Mystics, Monarchs, and Messiahs: Cultural Landscapes of Early Modern Iran

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Harvard CMES, 2002 - History - 575 pages
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Focusing on idealists and visionaries who believed that Justice could reign in our world, this book explores the desire to experience utopia on earth. Reluctant to await another existence--another form, or eternal life following death and resurrection--individuals with ghuluww, or exaggeration, emerged at the advent of Islam, expecting to attain the apocalyptic horizon of Truth. In their minds, Muhammad's prophecy represented one such cosmic moment of transformation. Even in the early modern period, some denizens of Islamdom continued to hope for a utopia despite aborted promises and expectations. In a moment of enthusiasm, one group called the Qizilbash (Red Heads) took up arms at the turn of the sixteenth century to fight for Shaykh Isma'il Safavi, their divinely inspired leader. The Safavis succeeded in establishing an empire, but their revolutionary sensibilities were exposed to erasures and expulsion into the realms of heresy. The social settings in which such beliefs were performed in early modern Iran are highlighted in order to tease out the relationship between discourse and practice, narrating the ways in which a Persianate ethos uncovered new Islamic identities (Alid and Sufi). Mystics, Monarchs and Messiah explores these belief systems within a dialogue between Semitic, Indo-Iranian, and Hellenic cultures that continued to resist the monotheist impulse to delay the meeting of the holy with the human until the end of time.

  

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Contents

Note on Transliteration and Usage
ix
Preface
xv
Breaking with
3
in Persianate Historiography
47
Victim of the Waning of the Qizilbash
121
Eulogists Storytellers and Craftsmen
161
Cosmos History and Community
197
Writing Heterogeneity
245
Shah Tahmasbs Break with
295
1590 to 1666
349
Mystics Theologians
403
Conversion and Popular Culture
439
Index of Key Concepts
549
Copyright

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References to this book

Martyrdom in Islam
David Cook
Limited preview - 2007
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About the author (2002)

Kathryn Babayan is Assistant Professor of Iranian History and Culture at the University of Michigan.

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