Archival Study on Fiscal administration of Holy Shrines in Muslim Societies: The Case of the Safavid Shrine in Iran

The Second Term
Project term April, 2021–March, 2024
Coordinator Ryoko WATABE (The University of Tokyo)
ILCAA Staff Nobuaki KONDO, Yoichi TAKAMATSU, Satoshi OGURA
Joint Researchers Naofumi ABE, Yukako GOTO, Tomoko MORIKAWA, Ayako NINOMIYA, Hiroshi ONO, Masaki SUGIYAMA, Ryuichi SUGIYAMA, Sanae TAKAGI, Yoichi YAJIMA, Akihiko YAMAGUCHI

In Muslim societies of West and Central Asia, many mausoleums dedicated to Islamic saints have accumulated great wealth through religious influence. This study seeks to clarify the property management and administration systems of these mausoleums in order to reveal their economic basis, shed light on their social and economic role in society, and illuminate their relationship with political powers. Through surveys of historical materials related to property management owned by the Mausoleum of Shaykh Ṣafī al-Dīn Ardabīlī (d. 1334) in Northwest Iran, this research project aims to clarify various aspects of the formation and development of the property management systems of mausoleums dedicated to saints and their relations with the state and society in medieval and early modern Iran. This study will also compare these cases with cases in other regions of the Muslim world.

The First Term
Project term April, 2018–March, 2021
Coordinator Ryoko WATABE (The University of Tokyo)
ILCAA Staff Nobuaki KONDO, Yoichi TAKAMATSU
Joint Researchers Naofumi ABE, Yukako GOTO, Tomoko MORIKAWA, Hiroshi ONO, Masaki SUGIYAMA, Ryuichi SUGIYAMA, Sanae TAKAGI, Yoichi YAJIMA

In Muslim societies of West and Central Asia, mausoleums of Islamic saints exercised religious and sometimes political power, accumulated great wealth, and played an important role as social, cultural, and economic centers. How did they establish and manage their financial foundations to maintain their social and cultural activities? This research project aims to clarify the method of property management of the mausoleum of Shaykh Safi al-Din (the founder of the Safavid Sufi order), which developed as the state shrine of the Safavid dynasty (1501-1736) in early modern Iran, through a comprehensive analysis of Sarih al-Milk (the mausoleum’s records of donated lands and property). Focusing on the types, functions, and styles of legal and financial documents and books recorded in Sarih al-Milk, tracing their changes through time, and comparing them with historical materials of other regions and periods, this project examines the development and change of political, legal, and economic systems that supported the property management of saint mausoleums in medieval and early modern Muslim societies.

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