Shaykh Haydar

Shaykh Haydar or Sheikh Haydar was the successor of his father (Shaykh Junayd) as leader of the Safaviyya from 1460-1488. Haydar maintained the policies and political ambitions initiated by his father. Under Sheikh Haydar, the Safaviyya became crystallized as a political movement with an increasingly extremist heterodox Twelver Shi'i coloring and Haydar was viewed as a divine figure by his followers. Shaykh Haydar was responsible for instructing his followers to adopt the scarlet headgear of 12 gores commemorating The Twelve Imams, which lead to them being designated by the Turkish term Qizilbash "Red Head". In 1469-70, Haydar was installed in Ardabil by his uncle Uzun Hassan, who had defeated Jahan Shah and the Kara Koyunlu dynasty and established his own authority over its former domains. The Safaviyya return to Ardabil prompted an influx of Haydar’s followers from northern Syria and eastern Anatolia to Ardabil to be beside him. Soon after, in 1471-1472, Haydar married Uzun Hassan’s daughter Halima, daughter of Despina Hatun, daughter of John IV of Trebizond). This marriage produced three sons: Sultan Ali Safawi, Ibrahim Mirza and Ismail I.

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