Redefining the Concepts of Imamate and Wilayat in Religious Scriptures of Past Dynasties : a Case Study of Teimori and Safavi Dynasties

Document Type : Original Article


1 PHD candidate for Analytical comparative History of Islamic Art of Art college of Shahid University,Tehran,Iran.

2 Assistant Professor of Art Research, Art College of Tarbiyat Modarres Univercity,Tehran,Iran.


inscriptions are deemed as one of the most prominent ornamental features
in structures and buildings. They have a special status with regard to
their content in Islamic architecture. Inscriptions also depict the religious
realities and epistemological values that reigned in their era. Several
studies attempted to examine the religious content of inscriptions in
different dynasties according to the popular beliefs of those eras. The
central hypothesis of the current research is that quranic verses and hadiths
carrying the principles and tenets of Shiasm (Imamate and Wilayat)
played a significant role in religious inscriptions in safavi and teimori
dynasties. The present study seeks to prove the hypothesis by asking the
following research questions. First, how did Shia beliefs find their way
into religious inscriptions in safavi and teimori dynasties. Second, did
the religious beliefs and orientations of the rulers in these eras exert any
influence in the formation of inscriptions. The current article investigates
the content of religious inscriptions in Goharshad mosque in Mashhad, Parizad and Dodar Khorasan structures erected in teimori era, and
Imam Mosque, Hakim mosque and chaharbagh school built in Safavi
dynasty. The findings show that the rulers had great respect for Imams
in Teimori dynasty. The extent of respect was so immense that some
even suspected Teimori rulers held shia beliefs. However, in this era
shia teachings were only implicitly depicted in the content of religious
inscriptions. When shiaism became the official religion in safavi era, shia
beliefs were explicitly shown in the content of religious inscriptions. The
current article adopted a decriptive-analytical approach toward studying
shia beliefs in religious inscriptions in two dynasties namely safavi and
teimori. The stance adopted by the current article is comparative in nature.