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Analysis of the civil efforts of Nader Shah Afshar in Shiite religious sites.


Religion during the Reign of Nadir has seen a great challenge and crisis, because Nadir before obtaining the reign had showed Shiite tendencies, but with the accession to the throne ordered the abolition of Shiism and invented the Jaafari religion as the fifth religion of the Sunni world. During his reign, he had tried to change the Ottomans' religion. But he failed. In a course also claims to be a sunni and sometimes have done things to support of Christians and Jews ... Nadir aims, by these kinds of works, to conquer all Islamic countries. Religion in his politics was considered a means to achieve the goal, not the goal itself.

However, his proponents and opponents have said many things about his personality. Some have known him as a Sunni fanatic that with regard to the convictions of his predecessors had insisted that he made Iran to return to the same way before Shah Ismail again Good behavior of Nadir with regard to Sunni elements and his attention to the religion is causing this thought among historians. Nadir in 1146 when he left for Iraq and pilgrimage to the Shrines and excellent series had visited the tomb of Abu Hanifa and presented gifts to be spent to repair it. Except for that Nadir in 1148 BC had declared in the plains of the Persian Magi if Iranians had left the substation of the first three Caliphs, he accepts the kingship of Iran.

Also a lot of collateral agreements and treaties that were signed in the period or letters that were written by the Nadir to Ottoman state, stressed the rightfulness of three caliphs and verbal reprimanded the verbal abusive of them, but their names are associated with polite phrases, such that in the letter of King Nadir Shah to Sultan Mahmoud Khan the phrase of "va A'al-e-Athar al-Akhyar and great companions" is seen And also in the beginning of the letter of King Nadir to Ottoman state, it is seen "peace be upon Mohammad and his holy family and his companions", and also there are some instances that he has tried to stop the Shiite actions and behaviors and some of his behavior have seen on following the Sunni religion. Dutch sources quoted in the story of a person who at the time was come to Iran in Nadir period writes:

Nadir had stopped Iranians to hold in May 1734 an annual mourning and saying Hassan and Hussein. It was said when issuing this command, the scholars were said that if these people due to the belief in two persons barely have done anything in their life, they are ready to hurt themselves and etc., I'm afraid that if I die, because of the work that I have done for them, they would suicide.

Nadir has issued commands about Eid Ghadir that Shiites marked as the guardianship of Ali (peace be upon him). According to official of Russian government in Iran, although the command had caused a great sadness for people, despite of this, they have been obliged to follow the command.

In many cases, he knew the courage of Ali (peace be upon him) worthless and criticized him by saying: Ali, had moved his army in deserts and many of them would die because of thirst. Then asked people: why instead of Ali, you don't demand from God to help?

And some believe that he was basically a believed Shiite that until the last days of his life also he had practiced his assignments. Among the reasons, it can be noted his different protests to various religious places such as Mashhad, Shiraz and Holy Shrines in Iraq ...

All the Nadir's relatives, including his successors and predecessors, had followed the Shiite religion. A dedication of Nadir had remained that is related to 1145 AH; when he had governed the Khorasan. According to devote, Nadir had dedicated some estates under conditions regarding to its content, that is very valuable of the viewpoint of his religious beliefs and his family. In the devote, Nadir was introduced as the "Conqueror and promoter of duodenal victory", and decreed that the entire estate income and endowment of farms and shops all of which are located near the holy city of Mashhad--the income of two years is about 250 tabrizi toman to be spent on expenses as follows:

1. Imam Reza shrine expenses, including expenses water-carrier house, mgs, tallow and candles and the needy and the poor and Tasooa and Ashura mourning.

2. The expenses of the trustee, the right to demand the right of observing and government contributions. This letter is dedicated, respectively; toReza Qoli Mirza and his family, his consanguine brothers, the sons of Ibrahim Khan Zahir al-dawla (Nadir's brother) and ultimately the custodians of the Shrine of Imam Reza (peace be upon him).

