Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sultan al-Dawla Abu Shuja' - Takfir

Sultan al-Dawla Abu Shuja’
Sultan al-Dawla Abu Shuja’ (993-December 1024/1025).  Buyid ruler (r. 1012-1021).  He ruled in Fars, Khuzistan and Iraq, but had to fight his brothers Jalal al-Dawla and especially Abu’l Fawaris (d. 1028), the governor of Kirman.

Abu Shuja (993 – December 1024) was the Buyid amir of Fars (1012-1024) and Iraq (1012-1021). He was the son of Baha' al-Daula.

Abu Shuja lived in Baghdad during his youth. Shortly before Baha' al-Daula's death, he named Abu Shuja as his successor. Upon succeeding his father, he took the title "Sultan al-Daula wa 'Izz al-Milla". Traveling to his father's capital in Shiraz, he did seek the traditional investiture by the caliph, but instead had the required materials sent to him. He entrusted his oldest brothers Jalal al-Daula and Qawam al-Daula with the governorships of Iraq and Kerman, respectively. He stayed in Persia for a long time. When he returned to Iraq three years later, he only went to Ahvaz to meet with his governor.

In 1018 Sultan al-Daula again came to Iraq, in an attempt to maintain friendly terms with the neighboring Amirate of Mosul. Qawam al-Daula, taking advantage of his brother's presence in the west, invaded Fars with the support of the Ghaznavids. The attack failed, Qawam al-Daula's marked the division of the Buyid state. After repulsing Qawam al-Daula's attack, Sultan al-Daula returned to Iraq in order to solidify his rule there. The marchlands of the region, which had long resisted Buyid authority, were finally subjugated.

The Turkish mercenaries, however, became discontented over the presence of Sultan al-Daula's Dailamite troops. They, therefore, raised a brother of the amir, Musharrif al-Daula, as their ruler in 1021. After a long series of negotiations, Sultan al-Daula recognized his brother as "King of Iraq", in exchange for the latter's submittance as a vassal. Sultan al-Daula, however, wanted to retain direct rule over the region, and he invaded with his army. His defeat by Musharrif al-Daula's forces put an end to this plan, and Iraq became fully independent. The concept of the senior amir temporarily died. Each region of the Buyid state was now ruled independently of one another. Having overseen the fragmentation of the Buyids, Sultan al-Daula died in Shiraz in December 1024. He was succeeded in Fars by his son Abu Kalijar.


Sultan Walad
Sultan Walad (Baha al-Din Muhammad-i Walad) (1226-1312).  Eldest son of Jalal al-Din Rumi.  In 1285, he succeeded Celebi Husam al-Din, the first successor to Jalal al-Din as head of the Mawlawi order.  His works are written in Persian, including some verses in Turkish and Greek.  He is said to have been the first representative of the school of Turkish poetry under Persian influence, that of popular mystic poets being represented by Yunus Emre.

Baha al-Din Muhammad-i Walad, more popularly known as Sultan Walad, was the eldest son of Jalal Al-Din Rumi.  He was a Persian poet and a Sufi, and one of the founders of the Mawlawiya order.

Sultan Walad was given the name of his grandfather Sultan al-Ulama Baha al-Din Walad. Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi sent Sultan Walad and his brother Ala al-Din Muhammad to Aleppo and Damascus for the study of religious sciences. Sultan Walad was deeply trusted by Rumi, and it was him that Rumi sent to seek Shams Tabrizi after the disappearance of Shams.

Sultan Walad married the daughter of Salah al-Din Zarkub, Fatima Khatun. He had two daughters by her and one son (Jalal Ali-Din Arif). Sultan Walad at the insistence of his entourage, took up the succession which, at his father's death, he had declined in favor of Husam Al-Din.

With Sultan Walad, the Mawlawiya order starts in the true sense of the word, since he gathered the followers (Murids) of his father around him and organized the order. He also erected a mausoleum for his Rumi, which also became the center of his order.

Sultan Walad died at the advanced age of nearly ninety years on November 12, 1312 in Konya and was buried next to his father. For nearly fifty years he had lived in the shadow of his famous father, whose personality had determined the life and work of his son even beyond his death.

Sultan Walad like his father was prolific and left a considerable Persian literary heritage.  His works include:

*  Ibitda Nama (The book of the beginning)
*  Rabab-nama
*  Intiha-nama
*  Ma’arif-i Waladi (The Waladi Gnosis)

Sultan Walad was instrumental in laying down the Mawlawiya order and expanding the teaching of his father throughout Anatolia and the rest of the Muslim world.

Walad, Sultan see Sultan Walad
Baha al-Din Muhammad-i Walad see Sultan Walad


Sulu sultans
Sulu sultans. Sultans who historically ruled the Sulu sultanate which is located in what is now the Philippines.  The Sulu sultanate lies at a most strategic point for the maritime trade of the nineteenth century.  China, the Philippines, and Mindanao were situated to the north, Borneo to the southwest, and Sulawesi and the Moluccas (Maluku) to the southeast.  The geopolitical and economic advantages inherent in the sultanate’s location were both enviable and unique.

By fitting into the patterns of European trade with China in the late eighteenth century, the Sulu sultanate established itself as a powerful commercial center.  Its geographical position in relation to Asian routes of trade and exchange and its abundant natural resources attracted the attnetion of the West.  The maritime and jungle products -- tripang (sea slug), bird’s nest, wax, camphor, and mother of pearl -- found within the Sulu zone and in the area of its trading partners were new products for redressing the British East India Company’s adverse trade balance on the Canton tea market with China.  The trade that Sulu established with Bengal, Manila, Macao, and Canton (and later Labuan and Singapore) initiated large scale importation of weapons, luxury goods, and foodstuffs.  On the coast, Taosug (Sulu) merchants and their descendants developed an extensive redistributive trade with the Bugis of Samarinda and Berau to the south, enabling the Sulu sultanate to consolidate its dominance over the outlying areas of the zone. 

Slave raiding became fundamental to the Sulu sultanate as its economy expanded, and in the period from 1768 to 1848 it contributed significantly toward making Sulu one of the most powerful states in Southwest Asia.  As the sultanate organized its economy around the collection and distribution of marine and jungle produce, the Sulu economy had a greater need for large scale recruitment of workers to do the labor intensive work of procurement.  Slaving activity, carried out by the Iranun and Balangingi, developed to meet the accentuated demands of external trade.  Jolo, the seat of the Sulu sultanate, became the nerve center for the coordination of long-distance slave raiding.  From the end of the eighteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth, Southeast Asia felt the full force of the Sulu zone slave raiders, who earned a reputation as daring and fierce marauders who threatened Southeast Asia’s maritime trade routes, subsistence agriculture, and settlement patterns and dominated the capture and transport of slaves to the Sulu sultanate.  Trade created the material and social conditions for the large scale recruitment of slaves and the exploitation of dependent communities.  At the same time, the labor of captive and tributary peoples provided the raw materials for expanding trade.  More than anything else, it was this source and application of labor that was to give Sulu its distinctive predatory character in the eyes of Europeans -- past and present -- as a pirate and slave state. 

The Spanish naval campaign of the 1870s, including the blockading of Jolo and the establishment of a garrison there in 1878, and the large scale emigration of Straits Chinese traders from Singapore provided the formula for the economic and political collapse of the Sulu trading zone on the eve of the twentieth century.


Sumayl, al-
Sumayl, al- (Sumayl ibn Hatim Abu Jawshan al-Kilabi, al-) (d. 759).   Arab chief in Muslim Spain.  In 749, he commanded the district of Saragossa and took the part of Yusuf ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman, the governor of Cordoba, against ‘Abd al-Rahman I, who had him strangled.
Sumayl ibn Hatim Abu Jawshan al-Kilabi, al- see Sumayl, al-


Sunbul-zade Wehbi
Sunbul-zade Wehbi (d. 1809).   Turkish poet and scholar from Mar‘ash. He is known for his good-humored but ribald lampoons against his close friend Sayyid ‘Uthman Sururi.  His works are important for the impression made by Persia on an intelligent Turk.
Wehbi, Sunbul-zade see Sunbul-zade Wehbi


Sundanese. The Sundanese live in the western third of the Indonesian island of Java.  They call themselves Urang Sunda, and virtually all consider themselves adherents of Islam.  The only significant subgroup of whom this is not true is the Badui, whose members follow pre-Islamic customs and beliefs.

Historically, Sunda has been considered a cultural backwater.  The upland peoples, who were at times called orang gunung (mountain men) by those inhabiting the lowlands, seem especially to have been little touched by earlier Indian cultural influences as they spread throughout Southeast Asia.

The only major state to arise in West Java was the kingdom of Pajajaran (1333-1579), with its capital at Pakuan near present day Bogor.  It arose after the defeat of the Sumatran kingdom, Srivijaya, by the Javanese kingdom, Singhawari.  Srivijay had controlled the Banten area of West Java and maintained a port there.  With Srivijayan power gone, Pajajaran took control of the area and some of its trade.

Islam first was brought to Java in the fifteenth century by Indian traders who had been converted on the trade routes between Egypt and the Spice Islands.  Muslim influence was thus first felt in the harbor areas from where it spread.  Banten, in northwest West Java, was Islamized by 1525.  In 1579, the Sultan of Banten killed the royal family at Pakuan and forced the nobles and officials to adopt Islam.

Before long West Java fell under the hegemony of the central Javanese Muslim kingdom of Mataram, and shortly thereafter European interest in the area altered the course of history.  Parts of West Java became important in the Dutch plantation system.  An Islamic holy war against the Dutch was waged in 1880, but failed.  A similar occurrence came after World War II, when the Dar ul-Islam movement attempted unsuccessfully to establish an Islamic state.

While Islam has been practiced in West Java for a long time, generally it has been taught only comparatively recently.  The lebbe, who administers village religious affairs, is responsible for entering births and deaths in the village records and the coordination of Islamic religious instruction.

Progress has been made in the teaching of Islam since World War II, with the result that many old beliefs and practices are now beginning to disappear.  Religious instruction is offered in the public schools as well as by private teachers.  Yet, while most Sundanese claim to be Muslim, only about sixty percent of the men and fifty percent of the women regularly attend services in a mosque.

The Sundanese comprise one of the three principal ethnic groups of the island of Java, Indonesia. The Sundanese, estimated to number about 25,850,000 in the late 20th century, are a highland people of western Java, distinguished from the Javanese mainly by their language and their strict adherence to the Muslim faith.

Historically, they were first recorded under the Indo-Javanese Brahmanical states (8th century of the Christian calendar) and subsequently accepted the Mahāyāna Buddhism adopted by the Shailendra kings. Muslim trade influenced them to accept Islām in the 16th century, the people of Bantam being especially fervent.  However, animistic and Hindu influences survive.

The Sundanese village is ruled by a headman and a council of elders. The single-family houses are made of wood or bamboo, raised on piling. Rice culture and ironworking, as well as marriage, birth, and death ceremonies, conform closely to the Javanese pattern, though often mixed with elements of Hindu origin. The Sundanese language, like Javanese, has status styles: kasar (informal), halus (deferential), and panengah (a middle style).

The opening of roads into the highlands, development of the plantation economy, and the establishment of village schools have tended to erase differences between the Sundanese and other peoples of Java. They have spread into central Java and into the Lampung area of southern Sumatra.


Sundjata Keita
Sundjata Keita (Mari-Djata) (Sundiata Keita) (Sundjata Keyita) (Mari Djata I) (Sundiata) (c. 1217 – c. 1255). Founder of the Mali Empire and a folk hero of the Mande speaking peoples of West Africa.  The story of Sundjata’s creation of Mali, is an epic legend.  He was the son of Nare Maghan, ruler of a small western Sudanic state identified by some historians as Kangaba.  His mother, Sogolon, had been presented to his father by hunters.  According to one version of the legend Sundjata was born a cripple but overcame his infirmity.  Then he and his mother went into voluntary exile (c. 1220) to avoid assassination by his half-brother, who had succeeded their father as king.  He returned to fight Sumanguru Kante, ruler of Sosso, who had subjugated his people. 

Another version states that Sumanguru put to death all of Nare Maghan’s sons except Sundjata, who was spare because of his infirmity.  Sundjata magically recovered and then assembled an army to fight Sumanguru.  The traditions coalesce at this point.  The war between them climaxed at Kirina around 1234 and is remembered as a contest of magic.  Sundjata won by concocting a poison which Sumanguru could not counter.  It is noteworthy that Sundjata, although a nominal Muslim, turned to the powers ofhis traditional religion to provide the means which proved victorious.

Following the battle Sundjata’s troops subdued Sumanguru’s allies, the Diakhanke in Bambuk and the state of Kita.  Afterwards he continued to expand the empire, although the extent of his conquests is not known.  Meanwhile, he consolidated his position by gathering the chiefs of all the Mande clans, who swore their allegiance to him and acknowledged the primacy of his Keita clan.  Sundjata then constructed a capital at Niani, on the Sankarani River.  Mali prospered due to its centralized monarchy, its location on the trans-Saharan trade routes, and its control of the gold fields.  According to Ibn Khaldun, Sundjata ruled for twenty-five years.  He was succeeded by a son, Uli (Mansa Uli).

Sundiata Keita was the founder of the Mali Empire and celebrated as a hero of the Malinke people of West Africa in the semi-historical Epic of Sundiata. Sundiata is also known by the name Sogolon Djata. The name Sogolon is taken from his mother, daughter of the buffalo woman (so called because of her ugliness and hunchback), and Jata, meaning "lion." A common Mande naming practice combines the mother's name with the personal name to give Sonjata or Sunjata. The last name Keita is a clan name more than a surname. The story of Sundiata is primarily known through oral tradition, transmitted by generations of traditional Mandinka griots. Sundiata was the son of Nare and Sogolon Conde. Growing up, the Mandinkas were conquered by king Sumaoro Kante of the Ghana Empire. He devoted his life to building an army to overthrow the king and liberating his homeland. When he was older and had a strong army, Sundiata did overthrow the king and became king of the Mali Empire. He understood that if he were to have a kingdom, he would need it to be prosperous to keep strong. He had crops such as beans and rice grown and soon introduced cotton. With the crops selling, the Mali Empire became very wealthy. Sundiata supported religion and soon took the title Mansa. After he died, many rulers also took the title mansa, to show their role and authority in society.
Keita, Sundjata see Sundjata Keita
Mari-Djata see Sundjata Keita
Sundiata see Sundjata Keita
Sundjata Keyita see Sundjata Keita
Keyita, Sundjata see Sundjata Keita
Sogolon Djata see Sundjata Keita


Sunni.  Arabic term which refers to a Muslim who accepts the legitimacy of the caliphs who succeeded Muhammad and who adhered to one of the legal rites developed in the early caliphal period. A Sunni Muslim is a conscientious follower of Muhammad’s sunna.

Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam, also referred to as Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamā‘ah ("people of the tradition [of Muhammad] and the community"), or Ahl as-Sunnah for short. Sunni Islam is also referred to as Orthodox Islam. The word "Sunni" comes from the term Sunnah, which refers to the words and actions or example of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Sunni branch of Islam has four legal schools of thought or madh'hab. This branch of Islam accepts the first four caliphs as rightful successors of Muhammad and accepts hadiths narrated by the companions.

In situations where the Qur’an does not provide a solution to a problem of correct behavior, Sunnis appeal to the sunna (behavior or practice) of Muhammad in Medina, or to the hadith.  In contrast to the Shi‘a, which believe in a line of inspired imams, Sunnis accept the validity of the historical line of Caliphs.

Sunni comprise the main group of Islam, making up about ninety percent of the religion’s adherents.  Sunnis have been the dominant group in Islam almost continuously since 661 C. C., when the Shi ‘is departed from the main fold (the Kharijis left in 658).  Sunni Islam claims to be the continuation of the Islam as it was defined through the revelations given to Muhammad and his life, a claim which is substantiated through the fact that Shi‘i Islam for a number of decades had very little following and had no real, formal organization.  As for the theology, Sunni Islam represents no more of a continuation of Islam than the other orientations.

Many make the mistake of thinking as Sunni Islam as the orthodox and correct interpretation of Islam, while other sects deviate from this.  This is not true: All orientations in Islam are a result of the common Islamic origin and the changes added over time.

Sunni Islam derives its name from its identification with the importance of the Sunna (the examples from the hadiths), which earlier than in Shi‘a Islam was established as a central element in Islam, and central to understanding the full truth in the religion.  There was a need to establishing a law, called shari’a (for which the orientation of the rulers, while the Shi ‘is did not establish administrative organizations for yet a long time to come.

The actual theological and ritual differences between Sunni and Shi‘a Islam, came over a couple of centuries with development.  For a long time, Sunni Islam was defined from Shi‘a Islam by its adherence to the Caliph as the leader of the Muslim world.  But there are many small and some large differences between Sunni and the other orientations, in all respects of the religion.  Sunni and Shi‘a Islam share only three core doctrines: oneness of God; the belief in the revelations of Muhammad, and the belief in resurrection on the day of Judgment. 

Sunni Islam has a different set of hadiths from Shi‘a Islam.  Sunni Islam puts far more importance into the hajj to Mecca, while Shi‘a Islam has some other very important pilgrimages as well.  Sunni Islam reveres Ali, but does not hold him up as the only true continuation of the tradition from Muhammad, and has no emphasis on him bringing on a divine light form the Prophet.

