Definition of Safavid in English:



  • A member of a dynasty which ruled Persia from 1502 to 1736 and installed Shia rather than Sunni Islam as the state religion.

    • ‘Formally and artistically, Mughal architecture owes as much to its genealogical origins among the Safavids and Timurids, as it does to the syncretism of its patrons, notably Akbar and Shah Jahan.’
    • ‘In specifically religious terms the Safavids not only persecuted Sunni Muslims, but Shi'ites with different views, and all other religions.’
    • ‘The establishment of the Shi'a faith as the official religion brought the Safavids into conflict with the Sunni Ottomans.’
    • ‘The Mughal Empire stands with the Safavids and Ottomans as one of the three great empires in which some of the highest expressions of Islamic culture were achieved, particularly in architecture.’
    • ‘He catalogs the active cultural and political traffic that existed between the Mughals, the Safavids who inhabited modern-day Iran and Afghanistan and the Uzbeks in modern-day Uzbekistan.’
    • ‘It was completely devastated by Turkmen tribes, the hordes of Tamerlane, and the Persian Safavids.’
    • ‘Shah Ismail, the first king of the Safavids even saw himself as the Imam of the era and brought back the ancient pre-Islamic ideas of ‘King, the Shadow of God’.’
    • ‘The Persian empire continued under Parthian and Sassanid dynasties before Moslem Arab invaders brought Islam to Persia, culminating in the golden age of the Safavids in the 16th and 17th centuries.’
    • ‘The same happened in Iran under the Safavids, in India under the Mughals, in the Middle East, Central Asia, Balkans and Eastern Europe under the Ottomans.’
    • ‘Before that, the region now known as ‘Afghanistan’ had a history as a provincial annex of other empires: the Safavids of Persia, or the Mughals of India.’
    • ‘But they were the rulers of the land for more than 350 years, since the Ottomans under Murad V took Mesopotamia from the Safavids of Iran in 1639.’
    • ‘At its height three Muslim empires dominated large parts of the globe: the Ottomans with Istanbul as their capital, the Safavids in Persia and the Mughal dynasty in India.’
    • ‘The rise of the ‘mullahs’ began during the 15th century reign of the Safavids, which turned Shiite beliefs into the official, Iranian state ideology.’
    • ‘The Shiite Safavids ruled Iraq in the late 1500s and early 1600s under Shah Abbas.’
    • ‘The Safavids ruled from the early sixteenth century until 1736.’
    • ‘But this land - incessantly fought over in the past by Arabs, Safavids, Christian crusaders, people of all nations - is poised for change.’


  • Relating to the Safavid dynasty.

    • ‘This capital of the 17th century Safavid dynasty can keep a visitor in awe for days.’
    • ‘He describes the Safavid, Qajar, and Pehlavi dynasties and how they sought to balance the three ethnic tribes within Iran to try to forge a nationalist identity.’
    • ‘This distinction between the Alavid and the Safavid versions of Shi'ism was emphasized by Dr. Ali Shari'ati.’
    • ‘It includes 160 items from the Safavid, Ottoman and Mughal empires as well as more recent objects produced in Europe under Islamic influence.’
    • ‘The entrance portal is a supreme example of styles from Safavid architecture displaying sumptuous tilework, calligraphy, complex stalactite mouldings and expert use of colour and scale, dwarfing the visitor.’
    • ‘As governor of Isfahan he had all the Safavid palaces destroyed, leaving only their splendid mosques.’
    • ‘Once again King formulates a number of basic questions: ‘Where did the idea behind these two Safavid world-maps come from?’’


From Arabic ṣafawī ‘descended from the ruler Sophy’.