Inscribing Authority: Scribal and Archival Practices of a Safavid Decree

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
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  • 1 Freie Universität Berlin
  • 2 Sāzmān-i Awqāf wa Umūr-i Khayriyya, Tehran

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Abstract

The mis̱āl, a type of administrative decree associated with the most important religious official in Safavid Iran (1501-1736), the ṣadr, has received little scholarly attention. This article attempts to lay the preliminary groundwork for a more comprehensive future study on the mis̱āls of the Safavid ṣadrs. In the first part, we introduce the ṣadr and his department, the dīwān al-ṣadāra. In the second part, we study how the scribal and archival practices of the mis̱āl construct the religious and administrative authority of the ṣadr and the dīwān al-ṣadāra. We focus on an unpublished mis̱āl relating to the endowment (waqf) of the shrine of a prominent Sufi shaykh of the Ṭayfūriyya tradition in Basṭām, Shaykh Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad b. ʿAlī Dāstānī (d. 417/1026). The appendix includes the text, translation, and a facsimile of the document.

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