Sunni is a short form of the Arabic phrase ahl al-sunna wa-al-jama’a (“the people of custom and community”).  The term was gradually adopted during the Abbasid caliphate by those factions of Muslims who, in opposition to the Shi‘a, had accepted the religious authority of Muhammad’s early associates (Abu Bakr, 632-634; Umar, 634-644; Uthman, 644-656; and Ali, 656-661) without distinction, despite the schism that had taken place among them following Muhammad’s death in 632. 

What prompted the adoption of the term Sunni was the emphasis laid on the continuity of the Muslim community consciousness with the Umayyad past and the growing interest in the religious practice derived from the sunna (understood as “model pattern of behavior”), as expressed in the prophetic communications, the hadith.  The Sunnis represented the idea of a community bound by the principle of jama’a, which upheld the early caliphate and the sunna, in contrast to the Shi‘a, who had rejected the religious authority of those who had not recognized Ali’s sole right to the caliphate.  They had instead developed their own version of the sunna that included the elaborations of their imams. 

The eighth and ninth centuries were a time of political turmoil for the Muslim community, and Muslim scholars were bent on establishing the jama’a principle that would provide much needed solidarity.  They were soon convinced that the sunna of the Prophet could provide detailed directives and that these were deducible from the Qur’anic religious-legal expressions and their presuppositions.  Thus the shari‘a, the system of Islamic religious-moral law, was evolved by the community of scholars.  Adherence to the detailed prescriptions of the shari‘a as defined by scholars held the Muslims together as the jama’a of Sunni Islam.

Four schools of Sunni shari‘a subsequently came to be acknowledged as valid interpretations of Islamic revelation.  Their attitude toward the sunna as a source equally as authoritative as the Qur’an differed, however.  Abu Hanifa (d. 767), the founder of the Hanafi school, which became accepted in Turkey, the Fertile Crescent, Afghanistan, and the Indian subcontinent, did not consider the sunna to be sufficient in deriving a decision based on the shari‘a; he sought a rational method based on ra’y (independent judgment) and qiyas (argument by analogy with known cases to secure direction for new situations).  Both of these principles were regarded by other scholars as undermining the authority of the Qur’an and the sunna.  On the other hand, Malik ibn Anas (b.795), founder of the Maliki school of law, whose adherents are dominant in Upper Egypt, North Africa, and much of West Africa, regarded the sunna of Medina, where Malik lived, as normative and as the basis for organization within the community.  But, like Abu Hanifa, he was aware of sunna was being produced.  Malik, therefore, admitted the principle of istislah (seeking of public welfare), which could override deduction from the Qur’an and the sunna.

It was not until the time of the most systematic and influential legal theorist, al-Shafi‘i (d. 820) that principles for the derivation of law from the two sacred sources were laid down firmly.  Al-Shafi‘i, the founder of the Shafi‘i school of Sunni law, whose followers are in northern Egypt, East Africa, southern Arabia, and the Asian archipelago, ironically paved the way for the most effective means of subordinating independent reasoning in deriving the sunna by insisting that decisions be made on the analogy with decisions found in the sunna or the Qur’an.  Such a requirement gave rise to the collection and compilation of authentic sunna.  This resulted in six major collections of hadith, recognized as canonical among the Sunnis.  Al-Shafi’i’s emphasis upon carefully chosen hadith gave rise to the fourth school of Sunni law, the Hanbali.  Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 855), whose followers are dominant only in parts of the Arabian Peninsula and the Fertile Crescent, preferred even a weak hadith over a strong analogy in his derivation of legal decision.

The Shi‘ite-Sunni distinction has its genesis in the dispute over the succession to the leadership of the Muslim community.  The Shi‘ites believed that the Prophet had designated Ali, his cousin and intimate associate, as his successor.  The legitimate caliphs thus descended from Ali and his wife Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter.  The Umayyads, who represented the later Sunni view, claimed a nomination by the choice of the Muslims themselves.  This difference still distinguishes Shi‘ite political theory from Sunni.  For the Sunnis, the caliph is essentially a political authority.  Whereas, for the Shi‘ites, the Prophet’s successor is a political-religious leader whom they prefer to designate as the imam of the Muslims.  So construed, the imam was regarded as endowed with prophetic wisdom and divine grace.  No such assumption was held by the Sunnis.  The caliph was to be chosen from among the believers and could claim no such endowments.  The attitude of the Sunnis to their caliphs has, consequently, been determined by the respect shown him by the community; whereas the Shi‘ite attitude is determined by the office of the imamate, which hallows the imam, who is regarded with the deepest religious veneration.

In ritual practices the Sunni and the Shi‘ite differ only in non-essential points.  However, the Sunnis do not accord to the Prophet’s family (ahl al-bait, i.e., the descendants of Ali and Fatima) the degree of veneration shown by the Shi‘ites, especially in the Muharram ceremonies held to commemorate the martyrdom of Husain, the Prophet’s grandson.

The authority of the ulama (the Muslim jurist-theologians) among the Sunnis is very great, although as a class they do not exercise the same level of influence and/or are not as venerated as the Shi‘ite mujta.  The ulama are responsible for modification in the religious requirements of the Sunnis.  In the absence of any effective link between the ruler and the community at large, it is the ulama and the shari‘a they represent that they have maintained the jama‘a principle of cohesive community among the Sunnis.


Sunni ‘Ali
Sunni ‘Ali (‘Ali Ber) (Sonni Ali) (Sunni Ali Ber) (Ali Kolon). (d.1492).  Ruler of the Songhai Empire (r. 1464-1492).  Sunni ‘Ali transformed his small inherited kingdom, centered at Gao (in modern Mali), into the most powerful empire of West Africa.  Sunni ‘Ali’s entier reign was occupied with conquests and punitive expeditions.  A superb strategist who made skillful use of both cavalry and river flotillas, Sunni ‘Ali drove the Tuaregs out of Timbuktu in 1468, crippled the resistance of the powerful Mossi and Dogon tribes, and, after a seven-year siege captured Djenne in 1471.  At the time of his death, the Songhai Empire extended some 3218 kilometers (some 2000 miles) along the Niger River. 

When Sunni ‘Ali first began the process of formulating the Songhai Empire, there was a power vacuum in the western and central Sudan.  The collapse of Mali, to which Songhai had once been tributary, was well under way.  The security of the trans-Saharan trade routes was threatened by Tuareg raiders to the north, and the Mossi to the south.  Sunni ‘Ali’s predecessor, Sunni Sulayman Oandi (d. 1464) initiated the expansion of Songhai, but it was Sunni ‘Ali himself who made Songhai an empire.

Sunni ‘Ali was the fifteenth ruler of the Sunni (or Si) dynasty of Songhai.  He began his military campaigns soon after ascending the throne.  In 1469, he took Timbuktu, which had won its freedom from Mali overlordship only in 1433.  To the south his main adversaries were the Mossi.  Sunni ‘Ali was never able to dominate the Mossi, although he defeated them in battle and forced them to abandon Baghana and Walata (1483).  Earlier to the southwest he captured the important river port of Jenne around 1473, after a six-month naval blockade.  Jenne too had only recently won its independence from the Mali Empire.  Sunni ‘Ali also directed campaigns against the Fula, the Dogon of Bandiagara-Hombori, and Mali itself.  At the time of his death, the Songhai Empire stretched along the Niger from Kebbi to beyond Jenne.

Much of his military success can be attributed to the deployment of Songhai’s river navy.  His reliance on the navy was illustrated by his attempt to open an old water course which would have created a canal running from Lake Laguibine to Walata, in order to attack the Mossi who held the city.  This was twice the length of the Suez Canal.  The Mossi, however, left the city and Sunni ‘Ali abandoned his project.

Tradition says that Sunni ‘Ali was highly skilled in the art of magic.  His reluctance to abandon the power and authority bestowed upon him through the traditional religious system may explain his ambivalence towards Islam.  Arab chroniclers such as al-Sa‘di, while acknowledging Sunni ‘Ali’s strength and fantastic success on the battlefield, vilified him because of his attitude towards Islam.

Although professing Islam, Sunni ‘Ali ruled essentially as an African shaman-king.  It is said that he would often condense all five daily prayer sessions into one sitting, and then simply repeat the name of the prayer he was supposed to be reciting.  More serious was his brutal persecution of the Islamic scholars at Timbuktu, whom he saw as a threat to the African nature of his empire.  He also placed limits on Islamic practices in his court.  On the other hand, he is known to have treated some Muslims with extreme favor.  These seeming contradictions indicate that Islam was rapidly gaining popularity in Songhai during Sunni ‘Ali’s rule.  Sunni ‘Ali had to concede a place to this new cult, without weakening the traditional basis of his legitimacy.  His purge of the scholars of the newly captured city of Timbuktu was probably caused by his distrust of their political loyalties as much as his fear of the threat of Islam.  Brutality was not reserved for Muslims.  He is known to have ordered the execution of favorite members of his retinue in fits of rage, only to express remorse shortly after the act.

Administratively, Sunni ‘Ali divided his territory into provinces under trusted governors and organized the traditional African cults in the service of the state.  His fleet patrolled the Niger, keeping trade routes open and securing the peace, and restive tribes were kept in check. 

Sunni ‘Ali died in 1492 under mysterious circumstances while returning from a military campaign against the Fula.  The Ta’rikh al-Sudan claims he drowned crossing a flooded Niger tributary.  However, such a river would have long been dry at that time of year.  Oral tradition says he was killed by his sister’s son -- Askia Muhammad Ture -- later usurped the throne from Sunni ‘Ali’s son and successor, Sunni Baru, and became one of the most famous rulers of Songhai.

'Ali Ber see Sunni ‘Ali
Sonni Ali see Sunni ‘Ali
Sunni Ali Ber see Sunni ‘Ali
Ali Kolon see Sunni ‘Ali
Kolon, Ali see Sunni ‘Ali
Ber, 'Ali see Sunni ‘Ali


Suqman ibn Artuq Mu‘in al-Dawla
Suqman ibn Artuq Mu‘in al-Dawla (d.1104).  First ruler of the line of the Artuqids in Hisn Kayfa and Amid (Diyarbakr).  He received Jerusalem as a fief from the Saljuq Tutush ibn Alp Arslan, but it was taken from him by the Fatimids in 1096.  He then took Saruj and Hisn Kayfa.  Together with his old enemy Chekirmish, the lord of Jazirat Ibn ‘Umar, he defeated the Franks and took Count Baldwin of Edessa and Joscelin prisoners.


Sur. Name of a clan of Afghans.  They are a subdivision of a clan of the Lodi, whose sultans ruled at Delhi between 1451 and 1526 and attracted many Afghans to India.  The Suris ruled as sultans of Delhi from 1540 until 1555, their strongest ruler being Farid ibn Muhammad, known as Shir Shah Suri.  After his death, the internecine strife was no longer restrained.  The last Suri ruler, Ahmad Khan Sikandar Shah III was defeated by the Mughal Akbar.


Suris.   Suri dynasty (1538-1545) represented the resurgence of Indian Afghan authority over North India during a brief (1540-1555) caesura of Mughal power.  Sher Shah (c. 1486-1545), the first Suri sultan, was a brilliant general and administrator who consolidated much of North India with the unified support of divergent Afghan tribes.  His son and successor, Islam Shah (r. 1545-1554), a skilled general, overcentralized the administration; moreover, he distrusted his father’s nobles, thus splintering the Afghans.  His successors, Firoz Shah (r. 1554) and Muhammad Adil Shah (r. 1554-1556), were ineffectual, allowing for the Mughal Humayun’s return to power in 1555.  Until about 1570 Suri claimaints continued to assert power in eastern India. 

The Suris were an Afghan family that ruled in northern India from 1540 to 1556. Its founder, Shēr Shah of Sūr, was descended from an Afghan adventurer recruited by Sultan Bahlūl Lodī of Delhi during his long contest with the Sharqī sultans of Jaunpur. The shah’s personal name was Farīd; the title of Shēr (“Tiger”) was conferred when, as a young man, he killed a tiger. After Bābur, founder of the Mughal dynasty, defeated the Lodīs, Shēr Shah of Sūr obtained control of the Afghan kingdoms of Bihar and Bengal and defeated the Mughal emperor Humāyūn at Chausa (1539) and Kannauj (1540). Shēr Shah ruled the whole of north India for five years, annexing Malwa and defeating the Rajputs. He reorganized the administration, laying foundations on which the Mughal emperor Akbar later built. He was killed by a cannonball while besieging the fortress of Kalinjar in central India.

Shēr Shah’s son, Islam, or Salīm Shah, was a man of ability and maintained Afghan rule despite dissensions. On his death in 1553, the Sūr dynasty broke up among rival claimants. Sikandar Sūr was defeated in June 1555 by Humāyūn, who occupied Delhi in July. When Muḥammad ʿĀdil Shah’s Hindu general Hemu threw off his allegiance only to be defeated by the Mughals at Panipat (1556), the Sūr dynasty ended. The Sūrs’ reign was a brief interlude in Mughal rule, brightened only by the brilliance of Shēr Shah. They were the last Afghan rulers of northern India.


Sururi.  Name of several Ottoman poets.  One of the most notable is Muslih al-Din Mustafa Efendi, a distinguished philologist.  He was perhaps the greatest authority on Persian language and literature that Turkey has ever produced, and he had also a perfect command of Arabic.  He wrote well-known commentaries on the works of Hafiz, a text book of prosody and rhyme and a synopsis of Qazwini’s Cosmography.  Another poet known under this name is Sayyid ‘Uthman (Sururi-yi Mu’errikh (1751-1814).  He was an intimate friend of Sunbul-zade Wehbi and is considered the greatest Ottoman writer of chronograms.


Su‘udi, Abu’l-Fadl al-Maliki al-
Su‘udi, Abu’l-Fadl al-Maliki al- (Abu’l-Fadl al-Maliki al-Su‘udi). Arab theologian of the sixteenth century.  He is known for a polemical work against the Christians and the Jews.
Abu’l-Fadl al-Maliki al-Su‘udi see Su‘udi, Abu’l-Fadl al-Maliki al-


Suyuti, Jalal al-Din al-
Suyuti, Jalal al-Din al- (Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti) (Jalaluddin Al-Suyuti) (Ibn al-Kutub) (Jalāl al-Dīn Abū al-Faḍl ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Abī Bakr al-Suyūṭī)  (1445, Cairo, Egypt - October 17, 1505, Cairo, Egypt).  Most prolific Egyptian writer in the Mameluke period and perhaps in Arabic literature.  The list of his writings contains 561 works, but it includes numerous quite short treatises.  His compilations are of great value as compensating for lost works.

 Jalāl al-Dīn Abū al-Faḍl ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Abī Bakr al-Suyūṭī was an Egyptian writer and teacher whose works deal with a wide variety of subjects, the Islamic religious sciences predominating.

The son of a judge, al-Suyūṭī was tutored by a Sufi (Muslim mystic) friend of his father. He was precocious and was already a teacher in 1462. A controversial figure, he was deeply embroiled in the political conflicts and theological disputes of his time, and at one point he proclaimed himself the mujaddid (“renewer”) of the Islamic faith. In 1486 he was appointed head of the Sufi Lodge (Khānaqāh) attached to the mosque of Baybars in Cairo and was living in virtual retirement. When in 1501 he tried to reduce the stipends of Sufi scholars at the mosque, a revolt broke out, and al-Suyūṭī was nearly killed. After his trial, he was placed under house arrest on the island of Rawḍah (near Cairo). He worked there in seclusion until his death.

Al-Suyūṭī’s works number more than 500; many are mere booklets, and others are encyclopaedic. He was co-author of Tafsīr al-Jalālayn (“Commentary of the Two Jalāls”), a word-by-word commentary on the Qurʾān, the first part of which was written by Jalāl al-Dīn al-Maḥallī. His Itqān fī ʿulūm al-Qurʾān (“Mastery in the Sciences of the Qurʾān”) is a well-known work on Qurʾānic exegesis. Among his works that have been translated into English is Taʾrīkh al-khulafāʾ (History of the Caliphs), as well as a work on cosmology, another on exegesis, and several others.

Al-Suyūṭī was a compiler of genius rather than an original writer, but it is precisely his ability to select and abridge that makes the books useful. This faculty characterizes his most important philological work, Al-Muẓhir fī ʿulūm al-lughah wa anwāʿihā (“The Luminous Work Concerning the Sciences of Language and its Subfields”), a linguistic encyclopaedia covering such topics as the history of the Arabic language, phonetics, semantics, and morphology. It was largely derived from the works of two predecessors, Ibn Jinnī and Ibn Fāris.

Al-Suyuti listed 283 of his own works in Husn al-Muhađarah. Some of the more famous works he produced were:

    * Tafsir al-Jalalayn
    * Al-Jaami' al-Kabîr
    * Al-Jaami' al-Saghîr
    * Dur al-Manthur 
    * Alfiyyah al-Hadith
    * Tadrib al-Rawi
    * History of the Caliphs (Arabic:Tarikh al-khulafa)
    * The Khalifas who took the right way (Arabic Al-Khulafah Ar-Rashidun)
    * Tabaqat al-huffaz an appendix to al-Dhahabi's Tadhkirat al-huffaz
    * Khasaais-e-Kubra, which mentions the miracles of Muhammad

Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti see Suyuti, Jalal al-Din al-
Jalaluddin Al-Suyuti see Suyuti, Jalal al-Din al-
Ibn al-Kutub see Suyuti, Jalal al-Din al-
 Jalāl al-Dīn Abū al-Faḍl ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Abī Bakr al-Suyūṭī  see Suyuti, Jalal al-Din al-


Swahili.  Arabic term which is applied to all the Islamic populations of the eastern coast of Africa and the islands of the Indian Ocean, from southern Somalia to the Comoros.  The word Swahili also refers to the language which is today the most spoken language in Black Africa.  The Swahili language is a Bantu (African) language with at least a third of its vocabulary consisting of Arabic words.   The word Swahili is derived from the Arabic word sahil which means “coast.”  The plural of the word sahil is sawahil.

