Sheikh Safi-ad-din Is’haq Ardabili (of Ardabil) (1252–1334) Shaikh Ṣāfī ad-Dīn Isḥāq Ardabīlī was the Kurdish and Sunni Muslim eponym of the Safavid dynasty, founder of the Safaviyya order, and the spiritual heir and son in law of the great Sufi Murshid (Grand Master) Sheikh Zahed Gilani, of Lahijan in Gilan province in northern Iran. Most of what we know about him comes from the Safvat as-safa, a hagiography written by one of his followers.
Safi-ad-din was of Kurdish origins. According to Minorsky, Sheykh Safi al-Din’s ancestor Firuz-shah was a rich man, lived in Gilan and then Kurdish kings gave him Ardabil and its dependencies. Minorsky refers to Sheykh Safi al-Din’s claims tracing back his origins to Ali ibn Abu Talib, but expresses uncertainty about this.
The male lineage of the Safavid family given by the oldest manuscript of the Safwat as-Safa is:”(Shaykh) Safi al-Din Abul-Fatah Ishaaq the son of Al-Shaykh Amin al-din Jebrail the son of al-Saaleh Qutb al-Din Abu Bakr the son of Salaah al-Din Rashid the son of Muhammad al-Hafiz al-Kalaam Allah the son of Javaad the son of Pirooz al-Kurdi al-Sanjani (Piruz Shah Zarin Kolah the Kurd of Sanjan)” similar to the ancestry of Sheykh Safi al-Din’s father-in-law, Sheikh Zahed Gilani, who also hailed from Sanjan, in Greater Khorassan(RW)….