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The Cambridge History of Iran - IV


Auteur : R. N. Frye
Éditeur : Cambridge University Press Date & Lieu : 1975, Cambridge
Préface : Pages : 698
Traduction : ISBN : 13 978-0-521-20093-6
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 300x455mm
Code FIKP : Liv. En.Thème : Histoire

Présentation
Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
The Cambridge History of Iran - IV


The Cambridge History of Iran - IV

R. N. Frye

Cambridge University Pres


The Muslim Arabs' disastrous defeat of the Sāsānian Empire opened a new chapter in the long history of Iran. In distant Hijaz in the city of Mecca, Muhammad b. 'Abd-Allah had given to an idolatrous and strife-ridden people a new religion, which inculcated monotheism, its message coming to Muhammad as Revelation, conveyed to his Community later in the Qur'an, and bade the Arabs to submit as people accountable to God and fearful of his wrath. Some of them were so inspired by this new teaching that they undertook the conquest of the world about them, to achieve at the same time in this holy war the reward of a share in the world to come, Paradise.

Muhammad's death in 11/632 was followed in his successor Abū Bakr's time by a crisis of apostasy, the Ridda, which put both the religion and the government of Medina in jeopardy. The faith and the polity which Muhammad had promulgated there were shaken, but nonetheless the new Islamic vigour was enough to achieve dominion over all the Arabian Peninsula. Once the apostasy had been suppressed, closer unity followed with greater zeal to sacrifice all in a larger struggle. The end of the Ridda wars left the Arabs poised for Holy War for the sake of Islam, ready to challenge even Byzantium and Iran.

.....



PREFACE

The period of Iran's history from the Arab conquests to the Saljuq expansion is very difficult to separate from the general history of the Islamic oecumene. Since the overwhelming majority of the sources are in Arabic, and more concerned with general Islamic affairs than with Iran, the story of the transition of Iran from a Zoroastrian land to an Islamic one is not easy to reconstruct. Under Islam, for the first time since the Achaemenids, all Iranians, including those of Central Asia and on the frontiers of India, became united under one rule. The Persian language was spread in the East, beyond the borders of the Sasanian Empire, by the conquering armies of Islam, and Persian became the lingua franca of the eastern caliphate. The New Persian language written in the Arabic script, and with numerous Arabic words in it, became a marvellous instrument of poetry and literature, similar to the English language, which developed from a simple Anglo-Saxon tongue to one enriched by Latin and French usages after the Norman conquest. Although Firdausi with his Shāh-nāma commonly has been proclaimed the founder of New Persian literature, in another sense he was the preserver of the old Persian style of the Sāsānians, not only in epic content, but also in the simplicity of his language without Arabic words. He not only feared the loss of old traditions in Iran, in the face of massive conversions to Islam by his time, but he also sought to preserve the very language which was threatened by permanent change from the use of Arabic, as the language of Islam par excellence. Even poetry in Persian had been adapted to Arabic models, and the synonymity of the words "Arab" and "Islam" questioned the very identity of Iranians. This threat was not only evaded by the Iranians, but they gave a new direction to Islam.

Islam was rescued from a narrow bedouin outlook and bedouin mores primarily by the Iranians, who showed that Islam, both as a religion and, primarily, as a culture, need not be bound solely to the Arabic language and Arab norms of behaviour. Instead Islam was to become a universal religion and culture open to all people. This, I believe, was a fundamental contribution of the Iranians to Islam. By Iranians, I mean Soghdians, Bactrians, and other Iranians, ancestors of the present Kurds, Baluchis and Afghans, as well as the Persians, who were joined together under the roof of Islam. Although almost all Iranians had become Muslims by the time of the creation of the Saljuq Empire, nonetheless they preserved their old Iranian heritage, such that even today the chief holiday in Iran is ancient naurūz "new year's day". This continuity is unequalled elsewhere in the Near East, where in Egypt for example, two great changes erased the memory of the pharoahs from the minds of the inhabitants: first Christianity and then Islam. In Iran Christianity had little influence and Islam was adapted to Iranian customs. So Iran, in a sense, provided the history, albeit an epic, of pre-Islamic times for Islam. After all, the Arabs conquered the entire Sāsānian Empire, where they found full-scale, imperial models for the management of the new caliphate, whereas only provinces of the Byzantine Empire were overrun by the Arabs.

One of the main themes of this book is the process of conversion, how people changed from one religion to another.This process differed considerably from place to place and many monographs should be written before a general picture can be presented. Nonetheless, throughout Various chapters in this volume the conversion process is mentioned. Jpie first conversions took place in the cities and towns where Arab garrisons were settled, more in the east on the frontiers of the dar al-harb, "the abode of war", than in western Iran. In the east the Sasanian name for the Arabs became a synonym of "Muslim", such that even today we have Tajiks in Soviet Central Asia who are Iranians, but who carry the ancient designation for "Arab", because they were converted to the religion of the Arab conquerors and were identified with them. It was not until the end of the eighth and especially the ninth century of our era that Muslim missionaries made extensive conversion in the countryside. By the ninth century, except in areas of Fars province and pockets of non-Muslims elsewhere, the Islamic religion became everywhere predominant even in the countryside. This process must be kept in mind when reading the present volume.