The East African littoral, including the islands of Lamu, Mombasa, Pemba, Zanzibar and Mafia, stretches from the Somali-Kenya border in the north to the central coastline of Mozambique.  This narrow coastal strip, which is separated from the up-country areas of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique by a 300 mile expanse of arid land, is the homeland of the Swahili people to whom the Swahili language is the mother tongue.

The Swahili language is basically Bantu, but modified through the need for a medium of communication between the largely Arab traders who sailed (and still sail) their dhows to the East African coast on the seasonal monsoons and the Bantu-speaking Africans of the region.  The Swahili are distinguished from the Northeast Bantu not only by the fact that they employ Swahili as their first language (rather than as a lingua franca for the intergroup communication) but also by their being 100 percent Sunni Muslim and by various aspects of their material culture. 

Technically, Swahili is an adjective, as in “Swahili people.” Within the Bantu noun-class prefix system, the people are Wa swahili, the language Ki swahili (which is less complex than most Bantu languages, probably because of the simplification characteristic of languages that have been used as trade languages).  Linguistically, then, the Swahili people may be thought of as Bantu.  Culturally, however, they are distinct.

Swahili is not the name of any tribal group.  Rather, it is the name of the collection of those groups which share a common culture, Uswahili.  They are people who consider themselves to be distinct from other Muslim peoples of the coast: Arabs, Asians and converted coastal Northeast Bantu.  Much of the existing literature stresses that Swahili are believed to be the descendants of the children of Arab traders and Bantu women, especially those descendants who cannot trace their ancestry back through an exclusively male line.  This definition, however, causes the term to appear as a racial one rather than the cultural or organizational term it is, and it downplays the indigenous cultural aspects which are not by-products of the African-Arab admixture.  Arab and Persian influences, certainly, cannot be denied.  However, this aspect of Swahili origins has been overstated.  Uswahili is unique.  It has been modified and enriched by these influences, but not formed by them.

Swahili culture (Uswahili) represents a syncretic mixture of coastal Northeast Bantu and Arab elements with some input of Indian and Persian cultures as well.  In recent years, Western influences have been strong, especially in the major port cities.


Syrian Catholics
Syrian Catholics.  Members of the Syrian Catholic Church, a semi-autonomous Christian church which is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church through the Eastern Rite.  Under the Eastern Rite arrangement, the Syrian Catholics are allowed to retain their customs and rites, even when these differ from the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church.  For example, the Syrian Catholics follow the liturgy of James, which even today is performed in Syriac, not Latin.  Syriac is still spoken in some communities in eastern Syria and northern Iraq, but for most, Arabic is the vernacular language.

The official center of the Syrian Catholic Church is Antioch, but the Patriarch has not been there for centuries.  The Patriarch of the Syrian Catholic Church is today headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon.  The Patriarch of the Syrian Catholic Church always adds the name “Ignatius” to his other names. 

Despite its name, the Syrian Catholic Church is today strongest in Iraq and Lebanon.  Many Syrian Catholic priests are today married, even though they have been legally bound to celibacy since 1888.

A brief history of the Syrian Catholic Church reads as follows:

The history of the Syrian Catholic Church is linked to the Syrian Orthodox Church.  Beginning in the thirteenth century of the Christian calendar, attempts were made by the Catholic Church to reconcile with the Syrian Orthodox Church.

In 1626, Jesuit and Capuchin missionaries began working from Aleppo.  In 1662, many Syrian Christians accepted communion with Rome.

In 1667, two opposing Patriarchs were elected, resulting in the effective break of the Syrian Church.  One group became affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, and accepted the pope in Rome as the highest authority.  The other part continued as an independent church.

In the eighteenth century, the Syrian Catholics suffered from much persecution from the Ottoman rulers, as they considered the Syrian Orthodox Church to be the legitimate Syrian Christians.

In 1782, the office of the Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch was formalized, after Patriarch Michael Jarweh took refuge in Lebanon. 

In 1829, the Syrian Catholic Church received legal recognition inside the Ottoman Empire. 

In 1831, the residence of the Patriarch was established in Aleppo.

In 1850, facing hardship from the locals in Aleppo, the Patriarch’s headquarters were moved to Mardin (in modern day Turkey).

In the 1920s, the Patriarch moved his headquarters to Beirut, Lebanon.

In 2001, Ignatius Peter VII was elected Patriarch of the Syrian Catholic Church.

The Christians of Syria have been Monophysites since the 5th century.  That is, they rejected the rulings of the Council of Chalcedon (451) and believed in the existence of only one nature in Christ. Attempts at unification with Rome were made, without success, in 1237 and 1247. With the establishment of the Capuchins and Jesuits in Aleppo in 1626, however, conversions to Catholicism followed; and Andrew Akhidjan, a Syrian Catholic priest, was elected bishop of Aleppo (1656) and then patriarch of all Syrians (1662). Following his death and for about a century thereafter, the Catholics were severely persecuted by the Jacobites (as the Monophysite Syrians were called).  Not until 1782, when Michael Jarweh, the bishop of Aleppo, was elected patriarch, did a continuous series of Syrian Catholic patriarchs begin. The patriarchs resided successively in Dayr az-Zafaran, Sharfeh, Aleppo, Mardin (in Turkey), and finally Beirut. There are patriarchal vicariates or exarchies in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt, five archdioceses (Aleppo, Baghdad, Damascus, Hịmṣ, and Mosul), and one diocese (Hassakeh). Catholic Syrians observe the Liturgy of St. James in Syriac, though certain readings are in Arabic, the language spoken by the faithful.


Syrian Orthodox Christians
Syrian Orthodox Christians. Members of the Syrian Orthodox Church, an independent Christian church of Southwest Asia, also known as the Jacobite Church.  The Syrian Orthodox Church uses the Antiochene liturgy, and performs it in Syriac, which is a language close to Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke.  According to their own traditions, their church was established by the Apostle Peter by the year 37 of the Christian calendar (see Acts 11:26).  The church traces its first leaders back to Peter.  The Antiochene church was central in formulating early Christian doctrines, through its active role in the first three synods (between 325 and 431).

A brief history of the Syrian Orthodox Church reads as follows:

Between the years 40 to 50 of the Christian calendar, one of the first Jesus-Jewish (early Christianity having not yet been defined as being distinct from Judaism) congregations outside Israel was formed in Antioch, possibly by the apostle Peter.  Missionary activities subsequently began in the region, directed mainly at the non-Jewish population.  Even though Antioch was the seat of the bishopric, Edessa (located 500 km east) soon got the largest congregation, and is often considered the cradle of Syriac Christianity.

In 325, the bishopric of Antioch was recognized as one of the Patriarchates in Christianity at the first Synod at Nicaea. 

In 451, with the divisions of the Christian world after the Council of Chalcedon, the Syrian church joined the Sees of Antioch and Alexandria.  Thereafter, the ties between Rome and Antioch were cut for good.

In the sixth century, the present church was organized by Jacob Baradaeus in cooperation with Empress Theodara.  The background for this was that many Christians supported the Monophysitic idea that Jesus had only one nature, not two (divine and human), as the other large group in the region, the Nestorians, believed.

In 1663, the Syrian Church split with one group becoming affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and accepting the pope in Rome as the highest authority.  This group became known as the Syrian Catholic Church. 

In 1895, about 25,000 Syrian Orthodox were killed by Muslims in East Turkey. 

During the 1910s, most of the Syrian Orthodox living in Turkey left the country out of fear for their safety.  Indeed, in 1915, about one-third of all Syriac Christians, around 90,000, were killed by Turkish Muslim nationalists.

In 1930, the Syrian Orthodox Church of Kerala, India, split from the main church in Syria, and joined the Roman Catholic Church as the Malankarese Catholic Church.  In 1933, the Patriarch moved his headquarters to Homs.   In 1959, the Patriarch moved his headquarters again to Damascus.

The Syriac Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church based in the Middle East, with members spread throughout the world. The Syriac Orthodox Church derives its origin from one of the first Christian communities, established in Antioch by the Apostle St. Peter. It employs the oldest surviving liturgy in Christianity, the Liturgy of St. James the Apostle, and uses Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic spoken by the Lord and His Apostles, as its official and liturgical language. The church is led by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch.


Ta’abbata Sharran
Ta’abbata Sharran. Nickname of the old Arab poet and Bedouin hero Thabit ibn Jabir ibn Sufyan of the tribe of Fahm.  He was associated with al-Shanfara, for whom he wrote a lament.
Sharran, Ta'abbata see Ta’abbata Sharran.


Tabari, Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-
Tabari, Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarir al- (Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari) (Muḥammad ibn Ǧarīr aṭ-Ṭabarī) (Abū Ǧaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Ǧarīr ibn Yazīd aṭ-Ṭabarī) (b. c. 838/839, Āmol, Ṭabaristān [Iran] - d. 923, Baghdad, Iraq).  One of the greatest of the Arab historians.  Al-Tabari was the author of the History of the Prophets and the Kings, a universal history of the world (also known as the Annals), and The Full Exposition of the Qur’anic Commentary.

Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari was born south of the Caspian Sea, in Tabaristan.  Al-Tabari is said to have known the Qur’an by heart by the time he was seven.  Al-Tabari travelled to Egypt and Syria.  He lectured on poetry in Cairo, and finally settled in Baghdad.  He visited Rayy, Baghdad, Basra and Kufa, Egypt and Syria, his homeland Tabaristan.  His main subjects were history, Muslim law, recitation and exegesis of the Qur’an, but also poetry, lexicography, grammar, ethics, and even mathematics and medicine.  He belonged to the Shafi‘i school of law but then founded a school of his own, known as Jaririyya, which differed from the Shafi‘i school less in principle than in practice.  The founding of the Jaririyya provoked the enmity of the Muslim orthodox by attempting to found a legal sect of his own. After his death it soon fell into oblivion. 

Al-Tabari recognized Ahmad ibn Hanbal only as an authority on hadith but not on law (fiqh), and thus brought upon himself the hostility of the Hanbalis.  His commentary on the Qur’an is a standard work, but his important contribution to Muslim scholarship is his fifteen volume History of the Prophets and the Kings, in fact a history of the world up to the year 915.  It is known in the West as the Annals.  When al-Tabari’s students protested against the length of the Annals, al-Tabari consented to an abridgment of it, but remarked sadly, “Enthusiasm for learning is dead.”

Al-Tabari’s policy was to reproduce as many conflicting accounts of the same event as possible, gathered from traditions whose authority goes back to eyewitnesses.  This makes his history a valuable and comparatively reliable document; it is especially useful for the history of Sasanid Persia and the early caliphate -- no other early sources exist.

Al-Tabari was a Muslim scholar and author of enormous compendiums of early Islamic history and Qurʾānic exegesis, who made a distinct contribution to the consolidation of Sunni thought during the 9th century. He condensed the vast wealth of exegetical and historical erudition of the preceding generations of Muslim scholars and laid the foundations for both Qurʾānic and historical sciences. His major works were the Qurʾān Commentary and the History of Prophets and Kings (Taʾrīkh al-Rusūl wa al-Mulūk).

The young al-Ṭabarī demonstrated a precocious intellect and journeyed from his native town to study in the major centers of learning in Iraq, Syria, and Egypt. Over the course of many years he collected oral and written material from numerous scholars and libraries for his later work. Al-Ṭabarī enjoyed sufficient financial independence to enable him to devote the latter part of his life to teaching and writing in Baghdad, the capital of the ʿAbbāsid caliphate, where he died in 923. The times in which he lived were marked by political disorder, social crisis, and philosophical-theological controversy. Discontent of diverse cause and circumstance brought open rebellion to the very heart of the caliph’s empire, and, like all movements of socioeconomic origin in medieval Islam, sought legitimacy in religious expression directed against the official credo of Sunni orthodoxy.

Al-Ṭabarī rejected out of hand the extreme theological positions of these opposition movements, but at the same time he also retreated from the embrace of the ultraorthodox Sunni faction, the Ḥanbalī (a major school of Islamic law), which was represented most powerfully in the capital itself. An independent within orthodox ranks, he established his own school of jurisprudence, which did not long survive his own death. He nevertheless made a distinct contribution to the consolidation of Sunni thought during the 9th century. What al-Ṭabarī accomplished for historical and Qurʾānic studies consisted less in the discovery and initial recording of material than in the sifting and reorganization of it. His achievement was to condense the vast wealth of exegetical and historical erudition of the preceding generations of Muslim scholars (many of whose works are not extant in their original form) and to lay the foundations for both Qurʾānic and historical sciences.

Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari was one of the earliest, most prominent and famous Persian historians and exegetes of the Qur'an,who wrote exclusively in Arabic.  He was most famous for his Tarikh al-Umam wa al-Mulook, or abbreviated as: "Tarikh al-Tabari" and Tafsir al-Tabari.

Al-Tabari wrote extensively; his voluminous corpus containing two main titles:

    * History of the Prophets and Kings – (Tarikh al-Rusul wa al-Muluk or Tarikh al-Tabari)

The first of the two large works, generally known as the Annals (Arabic Tarikh al-Tabari). This is a universal history from the time of Qur'anic Creation to AD 915, and is renowned for its detail and accuracy concerning Muslim and Middle Eastern history. Tabari's work is a major primary source for the Zanj Revolt.

    * The Commentary on the Qur'an – (Arabic: al-musamma Jami al-bayan fi ta'wil al-Qur'an or Tafsir al-Tabari)

His second great work was the commentary on the Qur'an, (Arabic Tafsir al-Tabari), which was marked by the same fullness of detail as the Annals. Abul-Qaasim Ibn 'Aqil Al-Warraq says: " Imām Ibn Jarir once said to his students: “Are you ready to write down my lesson on the Tafsir (commentary) of the entire Holy Qur'an?" They enquired as to how lengthy it would be. "30,000 pages!", he replied. They said: "This would take a long time and cannot be completed in one lifetime." He, therefore, made it concise and kept it to 3,000 pages. It took him 7 years to finish it. It is said its the most voluminous Athari Tafsir (i.e., based on hadith not intellect) existent today so well-received by the umma that it survived to this day intact due to its popularity and wide availability. Scholars such as Baghawi and Suyuti used it largely. It was used in compiling the Tafsir ibn Kathir which is often referred to as Mukhtasar Tafsir at-Tabari.

    * Tahdhīb al-Athār was begun by Tabari. This was on the traditions transmitted from the Companions of Muhammad. It was not, however, completed.

Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari
see Tabari, Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-
Muḥammad ibn Ǧarīr aṭ-Ṭabarī see Tabari, Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-
Abū Ǧaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Ǧarīr ibn Yazīd aṭ-Ṭabarī see Tabari, Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-


Tabari, al-
Tabari, al-.  Arabic word indicating someone originating from Tabaristan.  Most bearers of this name come actually from Amul, a town in Mazandaran, Iran, south of the Caspian Sea.  Next to the great Arab historian Abu Ja‘far al-Tabari, there are two Shafi‘i jurists known under this name: Abu’l-Tayyib Tahir ibn ‘Abd Allah (959-1058) and Muhibb al-Din Abu’l-‘Abbas Ahmad (1219-1294). The latter is the author of a well-known collection of traditions.

The name Tabari or al-Tabari means simply "from Tabaristan", an Iranian province corresponding to parts of modern Iranian province of Mazandaran. More than one scholar is known by this designation:

    * Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (838-923), Persian historian and theologian (the most famous and widely-influential person called al-Tabari)
    * Omar Tiberiades (Abû Hafs 'Umar ibn al-Farrukhân al-Tabarî) (d.c.815), Persian astrologer and architect
    * Ali ibn Sahl Rabban al-Tabari, "Ali the scholar from Tabiristan" (838-870 A.D.) was the writer of a medical encyclopedia and the teacher of the scholar-physician Zakariya al-Razi
    * Abul Hasan al-Tabari, 10th century Iranian physician
    * Al-Tabarani, (c. 821-918 CE), recorder of numerous ahadeeth

Tabari, Ali ibn Rabban al-
Tabari, Ali ibn Rabban al- (Ali ibn Rabban al-Tabari) (Ali ibn Sahl Rabban al-Tabari) (Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn Sahl Rabban al-Tabari) (838-870).  Teacher of the distinguished physician Zakariya al-Razi, who was known to the West as Rhazes.  Al-Tabari was born in 838.  He was also known as Abu al-Hasan.  Al-Tabari is most famous for his world-renowned medical treatise Firdous al-Hikmat.  Besides the medical science, he was also an accomplished philosopher, mathematician and astronomer. 

Ali ibn Rabban’s parents belonged to the city of Marv (Tabaristan).  His father Sahl belonged to a respectable family and his compatriots called him as “Rattan” a high title of respect meaning “my leader.”  His father was a very successful and accomplished physician and was known for his work in the art of calligraphy.  He was well learned in astronomy, philosophy, mathematics and literature.  His father wrote a scholarly commentary on Batlemus’s book Al-Mijasti, expounding some of the finer points that were not understood well by previous translators.

