A Look into Great Seljuk Empire

A Look into Great Seljuk Empire

The Seljuk Empire controlled a vast area stretching from the Hindu Kush to Eastern Anatolia and from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf.

From their homelands near the Aral Sea, the Seljuks advanced first into Khorasan and then into mainland of Persia (Iran) before eventually conquering eastern Anatolia. The Seljuks ruled on Iran for about 160 years (1038 – 1194). Thus it is one of the most important parts of history in these regions of the Muslim world.
In 1038 (429 A.H), Tughril Beg Muhammad grandson of Seljuk conquered Nishabur. By reading a sermon with his name, the rule of the Seljuk was initiated in Khorasan. He later established the Seljuk Sultanate after conquering Persia he was commissioned by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Qa’im to recapture Baghdad from the Shia Buyids in 1055. Al-Qa’im ordered to read sermon with the name of Tughril Beg. He detained Malik Rahim in Baghdad, the last Buyid ruler, and sent him to Rey city for exile. It was the end of the Buyids rule which continued for more than once century in mainly Iraq and modern Iran.
After demise of Tughril, his nephew, Alp Arsalan, got the control of Seljuk Empire. He appointed Khwaja Nizam al-Mûlk, a Persian intelligent man from Tous city, for the seat of prime ministry. He was the master mind of religious policies of the Seljuk state. Nizam al-Mûlk played a vital role in forming administrative, judiciary and economic systems which were executed in Iran until the 19th century.
The Seljuk state faced two major challenges; the Fatimid state in Egypt and the state of Ismailis. In fact, Ismailis followed the steps of the state of Buyids after their overthrow; this was a serious challenge for the religious and cultural circumstances of the Muslim society. In response, the resourceful Vizier of the Seljuk state, Nizam al-Mûlk decided to remove signs of anti-Islam tenets of Fatimids and Ismailis. He established dozens of Islamic schools and khanqahs to promote pure Islamic culture and vigilance among Muslim masses. His schools were named “Nizâmiyyah” after him.
Alp Arslan, the son of Chaghri Beg, expanded significantly upon Tughril’s holdings by adding Armenia and Georgia in 1064 and invading the Byzantine Empire in 1068, from which he annexed almost all of Anatolia. Arslan’s decisive victory at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 effectively neutralized the Byzantine threat. It was one of the most effective battles in the history as ended up with the entrance of Muslim Turks to Anatolia and modern Turkey many other regions of this part of Asia.
After Alp Arsalan, his son Malik Shah I (1055 – 1092), succeeded him as the Sultan of the Seljuk Empire in 1072, and reigned until his death in 1092. In his twenty years rule, Malik Shah continued polices of his father with the significant discretion and management of Khwaja Nizam al-Mûlk; it was the culmination of the Seljuk state. In this period, the Sultan expanded the circle of the Seljuk Empire to the entire region of Syria.
Mahmud I succeeded Malik Shah I as Sultan, but he did not gain control of the empire built by Malik Shah and Alp Arslan. Then Barkiyaruq became the Sultan of the Great Seljuk Empire to 1105. Ahmad Sanjar was the Sultan of the Seljuk Empire from 1118 to 1153. He was initially the sultan of Khorasan until he gained the rest of the territory upon the death of Muhammad I. Sanjar was one of the great Sultans of the Seljuk Empire who regained the awe and grandeur of the Empire. In 1102, he repulsed an invasion from Kashgaria, killing Jibrail Arslan Khan near Termez. By the death of Sultan Sanjar in 8 May 1157, the fall of the Great Seljuk Empire was started. By the defeat of Tughril son of Arsalan, the last Sultan of the Seljuk state, the state of Khawarzmian replaced the Seljuk state. The Khawarzmian dynasty ruled in Iran in the approximate period of 1077 to 1231, first as vassals of the Seljuks and Kara-Khitan and later as independent rulers, up until the Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia in the 13th century.
The Battle of Manzikert paved the way for Seljuks to form a new government as they are called in the history as “Rum Seljuks”. The Seljuk state of Rome or Rum was a branch of the Great Seljuk Empire who ruled upon some parts of the Eyalet of Anatolia until the early years of the 8th Hijrah century. After the fall of this state, Ottoman Turkish revolted and took the power in this piece of land founding Ottoman Empire.

By Ahmad Alîzahi Shahbakhsh
Translated into English by Abdulhakeem Shahbakhsh



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