The Affection of Theosophism on Evolution of the Ensemble of Sheikh Safi al-din Ardabili Shrine



Architecture has been always recognized as a framework which is influenced by social beliefs, traditions and interactions and furthermore affects individual soul and tendency. Therefore it is impossible to analyze and consequently identify an architectural artifact if not accompanied by analysis of intellectual fundamentals of its contemporary society. The Ensemble of Sheikh Safi al-din which is his mausoleum and stamping ground of his disciples in all periods of time, resembling the ensemble of “Shah Nematollah Vali shrine”, is one of a few buildings closely related to theosophists and their thoughts and demeanors. The ensemble of Sheikh Safi al-din was constructed during a couple of centuries. The most ancient reference about the buildings of this ensemble is the book “Sarih al-molk” which was written with the order of “Shah Tahmasb I” by “Abdi Beig Shirazi” in year 975 AH. “Morton” had drawn the sketches of the buildings mentioned in the book “Sarih al-molk”. New archeological investigations in the west side of Sheikh Safi al-din Ardabili shrine show us some of these buildings. In deep archeological layers other part of Sheikh Safi al-din shrine such as porch of second garden -or “Arseh”- and syrup’s room (sherbet khane) is founnd too. However the ensemble of Sheikh Safi al-din Ardabili shrine has been constructed in several periods of time, it is conceivable from the evidences that there has been a unity and general thought on evolution of the ensemble. In historic articles it is mentioned that “Sadr al-din Musa” (Sheikh’s son and successor) had designed the general order and organization himself and had inspired the architect through a kind of vague state. Therefore it may explain the connection between its architecture and theosophism thoughts and beliefs. This paper is a trial to perspicuously clarify the connection between evolution of Sheikh Safi ensemble and theosophism. In this paper through a detailed analysis of seven stages of Sufi mysticism which lead to “Fana Fi Allah” (merge in God) and their qualities, the above mentioned relation is probed. As the very first step, theosophism is studied and afterward the ensemble of Sheikh Safi al-din shrine is thoroughly introduced and surveyed. The next step is investigating the relation between these two subjects on the basis of evidences. In this process analogies are presented between the stage of demand or search and the first garden or “Meydan”; the stage of spiritual love and the second garden or “Arseh”; the stage of spiritual knowledge and “Ghorbangah” or altar; the stage on contentment and “Sahat” or foreground; the stage of theism and “Dalan” or aisle; the stage of amazement and “Dar al-huffaz”; the stage of merge in God and “Allah Allah” dome. In some articles, there are mentioned eight stages. There is a space between “Dar al-huffaz” and “Allah Allah” dome which is known as “Hadji Sam” corner where some important incidents has happened. This space has also special characteristics that could be related to one of the stages regarding “Allah Allah” dome as the eighth stage.