Jul 27, 2021, 10:06 AM
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Who is Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili?

Tehran, IRNA - Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili was the grandfather of the kings of the Safavid dynasty, who had top spiritual position and founded Safaviyya movement, whose followers put on red hats; so, they were called Ghezelbash (red head).

The rise of the Safavid dynasty in the post-Islamic history of Iran is seen as a turning point, which helped reinvigorate the Iranian identity and establish an independent state after eight centuries of being under the rule of Arab caliphs. Sheikh Safi al-Din was one of the first figures of the dynasty.
Safi al-Din was born in 1253 in Kalkhoran village, northwestern Ardabil province. The poet, mystic, teacher and Sufi master married Fatima, daughter of Sheikh Zahed Gilani. The couple had three sons.
Safi al-Din gave importance to religious teachings. He memorized the Holy Quran, when he was a young man. He learned the principles of piety and asceticism in Ardabil. Then, he traveled to Shiraz, Fars province, in order to be trained at Sheikh Najib al-Din Bozghosh's spiritual circle, but the Shirazi sheikh was passed away when Safi al-Din arrived in Shiraz; however, he could meet Saadi, a renowned Persian poet, in Shiraz.
Then, Safi al-Din spent four years to find Sheikh Zahed Gilani, who was one of the most famous mystic of that time. When Safi found the great mystic in a village in Gilan province, northern Iran, he remained one of his followers for 25 years and turned into his son-in-law.
Safi al-Din was also considered one of the prominent mystics of the kingdom of Sultan Mohammad Oljaito, the first Mongol Ilkhan to accept Shia Islam as a formal religion.
The Safavid rulers, who took power with the help of Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili, used the same hat as their crown. Followers of the Safaviyya succeeded in spreading their Sufi cult as a religious movement in Ardabil and then throughout Iran, Syria and Asia Minor (the westernmost part of the Asian continent), as well as southern Asia.
Safvat Al-Safa (The Quintessence of Purity) and A'yan al-Shia (Lords of Shia) are among the most important books of Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili.
The grand sheikh spent 30 years training over 100,000 followers.
He appointed his son Sadr al-Din Musa as his heir. Safi al-Din passed away on 12 September 1334, and he was buried in Ardabil.

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