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Shadow of God

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Shadow of God

    Arabic zill Allah. Pre-Islamic Persian concept of divine right kingship popularized by Muslim rulers as part of their claims to be vicegerents (caliphs) of God on earth and descendants of Muhammad and the imams. Many kings considered the concept to be justification of their accountability only to God, thus removing them from public scrutiny. It is particularly prominent among Shiis, especially in Iran. The Safavid dynasty used it to declare themselves divine incarnations. Some Qajar rulers and the Pahlavi dynasty formally carried title to bolster power. The epithet created the image of a divine protector, binding the nation together and validating its mission. The divine right of kings served to personalize and sacralize monarchy as well as personify the nation-state.

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