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The Ilkhanid Sultan of Iran, Sultan Oljeitu Khodabanda

Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 30th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 716 AH, the 8th ruler of the Ilkhanid Dynasty of Iran-Iraq-Afghanistan-Caucasus-and Anatolia, Sultan Oljeitu Khodabanda, died at the age of 36 after a reign of 12 years and ten months, and was buried in the famous mausoleum of Soltanieh that he had built for himself near Qazvin in northwestern Iran. Born a Buddhist and baptized as Christian, he became a Muslim along with his elder brother and predecessor, Sultan Mahmoud Ghazaan.
In the 6th year of his reign, following a lively debate at his court among the scholars of the Shafei, Hanafai, Hanbali, Maliki and Ja’fari schools of Jurisprudence, during which the celebrated theologian Allamah Hilli proved the rationality of the School of the Ahl al-Bayt, Oljeitu became a staunch Shi’ite Muslim and decreed that henceforth this would be the official creed of his dominions.
In Shiraz, he founded a Dar as-Siyadah for descendents of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and endowed it with an income of 10,000 Dinars a year. Another Imami scholar who impressed Oljeitu was Sheikh Maitham al-Bahrani and his rationalistic philosophical school of Bahrain. Oljeitu built trade ties with the Genoese and Venetians of Europe, and with China in the east. He allowed the Republic of Genoa to set up a consul in his capital Tabriz. He fought for the control of Syria with the Mamluks of Egypt and after an unsuccessful bid to hold on to Damascus, he withdrew his forces from the Levant.

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