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ILCAA Joint Research Project

Archival Study on Fiscal administration of Holy Shrines in Muslim Societies: The Case of the Safavid Shrine in Iran

Archival study on fiscal administration of holy shrines in muslim societies: The case of the Safavid shrine in Iran


  • Safavids
  • Shi‘a
  • saint mausoleum
  • sufism
  • tariqa
  • documents diplomatics
  • palaeography accountancy
  • Islamic law
  • shurut


  • West Asia
  • Central Asia
  • Iran



About the Project

Project term: April, 2018–March, 2021

In Muslim societies of West and Central Asia, mausoleums of Islamic saints exercised religious and sometimes political power, accumulated great wealth, and played an important role as social, cultural, and economic centers. How did they establish and manage their financial foundations to maintain their social and cultural activities? This research project aims to clarify the method of property management of the mausoleum of Shaykh Safi al-Din (the founder of the Safavid Sufi order), which developed as the state shrine of the Safavid dynasty (1501-1736) in early modern Iran, through a comprehensive analysis of Sarih al-Milk (the mausoleum’s records of donated lands and property). Focusing on the types, functions, and styles of legal and financial documents and books recorded in Sarih al-Milk, tracing their changes through time, and comparing them with historical materials of other regions and periods, this project examines the development and change of political, legal, and economic systems that supported the property management of saint mausoleums in medieval and early modern Muslim societies.

Ryoko WATABE, Project Coordinator (Part-time Lecture, The University of Tokyo)



  • Ryoko WATABE (The University of Tokyo)


  • Nobuaki KONDO
  • Yoichi TAKAMATSU

Joint Researchers

  • Naofumi ABE
  • Yukako GOTO
  • Tomoko MORIKAWA
  • Hiroshi ONO
  • Masaki SUGIYAMA
  • Ryuichi SUGIYAMA
  • Sanae TAKAGI
  • Yoichi YAJIMA



The 1st meeting Report (Japanese)(261KB)

  • Date/Time: Sat 2 Jun 2018 13:30–18:00, Sun 3 Jun 2018 11:00–16:30
  • Venue: Room 304, ILCAA
  • 2 Jun
  • Ryoko WATABE (ILCAA Joint Researcher, The University of Tokyo)
    “Two Sarih al-Milks, the collections of estate records of the Safavid shrine: Their history, archival functions and previous studies” “Research plan of this joint research project”
    Naofumi ABE (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Ochanomizu University), Nobuaki KONDO (ILCAA)
    “Comments: Possibilites of Sarih al-Milks as sources for historial and archival studies”
    All members
    General discussion
  • 3 Jun, Workshop on manuscript studies of Sarih al-Milks
  • All members
    General analysis of manuscripts of Sarih al-Milks
    All members
    Analysis and methodological discussion of manuscripts of‘Abdi Beg’s Sarih al-Milk

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