The Review of Mutual Relationships Between the Nīzām Shāhī Dynasty and the Safavids

Document Type : Research Article


1 Assistant Professor, Department of History, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran

2 PhD Student, Al-Mustafa International University, Qom, Iran


Iran-India relations are deeply rooted in history,going back to the onset of Indo-migration. Based on the policy of neighborhood, their relationshipgrew smoothly in the spheres of commerce and tradeand thentheir cultural relations and exchangesforged. Thecommercial convergence and cultural similarities between two nations extendedthroughout the Islamic age, followed by the Muslimization of Iran and some parts of the western and southern India.
However, the promotion of their relationships can be seenthroughout the relations of the Safavids with the Bāberiyān and Shi’a-ruled states in south Indiasuch asBahmani, Adil Shāhī and Qutb Shāhī and particularlyNīzām Shāhī.It seems that The Shi’areligion have greatly affected these governments to be closer to the Safavids in Iran as aShi’a-ruled state. According to the research sources, the growth of Shi’a-ruled states throughout India began in the 8th century and reached its peak in the 13th century. These states emerged in some areas such as Kashmir, southern India, Awadh and Bengal. The factors behind the spread of Shi’as throughout India have been the presence of Iranian Shi’a Muslim scholars and businesspersons and the propaganda of Shia missionaries. However, not only didthese Shi’as, especially Nīzām Shāhī dynastyshare the religious similarities with Safavids, but also they were considered one of the significant trading partners of this state, who was knownas the main economic, political and religioussponsor of Shi’a-ruled states and Nīzām Shāhī in India in this period.
This study aims to investigate the elements affecting the relationships between the Safavids and the Nīzām Shāhīsconsidering the political developments of thisDynasty.“Which factors have created huge impacts on the interpersonal growth of relations between two governments” and “how much impressionsthese relations have had on the political policies of Nīzām Shāhī Dynasty?”To explorethe raised questions, this papertries to hypothesizethe Shi’a-ruled states like the Nīzām Shāhī dynastyin South India have been given the supportof Safavid dynastyin the economic, political and cultural spheres for antagonism towards the Sunnislike the Bāboriyānsin India. Ultimately, what brought about the overthrow of the Shi’a-ruled statesin southern India, such as the Nīzām Shāhī dynasty was that the increased Bāboriyāns’power in northern India had been simultaneous with the vicissitudes of Safavids’ power in Iran. This researchin a descriptive-analytic method has used original library resources.


1.    Introduction

Relations between the Shi’a-ruled statesin India, whether in the southern part of India, or the Deccan Plateau or even Kashmir and Iran in Safavid dynastyperiod can be investigatedfrom diversespheressuch as political, economic, cultural and social ones. In political sphere, the expeditions of emissaries and diplomats between these governments and the support of the Safavids against their historical rivals, Sunnis, can be taken into detailed consideration. Incultural sphere, the immigration of a vast number of Iranian writers, poets and artists, being recruited by thesegovernments led tothe spread of Shi'​ism, Persian language and Iranian culture amongst them. In social level, owing to the increasing number of their immigrations over the Safavid era,the communities of Iranian Shi’as, who immigratedtoIndia,particularlyto some areas, impacted bytheShi’ascan be criticallyexamined. In the economicsphere, there was a growth of trade and commerce between the Safavidsand those governments, leading to economic efficiencyof these governments. The purpose of this study is to scrutinizefactors and causes, contributing tothe growth of these relations between the Safavids and the Nīzām Shāhī dynastywithemphasis on the political developments of thisdynasty.

Owing to the importance of the Safavid dynasty’sinteractions with the Shi’a-ruled states in their period,especially the Indian ones, some extensive research and study have been performedon interactions between the Safavid dynasty and theseShi’a-ruled statesinsouth India. Some of them can be named such as“Shi’a in India”[1], "History of Iranian-Islamic Culture and Civilization in the Bahmanianperiod"[2], "Collection of Iranian Documents and Correspondence in the Safavid Period"[3], "the Shi’aof India"[4], "Indo-Persian Relations"[5], Atlas of Shi’a"[6]and"Political and Diplomatic Relations of the Timurids of India"[7]. All these references have pointedto the relations between the Nīzām Shāhī dynasty and the Safavids,however, they have not been comprehensively compiled.

