Kirmánsháh and Hamadán stand on the road between Tehran and Baghdad. As such, a number of prominent Bábí and Bahá'í passed through and spent time in both of these towns: Táhirih spent time in both towns in about 1273/1847; Mírzá Ahmad Kátib, the Báb's secretary, and Nabíl Zarandí spent several months in Kirmánsháh in 1267/1851; Bahá'u'lláh himself spent one month in Kirmánsháh in 1267/1851; Mírzá `Abdu'lláh Ghawghá lived in Kirmánsháh until his death in 1289/1872 but his association with the new religion was somewhat ill-defined; and Mírzá Muhammad Tabíb Zanjání spent a few years in both towns from about 1850. And yet despite this, no permanent Bábí community became established in either town.
It was only in later years that the Bahá'í Faith was established in these towns. In 1280/1863 two brothers Áqá Muhammad-Javád and Áqá Muhammad-Báqir of Naráq migrated to Hamadán and settled there. It was through the latter that a physician, Hakím Áqá Ján, the first of a stream of Jewish converts, became a Bahá'í in about 1294/1877. In 1299/1881-2 another Jewish physician, the Hakím-báshí, was visiting Hamadán from Kirmánsháh. Here he met some of the Jewish Bahá'ís and was converted. He returned to Kirmánsháh and succeeded in converting a large number of the Jews of that town. Apart from these Jewish converts there were also Muslim converts in these two towns and also in surrounding towns and villages such as Maláyir, Asadábád and Bahár. Of particular interest among these converts were a number of minor members of the Qajar royal family (see under Maláyir below); several members of the Ahl-i Haqq religious minority from among the Kurds; and some Sufis. Among the last category was Hájí Qalandar, who traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and was the cause of conversion of many other Sufis.
A number of prominent Bahá'ís from parts of the country came to help in establishing the Bahá'í community. Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl Gulpáygání, who was in Hamadán and Kirmánsháh in 1887-8, was of particular help in view of his extensive knowledge of the Jewish holy books and traditions. He reports that at that time, there was an active group of Azalís in Kirmánsháh who had taken it upon themselves to oppose everything the Bahá'ís did (Mihrábkhání 142-43).
Of the episodes of persecution of the Bahá'ís of this area, several were instigated by the Jewish rabbis and were aimed specifically at the Jewish converts. Mullá `Abdu'lláh Burújirdí, mujtahid of Hamadán, was the main opponent of the Bahá'ís. The Bahá'ís were also victims in a number of anti-Shaykhí riots, the most serious being in 1315/1897. In the following year, some nine Bahá'ís gathered for Naw-Rúz celebrations were arrested and their houses looted.
In 1327/1909, the Ta'yíd School for boys and the Mawhibat School
for girls were established by the Bahá'í community of Hamadán
with the particular assistance of Mírzá Áqá
Ján Tabíb. In 1331/1913, they were officially recognized
by the government.
For events after 1921, see entry "Iran".
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