Founder of the Persian Safavid dynasty in 1501. Self-proclaimed reincarnation of Ali, spirit of Jesus and al-Khidr, and Hidden Imam of Shii tradition. Claimed status as both shah and messiah to legitimate rule. Used a combination of militance and millenarianism to expand the Safavid empire. Established Twelver/Ithna Ashari Shiism as the state religion of Iran.