A brief look at the history of relations between some Shiite states in south India and the Safavids

The first Shi’a-ruled state in India is the Bahmani sultanate, who governedin south India for 26 years, simultaneous with the period of the Safavids inIran (907-1135AH/1501-1722 AD), particularlyduring the reigns of Shah Ismail I (907-930 AH/1502-1524 AD) and Shah Tahmasb I (930-984 AH/1524-1576 AD). Bahmanian’s official languagewas Persian, and some scientists, military force, and politiciansimmigrated to south India at their time. Bahmani sultanatewere drawn to Iranian immigrants because oftheir own Iraniannationality. (Movahedi, 1390: 27-28)

The second Shi’a-ruled state in South India, wasAdilshāhī dynasty, who lasted from 1490 to 1686 AD (895-1097 AH) in Bijapur, and playedcrucial rolesin diversescientific, cultural and political fields in the history of India. Theyruled over south India for 190 years. Their religion wasthe TwelveShi’a and they had officially spoken Marathi language. Moreover, they warmly welcomed many Persian-speaking scientists, artists, politicians and military forces who had emigrated from Iran to southern India throughout their rule. Of the Iranian, Turk and Iraqi scholars, writers, poets, historians, painters, calligraphers andthe military whose religion was Shi’a Islam, Shaikh Jalāluddīn and Mīr Khalilullāh Shirazi are the most prominent scholars. (Nadavi, 1936: 139-138)

As the third most renowned Shi’a-ruled state in southern India, the Nīzām Shāhī dynasty was founded in Ahmednagar (896-1044 AH/ 1490-1633 AD). More than eleven kings ruled this dynastyfor 143 years in the Deccan. Most of thegovernorsestablished a stronger correlationindifferent aspectswith the Safavids. Their religion was the the Twelve Shiite Imams. Besides, the governors paid attention to some Iranian scientists, artists, politicians and military peoplewho immigratedto southern India,throughouttheir reign. Amongst them, Shāh Tāhīr Al-Husayni, Mullāh Malik Qomi, Mullāh Zohūrī, Shāh Zafar,the brother of Shāh Tāhīr, Shāh Haidar, the son of Shāh Tāhīr, and Khorshāh Ibn Ghobād Al-Husseini are known as the most famous Iranian Shi’a immigrants. (Nadavi, 1936: 133-136)

The other Shi’a-ruled statein Southern part ofIndia was Qutb shāhī dynasty, who ruled overfrom 1512 to 1687 AD (918-1098 AH) and exerted an inevitably great impact scientifically and culturallyon Indian society. Theirofficial language was Persian and many Iranian scholars immigratedto their region at the period of their reign.Mīr Mohammad Mo’men Astarabadi can be mentionedamong the Iranian Shi’a scholars in their period(died 1034 AH). Qutbshāhī dynastyhad the strongest connection with the Safavids. Because of their relations and diplomacy with the safavid dynasty,the central government of Indiaoften threatened them. Theirrelations, therefore, would deteriorate, but never break down(Razavi, 1997: 463-430).


The establishment of the Nīzām Shāhī dynasty(896-1044 AH/ 1490-1633 AD)

Ahmednagar region in the south of India was considered as one of the states of Bahmani dynasty(895 AH/ 1489 AD) and afterbreak-up of Bahmani Kingdom,the Nīzām Shāhīdynasty was foundedthere. Their territorial expansion was bounded to the north by the border of Khandesh district, to the eastby Bidar and Berar,to the south, by Bijapur, and to the west by the coastlines, in which the city of Mumbai is today located(Fahmi, 2009: 544).In governmentalmanuscripts and official historical dates,recorded by the MongolEmpirein India, this kingdomhas been called Nīzām al-Mulk. (Riazul-Islam, 1391: 138)

This dynasty was originally founded by Ahmad Nizam Shah, who was the son of the Nīzām al-Mulk Malik Hassan, originally named Bahīrūn Brahmin, was a HinduBrahmin from Beejanuggar, and was arrested by the Muslims during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Shāh Bahmani in Vijayanagar. After arriving in Bijapur, both the father and the sonconverted to Islam. The name of BahīrūnBrahminwas changed into MalikHussein (Fahmi, 2009: 544) or Malik Hassan Bahri (Ghaderi, 1387: 25) and the name of his son, Bhiima Bhat,into Malik Ahmad. Malik Hussein Bahri, who had served in the courtas a royal steward, was talentedat reading and writing the Hindu, therefore,was appointed by Sultan Muhammad Shāh Bahmani as the tutor of his son, the Prince Mahmud. In this short period, Hussein therefore became well versed in Persianlanguage along withthe Prince. First, he was charge of the royal hunting, and then was formally designated as the loyalchief secretaryinthe period of Mahmood Bahmani(Fahmi, 2009: 544)