Ali al-Tabari received education in medical sciences and calligraphy from his father Sahl.  He attained competence in these fields at an early age.  In addition, he also mastered Syriac and Greek languages.

Al-Tabari’s world-renowned seven volume treatise Firdous al-Hikmat is the first medical encyclopedia that incorporates several branches of medical science.  This work was translated and published for the first time in the twentieth century.  The seven volumes contain the following:

Volume One: Kulliyat-e-Tibb.  This volume discusses contemporary knowledge of medical science.

Volume Two: Elucidation of the organs of the human body, rules for keeping good health, and comprehensive account of certain muscular diseases. 

Volume Three: Discussion and prescription of diet for good health and prevention of diseases.

Volume Four: Discussion of all diseases from head to toe.  This volume is considered to be the most valuable of the seven volumes.  It is the largest volume and is nearly half the size of the encyclopedia.  Volume four is divided into twelve sections:

1.   General causes relating to eruption of diseases;

2.   Diseases of the head and the brain;

3.   Diseases relating to the eye, nose, ear, mouth and the teeth;

4.   Muscular diseases (paralysis and spasm);

5.   Diseases of the regions of the chest, throat and the lungs;

6.   Diseases of the abdomen;

7.   Diseases of the liver;

8.   Diseases of gallbladder and spleen;

9.   Intestinal diseases;

10. Different kinds of fever;

11. Miscellaneous diseases -- includes a brief explanation of organs of the body;

12. Examination of pulse and urine.

Volume Five: Flavor, taste and color.

Volume Six: Drugs and Poison.

Volume Seven: Miscellaneous topics of health care.  It includes a discussion of climate and astronomy, and a brief review of Indian medicine. 

Al-Tabari wrote Firdous al-Hikmat in Arabic and also translated it into Syriac.  He wrote two more works, Deen-e-Doulat and Hifz al-Shebhat.

Al-Tabari was a Muslim hakim, Islamic scholar, physician and psychologist of Jewish or Zoroastrian descent, who produced the first encyclopedia of medicine. He was a pioneer of pediatrics and the field of child development. His stature, however, was eclipsed by his more famous pupil, Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi ("Rhazes").

Ali came from a well-known Jewish family of Merv in Tabaristan (hence al-Tabari – "from Tabaristan") but became an Islamic convert under the Abbasid caliph Al-Mu'tasim (833-842), who took him into the service of the court, in which he continued under Al-Mutawakkil (847-861). His father Sahl ibn Bishr was a famous astrologer.

Al-Tabari was fluent in Syriac and Greek, the two sources for the medical tradition of antiquity, which was lost to medieval Europe, and versed in fine calligraphy.

The works of al-Tabari include:

   1. His Firdous al-Hikmah ("Paradise of Wisdom"), which he wrote in Arabic and, which is also called Al-Kunnash, was a system of medicine in seven parts. He also translated it into Syriac, to give it wider usefulness.
   2. Tuhfat al-Muluk ("The King's Present")
   3. a work on the proper use of food, drink, and medicines.
   4. Hafzh al-Sihhah ("The Proper Care of Health"), following Greek and Indian authorities.
   5. Kitab al-Ruqa ("Book of Magic or Amulets")
   6. Kitab fi al-hijamah ("Treatise on Cupping")
   7. Kitab fi Tartib al-'Ardhiyah ("Treatise on the Preparation of Food")

The Firdous al-Hikmah was the first known encyclopedia of medicine, and deals with pediatrics and child development in depth, as well as psychology and psychotherapy. In the fields of medicine and psychotherapy, the work was primarily influenced by Islamic thought and ancient Indian physicians such as Sushruta and Charaka. Unlike earlier physicians, however, al-Tabari emphasized strong ties between psychology and medicine, and the need of psychotherapy and counseling in the therapeutic treatment of patients. He wrote that patients frequently feel sick due to delusions or imagination, and that these can be treated through wise counseling by smart and witty physicians who could win the rapport and confidence of their patients, leading to a positive therapeutic outcome.

Ali ibn Rabban al-Tabari see Tabari, Ali ibn Rabban al-
Ali ibn Sahl Rabban al-Tabari see Tabari, Ali ibn Rabban al-
Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn Sahl Rabban al-Tabari see Tabari, Ali ibn Rabban al-


Tabataba’i (Sayyid Muhammad Husain Tabataba’i) (Allameh Seyyed Muhammad Husayn Tabatabaei) (Muhammad Husayn Tabatabaei) (1892—November 15, 1981). One of the most prominent thinkers of philosophy and contemporary Shia Islam. He is famous for Tafsir al-Mizan, the Qur'anic exegesis.  

Tabataba'i was born in Tabriz, Iran, to a well-known family of Islamic scholars and divines.  He completed his early education in Arabic and the religious sciences in Tabriz.  In 1923, Tabataba’i left for Najaf, Iraq, where he continued his education at the great Shi‘ite seminaries of that city.  In Najaf, he studied jurisprudence (fiqhi) and theology (kalam), which constitute the core of Shi‘ite religious education, with Mirza Muhammad Husain Na’ini and Shaykh Muhammad Husain Isfahani.  Still, his main interests were philosophy, the intellectual sciences, and Islamic mysticism and gnosis (‘irfan), to which he devoted most of his attention as a student.  He studied the standard texts of Islamic philosophy with Sayyid Husain Badkuba’i, and mystical texts -- notably Muhy al-Din ibn ‘Arabi’s (Ibn ‘Arabi’s) works -- with Mirza ‘Ali Qazi.  After completing his studies in Najar in 1934, Tabataba’i returned to Tabriz where he began to teach.  Although well versed in theology and jurisprudence, he focused all his attention on teaching philosophy. 

Tabataba’i belonged to the school of Sadr al-Din Shirazi (Mulla Sadra), who had fused the main tenets of the Peripatetic and Illuminationist schools of Islamic philosophy to create the hikamat-i muta ‘aliyah (transcendental philosophy).  In questions of eschatology the Sadrian perspective followed the Peripatetic School.  The principal force and novelty of the Sadrian School lay in its theosophy.  Mulla Sadra stipulated that since everything is preceded in its being by nonexistence in time, then there is no individuality of any kind.  Every form of existence is renewed and is therefore impermanent.  The universe is continuously renewed -- ending and originating.  Only God, who is infinite and exists separate from all being, is permanent and unchanging.  God is the Necessary Being.  All other existence is contingent on God, and forms in gradations away from God.

Tabataba’i moved from Tabriz to Qum, which is a major center of Shi‘ite education, in 1945.  Tabriz was then suffering from the impact of the Second World War and was one of the centers of Communist activity in Iran.  The hardships of life in Tabriz at the time led Tabataba’i to leave his city of birth.  His choice of Qum, however, had to do with his belief that the emphasis on jurisprudence and theology in the curricula of Shi‘ite seminaries ought to be balanced with Islamic philosophy. 

Tabataba’i, with the exception of S. M. K. ‘Assar (d. 1977), is perhaps the foremost Sadrian philosopher of the twentieth century.  As a master of this school he was committed to educating a new generation of thinkers in the hikmat-i muta‘aliyah, and not only to see to the continuation of the Sadrian tradition but also to preserve the place of philosophy in the education of Muslim religious leaders.  Throughout his life -- despite objections from some of the ‘ulama (religious scholars), who scoffed at philosophy – Tabataba’i openly taught Islamic philosophy and even the mystical and gnostic texts, and generated interest in them among a wide range of Islamic thinkers, divines, seminary students, and lay intellectuals in Iran.  In his classes he taught Ibn Sinan (Avicennian) philosophy, but more importantly he taught Mulla Sadra’s seminal al-Asfar al-Arba‘ah (The Four Journeys).  He was without doubt most effective in popularizing and continuing the tradition of the Sadrian School.

By the time Tabataba’i settled in Qum, he was also gravely concerned with the marginalization of Islam and its ever more minor role in defining national culture and personal indentities, and shaping intellectual discourses in Iran.  The government in Iran -- and also in Iraq where Tabataba’i had lived and studied -- had adopted secularist policies, and had systematically pushed Islam and Shi‘ism out of society.  The educated classes had become openly secular, and were drawn in greater numbers to Western philosophical perspectives in general, and Marxism in particular.  His experiences with life in Tabriz during the Second World War, when Communist activity would culminate in a secessionist movement, had no doubt made him particularly sensitive to the challenge of Marxism.  Tabataba’i believed that Shi‘ite jurisprudence and theology were not capable of contending with the intellectual and ideological challenges of Western thought.  Islamic philosophy alone had the tools and the sophistication to appeal to educated Muslims and thereby preserve the Islamic character of national culture before the Western onslaught.

Revival of interest in philosophy in Islamic circles was only the first step.  For it to have a cultural impact it had to relate to the ambient culture and worldview of lay Muslims.  Tabataba’i sought to present Islamic philosophy in terms that would be understandable to modern Muslims, using some of the precepts of Western philosophy.  This task began with dialogue with Western thought.  It was with this aim that in 1958 Tabataba’i began correspondences and personal discussions with the French scholar of Islam, Henry Corbin.  The discussions with Corbin lasted for some two decades and had a profound impact on Tabataba’i.  Corbin was not only a first-rate specialist on Shi‘ism, but was also a serious student of Islamic and Western philosophies.  He was then the foremost authority on Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi and his Illuminationist theosophy.  He had also been close to Martin Heidegger, and was the first to translate his works into French.  Corbin thus served as a bridge, enabling Tabataba’i to create an Islamic approach to comparative philosophy as the basis for dialogue and debate with Western thought.  Tabataba’i later extended the purview of his comparative perspective to include discussions on Taoism and Hinduism.

Tabataba’i soon concluded that the most important element of Western philosophy -- what accounts for its hold on educated Muslims -- is his rooting in realism and its reliance on the realist method.  In was this conclusion that led to his influential works on realism in philosophy, Usul-i Falsafah-i Realism (Foundations of Realist Philosophy), and Usul Falsafah wa Rawish Realism (Foundations of Philosophy and Method of Realism).  The first was published in 1976, and the second is a five-volume study that was begun in 1953 and was published in full in 1985.  In these works, he outlined the precepts of the realist school, and especially its method of philosophical inquiry, for his readers.  He then presented Islamic philosophy in the context of his discussion of realism.

In his treatment of realism Tabataba’i argued that the Sadrian perspective, in which God alone is the Necessary Being, is true realism as the term is understood in the West.  Realism has meaning only if it accepts the “reality” of existence, as Mulla Sadra had.  By this definition of Tabataba’i was a realist, and in fact viewed himself as one.   It followed from this that Marxism, which was an “idealism,” was born of human perception, did not recognize the “reality” of existence and thus could be no more than a fallacy.  Tabataba’i was bolstering one aspect of Western philosophy -- the one that was most appealing to educated Muslims -- and was using its logic to legitimate Islamic philosophy among the lay intellectuals and, by the same token, to dethrone Marxism.  It is interesting that Tabataba’i did not seek to reject Marxism for its atheism -- for that would not be a strong argument before educated Muslims -- but for its lack of “reason.”  Tabataba’i’s approach was, however, more than mere posturing.  It was the beginning of a concerted attempt directed at bringing Islamic philosophy and realism in line.  He envisioned a symbiotic relation between the two.  Just as realism would open educated Muslims to Islamic philosophy, the Sadrian perspective would bolster realism before Marxist idealism.  Islamic philosophy did not wish to compete with realism, but to support it.  It was for this reason that Tabataba’i was a comparativist and not a rejectionist.

He received that there existed perfect harmony between faith and reason, and between Islamic philosophy and realism.  In fact, he argued that true faith -- and its reflection in Islamic philosophy -- is perfectly rational.  His aim, therefore, was not to bring about a new synthesis between Islamic philosophy and realism, but to bring out the intrinsic realism of Islamic philosophy.  It is important to note that Tabataba’i was not a modernist.  He viewed realism as the gateway to relating traditional Islamic philosophy to contemporary philosophical questions.

The problem that Tabataba’i faced was how to reconcile the mystical dimension of Sadrian theosophy, which perceives of truth experientially, with realism.  In his person, the problem was largely resolved.  He was an exemplary teacher and religious leader.  Just as his persona was a source of emulation and a manifestation of the best in the Islamic tradition of learning and scholarship, it was also the most clear manifestation of the truth of his perspective.  In his person, the fusion of philosophy and mysticism, and theosophy and realism, was both visible and effective.

Beyond this his formulation avoided the problem of reconciling theosophy and realism because it was essentially Sadrian at its core.  Tabataba’i studied realism and imbibed ideas from it, but he always remained true to the Sadrian tradition.  Realism was a linguistic and semiological tool in arguing the case of Islamic philosophy before realist minds.  Realism was a definitinon, particularly limited in its scope as it was somewhat politically motivated.  Tabataba’i was drawn to realism not by any internal inconsistencies in the Sadrian perspective, but by the political and ideological challenge of modernization on the one hand, and Marxism on the other.

This does not mean that Tabataba’i experiment was unimportant.  To the contrary, it was an important opening in Islamic philosophy.  He may have failed to reconcile the tension between Sadrian theosophy and realism, but by using the realist method in analyzing Islamic sources, Tabataba’i made a significant impact on traditional Islamic studies.

His contribution does not lie in convincing all and sundry that Islamic philosophy is through and through compatible with realism, but in instituting the realist method in addressing philosophical questions.  In his own works, he consciously broke with the traditional style and method of argumentation, relying instead on the realist method.  His style has therefore been an important intellectual influence in its own right.  He also applied the realist method in addressing theological and jurisprudential questions.  His commentaries on the Qur’an, the Nahj al-Balaghah, and Muhammad Baqir Majlisi’s Bahar al-Anwar, for instance, consciously sought to incorporate the realist method into traditional Shi‘ite religious sciences.  His impact is clearly visible on contemporary Shi‘ite social thought.  He also used the realist method to present more effectively the tenets of Islam and Shi ‘ism to educated Muslims and, through translation, to non-Muslims.  His Shi‘ah dar Islam (Shi‘ism in Islam), written in 1969 and published in English in 1975, is a clear example in this regard. 

Tabataba’i’s impact on Islamic philosopy and Shi‘ite thought has been profound.  His works have been read widely, and gradually left their mark on the structure of Islamic thought in Iran, and the Shi’ite centers of learning elsewhere.  His many students have, moreover, continued in his tradition.  Some have remained more closely attached to Tabataba’i the Sadrian theosophist.  They have continued to teach and expound on this school of thought, handing down to the next generations the tradition that Tabataba’i handed down to them. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran has claimed Tabataba’i as one of its ideologues.  This is in part a reflection of the high regard in which Ayatollah Khomeini -- himself a Sadrian philosopher -- held Tabataba’i, and in part a result of the involvement of some of his students in the revolution.  Still, he was from from an ideologue.  There is evidence that he did not approve of the revolution, and he remained aloof from politics until his death in 1981.  To his last days, Tabataba’i remained first and foremost a philosopher, and then a Muslim and Shi‘ite intellectual, jurisconsult, and theologian.

Tabataba'i's written books number forty-four titles overall; three of which are collections of his articles on various aspects of Islam and the Qur'an.  A liist of his publications include:

    * Shi'a Islam (Persian: Shi’ah dar islam)
    * The Principles of Philosophy and the Method of Realism (Iranian: Usul-i-falsafeh va ravesh-i-ri'alism) in five volumes, with the commentary of Murtada Mutahhari.
    * Glosses al-kifayah (Persian: Hashiyahi kifayah). Glosses upon the new edition of the Asfar of Sadr al-Din Shirizi Mulla Sadra appearing under the direction of 'Allahma Tabataba'i of which seven volumes have appeared.
    * Dialogues with Professor Corbin (Iranian: Mushabat ba Ustad Kurban) Two volumes based on conversations carried out between 'Allahma Tabataba'i and Henry Corbin of which the first volume was printed as the yearbook of Maktab-i tashayyu’, 1339 (A.H. Solar)
    * Risalah dar hukumat-i islami, (Treatise on Islamic Government).
    * Hashiyah-i kifayah (Glosses upon al-Kifayah).
    * Risalah dar quwwah wafi'(Treatise on Potentiality and Actuality).
    * Risalah dar ithbat-i dha~t (Treatise on the Proof of the Divine Essence).
    * Risalah dar sifat (Treatise on the Divine Attributes).
    * Risalah dar ata (Treatise on the Divine Acts).
    * Risalah dar wasa'il (Treatise on Means).
    * Risalah dar insan qabl al-dunya (Treatise on Man before the World)
    * Risalah dar insan fi al-dunya (Treatise on Man in the World).
    * Risalah dar insan ba'd al-dunya (Treatise on Man after the World).
    * Risalah dar nubuwwat (Treatise on Prophecy).
    * Risalah dar wilayat (Treatise on Initiation).
    * Risalah dar mushtaqqat (Treatise on Derivatives).
    * Risalah dar burhan (Treatise on Demonstration).
    * Risalah dar mughalatah (Treatise on Sophism).
    * Risalah dar tahlil (Treatise on Analysis).
    * Risalah dar tarkib (Treatise on Synthesis).
    * Risalah dar i’tibarat (Treatise on Contingents).
    * Risalah dar nubuwwat wa manamat (Treatise on Prophecy and Dreams)
    * Manza’mah dar rasm-i- khatt-i-nasta’liq (Poem on the Method of Writing the Nasta’liq Style of Calligraphy).
    * Ali wa al-falsafat al-ilahiya (Ali and Metaphysics)
    * Qur'an dar islam (The Qur’an in Islam).

