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The Myth of the Clerical Migration To Safawid Iran

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Western-language scholars have long suggested that following Ismāīl's profession of faith at the capture of Tabriz many Arab Twelver scholars emigrated to Safawid territory to participate in the effort to spread the faith throughout Safawid territory. Alī al-Karaki is cited in many secondary sources as one of the many Arab scholars supposed to have journeyed to Safawid territory in the fifty years after Tabriz and the few criticisms of al-Karakī by his contemporaries noted in these sources are often described as purely personal in origin.93 Doubtless al-Karakī was not without support among contemporary Twelver clerics and he may not have been the only Arab Twelver cleric to have emigrated to Safawid territory to assist the Safawids in their propagation of the faith during the first fifty years after Tabriz.94 Indeed, among al-Karakī's students were a number


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