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||Násiri'd-Dín Sháh entered into contract of 50 years duration with British interests that would provide him with an annual payment plus 25% of the profits for the production and sale of tobacco. Prior to this, in the 1870s and 1880s the country's telegraph and mail systems, its fisheries, and many of its mines were sold to Western, mostly British, interests.
Opposition, fomented by Britain's rival Russia, came from merchants and shopkeepers who anticipated higher prices and feared being marginalized if the tobacco trade were to pass into the hands of foreigners. Many of the ulama supported the resistance, in part from fear of foreign influence and some because they owned land, either privately of on religious property, that grew tobacco. Articulated as a struggle in defense of Islam against foreign intrusion, the movement quickly became a popular one. At that time about one third of the population of 8 million used tobacco.
The movement first flared up in Shiraz, the centre of Iran's main tobacco-growing region and then Tabriz in the north of the country that was under heavy Russian influence. Isfahan and Mashhad soon followed in popular clergy-led agitation. The protest movement culminated when the ulama declared tobacco itself unclean and smoking religiously impermissible. Ordinary Iranians, frustrated at the mismanagement and misery prevalent in the country, massively heeded the call. People throughout the country gave up smoking.
In January 1892 the Shah rescinded the concession and was forced to compensate the tobacco company for its losses. The Qajar government had to take out a £500,000 loan to cover the cost.
The Tobacco Revolt is considered a landmark event in Iran's modern history. It is often seen as the first episode in which common people showed an awareness of a collective identity and were successful in mobilizing disparate groups around a common cause.
See 'Abdu'l-Bahá's comments on the insurrection that saw the clergy's involvement in the affairs of state in His Treatise on Politics.
||Tobacco Revolt; Nasirid-Din Shah; Iran, General history; History (General); Smoking; Risaliy-i-Siyasiyyih (Treatise on Leadership)
||`Abdu'l-Bahá wrote Risáliy-i-Siyásiyyih (variously translated as "Treatise on Politics", "A Treatise on Statesmanship" and "Treatise on Leadership"). [ABMM] He wrote it in response to the crisis in Persia known as the Tobacco Revolt which was an insurrection against the Shah for having granted the tobacco monopoly to British interests at the expense of Persian farmers and businessmen.
The Treatise was the first policy statement of `Abdu'l-Bahá upon taking the reins of the leadership of the Bahá'í community. It shows His alarm at the increasing involvement of religious leaders and communities in this populist movement against the civil Iranian state and cites the way past such religious populist movements have led to foreign intervention or increased absolutism (e.g. the `Urabi Revolt in Egypt and the 1876 Constitutional Revolution in Istanbul). `Abdu'l-Bahá argues forcefully for a separation of religion and state as a basis for Bahá'í non-involvement in such anti-state violence.
See Treatise on Leadership by 'Abdu'l-Bahá as
translated by Juan Cole.
It was published in Bombay in Farsi in 1893. No English translation has been published to date, apart from the provisional translation referred to above. [CEBF273]
Hand of the Cause Ibn-i-Asdaq was the messenger that delivered 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Tablet to the Shah and other notables in Iran. [EB176]
|Akka; Bahji; Iran
||Risaliy-i-Siyasiyyih (Treatise on Leadership); Abdul-Baha, Life of; Abdul-Baha, Writings and talks of; Politics; Tobacco Revolt; Publications; Abdul-Baha, Basic timeline; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Church and state
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- African Culture, Traditional, Aspects of, by Universal House of Justice (1998). Challenges and opportunities in the African continent; eliminating prejudices; dance and music; alcohol; hunting; initiation rites; the supernatural; tribal leadership; status of women. [about]
- Governance and the Governed: Leadership, Conflict, Resilience, Resolution, and Hope, by John S. Hatcher, in Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 28:4 (2018). "From the Editor's Desk": If the purpose of governance and leadership is to respond to the needs of the governed, then what attributes and methodologies should characterize the process of those in positions of authority? [about]
- La Politique: Treatise on Leadership, by Abdu'l-Bahá. Translation into French from Persian by Dreyfus. [about]
- Lessons in Leadership, by May Khadem, in Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 28:4 (2018). A personal journey of learning about leadership; widely shared false assumptions have led many off-course in addressing the challenges in the fight against blindness, and other public health concerns. [about]
- Qualities and Attributes of the Spiritually Learned: Excerpts from The Secret of Divine Civilization, by Thomas R. Wilson (1987). [about]
- Secret of Divine Civilization Translation, Capital Punishment, and Other Questions, by Universal House of Justice (1991). On the capitalization of pronouns, reference to "we Muslims," works of Abdu'l-Baha revealed during the time of Baha'u'llah, the first person to recognize Baha'u'llah, and designer of the temple in Ishqabad. Includes a compilation on capital punishment. [about]
- Tablet of Maqsúd (Lawh-i-Maqsúd): Guidance on Human Nature and Leadership, by Ramin Neshati, in Lights of Irfan, 4 (2003). [about]
- Takfir, declaration of unbelief: includes excerpts from Risáliy-i-Siyasiyyih, by Universal House of Justice (2001). Questions from an individual about the Muslim practice of takfir, declaring someone an unbeliever, whether this is practiced in the Baha'i Faith, and questions related to "church and state", followed by the House's response. [about]
- Transformative Leadership: Its Evolution and Impact, by Joan Barstow Hernandez, in Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 28:3 (2018). The ideas behind the conceptual framework and capabilities of Núr University’s "Transformative Leadership Program," developed as a Bahá’í-inspired approach to leadership in academic settings or in projects of social action. [about]
- Treatise on Leadership, by Abdu'l-Bahá (1998). [about]
- Treatise on Leadership: Introduction, by Juan Cole (1998). Informal notes about and introduction to `Abdu'l-Bahá's Risalih-i-Siyasiyyih (1893). [about]
- Treatise on Leadership: Extracts, by Abdu'l-Bahá (2001). [about]