Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Ismāʽīl I, Shāh
(397 words)

Shāh Ismāʽīl I (r. 1501–1524), the founder of the Ṣafavid dynasty in Iran, was a precocious warrior and Ṣūfī murshīd (Ar./Pers. spiritual guide) crowned king at the age of fourteen. Descended from a well-established Turcoman Ṣūfī brotherhood from Ardabīl (Azerbaijan), he managed to defeat powerful Turcoman and Uzbek tribes because of his personal bravery and, principally, the fanatical devotion of his Turcoman followers, derisively termed qizilbāsh (Turk. red head[s]) by the Ottomans because of the twelve-fold turban wrapped around a red baton that symbolized…

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Vera B. Moreen, “Ismāʽīl I, Shāh”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 29 November 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1878-9781_ejiw_SIM_0019890>
First published online: 2010

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