Shi'a religious parade standard

Shi'a religious parade standard

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Standards such as this were carried in religious processions particularly at the Muharram ceremony which, for Shi’a Muslims, commemorates the martyrdom of the third Shi’i Imam, Husayn, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad at the battle of Karbala.


Standards such as this were carried in religious processions particularly at the Muharram ceremony which, for Shi’a Muslims, commemorates the martyrdom of the third Shi’i Imam, Husayn, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad at the battle of Karbala.

This battle took place in the month of Muharram, first month of the Muslim year, in Iraq in 680 (AH 61). It was fought between the forces of the Umayyad caliph Yazid (reigned 680-683) and the Shi’a who are the supporters of Ali, Companion of the Prophet, husband of his daughter Fatima and father of Husayn. Ali was the first Shi’a Imam. This tragic event deepened the schism between the two main branches of Islam the Sunni and the Shi’a. It features strongly in the religious life of Shi’a Muslims and is commemorated every year.

This standard, known as an alam, is in the shape of a sword representing the sword of Ali and is inscribed in open work with elegant inscriptions which include the names Allah (God) , Muhammad, Fatima, Aly, Hasan (the second Shi’i Imam) and Husayn and the invocation ‘O Ali!’.

The Prophet, Lady Fatima and the Imams Ali, Hasan and Husayn hold a special status in Islam and are referred to collectively as the Ahl al-Bayt (People of the Prophet Muhammad’s Household).

Under the Safavids, the dynasty founded by Shah Isma`il I, which ruled Iran from 1501 until 1722, Shi’i Islam became the official religion of Iran which it remains to this day. There are followers of Shi’a Islam across the Islamic world. They revere 12 imams whose burial places and those of their descendants are an important focus for worship and pilgrimage.

Shi'a religious parade standard

81.

Shi'a religious parade standard

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Object details

Height: 127 cm
Width: 26.7 cm
Depth: 4.5 cm

 

1888,0901.16-17

    References

    See this object in our Collection database online

    Further reading

    R.J. Abisaab, ‘The ‘ulama of Jabal ‘Amir in Safavid Iran, 1501-1736: Marginality, Migration and Social Change’, Iranian Studies, 27 (1994), 103–122

    S.R. Canby, Shah ‘Abbas: The Remaking of Iran (London, The British Museum Press, 2009)

    S.A. Arjomand, ‘The Clerical Estate and the Emergence of a Shi’ite Hierocracy in Safavid Iran: a Study in Historical Sociology’, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 28 (1985), 169–219

    K. Babayan, ‘The Safavid Synthesis: from Qizilbash Islam to Imimite Shi’ism’, Iranian Studies, 27 (1994), 135–161

    J.R.I. Cole, ‘Rival empires of trade and imami Shiism in Eastern Arabia, 1300-1800’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 19 (987), 177–203

    M. Axworthy, A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind (New York, 2010)

    W.J. Fischel, ‘The Bible in Persian Translation: a Contribution to the History of Bible Translations in Persia and India’, Harvard Theological Review, 45 (1952), 3–45

    J. Foran, ‘The Long Fall of the Safavid Dynasty: Moving Beyond the Standard Views’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 24 (1992), 281–304

    F. Gaffary, ‘Evolution of Rituals and Theater in Iran’, Iranian Studies, 17 (1984), 361–389

    S. Golsorkhi, ‘Ismail II and Mirza Makhdum Sharifi: an Interlude in Safavid History’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 26 (1994), 477–488

    J.T. Krusinski, The History of the Late Revolutions of Persia (London, 1740)

    A.S. Melikian-Shirvani, ‘Safavid Metalwork: a Study in Continuity’, Iranian Studies, 7 (1974), 543–585

    V.B. Moreen, ‘The Problems of Conversion among Iranian Jews in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’, Iranian Studies, 19 (1986), 215–228

    V.B. Moreen, ‘The Downfall of Muhammad [‘Ali] Beg, Grand Vizier of Shah ‘Abbas II (reigned 1642-1666)’, Jewish Quarterly Review, ns 72 (1981), 81–99

    M. Baqir, and V.B. Moreen, ‘Risala-yi Sawa iq al-Yahud [The Treatise Lightning Bolts against the Jews] by Muhammad Baqir b. Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi (d. 1699)’, Die Welt des Islams, ns 32 (1992), 177–195

    A.J. Newman, ‘The Myth of the Clerical Migration to Safawid Iran: Arab Shiite opposition to ‘Ali al-Karaki and Safavid Shiism’, Die Welt des Islams, ns 33 (1003), 66–112

    R. Savory, ‘The Safavid State and Polity’, Iranian Studies, 7 (1974), 179–212

    A. Shay, ‘Dance and Non-dance: Patterned Movement in Iran and Islam’, Iranian Studies, 28 (1995), 61–78

    D.J. Stewart, ‘Notes on the Migration of ‘Amil scholars to Safavid Iran’, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 55 (1996), 81–103

    D.J. Stewart, ‘The First Shaykh al-Islam of the Safavid Capital Qazvin’, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 116 (1996), 387–405

    I. Lapidus, and F. Robinson, The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Islamic World (Cambridge, 1996)