The Omman and Safavid empires in the Islamic society can be used to give vivid examples of the Perso-Islamic theory. The events or activities that are involved in the empire are portrayed in the empire compliment the Perso-Islamic theory. Perso-Islamic theory is a theory was patronized by the Saffarids, the Ghaznavids and the Samanids during the weakening of the Baghdad’s authority. It stated that the world is a patch whose gardener is the state and the state is the sultan whose keeper is the Law.
The Law is a policy, which is guarded by the monarchy and the monarchy is a city brought into being by the military (Robinson, 2008). The army is made safe by wealth and the wealth is accumulated from the people or the subjects, the subjects are made workers by integrity and integrity is the axis of the prosperity of the world. It is the Perso-Islamic theory that led to Perso-Islamic civilization where Persian language was used for public rationale, Persian court protocol was adopted and Persian artistic vision in form of art and design was adopted.
The Safavid dynasty is believed to have originated from “Safawiyyah” in Iran and ranked as one of the paramount ruling dynasties in Iran. It contributed to the development of Iran’s identity hence established a unified Iranian state. Even though it came to fall in 1736, it is known for establishing and spreading Shi’a Islam in Caucasus and West Asia specifically in Iran (Keay, 2000). The fact that Safavid originated from “Safawiyyah” makes the Safavid dynasty unique as compared to Sassanid dynasty whose founders were from a priestly class.
The dynasty spoke in Azerbaijani language with an assorted linage of Azerbaijani, Kurdish, Georgian and Greek lines. Seyyeds were the Safavid Kings who claimed to be successors of Prophet Muhammad. It is however said by scholars that the Safavid family came from Kurdistan and later relocated to Azerbaijan. According to Perso-Islamic theory, a kingdom is brought into being by an army. This is depicted in the Safavid Empire where the empire is the kingdom while the Safavids make up the army.
It is evident that the Safavid had a strong army because it ruled for long before its demise in 1736 (Robinson, 2008). The Safavid dynasty had its set of laws, which governed the Safavids hence complementing the Perso-Islamic theory that law is a policy that is protected by the kingdom. The city of Shah Abbas is said to portray Safavid’s wealth. The city is described as a beautiful and attractive town punctuated with natural glamour. It is said to have had very fine bazaars, spacious caravans and canal streets lined with plane trees.
The fact that there were royal mosques, a sports field and a market place gives the city a wealthy description. This is according to the Perso-Islamic theory, which states that the army is made secure by wealth. People can therefore deduce that the wealthy city contributed to the long lasting Safavid dynasty (Robinson, 2008). According to the theory, wealth brings about super power hence strong armies are likely to exist in wealthy states. This is also evident in the current world that the super power states are the wealthy countries with a high gross domestic product and strong armies.
An example today is the United States and Japan. Safavid state was built on Twelver Shiism as a theocratic state with Shah Ismail being the twelfth Imam made flesh. He set about coming up with Shiism on Sunni population and after threatening force, everybody succumbed. This is according to Perso-Islamic theory that the world is a garden whose gardener is the state and the state is the sultan whose guardian is the Law.
In this case, the garden is Twelver Shiism and the gardener is Sunni. It is therefore beyond doubts that the law here is Shiism imposed by the Ismail on the Sunni people (Duby, & Goldhamme, 1982). On the other hand, of three great empires that straddled the central Islamic lands, Ottoman Empire was the mightiest and most enduring. Ottoman emperors had constructed a very strong state system organized as a single army with the emperor as the head.
The soldiers and administrators of different kinds held different positions and were paid either by land grant or by salary. The government was the emperor and the army was all the chief officials expected to join the army through campaign. There were also social classes in the empire where the top most rank was occupied by the Sultan while the lowest by the slaves. It is the powerful system that was able the empire as a strong power until 19th century (Duby, & Goldhamme, 1982).
It later collapsed because of poor administration brought about by the Sultan’s inefficiency (Nicolle, 2008). The Sultan lost grip of power on the empire leading to social and economic evils amongst the people like corruption. According to the Persio-Islamic theory, the Omman Empire can be used as an example to explain the theory. The fact that the empire had constructed a very strong state compliments the theory as it states that the world is a garden whose gardener is the state and the state is the sultan whose guardian is the Law (Nicolle, 2008). The empire had its statutory laws, which governed the empire with the head of government being the Sultan (Duby, & Goldhamme, 1982). Wealth is gathered from the subjects, the subjects are made servants who in this case are the slaves. Slaves worked for the Sultan hence accumulating wealth for him and the entire empire. According to the theory, a strong army exists in a wealthy state. This is evident in the Omman Empire, which was strong when it had a lot of wealth and collapsed due to misuse of its wealth (Duby, & Goldhamme, 1982). In conclusion, the Ottoman and Safavid are good examples of empires that applied the Perso-Islamic theory.
Duby, G. & Goldhamme, A. (1982). The Three Orders: Feudal Society Imagined. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Nicolle, D. (2008). The Ottomans: Empire of Faith. Dublin: Thalamus Publishing.
Robinson, C. (2008). The Savafids. Dublin: Thalamus Publishing.