Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud (r. 1735-1765) the family established a relationship with the strictly puritanical reform movement of the Wahhabis, which remains the state religion of Saudi Arabia today.  Under Abd al-Aziz (r. 1765-1803) they spread as far as Kuwait in 1788.  The first occupation of Mecca and Medina came between 1803 and 1811, and, under Turki (r. 1820-1832) they took Riyadh.  In the 19th century they achieved a gradual expansion, but there were serious conflicts within the family.  Their advance came under Abd al-Aziz, known as Ibn Saud (r. 1880-1953), who subdued the whole of Najd and Hijaz with his soldiers from 1902 onwards, drove the Hashimites out of Mecca in 1924, assumed the title of king in 1926, and joined the entire Arabian Peninsula between Najd and Yemen to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932.  By means of advantageous treaties with Western powers and the exploitation of its oil resources, the family acquired great wealth, with Ibn Saud as head of a patriarchal clanship.  Upon his death, the country was ruled by his sons.  Following the deposal of the profligate Saud (r. 1953-1964), Faisal initiated a period of careful modernization and cultural enlightenment.  Thanks to its rich oil reserves and religious traditionalism, Saudi Arabia holds an important position among the Islamic nations.  Under King Khalid (r. 1975-1982) and Fahd (1982-2005) there has been a period of political independence on the United States and the West, and technological modernization, coupled with a retention of the traditional, authoritarian ruling structures. The history of the Saudis is closely connected with that of the Wahhabiyya movement.

A stroke in 1993 left Fahd largely incapacitated, and the crown prince, Abdallah gradually took over most of the king's responsibilities until Fahd's death in August of 2005. Abdallah was proclaimed king on the day of Fahd's death and promptly appointed his younger brother Sultan ibn Abdul Aziz, the minister of defense and Fahd's "second deputy prime minister," as the new heir apparent. On March 27, 2009, Abdallah appointed Prince Naif Interior Minister as his "second deputy prime minister"

The House of Saud is the royal family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The modern nation of Saudi Arabia was established in 1931, though the roots and influence for the House of Saud had been planted in the Arabian Peninsula several centuries earlier. Prior to the era of the Kingdom's founder, Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud, the family had ruled the Nejd and had conflicted on several occasions with the Ottoman Empire, the Sharif of Mecca, and the Al Rashid family of Ha'il. The House of Saud has gone through three phases: the First Saudi State, the Second Saudi State, and the modern nation of Saudi Arabia.

The history of the Al Saud has been marked by a desire to unify the Arabian Peninsula and to spread what it promotes as a more purified and simple view of Islam. The House of Saud is linked with (Hanbali) Wahhabism (Saudis deprecate the term, preferring the term Salafism) through the marriage of the son of Muhammad ibn Saud with the daughter of Muhammad Abd al Wahhab in 1744.

The current head of the Al Saud and ruler of Saudi Arabia is King Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz who announced, on October 20, 2006, the creation of a committee of princes to vote on the viability of kings and the candidature of nominated crown princes - in effect, clarifying and further defining the Al Saud's line of succession process. The committee, known as the Allegiance Commission, and chaired by Prince Mishaal ibn Abdul Aziz, gives each son (in case of their inability or death, their eligible son) of the late King Abdul-Aziz a single vote which would be used to confirm one of three princes nominated by the king to be named Crown Prince. In the event that either the sitting king or the crown prince were deemed unfit to rule, a five-member transitory council, appointed by the Council, would be empowered to run state affairs for one week before naming a successor. The intent is to prevent a situation as was the case with the late King Fahd, who suffered multiple strokes beginning in 1995 but remained on the throne for ten years, most of them without the faculties to rule.

Sa‘ud (Saʿūd Ibn Abdul ʿazīz Al-fayṣal As-saʿūd) (Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd al-Rahman ibn Faisal ibn Turki Al Saud) (b. January 15, 1902, Kuwait - d. February 23, 1969, Athens, Greece). King of Saudi Arabia (r.1953-1964).

Sa‘ud was born on January 15, 1902, in Kuwait as the son and successor of Ibn Saʿūd.  Sa'ud was the eldest surviving son of Ibn Saud, his mother being Princess Wadhha bint Muhammad bin Burghush Al Uray'ir of the Bani Khalid tribe. He became heir to the throne after the death of his older brother, Turki (1900–1919), who was the eldest son of Abd al-Aziz Al Saud. Turki was Crown Prince of Nejd from his father's conquest of Riyadh on January 15, 1902, to his death during the influenza pandemic of 1919. The law of succession was changed immediately after Turki's death, so that the kingship of Nejd, and later all Saudi Arabia would, starting with Sa'ud, pass from brother to brother and not father to son.

After Ibn Saʿūd had conquered (in 1925) the Hejaz, a district in the Arabian Peninsula, he made his two eldest sons, Saʿūd and Fayṣal, his deputies in Najd and Hejaz, respectively. Saʿūd’s primary responsibility was for the Bedouins. In 1933, he was named crown prince, and he and Fayṣal led a successful campaign against Yemen in the following year. When Ibn Saʿūd established a council of ministers in 1953, Saʿūd became its president, and in November of that year he became king with the support of his brothers.

He continued his father’s program of modernization, with special emphasis on increased medical and educational facilities. Domestic affairs, however, were overshadowed by a crisis in the administration of the central government; in the early 1950s the first large-scale petroleum royalties began to be received, and financial and administrative affairs became too complex to be conducted simply on the personal authority of the king. Saʿūd had neither the ability nor the inclination to cope with these problems, and he so mismanaged the financial affairs of the state that he was forced to reconstitute the council of ministers and give full executive powers to Fayṣal as its president. Saʿūd did not regain executive authority until 1960.

In 1963 Saʿūd was forced to spend a considerable amount of time abroad for medical treatment, and in his absence domestic opposition intensified against him. The dissident elements supported Fayṣal, and in March 1964 all powers were transferred to him as viceroy of the kingdom. In November of that year Saʿūd was formally deposed, and Fayṣal became the new king of Saudi Arabia.

A chronology of the life of the professional life Sa'ud reads as follows:

In 1926, Sa‘ud was appointed viceroy of Najd.

In 1933, Sa‘ud was named crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

In 1934, Sa‘ud led military actions against Yemen.

In October 1953, King Ibn Sa‘ud appointed a council of ministers, and made Sa‘ud its president.  In November, following the death of his father, Sa‘ud used the support he had from his brothers to make himself king.

In 1958, a leading Syrian politician claimed that he had been offered money from Sa‘ud in order to kill the president of Egypt, Gamal Abdul Nasser.  This resulted in strong and negative reactions against Sa‘ud in Saudi Arabia and in the Arab world.  Later in the year, a financial crisis in Saudi Arabia, where a debt of three hundred million dollars made the princes of Saudi Arabia appoint Sa‘ud’s brother, Faisal to become prime minister.  Sa‘ud was left without actual power.  

In 1960, Sa‘ud made Faisal resign from his position, and he took back effective power, after promising elections for parliament, and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.

Saud and Faisal continued their power struggle until 1962, when Faisal formed a cabinet in the absence of the King, who had gone abroad for medical treatment. Faisal brought into government his half-brothers Fahad and Sultan, both of whom had been his close allies. Faisal's new government excluded the sons of Saud. He promised a ten-point reform that included the drafting of a basic law, the abolishing of slavery and the establishment of a judicial council. Upon his return Saud rejected Faisal's new arrangement and threaten to mobilize the Royal Guard against his brother. Faisal ordered the mobilization of the National Guard against the King. With the arbitration of the ulema, and pressure from senior members of the royal family, Saud gave in and agreed to abdicate on March 28, 1964.

Saud was forced into exile and he moved to Geneva, Switzerland, and then on to other European cities. In 1966, Saud was invited to live in Egypt by president Nasser. After his abdication, he was generally not mentioned in Saudi Arabia, with numerous institutions bearing his name being renamed, and his reign being given passing if any reference in official history books. Likewise, his sons remained largely marginalized from positions of power though two were named governors to minor provinces during the reign of King Fahd.

Two days before his death, Saud had felt ill and asked his doctor Filnger from Austria to examine him. In the morning of the day of his death, Saud took a short walk on a beach with his daughter Nozhah, near Hotel Kavouri where he then resided. His physician arrived after he had died in Athens, Greece, on February 23, 1969, after suffering a heart attack in his sleep. His body was taken to Makkah then to Riyadh where he was buried in Alaoud cemetery.

Sa‘ud is principally known for leading Saudi Arabia into a serious financial crisis in 1958, just a few years after Saudi Arabia started to receive large oil revenues.  The administration of the country was, at the time, not ready to handle the large sums of money, and Sa‘ud did not change the old system of the king being personally in charge of handling state revenues.

At first, Sa‘ud was forced to change the political system, where the council of ministers was reconstituted, headed by a president who had effective power of the country. As Sa‘ud took back the power, his opponents a few years later felt they were forced to remove him totally from the position as king.

Some of the major events during the reign of Sa'ud include:

1956  Saudi Arabia stopped exporting oil to Britain and France due to the Suez Crisis.
1957  State visit to the United States at invitation of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
1957  Saudi Arabia became a member at the International Monetary Fund.
1961  A royal decree was made to establish the Institute of Public Administration.
1961  Saud became sick and traveled to America for treatment.
1962  Saud established Saudi Television.
1963  Saudi Arabia withdrew its troops from Kuwait, after the end of the Iraqi-Kuwaiti conflict.

Saʿūd Ibn Abdul ʿazīz Al-fayṣal As-saʿūd see Sa‘ud
Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd al-Rahman ibn Faisal ibn Turki Al Saud see Sa‘ud

Sa‘ud, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al
Sa‘ud, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al ('Abd al-'Aziz ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sa'ud) (Abdul Aziz Al Saud) (Abdul Aziz bin Abdur Rahman Al Saud) (January 15, 1876 – November 9, 1953).  Founder of the present Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its first ruler.  His father was the youngest of the three sons of the renowned Imam Faysal.  A self-defeating family feud enabled the rival Al Rashid of Ha‘il to extinguish the second Saudi polity and to establish themselves as rulers of central Arabia.  Subsequent paternal involvement in an abortive insurgency against Al Rashid forced the Sa‘ud family to flee Riyadh.  They eventually accepted asylum in Kuwait and spent ten years there.

Although reared in the stern principles of Unitarianism (a rigorous monotheism, often imprecisely referred to as “Wahhabism,” promoted by Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab in the mid-eighteenth century), ‘Abd al-‘Aziz showed scant interest in becoming an ‘alim (religious scholar) like his father.  Rather, frequent attendance at the majlis (parliament) of successive rulers of Kuwait taught him the intricacies of governance of Arabian tribal societies, inculcated a more cosmopolitan outlook than was generally prevalent among xenophobic Najdi tribesmen, and reinforced his ambition to recover the Al Sa‘ud


In 1901, with help from the ruler of Kuwait, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz led forty companions in a successful attack against the Al Rashid governor of Riyadh, thereby enabling the reestablishment of a Sa‘udi polity.  Proclaimed imam by his Unitarian followers, he nevertheless chose to delegate religious authority to his father during the latter’s lifetime (d. 1928), as ‘Abd al-‘Aziz devoted himself to consolidating and expanding the Saudi domains.

Al-Hasa Province was conquered from the Turks in 1913, and the al-‘Aydh emirate of ‘Asir was annexed in 1919, and the Rashids were decisively defeated in 1921.  The British supported Hashemite family of the Hejaz (al-Hijaz) was forced to abdicate in 1925, leaving ‘Abd al-‘Aziz in possession of the Muslim holy cities of Mecca (Makkah) and Medina (Madinah).  Henceforth, the Hanbali interpretation of shari‘a (the divine law) would dominate the legal structure of the expanded state.  In 1932, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was formally proclaimed.  Two years later, after a successful war against Yemen, a border between them was vaguely arranged.  By then ‘Abd al-‘Aziz was widely recognized as the paramount ruler in the Arabian Peninsula.  

