The Coins In the Name of Imam Mahdi in Pre-Safavid Era and Formation of the Concept of Shiite Ruler

Document Type : Original Article


1 PHD Candidate in Anthropology at Tehran Univercity

2 the history of Islam from Tehran Univercity, Researcher at Institute of Imamite Studies


Imamite Muslims, who follow twelve Imams from decent of the prophet,
believe that the political ruling is de jure dedicated to the prophet and
the twelve Imams. They believe that Imam Muhammad Al-Mahdi, the
twelfth Imam who was born in 9th century AD is still alive and will
come back in the promised day for constructing a heavenly world. For
Imamite Muslims, who are also known as Twelver Shia, the legitimate
government and the right of ruling is dedicated to Imam Mahdi. While
Shiite community did not developed as a society, they participated in
Sunni social institutions as a minority. Afterward in medieval period, when
Sunni caliphate collapsed in Baghdad by Mongol invasion, maintaining
the social order obliged the Shia to establish government on their own. In
this article, we will explore the formation of a new role for Shia rulers as
the representative of Imam Mahdi. Our investigation is based on the coins
of Shiite rulers in the formative period of Shiite government concept.
We find out the Shiite Sultan and Amir suppose himself a ruler in force
majeure circumstances, who shall give up his position to Imam Mahdi in
his reappearance.