Sayyid Muhammad Husain Tabataba’i see Tabataba’i
Allameh Seyyed Muhammad Husayn Tabatabaei see Tabataba’i
Muhammad Husayn Tabatabaei see Tabataba’i


Tabataba’i, Muhammad
Tabataba’i, Muhammad (Mirzā Sayyed Mohammad Tabātabā'i) (Mirzā Sayyed Mohammad Sang-e-laji) (b. 1841/1842, Karbala – d. 1920, Tehran).  Iranian religious scholar and one of the main leaders of the Constitutional Revolution of 1905.  It appears that he had a clearer concept of constitutionalism than many of his colleagues in the revolutionary movement, possibly because of his early contacts with liberals such as Shaikh Hadi Najmabadi and his own masonic connections inherited from his father, Sadiq Tabataba’i.  He even claimed that he had first begun to work for the goal of a constitutional government in 1894, more than a decade before the revolution.  From 1905 onward, he shared the leadership of the revolution with Abd Allah Bihbahani, showing always an acute sense of strategy, and was widely respected for his consistency of purpose.  After the bombardment of the Majlis in July 1908, he was arrested and banished to Mashhad, but with the restoration of the constitution he was able to return in triumph to Tehran the following year. 

Muhammad Tabātabā'i was one of the leaders of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution who played an important role in the establishment of democracy and rule of law in Iran. He was the son of Sayyed Sādegh Tabātabā'i, one of the influential clerics during the reign of Naser ad-Din Shah Qajar. His paternal grandfather, Sayyed Mehdi Tabātabā'i, was a reputed clergy in Hamedan. He is the father of Sayyed Sādegh Tabātabā'i, editor of Ruznāmeh-ye Majles, The Majles Newspaper. He is entombed inside a family tomb in the Shah-Abdol-Azim shrine in Ray, Iran.

Mirzā Sayyed Mohammad Tabātabā'i was born in Karbala, Iraq. The family moved to Hamedan when he was two years old, and to Tehran, when he was eight. He received education in the sciences, (Arabic) literature, Islamic jurisprudence and doctrines from his father, and philosophy from Mirzā Abol-Hasan Jelveh. For a period of time he was also a pupil of Sahaikh Hadi Najmābādi. The latter has been the spiritual father of a number of individuals who later played significant roles in bringing about the Constitutional Revolution of Iran, such as Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda and Mirza Jahangir Khan Sur-e Esrafil.

In 1881, he left Iran for the purpose of performing the Hajj. However, as a result of his late arrival, he undertook an Umrah Hajj, after which he settled in Samarra, Iraq, where he became a pupil of Ayatollah Mirzā Mohammad Hasan Hosseini Shirāzi and completed his studies with him. Following the death of his father, he took his entire family to Samarra and for some ten years advised Ayatollah Shirāzi on political matters. On the recommendation of Ayatollah Shirāzi, he finally returned to Tehran. Due to his independent mind, in Tehran he kept away from state officials and individuals in positions of power. In his public speeches, he emphasized the merits of freedom and incessantly stirred up the sense of loving freedom amongst his audiences. In this, he went so far as to suggesting republicanism as a viable alternative to monarchism. His latter views polarized his audiences, driving some away, and attracting some more closely instead. His ascetic lifestyle, however, very effectively protected him against personal attacks by his detractors. His emphasis permanently revolved around a national government, respect for the rule of law, equality before law, and the indiscriminate application of justice in the society.

The spark leading to the Constitutional Revolution of Iran is by some held to be the foot whipping of some sugar merchants in Tehran in December 1905, by the then Governor of Tehran, Ahmad Alā od-Dowleh, for disobeying the order by the government to lower the price of sugar.  Following this event, a large number of people from the Bazaar, together with some clergy, took sanctuary (known as Bast) in Shah's Mosque (Masjed-e Shah – Imam Khomeini Mosque since 1979) in Tehran. They were, however, forcibly removed from this place by the agents of the then Chief Minister of Mozaffar ad-Din Shah, Ain ad-Dowleh.  Following this, on the suggestion of Sayyed Mohammad Tabātabā'i a large number of Ulema of Tehran retired to Shah-Abdol-Azim shrine and formulated a set of demands to be presented to Mozaffar ad-Din Shah. The single most important demand to be made at this juncture from Shah turned out to be the demand for establishing an Edālat'khāneh (House of Justice), of which the specifics were left unspecified. This lack of detail may have been intended for preserving unity amongst the more radical modernizers and the traditional Ulema. Mozaffar ad-Din Shah accepted the demand for setting up an Edālat'khāneh and for good measure also dismissed the unpopular Governor of Tehran. Following this, the Ulema ceased their protest and returned to Tehran. The Edālat'khāneh was to be the genesis of what later became Iran's Majles.

Mozaffar ad-Din Shah and his Chief Minister, Ain od-Dowleh, reneged however on their promises. Not only did they not establish an Edālat'khāneh, but violence against people continued unabated, both in Tehran and in other provinces of Iran. At this stage popular preachers such as Sayyed Jamal ad-Din Esfahani (father of the celebrated Iranian writer Mohammad-Ali Jamalzadeh) and Shaikh Mohammad Vā'ez began their most vociferous attacks on the establishment. This led to Sayyed Jamal ad-Din Esfahani being ordered to leave Tehran, an act that led to strong protests by the public. In the course of ousting Sayyed Jamal ad-Din Esfahani from Tehran, a young Sayyed (a descendant of the Prophet Mohammad) was shot dead by an officer, an event that led to a large mass of clergy leaving Tehran in protest and taking Bast in Qom in July 1906. This move was followed by between 12,000 and 14,000 merchants and tradesmen taking Bast in the British Legation in Tehran, bringing the commerce in Tehran to a virtual standstill. In passing, it should be noted that the orthodox historical view in the present-day Iran is that the role of the British at this juncture in the history of Iran was by no means a benevolent one, but calculated, the calculation being aimed at marginalizing the religious elements of the revolutionary movement. It is well-known that it was for exactly the lack of clarity as regards the role of Islam in a post-revolution era that such Constitutional Revolutionary of the first hour as Sheikh Fazlollah Noori came to take the side of Mohammad-Ali Shah and became an anti-revolutionary. After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the status of Sheikh Fazlollah Noori as a revolutionary was fully restored.

It was during this time that people began to increase their demands, demanding not only the dismissal of Shah's Chief Minister, Ain od-Dowleh, but also establishment of a national consultative assembly, what came to be known as, and become, the Majles. The name of Mashrouteh, signifying a new political system, was floated around this time. At the end of July 1906, Mozaffar al-Din Shah dismissed his unpopular Chief Minister Ain od-Dowleh, and in early August 1906 he accepted the proposed institution of Majles. The first Majles came into being in October 1906, immediately after the Deputies of Tehran were elected. A committee of experts drafted the Fundamental Law, which Mozaffar al-Din Shah signed, after some delay, in December 1906. A longer Supplementary Fundamental Law, drafted in 1907, was signed by the new Shah, Mohammad-Ali Shah, in October 1907 (Mozaffar al-Din Shah died on January 3, 1907). These two charters formed the core of the Iranian written Constitution, to be supplanted by a new written Constitution after the Revolution of 1979.

The rules governing the election of Deputies of Majles were originally drafted by Mozaffar al-Din Shah. His delay in making this document available led Mirzā Sayyed Mohammad Tabātabā'i to visit him personally at Sāheb'qrāniyeh Palace for inquiry. He left the Palace with the draft of these regulations in his hands. After some changes in this draft, if was finally ratified by Mozaffar al-Din Shah. Copies of this were subsequently dispatched to all cities in Iran. This event was celebrated on Monday 10 September 10, 1906 by ornamenting the streets of Tehran with decorative light bulbs.

Of the religious minority groups in Iran, only Zoroastrians had a Zoroastrian Deputy in First Majles. During the legislative period of this Majles, Sayyed Mohammad Tabātabā'i deputized also the Iranian Christians in the Majles. During this period, members of the Iranian Jewish community were deputized by Ayatollah Sayyed Abdollah Behbahāni.

It is noteworthy that with the sudden rise in the price of sugar in 1905, Sayyed Mohammad Tabātabā'i proposed that instead of serving tea at religious gatherings, such as at Rozeh-Khāni's, the poor be given cash. In making this suggestion, he was also aiming at improving the state of public health, as he believed that not in all large gatherings the tea was being served in hygienically clean utensils, thus spreading transferable diseases amongst the population.

Sayyed Mohammad Tabātabā'i founded the Islāmieh School in Tehran where modern teaching methods were used. He appointed his brother, Assad'o'llah Tabātabā'i, as the Head of this school. During a celebration, on October 28, 1905, Sayyed Mohammad Tabātabā'i delivered a speech to the school in which he expanded on the necessity of learning and establishment of modern schools in Iran.

Tabataba'i died in Tehran in 1920, at the age of 77.
Muhammad Tabataba'i see Tabataba’i, Muhammad
Mirzā Sayyed Mohammad Tabātabā'i see Tabataba’i, Muhammad
Mirzā Sayyed Mohammad Sang-e-laji see Tabataba’i, Muhammad


Tablighi Jama‘at
Tablighi Jama‘at.  The Tablighi Jama‘at of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, also variously called the Jama‘at (Party), Tahrik (Movement), Nizam (System), Tanzim (Organization), and Tahrik-i Iman (Faith Movement), is one of the most important grassroots Islamic movements in the contemporary Muslim world.  From a modest beginning in 1926 with da‘wah (missionary) work in Mewat near Delhi under the leadership of the Sufi scholar Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (1885-1944), the Jama‘at today has followers all over the Muslim world and the West.  Its 1993 annual international conference in Raiwind near Lahore, Pakistan was attended by more than one million Muslims from ninety-four countries.  In fact, in recent years the Raiwind annual conference has become the second largest religious congregation of the Muslim World after the hajj.  Its annual conference in North America normally attracts about ten thousand, probably the largest gathering of Muslims in the West.

The emergence of the Tablighi Jama‘at as a movement for the reawakening of faith and reaffirmation of Muslim religio-cultural identity can be seen as a continuation of the broader trend of Islamic revival in North India in the wake of the collapse of Muslim political power and consolidation of the British rule in India in the mid-nineteenth century.  In the strictly religious sphere one manifestation of this trend was the rapid growth of the madrasahs (religious educational institutions) in North India, which sought to reassert the authority of Islamic orthodoxy and to relink the Muslim masses with Islamic institutions.  The pietistic and devotional aspects of the Tablighi Jama‘at owe their origin to the Sufi teachings and practices of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi, Shah Wali Allah, and the founder of the Mujahidin movement, Sayyid Ahmad Shahid (1786-1831). These Sufis, who belonged to the Naqshbandiya order, considered the observance of the shari‘a integral to their practices.  It is in this sense that the Tablighi Jama‘at has been described, at least in its initial phase, both as a reinvigorated form of Islamic orthodoxy and as a reformed Sufism.

The emergence of the Tablighi Jama‘at was also a direct response to the rise of such aggressive Hindu proselytizing movements as the Shuddhi (Purification) and Sangathan (Consolidation), which launched massive efforts in the early twentieth century to “reclaim” those “fallen-away” Hindus who had converted to Islam in the past.  The special target of these revivalist movements were the so-called “borderline” Muslims who had retained most of the religious practices and social customs of their Hindu ancestors.  Maulana Ilyas, the founder of the Tablighi Jama‘at, believed that only a grassroots Islamic religious movement could counter the efforts of the Shuddhi and Sangathan, purify the borderline Muslims from their Hindu accretions, and educate them about their beliefs and rituals in order to save them from becoming easy prey to the Hindu proselytizers.

The Tablighi Jama‘at originated in Mewat, a Gangetic plateau in North India inhabited by Rajput tribes known as Meos.  Historical accounts differ as to the exact time of their conversion to Islam, but most historians place it between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the formative phase of Muslim rule in India.  There is also evidence to suggest, however, that there were several Meo conversions to Islam, followed by reconversion to Hinduism whenever Muslim political power declined in the region.  When Ilyas started his religious movement in Mewat, most Meos were Muslims in name only.  They retained many Hindu socio-religious practices.  Many kept their old Hindu names and even worshiped Hindu deities in their homes and celebrated Hindu religious festivals.  Most could not even correctly recite the one-line shahadah (the Muslim profession of faith) or say their daily ritual prayers.  Very few villages in Mewat had mosques or madrasahs.  Their birth, marriage, and death rituals were all based on Hindu customs.

Maulana Ilyas, an Islamic religious scholar in the tradition of the orthodox Deoband seminary in the United Province and a follower of the Naqshbandiyah, learned of the “dismal Islamic situation” in Mewat first through his disciples and later through his own several missionary trips there. His initial efforts toward reislamization of Mewati Muslims were essentially to establish a network of mosque-based religious schools to educate local Muslims about correct Islamic beliefs and practices. Although he was able to establish more than one hundred religious schools in a short time in the Mewat region, he soon became disillusioned with this approach, realizing that these institutions were producing “religious functionaries” but not preachers who were willing to go door to door and remind people of their religious duties.  Recognizing the futility of the madrasah approach as a basis for reawakening religious consciousness and educating ordinary Muslims about their religion, Maulana Ilyas decided to quit his teaching position at Madrasah Mazharul ‘Ulum in Saharanpur and moved to Basti Nizamuddin in the old quarters of Delhi to begin his missionary work through itinerant preaching.  The Tablighi movement was formally launched in 1926 from this place, which later became the movement’s international headquarters.  After the partition of India in 1947, however, Raiwind, a small railroad town near Lahore, Pakistan, replaced Basti Nizamuddin as a major center of the Jama‘at’s organizational and missionary activities.

Physically frail and intellectually unassuming, Maulana Ilyas possessed none of the qualities attributed to many other prominent leaders of twentieth century Islam.  Neither an outstanding religious scholar and author nor a good public speaker nor a charismatic leader, Maulana Ilyas was nevertheless imbued with the enormous zeal of a dedicated missionary.  His singleminded devotion and determination to reach out to the Muslim masses and touch them with the message of the Qur’an and sunnah took precedence over everything else.  He was persistent, untiring, and wholeheartedly devoted to what he described as “the mission of the prophets” -- to call people to the path of God.  His message to his co-religionists was simple and straightforward: “Ai Musalmano Musalman bano” (O Muslims, become good Muslims!).

The method adopted by Maulana Ilyas to call people to Islam was equally simple.  It was to organize units of at least ten persons and send them to various villages.  These tablighi units, known as jama‘ats (groups), would visit a village, invite the local Muslims to assemble in the mosque or some other meetingplace, and present their message in the form of the following six demands.  First, every Muslim must be able to recite the shahadah (“There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet”) correctly in Arabic and know its meaning; this asserts the unity of God, rejects all other deities, and emphasizes obedience to the prophet Muhammad.  Second, a Muslim must also learn how to say the salat (obligatory ritual prayer) correctly and in accordance with its prescribed rituals.  This not only emphasizes the need for the ritual performance of prayer in its external form but also encourages the believer to strive for complete submission to God by bowing before him in humility and God-consciousness.

Third, a Muslim cannot claim to be a true believer unless he is knowledgeable about the fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam.  He must also perform dhikr (ritual remembrance of God) frequently.  For basic religious knowledge, Tablighi workers are required to read seven essays written by Maulana Muhammed Zakariya, a reputable scholar of hadith at Saharanpur madrasah and an early supporter of the movement.  These essays, now compiled in a single volume under the title Tablighi nisab (Tablighi Curriculum) deal with life stories of the companions of the Prophet, and the virtues of salat, dhikr, charity, hajj, ritual salutation to the Prophet, and the Qur’an.  Written in simple and lucid Urdu and based mostly on inspirational but historically suspect traditions and anecdotes, these essays also constitute, with little change, the basic source material for the formulaic speech delivered by the Tablighi missionaries throughout the world.  In addition, every Muslim is also encouraged to learn how to read the Qur’an in Arabic, with correct pronunciation. 

Fourth, every Muslim must be respectful and polite toward fellow Muslims and show deference toward them.  This idea of ikram-i Muslim (respect for Muslims) is not only a religious obligation but also a basic prerequisite for effective da‘wah work.  Included in this principle is also an obligation to recognize and respect the rights of others.  The rights of elders to be treated respectfully; the rights of young ones to be treated with love, care, and affection; the rigths of the poor to be helped in their needs; the rights of neighbors to be shown consideration; and the rights of those with whom we may have differences.  Fifth, a Muslim must always inculcate honesty and sincerity in all endeavors.  Everything is to be done for the sake of seeking the pleasure of God and serving his cause, and not for any worldly benefit.

The final demand, which constitutes the most distinctive innovative aspect of the Jama‘at’s approach to Islamic da‘wah work, deals with the formation of small groups of volunteer preachers willing to donate time and travel from place to place spreading the word of God.  For Maulana Ilyas preaching is not the work of only the professional ‘ulama’; it is the duty of every Muslim.  People are usually asked to volunteer for a chillah (forty days of itinerant preaching), which is considered the maximum stint of outdoor missionary activity for new members.  Those who cannot spare forty days may undertake forty one day retreats in a year.  Every member must preach at least four months during his lifetime.  Maulana Ilyas believed that this preaching would prepare people to endure hardships and strengthen their moral and spiritual qualities.