As the Saudi polity grew, the religio-political legitimacy of ‘Abd al-‘Aziz came to be rooted in the promotion of Unitarian doctrines.  As early as 1909, in an attempt to bring the fractious central Arabian tribes under greater control, he began settling the tribes in permanent hijar (paramilitary settlements).  Mutawwa‘in (religious tutors) were sent to instruct the tribesmen in the priniples of Unitarianism.  Strategically placed, fervidly devoted ikhwan (“brethren”) tribal forces were now available to further his expansionist goals.

Yet, by the late 1920s, various tribal ikhwan had become restive over constraints placed on them by their ruler.  Raiding into Transjordan, Kuwait, and Iraq, they killed and looted Sunnis and Shi‘is alike.  British military action was needed to expel them.  Belatedly realizing the threat they posed, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz managed to mobilized other indigenous forces, defeated his erstwhile tribal allies, and razed their settlements.

The Unitarian seizure of Mecca (Makkah) in 1925 also created widespread concern in the Islamic world lest Muslims of other schools and sects suffer Unitarian harassament when making their obligatory pilgrimage.  Efforts by Egyptian, Indian, and other Muslim communities to place the haramayn (holy cities of Mecca and Medina) under international Muslim jurisdiction were aborted, following assurances from ‘Abd al-‘Aziz that Muslims from anywhere, regardless of school or sect, could perform their pilgrimage rites without harassment.  That commitment was scrupulously honored.

‘Abd al-‘Aziz was sometimes charged by conservative ‘ulama’ (religious scholars) and ikhwan with introducing bid‘ah (innovation) into the Saudi polity.  His assumption of the regnal title, for reasons of external relations, offended their Unitarian sensibilities. As late as the 1940s, they rejected it as inconsistent with Islam and continued to refer to him as imam or, secularly, as shaykh al-shuyukh.  Similarly, his introduction of the telephone, telegraph, and various transport improvements initially aroused strong opposition.  This was overcome by demonstrating that Qur’anic passages could be transmitted by these instruments.

A further source of Unitarian misgiving was the award by ‘Abd al-‘Aziz of an oil concession in 1933 to the Standard Oil Company of California, which introduced non-Muslim petroleum engineers to al-Hasa Province.  It also opened the door to the progressive, if slow, infrastructural modernization of Saudi Arabia.  ‘Abd al-‘Aziz’s towering leadership abilities were required to surmount such criticisms.  

The immediate post-World War II era heard specualtion in the emergent Arab world that an Islamic caliphate might be reestablished.  ‘Abd al-‘Aziz was prominently mentioned as a putative candidate, but nothing came of the idea.  ‘Abd al-‘Aziz’s meeting with President Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard the USS Quincy in 1945 accorded him international stature.

During his lifetime, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz sired thirty-six sons and at least twenty-one daughters.  He died in 1953, before vast oil wealth eroded many traditional social values.  His sons continued to rule the Saudi state.

'Abd al-'Aziz ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sa'ud see Sa‘ud, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al
Abdul Aziz Al Saud see Sa‘ud, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al

Saud al-Faisal
Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Arabic: سعود بن فيصل بن عبد العزيز آل سعود‎), also known as Saud Al Faisal (Arabic: سعود الفيصل‎‎) (b. January 2, 1940, Ta'if, Saudi Arabia – d. July 9, 2015, Los Angeles, California), was a Saudi diplomat and statesman who served as Saudi Arabia's foreign minister from 1975 to 2015. By the time of his retirement, he was the world's longest-serving foreign minister. He was a member of the Saudi royal family.

Sa‘ud, Faysal ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al
Sa‘ud, Faysal ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al.  See Faysal ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Al Sa‘ud.

Saul (in Arabic, Talut) (Sha'ul) (Saoul) (b. 1079 B.C.T., Gibeah - d. c. 1007 B.C.T., Mount Gilboa). Biblical king.  Talut is mentioned in the Qur’an, which contains some memories of the biblical story.  Muslim legend adds many details, in particular about his relations with David.

Talut is the Qur'anic name for Saul. Talut is mentioned in Sura 2 (The Cow), verses 246-251, as a king appointed by God to rule over the Children of Israel. The Qur'an then describes him leading a few of his men (those who kept faith) into battle against the warriors of Goliath, who is slain by David.

Saul was the first king of the united Kingdom of Israel (r. 1047 - 1007) according to the Hebrew Bible. He was anointed by the prophet Samuel and reigned from Gibeah. He committed suicide during a battle with the Philistines at Mount Gilboa, during which three of his sons were also killed. The succession to his throne was contested by Ish-bosheth, his only surviving son, and David, who eventually prevailed.

The main biblical account of Saul's life and reign is found in the Books of Samuel.

Talut see Saul
Sha'ul see Saul
Saoul see Saul

SAVAK (State Security and Intelligence Organization) (Sazman-i Et-tela’at va Amniyat-i Keshvar) (Sazeman-e Ettela'at va Amniyat-e Keshvar) (National Intelligence and Security Organization). Iran’s secret police under the supervision of Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.

SAVAK is an acronym for the widely feared State Security and Intelligence Organization (Sazman-i Et-tela’at va Amniyat-i Keshvar) started by the shah of Iran in 1957 to forestall challenges to his power such as that mounted by Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953.  SAVAK received technical training and support from the United States and Israel and was part of an elaborate security apparatus with various organs competing with one another for influence and the shah’s favor.

In the minds of most Iranians SAVAK was synonymous with terror.  Its agents infiltrated virtually all sectors of public life and tried to deter opposition and criticism of the shah through arbitrary arrests, secret trials, imprisonment, torture, and even death.  It has been aruged that through SAVAK’s extensive recruitment of part-time agents on in ten Iranians was an informant.  This, however, cannot be verified.  Nonetheless, many Iranians believed this to be the case, thus contributing mightily to the fear and intimidation that were SAVAK’s stock in trade.  The very existence of SAVAK was a major stimulus to the Islamic Revolution, and during the revolution most Iranians were made aware of the discovery of secret torture houses as well as the experiences of

prisoners released from the shah’s jails.  After the revolution, SAVAK was eliminated.  It was soon replaced, however, by an organization named SAVAMA, an organization whch had goals and methods which differed little from those of its predecessor.

SAVAK was the domestic security and intelligence service established by Iran's Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi with the help of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and Israel Mossad. SAVAK operated beginning in 1957 and ending in 1979 when Pahlavi was overthrown. SAVAK has been described as Iran's "most hated and feared institution" prior to the revolution of 1979 because of its practice of torturing and executing opponents of the Pahlavi regime. At its peak, the organization had as many as 60,000 agents serving in its ranks according to one source.

Prior to the Islamic revolution of 1978–79 in Iran, SAVAK (Organization of National Security and Information), the Iranian secret police and intelligence service, protected the regime of the shah by arresting, torturing, and executing many dissidents. After the shah’s government fell, SAVAK and other intelligence services were eliminated and new services were created, though many low- and mid-level intelligence personnel were retained or rehired by the new services. The most important of the post-revolutionary intelligence services is the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), which is responsible for both intelligence and counter-intelligence. It also has conducted covert actions outside Iran in support of Islamic regimes elsewhere; for example, it was said to have provided military support to Muslim fighters in Kosovo and in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s.

Shortly after the Islamic revolution, the new regime formed an impromptu militia known as the Revolutionary Guards (Persian: Pāsdārān-e Enqelāb), or simply as the Pāsdārān, to forestall any foreign-backed coup—such as the one the CIA had undertaken to topple the nationalist prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953—and to act as a foil to the powerful Iranian military. The Pāsdārān also aided the country’s new rulers in running the country and enforcing the government’s Islamic code of morality. Only after Iraq invaded Iran in 1980 was the organization pressed into a broader role as a conventional military force. At the same time, the Pāsdārān—which answered to its own independent ministry—sought to broaden its scope by developing departments for intelligence gathering (both at home and abroad) and clandestine activities. The names and functions of these departments are not well-known. One such group, however, is known as the Qods (Jerusalem) Force. Like the MOIS, it is responsible for conducting clandestine operations and for training and organizing foreign paramilitary groups in other parts of the Islamic world, including, purportedly, the Lebanese Shīʿite group Hezbollah. In the late 1990s agents of an organization associated with the Pāsdārān were arrested and convicted of the murder of Iranian dissidents in western Europe.

The directors of SAVAK were:  

Teymur Bakhtiar  1957 - 1961
Hassan Pakravan  1961 - 1965
Nematollah Nassiri  1965 - 1978
Nasser Moghadam  1978 - 1979

State Security and Intelligence Organization see SAVAK
Sazman-i Et-tela’at va Amniyat-i Keshvar see SAVAK
Sazeman-e Ettela'at va Amniyat-e Keshvar see SAVAK
National Intelligence and Security Organization see SAVAK

Sawda bint Zam‘a ibn Qays
Sawda bint Zam‘a ibn Qays (Sawda bint Zama ibn Qayyis ibn Abd Shams) (d. October 674).  Prophet’s second wife.  She accompanied her first husband, al-Sakran ibn ‘Amr, to Abyssinia, where the latter became a Christian.  The pair returned to Mekka before the hijra, and al-Sakran died there.  Sawda was married to the Prophet about a month after the death of Khadija in 619.

Sawda bint Zama ibn Qayyis ibn Abd Shams was a wife of Muhammad, and therefore a Mother of the Believers and one of the early converts to Islam.  She was of the Quraysh tribe on her father's side. According to the traditions, she migrated to Abyssinia with her first husband, after being persecuted by the Polytheists of Mecca. Her husband died when the couple returned to Mecca.

Muhammad married her in Shawwal, in the tenth year of his Prophethood, a few days after the death of Khadijah. Prior to that, she was married to a paternal cousin of hers called As-Sakran bin ‘Amr. She was considered homely and was older than Muhammad.

After Muhammad's death, Sawda received a gift of money, which she spent on charity. Muawiyah I, the first caliph of the Umayyad dynasty bought her house in Medina for 180,000 dirhams. She died in Medina in October 674.

The name of her previous husband was Sakran, and she had a son from him named Sakran ibn Amr ibn Abd Shams who fell a martyr fighting in the Battle of Jalula in 637.

Sawda bint Zama ibn Qayyis ibn Abd Shams see Sawda bint Zam‘a ibn Qays

Sawda, Mirza Muhammad Rafi’
Sawda, Mirza Muhammad Rafi’ (Mirza Muhammad Rafi’ Sawda) (Mirza Muhammad Rafi Sauda) (1713-1781).  Urdu poet and satirist.  He is recognized as one of the masters of Urdu poetry.

Sauda was the leading Urdu poet of his time. His accomplishments were a cause of pride for the city of Delhi. His father Mirzā Muḥammad Shafī was from an aristocratic family of Kabul. His ancestors were soldiers by profession. Mirzā Shafī came to India by means of trade. According to some, he got his pen-name 'Sauda' from his father's profession (saudāgar). However, the truth is that the poets of Asia, in every country, live and breathe through love; and saudā [=madness] and dīvānagī [=madness] are born together with love. Thus madness too is a cause of pride to lovers. So with regard to this he chose 'Saudā' as his pen-name, and thanks to saudāgarī [=merchandising] the verbal device of punning came as a 'special free offer' into his poetry.

Saudā was first the pupil of Sulaiman Quli Khan 'Vidad',and then of Shah Hatim. Shah Hatim, in the introduction to his volume in which gives a list of his pupils, recorded Sauda's name with great pride. Sauda was not a pupil of Khan-e-Arzu, but benefited from his company.

