Important Developments of the Tahmasp Era

The Era of Shah Tahmasp
December 2, 2022
Shah Ismail the Second
December 2, 2022

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Important Developments of the Tahmasp Era


Invitation of the famous Shia scholar of Lebanon, Nur al Din ‘Ali ibn ‘Abdul ‘Ali al Karaki

It would not be hyperbole to say that al Karaki[1] played a most evil role, to the extent that his ideologies were met with severe refutations from the Shia themselves.

From amongst those who opposed him were, al Shahid al Thani (911-966 AH), al Muqaddas al Ardabili (d. 993 AH), Ibrahim al Qatifi, Mulla Muhammad Amin al Astarabadi, Mulla Muhammad Tahir al Qummi, and others.[2] Al Karaki, however, continued on his crusade to validate all vile Safavid acts. He authored books that sought to endorse all of their innovations. He wrote a book about the Turbah Hussainiyyah and the permissibility of prostrating to humans. He also wrote a book that sanctions cursing and vilifying the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum entitled, Nafahat al Lahut fi La’n al Jibt wa al Taghut. Jibt and Taghut being a swipe at Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. He gave preference to cursing the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum over daily litanies of Allah’s remembrance. He also authored a booklet validating the change of Qiblah. His Shia opponents referred to him as Mukhtari’ al Shia, as he innovated and gave credence to all the Safavid evils.


Designating the Safavid leader to be a deputy of the hidden Imam

The most perilous act of his was to designate the Safavid leader a ‘deputy of the hidden Imam’.[3] This was the inception of the concept of Wilayah al Faqih. Al Karaki went to Iran during the era of Shah Ismail in the year 916 AH to gain an understanding of the situation and returned to al Najaf to impart these novel ideas. The dogma of the Shia had always been Taqiyyah and to not be involved in any jihad until the emergence of the Mahdi. The new situation in Iran, however, contradicted their dogma and so a new ideology had to be invented.

He thus fabricated the idea of ‘general deputization for the jurists’, i.e. Niyabat ‘Ammah li al Fuqaha, on behalf of the Mahdi. This deputization, however, was not for the Shah. Tahmasp thought to secure the support of al Karaki so that the power of the jurists be under his own influence. He also sought to distance himself from the Qizilbash who had ruled when he was young. He therefore gave over the power of legislation to al Karaki and in turn al Karaki gave him formal powers. The Qizilbash, however, had al Karaki killed and he died as a result of being poisoned the year 940 AH.[4] This has been the habit of the Shia scholars. They invent and legislate according to the whims and fancies of the rulers and pacify their desires. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala states:


اتَّخَذُوْا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّنْ دُوْنِ اللَّهِ

They have taken their rabbis and monks as lords besides Allah.[5]


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[1] Notwithstanding this, the Shia scholars of Lebanon take pride in him being instrumental in spreading Shi’ism in Iran. See. Muhammad Taqi al Faqih: Jabal ‘Amil fi al Tarikh, pg. 109.

[2] Ahmed al Katib: Tatawwur al Fikr al Shii, pg. 385.

[3] Muhammad al Bandari: Al Tashayyu’ Bayn Mafhum al Aʾimmah wa al Mafhum al Farsi, pg. 62.

[4] Tatawwur al Fikr al Siyasi al Shi’i, pgs. 319-382.

[5] Just as al Sistani had done for the Americans by issuing a verdict not to oppose them. He also passed other verdicts in line with American Shia interests. Bremer has made this clear in his study. See, Bremer vs. Sistani.