According to some researchers, in the age of Afshariye "Nadir basically was bom Shiite, and was also grown with Shiite religious culture. He later regarding the political necessities had showed his tolerance towards his Sunni peasants nad basically all other divine religious within the Persian Empire, that is the sign of his admirable human vision and his wisdom.

In the age of Afshariye, Iran and Turkey over several years, were involved in bloody wars. Nadir attacked three times in Baghdad, and each time he could not have completed the conquest of the city because of an internal problem, and he inevitably had returned to Iran. Every time Nadir went to Iraq, with the devotion of the heart and all humility and obedience pilgrimage went to see the Holy Imams (peace be upon him) Monuments and each time there was valuable gifts, and a lot of action on new construction in the Shiite holy places ran with all his sincerity and devotion, he had upon Imam Ali (peace be upon him) and his great family, (the fact can be understood from his epistle formal expressions and his effort to repair, decoration and illumination of Shrine of Imam Ali and other infallible Imams (peace be upon him) and also his respect upon Jaafari religion), he had demanded the great assembly to leave the curse and abuse the Caliphs, and public authorities also allow the Jaafari religion to be known in parallel with four Sunni Schools. Although the scholars had accepted this invitation in that Supreme Assembly, but paradigmatically it had no success. Yes, King Nadir devoted all his efforts to unite the Islamic World, and with all humility, called himself as little brother of Ottoman Sultan. This was a sign of his goodwill and his humility. The conqueror king, like Nadir, however, in his words, he had inherited the heritance of four Kings and was the King of Iran, Afghanistan, Turkestan and India at that time, and also he had occupied a part of Ottoman territory, had made an order that can only be interpreted as "goodwill". Nadir felt that he became tired, old and sick after a lifetime fighting, and knew that the Ottoman would not accept his religious proposals and also he could not force them to agree by using the sword, he made the decision after his great victory of Baghdad. Nadir to implement of the compilation between Shiite and Sunni, in 1156 AD went to pilgrimage to the Holy Shrines, and in Najaf had arranged an assembly with the Authorities of both sects, in fact, nearly this religious assembly was established in Najaf after the political assembly of Mugan plain. This is one the rare and interesting work in the history of the world, especially history of Middle East that took place in order to justify the religious sects.

The first invasion of Nadir to Mesopotamia in 1145 BC and 1146 BC during the regency:

Baktlans, in this year had rebelled and the rebellion was drawn to Persian Gulf coast. Nadir had extremely treated them and after pacifying the Baktlans, had invaded Kermanshah and conquered there and then attacked the Ottoman army through the city of "Kerend", and defeated them severely. Then, in the Mesopotama had joined his troops and would advance towards Baghdad, he crossed the Tigris and encamped against Kadhimiya and with the help of a foreign engineer had built a bridge over Tigris by the trunks of palm trees, and his troops had crossed and was involved with Ottoman army, but his army was severely defeated, but in a short time, after crossing the Tigris by Nadir troops and going beyond the river, while the final failure was coming, the situation of Nadir was changed and the victory was backed to Nadir's army. Nadir immediately ordered the conquest of Kadhimya, Hilla, Samarra, and Najaf, and the blockade of Baghdad was completed. After that they have blocked Basra, but due to the internal unrests, the blockade was stopped. However, Ahmed Pasha, governor of

Baghdad had sent a representative to negotiate with Nadir, and had surrendered his army, but in these conditions, the Ottoman army was arrived and also Ahmed Pasha refused to surrender. The war between Iran and Ottoman Empire had intensified in Iraq and in the wake of war Nadir was injured and was fell from the horse, immediately he had ride another horse and continues the leadership of war, unfortunately, the second horse also was injured and feel, Nadir had jumped another horse with bloody body but the troops that were frightened Nadir to be dead, and escaped and Nadir army retreated. Mirza Mahdi Estarabadi in this case writes: "because the seditions of thirst had annoyed the troops, and the soldiers were thirsty, felling the horse of Nadir and his injuries was the additional cause, the courageous men were suspected that if the King is injured, and his body was weakened, the gunmen of Saturn, and the authorities of Mars were disabled to control the army."