It must be strongly emphasized that this volume is only the history of Iran under Islam, and is not intended to repeat the Cambridge History of Islam; Vet, as mentioned, it has proved very difficult to separate the two. Some readers will undoubtedly point out that much which occurred in Damascus under the Umayyads, for example, had repercussions in Khurāsān. This is true, but the emphasis of our volume is upon local conditions, even though the sources in this regard are very sparse. Nonetheless, it is hoped that the reader will find here the information he may want in regard to this period. If omissions have been made, the editor can only take refuge in the Islamic remark that what is presented is in part and not all. Indeed, it would have been impossible to cover the many details of the history of the period, as well as all aspects of culture and civilization. Perhaps one should remember that history can hardly be what Leopold von Ranke decreed, a report of what really happened, nor even what people thought had happened, but rather history is what people believe should have happened. For history at the least is a people's attempt to justify their past for posterity, even if the record be at times rough or even sordid. In the case of Iran after the Arab conquests the record is brilliant as well as fascinating. It was in this period that the foundations were laid for the flourishing of Persian poetry and the arts, so characteristic of Iran after the Mongol conquest. It is hoped that the present book will provide the reader with a record of these formative centuries of Islam in Iran.

Most of the time of an editor is spent on trying to standardize names and to be consistent, an almost impossible task. On the whole, the rules adopted for Volumes i and 5 of the Cambridge History of Iran have been followed in Volume 4. Naturally, certain transcriptions were changed, since the sources for Volume 4 are overwhelmingly in Arabic rather than in the Persian language. Certain practices, such as italics for the first occurrence of a foreign name and roman type for later appearances, may startle but surely not confuse the reader. Certain names have been spelled in their common English forms while others have been transcribed in their Arabic or Persian forms. In these instances the indulgence of the reader is sought with a passing reference to Emerson's dictum that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds".

It remains to thank deeply all persons who worked upon this volume to make it ready for the final printing. Without the unfailing help of Hubert Darke, the Editorial Secretary of the entire series, this volume would not have appeared. Likewise Peter Burbidge of the Cambridge University Press gave encouragement and help unstinting. Richard Hollick, and others at the Press, patiently had to endure an editor's failings and certainly their help made this book possible. The hospitality of King's College and of Peter Avery made my frequent visits to Cambridge a great pleasure. My peregrinations between Shiraz and Cambridge, Massachusetts, at times cast a shadow over the progress of the book, and in the end I hope that, in spite of shortcomings, it will prove of use to many readers.

Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 1974
Richard N. Frye



Chapter I

The Arab Conquest of Iran and Its Aftermath

I. Iranians and Arabs in Pre-Islamic times


The Muslim Arabs' disastrous defeat of the Sāsānian Empire opened a new chapter in the long history of Iran. In distant Hijaz in the city of Mecca, Muhammad b. 'Abd-Allah had given to an idolatrous and strife-ridden people a new religion, which inculcated monotheism, its message coming to Muhammad as Revelation, conveyed to his Community later in the Qur'an, and bade the Arabs to submit as people accountable to God and fearful of his wrath. Some of them were so inspired by this new teaching that they undertook the conquest of the world about them, to achieve at the same time in this holy war the reward of a share in the world to come, Paradise.

Muhammad's death in 11/632 was followed in his successor Abū Bakr's time by a crisis of apostasy, the Ridda, which put both the religion and the government of Medina in jeopardy. The faith and the polity which Muhammad had promulgated there were shaken, but nonetheless the new Islamic vigour was enough to achieve dominion over all the Arabian Peninsula. Once the apostasy had been suppressed, closer unity followed with greater zeal to sacrifice all in a larger struggle. The end of the Ridda wars left the Arabs poised for Holy War for the sake of Islam, ready to challenge even Byzantium and Iran.

From as early as before the advent of Alexander the Great Arabs had been known to Iran. In the Sāsānian period, from A.D. 226 to 651, their jurisdiction reached as far as the western outskirts of Ctesiphon. According to Tabarī, Shāpūr I (A.D. 241-72) had settled some of the tribe of Bakr b. Wa'il in Kirman.1 Arab merchants, as well as Arab pirates, frequented the shores of the Persian Gulf. Arab-occupied areas in proximity to so imposing a structure as the Sāsānian state could not escape being under Iran's influence, if not its full dominion. For example, from ancient times Bahrain and Qatif had been Iranian protectorates. Shapur II (A.D. 309-79) had subdued the whole of the ...

1 Tabari, in T. Noeldeke, Geschichte der Perser und Araber (Leiden, 1879), p. 57.

 




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