Over time, Malik Hussein Bahri was highly respectedat the court of the Bahmanis, his influence was considerably extended, and finally he was awarded the title of Nīzām ul-MulkBahri. Subsequently, he was conferred with the governorship of the Telangana province. After Sultan Muhammad Shāh, Sultan Mahmud Shāh ascended the throne of the Bahmani dynasty. The Sultan also treated Malik Hussein Bahri with respect and admiration, appointed him as the royal lawyer, and gave himproperties with a lot of land. These assets later would bepassed to his son Ahmed. Malik Hussein Bahri sent his son Ahmed as a ruler to Junnar district and thus, the foundation of the Ahmadnagar dynasty was established by Malik Hassan Bahri. (Razavi, 1997: 442-443)

After the time of his accession to the throne, Malik Ahmad defeated the Maratha Hindus, who had dominated many districts in the period of the Bahmani dynasty, and recaptured the fort Bir. At that moment, the other forts such as Jind, Lohagarh, Tung, Kori, Tikona, Purandar, Bhorop, Jivdhan, Manaranjan, Mahuli and Pally were captured by him too. He conquered the entire Konkan region at the point of his sword. After making these conquests,whileMalik Ahmad was fighting in the Konkan coastal regions,he heard of the assassination of his fatherby the Bahmani dynasty.Malik Ahmad, therefore, rebelled against this dynasty. After reaching Junnar, heassumed the titles of his father, called himself Ahmad Nīzām-ul-Mulk Bahri, and declared his independence in 1490 AD (896 AH). He appointed Zarif al-Mulk-ī-Afghanī as "Amir al-Amra" and Nasīr al-Mulk Gujarati as "Mīrjamla". That year, he struck a coin in his own name and the Ahmednagar dynasty became an independent Islamic government called the Nīzām Shāhī. (Fahmi, 2009: 544-545).

When Sultan Mahmood Bahmani received a declaration of his independence, hedispatchedhis troops repeatedly to suppress him. He, however,could not do anything. (Nadavi, 1936: 131)

Ahmad Nizam Shah established the city of Ahmednagar in 1494 AD (900 AH) as his capital, on the banks of the Sina Rivernear Daulatabad. He promoted the empowerment of the Ahmednagardynastyso strongly that the greatestroyalties trembledof its growing power. Finally, Ahmad Nizam Shah Bahri, the real founder of the Nīzām Shāhī dynasty, died in October 1510AD (916 AH). (Hallister, 1373: 443)

After the death of Ahmad Nizam Shah, his son, BurhanNizam Shah, succeeded to the throne while he was only seven years old. In the initial days of his reign, due to his low age, Mukammal Khān took the charge of the affairs(Nadavi, 1936: 131).One of the greatest historic events, occurred in the rule of Burhan Nizam Shah was the emergenceof the Iranian Shi’a Islamscholarnamed Shāh Tāhīr Hosseini (880-952 AH/ 1475-1545 AD) in the Deccan region of India. He propagated the Shiite religion, soShiism wasconsidered as the official religion of this government until the end of the regime. (Astarabadi, 1387: 25)

Of other famous sultans, Burhan Nizam Shah II was the seventh sultan in this dynasty. He wasgreatly interested inimproving arts and sciences. Due to simultaneousof his reign with that of Hussein Nizam Shah II and his strictures,imposingon the Shiite religion,he was oustedfrom power. Throughout this period, religious difference and hostilitycame out and grew, and the Deccans seized the power,assassinating thousands of Shiite immigrants. (Astarabadi, 1387: 27)

National independence and sovereignty of the Nīzām Shāhī dynastywas gradually relinquished in the period of Murtaza Nizam Shah coincided with the reign of Akbar, the greatest Mughal emperor of India, so it became one of tributary states of the Mongols. Finally, the Nīzām Shāhī dynastyin the reign of Hussein Nizam Shah III was annexed to the territory of the Mughal Empirein the reign of Shāh Jahan, the fifth Gurkhani emperor of India in 1633 AD (1044 AH). The Nīzām Shāhī dynasty, consequently,came to an end(Khorshāh Ibn Ghobād Al-Husseini, 2000: 20).

