Zahed Gilani

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The mystic Taj Al-Din Ebrahim ibn Rushan Amir Al-Kurdi Al-Sanjani (or Sinjani) (1216–1301) (), titled Sheikh Zahed (or Zahid) Gilani, was Grandmaster (Murshid Kamil) of the famed Zahediyeh Sufi Order at Lahijan.

Since the mid 13th century, Sheikh Zahed is revered as a spiritual authority and his tomb near Lahijan in Iran's Gilan Province, on the shores of the Caspian Sea, draws numerous pilgrims to the picturesque village of Sheikhanvar. His ancestors hailed from the ancient Iranian city of Sanjan in Khorasan (located in present day Turkmenistan). Fleeing the Seljuq invasion that would eventually conquer large parts of Persia, his ancestors settled in Gilan in the late 11th century. Sheikh Zahed Gilani was able to attain cultural and religious influence on the Ilkhanid rulers (1256–1353), descendants of Genghis Khan, who followed Seljuq rule.

The Sheikh's most notable disciple was Sheikh Safi-ad-din Ardabili (1252–1334), the Eponym of the Safavid Dynasty (1501–1736). He wed Sheikh Zahed's daughter Bibi Fatemeh and, overgoing the interest of Shaikh Zahed's firstborn son, Gamal Al-Din Ali, was entrusted with the Grand Master's Zahediyeh Sufi Order, which he transformed into his own, the Safaviyeh (Safavid) Order. Some 170 years after Sheikh Safi Al-Din's death, the Safaviyeh had gained sufficient political and military power to claim the Throne of (Northern) Iran for the Safavid Heir, Shah Ismail I Safavi. The Sheikh's second-born son, Sadr Al-Din, wed Sheikh...
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