But Nadir with a strong will gathered the army and in less than two months had mobilized another army and was ready to battle with Ottomans; therefore through Kermanshah again resumed his attacked, but this time Muhammed Khan Balooj had revolt, but Ndadir did not care his revolt and focused on capturing Tabriz and Baghdad.

In the battle, Osman Pasha that had been surrounded by troops of Nadir was killed, and because of the fear of the people from Nadir, Tabriz was evacuated, it was easily settled by Nadir.

Nadir after the victory went to visit the holy places and then had transfer his artillery to Iran and had battled with Muhammed Khan Balooj near Dogonbadan and severely had beaten him, but Muhammed Khan fled to tropic regions, then took refuge in Kish where surrendered to Nadir's army and he was transferred to Isfahan, he was blind and three days after he had suicide. Taking refuge in islands by Muhammed Kham, Nadir was thinking to establish navy.

Eventually, after many efforts and various agreements between Iran and Ottoman, the Ottomans were expelled from Iran and all the western parts were seized by Iran.

Last battle of Nadir with Ottoman State:

Nadir had straggled so much to make peace with the Ottomans but he was failed to attract their satisfaction, and despite the goodwill of Nadir to regulate the consensual agreement with Ahmed Pasha, the governor of Baghdad and the Turkish government representative, he was contested by the authorities. Being aware of the pressure on Iranians and the dissatisfaction of the masses of Nadir agents, the Ottoman government was pursuing the unrest in the country, and ordered his agents in Qaris, to support the claims as far as possible, and to try at disrupting Iran's domestic affairs. However, Nadir that felt the internal threats has intensified, was not willing to be involved again with the Turks, and wanted to have some way to appeasing the involvement to overcome the inland problems and then to attack them with adequate opportunity and time. It is also interesting to note that when Taghi khan had rebelled in the south, Nadir did not go off it personally, but remained near the Turkish border. However, with the sequential unrests in Iran, Nadir was acknowledged that the existing problems were not solved except by force and probably another fighting should be awaken to finish the obstinacy of the Turks by Jan. Nadir from Hamadan moved towards Abhar and intended to punish the Pasha of the Qaris, began to advance towards Ottoman, in the way he was informed that one of the claimants of the throne that named himself Sam Mirza and was supported by the Turks, have been arrested by Tahmoures Arakli, leader of Georgia. The Kind ordered the eye of the false prince to be blind and had sent him to Pasha of Qaris in order to have been both brothers seen each other.

Brief history of the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him):

The tomb was built by Aeron al- Rashid with a dome of roses. Then, it was rebuilt by Da'e al-Saghir one the descendents of Zaid bin Ali bin Hussein, and last time was rebuilt by Azed al-Dawla Deilami Buwayhid about 327 AH. Hence, the main building of the Shrine of Ali bin Abi Talib is considered of Buwayhid architecture.

In later periods, seen numerous repairs, and is decorated with many ornaments. The first building of the shrine was red at the time of Aeron al-Rashid, instead, Azed al-Dawla had built a white dome, and in the Safavid era it was green and then by King Nadir was a gilded dome.

How King Nadir pilgrimage to the shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him):

Nadir pilgrimage the shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) with humility and humbleness. During his visit knew himself completely guilty and he demanded the forgiveness of the Great Imam. Addressing the Imam said: I was nothing and by your help I became the powerful Nadir and looked proud. If I was a poor and low rank and so invaluable, but because of your kindness had grown and at the end of the door of the shrine, demanded the Imam to made him successful.

Nadir, in a journey to Najaf; when he arrived at the holy shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him), ordered a chain had been thrown around his neck and crashing him like a slave to the holy shrine. When the chain was hung on his neck, no one dared to crash him toward the shrine, suddenly they found someone with greatness, that immediately took the chain and crashed him into the shrine, then they followed that person but they did not find him.

