Shah Abbas I the great ruler of Safavid dynasty in Iran
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On October 1, 1587 AD, Shah Abbas I was crowned the 5th Safavid Emperor of Iran at the age of 16 years in Qazvin by a faction of the powerful Qizilbash guards led by Murshid Qoli Khan who deposed his father, the weak-willed and almost blind Mohammad Khodabandah after a reign of 9 years.
He became ruler during troubled times, when discord was rife between factions of the Qizilbash army that had earlier killed his elder brother Hamza Mirza and mother Queen Khair un-Nisa Begum. Meanwhile, the Ottomans and the Uzbeks, exploiting the political chaos, had seized Iranian territory in the west and northeast respectively. Abbas soon reduced the influence of the Qizilbash in the administrative and military affairs, executed the killers of his mother and brother, and reformed the army, enabling him to fight the Ottomans and Uzbeks and retake Iran\'s lost provinces.
He decisively defeated the Ottomans in several battles in the Caucasus, in Anatolia and in Iraq, where he rebuilt on a grand scale the shrines of the Infallible Imams in Najaf, Karbala, and Kazemain. He drove back the Uzbeks from Khorasan and rebuilt the shrine of Imam Reza (AS), the 8th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
During his 42-year reign, he also liberated Iranian territories from the Portuguese invaders in the Persian Gulf and from the Mughals of India in what is now Afghanistan. Shah Abbas I was a great builder and moved his capital to Isfahan, which he adorned with beautiful mosques, palaces, bazaars, caravanserais, gardens, and the famous Naqsh-e Jahan Square, to the extent that Isfahan came to be known as Nisf-e Jahan (Half the World).
He patronized poets and painters, resulting in the birth of the Isfahan School that created some of the finest arts in Iranian history. He respected religious figures, and during his era some of the greatest ulema and philosophers, such as Shaikh Baha od-Din Ameli, Mir Baqer Damad and Mullah Sadra Shirazi flourished.
Shah Abbas also promoted commerce, trade and diplomacy, establishing relations with European powers to keep the Ottomans in check, and strengthening ties with the Shi\'ite Muslim sultanates of Haiderabad-Deccan and Bijapur in Southern India, where the name of the Safavid Emperor was recited in the Friday Prayer sermons. At the same time he maintained friendly relations with the Mughal Emperor Jahangir of Northern India.