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The Pro-Iranian Period

This period began with the rising of the Abbasids (132-656 AH/750-1258 AD). The Abbasids climbed to power with the support of the Iranians as a result of which the path was paved for the political and cultural influence of the Iranian people. During this period while some Iranian families like the Barmakis, the Sahls, and the Nobakhts succeeded in playing an influential cultural role in the world of Islam, a number of scholars like Ibn Moqaffa’ were also killed, on the charges of being “Manichean” or according to some sources, as being “zanādiq” (atheists).

In this regard, mention must be made of the role of the Nobakhts in spreading the Shiite theology during this period. Nobakht, the great grandfather of the family, who lived during the reign of the Abbasid caliph, Mansur, was of Zoroastrian faith and had a strong command in the field of astronomy. And since Mansur shared a keen interest in astrology, he had summoned Nobakht to his court, and later on, a number of his children had turned into great Ithnā Ashari Shiite scholars. The oldest surviving work on theology belonging to the Shiite school is the book “Al-Yaqut”, which was written by Abu Eshāq bin Nobakht in the first half of the 4th Century AH/10th Century AD.

Besides a number of military movements, the national-cultural movement of the Sho’ubiyah that had started earlier was pursued powerfully for a number of purposes. Besides the anti-Islamic moves of the Sho’ubiyah movement which was destined for failure, its followers launched two successful anti-Arab moves albeit after accepting Islam and under the banner of Islam. One of them was the exertion of efforts towards penetrating into the state with the aim of achieving Iran’s independence and the other was conducting researches in matters of religion and faith with the aim of discovering the truth, both of which moves manifested in the form of the emergence of different religious sects, prompting historiographers to refer to them as a movement towards creating disunity. This move that was considered as a cultural movement from an intellectual-philosophical viewpoint was mainly pioneered by some Muslim Iranian elite. Notwithstanding the above-mentioned emergence of a number of sects, the outcome of this movement was the formation of important theological schools that shall be examined during the course of this discussion. These were the Mo’tazilite, the Ashā’arah, the Mātridiyah, and the Shiite (Zaidiyah, Esmā’iliyah, and Imāmiyah or Ithnā Ashariyah) schools.


* source: Dadbeh , Asghar " Iran Entry " The Great Islamic Encyclopedia . Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.10 , pp.613- 614


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