Nadir in the same trip, decided to gild the dome of the holy shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him). When the agents arrived the middle of the dome, asked him: "Sir! What should be written on the dome?" Nadir responded without thinking: "write: the power of God is far above all". The next day, The Minister said: "I think, this was inspired by the word of God on his heart, if you do not agree, ask him again." And they asked Nadir again: "Sir! Pardon, what should be writing on the dome?" Because Nadir was illiterate and had forgotten the verse, saying:" The verse I said yesterday."

Nadir's actions in Najaf:

Nadir had visited the holy shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) at the beginning of 1146 BC. There, he made a wow in his heart whenever divine grace was included his armies and many victories had fated to them, he would have finished the gold dome Great Imam Ali (peace be upon him) to be very clear like sun and moon. Nadir on the same trip to visit the shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) had attempted to improve the situation for the adjacent and the pilgrims , always the Kings and the official authorities had offered great gifts to honor the Great Imam that many of them was kept in the sepulcher, in the shrine or in the treasury. Until the era of Ghadjar, the sepulcher and its beautiful golden and silvery don cressets, and the beautiful candles would have made lighten the shrine and the number of the cressets was eighteen. King Nadir had considered four gem cressets for the comers of the courtyard of the holy shrine like other Shiite Kings, and offered additional gifts that his commanders had intended.

In 1156 AH when King Nadir had visited the holy shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him), ordered to remove all the green tile from Safavid era with Sheikh Bahai design for the dome and two minarets and decorated the shrine with gold. This spending was over live thousands tomans. He had spent the enormous wealth on repairing the Shrine, and donated the countless gifts into the shrine's treasury which nowadays, most of them has remained in the treasury of the shrine. The dome of the shrine was white in the era of Azed al-dawla and at Safavids era was green, and it was gold in Nadir's era, and had written its date in the golden porch on 1156 AH. This action by King Nadir had a profound impact on Shiites, and many of the Shiite poets have been written for this occasion on Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Hindi. King Nadir also had attempted hard to decorate the holy shrine and its tile floor, including tile floor of the savants porch that is facing the North which is known as the place of the savants, and in this place many of the Shiite scholars and some of the Safavids authorities are buried which has remained up to now. The wife of King Nadir, Razieh Beygom the daughter of Shah Sultan Hussein Safavid also had donated a large amount of money to repair the holy places that most of them took place in Alavid Shrine.

Mirza Mahdi on these measures writes: "Because the King was focused on decorating the dome, the authorities had tried to do it in a perfect manner; they had done the beautiful golden decoration, and made 10 gerans which is equivalent of five thousands tomans, the awesome dismissals of the dome were calculated that were not considered by the king, which the King had accepted to pay, the Majesty Goharshad Beygom, the mother of the princes: Kamkar Nasrullah Mirza and Imam Gholi Mirza also had delivered one hundred thousand rupees which was spent to repair the tile floor of the shrine's wall, and delivered twenty thousand naderi from Mahesty Navab Mahd-e-Olya and Fuji from the Harem, Razieh Suktan Beygum, the daughter of Khaqan maghfur Shah Sultan Hussein to repair the mosque behind the head of Shah to staff."

Two minarets are located on either side of the eastern porch. The environment of each of them was 8m and their diameter was 35m, it is said that every one of them has been covered with four thousand sheets of pure gold. At the height of 25m, it was surrounded by a strip with lm wide that it is written some verses of Surah of Jum'a and in the higher elevations of the balcony of the minaret, there are two stucco rows with a one and a half meter in diameter and has three meters height. Higher than that, there is a narrow cylinder that is one and a half in diameter, and the top of the minaret has ended to a crescent-shaped. Nadir in 1156 had ordered to remove the tiles of the minaret and to replace it with golden sheets.