The following is the list of the Nizam Shāhī dynastyrulers:

1) Ahmad Nizam Shah Bahri: 1490 AD-1509 AD

2) Burhan Nizam Shah I: 1509 -1553 AD.

3) Hussain Nizam Shah I: 1553-1565 AD.

4) Murtaza Nizam Shah I: 1565-1586 AD

5) Miran Hussein Nizam Shah II: 1587 AD.

6) Ismail Nizam Shah: 1589 AD.

7) Burhan Nizam Shah II: 1591-1564 AD

8) Ibrahim Nizam Shah: 1595-1596 AD.

9) Bahador Nizam ShahIbn Ibrahim Shah: 1596 AD.

10) Ahmad Nizam Shah II: 1596 AD.

11) Hussein Nizam Shah III: 1630-1633 AD.


Factors underpinning the relationships between the Nīzām Shāhī dynasty and the Safavids

Since the beginning of the Nīzām Shāhī dynasty, the sultans of this dynasty established closecollaboration with the Safavids. Three main factors led tothese relations;the political factor was regardedthe first and most significant one.In spiteof good relations between the Safavids and the Gurkhani sultans in India, there was competition and conflict between them over Kandahar sovereignty and borderclashes.

Additionally, inthe Deccan, the Gurkhans and the Safavidsʾ interests were in conflict. It was because the Gurkhans considered the Deccan as a part of their territory andfurthermore the SafavidssupportedThe Nīzām Shāhīs and other local Shiite rulers in the Deccanin a way by which they could take up struggle against theSunni Gurkhans who were trying to harness the power. Consequently, by apparently obeying the Safavids, the local governments of the Deccan would withstand the Gurkhans’s pressure.Religious factors such as having a common religion have had an inevitably profound impact on this convergence. (Astarabadi, 1387: 25)

Throughout this period, the Safavid Shiite governmentclaimedto take the leadership over the Muslim population, particularlyover all the Shia’sacross the world againstself-aggrandizement of the Ottoman Sunni caliphate. At the onset of this dynasty, the Nīzām Shāhīsembraced the Shia’religion, andrecognized it as their official religion.

The third influentialfactorassociated withthe development of their international relationswascultural field. The Nīzām Shāhīs warmly welcomed some Iranian people, immigrated to the Deccanand a large number of these immigrants hadbeen recruited in their military service or administrative system,and they hadkey positions. The immigration of Persian poets, nobles, and artists to the Deccanresulted in promoting Persian language and culture in the region throughout their reign. In conclusion,sharing the cultural affinity wasthe other key factor attributable to strengtheninteractions between the The Nizam Shāhī dynastyand the Safavids. (Astarabadi, 1387: 25)


Relations between the Nīzām Shāhīs and the Safavids

The historical trajectory of relations between The Nīzām Shāhī dynastyand the Safavids indicates the close relationships and interactions between the two governments in this controversial period. The basic building blocks to these relations can be categorized into the spheres of politics, culture, and economy. Generally,The Nīzām Shāhī dynastywaswielded an inevitably spiritual influenceby the Safavids in Iran. The sermons delivered by the name of the Safavids, the Shiism followed by The Nīzām Shāhīs, the common language shared between  two governments, diplomats and ambassadors get accredited, correspondence exchanged between the two governments and some Iranianʾ recruitmentwere associated with shaping this policy.


Delivering sermon in the name ofthe Safavids

After declaringhis independence in 1490 AD (896 AH), Ahmad Nizam Shah deleted the names of the Bahmani kings and delivered a sermon in his own name. Burhan NizamshahI, the second king of this dynasty (1509-1553 AD)converted to Shia Islamunder the tutelage of Shah Tahir Husaini(880-952 AH/ 1475-1545 AD). He delivered a sermon in the veneration of the the Twelve Shiite Imams, like The Safavid rulers(Astarabadi, 1387: 25). His successors, Borhan Nizamshah and Hussein Nizamshah (961-972 AH/ 1553-1565 AD)also preached their sermonsin the veneration of the Twelve Shiite Imams (Hallister, 1373: 459).In the meantime, any relationships between the Deccan and the Safavids made the Mongols deeply suspicious with a sense of resentment. They refused to deliver any sermons in the name of the Safavid rulers. Shah Jahan, the Mongol Empire,feared for the independence of the Nīzām Shāhīdynasty,and objected to namethe Iranian rulers in sermons. In 1636 AD (1045 AH),HewantedNīzām Shāhīs to mention the name of Shāh Jahan instead of Iranian rulers, and deliveredtheir sermonsonthe Sunni view (Riaz ul-Islam, 1391: 138, 168-169). On the other hand, in the pursuit of a supporter, Nīzām Shāhīdynastyfound Iran as the most powerful country that could reduce the constant pressure of the Mongols until the Ahmednagar's government could resist the Mongols. As aresult, the continueddiplomatic relationships between Iran and the Deccan improved(Hallister, 1373: 138, 140, and 169).


