Chapter

Fayd al-Kashani and the Rejection of the Clergy/State Alliance: Friday Prayer as Politics in the Safavid Period

Andrew J. Newman

in The Most Learned of the Shiʿa

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780195137996
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849055 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137996.003.0004
Fayd al-Kashani and the Rejection of the Clergy/State Alliance: Friday Prayer as Politics in the Safavid Period

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This chapter focuses on the debates of 17th-century Safavid Iran as the state which, in an effort to establish its own power, promoted the expanded authority of the clergy. The theological issue is the legality of the Friday prayer service during the occulation of the Twelfth Imam. The state desired that this service, with its customary reference to the ruler, take place so as to give him religious legitimacy in the eyes of the people. As economic crises faced the regime, the issue gained urgency. Threatened with popular discontent and political upheaval, the state increasingly needed clerical support. Likewise, the idea of the faqih as surrogate for the Imam and supporter of a government that was considered to be corrupt was increasingly challenged. Discontent led to a revival of Sufism and to antagonistic competition between the ulama and the Sufis. The Friday prayer service and its implications also triggered disputes between Akhbari and Usuli clergy. The chapter shows how this conflict during the Safavid period led to further debates over clerical rule and the rise of the marjaʿiya.

Keywords: Iran; Friday prayer; Twelfth Imam; Sufism; ulama; clergy

Chapter.  11284 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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