Najaf wall:

Because Najaf was beside the desert connected to the desert of Damascus and the attack of the Arabs and others was expected to the city, the Shiite Kings and governors worked hard to protect the city. The walls were built around Najaf and when it was necessary, they were renewed. As it is described in the Book of Bostan al-Syaha, this wall was built by some the Indian Kings. It is said that this wall was greater than the second wall. It is said when Nadir arrived Najaf, had ordered to build the wall around the city. The date of the arrival of Nadir Shah to Najaf is mentioned about 1156, and it is not unlikely that he had repaired the second wall.

Nadir Turkish inscriptions in the shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him):

The Turkish poetry was said by Nadir's order that was written with gold and vermilion and was placed on the entrance, near the top of the shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) in Najaf. The poet and mathematician, is Mirza Abdul Razaq Jahanshahi nicknamed Nesha who is of the descendants of the Sultan Jahanshah Gharaghuyunloo. Followings are an example:

The Great King, the wiser king in the world, Nadir of the world

He was the inherited the thrown of Jamshid the Great King of the world

He offered the precious gifts

He was so powerful with incisive words, the King of the Sea and Earth

Nadir's actions in Shrine pf Imam Hussein (peace be upon him):

Muhammed Kazim Marvi wrote in Alam Araye Naderi about visiting the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) by Nadir:

"After reaching the holy shrine, he had done all the circumstances of pilgrimage, and preyed with tearful eyes, had demanded help from the Imam Hussein and other martyrs, and offered many precious gifts, and behaved with others with kindness."

Nadir, in addition to, sincere pilgrimage of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) had considered the vows including precious scythes for covering the holy sepulcher of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him). In addition, he had brought the exquisite carpets and very precious screen for porches and the door of the shrine. Other works of Nadir are: the donation of golden cresset to better lightening of the shrine of Imam Hussein and donating the precious jewelry for the treasury of the shrine. Also he had considered four gold domes for the comers of the sepulcher. Another action of Nadir is considering the suitable food for the reception of pilgrims that he was thinking about the welfare of them. Muhammed Kazim Marvi writes about the action of Nadir in shrine of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) as:

"... He prayed the holy shrine with tearful eyes and behaved all the people with kindness, and donated the precious gifts and vermilion that were decorated with jewelry like rabies, and diamond and ... all of them shined like sun and had placed four beautiful minarets. That holy shrine was decorated with silk carpets; its minarets were named by Iranian King. And for pilgrims provided the delicious food to be comfortable and he prayed two days long."

Nadir, in his second trip to Barbala, after praying and doing the customs and traditions of the shrine, donated the servants of the shrine, and had placed some decorated cressets to illuminate the holy shrine and considered the gifts for poor and Sadats and masters and after a three days pilgrimage, moved towards Baghdad.

Nadir's actions in the shrine of Hazret Abbas (peace be upon him):

The shrine of Hazret Abbas (peace be upon him) is placed in three hundred meters of the North of the shrine of the Imam Hussein (peace be upon him); means where he was martyred. As long as the attention to building, development and decoration of the shrine of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him), this shrine also was considered. Although the first dome of the shrine was built by Azed al-dawla in fifth century, but by the early centuries of Islam, this shrine was placed at the center of the attention. After building the dome and shrine by Azed al-dawla, the Safavid Kings has a special attention to the shrine, and made considerable changes in its building and had tried to rebuild it. Safavid ShaH Tahmasb in 1032 AH has decorated the shrine with beautiful tiles and installed a sepulcher on the box and placed it on the grave. He also, had rebuilt the sepulcher and the shrine and sent the precious carpets to cover its salons.

Afsharid Nadir Shah in 1153 AH, offered the precious gifts and jewelry to the shrine and attempted the mirror-work of some the buildings. In his era, a luster with forty candles had offered to lighten the shrine.