Shiite religion in the Nīzām Shāhī dynasty

Undeniably, what had built a link between the Nīzām Shāhīs and the Safavids, wastheir common religion, while one of the most significant religious differences and conflictsin the Islamic world of that period in Muslim states wasSunni-Shiismcontroversies. Consequently, it led to develop a close interaction between the states, sharing the same religion. As a result, it was considered a key factor in their unity.AhmednagarNīzām Shāhīshad adopted the Shiitereligion, motivated by the Safavidsin 1537 AD (944 AH),almost half a century before Akbar implementedhis policy for the contests of the Deccan (Ibid: 249).

As mentioned in the previous discussions, the founder of the Nīzām Shāhīs was Ahmad Nizam Shah, a descendant of the Hindu Brahman who later converted to Islam. Early in the reign of his son, Burhan Nizam Shah I (915-960 AH/ 1509-1553 AD), the propaganda efforts, designed to “servant’s blessing”, the “Mahdavi” movement, wasbeing promoted in Ahmednagar. It was said that one of Burhan Nizamshah’s daughters married to Sheikh Mahdavi (Ibid: 443).However, there is a truth that Burhan Shahconverted to the Shiite religionand recognized it the official religion, under the sponsorship of Shāh Tāhīr Husaini, a prominent Iranian missionary, whoentered the Deccan in 1520 AD (926 AH) or in 1521 AD (928 AH), and spread the Shiite religion(Astarabadi, 2008: 25).

Shāh Tāhīr wasa disciple of the Shiite religion in southern India and played an active role in spreadingthe Shiismthere (Riazul-Islam, 1391: 138). Burhan Nezamshah tried to propagate the Shiism. It is said thatafter his death,his bones was taken to Karbalā and buried next to the tomb of Imam Hussein (Hindushāh, 2009, J 3: 28).

Throughout the reign of Hussein Nizam Shah II (995 AH/ 1586 AD), Shiismwasthe official religion. After his death, in the reign of Murteza Nizam Shah (972-995 AH/ 1565-1586 AD), the Shiite school empowered,thedisciples and followersof “Ahl al-Bayt”wererepresented with tremendous honor and respect and the more number of villages were entrusted to them. He was finally assassinated by the sons of Hussein Nizam Shah II in 1588 AD (Rajab 996 AH), and His burial ceremony was performed according to Shiite jurisprudence and after a few years, his bones were transferred to Karbala. (Hallister, 1373: 460).

When Ismail Nizam Shah (997 AH/ 1589 AD) has shown more receptiveness to Mahdavism under the influence of Jamal Khan Dekni, his action led to dissatisfaction among some courtiers.Mahdavism,therefore,recognized as the official religion instead ofThe Twelver Shi’a religionthroughout his reign.Two years later, Ismail’s father who had been taken refugewith the Mongol court, got into fight with his son (999-1003 AH/ 15911564 AD).Afterhe pulled off the victory in the fight with his son, and regained the throneunder the name of Burhan Nizam Shah II (999 AH/ 1590 AD), he rejected the Mahdavia religion and once again recognized the Shiite religion(Hindushah, 1388: 28). He correspondinglydeliveredhis sermonsin the veneration of the Twelve Shiite Imamsand mentioned the name of the Safavid rulers, while Sunni and Mahdavi formed the majority of population there. (Nadavi, 1936: 135)


Sharing the common languageby the Safavids and the Nīzām Shāhī dynasty

As mentioned in the previous discussions, after the collapse of the Bahmani dynasty, several dynasties such as Adilshāhi, Qutbshāhi, Barid shāhi and Nīzām Shāhī, established in the southIndia, which were similar to oneanother in terms of havingthe same religion and language throughout their reigns (Bashir al-Nisa Begum, 1379: 31). Persian-speaking writers, poets and Iranian immigrants, and the attention of the Nīzām Shāhīrulers led to the development and spread of Persian language and literature at the time.

