Volume 17, Issue 65 (2024)                   LCQ 2024, 17(65): 163-190 | Back to browse issues page

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mehri S. Safavid Religious Jurist and Abu Muslim Reading: Examining the Prohibition of the Stories of Abu Muslimnameh and its Relationship with Criticism of Sufism and Anti-Sufism. LCQ 2024; 17 (65) :163-190
URL: http://lcq.modares.ac.ir/article-29-73531-en.html
University lecturer , sam.mehri@yahoo.com
Abstract:   (777 Views)
  The personality of Abu Muslim Khorasani has been reflected in various forms in the texts. In the hadith sources, Abu Muslim is often introduced as someone who was against the Shia Imams. In polemical-theological texts, Abu Muslim is introduced as the avenger of Ali's family, the overthrower of the generation of the Imams, and the destroyer of the Umayyads. But in the folk stories and especially in the narrations that we know today as Abu Muslim name, Abu Muslim is not only a Shia person, but also one of the special Shiites who received the spiritual teachings of the Imams and is himself a follower of the Tariqat and he has transcendental benefits. The same image of Abu Muslim entered the Sufi circles through the tradition of story-telling, and later became one of the important pillars of the Safavid Khanqah Invitation. After the Safavids came to power, the Safavid Sufis, by promoting the stories of Abu Muslim, kept alive the goals of the Safavid uprising and increased their followers. The religious jurists of the Safavid court, in an effort to curtail the influence of the Sufis, were the first to recognize this and subsequently prohibited the reading of stories about Abu Muslim. This article demonstrates that the banning of stories, the reading of stories, and the distortion of Abu Muslim’s image were fundamental measures taken by religious jurists to combat the proliferation of Sufism during the Safavid era. 
Extended Abstract
During the Safavid era, the Shiite religious jurists had gained a lot of power and decided to remove their long-time rivals, the Sufis, from the arena of politics and power. The movement of anti-Sufism in this period had several stages. Thus, at the beginning of the Safavid government, the fight against the Sufis was the only written criticism; But at the end of this era, this movement increased and led to the killing and rejection of the Sufis. In this article, only the first step of anti-Sufism in this era, that is, the criticism of Abu Muslim and Abu Muslim reading has been discussed.
The character of Abu Muslim is different in Shia narrations, history and stories. In the Shia hadith sources, there are narrations in the condemnation of Abu Muslim that show the opposition of the Shia Imams to him. For example, one tradition says: Imam Jafar Al Sadiq (AS) did not accept Abu Muslim's invitation and did not even respond to his letters. However, in Shia theological-dialectical sources (especially Persian sources), Abu Muslim is praised for overthrowing the Umayyad government and he is introduced as one of the followers of Shia Imams, whose goal was to bring the Shia Imams to power.
 The character of Abu Muslim is different in the stories, especially “Abu Muslimname”. In these stories, he is one of the top Shia people, and there is no need to prove his religion. According to the narratives, even the name of Abu Muslim was given to him by Imam Muhammad Baqir (AS), and he is in contact with the Shia Imams and he in the real world or in the dreams, constantly receives help from them. And they treat his problems and pains. In addition, Abu Muslim also has a mystical personality and is able to do extraordinary things or meet with mystical guides.
The personality of Abu Muslim and the traditions and stories related to him were popular among the Safavid Sufis and they used this in calling their followers. Abu Muslim Khorasani and Muhammad Hanafiyeh were among the most important personalities of the Sufis of Ardabil Monastery, whose praises and stories were constantly expressed. Some religious jurists fought Sufism secretly and openly. Some of the reactions against Sufism in this period are only specific to the Shia society; The main idea of these anti-Sufi people is that the elements that have entered the Shia community from Sufi beliefs by combining Sufism and Shiism must be destroyed. Therefore, one of the elements that was tried to be left out of the society's beliefs is story-telling and Manqebat reading for Abu Moslem of Khorasani.
 The first objector to Abu Moslem reading in the Safavid period is Mohaghegh Karki. He believed that Abu Muslim's friendship with Imams and Shias was not real and he intended to attract them by deceiving them. He considers Abu Musallam readers, liars and their words as Satan's words. Taleqani also believes that the atheists were a group of Abu Muslim's lovers, and he believes that the atheists became interested in him because of Abu Muslim's claim to the Holoul theory. In addition to the religious jurists, the Safavid kings, such as Shah Ismail and Shah Tahmasab, also opposed the storytelling and Abu Muslim reading. Of course, we should know that despite these oppositions and obstacles, people were still inclined towards these stories.
In the middle of the Safavid period, for the first time, a book named Salwa al-Shia was written, which expresses the objection to the Helpers of Abu Muslim and the Sufis in one place, and clearly names groups of Sufis who followed Abu Muslim. And it shows that the opposition to Abu Muslim and Abu Muslim readers was in line with the opposition to the Sufis. This opposition and the expression of the connection between the Sufis and Abu Muslim had not been expressed very clearly until this book. In fact, Abu Muslim-reading has been a discourse act that these story-tellers have also popularized Sufism.
Therefore, it can be understood that the newly empowered religious jurists in the Safavid court, in order to eliminate the Sufis, initially tried to devalue their valuable symbols and personalities. One of the most important of these measures was the banning of reading stories About Abu Muslim and the destruction of his personality. And referring to the link between the Sufis and Abu Muslim, they introduced both groups as misguided and cursed. Therefore, the effort of the religious jurists of the Safavid period in confronting Abu Muslim's storytelling and stories was an attempt to start a powerful and pervasive trend of anti-Sufism.
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Article Type: Original Research | Subject: Sociological critique
Received: 2024/01/22 | Accepted: 2024/05/20 | Published: 2024/04/29

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