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But they were followed by two great and powerful dynasties: Fatimid Caliphate which formed in Ifriqiya in 909 AD and the Buyid dynasty emerged in Daylaman, in north central Iran, about 930 AD and then extended rule over central and western Iran and into Iraq until 1048 AD. Later Sunni Islam came to rule from the Ghaznavids dynasty, 975 to 1187AD, through to the Mongol invasion and establishment of the Ilkhanate which kept Shia Islam out of power until the Mongol ruler Ghazan converted to Shia Islam in 1310 AD and made it the state religion.Although Shias have lived in Iran since the earliest days of Islam, and there had been Shia dynasties in parts of Iran during the 10th and 11th centuries, according to Mortaza Motahhari the majority of Iranian scholars and masses remained Sunni till the time of the Safavids.There was a brief Iranian Constitutional Revolution in 1905–11 in which the progressive religious and liberal forces rebelled against theocratic rulers in government who were also associated with European colonialization and their interests in the new Anglo-Persian Oil Company.
This leaves the true representation of the religious split in Iran unknown as all non-religious, spiritual, atheist, agnostic and converts away from Islam are likely to be included within the government statistic of the 99% Muslim majority.
While the dynasties avowed either Shia or Sunni, and institutions and individuals claimed either Sunni or Shia affiliations, Shia – Sunni relations were part of Islam in Iran and continue today when Ayatollah Khomeini also called for unity between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
The Shia groups have distinctions between Fiver, Sevener and Twelver, derived from their belief in how many divinely ordained leaders there were who are descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah and his son-in-law Ali.
This period was across Shia and Sunni dynasties through to the Mongol governance.
Iran participated with its own scientists and scholars.
Additionally the most important scholars of almost all of the Islamic sects and schools of thought were Persian or lived in Iran including most notable and reliable Hadith collectors of Shia and Sunni like Shaikh Saduq, Shaikh Kulainy, Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj and Hakim al-Nishaburi, the greatest theologians of Shia and Sunni like Shaykh Tusi, Al-Ghazali, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi and Al-Zamakhshari, the greatest Islamic physicians, astronomers, logicians, mathematicians, metaphysicians, philosophers and scientists like Al-Farabi and Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, the Shaykhs of Sufism like Rumi, Abdul-Qadir Gilani – all these were in Iran or from Iran.