These six principles are the cornerstone of the Tablighi Jama‘at ideology and are to be strictly observed by all members.  Maulana Ilyas later added another rule asking members to abstain from wasting time in idle talk and aimless activities and protect themselves from sinful and prohibited (haram) deeds.

The new movement met with spectacular success in a relatively short period.  Thousands of Muslims joined Maulana Ilyas to propagate the message of Islam throughout Mewat.  Hundreds of new mosques were built and dozens of new madrasahs established for both children and adults.  People began to observe obligatory rituals such as saying salat, paying zakat, fasting during Ramadan, and performing the hajj.  The most visible change was in dress and and in the customs associated with birth, marriage, and burial rituals.  There were signs of Islamic religious revival everywhere in the area.

By the time Maulana Ilyas died in 1944 Mewat had come to be seen as the great success of this new approach to Islamic da‘wah.  The Jama‘at now started extending its activities into other parts of India.  Since the Tablighi method of preaching did not require any degree of religious scholarship, formal training, or lengthy preparation, everyone who joined the Jama‘at became an instant preacher on the basis of his familiarity with the six simple principles of da‘wah.  Thus, the number of itinerant preachers multiplied quickly, and the Jama‘at was able to send its Tablighi missions all over India, from Peshawar in the Northwest Frontier Province to Noakhali in East Bengal.

It is interesting that this Islamic revivalist upsurge was taking place precisely at a time when its political counterpart, the Muslim nationalist movement of the All-India Muslim League with its demand for a separate homeland for Indian Muslims, was also gaining great momentum.  The fact that the Tablighi Jama‘at was able to withstand the intense pressures of the Muslim politics of the 1940s and maintain its purely religious course throughout this period of turmoil, communal riots, and eventual partition of the subcontinent emphasizes not only its firm ideological commitment and methodological rigidity but also its ability to operate in isolation from its political environment.

After the death of Maulana Ilyas, his son Maulana Yusuf (1917-1965) was selected as his successor by the elders of the Jama‘at.  Maulana Yusuf was a great organizer and an untiring worker.  He spent most of his adult life traveling with preaching groups throughout the subcontinent.  He extended the movement’s operations beyond the northern provinces and mobilized thousands of groups to tour all over India.  It was also during his tenure that the Jama‘at’s activities spread to countries of Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America.  After Maulana Yusuf’s death in 1965, Maulana In‘amul Hasan led the Jama‘at and expanded its international operations enormously.  Today the Jama‘at has become a truly global Islamic movement.  Its influence has grown significantly over the past two decades, especially in South and Southeast Asia but also in Africa and among Muslim communities in the West.  However, it has not been able to attract any significant following among Arabic speaking Muslims.  The majority of its followers in the Middle East are South Asian immigrant workers.

The success of the Jama‘at owes much to the dedicated missionary work of its members and followers, its simple, non-controversial and non-sectarian message, and its direct, personal appeal to and contacts with individual Muslims.  Instead of publishing books or addressing large gatherings, Jama‘at members go door to door and invite people to join their ranks and spread the word of God.  Their program of asking Muslims to leave their families, jobs, and home towns for a time and join in a system of communal learning, worship, preaching, and other devotional activities has proved enormously effective in building a community type structure with close personal relationships and mutual moral-psychological support.  Because the basic message of the Jama(at is simple enough to be imparted by anyone willing to volunteer, it is ideally suited for ordinary Muslims with little or no previous Islamic education.  The Jama‘at’s reliance on lay preachers, rather than on ‘ulama’, has helped it greatly to reach and attract the Muslim masses in rural communities and small towns. 

Despite its enormous expansion over the past sixty-eight years, the Jama‘at remains an informal association with no written constitution, standardized organizational rules and procedures, hierarchy of leadership, network of branches and departments, or even office records and membership registry.  The amir (chief) is selected for life through informal consultation among the “elders” of the Jama‘at.  He in turn appoints a shura (consultative body) to advise him on important matters.

In matters of religious beliefs and practices, the Tablighi Jama‘at has consistently followed the orthodox Deoband tradition and has emphasized taqlid (following the established schools of Islamic law) over ijtihad (independent reasoning).  It rejects such popular expressions of religion as veneration of saints, visiting shrines, and observing the syncretic rituals associated with popular Sufism.  The Jama‘at can thus be considered an heir to the reformist-fundamentalist tradition of Shah Wali Allah, with its emphasis on reformed Sufism and strict observation of the sunnah of the Prophet.  Jama‘at workers are rigid in following orthodox rituals and practices and in observing the rules of the shari‘a.  Unlike modernists and neo-fundamentalists, Tablighi workers emphasize both the form and the spirit of religious rules and practices.

From its inception, the Tablighi Jama‘at has deliberately stayed away from politics and political controversies.  Maulana Ilyas believed that the Jama‘at would not be able to achieve its goals if it got embroiled in partisan politics.  Reforming individuals for him was more important than reforming social and political institutions -- a process that, he believed, could gradually come about as more and more people joined his movement and became good Muslims.  His later years coincided with a great schism in the Indian Muslim religious circles: most of the Deoband ‘ulama’ opposed the idea of a separate homeland for Muslims and supported the All-India National Congress in calling for a united India; other ‘ulama’ joined with the Muslim League in its demand for Pakistan.  Maulana Ilyas asked his followers not to takes sides with either camp and to continue their essentially non-political da‘wah work among Muslims of all political persuasions.

The Jama‘at has rigidly maintained this non-political posture since.  In Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and elsewhere in its operations, it has scrupulously observed its founder’s ban on political activities and has refused to take positions on political issues.  Thus, in Pakistan, the Jama‘at remained non-committal on major national controversies involving the relationship between Islam and the state.  In India too the Jama‘at has never been involved in so-called “Muslim issues” such as communal riots, Muslim family laws, the Shah Bano case, and Babri mosque.  This non-political stance has helped it greatly to operate freely in societies where politically oriented religious activities are viewed with suspicion and fear by the government.

In India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, and, to a certain extent in the Muslim areas of Thailand and the Philippines, the Tablighi Jama‘at has been an important movement in non-political Islamic revivalism and has attracted a large following from rural communities and small towns. Although members do not participate in partisan politics, they do nevertheless constitute a solid vote bank for ‘ulama’ based religio-political parties.  In Pakistan, they have consistently voted for the the orthodox, Deobandi-oriented Jam‘iyatul ‘Ulama’-i Islam.  In Malaysia, Tablighi Jama‘at followers have been a major source of support for the ‘ulama’ based Partai Islam Se-Malaysia in federal and provincial elections.

In Europe and North America the Tablighi Jama‘at has been working among the immigrant Muslim communities, especially among Muslims of South Asian origin, for more than three decades and has established a large following among them.  In addition to the propagation of its standard six-point program, the Jama‘at in the West has also been concerned with the preservation of the religious and cultural identity of Muslims in a non-Islamic environment.  Thus it has been active in building mosques and Islamic centers, establishing Islamic Sunday schools for Muslim children and adults, providing dhabihah (ritually slaughtered) meat to Muslim families, and organizing Islamic training camps and retreats for Muslim youth.  In North America, the Jama‘at has also met with some success in gaining converts among African-Americans and Caribbean immigrants.  Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, and Washington, D.C., are the major centers of the Jama‘at’s activities in the United States.

Most followers of the Tablighi Jama‘at in South Asia come from the lower middle class with minimum exposure to modern Western education and from semi-urban areas.  It has also attracted a considerable following among lower level government employees, paraprofessionals and schoolteachers.  Its influence on college and university campuses has been minimal.  Because of its non-political orientation it has been easy to spread its message in the armed forces of Pakistan, where it has a considerable following among non-commissioned personnel.  The Jama‘at received a great boost during the government of President Zia ul-Haq, who was concerned to develop Islamic spirit among the Pakistani military.  An active member of the Jama‘at rose to the sensitive position of chief of Pakistan Military Intelligence during 1991-1993 and reportedly directed Pakistan’s Afghan operation both through conventional intelligence techniques and through holding dhikr assemblies.

In Malaysia and Indonesia, the social bases of the Jama‘at’s support are more diverse than in South Asia.  Its initial followers in these countries were immigrant Muslims from South Asia, but during the past two decades it has penetrated the Malay Muslim community, especially in rural areas.  Today the bulk of its support comes from urban-based, well educated youth.  In Indonesia, where the Jama‘at has worked in close collaboration with such non-political Islamic reform movements as the Muhammadiyah and the Nahdatul Ulama, its activities have focused on converting abangan (syncretic, Indic-oriented) Muslims into santri (purist) Muslims.  Thus, the Tablighi Jama‘at in Indonesia, unlike India and Pakistan, has been associated both with the ‘ulama’ and with urban based, modern eduated Muslim youth.

The Tablighi Jama'at began to expand its activities in 1946, and within two decades the group reached Southwest Asia and Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. The Tablighi Jama'at's aversion to politics helped it enter and operate in societies where politically active religious groups faced severe restrictions. Initially it expanded its reach to South Asian diaspora communities, firstly in Arabic countries, and then in Southeast Asia. The first foreign missions were sent to the Hijaz and Britain in 1946. Before entering Europe, the movement first established itself in the United States. It established a large presence in Europe during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1978, construction of the Markazi mosque in Dewsbury, England, commenced, which subsequently became the European headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat. This center holds one major gathering annually, generally in Dewsbury itself. It also constructed a busy madrassah, called the Islamic Institute of Education.

Introduced in France in the 1960s, it grew prominently in during the 1970-80s. The Tablighi Jama'at declined around 1989, although some members still represent it in the French Council of the Muslim Faith. In the few years before 2006, the Tablighi Jama'at's influence exponentially grew in France to have around 100,000 followers. However, the United Kingdom became the focus of the movement in the West, primarily due to the large South Asian population that began to arrive there in the 1960s and 1970s. By 2007, Tabligh members were situated at 600 of Britain's 1350 mosques.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the movement made inroads into Central Asia. As of 2007, it was estimated 10,000 Tablighi Jama'at members could be found in Kyrgyzstan alone. There are nearly 50,000 members of Tablighi Jamaat active in the United States.  By 2008, the organization had a presence in nearly 150 countries with a global following of 70 to 80 million people. It,thus, became the largest Muslim movement in the world, and it maintains a majority presence in South Asia.

Jama'at see Tablighi Jama‘at.
Tahrik see Tablighi Jama‘at.
Nizam see Tablighi Jama‘at.
Tanzim see Tablighi Jama‘at.
Tahrik-i Islam see Tablighi Jama‘at.


Taftazani, Sa‘d al-Din Mas‘ud al-
Taftazani, Sa‘d al-Din Mas‘ud al- (Sa‘d al-Din Mas‘ud al-Taftazani) (Sa'ad al-Din Masud ibn Umar ibn Abd Allah al-Taftazani) (Al-Taftazani) (Taftazani) (1322-1389/1390).  Celebrated authority on grammar, rhetoric, logic, metaphysics, theology, jurisprudence, Qur’anic exegesis and philology.  He was treated with great honor by Timur at Samarkand, where he met ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Jurjani, which led to rivalry between the two old acquaintances.

Al-Taftazani was a Persian polymath. He also wrote a commentary on the Qur'an in Persian called "Kashf-al-Asrar" and translated the Persian poetry and prose of Saadi into Turkic.

Al-Taftazani was born in 1322 in Taftazan, Khorasan, in Iran, then in the Sarbedaran state. He completed his education in various educational institutions in the cities of Herat, Gujduvan, Feryumed, Gulistan, Khwarizm, Samarkand and Sarakhs. He mainly resided in Sarakhs. He was active during the reign of Timur, who noticed him as a promising scientist and supported his scholarship, and made al-Taftazani part of his court.

Al-Taftazani died in Samarkand in 1390 and was buried in Sarakhs. He sincerely practiced Islam, and practiced and preached in the Hanafi and Maturidi schools. He was of the Hanafi school in matters of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and a Maturidi with regard to issues of Aqidah (Islamic creed).

During his lifetime, al-Taftazani wrote treatises on grammar, rhetoric, theology, logic, law and Qur'an exegesis. His works were used as textbooks for centuries in Ottoman madrasahs, and are used in Shia madrasahs to this day. Al-Taftazani completed "Sharh-i az-Zanjani" which was his first and one of his most famous works at the age of 16.  He also wrote a commentary of the Qur'an in Persian and translated a volume of Sa'adi's poetry from Persian into Turkish. However, it was in Arabic that he composed the bulk of his writing.

Al-Taftazani made contributions to theology, Islamic jurisprudence, linguistics, rhetoric, logic and literature.  His treatises, even the commentaries, are "standard books" for students of Islamic theology and his papers have been called a "compendium of the various views regarding the great doctrines of Islam".

The writings of al-Taftazani include:

    * Sharh az Zanjani (aka. Serh ul Izzi fi't-Tasrîf, aka. Sa'diyye). His first work.
    * Al-Irsad (aka. Irsad ul Hadi).
    * En-Ni Amu's Sawabigh fi Shar -i Nawabigh.


    * Al-Mutawwal.
    * Al-Muhtasar (aka. Muhtasar ul Ma'ani).
    * Sharh'u Miftah il Ulum (aka. Mirtah il Ulum).


    * Sherh ur Risalet ash Shamsiyye (aka. Sharh ush Shamsiyya).
    * Maqasıd ut Talibin fi Ilmi Usul id-Din (aka. Al-Maqasid).
    * Tezhib ul Mantiq Wa al Kalam.
    * Sharh ul Aqaid in Nasafiyye.

Legal Sciences

    * at-Talwih fi Kashfi Haqaiq at Tanqih.
    * Hashiye tu Muhtasar il Munteha.
    * Miftah ul Fiqh (aka. Al-Miftah).
    * Ihtisaru Sharhi Talhis il jami il Kabir.
    * Al-Fatawa al Hanaffiya.  A detailed compilation of decisions made during his career as a jurist.
    * Sharh ul Faraid is Sirajiyya.


    * Hashiyye Al ak-Kashshaf. This is an unfinished work.
    * Kashf ul Esrar ve Uddet ul Ebraar.
    * Al Arbain.
    * Sharh ul Hadis ul Erbain en Neveviyye.

Sa‘d al-Din Mas‘ud al-Taftazani see Taftazani, Sa‘d al-Din Mas‘ud al-
Sa'ad al-Din Masud ibn Umar ibn Abd Allah al-Taftazani see Taftazani, Sa‘d al-Din Mas‘ud al-
Al-Taftazani see Taftazani, Sa‘d al-Din Mas‘ud al-
Taftazani see Taftazani, Sa‘d al-Din Mas‘ud al-


Taha Husayn
Taha Husayn (Taha Hussein) (Taha Husain) ("Dean of Arabic Literature") (b. November 14, 1889, Maghāghah, Egypt - d. October 28, 1973, Cairo, Egypt).  Egyptian author.  As a modernist, he was often at odds with religious conservatives.  His best known work is The Days, his autobiography.

Taha Husayn was born in Upper Egypt of farming stock.  Though blind since youth, he had a brilliant academic career and was appointed in 1925 to the chair of Arabic literature at Cairo University.  In 1942, Taha Husayn was appointed to rectorship of Alexandria University.  Taha Husayn was twice Minister of Education in the Wafdist government of Nahas Pasha.

Married to a Frenchwoman, Taha Husayn was a man of international outlook and universal sympathies, a determined fighter against bigotry and obscurantism.  His colorful autobiography was translated into English under the title An Egyptian Childhood in 1932.

The essays of Taha Husayn on classical Arabic literature are highly esteemed.  He wrote a number of novels and was considered a brilliant orator with an ability to speak extemporaneously in polished classical Arabic.

Among his many honors, Taha Husayn was a Corresponding Member of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

Taha Husayn was held in great respect throughout the Muslim world, as one of the intellectual leaders of the Arab cultural and national revival during the twentieth century.

Taha Husayn was the outstanding figure of the modernist movement in Egyptian literature whose writings, in Arabic, include novels, stories, criticism, and social and political essays. Outside Egypt he is best known through his autobiography, Al-Ayyām (3 vol., 1929–67; The Days), the first modern Arab literary work to be acclaimed in the West.

Ṭāhā Ḥusayn was born in modest circumstances and was blinded by an illness at age two. In 1902 he was sent to al-Azhar seminary in Cairo, the leading Sunni center of higher Islamic education, but he was soon at odds with its predominantly conservative authorities. In 1908 he entered the newly opened secular University of Cairo, and in 1914 he was the first to obtain a doctorate there. Further study at the Sorbonne familiarized him with the culture of the West.

Ṭāhā Ḥusayn returned to Egypt from France to become a professor of Arabic literature at the University of Cairo. His career there was frequently stormy, for his bold views enraged religious conservatives. His application of modern critical methods in Fi al-shiʾr al-jāhilī (1926; “On Pre-Islamic Poetry”) embroiled him in fierce polemics. In this book he contended that a great deal of the poetry reputed to be pre-Islamic had been forged by Muslims of a later date for various reasons, one being to give credence to Qurʾānic myths. For this he was tried for apostasy, but he was not convicted. In another book, Mustaqbal al-thaqāfah fī Miṣr (1938; The Future of Culture in Egypt), he expounds his belief that Egypt belongs by heritage to the same wider Mediterranean civilization that embraces Greece, Italy, and France.  This book advocates the assimilation of modern European culture.

Serving as minister of education (1950–52) in the last government formed by the Wafd party before the overthrow of the monarchy, Ṭāhā Ḥusayn vastly extended state education and abolished school fees. In his later literary work, he showed increasing concern for the plight of the poor and interest in energetic governmental reforms.  He also strongly defended the use of literary over colloquial Arabic.

The first part of Al-Ayyām appeared in 1929 (English translation, An Egyptian Childhood) and the second in 1932 (English translation, The Stream of Days). At age 78 he published a book of memoirs, Mudhakkirāt (1967; English translation, A Passage to France), considered a third volume of Al-Ayyām. In 1997, all three parts were published together in English translation as The Days.

Taha Husayn was one of the most influential 20th century Egyptian writers and intellectuals, and a figurehead for the modernist movement in the Arab World.

Taha Husayn was born in the village of Izbet el Kilo in Minya Governorate in central Upper Egypt. He went to a kottab, and then was sent to Al-Azhar University, where he was educated in religion and Arabic literature. From his childhood days he was reluctant to engrave the traditional education in his heart. Husayn was the seventh of thirteen children, living in a lower-middle class family. He became blind at the age of three due to a faulty treatment by an unskilled practitioner and was dealt with a great deal of anguish throughout his entire life.

He met and married Suzanne Bresseau while attending the University of Montpellier in France. She was referred to as “sweet voice”. This name came from her ability to read to him as he was trying to improve his grasp of the French language. Suzanne became his wife, best friend, mother of his two children and mentor throughout his life. Taha Husayn’s children, his daughter Amina and her younger brother Moenis, both were important figures in Egypt. Amina, who died at the age of 70, was among the first Egyptian women to graduate from Cairo University. She and her brother, Moenis, translated his Adib (The Intellectual) into French. This was especially important to their father, who was an Egyptian who moved to France and learned the language. Even more importantly, the character of Adib is one of a young man who, like Taha Husaynn, experienced the cultural shock of an Egyptian studying and living in France.

Taha Husayn's literary works can be divided into 3 categories:

    * Studies of Arabic and Islamic literature and culture.
    * Fictional literary works centered on social commentary attacking poverty and ignorance.
    * Political articles published in the two journals of which he was editor-in-chief.

The literary works of Taha Husayn include:

    * Complete Works of Taha Hussein 1-16
    * The Memory of Abu El Alaa 1915
    * Selected Poetical Texts of the Greek Drama 1924
    * Ibn Khaldun's Philosophy 1925
    * Dramas by a Group of the Most Famous French Writers 1924
    * Pioneers of Thoughts 1925
    * Wednesday Talk 1925
    * Pre-Islamic Poetry 1926
    * In the Summer 1933
    * The Days "3 Volumes" 1933
    * Hafez and Shawki 1933
    * The Prophet's Life "Ala Hamesh El Sira" 1933
    * Curlew's Prayers 1934
    * From a Distance 1935
    * Adeeb 1935
    * The Literary Life in the Arabian Peninsula 1935
    * Together with Abi El Alaa in his Prison 1935
    * Poetry and Prose 1936
    * Bewitched Palace 1937
    * Together with El Motanabi 1937
    * The Future of Culture in Egypt 1938
    * Moments 1942
    * The Voice of Paris 1943
    * Sheherzad's Dreams 1943
    * Tree of Misery 1944
    * Paradise of Thorn 1945
    * Chapters on Literature and Criticism 1945
    * The Voice of Abu El Alaa 1945
    * Osman "The first Part of the Greater Sedition
    * "El Fitna Al Kubra" 1947
    * Spring Journey 1948
    * The Tortured of Modern Conscience 1949
    * The Divine Promise "El Wa'd El Haq" 1950
    * The Paradise of Animals 1950
    * The Lost Love 1951
    * From There 1952
    * Varieties 1952
    * In The Midst 1952
    * Ali and His Sons (The 2nd Part of the Greater Sedition" 1953
    * (Sharh Lozoum Mala Yalzm, Abu El Alaa) 1955
    * (Anatagonism and Reform 1955
    * Criticism and Reform 1956
    * Our Contemporary Literature 1958
    * Mirror of Islam 1959
    * Summer Nonsense 1959
    * On the Western Drama 1959
    * Talks 1959
    * Al-Shaikhan (Abi Bakr and Omar Ibn El Khatab) 1960
    * From Summer Nonsense to Winter Seriousness 1961
    * Reflections 1965
    * Beyond the River 1975
    * Words 1976
    * Tradition and Renovation 1978
    * Books and Author 1980
    * From the Other Shore 1990

The translations of Taha Husayn include:

    * Jules Simon's The Duty 1920-1921
    * Athenians System (Nezam Al-Ethnien) 1921
    * The Spirit of Pedagogy 1921
    * Dramatic Tales 1924
    * Andromaque (Racine) 1935
    * From the Greek Dramatic Literature (Sophocle) 1939
    * Voltaire's Zadig or (The Fate) 1947
    * André Gide: From Greek
    * Legends' Heroes
    * Sophocle-Oedipe 1947

Encyclopædia Britannica
also spelled
Ṭāhā Ḥusayn. [Credit: Courtesy of the Academy of Arabic Language, al-Jizah, Egypt]

Husayn, Taha see Taha Husayn
Taha Hussein see Taha Husayn
Hussein, Taha see Taha Husayn
Taha Husain see Taha Husayn
Husain, Taha see Taha Husayn

Tahir ibn al-Husayn
Tahir ibn al-Husayn (775-882).  Founder of the Tahirid dynasty in Khurasan (r. 821-822).  Having been given by the ‘Abbasid Caliph al-Ma’mun all the lands east of Baghdad, he died suddenly in his capital Marw, shortly after he had omitted the mention of the caliph in prayer, thus committing an act of open rebellion. 

Tahir ibn Husayn was a general and governor during the Abbasid caliphate. Specifically, he served under al-Ma'mun and led the armies that would defeat al-Amin, making al-Ma'mun the caliph. He was born in Phoshang which is a village in the ancient city of Herat (then Khorasan present day Afghanistan).

Afterwards, Tahir was made governor of the eastern Abbasid lands, effectively making him governor of Persia. Tahir later declared independence from the Abbasid empire in 822 by omitting any mention of al-Ma'mun during a Friday sermon.  However, he died the same night and al-Ma'mun appointed Tahir's son to continue at his father's post. This

established the Tahirid dynasty, which ruled a semi-autonomous state in eastern Persia.

Tahir commissioned the Christian theologian, Theodore Abu-Qurrah (d. c. 830) to translate the pseudo-Aristotelian De virtutibus animae into Arabic from Greek.


Tahirids. Arab dynasty in Khorasan (Khurasan) and western Turkestan (r. 820-873).  Their main capital was Nishapur.  In 820, Caliph al-Mamun made his general Tahir ibn al-Husain (r. 820-823) {who had appointed al-Mamun as caliph in 811 in preference to his brother} governor of Khorasan, where Tahir gained independence in 821 (under the formal sovereignty of the caliph), but remained commander of the Baghdad garrison, as did his successors this independence and made their court a center of Arabic art and science, but also led expeditions for the caliph into Egypt (with the conquest of Alexandria in 827).  From 867, the Tahirids lost their neighboring countries to the Saffarids, who finally drove them from power in 873. The last ruler, Muhammad ibnTahir (r.862-873, d.908), surrendered the capital to the Saffarid Ya‘qub ibn Layth (r.867-879).  The Tahirids were noted for their high education and literary activities in Arabic.  Tahirids is also the name of a Sunni dynasty of Lahij and Aden, Yemen, which ruled from 1454 to 1517, when the Ottomans conquered Yemen.

Tahirids comprised the Tahirid dynasty, a dynasty of semi-autonomous governors which ruled Khurasan from 821 to 873.  Since several of the ancestors and relatives of these governors also played prominent roles in early Islamic history; Tahirid is often used to refer to the entire family. 

Recent research suggests that the Tahirid family was not Khurasani in origin.  Asad, the earliest known member of the family, may have lived in Basra, where he converted to Islam and, as was customary, attached himself as “client” (maula) to an Arab tribe (in this case, Khuza’a).  Asad and/or his son Ruzaiq accompanied Khuza’i warriors to Khurasan and eventually settled in the area of Herat and Pushang.  Ruzaiq is definitely known to have been under the patronage of Talha al-Khuza’i, governor of Sistan, in the late seventh century.  The political fortunes of the family began to rise at the time of the Abbasid revolution (mid-eighth century).  Ruzaiq’s sons, Talha and Mus’ab, both served in the Abbasid conspiratorial organization in Khurasan.  Talha was detained for suspected political subversion as early as 735.  He later became one of the twelve chiefs (nuqaba) of the Abbasid mission in Khurasan and served as the organization’s official secretary.  When the revolt was imminent, he was instrumental in winning support for the new leader, Abu Muslim, over the bitter opposition of some of the veteran local chieftains.  Thereafter, Talha was one of Abu Muslim’s most trusted lieutenants and advisers.

After the success of the revolt, Talha seems to have been rewarded with the governorship of the district of Herat.  His brother Mus’ab was similarly made governor of Pushang.  Talha the disappears from history, but Mus’ab is known to have still been in possession of Pushang (and perhaps Herat) as late as 767.  His son Husain and his grandson Tahir (eponym of the dynasty) also held office at Pushang.  Husain was among the Khurasani dignitaries who opposed the unpopular governor of Khurasan, Ali ibn Isa ibn Mahan, and who persuaded Harun al-Rashid (r. 786-809) to depose Ali.  Subsequently, Husain and Tahir played leading roles in encouraging Harun’s son Ma’mun to resist subordination to the new caliph, his brother Amin.  When Amin attempted to re-install Ali as governor of Khurasan, civil war between the two brothers erupted.  Ma’mun chose Tahir as one of his commanding generals.  Tahir’s troops defeated Ali’s and Amin’s forces, captured Baghdad, and executed Amin, thus paving the way for the caliphate of Ma’mun (813-833).  From 813 to 821, Tahir served Ma’mun as governor of Syria and the Jazira, as administrator of taxation in the Sawad, as head of state security forces (shurta) in Baghdad.  He acquired vast estates in Iraq that yielded him revenues said to have totaled some thirteen million dirhams.  He retained possession of these lucrative properties even after his return to Khurasan, and in fact members of his family held land and offices in Iraq as late as the tenth century.

In 821, Ma’mun appointed Tahir governor of the eastern part of the Abbasid empire, including Khurasan.  Although it appears understandable in view of Tahir’s services to Ma’mun, the appointment was and is surrounded by mystery and controversy.  Some reports allege that Tahir coveted the office and conspired to bring about the fall of Ma’mun’s first appointee in an unscrupulous manner.  However, there is also evidence of political chaos in Khurasan during these years.  Ma’mun, faced with considerable problems of his own in the western part of the empire, probably needed someone of Tahir’s stature to restore order.  Stranger still was Tahir’s behavior once he was established in Khurasan.  He had the customary mention of the caliph omitted from the Friday prayer services and minted some coins that did not include the caliph’s name.

Normally, these would be taken as signs of revolt, and it was rumored that Tahir’s death by poison in 822 had consequently been arranged by Ma’mun.  Yet there is no convincing explanation of what prompted Tahir to revolt (if that was his intent) or why, having disposed of Tahir, Ma’mun would then have proceeded to recognize Tahir’s son as the new governor.  It is possible that there had been a fundamental change in the political relationship between the caliph and the provincial government that compelled Ma’mun to rely on governors with solid bases of local support.  Neither the caliph nor the governor may have known quite what to make of this.  Confusion about their respective legal positions may have inspired stories about the mutual intrigues.  In any event, Tahir’s family continued to hold the office in hereditary succession for half a century: Talha from 822 to 828; Abd Allah from 828 to 845; Tahir II from 845 to 862; and Muhammad from 862 to 873.  All theoretically derived their authority from the caliph and continued to pay tribute, but their power was real enough.  Some of the Abbasid caliphs reportedly feared and resented the Tahirids, but none could or would displace them.

The Tahirids won considerable praise for bringing a period of political order and social stability to Khurasan.  This stability was due in part to their cultivation of the Sunni religious establishment in the cities and the military landholding elite in the countryside.  It was also, however, due to the genuine concern they showed for the peasantry and agricultural base of the economy.  The Tahirids were admired for their fair taxation, supervision of the irrigation system, and close scrutiny of the conduct of administrative officials, all ideals of Perso-Islamic statecraft.  At the same time, they were patrons of the literary arts and learning; many were famous as scholars in their own right.

The Tahirids were less successful in their expansionist efforts in areas on the periphery of Khurasan.  Abd Allah invaded Tabaristan and brought much of the Caspian littoral under Tahirid control.  Members of the Tahirid family ruled there for some time but were gradually displaced by revolts led by Zaidi Shi’ites.  In Sistan, Talha struggled inconclusively with the leader of a Kharijite socio-religious revolt until his death in 828.  In 854, a local military leader in Sistan ousted the Tahirid governor.  Apparently exhausted, the Tahirid dynasty collapsed without a fight when Ya’qub ibn Laith, founder of the Saffarid dynasty (ninth to fifteenth century) invaded the Khurasan (873).  The last Tahirid ruler was captured by Ya’qub.  He escaped but could never restore Tahirid rule.

The Tahirid Dynasty was an Iranian Persian dynasty that ruled from 820 to 872 over the northeastern part of Greater Iran, in the region of Khorasan (parts that are presently in Iran (Persia), Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan). The Tahirid capital was Merv and was then moved to Nishapur. The Tahirid dynasty is considered to be the first independent dynasty from the Abbasid caliphate established in Khorasan.

Although nominally subject to the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad, the Tahirid rulers were effectively independent. The dynasty was founded by Tahir ibn Husayn, a leading general in the service of the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun. Tahir's military victories were rewarded with the gift of lands in the east of Persia, which were subsequently extended by his successors as far as the borders of India. Tahirid influence extended to Baghdad when the Abbasids granted them the military affairs in Mesopotamia.

During the reign of the Abbasid caliph Al Ma'mun Tahir's son Abdullah was installed as the wali of Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula. Abdullah is considered the most important of the Tahirid rulers for the dynasty witnessed in his reign flourishing agriculture in his native land of Khorasan, popularity among the populations of the eastern lands of the Abbasid caliphate and extending influence due to his experience with the western parts of the caliphate.

The dynasty began to deteriorate in the reign of Muhammad bin Tahir due to his carelessness with the affairs of the state and lack of experience with politics. Muhammad spent a lot of time drinking and seeking pleasure rather than following the legacy of his predecessors. Due to their increasing weakness, the Tahirids were overthrown by the Saffarid dynasty, who annexed Khorasan to their own empire in eastern Persia, in 872.

The rulers of the Tahirid dynasty were:

    * Tahir ibn Husayn (820-822)
    * Talha (822-828)
    * Abdullah bin Tahir (828-845)
    * Tahir II (845-862)
    * Muhammad of Khorasan (862-872)


Tahmasp I
Tahmasp I  (‘Abu’l Muzaffar ‘Abu’l Fath Sultan Shah Tahmasp bin Shah Ismail al-Safavi al-Husayni al-Musavi (b. February 22/March 3, 1514, Shāhābād, near Eṣfahān, Ṣafavid Iran - d. May 14, 1576, Qazvin).  Ruler of the Safavid dynasty (r.1524-1576).  In the wars with the Ottomans, the Persians were on the defensive.  In 1541, the Mughal Humayun took refuge with Tahmasp at Isfahan, as did Bayezid, son of the Ottoman Sultan Suleyman II, after his rebellion in 1556.  Tahmasp, however, ordered or allowed him to be put to death for 400,000 pieces of gold.  The last years of his reign were marked by Ozbeg invasions of Khurasan and by a famine followed by the plague.  Tahmasp wrote an autobiography, which ends in the year 1561. 

Tahmasp I was the shāh of Iran from 1524. His rule was marked by continuing warfare with the Ottoman Empire and the loss of large amounts of territory.

Ṭahmāsp, the eldest son of Shāh Ismāʿīl I, founder of the Ṣafavid dynasty, was for a long period after coming to the throne a pawn of powerful tribal leaders. Three times (1534, 1538, and 1543) Ottoman forces invaded Iran, recovering territory lost earlier and capturing new areas. Hostility between the Ottomans and Persia was intensified by religious differences between the Shīʿī sect (Persia) and the Sunnī sect (Ottoman Empire) of Islām. Peace was concluded with the Ottomans in 1555. Ṭahmāsp spent his later years in seclusion at his palace, giving little attention to public affairs.

Tahmasp I was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty. He was the son of Ismail I and Shah-Begi Khanum (known under the title Tajlu Khanum) of the Turcoman Mawsillu tribe.

During his childhood he was weak and came under the control of the Qizilbash, Turkic tribesmen who formed the backbone of Safavid power. The Qizilbash leaders fought among themselves for the right to be regents over Tahmasp. Upon adulthood, however, Tahmasp was able to reassert the power of the Shah and control the tribesmen.

His reign was marked by foreign threats, primarily from the Ottomans and the Uzbeks. In 1555, however, he regularized relations with the Empire through the Peace of Amasya. This peace lasted for 30 years, until it was broken in the time of Shah Mohammed Khodabanda.

Tahmasp is also known for the reception he gave to the fugitive Mughal Emperor Humayun which is depicted in a painting on the walls of the Safavid palace of Chehel Sotoon.

One of Shah Tahmasp's more lasting achievements was his encouragement of the Persian rug industry on a national scale, possibly a response to the economic effects of the interruption of the Silk Road carrying trade during the Ottoman wars.

