Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition


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Ṣubḥ-i Azal

(640 words)

Author(s): MacEoin, D.
, the sobriquet of Mīrzā Yaḥyā Nūrī ( ca. 1830-1912), founder of the Azalī sect of Bābism [ q.v.]. Yaḥyā’s father was the calligrapher and civil servant, Mīrzā ʿAbbās Nūrī (d. 1839). In Yaḥyā’s early childhood, Nurī was dismissed from his governorship and dispossessed of much of his considerable wealth and property. Yaḥyā’s mother died about 1844; by then he was living in Tehran under the tutelage of an older brother, Mīrzā Ḥusayn ʿAlī (Bahāʾ Allāh [ q.v.]). In 1844, Ḥusayn ʿAlī and Yaḥyā, then about fourteen, were among the first converts to Bābism in the capital. Four …


(608 words)

Author(s): MacEoin, D.
(a.), lit. “foregoers”: a term occasionally applied in S̲h̲īʿism to the Prophet, Imāms, and Fāṭima in recognition of their status as preexistent beings and the first of God’s creatures to respond to the demand “Am I not your Lord?” ( a-lastu bi-rabbikum ?). The term derives primarily from Ḳurʾān, LVI, 10-11 ( wa ’l-Ṣābīḳūn al-Ṣābīḳūn ulāʾika ’l-muḳarribūn ); there are also examples of verbal usage (e.g. “how could we not be superior to the angels, since we preceded them ( sabaḳnāhum ) in knowledge of our Lord?” al-Kirmānī, Mubīn , i, 304). The S̲h̲īʿī concept o…

Muḥammad Ḥusayn Bus̲h̲rūʾī

(324 words)

Author(s): MacEoin, D.
, Mullā (1229-65/1814-49), the first convert to Bābism [ q.v.], and a leading figure of the movement’s early period. Born in K̲h̲urāsān to a mercantile family, he pursued religious studies in Mas̲h̲had, Tehran, Iṣfahān and Karbalāʾ, where he studied under Sayyid Kāẓim Ras̲h̲tī [ q.v.], head of the S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ī school [ q.v.]. During a long residence, he acquired a private following, which gave grounds for believing he might become Ras̲h̲tī’s successor. Following the latter’s death in 1844, Bus̲h̲rūʾī left for Kirmān to interview another prospective leader, Karīm K̲h…

Muḥammad ʿAlī Ḥud̲j̲d̲j̲at-i Zand̲j̲ānī

(435 words)

Author(s): MacEoin, D.
, Mullā (1227-67/1812-51), leading exponent of Bābism in Zand̲j̲ān, and chief protagonist of the Bābī uprising there. Born in Zand̲j̲ān to a clerical family, he studied in Nad̲j̲af, but on his father’s death returned to take his place. He soon acquired a reputation for a puritan implementation of the s̲h̲arīʿa and for his introduction of religious innovations, thereby incurring the disfavour of the clerical establishment. The circumstances of his conversion to Bābism around 1260/1844 are unclear, but his connection with the sect intensified his role as an ind…

Muḥammad ʿAlī Bārfurūs̲h̲ī

(345 words)

Author(s): MacEoin, D.
Ḳuddūs , Mullā (1239-65/1824-49) outstanding leader of early Bābism [see bāb , bābīs ]. Born to a peasant family in Bārfurūs̲h̲ in Māzandarān, he pursued religious studies there and in Mas̲h̲had. In 1256/1840-1, he moved to Karbalāʾ, where he studied under Sayyid Kāẓim Ras̲h̲tī [ q.v.], head of the S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ī school [ q.v.]. He was the last member of the small group of S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ī ʿulamāʾ to accept Sayyid ʿAlī Muḥammad S̲h̲īrāzī (sc. the Bāb) as Ras̲h̲tī’s successor in 1260/1844. Bārfurūs̲h̲ī accompanied S̲h̲īrāzī on a ḥad̲j̲d̲j̲ journey (1844-5), was arr…

Ras̲h̲tī, Sayyid Kāẓim

(405 words)

Author(s): MacEoin, D.
b. Ḳāsim (d. 1259/1844), the head and systematiser of the S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ī school of S̲h̲īʿism after Aḥmad al-Ahsāʾī [ q.v.]. The son of a merchant, Sayyid Kāẓim was born in Ras̲h̲t [ q.v.], in northern Persia, between 1194/1784 and 1214/1799-1800. Details of his early life are sparse and contradictory. Educated in Ras̲h̲t, he underwent mystical experiences and, somewhere between his mid-teens and early twenties (between 1809 and 1814?), became a pupil of al-Aḥsāʾī, then living in Yazd. He also studied under and received id̲j̲āzāt from other mud̲j̲tahids . The Sayyid soon came to hold …