With time, Sauda gained fame and recognition. Even during his lifetime, his ghazals were on the lips of the residents of Delhi. He found patronage in the Mughal king of the time. Since he was a man of great pride and honor, he left the royal court forever over an argument with the king over poetry. However, he found numerous patrons among nobles of the time. His fame reached Nawab Shuja ud Daula of Awadh and he got invitation to leave Delhi for Lucknow. He left Delhi, and stayed for some time in Farrukhabad, with Navab Bangash. He wrote a number of odes in praise of the Navab. In 1771-72, he arrived in Lucknow in the court of Navab Shuja-ud-Daulah for the first and the last meeting with the nawab and never went back until Asif-ud-Daulah became nawab of Lucknow. He was invited once again to the court of Awadh by Asif-ud-Daulah with gifts and honors and he remained associated with the nawab until his death in 1780-81. When Shah Hatim heard the news, he wept profusely and said, 'What a pity, my champion of poetry has died'.

Hakim Sayyid Aslah-ud-Din Khan compiled Sauda's complete works and also wrote an introduction for it. According to Muhammad Husain Azad, his work comprises Urdu odes (Qasidas), some Persian odes, twenty-four masnavis and many tales and versified anecdotes, then a short volume of his Persian poetry. Then volume of Rekhtah comprises many incomparable ghazals, and opening verses, quatrains, extended-line poems (musatazads), verse-sets, chronograms, riddles, lover's complaints, repeated-line poems, and quintains.

Sauda wrote ghazals, qasidas (Ode/panegyric), marsias(elegies), salams and hajvs (lampoon/ satire). Muhammad Husain Azad compare's Sauda to Persian poet Anwari, he writes, 'If Saudā can be compared to anyone, it is Anvari, who is the lord of idiom and language, and the king of ode and satire.'

His marsias were different from later marsia writers like Anis and Dabeer, each stanza consists of four-liners or four verses known as ruba'i or quatrain.

Sauda was master of hajv (satire/lampoon) in Urdu. His satire reflects his wit and mischief, every page of the collection of satires has sufficient matter for those who like to laugh. This shows exuberance and liveliness of his temperament. He also wrote prose but his prose is considered quite difficult and lacks the natural flow and spontaniety of his poetry.

Mirza Muhammad Rafi’ Sawda see Sawda, Mirza Muhammad Rafi’
Mirza Muhammad Rafi Sauda see Sawda, Mirza Muhammad Rafi’

Sawji (d. 1385).  Younger brother of ‘Othman I, the founder of the Ottoman dynasty.  It is also the name of the eldest son of the Ottoman sultan Murad I who rebelled against his father.

Sayabija (Sayabiga).  Name of a people living on the coasts of the Persian Gulf.  They are considered descendants of ancient Malaysians who migrated to India, then to Iraq and to the Persian Gulf where there is evidence of their existence before Islam.  
Sayabiga see Sayabija

Sayf al-Dawla, ‘Ali I ibn Hamdan
Sayf al-Dawla, ‘Ali I ibn Hamdan (‘Ali I ibn Hamdan Sayf al-Dawla) (b.915).  Ruler of the Aleppo branch of the Hamdanid dynasty (r. 945-966).  In 944, he took Aleppo from the ruler of Egypt al-Ikhshid (r. 935-946), captured Damascus but was defeated by the Ikhshidid, who kept Damascus while Aleppo was retained by Sayf al-Dawla.  In 948, he started his struggles with the Byzantines, which were to last until his death.  He was a poet in his own right, and surrounded himself with such celebrities as al-Mutanabbi and al-Farabi (Alfarabius).
'Ali I ibn Hamdan Sayf al-Dawla see Sayf al-Dawla, ‘Ali I ibn Hamdan

Sayf ibn Dhi Yazan
Sayf ibn Dhi Yazan (516-574).  Member of the Himyarite royal line, who played a part in the expulsion of the Abyssinians from South Arabia about 570.  The existing version of the romance which bears his name very probably dates from the fifteenth century, being composed in Cairo.

Sayf ibn Dhī-Yazan was a Yemeni Himyarite king, known for ending Aksumite rule over Southern Arabia. He was the son of dhī-Yazan, the son of 'Āfir, the son of Aslam bin Zayd.

Sayf entered Arab folklore by means of his widely known "biography" Sirat Sayf ibn dhī-Yazan, where with many flights of imagination, including claiming his mother to be a jinni, he blended fiction with historical facts.

Sayf ibn ‘Umar al-Asadi
Sayf ibn ‘Umar al-Asadi.  Arab historian.  Al-Tabari used his two works for the period of the “apostasy” (in Arabic, ridda) and of the early conquests.

Sayfi, Mawlana
Sayfi, Mawlana (Mawlana Sayfi) (d.1504). Poet from Bukhara.  His fame rests on his Sayfi’s Prosody, one of the best works on Persian prosody.
Mawlana Sayfi see Sayfi, Mawlana

sayyid (seyyid) (literally, “chief,” “lord,” “master,” or “prince”).  Term used throughout the Muslim world of the descendants of the Prophet, especially the descendants of Husayn, the son of ‘Ali.  It was sometimes conferred upon others, like in the case of Rudolph Said-Ruete, son of Princess Salme bint Sa‘id ibn Sultan (Seyyida Salima), who was given the title by Sultan Khalifa ibn Harub of Zanzibar in 1932.

Sayyid is a term applied generally to those who possess some authority in their own sphere as a master, a husband, a tribal chief, an owner, etc.; in a stricter sense it is confined to the individual members of the ahl al-bayt, “people of the house,” that is, Muhammad’s immediate family, which included Ali.  The title has come to be restricted to the descendants of al-Hasan and al-Husayn, although at the popular level holy persons, Sufi masters, and some prominent theologians have been addressed as sayyid.

Sayyids or mir wear green turbans to distinguish them as being descendants of the Prophet.  This use of green as a mark of the sayyids seems to have originated with the Alid imams, because when al-Ma’mun, the ‘Abbasid caliph, designated Ali al-Rida, the eighth Imamite imam, as his successor in 816, he gave up the traditional ‘Abbasid black for green.  Among the Shi’a, men of learning sayyids wear black turbans in contrast to the white ones worn by the non-sayyid.

In addition, sayyids are forbidden to receive sadaqa, charitable gifts.  According to some jurists this prohibition was applied specifically only to members of the Hashimite clan, and thus only to those who could be considered close enough kin of the Prophet to qualify for the share given his family in the distribution of the special tax, al-khums (“the fifth”).  Imams descending from Fatima also had the privilege of being addressed as ibn rasul allah (son of the Prophet), and early Fatimids, the Idrisids of Morocco, and Alid rulers of Tabaristan, used the title of sayyid as the token of their descent from Muhammad’s family.  The sayyids were recognized by the Arabs, Turks, and Persians as being among the ahl al-bayt and were sometimes addressed as al-Sharif, as in the case of the sharifs of Mecca, who were descendants of al-Hasan.

Devotion to the sayyids is an integral part of Shi’ite piety, deriving from the verse of the Qur’an which says: “Say (O Muhammad), I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives” {Sura 42:23}.  The “near relatives” are Fatima’s descendants, on whom blessings are to be conferred in ritual prayers -- salat -- and at other times.  This devotion -- this u’alaya -- will save believers on the Day of Judgment.

Sayyid, as an Arabic term, refers to the title given to the Prophet’s descendants, especially Husayn’s descendants, who established Zaydi principalities in Yemen and in the southern Caspian provinces of Iran.

In Zanzibar (now Tanzania), seyyid was an Islamic honorific title taken by learned men but which was adopted as a dynastic title by the Busaidi dynasty.

Sayyid is a noble and honorific title given to males accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through his grandsons, Hasan ibn Ali and Husain ibn Ali, who were the sons of the prophet's daughter Fatima Zahra and son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib although some Sayyids took the title Sheikh. Daughters of male sayyids are given the titles Sayyida, Alawiyah, Syarifah, or Sharifah . Children of a Sayyida mother but a non-Sayyid father cannot be attributed the title of Sayyid, however they may claim maternal descent and are called Mirza. In the Arab world itself, it is the equivalent of the English word "Lord" or "Master" when referring to a descendent of the prophet Muhammad, as in Sayyid John Smith. The same concept is expressed by the word sidi (from the contracted form sayyidī 'my lord') in the Moroccan dialect of Arabic. The word Sayyid should not be confused with the word ustaaz meaning "Mister" in Arabic.

Sayyids are Arabs, and Sayyids in Asia are of Arab origin. The Sayyids are a branch of the tribe of Banu Hashim, a clan from the tribe of Quraish, which traces its lineage to Adnan, whose lineage traces back to the Prophet Ismael the son of the Prophet Ibrahim or Abraham.

The term Sayyid is also for the descendants of Abu Talib, uncle of Muhammad, by his other sons: Jafar, Abbas, Aqeel and Talib.

Alevi use seyyid (Turkish) as an honorific before the names of their saints.

El Cid, the name given to a famous Spanish knight of the 11th century C.E., is derived from Al-Sayyid (as-sayyid), meaning lord.

As-Sayyid is also used as title or a form of address to denote a prince or superior in the Sultanate of Oman.

Some of the transliterations of the term sayyid are:

Arabic          Sayyid, Sayyidi, Sayyed, Sayid, Saiyyid, Saiyid, Sidi  Arab world
Azerbaijani  Seyid, Seyyid                                                          Azerbaijan, Iran
Baluchi          Sayyid, Syed, Sayeed, Sayyed, Sayid                          Baluchistan region
Indonesia          Sayyid, Syed, Sayid                                                  Indonesia
Kurdish          Seyid, Syed, Seyyid, Seyit                                          Kurdish region
Malay          Syed                                                                  Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore
Pashto          Sayed, Syed                                                          Afghanistan & Northwest portion of Pakistan
Bengali          Syed                                                                  Bangladesh and Eastern India
Persian          Sayyed, Sayed, Seyyed, Seyed, Saiyed, Saeid, Siyyid  Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
Punjabi          Sayed, Syed                                                          Pakistan, India
Seraiki, Sindhi  Sayed, Syed                                                          Pakistan
Somali          Sayyid                                                                  Somalia, Djibouti
Turkish          Seyed, Seyit, Seyyid, Seyyed                                  Turkey, Azerbaijan and Central Asia
Bosnian          Seid, Seit, Sait, Sead                                                  Bosnia and Herzegovina
Spanish          Cid                                                                          Al-Andalus
Other          Siyyid

seyyid see sayyid
sayyed see sayyid
sayyidi see sayyid
sayid see sayyid
saiyyid see sayyid
sidi see sayyid

Sayyid Abdallah bin Ali bin Nasir
Sayyid Abdallah bin Ali bin Nasir (Saiyid Abdallah bin Ali bin Nasir) (c. 1720-1810).  Swahili poet.  Like at least four other leading Swahili poets, he came of the line of Shaikh Abu Bakr ibn Salim who was born at Tarim in the Hadramawt in 1584.  His celebrated poem al-Inkishafi (“Self-examination”) is a soliloquy on the inevitability of death, inspired by the passing of the old Arab citadels of the East African coast.  He also wrote Takhmis ya Liyongo (“Poem of Liyongo”), based on traditional songs concerning the legendary Swahili hero of that name.  
Saiyid Abdallah bin Ali bin Nasir see Sayyid Abdallah bin Ali bin Nasir

Sayyid Abu Bakr bin Abd al-Rahman
Sayyid Abu Bakr bin Abd al-Rahman (Saiyid Abu Bakr bin Abd al-Rahman) (Saiyid Mansab) (1828-1922).  Swahili poet.  Born at Lamu in Kenya, he studied law and theology at Mecca.  He served as kadhi (qadi) or judge at Zanzibar during the sultanate of Sayyid Majid.  He composed the Swahili abridgement of Maulid al-Barzanji, a poem on the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, and a long romantic poem called Utendi wa Akida tu ‘l-Awami, embodying a homilectic on religious duties.
Saiyid Abu Bakr bin Abd al-Rahman see Sayyid Abu Bakr bin Abd al-Rahman 
Saiyid Mansab see Sayyid Abu Bakr bin Abd al-Rahman

Sayyid Ahmad of Rae Bareilly
Sayyid Ahmad of Rae Bareilly (Syed Ahmad Barelvi) (Syed Ahmad of Rai Bareilly) (Syed Ahmad Shaheed) (1786-1831).  Leader of a socio-religious reform movement in North India.  In his preaching, Sayyid Ahmad stressed the affirmation of tawhid (monotheism) and rejection of bid’at (innovation in religious matters).  He considered British India a daru’l harb (abode of war) and in 1826 he migrated to the independent North-West Frontier tribal area, where he established an operational base.  His interest was in British India but he got entangled in local wars and died fighting at Balakote.  His followers, the Ahl-i Hadis (Wahhabis), sustained and expanded the movement, which had the wide-ranging effect of sharpening the adherents’ sense of religious identity and introducing significant social reforms.  

Syed Ahmad Barelvi (of Rai Bareilly), also called Syed Ahmed Shaheed, was an Islamic scholar and activist from Rae Bareli, India. and founder of the "The Way of the Prophet Muhammad" (Tariqah-i Muhhamdiyah), a revolutionary Islamic movement. His supporters designated him an Amir al-Mu'minin ("Commander of the Believers") and he proclaimed a jihad against the Sikhs in the Punjab.

Syed Ahmad was influenced by Shah Abdul Aziz, son of Shah Waliullah and toured Afghanistan and the areas occupied by the Sikhs raising the banner of jihad and rallying the Pashtun tribes to his banner. It was only after Maharaj Ranjit Singh's death in 1839 that the city of Peshawar came under the influence of Syed Ahmads movement, due to unclarity and dispute over the next heir of the Sikh Kingdom.

Syed Ahmad was captured by some locals who opposed his movement, and was killed by the Sikhs along with hundreds of his troops and followers in Balakot, Mansehra District in 1831. His defeat ended the dream of establishing an Islamic state in Peshawar, now Pakistan. His followers upheld the doctrine of tawhid (the oneness of God) and called themselves Ahl e Hadith, while others called them Wahhabis. They rejected bid'ah (innovation) but unlike Saudi Wahhabis accepted Sufism and features of mystical Islam such as the belief in the intercession of the spirits of dead saints for help and the use of amulets. Syed Ahmad appears to have anticipated modern Islamists in his waging of jihad and his attempt to create an Islamic state with strict enforcement of Islamic law.
Syed Ahmad Barelvi see Sayyid Ahmad of Rae Bareilly
Syed Ahmad of Rai Bareilly see Sayyid Ahmad of Rae Bareilly
Syed Ahmad Shaheed see Sayyid Ahmad of Rae Bareilly

Sayyid al-Himyari, Abu Hashim al-
Sayyid al-Himyari, Abu Hashim al- (Abu Hashim al-Sayyid al-Himyari) (723-789).  Arab poet from Basra.  He became a Shi‘a, held the doctrine of metempsychosis and proclaimed himself the reincarnation of the prophet Jonah.  He enjoyed the favor of the ‘Abbasid Caliph al-Mansur.
Abu Hashim al-Saryyid al-Himyari see Sayyid al-Himyari, Abu Hashim al-

Sayyids.  Individuals who comprised the Sayyid dynasty which was one of the dynasties of the Delhi sultanate that claimed descent from the prophet Muhammad.  The Sayyids ruled from 1414 to 1451 and comprised four sultans -- Khizr Khan, Mubarak Shah, Muhammad Shah, and Ala ud-Din Shah.  During this period the process of the dissolution of the Delhi sultanate gathered momentum.  The political vision of its rulers did not extend beyond a radius of less than two hundred miles around Delhi.  For all practical purposes the Sayyid sultans were iqtadars, or local governors.  Rebellions of governors, local chieftains, and landlords (zamindars) became the order of the day.  The concept of a strong centralized monarchy disappeared.  The amount of yearly reveunue during this period depended upon the capacity of the state to chastize its defaulting chiefs.  The Sayyid dynasty had emerged as a principality of Multan.  It ended as a principality of Badaon.

Sayyid Umar bin Amin bin Nasir al-Ahdal
Sayyid Umar bin Amin bin Nasir al-Ahdal (Saiyid Umar bin Amin bin Nasir al-Ahdal) (1800-1870).  Swahili poet.  He served as kadhi (qadi) or judge of Siu, north of Mombasa in Kenya.  He specialized in acrostic poems on religious themes, among the best known of which are Wajiwaji and Dura Mandhuma (“The String of Pearls”).  
Saiyid Umar bin Amin bin Nasir al-Ahdal see Sayyid Umar bin Amin bin Nasir al-Ahdal

Sebuktigin, Abu Mansur
Sebuktigin, Abu Mansur (Abu Mansur Sabuktigin) (942-997).  Founder of the Ghaznavid dynasty, which, under his son Mahmud, developed into a Turco-Persian empire.  His father, Juq, was the chieftain of a small principality in Turkestan that was liquidated by hostile neighbors.  Sebuktigin, then twelve years of age, was taken prisoner.  Subsequently, a certain Haji Nasr purchased him, and it was perhaps at this time that he embraced Islam.  In 959, he was purchased by Alptigin, military leader of Khurasan, and was quickly promoted to high ranks.  His talent facilitated his rise to the throne of Ghazna.  In 979 and 988, he defeated Jaipal, the head of the Hindu Shahi dynasty in the Punjab, annexing the frontier towns of Jaipal’s territory.  His construction of roads in the frontier region facilitated Mahmud’s Indian campaigns.  Sebuktigin died in August 997 in a village on the border of Balkh.

Abu Mansur Sabuktigin, also spelled as Sabuktagin, Sabuktakin, Sebüktegin and Sebük Tigin, is generally regarded by historians as the founder of the Ghaznavid Empire and dynasty centered in modern day Afghanistan in the city of Ghazni. The empire extended throughout parts of Iran, Pakistan, and Central Asia. Amir Sebük Tigin was the son-in-law of Alptigin who actually seized Ghazni in a political fallout for the throne of the Samanids.

Sebüktigin, aged twelve years, was taken prisoner by a neighboring warring tribe and sold as a slave to a merchant named Nasr the Haji. He was purchased by Alptigin, the Lord Chamberlain of the Samani ruler of Khurasan. However, when Alptigin later rebelled against the Saminid influence, capturing Zabulistan and Ghazni, he raised Sebüktigin to the position of General and married his daughter to him. He served Alptigin, and his two successors Ishaq and Balkatigin. He later succeeded another slave of Alptigin to the throne, and in 977 became the popular ruler of Ghazni.

Sebüktigin enlarged upon Alptigin's conquests, extending his domain north to Balkh, west to Kandahar including most of Khorasan, and east to the Indus River.

Sebüktigin was recognized by the Caliph in Baghdad as governor of his dominions. He died in 997, and was succeeded by his younger son Sultan Ismail of Ghazni. Mahmud rebelled against his younger brother, Sultan Ismail of Ghazni, and took over Ghazni as the new Sultan.

Upon Alptigin's death in 975, both Sebüktigin and Alptigin's son Abu Ishaq went to Bokhara to mend fences with the Samanids. Mansur I of Samanid then officially conferred upon Abu Ishaq the governorship of Ghazni and acknowledged Sebüktegin as the heir. Abu Ishaq died soon after in 977 and Sebuktigin succeeded him to the governorship of Ghazni and married Alptigin's daughter.

In 977 he marched against Toghan, who had opposed his succession. Toghan fled to Būst, so Sebüktegin marched upon it and captured Kandahar and its surrounding area. This prompted the Shahi prince Jayapala to launch a pre-emptive strike at Ghazni. Despite the Jayapala amassing approximately 100,000 troops for the battle, Sebüktegin was victorious. The battle was fought at Laghman (near Kabul) and the Jayapala was forced to pay a large tribute. He defaulted upon this, imprisoned Sebüktegin's collectors, and assembled an army allied with forces from the kingdoms of Delhi, Ajmer, Kalinjar, and Kannauj which was defeated at the banks of the Neelum. Sebüktegin then annexed Afghanistan and Peshawar, and all land west of the Neelum.

In 994 he was involved in aiding Nuh II of the Samanids against internal uprisings and defeated the rebels at Balkh and then to Nishapur, thereby earning for himself the title of Nāsir ud-Dīn ("Hero of the Faith") and for his son Mahmud the title of Governor of Khorasan and Saif ud-Dawlah ("Sword of the State").

Sebüktegin had increased upon Alptigin's domains by extending his domain north to Balkh, west to Kandahar and Khorasan, and east to the Indus River; he was eventually recognized by the Caliph in Baghdad as governor of his dominions.

A pious ruler, Sebüktegin grew concerned over the increasing amount of innovation (commonly known as bidah) in the Islamic creed, and consequently censured those who he believed were promulgating heretical doctrines or beliefs that contravened orthodox Sunni principles.

Sultan Sebüktegin grew sick in Balkh during his campaign and retired to Ghazni, and his body has been buried in Termez or Ghazni where he was succeeded by his son, Ismail. Sebüktegin is generally regarded as the architect of the Ghaznavid Empire.
Abu Mansur Sabuktigin see Sebuktigin, Abu Mansur
Sabuktigin, Abu Mansur see Sebuktigin, Abu Mansur
Abu Mansur Sebuktigin  see Sebuktigin, Abu Mansur

Sehi Celebi
Sehi Celebi (d. 1549).  Ottoman poet and and biographer of poets.  His biographical collection is the oldest work of this kind in Turkish.
Celebi, Sehi see Sehi Celebi

Seif, Ahmed
Ahmed Seif , also written as Ahmad Saif (el-Islam Hamad Abd el-Fattah) (January 9, 1951 - August 27, 2014), was an Egyptian journalist and human rights lawyer.

In the 1980s, Seif served a five-year prison sentence for activism. Afterwards, he was still several times imprisoned for political reasons, including during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. In 1999, he was one of the founders of the Hisham Mubarak Center for Law. In 2011, he was also leader of the political movement Kefaya. 

Seif was the father of two prominent activists during the Egyptian Revolution, Mona Seif and Alaa Abd El Fattah.  Seif married to Laila Soueif, a professor of mathematics at the University of Cairo. 

Because of Seif's involvement in the socialist movement, he was arrested in 1983 and tortured by agents of the Egyptian security forces. For five years, he was in prison. After his release, Seif focused on the fight against torture in Egypt.  In 1989, shortly after his release, he took on one of the most important human rights issues in the country itself.  Because of his struggle against torture and injustice he grew over the years into a central figure in several successful Egyptian human rights cases. 

In 1999, he was one of the founders of the Centre Hisham Mubarak for Law in Cairo, a center named for Hisham Mubarak, a lawyer who had focused on human rights and the granting of legal assistance to victims of violations of human rights laws. 

Seif was one of the attorneys in the case against fifteen defendants after the bombing in Taba and other places in the Sinai in October 2004.  Seif argued strongly against the wave of bombings while. on the other hand, arguing that the defendants in no way tortured of engaged in violations of human rights. Nevertheless, all fifteen defendants were convicted on the basis of confessions obtained during their torture.  

Other high-profile cases with other lawyers were the Queen Boat case in 2001, in which 52 men were tried on the basis of their sexual orientation, and the defense of 49 textile workers because they had participated in protests on April 6, 2008 in Mahalla.

In 2006, Seif took on the defense of Karim Amer, the first blogger who was indicted for a crime because of his criticism, on the Internet, of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Islam.  Amer was sentenced to four years imprisonment. 
Seif died on August 27, 2014 at the age of 63 during open-heart surgery.

Selaniki, Mustafa
Selaniki, Mustafa (Mustafa Selaniki) (Selaniki Mustafa Efendi) (d. 1599/1600).  Turkish historian from Salonika.  His history of Salonika covers the period from 1563 to 1599.

Mustafa Selaniki (Selanıkî Mustafa Efendi) was a Turkish scholar and chronicler, whose Tarih-i Selâniki (Tarih-i Selanik, "Chronicle of Salonica") described the Ottoman Empire of 1563–1599.
Mustafa Selaniki see Selaniki, Mustafa
Selaniki Mustafa Efendi see Selaniki, Mustafa

Selim I
Selim I (b. October 10, 1460/1465/1466/1470, Amasya, Ottoman Empire [now in Turkey] - d. September 22, 1520, Çorlu).  Ottoman sultan, known as Yavuz --  “the Grim” (r.1512-1520).  With the of the Janissaries, he rebelled against his father Bayezid II, whom he dethroned, and exterminated his brothers and nephews.  He then began a systematic persecution of the Shi‘is in the Ottoman Empire which made war with the Safavid Shah Isma‘il inevitable.  In 1514, he crushed the Persian army in the plain of Chaldiran between Lake Urmiya and Tabriz.  The next year he conquered eastern Anatolia and Kurdistan.  In Istanbul he constructed a new fleet and arsenal under the direction of Piri Re’is and reorganized the corps of the Janissaries.  His annexation of the lands of the Dhu’l-Qadr caused the Mameluke Sultan of Egypt Qansawh al-Ghawri to march against him in order to support Shah Isma‘il and to retake Mar‘ash.  The armies met on Marj Dabiq, north of Aleppo.  In a short battle, the Egyptians were routed, and Qansawh fell.  Selim then took Damascus.  The new Mameluke Sultan in Egypt Tuman Bay refused to recognize Ottoman suzerainty.  In 1517, the Egyptians were defeated again at Raydaniyya near Cairo and many inhabitants massacred.  Tuman Bay was executed, which meant the end of Mameluke rule.

Barakat, the Sharif of Mecca, submitted to Selim, who took the title of “Servant of the Two Holy Places,” i.e., Mecca and Medina, a title henceforth borne by all the Ottoman sultans.  The last ‘Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil III, who had been staying at the court of the Mamelukes in Cairo, was sent to Istanbul where he remained in prison until Selim’s death, after which he is said to have returned to Cairo.  The tradition, according to which al-Mutawakkil renounced the caliphate in favor of Selim, is spurious, but became an article of general belief in Turkey.  Selim’s nickname “Yavuz” expresses horror for the numerous executions ordered by him, but also admiration for his achievements.  The sultan, who was fond of the society of poets, is celebrated himself as a poet.  His diwan is entirely in Persian.

A chronology of Selim reads as follows:

Selim was born in Amasya in 1470.

In 1511, a conflict over the succession to the sultanate broke out between Selim and his brother Ahmad.  Selim sought assistance from the khan of Crimea.  The situation soon became heated, and sultan Bayazid II had to intervene.

In 1512, Sultan Bayazid stepped down from the throne, and left it in Selim’s hands to stop a continued escalation of the internal strife.  

On August 23, 1514, at the battle of Chaldiran, Selim struck a heavy blow on the Safavid sultan Isma’il I, and effectively secured the eastern borders.  Selim then incorporated Kurdish and Turkmen principalities in Anatolia.  These advances provoked the Mamelukes, who considered some of these areas as belonging to their interest zone.  The result was a war between the two empires.

On August 24, 1516, at battles north of Aleppo, the Ottomans defeated the attacking Mameluke troops.

On January 22, 1517, the final blow to the Mameluke Empire came with a battle near Cairo.  Egypt, Syria and Hijaz fell into Ottoman hands.

On September 22, 1520, Selim died in Corlu.

Selim came to the throne in the wake of civil strife in which he, his brother, and their father, Bayezid II, had been involved. Selim eliminated all potential claimants to the sultanate, leaving only his ablest son, Süleyman, as his heir. He then turned eastward, where Ismāʿīl I, founder of the Ṣafavid dynasty in Iran, posed a political and ideological threat by espousing Shīʿism (the second largest branch of Islām) as opposed to the Sunnī Islām of the Ottomans. In addition, the Kizilbash (Turkmen followers of Ismāʿīl) were in open revolt in Anatolia. Selim subdued the Kizilbash and then launched a major campaign against Ismāʿīl, who was severely defeated at the Battle of Chāldirān, on the eastern side of the Euphrates River (August 23, 1514). Selim then turned toward the Anatolian Kurdish and Turkmen principalities, which he incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.

Selim’s subjugation of the Dulkadir (Dhū al-Qadr) principality of Elbistan (now in Turkey) brought the Ottomans into conflict with the Mamelūke rulers of Syria and Egypt, who regarded Dulkadir as their protégé. Selim defeated the Mamelūke armies at the battles of Marj Dābiq (north of Aleppo; August 24, 1516) and Raydānīyah (near Cairo; January 22, 1517), thus bringing Syria, Egypt, and Palestine under Ottoman rule. In Cairo, the sharif of Mecca presented Selim with the keys to that holy city, a symbolic gesture acknowledging Selim as the leader of the Islāmic world.

Selim I, also known as "the Excellent," "the Brave", was also the first Ottoman Sultan to assume the title of Caliph of Islam.  Selim carried the empire to the leadership of the Sunni branch of Islam by his conquest of the Middle East. He represents a sudden change in the expansion policy of the empire, which was working mostly against the West and the Beyliks before his reign. On the eve of his death in 1520, the Ottoman empire spanned almost 1 billion acres (trebling during Selim's reign).

Yavuz see Selim I
Yavuz the Grim see Selim I
Yavuz Sultan Selim see Selim I

Selim II
Selim II  (Sari -- “The Blond”) (Selim II Sarkhosh) (b. May 28, 1524 - d. December 1574, Constantinople, Ottoman Empire [now Istanbul, Turkey]) Ottoman sultan (r. 1566-1574).  He was nicknamed “the Drunkard”.  He was the first Ottoman sultan to spend his life in the seraglio, and dissipated habits spread under his reign.  In 1571, Yemen was reconquered and Cyprus taken.  His most famous building is the Selimiyye mosque in Edirne, built by Sinan from 1567 to 1574.  Selim II was a poet in his own right, and surrounded himself with poets such as Mahmud ‘Abd al-Baqi and Mehmed Fadli.

Selim was born in May 1524 the son of sultan Suleyman I.  

In 1566, following the death of his father, Selim became sultan.  

In 1568, a peace treaty was signed with Austria, giving the Ottoman Empire strengthened rule over Moldavia and Walachia.

In 1570, a revolt in Yemen was suppressed.

In 1571, the Ottoman Empire conquered Cyprus, but this resulted in a Christian alliance of the pope, Italian states and Spain, which marched against the Empire.

On October 7, 1571, the Christian alliance defeated the Ottoman fleet at the Battle of Lepanto.  While the immediate results of this loss were small, this battle was a milestone, representing a turn in the power balance between the Christian states and the Ottoman Empire.  Gradually, Europe would from now on represent the strongest force on the battle ground.

In 1572, Tunisia was lost to Spanish troops.

In 1573, a new ottoman fleet forced Venice to recognize Ottoman hegemony in the Mediterranean Sea.  

In 1574, Tunisia was re-captured by the Ottomans.  In December of 1574, Selim II died in Istanbul.  

Selim was a ruler who managed to bring peace to the empire after the many wars during his father’s regime.  He had a peace treaty with Austria signed, giving him stronger control over European territories.  He had friendly relations with the Safavid ruler of Persia, who had been enemies of earlier sultans.  

Nevertheless, he is considered to be a rather weak sultan, as he gave his grand vizier more influence and preferred to indulge in carnal pleasures.  He was reportedly susceptible to the manipulations of the women of his harem.  He was also unable to control the Janissaries who were growing into a state inside the state, and were no longer the sultan’s loyal soldiers, which had been the intention of the Janissaries from the start.

The reign of Selim II saw peace in Europe and Asia and the rise of the Ottomans to dominance in the Mediterranean but marked the beginning of the decline in the power of the sultans. He was unable to impose his authority over the Janissaries and was overruled by the women of his harem.

Selim, the son of Süleyman I the Magnificent, came to the throne in the wake of palace intrigues and bitter civil strife with his brothers. He was more inclined to a life of pleasure than to the difficult task of governing, and he entrusted the affairs of state to his able grand vizier (chief minister) and son-in-law, Mehmed Sokollu.

As a result of the signing of a peace treaty with Austria in 1568, the Ottomans strengthened their rule in Moldavia and Walachia. In the East, amicable relations existed between Selim II and Ṭahmāsp I, Ṣafavid ruler of Iran, and a revolt in Yemen was successfully suppressed (1569–70). In the Mediterranean the Ottoman capture of Cyprus from the Venetians (1570–71) led to the formation of an anti-Ottoman alliance of the pope, the Italian states, and Spain. The alliance, although successful in destroying the Ottoman navy at the Battle of Lepanto (October 7, 1571), was unable to confront a new navy formed the following year. Consequently, Venice recognized Ottoman hegemony in the Mediterranean (1573), and the Ottomans recaptured Tunisia (August 1574) from the Spanish, who had taken it in 1572.

Selim II Sarkhosh, also known as "Selim the Sot" or "Selim the Drunkard", was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1566 until his death. He was a son of Suleiman the Magnificent and his fourth and favorite wife Hürrem Sultan, originally named Roxelana.

Sari see Selim II 
Sari the Blond see Selim II 
The Drunkard see Selim II 
Selim II Sarkhosh see Selim II 
Selim the Sot see Selim II

Selim III
Selim III (b. December 24, 1761, Constantinople, Ottoman Empire [now Istanbul, Turkey] - d. July 29, 1808, Constantinople.  Ottoman sultan (r. 1789-1807).   Selim III was noted for his reforms.  The war against Austria was continued but the Ottomans were beaten in Moldavia  in 1789.  In 1791, the peace of Zistowa was concluded.  The disastrous war with Russia was ended by the Treaty of Jassy in which the Crimea was definitively lost to the Ottomans.  Immediately after the war, the sultan took up the question of the reforms which he considered inevitable to restore the strength of the Empire.  The finances were reorganized as well as the army, artillery in particular.  Bonaparte is said to have had in 1794 the intention to put himself at the head of the Turkish artillery.  There was much less opposition to the reforms in Asia than in the European part of the Empire.  The French expedition against Egypt led to a declaration of war against France in 1798.  In 1800, the Ottomans were defeated near Heliopolis by General Kleber but a combined fleet of Turkey and Russia expelled the French from the Ionian Isles.  Peace with France was signed in 1802.  Troubles then arose in Serbia in 1803, which in 1805 had its own constitution and took control of the citadel of Belgrade.  In the same year, 1803 Mecca fell to the Wahhabis and Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha came to the front in Egypt.  Opposition in the capital against the reforms led to the deposition of the sultan in 1807.  Selim III wrote poems under the pen name Ilhami and is said to have had musical talents.  
Selim III was Ottoman sultan from 1789 to 1807.  He undertook a program of Westernization and his reign felt the intellectual and political ferment created by the French Revolution.

A poet and an accomplished composer of Ottoman classical music, Selim enjoyed greater freedom prior to his accession than the Ottoman princes before him. Influenced by his father, Mustafa III (r. 1757–74), Selim had acquired a zeal for reform.

When Selim succeeded his uncle Abdülhamid I (April 7, 1789), he attempted to end the social, economic, and administrative chaos facing the empire. He set up a committee of reformers (1792–93) and promulgated a series of new regulations collectively known as the nizam-ı cedid (“new order”). These included reforms of provincial governorships, taxation, and land tenure. More significant were his military reforms. In addition to new military and naval schools, he founded new corps of infantry trained and equipped along European lines and financed by revenues from forfeited and escheated fiefs and by taxes on liquor, tobacco, and coffee. Finally, to provide for direct contact with the West, Ottoman embassies were opened in the major European capitals.

Selim, who came to the throne during a war (1787–92) with Austria and Russia, was compelled to conclude the treaties of Sistova (Svishtov; 1791) with Austria and of Jassy (1792) with Russia. In 1798 Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt drove Selim into alliance with Great Britain and Russia. After the French evacuated Egypt (1801), Selim, dazzled by Napoleon’s successes in Europe, not only recognized him as emperor (1804) but also, under the influence of General Sébastiani, Napoleon’s ambassador in Constantinople, declared war (1806) on Russia and Great Britain.

Selim’s reorganizations and the increasing influence of France evoked a strong reaction from the conservative coalition of the Janissaries, the ulama (men of religious learning), and others adversely affected by the reforms. Selim, on the other hand, lacked the determination to enforce the measures. In 1805, when he ordered the reorganization of troops in the Balkan provinces, the Janissaries mutinied in Edirne (in Thracian Turkey) and were joined by the ayan (local notables), who hitherto had supported the sultan. Selim halted the reorganization and dismissed his reformist advisers. Finally, in 1807, a mutiny of the yamaks (auxiliary levies) compelled Selim to abolish the nizam-ı cedid reforms and culminated in his imprisonment. In the ensuing months of confusion, the reformists rallied around Bayrakdar Mustafa, pasha of Rusçuk (now Ruse, Bulgaria), who marched to Constantinople to restore Selim. Bayrakdar took the city, but in the meantime Selim had been strangled on orders from his successor, Mustafa IV.

Seljuks.  See Saljuq.

Semaoen (Semaun) (1898-1971).   Indonesian political activist.  He was born in Gunang Gangsir, Pasuruan, East Java.  In 1914, he became a member of the Sarekat Islam, the first large Indonesian nationalist party, and in 1915 of the Indische Sociaal-Democratische Vereeniging (ISDV).  In the Sarekat Islam, Semaoen was the leader of the Marxist-oriented faction.  After clashing with the Islamic-oriented members, he and his supporters were forced to leave the party in the early 1920s.  Apart from his political work in the Sarekat Islam, ISDV, and its successor the Partai Komunis Indonesia (Indonesian Communist Party), Semaoen played a very prominent role in the labor movement.  In 1923, he was arrested, interned on the island of Timor, and, when given the choice, exiled from the Dutch East Indies.  He went to Russia (where he attended the fifth congress of the Comintern in 1924) and to Holland.  He returned to Indonesia in 1956.

Semaun was the first chairman of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI).  Semaun was born in Pasuruan, East Java. In 1915 at the age of sixteen, he was elected as one of the first Indonesian members of the Union of Train and Tramway Personnel (VSTP), soon quitting his job as a railway worker to become a trade union activist full-time. Also in 1915 he was elected vice-chairman of the Surabaya office of the Indies Social Democratic Association (ISDP), which was to become the PKI. By 1918 he was a member of the central leadership of Sarekat Islam (SI), then the dominant nationalist political organization in the Dutch East Indies.

In May 1921, when the Communist Party of Indonesia was founded after the deportation of the Dutch founders of the ISDP, Semaun became its first chairman. The PKI initially was a part of Sarekat Islam, but political differences over the role of class struggle and of Islam in nationalism between Semaun's PKI and the rest of SI led to an organizational split by October. At the end of that year he left Indonesia for Moscow, and Tan Malaka replaced him as chairman. Upon his return in May 1922, he regained the chairmanship and tried, with limited success, to restore PKI influence over the sprawling SI organization.

In 1923 VSTP, the railway union, organized a general strike. It was soon crushed by the Dutch government, and Semaun was exiled from the Indies. He returned to the Soviet Union, where he was to remain for more than thirty years. He remained involved as a nationalist activist on a limited basis, speaking a few times to Perhimpunan Indonesia, a Netherlands-based organization of Indonesian students. He also studied at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East for a time.

Upon his return to Indonesia after its independence, Semaun moved to Jakarta, where from 1959 to 1961 he served as a government administrator. He also taught economics at Universitas Padjadjaran in Bandung.
Semaun see Semaoen

Senegalese slaves
Senegalese slaves. Senegal is the name of both the river and free republic in Africa.  The mouth of the Senegal River was explored by the Portuguese around 1451.  In the first quarter of the sixteenth century, traders frequently ventured to the upper part of the river, populated by black ethnic groups, to barter for gold, ivory, and slaves.  After 1700, Portuguese and other European began establishing trading posts on the banks of the river and its effluents to buy slaves for the New World market.  The term “Senegalese slaves” refers to black slaves brought from the Senegal River region to the West Indies and elsewhere.  In the eighteenth century, some planters considered them to be the brightest of all African slaves, well fitted for the trades and and domestic service.  They became good drivers, were dependable, and could be easily disciplined, but were not thought capable of performing arduous tasks.

Senufo.  The Senufo of West Africa live in Ivory Coast, Mali and Upper Volta.  The geographical area in which they live is called the Middle Volta, a region to the east of the Bagoe River, to the south of the Bani River, to the west of the Black Volta, and occupying the northern-center portion of Ivory Coast around Korhogo and Odienne.  Located in the less fertile regions of the Sudanic zone and between the major traditional routes of trade, the Senufo are agrarian with little history as traders or warriors.

Despite the fact that they have not been geographically isolated as have other small ethnic groups in the same general region, the Senufo resisted Islamization until contemporary times.  Only about one-quarter are Muslim.

Dyula traders were the first to introduce them to Islam and its cultural adjuncts.  With the decline of the Songhay Empire in the early seventeenth century small groups of Islamic traders from that polity migrated and settled among the stateless peoples in the northern part of Ivory Coast.  These Dyula were Islamized during the first period of Islamic expansion below the Sahara.  Arab historians indicate that the religion had penetrated peoples on the banks of the upper Senegal and in the Sahel region by the beginning of the eleventh century.  During this period, Islam was a class religion limited to chiefs and traders with a group of professional clerics.  Islam was one of the dynamic forces in the empires of Mali and Songhay.

The migrating traders and warriors settled among the eclectic groups in the Sudanic region and attached to these people the term “Bambara” and/or “Senufo.”  Bambara was the name the Dyula applied to all non-Muslims in the Niger Bend and Senufo to the cluster of people living around present day Odienne and Korhogo.  Because of the Dyula’s political and economic importance in the Middle Volta Basin during the period of French expansion, French explorers and military leaders accepted the Mande terms “Senufo” and “Bambara” and applied them to the people living in the region.  The term “Senufo” was specifically applied to the majority of the people living in the city of Kong and to those in the kingdom of Kenedougou during the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Islam first penetrated the northern Senufo with the settlement of the Dyula Traores in Finkolo and the establishment of the kingdom of Kenedougou in the nineteenth century.  However, the Traores, who were of Mande origin, had been “Senufo-ized” linguistically and culturally by the time Sikasso was established as their administrative capital.  Sikasso, originally a Senufo village, became the capital of the kingdom of Kenedougou, the second largest empire in the western Sudan by 1890.  Tieba Traore, as king of Sikasso for approximately three decades, limiting the spread of Islam to his court, and during his reign of Tieba’s successor, Babemba.

The southern Senufo were among the first groups in the Middle Volta to be influenced by Islam.  

These Senufo, founders of Kong, permitted Dyula traders to settle in the city and by the eighteenth century were consequently overthrown by them.  With the advent of the Dyula rulers, Kong became a thriving commercial city and center of Islamic learning.  Thus, this branch of the Senufo was greatly influenced by the Manding and Dyula and the Qadiriyya Muslim order of northern Ghana.  During the nineteenth century, because of the political and economic importance of the Dyula, many of the Senufo chiefs became affilitated with Islam.  In many instances Senufo families changed their patronymic and took on Dyula surnames, for example, Fofana, Kulibali, Traores.  Despite the conversion of chiefs and leading families to Islam, the masses of Senufo remained traditionalists in their religious practices.  Today, fewer than twenty percent of the southern Senufo could be classified as Muslims.

Senufo society successfully resisted large scale conversion to Islam until after World War II. Several major factors account for the small percentage of Senufo Muslims.  Senufo society has developed cultural institutions and practices which resist change.  Senufo are primarily cultivators, with much of their mythology associated with the earth.  Rituals honor nature spirits.  Strong ancestor involvement in life discourages acceptance of a religion which removes the dead from participating with the living.

Sephardim (Sefardim -- from Hebrew Sefarad (“Spain”)).  Sephardim have an orientation in Judaism, developing in the Iberian peninsula and North Africa, contrary to Judaism developing in the central, northern and eastern part of Europe called Ashkenazi.  The Sephardim was attributed to the Jews who were forced to leave Spain and Portugal in 1492.  Many of these settled in North Africa, other parts of Europe and the Ottoman Empire.

The language of the Sephardi was Ladino, a language no longer in any vernacular use.  Sephardim and Ashkenazi came to develop different prayer liturgies, Torah services, Hebrew pronunciation and ways of life.  The rituals of the Sephardi were of the Babylonian traditions.  Ashkenazi and Sephardi tunes for both prayers and Torah reading are different.  A Sephardi Torah is contained in a wooden cylinder which makes it stand up while being read, while an Ashkenazi Torah lies flat.

In order to decide upon Jewish law, there are different authorities.  Sephardim follow Rabbi Joseph Caro’s Shulhan Arukh.  There are differences in many aspects of Jewish law, from which laws women are exempt from to what food one is allowed to eat on Pesach.  
However, today, many of the distinctions between Ashkenazim and Sephardim have disappeared.  In Israel as well as other countries like the United States, Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews live side by side, even if they generally have separate institutions.

Today there are about three million Sephardi Jews in the world, of which about one million live in Israel. Being far smaller in number than the Ashkenazi, Sephardim have been the least influential in Israeli politics.  However, over the last decades much of this has changed.  Through their party Shas, which won 17 of 120 seats in the Knesset in 1999, they have become more visible.  Indeed, in July 2000, the Iranian born Sephardi Jew Moshe Katsav was elected president.

A brief history of the Sephardi Jews reads as follows:

According to legends, around the tenth century B.C.T., the first Jews settled in Spain.  This has, however, never been proven historically.  

In 305 of the Christian calendar, the Council of Toledo passed an edict saying that Jews could not bless the crops of non-Jews, and Jews could not eat with non-Jews.

In 612, Spanish rulers ordered the forced baptism of all Jews.

In 711, the Muslims took control of most of Spain, and the Jews became part of building the most advanced civilization of its time.  During this time, the Jews paid a special discriminatory tax compared to Muslim inhabitants, the jizya, but had full religious freedom.  The Jews lived in their separate quarters, called al-jarnas.

Coinciding with the Muslim control of Spain, the eighth through eleventh centuries of the Christian calendar became the golden age of Judaism, with many cultural achievements.  Through the positive co-existence of the religions during this period, Judaism became influenced by Islam.  Thus, following Muslim practices, the washing of hands and feet before entering the synagogue was introduced and clothes, language and music were similarly borrowed from Islam.

In 1055, the Almoravids seized control of Spain and, subsequently, imposed restrictions on Jewish life and activities.

In 1098, the Christian reconquest of Spain began and, at that time, the Jews in the Christian parts of Spain came to enjoy more freedom than the ones living in the Muslim parts.

In 1147, more restrictions were imposed by the Almohads, such as the obligation of all Jews to wear a yellow turban.

Around the middle of the thirteenth century, Christian rulers of Spain began imposing restrictions on the Jews, and there were attempts were made to force the conversion of Jews to Christianity.

In 1492, following the Catholic reconquest of Spain, a process of driving the Jews out of the Iberian peninsula began.  About 100,000 Jews of the area would be expelled within the next five years.  They moved into France, the Netherlands, England, Italy, the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire, and North Africa.  Many Jews were also forced to convert to Christianity, especially in Portugal.

During the seventeenth century, many Sephardi Jews settled in the Americas.

In the 1940s, the Sephardi Jews were among the Jewish groups that suffered the most during the Holocaust.

In the 1950s, many Sephardi Jews fled or moved from Muslim countries to the new state of Israel.  In Israel, many of the Sephardi Jews experienced a form of second class citizenship at the hands of the dominant Ashkenazi Jews.

The Sephardim were the Jews who lived in Spain and Portugal from the Middle Ages until their persecution and mass expulsion from those countries in the last decades of the 15th century and their descendants. The Sephardim initially fled to North Africa and other parts of the Ottoman Empire, and many of these eventually settled in such countries as France, Holland, England, Italy, and the Balkans. Salonika (Thessaloníki) in Macedonia and the city of Amsterdam became major sites of Sephardic settlement. The transplanted Sephardim largely retained their native Judeo-Spanish language (Ladino), literature, and customs. They became noted for their cultural and intellectual achievements within the Mediterranean and northern European Jewish communities. The Sephardim differ notably from the Ashkenazim (German-rite Jews) in preserving Babylonian rather than Palestinian Jewish ritual traditions. Of the Sephardic Jews in the world today (far fewer than the Ashkenazim), many now reside in the state of Israel. The chief rabbinate of Israel has both a Sephardic and an Ashkenazi chief rabbi.

Though the term Oriental Jews is perhaps more properly applied to Jews of North Africa and the Middle East who had no ties with either Spain or Germany and who speak Arabic, Persian, or a variant of ancient Aramaic, the designation Sephardim frequently signifies all North African Jews and others who, under the influence of the “Spanish Jews,” have adopted the Sephardic rite.

It is thought that substantial Jewish immigration probably occurred during the Roman period of Hispania. The province came under Roman control with the fall of Carthage after the Second Punic War (218-202 B.C.T.). Exactly how soon after this time Jews made their way onto the scene in this context is a matter of speculation. It is within the realm of possibility that they went there under the Romans as free men to take advantage of its rich resources.

Although the spread of Jews into Europe is most commonly associated with the Diaspora which ensued from the Roman conquest of Judea, emigration from Judea into the greater Roman Mediterranean area antedated the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans under Titus. Any Jews already in Hispania at this time would have been joined by those who had been enslaved by the Romans under Vespasian and Titus, and dispersed to the extreme west during the period of the Jewish Wars, and especially after the defeat of Judea in 70 C.C. One account placed the number carried off to Hispania at 80,000. Subsequent immigrations came into the area along both the northern African and southern European sides of the Mediterranean.

Among the earliest records which may refer specifically to Jews in the Iberian peninsula during the Roman period is Paul's Epistle to the Romans.  Paul's intention to go to Hispania to preach the gospel (Romans 15:24, 28) may have been due to the presence of Jewish communities there, as well as the fact that Herod Antipas's banishment by Caligula in 39 C.C. may have been to Hispania.

From a slightly later period, Midrash Rabbah, Leviticus 29:2 makes reference to the return of the Diaspora from Hispania by 165 C.C..

Perhaps the most direct and substantial of early references are the several decrees of the Council of Elvira, convened in the early fourth century, which address proper Christian behavior with regard to the Jews of Hispania.

As citizens of the Roman Empire, the Jews of Hispania engaged in a variety of occupations, including agriculture. Until the adoption of Christianity, Jews had close relations with non-Jewish populations, and played an active role in the social and economic life of the province. The edicts of the Synod of Elvira, provide evidence of Jews who were integrated enough into the greater community to cause alarm among some. Of the Council's 80 canonic decisions, all which pertain to Jews served to maintain a separation between the two communities. It seems that by this time the presence of Jews was of greater concern to Christian authorities than the presence of pagans. Canon 16, which prohibited marriage of Christians with Jews, was worded more strongly than canon 15, which prohibited marriage with pagans. Canon 78 threatens Christians who commit adultery with Jews with ostracism. Canon 48 forbade the blessing of Christian crops by Jews, and Canon 50 forbade the sharing of meals by Christians and Jews.

Yet in comparison to Jewish life in Byzantium and Italy, life for the early Jews in Hispania and the rest of western Europe was relatively tolerable. This is due in large measure to the difficulty which the Church had in establishing itself in its western frontier. In the west, Germanic tribes such as the Suevi, the Vandals, and especially the Visigoths had more or less disrupted the political and ecclesiastical systems of the Roman empire, and for several centuries western Jews enjoyed a degree of peace which their brethren to the east did not.

Barbarian invasions brought most of the Iberian Peninsula under Visigothic rule by the early fifth century. Other than in their contempt for Orthodox Christians, who reminded them of the Romans and also because they were Arians, the Visigoths were largely uninterested in the religious creeds within their kingdom. It was not until 506, when Alaric II (484-507) published his Brevarium Alaricianum (Breviary of Alaric) (wherein he adopted the laws of the ousted Romans), that a Visigothic king concerned himself with the Jews.

The situation of the Jews changed after the conversion of the Visigothic royal family under Recared from Arianism to Roman Catholicism in 587. In their desire to consolidate the realm under the new religion, the Visigoths adopted an aggressive policy towards Jews. As the king and the church acted in a single interest, the Jews' situation deteriorated. Under successive Visigothic kings and under ecclesiastical authority, many orders of expulsion, forced conversion, isolation, enslavement, execution, and other punitive measures were made. By 612 - 621, the situation for Jews became intolerable and many left Spain for nearby northern Africa. In 711, thousands of Jews from North Africa accompanied the Muslims who invaded Spain, subsuming Catholic Spain and turning much of it into an Arab state, Al-Andalus.

The Jews of Hispania had been utterly embittered and alienated by Catholic rule by the time of the Muslim invasion. To them, the Moors were perceived as, and indeed were, a liberating force. Wherever they went, the Muslims were greeted by Jews eager to aid them in administering the country. In many conquered towns the garrison was left in the hands of the Jews before the Muslims proceeded further north. Thus were initiated the two centuries of Muslim rule in the Iberian peninsula which became known as the "Golden Age" of Sephardi Jewry.

With the victory of Tariq ibn Ziyad in 711, the lives of the Sephardim changed dramatically. In spite of the covenant of protection given to the dhimmis (non-Muslim members of monotheistic faiths), the coming of the Moors was by-and-large welcomed by the Jews of Iberia.

Both Muslim and Christian sources claim that Jews provided valuable aid to the Muslim invaders. Once captured, the defense of Cordoba was left in the hands of Jews, and Granada, Malaga, Seville, and Toledo were left to a mixed army of Jews and Moors. Although in some towns Jews may have been helpful to Muslim success, they were of limited impact overall. However, it was frequently claimed by Christians in later centuries that the fall of Iberia was due in large part to Jewish perfidy.

In spite of the restrictions placed upon the Jews as dhimmis, life under Muslim rule was one of great opportunity and Jews flourished as they did not under the Christian Visigoths. Many Jews came to Iberia, seen as a land of tolerance and opportunity, from the Christian and Muslim worlds. Following initial Arab victories, and especially with the establishment of Umayyad rule by Abd al-Rahman I in 755, the native Jewish community was joined by Jews from the rest of Europe, as well as from Arab lands, from Morocco to Babylon. Jewish communities were enriched culturally, intellectually, and religiously by the commingling of these diverse Jewish traditions.

Arabic culture, of course, also made a lasting impact on Sephardic cultural development. General re-evaluation of scripture was prompted by Muslim anti-Jewish polemics and the spread of rationalism, as well as the anti-Rabbanite polemics of Karaite sectarianism (which was inspired by various Muslim schismatic movements). The cultural and intellectual achievements of the Arabs, and much of the scientific and philosophical speculation of Ancient Greek culture, which had been best preserved by Arab scholars, was made available to the educated Jew. The meticulous regard which the Arabs had for grammar and style also had the effect of stimulating an interest in philological matters in general among Jews. Arabic came to be the main language of Sephardic science, philosophy, and everyday business, as had been the case with Babylonian geonim. This thorough adoption of the Arabic language also greatly facilitated the assimilation of Jews into Moorish culture, and Jewish activity in a variety of professions, including medicine, commerce, finance, and agriculture increased.

By the ninth century, some members of the Sephardic community felt confident enough to take part in proselytizing amongst Christians. Most famous were the heated correspondences sent between Bodo Eleazar, a former Christian deacon who had converted to Judaism in 838, and the Bishop of Córdoba Paulus Albarus, who had converted from Judaism to Christianity. Each man, using such epithets as "wretched compiler", tried to convince the other to return to his former faith, to no avail.

The Golden Age is most closely identified with the reign of Abd al-Rahman III (882-942), the first independent Caliph of Cordoba, and in particular with the career of his Jewish councilor, Hasdai ibn Shaprut (882-942). Within this context of cultural patronage, studies in Hebrew, literature, and linguistics flourished.

Hasdai benefitted world Jewry not only indirectly by creating a favorable environment for scholarly pursuits within Iberia, but also by using his influence to intervene on behalf of foreign Jews. In his letter to Byzantine Princess Helena, he requested protection for the Jews under Byzantine rule, attesting to the fair treatment of the Christians of al-Andalus, and perhaps indicating that such was contingent on the treatment of Jews abroad.

One notable contribution to Christian intellectualism is Ibn Gabirol's neo-Platonic Fons Vitae ("The Source of Life;" "Mekor Hayyim"). Thought by many to have been written by a Christian, this work was admired by Christians and studied in monasteries throughout the Middle Ages, though the work of Solomon Munk in the 19th century proved that the author of Fons Vitae was the Jewish Ibn Gabirol.

In addition to contributions of original work, the Sephardim were active as translators. Texts were translated between Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin. In translating the great works of Arabic, Hebrew, and Greek into Latin, Iberian Jews were instrumental in bringing the fields of science and philosophy, which formed much of the basis of Renaissance learning, into the rest of Europe.

In the early 11th century, centralized authority based at Cordoba broke down following the Berber invasion and the ousting of the Umayyads. In its stead arose the independent taifa principalities under the rule of local Arab, Berber, or Slavonic leaders. Rather than having a stifling effect, the disintegration of the caliphate expanded the opportunities to Jewish and other professionals. The services of Jewish scientists, doctors, traders, poets, and scholars were generally valued by Christian and Muslim rulers of regional centers, especially as order was restored in recently conquered towns. Rabbi Samuel ha-Nagid (ibn Naghrela) was the Vizier of Granada. He was succeeded by his son Joseph ibn Naghrela who was slain by an incited mob along with most of the Jewish community. The remnant fled to Lucena.

The decline of the Golden Age began before the completion of the Christian Reconquista, with the penetration and influence of the Almoravids, and then the Almohads, from North Africa. These fundamentalist sects abhorred the liberality of the Islamic culture of al-Andalus, including the position of authority which some dhimmis held over Muslims. When the Almohads gave the Jews a choice of either death or conversion to Islam, many Jews emigrated. Some, such as the family of Maimonides, fled south and east to the more tolerant Muslim lands, while others went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms.

Meanwhile the Reconquista continued in the north throughout the 12th century. As various Arab lands fell to the Christians, conditions for some Jews in the emerging Christian kingdoms became increasingly favorable. As had happened during the reconstruction of towns following the breakdown of authority under the Umayyads, the services of Jews were employed by the victorious Christian leaders. Sephardic knowledge of the language and culture of the enemy, their skills as diplomats and professionals, as well as their desire for relief from intolerable conditions — the very same reasons that they had proved useful to the Arabs in the early stages of the Muslim invasion — made their services very valuable.

However, the Jews from the Muslim south were not entirely secure in their northward migrations. Old prejudices were compounded by newer ones. Suspicions of complicity with the Muslims were alive and well as Jews immigrated, speaking Arabic. However, many of the newly arrived Jews of the north prospered during the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries. The majority of Latin documentation regarding Jews during this period refers to their landed property, fields, and vineyards.

In many ways life had come full circle for the Sephardim of al-Andalus. As conditions became more oppressive during the 12th and 13th centuries, Jews again looked to an outside culture for relief. Christian leaders of reconquered cities granted them extensive autonomy, and Jewish scholarship recovered somewhat and developed as communities grew in size and importance. However, the Reconquista Jews never reached the same heights as had those of the Golden Age.

