The Baha'is of Iran: Socio-Historical Studies, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Baha'is of Iran

Socio-Historical Studies, 1st Edition

Edited by Dominic Parviz Brookshaw, Seena B. Fazel


304 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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The Baha’i community of Iran is the country’s largest non-Muslim religious minority. This collection of essays presents a comprehensive study of the social and historical development of the Baha’i community, and its role in shaping modern Iran.

Central to this study is the pioneering character of the Baha’i community in the late 19th and early 20th century, with chapters examining the role of women in the Baha’i community; the impact of Baha’i-run schools on Iranian society, Baha’i contributions to public health initiatives; and the influence of Baha’i thought and the actions of individual Baha’is on the Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1911.

Conversion to the Baha’i Faith is another important theme, as contributors investigate the phenomenon of large scale conversion to the Baha’i Faith from the Jewish and Zoroastrian communities.

Finally, although persecution of the Baha’is has drawn the attention of the Western media, until now few scholars working in the field of Iranian studies have chosen to write on the history or details of this persecution. Here, five prominent figures in the field redress this balance and look at different aspects of this persecution, including its historical background, the attitude of secular Iranians, persecution before and after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, and human rights perspectives.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars of Iranian studies, Middle Eastern studies and comparative religion, and with many chapters authored by leading academics in Iranian studies, The Baha’is of Iran addresses both a gap in academic literature on the Baha’i Faith, and in the study of modern Iran in general.


"This is a very impressive volume. The articles tie in well together and often address similar themes within their broader categories." - Sholeh Quinn, Iranian Studies 42.5 (December 2009), 798-800

"The articles in this volume serve the twofold purpose of providing new insights into the history of the Iranian Baha’i community and of discussing the role of the Baha’is in the development of modern Iran." - Oliver Scharbrodt, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 71.3 (October 2008), 574-576

"[An] important volume of collected papers… The often expert coverage of such major themes registered in this worthwhile volume as Zoroastrian and Jewish conversions to the Baha'i relationships with and contributions to Iranian society, and the sad and ongoing history of Iranian Babi-Baha'i persecutions and minority human rights violations offers an indispensable resource to scholars working within the fields of Iranian and Babi-Baha'i studies." - Stephen N. Lambden, University of California, Merced; Journal of the American Oriental Society 130.2 (2010), 304-306

"Although the articles of this collection primarily deal with the study of Iranian Baha'is from a sociohistorical aspect, their importance and relevance to other fields should not escape the attention of both students and scholars. Each and everyone of these eleven articles amply shows how relevant Baha'i studies could be to a range of topics and fields in the study of modern Iranian history." - Soli Shahvar, University of Haifa; The Middle East Book Review 3 (2012)

"This book is a reminder of how composite and complex Íránian society is. Knowing its history and demographic realities and the treatment of its largest religious minority are prerequisites to any serious study of, or involvement with, contemporary Írán." - Morten Bergsmo; Journal of Peace Research, vol. 45, no. 6, 2008

Table of Contents

1. Foreword Dominic Parviz Brookshaw and Seena B. Fazel 2. Messianic Expectation and Evolving Identities: The Conversion of Iranian Jews to the Baha’i Faith Mehrdad Amanat 3. The Conversion of Zoroastrians to the Baha’i Faith Fereydun Vahman 4. Instructive Encouragement: The Tablets of Baha’ullah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha to Baha’i Women in Iran and India Dominic Parviz Brookshaw 5. Baha’i Schools in Iran Moojan Momen 6.Baha’i Health Initiatives in Iran: A Preliminary Survey Seena B. Fazel and Minou Foadi 7. Baha’i Discourses on the Constitutional Revolution Kavian Milani 8. The Comparative Dimension of the Baha’i Case and Prospects for Change in the Future Eliz Sanasarian 9. The Historical Roots of the Persecution of Babis and Baha’is in Iran Abbas Amanat 10. Anti-Baha’ism and Islamism in Iran Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi 11. Anatomy of Prejudice: Reflections on Secular Anti-Baha’ism in Iran H.E. Chehabi 12. The Discourse and Practice of Human Rights Violations of Iranian Baha’is in the Islamic Republic of Iran Reza Afshari

About the Editors

Dominic Parviz Brookshaw is Lecturer in Persian Studies and Iranian Literature at the University of Manchester.

Dr Seena B Fazel is Clinical Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Oxford and an honorary Consultant Psychiatrist.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Middle East and Islamic Studies

This series includes the latest research on a broad range of topics from the social sciences and humanities. It aims to provide a comprehensive forum for cutting edge monographs and edited volumes on this vital region and religion.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Islam / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies