[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]

 

[Adapted from website:] Dana Information Network

[Date:] 19 Shahrivar 1395 [9 September 2016]

 

The Rise and Annihilation of Baha’ism in Aran and Bidgol

At the end of the Qajar period, Kashan and its environs were the centres of growth of Baha’ism and Babism. This was due to the large number of Jews who lived in these cities and preached their religion openly or secretly.

Currently, almost all Aran and Bidgol residents are Muslims, with the exception of the Afghan immigrant minority or those who have come to the city from other areas to work, all of whom are Twelver Shias. However, a minority in the city, especially before the Islamic Revolution, were followers of the Baha’i sect.

The Arrival of Baha’ism in the City

At the end of the Qajar period, Kashan, like Hamadan, was one of the centres of growth of Baha’ism and Babism. This was due to the large number of Jews who lived and preached their religion in these cities, openly or secretly. According to Fazel Mazandarani, the City of Kashan and its environs was the centre of a large Baha’i group at the time of the beginning of the claim of Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri (Baha’u’llah).

In addition to the former Babis, a group of Jews in the area also became Baha’is, empowering the sect in Kashan and its environs, while the presence of a group of Babis and Baha’is in rural areas of Kashan was also significant.

The most important areas around Kashan where Baha’ism was prevalent were Naraq, Jusheqan, Qamsar and Aran. It seems that in Naraq the conquest was with the Azali Babis and in other areas, including Aran, it was with the Baha’is. During the reign of Ahmad Shah, the Baha’i Assembly was established in Aran. History also mentions the presence of a number of Baha’is in Bidgol and Nushabad.

The Rise to Power of Baha’is of Aran and Bidgol

At that time, powerful Baha’is, such as Master Mirza Mohammad-Reza Arani, were present in Aran. He was one of the main leaders of the Aran Baha’i community. Master Mirza Arani, in 1332 AH, 1292 SH [1913] established a special Baha’i school in Aran, which later (1300 SH [1921]) became known as Marafat school [seemingly it was same as the Hedayat school]. Other prominent Baha’i families in Aran were the Ziaies and Foroughis.

Annihilation of Baha’ism

Akbar Masjedi, in his book “Aran and Bidgol in the Islamic Revolution”, refers to the presence of Baha’is in Aran and Bidgol before the revolution. He writes: “On 15 Khordad 1342 [5 June 1963], in protest of the arrest of the late Imam Khomeini, the angry people in the city attacked the Baha’i minority group living in Aran who had proven their hostility to the people, and drove them out of the city.”

The date of 15 Khordad 1342 [5 of June 1963] is mentioned as the end of Baha’i activities in Aran and Bidgol. It can now be claimed that the Baha’i sect has been eradicated in Aran and Bidgol.

Nasrin Nikandish