Some of the more prominent Sephardic Jews are:

Maimonides (Ibn Maymun)
Isaac Abrabanel
Baruch Spinoza  
David Nieto
Daniel Mendoza
David Ricardo
Moses Montefiore  
Benjamin Disraeli
Sabato Morais  
Emma Lazarus
Benjamin Cardozo
David de Sola Pool
Basil Henriques
Pierre Mendès-France
Sam Costa  
Jacques Derrida
Sílvio Santos
Hank Azaria

Sefardim see Sephardim

Sepoy. The word sepoy is the English corruption of the Persian sipahi, the adjective formed from sipah --“army.”  In Persian (spahi), Turkish, and French (Spahi), it invariably means a “horse soldier.”  Sepoy is a term derived from the Persian term spahi (horseman).  The term sepoy, from the mid-eighteenth century forward, has come to mean an Indian foot soldier disciplined and dressed in the European style and usually under European command.  In India, the French and the British applied it since the beginning of the eighteenth century to natives of India trained, armed and clad after the European fashion as regular infantry soldiers.  Sepoy battalions, largely recruited from among high-caste brahmans and Rajputs, constituted the major component of the East India Company’s army.  The Indian Mutiny of 1857 to 1859 is also called Sepoy Mutiny because it was started by the Sepoys. After the so-called Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 sepoy recruits were drawn instead from the Sikhs, Gurkhas, and Muslims of the Northwest.

A sepoy was formerly the designation given to an Indian soldier in the service of a European power. In the modern Indian Army, Pakistan Army and Bangladesh Army it remains in use for the rank of private soldier.

Following the formation of the French East India Company (Compagnie des Indes) in 1719, companies of Indian sepoys (cipayes) were raised to augment the French and Swiss mercenary troops available. By 1720 the sepoys in French service numbered about 10,000. Although much reduced in numbers, France continued to maintain a Military Corps of Indian Sepoys (corps militaire des cipayes de l'Inde) in Pondichery (now Puducherry) until it was disbanded in 1898 and replaced by a locally recruited gendarmerie..

In its most common application Sepoy was the term used in the British Indian Army, and earlier in that of the British East India Company, for an infantry private (a cavalry trooper was a Sowar). It is still so used in the modern Indian Army, Pakistan Army and Bangladesh Army. Close to 300,000 sepoys were crucial in securing the subcontinent for the British East India Company. There was widespread mutiny amongst the sepoys of the Bengal Army in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 after it was alleged that the new rifles being issued to them used animal fat to grease the casing.

Sepoys were also recruited in Portuguese India. Some Portuguese sepoys were later sent to serve in other territories of the Portuguese Empire, especially those in Africa. The term "sipaio" (sepoy) was also applied by the Portuguese to African soldiers and African rural police officers.

The same Persian word has reached English via another route in the form of Spahi.

Zipaio, the Basque version of the word, is used by leftist Basque nationalists as an insult for members of the Basque Police, implying that they are not a national police but servants of a foreign occupier.
Sipahi see Sepoy.

Sere-Burlay Sise
Sere-Burlay Sise (d. 1859).   Dyula (of Guinea) revolutionary leader.  He was the son of Mori-Ule Sise who initiated the revolution of the Dyula Muslim traders among the Mandinka of the Guinea interior.  Sere-Burlay carved out his own state near Gundo around 1849.  When he tried to force Islam upon his subject peoples, he was killed during a massive revolt.  The great Dyula leader Samori Toure received his military training in Sere-Burlay’s army.
Sise, Sere-Burlay see Sere-Burlay Sise

Serer (Serere) (Sereer).  Agricultural people who inhabit an area south and west of Dakar, the capital of Senegal.  There are also a few Serer villages in Gambia.

The Serer are the third largest ethnic group in Senegal, and also present in Gambia and Mauritania. The Serer heartland is in the southwest of modern Senegal, running from the southern edge of the Cap-Vert peninsula south and east to the Gambian border. Pre-colonial Serer states included the Kingdom of Sine and Kingdom of Saloum. About one in seven Senegalese is of Serer ethnicity, most famously the first President of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor, and the second president of Senegal, Abdou Diouf. While traditionally speakers of the Serer language, most Senegalese—Serer people included—now learn Wolof as a first language.  Serer people are closely related to their Wolof, Mandinka Malinke, and—to a lesser extent—Fula neighbors. Some people of Toucouleur ethnicity trace their ancestry to equal parts Fula and Serer cultures.

Of all the people living north of the Gambia River, the Serer resisted Islam the most vigorously.  Both Serer kings kept marabouts at court to handle correspondence, make amulets and pray for their royal masters.  In Saalum, two marabout families received enough land as a reward for these services that they formed major provincial commands.  In each case the provincial chiefs were clerics and the population was solidly Muslim.  From 1861 to the French conquest in 1887, Siin and Saalum found their existence threatened by a jihad led by Ma Ba Jaxoo, a Muslim from the neighboring Manding state of Badibu.  Ma Ba was killed when he tried to invade Siin in 1867, but Saalum was almost destroyed by the jihad.  

One result of the jihad and the way in which colonization and the extension of cash crop cultivation took place was the traditional order broke down more quickly in Saalum.  By the beginning of World War I, the Wolof areas were heavily Muslim and the Serer about 40 percent.  In Siin, the traditional order proved more resilient.  The French felt it wise to operate through the chiefs Catholic missions were kept out, in part because the Serer blamed an early mission (founded in 1848) for the French invasions of 1859 and 1861.

Traditional religion remained dominant in Siin until after World War II.  At this point, there were important Christian and Muslim communities among the Serer.  Young Serer men were working in the cities in increasing numbers; many were also going to school.  Modern transportation and communications were breaking down the isolation of the village.  The result was a rapid process of conversion, which in the 1950s and 1960s moved heavily in favor of Islam.  

Today, most Serer have converted, although many still continue their earlier religious practices.  Over four-fifths of the converts have chosen Islam.  A major factor in Muslim success has been the assimilation of Serer in the city to the dominant culture.  The Serer have a reputation for being more lax in their practice of Islam than the Wolof or Tukulor.

Some of the more notable Serer are:

Bour Sine Coumba Ndoffene Famak Diouf, King of the ancient Kingdom of Sine. Died in November 1871. He and his army defeated the and killed Maba Jabou Ba [Bah] at the Battle of Somb.

Bour Sine Coumba Ndoffene Fandeb Diouf, King of Sine. Extremely powerful and influenctial during the colonial days. Although an animist like his ancestors, he was the only Senegambian King or leader that spoke up for Amadou Bamba when the French accused Amadou Bamba Mbackeh of piling weapons in order to attack the French.

Léopold Sédar Senghor, Senegal's first president,

Youssou N'dour, the most famous and successful African singer and export over the decades. Although people think he is Wolof because he tends to sing in Wolof, the surname N'dour just like his ancestors were Serer,

El Hadji Diouf, Footballer and twice winner of the African gold Boot,

Yande Codou Sene, a popular singer of the traditional Serer style who Youssou N'dour considers a great inspiration,

The second Senegalese president and current Secretary-General of La Francophonie, Abdou Diouf, and

Blaise Diagne (son of a Serer) who was a Senegalese political leader, the first black African elected to the French National Assembly, and mayor of Dakar,

Serere see Serer
Sereer see Serer

Seth (in Arabic, Shith or Shiyth -- "Placed" or "Appointed").  The biblical personage is mentioned in Muslim tradition.  The Sabaeans of Harran had several writings attributed to him, and the Druzes always associate him with Adam.

In Islam, Seth is seen as a prophet. Although he is not explicitly mentioned in the Qur'an, Muslims believe that Seth was the son of Adam, and continued to preach the message after him.

Seth, in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, is the third listed son of Adam and Eve and brother of Cain and Abel, who are the only other of their children mentioned by name. According to Genesis 4:25, Seth was born after the slaying of Abel by Cain, and Eve believed God had appointed him as replacement for Abel, whom Cain had killed.

Shith see Seth
Shiyth see Seth
The Placed One see Seth
The Appointed One see Seth

Seveners (in Arabic, Sab‘iyya).  See Isma‘iliyya.


Seven-Imam Shi‘i
Seven-Imam Shi‘i.  See Isma'iliyya. 

seyyid.  See sayyid.

Seyyida Salima
Seyyida Salima.  See Ruete, Emily.

Seyyid Sa'id ibn Sultan
Seyyid Sa'id ibn Sultan (Sayyid Sa'id).  See Sa‘id ibn Sultan.

Seza’i, Shaykh Hasan
Seza’i, Shaykh Hasan (Shaykh Hasan Seza’i) (d.1738).  Turkish poet.  His work is of a mystical and allegorical nature and remarkable for the beauty of the language.
Shaykh Hasan Seza’i see Seza’i, Shaykh Hasan

Shaaban Robert
Shaaban Robert (Shaaban bin Robert) (b. January 1, 1909, Tanga, German East Africa - d. June 22, 1962, Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika).  Tanzanian poet.  Born near Tanga and educated at Dar-es-Salaam, Shaaban Robert spent all his life on or near the East African coast, much of the time in government service.  Shaaban Robert’s father converted to Christianity during the German occupation of Tanganyika (now Tanzania).  However, Shaaban Robert remained a Muslim and lived in a sub-stratum largely divorced from colonial rule.  

Shaaban bin Robert, also known as Shaaban Robert, was a Tanzanian poet, author, and essayist who supported the preservation of African verse traditions. He was born in Vibamba in the country's Tanga Region. Robert is thought of as a great Swahili thinker and writer in East Africa and has been called "poet laureate of Swahili" and the "Father of Swahili."

As a school teacher, Shaaban Robert published a considerable body of poetry and prose.  All of his work was in the Swahili language.  His contribution to modern Swahili literature was recognized in 1960 by the award of the Margaret Wrong Medal and Prize.

Shaaban Robert’s early published works include Pambo la lugha (“The Embellishment of Language”), published in 1947, and the autobiographical Maisha yangu (“My Life”), which was published in 1949.  These were followed by Kusadikika (1951), an allegory after the style of Gulliver’s Travels of present day political trends as seen by a Tanzanian.  This is perhaps his best work.  

In 1952, Shaaban Robert produced a Swahili translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.  His later publications comprise Adili na nduguze (“Adili and His Brothers”) (1952); Kielezo cha insha (1952); Siti bint saad, a biography of the Zanzibari singer Siti Bint Saad (1960); and the didactic Masomo yenye adili (“Readings in Behavior”) (1959); also Almasi za Afrika (“African Diamonds”) (1960); and Insha na mashairi (“Essays and Poems”) (1961).  

Shaaban Robert’s poems drew upon traditional Swahili verse forms.  He treated a broad spectrum of modern themes, which gave his works a universal appeal.  

Shaaban Robert’s greatest poetic work was the posthumously published Utenzi wa Vita vya Uhuru (“epic of the war of freedom”) about World War II.  

Shaaban Robert was a pious Muslim, and some of his prose writing is marred by an excess of moralization.

Shaaban Robert was the product of two cultures—his father was a Christian, but Shaaban returned to Islam. His work ranges from poetry to essay and didactic tale, influenced in style by the Oriental tradition. Many poems follow the form of utendi verse (used for narration and didactic themes), but, like his famous predecessor, Muyaka bin Haji al-Ghassaniy, he often employed other traditional and experimental forms. His prose style is clear and concrete and strongly individual in expression.

In addition to his poems and tales, Robert produced an autobiography, Maisha yangu (1949; “My Life”), and a biography, Maisha ya Siti Binti Saad, mwimbaji wa Unguja (1958; “Life of Siti Binti Saad, Poetess of Zanzibar”). His essays on many subjects were collected in Insha ya mashairi (1959; “Essays and Poems”). He lectured on poetry and its relation to Swahili culture and strongly supported the movement to preserve African verse traditions of the past. The first volume of his complete works, Diwani ya Shaaban, appeared in 1966.

Robert, Shaaban see Shaaban Robert
Shaaban bin Robert see Shaaban Robert
Robert, Shaabin bin see Shaaban Robert
The Poet Laureate of Swahili see Shaaban Robert
The Father of Swahili see Shaaban Robert

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