Nadir's measures in Holy Shrine of Imam Hassa Agari (peace be upon him):

Imam Ali Naqi and Imam Hassan Asgari, the tenth and the eleventh Imam, were buried in Samarra. Also, Nargiskhatoon, the mother of Hojjt bin Hassa (Mahdi) and Hakimeh khatoon, the daughter of Imam Javad (ninth Imam) and the aunt of Imam Ali Naqi are buried in Samarra. The crypt of the Absence (the place of the beginning of the absence of Mahdi) also is located on the west side of the shrine in Samarra. Both Sunni and Shiite believe that Ali Naqi was buried in his home, and he had bought the house from Dalil the son of Yaghoob Nasrani. This house was very large and its today yard was included. Hassan Asgari also was buried alongside of his father. Because there was a military barracks around the house, their Shiite and followers, went to pilgrimage secretly, and there was a window on the street that the pilgrims had visited and did not enter the home. However, its management was of the Shiites. Hassan Asgari had a servant who lived in the house and rebuilt every part of it. This situation continued until 328 AH and the end of the Small Absence. Since then, this place always have been visited and respected by Shiites and everyone had tried to rebuild according to his capability.

In 1156 AH when Afsharid Nadir Shah went to pilgrimage the Holy Shrines in Iraq, did some maintenance in the shrine of Samarra, and also his wife Razieh Beygum, the daughter of Sultan Hussein Safavid had repaired the tile-work of the shrine.

Nadir's measures in Kazimya:

The shrine of Imam Musa Kazim and Imam Javad (peace be upon him), is located in the center of the main part of the city. The distant view of the shrine, the two gold domes are seen which are so interesting in the sunshine. It seems that the artists have intended to use the shrine for guidance. However, application of the circular domes has shown a kind of inflexibility that reduces the violation of the building. This causes the roof to rise and the indoor space is cheery.

Located at the four comers of the shrine roof, have an interesting perspective. These are small and bold gilded minarets, are added the radiance and brightness of the shrine. The four angles of the porch roof, there is high and hollow wall which tip it over the basin wall up to its rod that is decorated with Kufic inscriptions and Sols.

These beauties have gathered together so that the shrine of Kazimya among the shrines of Iran and Iraq, have been considered because of its good landscape.

In 1153 AD, King Nadir has sent the valuable gifts by one of his commanders to the sacred places. After registration of the gifts, the governor of Baghdad allowed the Iranian government to put its representatives to the determined places.


[1] Kazim Marvi, M., A. Araye Naderi, 1990. correction by Mohammad Amin Riahi, Tehran, Science Publishers, pp: 268-269.

[2] Shabani, R., 1993. Social History in the Age of Afsharieh, vol 1, Tehran, Ghomes, p: 118.

[3] Navaei, A., 1989. King Nadir and his ancestors, Tehran, Zarrin, p: 300.

[4] Ibid

[5] Mortimer Durand, H., 2003. Nadir Shah, translated by Syed Abdul Reza Beladi (Iran, Tohid, pp: 293.

[6] Nadir Shah's traditions, correction by Doctor Reza Shabani, Tehran, publication of National University of Iran (Shahid Beheshti), p: 165.

[7] Marvi, M., 1962. Nadir views of the world, with prelude of Myklukhoo Maklay, Moscow, Eastern Literature publication, Co. 1962AD, p: 196.

[8] Shabani, R., 2009, the History of Iran in the era of Afsharid, Tehran, Sokhan, p: 78.

[9] Esther Abad, M., 1989. History of the Nadir's conquests, Tehran, World Book, p: 267.


Article history:

Received 25 April 2014

Received in revised form 8 May 2014

Accepted 20 May 2014

Available online 16 August 2014

(1) Ali Suzanchi Kashani and (2) Dr Reza Shabani

(1) Phd., candidate. Department of History, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

(2) Assistant Professor, Department of History Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.

Corresponding Author: Ali Suzanchi Kashani, Phd., candidate, Department of History, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran, Email:
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Author:Kashani, Ali Suzanchi; Shabani, Reza
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
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Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jul 23, 2014
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