Chapter

‘SOVEREIGN AND PIOUS’: THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE GREAT SELJUQ SULTANS

D. G. Tor

in The Seljuqs

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780748639946
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653294 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748639946.003.0003
‘SOVEREIGN AND PIOUS’: THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE GREAT SELJUQ SULTANS

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The Seljuqs propagated themselves as Sunni heroes. They projected themselves as supporters of Sunni religious scholarship, staunch champions of Abbasid caliphs and defenders of Islam against heresy, heretics and infidels. However, in the 1970s, with the revisionist work of George Makdisi, the Seljuqs's claim to religious revitalisation was placed in the shadow of doubt. Serious doubt has arisen regarding the religious nature of the Seljuq rule. In Makdisi's work, the Seljuqs were a greater scourge of the Abbayasi caliphs than the Buyids; half-heartedly waged was against the Isma،ilis; behaved in a Machiavellian fashion toward religious classes; and were not responsible for the Sunni Revival. This chapter aims to solve the puzzle attached to Seljuqs by examining a key aspect of the Seljuq's religious life and the way they were perceived by the Muslim public. It examines the personal piety, beliefs and practices of the sultans and the extent to which the sultan's religious outlook influenced their actions and policies. Such an examination reveals that the lives of the Great Seljuq sultans demonstrate a significant degree of personal religiosity, particularly among the rulers through the time of Sanjar. These religiosity are manifested in personal devotional practices and expressed beliefs, in the veneration of holy men and shrines, in the incorporation of religious figures into the state, and in the active role of their personal belief in the formulation of public policy.

Keywords: Seljuqs; Sunni heroes; religious revitalisation; Sunni Revival; Seljuq's religious life; personal religiosity; Great Seljuq sultans

Chapter.  11253 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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