Persian language and literature wasthe most important administrative and bureaucratic language of the states andthe most significant remnant of this heritagecan be seen through history.The encyclopedia of the history of India in the Islamic period, which can be considered as the most enormously important historic work, is called “Firishta” or “Ferešte” by Muhammad Qasim Hindu Shah Astarabadi.The presence ofthe most increasingly prominent Iranian scholars and politicians resulted in the growth and development of Persian language and literature among the governments, causinga period to be followed by the history of Iranian literature and poetry with the Indian literary style, which has been discussed inHistory of research and contemporary literaturein detail.


The exchange of political and cultural ambassadorsbetween the Nīzām Shāhīsand the Safavids

Among the numerous Shiite governments in south India throughout this period, the Nīzām Shāhīsseemed to have built up better relationships with foreign countries than the others had and their ambassadors had been mutuallytraveling to the other neighboring governments with many gifts (Nadavi, 1936: 135).Subsequently, the exchange of ambassadors with Iran and the employment of Iranians in high positionsstrengthened the connections between the Deccan dynasties, particularly the Safavid emperors and the Nīzām Shāhīs. (Riazul-Islam, 1391: 249)

Seyyed Mohammad Hossein Madani, who hada special respect and honor in the court of Burhanshah,after coming back from India met Shah Tahmasb and compliedBurhanshah’skindness and affection to the family of Muhammad Prophet (S) and Shāh Tāhīr’s efforts in promoting the Shiism religion. As a result, the relations and interactionsbetween two rulers and their correspondence and communicationestablished and improved. To offer congratulation, Shah Tahmasb dispatched Agha Salman Tehrani, known as Mīr Jamāl, with gifts and an agate ring on which was engraved the phrase “May God grant success”[8]to promote the Shiism religion. (Khorshāh Ibn Ghobād Al-Husseini, 1379: 15).

This letter[9] as one of the most important documentsindicatesthe strong relations between two governments. Accordingly, a reciprocal relation werebuiltbetween them, and Burhan Nizam Shah`s ambassadors were sent to the court of Shah Tahmasb. Shah Haidar, the son of Shah Tahir Hosseini, wasone of the ambassadors, about whom ​​Khorshāh writes, "Shāh Tāhīr complied with Shah Tahmasb's invitation, and he sent his son, Shāh Haidar, to the court of Shah Tahmasb with a letterby the Burhan shah’s consent. Subsequently, Shah Tahmasb repliedthe letter. After having stayed in Iran for a while, Shah Haidar came back to India and when he residedin the city of Homayounpour, he presented Shah Tahmasb's letter with gifts and donations to Burhan shah(Khorshāh Ibn Ghobād Al-Husseini, 1379: 17).

The other ambassador of Burhan Nizam Shah, who had been dispatched to the court of Shah Tahmasb, was Khorshāh Ibn Ghobād Al-Husseini, who was sent to Iran as an ambassador by Nizam Shah and Shāh Tāhīr in 1545 AD (Rajab 952 AH),and then came to Shah Tahmasb in Qazvin city.He livedin the camp of Shah Tahmasb for a year and a half. That is why he was known as the “emissary of Nizam Shah” and wrote a bookentitled The History of the emissary of Nizam Shah (Ibid: 20-21)

In 1611 AD (1020 AH), another significant issue, which had been done through mediation, wasthat the two governmentsforged an alliance to support one another against the threats of Jahangir, the Mongol emperor (Filsafi, 1369: 240).

In the later periods, Malik Anbar Habashi, the commander of the Nīzām Shāhī dynasty sent some ambassadors to the court of Shah Abbas as well. HerequestedShah Abbas to mediate between them in the presence of Jahangir, the emperor of India. (Ibid: 1421-1422), and Shah Abbas granted their request, then he dispatchedDarwish Baig Marashito Nizam Shah and Malik Anbar, who reconciled them and Jahangir accepted the conciliationShah Abbas’s role.