‘Abu’l Muzaffar ‘Abu’l Fath Sultan Shah Tahmasp bin Shah Ismail al-Safavi al-Husayni al-Musavi see Tahmasp I


Tahmasp II
Tahmasp II. Ruler of the Safavid dynasty (r.1722-1732).  He escaped from Isfahan while it was besieged by the Afghans in 1722, made a treaty with Peter the Great of Russia, and was supported by Nadir Shah Afshar.  Nadirs Shah defeated the Afghan, and was given the governorship of Khurasan, Sijistan, Kirman and Mazandaran.  Tahmasp himself was defeated by the Ottomans in 1731.  His treaty of peace was not recognized by Nadir Shah, who imprisoned his sovereign and in 1736 had himself proclaimed ruler of Persia.


Ta’ifa.  Arabic word which means “group” or “faction.”  The plural of the word ta’ifa is tawa’if.  Following the fall of the Umayyad caliphate in Cordoba, Muslim Spain split into rival factions (tawa’if).  The tawa’if founded independent principalities. The princes of the tawa’if are called the kings of the ta’ifa -- the muluk al-tawa’if.

The Ta'ifa is a faction or party, as applied to the followers of any of the petty kings who appeared in Muslim Spain in a period of great political fragmentation early in the 11th century after the dissolution of the central authority of the Umayyad caliphate of Córdoba. After the dictatorship of al-Muẓaffar (r. 1002–08), civil war reduced the caliphate to a puppet institution and allowed the various taifas to establish themselves in independent and short-lived kingdoms throughout the Iberian peninsula. There were at least 23 such states between 1009 and their final conquest by the Almoravids of North Africa in 1091. Thus, the Berbers counted in their party the Afṭasids of Badajoz, the Dhū al-Nūnids of Toledo, and the Ḥammūdids of Málaga, who briefly helped the Córdoban caliphate. The Andalusians, or Hispano-Arabs, were represented by the ʿAbbādids of Sevilla (Seville), the Jahwarids of Córdoba, and the Hūdids of Zaragoza. The Ṣaqālibah (Slav mercenaries) did not form dynasties but created such kingdoms as Tortosa, Denia, and Valencia.

Wars between the various states never ceased. The states had few scruples in asking for Christian support against rival Muslim kings or in turning to the North African kingdoms for aid against Christian princes. Such lack of unity and consistency made the kingdoms of the taifas fair targets for the growing forces of Christian reconquest. Soon Badajoz, Toledo, Zaragoza, and even Sevilla were paying tribute to the Christian Alfonso VI of Leon and Castile.

Despite their political incompetence, however, the taifa kings fostered a period of brilliant Islamic cultural revival. In the manner of the caliphal courts, they entertained poets; promoted the study of philosophy, natural science, and mathematics; and produced such noted figures as the poet-king al-Muʿtamid of Sevilla and his vizier Ibn ʿAmmār, the poets Ibn Zaydūn and Wallādah of Córdoba, and Ibn Ḥazm, the poet-philosopher-scholar.

In 1085 Alfonso took Toledo. At the invitation of several party kings, the Almoravid Yūsuf ibn Tāshufīn entered Spain and defeated Alfonso at the Battle of Zallāqah, near Badajoz, in 1086. When Muslim fortunes in Spain did not improve, Yūsuf returned in 1088. He dissolved the party kingdoms (1090–91) and extended the Almoravid empire into Spain.

Group see Ta’ifa.
Faction see Ta’ifa.


Ta’i‘ li-Amr Allah, al-
Ta’i‘ li-Amr Allah, al- (929-1003).  ‘Abbasid caliph (r. 974-991).  His physical strength seems to have been extraordinary, but political power was in the hands of the Buyids.  He was deposed in 991 by the Buyid Baha’ al-Dawla.


Taj al-Din Ibrahim Ahmedi
Taj al-Din Ibrahim Ahmedi(c.1330-1413).  Greatest Ottoman poet of his time.  Among other works, he wrote poems on the life and deeds of Alexander the Great, on the love of Jamshid and Khurshid and on medicine.  He also composed panegyrics, among others on prince Suleyman Celebi, a son of Sultan Bayezid I.
Ahmedi, Taj al-Din Ibrahim see Taj al-Din Ibrahim Ahmedi


Tajdid. Term which means “renewal.”  The term tajdid was applied to the post-eighteenth century movement to revive the true practice of Islam based on the Qur’an and hadith.

Tajdīd is the Arabic word for renewal. In Islamic context, Tajdīd refers to the revival of Islam, in order to purify and reform society, to move it toward greater equity and justice. One who practices Tajdīd is a Mujaddid. Compare: Islah
Renewal see Tajdid.


Tajik. Name of a people living in Tajikistan, Turkestan and Afghanistan.  The word is derived from the Arab tribal name of Tayy, the nearest Arab tribe to the Iranians.  It was originally used with the meaning “Arab,” afterwards with that of “Iranian” in contrast to “Turk.”  The Muslim conquerors seem to have been known to the Iranian population of central Asia by the Pahlavi word Tacik.  As, in the view then prevailing, an Iranian convert to Islam became an Arab, the word reached the Turks with the meaning “a man from the land of Islam” and as the majority of the Muslims known to the Turks were Iranians, the word Tajik came to mean Iranian in Turkic.  The Tajik of Central Asia speak various dialects of the Indo-European language family.  Most Tajik are Hanafi Sunni, the major Muslim sect in Central and South Asia.  Imami Shi‘a do, however, exist along with sizable numbers of Ismaili Shi‘a, who live scattered from the Bamiyan area to the Wakhan Corridor, the entrance to the Pamir Mountains.  Ismaili groups in eastern Badakshan and the Wakhan sometimes speak Pamiri (East Iranian) dialects.  Because of the version of Islam practiced by the Ismaili, many Tajik consider them to be a separate, non-Tajik ethnic group, in spite of identical non-religious cultural patterns.

The period 1973-1982 brought great changes to Afghanistan’s ethno-linguistic patterns.  The Republic of Afghanistan (July 1973-April 1978) brought hope that the Tajik would be able to participate in a broadened political base.  Such plans were interrupted by the coup d’etat of the leftist Khalqi (Masses) Party, which created the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) in April 1978.  The Khalqi power elite was mainly Pushtun-oriented, however.  Therefore, many Tajik joined the anti-government forces in the civil war which lasted until Christmas Eve 1979, when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and placed a puppet government in power.  The leftist Parcham (Banner) Party became dominant.

The Soviet invasion also sent a signal to the other Muslim countries which bordered the Soviet Union: Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.  The invasion indicated that the Soviet Union would not tolerate the existence of Islamic regimes which might infect its own Muslims in Soviet Central Asia, such as the Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen, Kirghiz, and Kazakhs.

In addition, the Soviet Union was never able to completely Russify its Central Asian republics, and many Soviet Central Asian Muslims always felt culturally at home with their ethno-linguistic cousins to the south.  Some have actually crossed over into Afghanistan to fight with the Mujahidin (freedom fighters).  The numbers were not large, but any number would be a significant dissident indicator to the Soviet leaders.

A sizable number of Central Asian Muslim reservists were called to active duty to participate in the occupation of Afghanistan.  The Soviets reasoned that “their” Muslims would be able to fraternize and propagandize freely among Afghans (including the Tajik) because the two groups had languages in common and similar cultural heritages.

The Soviet estimate proved to be correct, but it backfired.  Tajik (and other Muslim troops) had been told they were going to Afghanistan not only to “help a fellow Socialist regime in trouble” but to “drive out the interventionists” -- the Americans, Chinese, Pakistanis, Iranians, British, Israelies and Egyptians. Finding only Afghans on the scene, many Soviet Muslim troops became disgruntled and they were withdrawn by the end of February 1980.  Before leaving, however, they purchased all the Qur’ans they could find in the bazaars and took them home to their families. 

Inside Afghanistan, the successful resistance of the Tajik of the Panjsher Valley north of Kabul continues to inspire the Afghan Mujahidin in all areas.  Four major Soviet offenses have been unsuccessful in gaining control of the valley.

The Tajiks constitute almost four-fifths of the population of Tajikistan. In the early 21st century there were more than 5,200,000 Tajiks in Tajikistan and more than 1,000,000 in Uzbekistan. There were about 5,000,000 in Afghanistan, where they constituted about one-fifth of the population. Another 40,000 lived in the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang in China.

The name Tajik refers to the traditionally sedentary people who speak a form of Persian called Tajik in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and who speak the modern Persian language in Afghanistan.

The Tajiks were the heirs and transmitters of the Central Asian sedentary culture that diffused in prehistoric times from the Iranian plateau into an area extending roughly from the Caspian Sea to the borders of China. They built villages of flat-roofed mud or stone houses and cultivated irrigated fields of wheat, barley, and millet. Their gardens were famous for melons and a variety of fruits. Their crafts were highly developed, and their towns along the caravan routes linking Persia, China, and India were centers of trade. Turks subsequently migrated westward into the area inhabited by the Tajiks. The latter became Turkicized in their culture, though many retained their Iranian language.

Most Tajiks are Sunni Muslims, but a few in remote mountain areas are Shīʿite.


Takdir Alisjahbana, Sutan
Takdir Alisjahbana, Sutan (Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana) (February 11, 1908-July 17, 1994). Indonesian essayist, poet, moralist, grammarian, novelist, sociologist, politician and patron of literature.  Takdir always had an intense desire to raise Indonesia in all respects to the level of the advanced nations, and his contribution has been mainly in language and literature.

Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana was the chief driving force behind the cultural journal Pudjangga Baru until its closure at the time of the Japanese invasion in 1942.  His many essays of this period, concise and simple in style, preached a “dynamism” intended to vitalize the calm world of pre-war Indonesia. 

Takdir Alisjahbana considered that ideas of “art for art’s sake” should be subordinated to this aim and he had much controversy with the traditionalists.  Since the Japanese invasion his career has embraced the secretaryship of the Indonesian language commission; the preparation of a two volume dictionary of technical terms, Kamus Istilah; the editorship of a monthly magazine called Pembangunan, of a language journal and of a scientific monthly; a professorship of the Indonesian language and, later, a professorship of philosophy.

Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana was born in Natal, North Sumatra. His family came from Minangkabau in 19th century. He was a founder and editor of Pujangga Baru. He became one of Indonesian literature's guiding lights in its formative years, particularly in the time around independence. Sutan Takdir believed that Indonesia could learn from the values of western civilization and remained a great exponent of modernism throughout his life. A renaissance man himself - the author of tens of books on a range of subjects - he was working on a novel at the time of his death in 1994. The famous novel, Layar Terkembang, showed him as a progressive author. He died in Jakarta on July 17, 1994.

The works of Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana include:

    * Tak Putus Dirundung Malang (novel, 1929)
    * Dian Tak Kunjung Padam (novel, 1932)
    * Tebaran Mega (collection of poetize, 1935)
    * Tatabahasa Baru Bahasa Indonesia (1936)
    * Layar Terkembang (novel, 1936)
    * Anak Perawan di Sarang Penyamun (novel, 1940)
    * Puisi Lama (potpourri, 1941)
    * Puisi Baru (potpourri, 1946)
    * Pelangi (potpourri, 1946)
    * Pembimbing ke Filsafat (1946)
    * Dari Perjuangan dan Pertumbuhan Bahasa Indonesia (1957)
    * The Indonesian language and literature (1962)
    * Revolusi Masyarakat dan Kebudayaan di Indonesia (1966)
    * Kebangkitan Puisi Baru Indonesia (collection of essay, 1969)
    * Grotta Azzura (novel three volumes, 1970 & 1971)
    * Values as integrating vorces in personality, society and culture (1974)
    * The failure of modern linguistics (1976)
    * Perjuangan dan Tanggung Jawab dalam Kesusastraan (collection of essay, 1977)
    * Dari Perjuangan dan Pertumbuhan Bahasa Indonesia dan Bahasa Malaysia sebagai Bahasa Modern (collection of essay, 1977)
    * Perkembangan Sejarah Kebudayaan Indonesia Dilihat dari Segi Nilai-Nilai (1977)
    * Lagu Pemacu Ombak (collection of poetize, 1978)
    * Amir Hamzah Penyair Besar antara Dua Zaman dan Uraian Nyanyian Sunyi (1978)
    * Kalah dan Menang (novel, 1978)
    * Menuju Seni Lukis Lebih Berisi dan Bertanggung Jawab (1982)
    * Kelakuan Manusia di Tengah-Tengah Alam Semesta (1982)
    * Sociocultural creativity in the converging and restructuring process of the emerging world (1983)
    * Kebangkitan: Suatu Drama Mitos tentang Bangkitnya Dunia Baru (poetize drama, 1984)
    * Perempuan di Persimpangan Zaman (collection of poetize, 1985)
    * Seni dan Sastra di Tengah-Tengah Pergolakan Masyarakat dan Kebudayaan (1985)
    * Sajak-Sajak dan Renungan (1987).

Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana see Takdir Alisjahbana, Sutan


Takfir (Jama'at al-Takfir wa al-Hijrah).  After a group of radical Muslims in Cairo abducted and assassinated Shaykh Muhammad Husayn al-Dhahabi, a former Eyptian minister of awqaf and Azhar affairs, in July 1977, the Egyptian media referred to this group as Jama‘at al-Takfir wa al-Hijrah.  The term defies simple definition, but the meaning is clear: the society “which accuses [nominal Muslims] of unbelief” (takfir) urges [true Muslims] to “emigrate” (hijrah) from the paganism of modern Egypt.

This, however, was not a name that the group had chosen for itself.  Created for it by the Egyptian authorities, the name drew attention to the two tenets of the group that were bound to be the least attractive to the Egyptian public: true Muslims must emigrate to Muslim controlled political communities, away from the day-to-day unbelief of secular Egypt; and people who do not live according to the Qur’an are not Muslims, but unbelievers.

The self-appellation of the group appears to have been Jama‘at al-Muslimin, the Society of Muslims.  This name suggest a certain zeal for religious exclusiveness.  The group, so it appears, regarded itself as the real and only community of Muslims.  Whoever refused to become a member of the group or wanted to leave it, declared himself to be an enemy of God and was to be treated accordingly.  One of the group’s surviving ex-members reports that members who considered leaving the group were threatened with death, the traditional punishment for apostasy and desertion from Islam.  Such would be defectors came to fear their fellow-members and so became easy prey for agents of the Egyptian secret services.  It follows that in this way the group became the center of a complicated game of information and disinformation that cannot be unraveled by the uninitiated.  Every crime supposedly perpetrated by members of the group may have been committed by, or at the instigation of, government provocateurs.

The group was led by Shukri Ahmad Mustafa (b. 1942), who was executed on March 29, 1978, together with the actual perpetrators of the murder of Shaykh al-Dhahabi.  Shukri taught that all present societies are un-Islamic; that only members of his group are true Muslims; and that the classical system of Islamic law must be rejected because it is not the word of God but only the work of men: “We do not accept the words ascribed to the Prophet’s contemporaries, or the opinions of those versed in Islamic Law, the fuqaha’.  We do not accept the opinions of the early jurists, or their consensus (ijma’), or the other idols (asnam) like analogy (qiyas).  How can words of mere humans be a source of divine guidance?”

Such statements imply an almost complete rejection of fiqh (jurisprudence) and hadith, hence a rejection of Islam as we know it, with the exception of the Qur’an.  With regard even to the Qur’an, Shukri admitted, under questioning in court, that he was not certain about the infallibility of its transmission. What is known of Islamic history Shukri regarded as “stories of dubious authenticity.”  The difference from the teachings of modern Muslim mainstream fundamentalists, who want to implement traditional Islamic law in its entirety, both in public and in private life, could not be greater.  Indeed, this movement differed markedly from the other, more conventional, Islamic fundamentalist movements in the 1970s and 1980s.  Whereas mainstream Islamic radicalism wanted to apply Islamic Law in its totality at whatever cost, the Shukri movement wanted to do away with Islamic law in its traditional form.

It is ironic that, nevertheless, it was the Shukri movement that was used by the Egyptian authorities to organize the general suppression of the Islamic fundamentalist revival in Egypt in the late 1970s.  In the summer of 1977, the Egyptian authorities were convinced that they had no alternative but to curb the Islamic movement in its entirety.  No matter how poorly organized this movement was, by insisting on the application of Islamic law, it challenged the authority of the government, propagated revolution, and demanded the establishment of a non-secular Islamic state.  Shukri’s group could be used by the secret services precisely because its inflexible condemnation of apostates drove into the arms of the authorities those members who contemplated renouncing its ideas.  These men concluded that as long as they had to remain in the group, service as government informers or agents provocateurs could be profitable.  This, one has to conclude, is the larger significance of the Takfir wa al-Hijrah, a movement that has not lasted.

Like Shukri’s movement, Islamic fundamentalism is a natural response to the secularization of the ruling elites in the Muslim world.  Islamic fundamentalists, like Shukri and his followers, want to put the power of the omnipotent modern state into the hands of the best possible Muslims.  It is this obsession with the power of the state that makes them so dangerous in the eyes of the authorities.  Yet it is clear in retrospect that Shukri Mustafa never attracted a mass following and that Takfir wa al-Hijrah represented a case of cult formation rather than a true revivalist movement.

Jama'at al-Takfir wa al-Hijrah see Takfir

No comments:

Post a Comment