Nuḳṭat al-Kāf

(404 words)

Author(s): MacEoin, D.
, an early work on the Bābī [ q.v.] movement. In 1910, E.G. Browne published a work entitled Kitáb-i Nuqṭatu ’l-Káf , a Persian history of the early Bābī movement, based on a “unique” manuscript (Suppl. persan 1071) in the Bibliothèque Nationale. This manuscript had been bought by the library in 1884, in a sale of books belonging to the late Comte de Gobineau. Authorship of the history was ascribed by the Bābī leader Ṣubḥ-i Azal [ q.v.] to Ḥād̲j̲d̲j̲ī Mīrzā D̲j̲ānī, a Kās̲h̲ānī merchant killed in 1852. Browne’s text soon became the centre of a controversy that still continues. The …


(1,334 words)

Author(s): MacEoin, D.
(a.), pl. maẓāhir , literally “place of outward appearance”, hence “manifestation, theophany”, a technical term used in a wide variety of contexts in ąīʿism, Ṣūfism, Bābism, and, in particular, Bahāʾism, where it is of central theological importance. At its broadest, the term may be applied to any visible appearance or expression of an invisible reality, reflecting the popular contrast between ẓāhir and bāṭin . In its more limited application, however, it refers to a type of theophany in which the divinity or its attributes are made vi…


(2,366 words)

Author(s): MacEoin, D.
, an important school of speculative theology within Twelver S̲h̲īʿism, influential mainly in Persia and ʿIrāḳ since the early 19th century. Although at times its leaders have been excommunicated and its doctrines condemned as heretical, S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ism (also known as the Kas̲h̲fiyya) has accommodated itself fairly successfully with the majority Uṣūlī establishment and is generally regarded as a school ( mad̲h̲hab ) rather than a sect ( firḳa ). Bābism [see bāb , bābīs ] began in the 1840s as a radical development of S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ī heterodoxy. 1. Early history. The origins of S̲h̲ayk̲h̲…

Āḳā K̲h̲ān Kirmānī

(1,180 words)

Author(s): Hairi, Abdul-Hadi
, mirza ʿabd al-ḥusayn , also known as Bardsīrī ( ca. 1270-1314/1853-96), a modernist thinker of 19th century Iran. He belonged to a well-to-do family of Kirmān. He studied Persian and Arabic literature, Islamic history, fiḳh , uṣūl , ḥadīt̲h̲ , mathematics, logic, natural philosophy, and mediaeval medicine under several teachers such as Mullā D̲j̲aʿfar, Ḥād̲j̲d̲j̲ī Āḳā Ṣādiḳ, and Sayyid D̲j̲awād Karbalāʾī. He also learned some English, French, Turkish and Old and Middle Persian. In 1298/1880 he assumed a positio…

Ḳurrat al-ʿAyn

(903 words)

Author(s): Elwell-Sutton, L.P. | MacEoin, D.
, Fāṭima Umm Salmā , also known as D̲h̲akīya, Zarrīn-tād̲j̲, Ṭāhira (see below), Persian poetess and Bābī martyr, was born in Ḳazwīn in 1231/1814, the eldest daughter of a famous mud̲j̲tahid , Ḥād̲j̲d̲j̲ Mullā Muḥammad Ṣāliḥ Barag̲h̲ānī. She was educated in Ḳazwīn, and became proficient in the Islamic sciences. She was married to Mullā Muḥammad, the son of her uncle Mullā Muḥammad Taḳī, by whom she had three sons, S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ Ismāʿīl, S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ Ibrāhīm and S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ Isḥāḳ, and one daughter. While staying with him in Karbalā, she j…

Āḳā Nad̲j̲afī

(761 words)

Author(s): Hairi, Abdul-Hadi
, ḥād̲j̲d̲j̲ī s̲h̲ayk̲h̲ muḥammad taḳī iṣfahānī (1845-1931), member of a very powerfully-established clerical family of Iṣfahān and himself an influential and wealthy religious authority in that city. Contrary to some of his clerical contemporaries, such as Mīrzā Ḥasan S̲h̲īrāzī and Muḥammad Kāẓim K̲h̲urāsānī [ q.v.], Āḳā Nad̲j̲afī was not known as being devoted to the welfare and prosperity of the Muslims in general and the Iranians in particular. Rather, he has often been referred to as a grain hoarder, a venal, power-hungry religious l…


(2,288 words)