In 1616 AD (Shawwal 1025 AH), Shah Abbas sentthe other conciliationofficer, named Mohammad Reza Baig, to Jahangir's court (Ibid: 655).Sir Thomas Roe, English Diplomat,reports that Mohammad Reza Baig awarded clothes, rewards and badges by Jahangir with respect and dignity. Sir Thomas Roereceived reports that the emissary had apparently commissioned to conclude a peace treaty between the emperor and the Deccan, but in reality, his major goal was to provide his lordwith financial assistance in the war against the Turks. Mohammad Reza Baighad been given a large amount of rewards and benefits and then leftMalwa regionin 1617 AD (Rabīʽ al-Awwal 1026 AH). Jahangir gave him a letter, addressed the king, in which the aims of Jahangir’s trip to Malwa and the fruitfulmilitary operations against the Deccan governmentwere described. There was likelihood that after spending his leave,Mohammad Reza Baigprobably stayed in India for six months or came back to India because he died in 1617 AD (Shawwal 1026AD) and Jahangir ordered his property to be given to an Iranian businessman, namedMohammad Ghasem Baig,. (Riazul-Islam, 2012: 118-119)

In 1620 AD (1029 AH), three embassy officialswere sent to Bijapur, Golkandeh and Ahmednagar by Shah Abbas (Filsafi, 1369: 759). The massive improvement of these relations between the Safavids and the Deccan Shiite governments, however, was extremely unpleasant to the Mongol Empire.Although the main preoccupationof Babur and Homayoun, Mughal Emperors,was controlling the northern India, none of them was aware of the Deccan. They kept upcorrespondencewith Burhan Nizam Shah. In 1600 AD, Akbar Shah besieged an army to capture the fort of the Deccan, but this rebel was routed through negotiation on land with the Mongols.Throughout the reign of Jahangir (1608-17 AD), the Mongols putincreased pressure onthe Deccan. Abdul Rahim, Khān Khānān and Prince Shah Jahān, one after another,launched large-scale invasion and occupation of Ahmednagar and Bijapur. The long war and conflictfrom the Mongolsagainst Ahmednagar and Bijapur endedas a result of the intense pressure from Shah Jahān and the immediate success of Abdul Rahim Khānin 1026 AH/ 1617 AD, and finally there was a peacetreatyby which the Mongols annexed some territories including Ahmednagar Fort. (Riazul-Islam, 1391: 139-141), and in conclusion, they overthrewAhmednagar government in 1633 AD (Ibid: 168).


Recruitment of some Iranian prominent scholars in Nīzāmshāhī’s court

Scholars, artisans, businesspersons and other social groups who immigrated to the Deccan drew the rulers’ much attention. By appointing Iranians in high-position jobs, theygreatly influenced the Iranian-Shi’a culture and civilization in the Deccan. Throughout their reigns, many important Iranian-Shi’a personalities, scholars and politicians served in their government organizations. During the reign of Burhan Nizam Shah, one of the Iranian Shi’a scholars, named Shāh Tāhīr Hosseini (880-952 AH/ 1475-1545 AD) entered theDeccan (926 AH/ 1520 AD) and Burhan Shah appointed him as a minister. Aninstitute was established in Ahmednagar by Shah Tahir, which drew many Shia scholars, poets, and political figures’ attraction toimmigrate southern India. Shāh Tāhīr's brother, Shāh Jafar, played an active role in the reign of Burhanshah; consequently, scientific services were performed with the support of this Shiarule. (Mohieddin Ghaderi, 2008: 25)

Throughout the reign of Murteza Nizam Shah (973-995 AH/ 1565-1586 AD), Iranian scholars had been greatly givenrespect and honor, among them, Mullāh Malik Qomi and Mullāh Zohūri were prominent Iranian scholars. Zohūri was known as a renowned Iranian poet. After fleeinghis homeland for India, he was welcomed at the court of Ahmednagar and Bijapur. (Nadavi, 1936: 133)

Another Iranian scholar, Mohammad Qhasem Fereshteh, the author of Golshan Ebrahimi,came to India throughout the reign of Murteza Nizam Shah. Mohammad Ghasem Fereshteh was the son of Gholam Ali Hindushah Astarabadi, who was bornin Astarabadin 1553 AD (960AH). As a child, he immigrated to India with his father during the reign of Murteza Nizamshah (972-996 AH) and tookup the city of Ahmednagar as his residence, and both of them infiltrated the royal court. Murteza Nizam shah appointed Hindushah as the tutorof his son, Mīrān Hussein. Fereshteh had been staying in Ahmednagar untilMīrān Nizamshah died and then he appearedin the court of Adilshāhīs. (Qaderi, 1933: 16)

In conclusion, although the local governments ofthe Deccan and the Safavids, had always had respectable relations with each other and apparently supported one anotherowingto thesame religion and culture and the existence of a common rival, Gurkhans of India, they did not take any action so as to give support to each other. They refused to jeopardize their own interests in favor of other interests and to enter into military conflicts with the Bāberiyān.



