The Fadaˈiyan-e Islam: Fanaticism, Politics and Terror

  • Farhad Kazemi
Part of the St Antony’s/Macmillan Series book series


Shiˈite Islam emerged as a significant force in Iranian politics with the creation of the Safavid state in 1501. With the help of the Safavids, the Shiˈite ˈulama established an effective organisation that permeated various levels of social and political life. Since the sixteenth century, a complex set of working relationships has continued to link the religious and political systems. Although this relationship was harmonious at the beginning, important theological and political issues arose in due time which occasionally strained the basis of the religious hierarchy’s interaction with the ruling dynasty. The intricacies of the clergy’s relationship with the various Iranian rulers is beyond the scope of this paper. It is, however, important to point out that the Shiˈite ˈulama suffered enormously under Nader Shah Afshar (1736–47). Nader Shah’s schemes and actions challenged the pre-eminence of Shiˈism in Iran and limited some of the clerics’ traditional privileges. In addition, the Shah and his lieutenants frequently plundered the clerically controlled waqf property. Aqa Muhammad Khan Qajar (1785–96) once again stressed the Shiˈite nature of the Iranian state and restored some of the ˈulamas’ lost power. This stable relationship between the ruling monarchs and the clergy continued throughout the Qajar period (1785–1925).


Prime Minister Iranian Government National Front Islamic Principle Economic Dislocation 
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© Social Science Research Council 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Farhad Kazemi

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