Author(s): Tyan, E.
etymologically signifies an effort directed towards a determined objective. (Cf. id̲j̲tihād: the work of the scholar-jurists in seeking the solution of legal problems; mud̲j̲āhada or, again, d̲j̲ihād : an effort directed upon oneself for the attainment of moral and religious perfection. Certain writers, particularly among those of S̲h̲īʿite persuasion, qualify This d̲j̲ihād as “spiritual d̲j̲ihād” and as “the greater d̲j̲ihād”, in opposition to the d̲j̲ihād which is our present concern and which is called “physical d̲j̲ihād” or “the lesser d̲j̲ihād”. It is, however, very m…


(3,171 words)

Author(s): Algar, Hamid
, an offshoot of the Ḥurūfiyya sect [ q.v.] that after an incubation lasting a century emerged as a significant movement of politicoreligious opposition in Ṣafawid Persia and, in India, played some role in the origination of Akbar’s Dīn-i Ilāhī [ q.v.]. Given its similarities not only with Ḥurūfism but also with Nizārī Ismāʿīlism, it may be regarded as one more link in the long chain of Persian heresies. The designation Nuḳṭawiyya is said to be taken from the doctrine that earth is the starting point ( nuḳṭa ) of all things, the remaining three elements being …


(9,447 words)

Author(s): Calmard, J.
(a.) denotes, in contemporary usage, one who possesses the aptitude to form ¶ his own judgement on questions concerning the s̲h̲arīʿa , using personal effort ( id̲j̲tihād [ q.v.]) in the interpretation of the fundamental principles ( uṣūl [ q.v.]) of the s̲h̲arīʿa. The prerogatives of mud̲j̲tahid s are thus essentially linked to the diverse connotations of the term id̲j̲tihād which have varied in the course of time and according to schools. Its application to the field of jurisprudence is in fact a narrowing of the concept, the terms id̲j̲tahada / id̲j̲tihād sign…

Mard̲j̲aʿ-i Taḳlīd

(8,817 words)

Author(s): Calmard, J.
(pl. marād̲j̲iʿ-i taḳlid , Pers. for Ar. mard̲j̲aʿ/marād̲j̲iʿ al-taḳlīd ), title and function of a hierarchal nature denoting a Twelver Imām S̲h̲īʿī jurisconsult ( muad̲j̲tahid , faḳīh ) who is to be considered during his lifetime, by virtue of his qualities and his wisdom, a model for reference, for “imitation” or “emulation”—a term employed to an increasing extent by English-speaking authors—by every observant Imāmī S̲h̲īʿī (with the exception of mud̲j̲tahids ) on all aspects of religious practice and law. As in the case of other institutions, the history of this function (called mar…


(2,970 words)

Author(s): Hairi, Abdul-Hadi
, s̲h̲ayk̲h̲ murtaḍā , despite his being rather unknown in the West, is considered to have been a S̲h̲īʿī mud̲j̲tahid whose widely-recognised religious leadership in the S̲h̲īʿī world has not yet been surpassed. He was born into a noted but financially poor clerical family of Dizfūl, in the south of Iran, in 1214/1799; his lineage went back to D̲j̲ābir b. ʿAbd Allāh Anṣārī (d. 78/697), a Companion of the Prophet. After learning the recitation of the Ḳurʾān and related primary subjects, Anṣārī…


(7,117 words)

Author(s): Minorsky, V. | Bosworth, C.E. | Vasmer, R.
, a province to the south of the Caspian Sea bounded on the west by Gīlān [ q. v.] and on the east by what was in Ḳad̲j̲ār times the province of Astarābād [ q.v., formerly Gurgān); Māzandarān and Gurgān now form the modern ustān or province of Māzandarān. 1. The name. If Gurgān to the Iranians was the "land of the wolves" ( vәhrkāna , the region to its west was peopled by "Māzaynian dēws" (Bartholomae, Altir . Wörterbuch , col. 1169, under māzainya daēva ). Darmesteter, Le Zend-Avesta , ii, 373, n. 32, thought that Māzandarān was a "comparative of direction" (* Mazana-tara ; c…


(15,785 words)

Author(s): Bosworth, C.E. | Minorsky, V. | V. Minorsky | Calmard, J. | Hourcade, B. | Et al.
, the name of two places in Persia. I. Tihrān, a city of northern Persia. 1. Geographical position. 2. History to 1926. 3. The growth of Tihrān. (a). To ca 1870. (b). Urbanisation, monuments, cultural and socioeconomic life until the time of the Pahlavīs. (c). Since the advent of the Pahlavīs. II. Tihrān, the former name of a village or small town in the modern province of Iṣfahān. I. Tihrān, older form (in use until the earlier 20th century) Ṭihrān (Yāḳūt, Buldān , ed. Beirut, iv, 51, gives both forms, with Ṭihrān as the head word; al-Samʿānī, Ansāb , ed. Ḥaydarābād, i…