Tabriz (in Persian تبریز) is the fourth largest city and one of the historical capitals of Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters at the junction of the Quri River and Aji River, it was the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s, one of its former capitals, and residence of the crown prince under the Qajar dynasty. The city has proven extremely influential in the country’s recent history.
Tabriz is located in a valley to the north of the long ridge of the volcanic cone of Sahand, south of the Eynali Mountain. The valley opens out into a plain that slopes gently down to the northern end of Lake Uremia, 60 km to the west. With cold winters and temperate summers the city is considered a summer resort.
The estimated population of the city is around 1,400,000 based on results of the Iranian census bureau. Tabriz is the fourth most populous city in Iran after Tehran, Mashhad, and Esfahan, and is also a major Iranian heavy industrial and manufacturing center. Some of these industries include automobile, machine tools, oil and petrochemical and cement production.
Tabriz as an Islamic city:
After the conquest of Iran by Muslims, the Arabic Azd tribe from Yemen resided in Tabriz and development of post-Islamic Tabriz began as of this time. It was conquered in the time of the second caliph Omar bin al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him. Grand companions of the beloved prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, plus a large number of fighters, mostly, from Kufa conquered the entire region.
Abbasid caliph, al-Mutawakkil and his brothers built many bridges, castles and palaces in the city.
The Islamic geographer Yaqut says that Tabriz was a village before Rawwad from the tribe of Azd arrival at Tabriz. In 791 AD, Zubaidah, the wife of Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid, rebuilt Tabriz after a devastating earthquake and beautified the city so much as to obtain the credit for having been its founder.
In fact, the prominent history and civilization of Tabriz lies on the sincere efforts of Sahabah and other Muslim leaders.
Some Famous Scholars of Tabriz:
Like other reputed regions of Fars, Iran, Tabriz also gave the Muslim nation some famous dignitaries who devoted their lives for a bright future of Muslims and humanity.
Shaikh Abu Zajaria Yahya bin Ali al-Khateeb at-Tabrizi was one of the most famous scholars from Tabriz. He was expert in Arabic literature. He is the author of some world-wide prominent books, such as: Sharh-ul-Hamasa, Sharh Diwan al-Mutanabbi, Sharh al-Mu’allaqat as-Sab’ and some other valuable books. He settled in Baghdad till his demise in Jumadi Ath-ani 502 Higri, 1108 C.E.
Ali bin Ibrahim bin Ali At-Tabrizi, known as Ibn al-Khazen. He traveled to Al-Ándalus in 421 Higri where he got and gave knowledge. He was Imam in literatures and Arabic linguistic. It is reported that he was imitating Shaf’ee juridical school of thought. It is narrated from him that he was born in 371 Higri, 982 C.E.
Muhammad bin Abd Alawwal At-Tabrizi, he was a reputed mentor in his time with correct beliefs. He wrote an explanation for “Sharh Hidayat-ul-Hikma”. Bin Abd Alawwal passed away in 955 Higri, 1548 C.E.
Jaan At-Tabrizi Ash-Shaf’ee, known by Mirjan al-Kababi. He was a famous Sunni religious scholar; Shah Ismaeel Safavid aimed to kill him because he was a Sunni! He used to dwell in Halab and Damascus in tenth century of Higrah. In 935, Dhil Hijja, August 1529, he left Damascus to his hometown.
Muhibb-ud-Din At-Tabrizi and called Muhibbullah as well, is another shining star in the sky of knowledge from Tabriz. He used to interpret the Holy Qur’an by the book of Mathnawi. He departed from the mortal world in 958, 1551 in Damascus.
Muhammad bin Abdil Kareem bin Ali at-Tabrizi; traveled to Halab along with his father for trade. He got narrations of Hadith from Ibn Rawaha. He completed the subject of Qiraa’t in 635, 1238 C.E from Sakhawi. Then, he settled in Damascus. He passed away in 706, Wednesday of 16th Rabi’ul Al-Akhar, 24th Oct. 1306 C.E.
Abdul Wahhab Abu Talib At-Tabrizi, the great author and poet. He authored some famous books having admirable collection of poems and anthologies.
The Atrocity of Safavids in Tabriz:
It is clarified in historical contexts, particularly in the pro-Safavid writers’ books that Tabriz was one of the worst human altars which were invaded at the very outset of Safavid movement’s grim outbreak. The atrocious Safavids entitled themselves the kings of Iran following the downfall of Tabriz.
Nefarious Safavids occupied Tabriz with delusion and wile. They violated even the criteria of infamous slayers Hulagu Khan and Genghis Khan while occupying the city.
Sinister Safavids entered Tabriz city on a Friday; the population was about 200 thousands, all were Sunni Muslims speaking Azeri language. King’s of Safavids, Shah Ismaeel entered the city’s grand mosque, his Qizilbash soldiers were in lines with open swords. Shah Ismaeel sat on pulpit and asked the people to leave Ahl-us-Sunnah and curse Abu Bakr, Omar and Usman (may Allah be pleased with them); it has been written by Safavid historians and adulators. Meanwhile, Shah’s followers cursed and disgraced the Companions, they said: Bish Bad, Kam Mabad; means curse them more not less. (Aalim Ara Safavi)
It was a surprise for the people; they could not stop them so they shut their ears by fingers as it was unbearable for them to hear their inauspicious voice. When their Imam tried to leave the grand mosque, Shah halted him by putting his sword on his neck asking him to curse the Caliphs! (Aalim Ara Safavi 65).
When a man denied obeying Qizilbash, they cut his head and then other worshippers were martyred; the mosque became full of blood like an abattoir. No one escaped from their grim talons.
On the next day, they gathered all Islamic scholars, jurists and Muhaddithin ordering them to insult the three caliphs and the mother of Believers, Ayishah. They massacred all who denied following them, as they killed 20 thousand Sunnis within few days. (Safarnamehay Wanizian dar Iran, 310).
The pro-Safavid historians have mentioned that Safavids had demolished all mosques and Islamic centers over there. They burnt the dead bodies of Sunnis and Islamic books throwing the ashes on roads; they wanted to take the revenge of bloods were shed in Kufa and Karbala in that way! (Aalim Ara Safavi, 54).
After the frenzied assaults on Sunnis and their mosques and seminaries in Tabriz, the malicious Safavids uprooted Sunnis from the rest regions of Azerbaijan who were almost Shaf’ee Sunnis. The gruesome crimes of Safavids caused complete destruction of knowledge and Sunnah in that territory.