Bábism Faith in NayrizEncyclopaedia Iranica
New York: Columbia University, 2015
iii. Babism in Neyriz
Neyriz (Niriz) is a town in Fars south of Iran, located about 220 km southeast of Shiraz on the eastern side of Baḵtagān Lake. In the medieval period, the nesba “Neyrizi” is attested by Abu’l-ʿAbbās Fażl b. Ḥātem Neyrizi (d. ca. 309/921; cf. Masʿudi, p. 199), an astronomer and mathematician who wrote commentaries on the works of Ptolemy and Euclid (Hogendijk; O’Connor and Robertson; in Latin, called Anaritius: see Busard, p. xv), and Mirzā Aḥmad Neyrizi (d. 631/1233), a master calligrapher of the nasḵ style who produced over 100 Qorʾān manuscripts (Semsār). In the 19th century, notable buildings of the city were a bazaar, a bathhouse, a caravansary, and, above all, the Great Friday Mosque, which may have been built over an ancient Zoroastrian fire temple and dated back to 974 CE (Bosworth; Monazzah and Khazaei, pp. 302-5). Water flowed into the city through underground channels (qanāt).
In 1850, Sayyed Yaḥyā Dārābi, who had been renamed Waḥid by the Bāb, arrived in the city. He was a cleric who had met the Bāb in Shiraz and converted to Babism after three personal encounters with him. As Waḥīd approached Neyriz, many of the residents came to greet him (Fayżi, p. 52; Ruḥāni, I, p. 55). He entered the Friday Mosque on 27 May 1850 and proclaimed the appearance of the Bāb as the promised one of Islam to a large crowd (Ruḥāni, I, pp. 57-58; Nicolas, p. 395; Nabil, p. 354; Fayżi, p. 54; ʿAhdia and Čapman, pp. 76-79, 87-88). A local Muslim, Sayyed Ebrāhim, wrote his impressions of Waḥid in Neyriz on the wall of the Jāmeʿ-e Ṣaḡir Mosque in the Bāzār quarter. This led to a violent confrontation between those who had converted to Babism and the governor of Neyriz, Ḥāji Zayn-al-ʿĀbedin Khan, who feared that the townspeople would rally around Waḥid (Fasaʾi, I, pp. 792-94; Momen, 2002; idem, 1981, pp. 109-10; ʿAhdia and Čapman, pp. 88 ff.).
In the conflict of 1850, Waḥid and many of the Bābis of Neyriz were killed (Fasāʾi, I, p. 794; ʿAhdia and Čapman, pp. 109-12). By 1852, the local Bābis were rallying around a new leader, ʿAlī Sardār (b. 1823). Fearing that the governor was planning a new round of reprisals, a few Bābis, against the expressed teachings of the Bāb, assassinated the governor in the public bath (Nicolas, 410; Momen, 1981, p. 147; ʿAhdia and Čapman, p. 139). There was a failed attempt at reconciliation when a new governor arrived. The Bābis armed themselves for protection (Ruhāni, I, p. 176), and violence broke out. Six hundred Bābi women and children followed their men up into the mountains to the south (Māzandarāni, IV, p 36.). Mirzā Fażl-Allāh, the British agent in Shiraz, wrote in his October 1853 report: “… the people (Bābis) returned and having withdrawn their families from the place, again fled to the mountains where they have conveyed provisions, enough to maintain them for three to four months …” (Momen, 1981, p. 148).
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