The Shi’a religion was being propagated and spread in India in the second century AH bybusinesspersons, adherents of the Shia Imams, and practiced and preached by Fatimid Caliphateand Ismailism in the fourth and fifth centuries. Since India was one of the centers of the Islamic Caliphate, many immigrants and Shi’a families who had entered the regionspread the branches of the Shi’a Islam, the Zaidis, Ismailis (including the Bohras, and Agā Khāniye branches). After centuries of a great struggle, the Shias were able to hold political power in several parts of India and establish independent governments such as Bahmani, Adilshahi, and most importantly the Nīzāmshāhī, which most of rulers and kings were those who supported and promoted the Shias. Thus, these governments provided the necessary basis for the spread of Shiism.

The foundation of the Safavid state in Iran and the recognition of the Shi’a religion led to many connections between Iranians and other Shi’as to have a common religion. The south India was one of the centers facilitating such communication, and the Nizāmshāhīs attained impregnable position as one of the most important Shi’a-ruled states in south India and the Deccan. The interaction policy of the Safavids with the Nīzām Shāhīswas not consistent and reliable and factors such as political changes in southern India, and the constitution of the two neighboring powers of the Safavids and Baburiaffected the political policyof the Nīzām Shāhīdynasty.

Undoubtedly,thespiritual support, and almost financial assistance from the Shi’aSafavid dynasty, especially towards the Nīzām Shāhīs,significantlyinfluenced the continuity and development of these states as well as the Shiism in southern India. Moreover,some issues such as delivering the sermonsin the name ofthe Safavids, paying attention to Iranian immigrants like Shi’a scholars or Iranian artists and writers, recognizing the Shiism, exchanging emissarieswith gifts and numerous missives, recruiting some Iranians in the government systemcontributed to the development of the relations and interactions.

In addition, the presence of Iranian prominent personalities in the Shi’a-ruled states in India, including the Nīzām Shāhīs and the more extensive connectionswith theSafavids had highly influenced the spread of Shiism in India. Nowadays, Shiism has achieved an elevated position among the Hindu and Muslim communities,many Hindus, therefore,werestrongly influenced by it.


[1]Athar Razavi, 1997.

[2]Mohsen Masoumi, 2011.

[3]Abdolhossein Navai, 1962.

[4]John Norman Hallister, 1994.

[5]Riazul Islam, 2000.

[6]Rasool Jafarian,2012.

[7]Noor Mohammad Khan,2011.

[8]«التوفیق من­الله»

[9]:«... در این اوقات خجسته ساعات که سیادت پناه نقابت دستگاه، رفیع الدرجات کثیرالبرکات، ذی الحسب والظاهر وانسب الطاهر، عمده افاخم السادات والنقباء العظام، نقاوه اولاد حضرت خیرالانام - علیه الصلاه والسلام- شمسا للسیاده والنقابه والدین، محمد الحسینی المدنی الوحادی که به تقبیل قوایم سریر خلافت مصیر و حاشیه بساط جلالت مناط مستعد و سرافراز گشت صورت ارادت و اعتقاد و کیفیت اخلاص و اتحاد آن سیادت و نقابت دستگاه کماهی بر مرایای ضمیر منیر سعادت تصویر کرد که مورد اسرار غیب و مهبط انوار لاریبیست مرتسم و منقش گردانید ... چه بنابر وفور مساعی جمیله آن سیادت پناه در اعلاء اعلام دین مبین و ترویج احکام شریعت حضرت خیرالنبیین علیه الصلوه والسلام و انتشار مذهب حق امامیه در آن صوب و ظهور آثاراخلاص و بروز قواعد اختصاص او بدین درگاه سلاطین پناه توجه خاطر دریا مقاطر درباره آن سیادت و نقابت دستگاه زیاده از حد و حصر است «لا یحتاج الصباح الی المصباح» و آن افاضت پناه را از زمره معتقدان به اخلاص و مخلصان به اختصاص این دولت بی انتقال ابدی الاتصال دانسته، به موائد تعظیم و عوائد تفخیم از سایر اکابر و اشراف ممتاز و مستثنی می­دانیم و نتایج این معانی نسبت به آن سیاده پناه و اولاد عظام «الی ما تناسلوا و تعاقبوا» ازین دودمان رفیع مقام ما دارالشهور و الاعوام ظاهر و باهر خواهد شد. تحریراً فی شهر محرم 949م»(Khorshāh Ibn Ghobād Al-Husseini, 1379: 16-18)

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