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Safi-ad-din Tomb, Ardabil, Iran

Sheikh Safi-ad-din Is’haq Ardabili (of Ardabil) (1252-1334)

(Persian: شیخ صفی‌الدین اردبیلی), eponym of the Safavid dynasty, was the spiritual heir and son in law of the great Sufi Murshid (Grand Master) Sheikh Zahed Gilani, of Lahijan in Gilan Province in northern Iran. He was of Persian and Kurdish background . Most of what we know about him comes from the Safvat as-safa, a hagiography written by one of his followers. Sheikh Safi al-Din’s has poems in the Iranian dialect of old Tati which is very close to Kurdish. He was a seventh-generation descendant of Firuz Shah Zarrin Kolah, a local Iranian dignitary. An etched figure of a giant hand , in Safi-ad-din Ardabili Mausoleum, showing Twelver Shi’a sign of Panj-tan-e Āl-e Abā Sheikh Safi al-Din inherited Sheikh Zahed Gilani’s Sufi order, the “Zahediyeh”, which he later transformed into his own, the “Safaviyeh”. Sheikh Zahed Gilani also gave his daughter Bibi Fatemeh in wedlock to his favorite disciple. Sheikh Safi al-Din, in turn, gave a daughter from a previous marriage in wedlock to Shaikh Zahed Gilani’s second-born son. Over the following 170 years, the Safaviyeh Order gained political and military power, finally culminating in the foundation of the Safavid dynasty. Only a very few verses of Sheikh Safi al-Din’s poetry, called Dobaytis (double verses), have survived. Written in old Tati and Persian, they have linguistic importance today.

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