By John Murphy
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Additional info for Ali Khamenei
The rulers tended to believe that the empire was strengthened by the religious and cultural contributions of its many and various members. During the Sassanian era, however, a number of religious movements arose that were perceived as threats to the political-religious state that the Sassanian Empire had become. d. d. by the visionary Mazdak). Both religions borrowed heavily from Zoroastrianism, as well as pre-Zoroastrian pagan Iranian beliefs, Christianity, and Buddhism. Both movements gained many followers and began to threaten the power and authority of the Zoroastrian priest class.
When Mu’awiya died in 680, one of Ali’s sons, Hussein, attempted to seize the caliphate from Mu’awiya’s successor, his son Yazid. Hussein, his brother Abbas, and more than 70 followers were killed in battle at Karbala, a day that has become the holiest day in the Shiite religious calendar. Ali and Hussein are greatly revered to this day by Shiite Muslims. They are honored and celebrated for their insistence on maintaining the purity of the Islamic faith, their passionate commitment to justice, and their rebuke—through their words and example—to the high-living corruption and worldly luxury of the Mecca religious establishment.
Rising to power at the age of 16, Abbas looked back to Sassanian notions of kingship and set himself up as a king of kings. Just as the shahs of old relied on Zoroastrian priests to support their rule and convince the people of their divine right to govern, Abbas harnessed the influence of Shiite clerics to bolster his stature. He founded many madrassas and gathered Shiite clerics from across the Islamic world to his kingdom. ” He went on long pilgrimages. All of this cast Abbas as the just ruler in the eyes of his subjects.
Ali Khamenei by John Murphy