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ANCIENT IRANIAN: Post Sasanian Period

August 23rd: The Anniversary Martyrdom of Persian freedom fighter 

Piruz-e Nahavandi (Firuzan)


 

CAIS - May 2007

Revised October 2010

 

 

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Artist impression of Piruz Nahavandi

 

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Shrine of Piruz (abu lulu) in Kashan.JPG (336686 bytes)

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Shrine of Firuzan in Kashahn

(Click to enlarge)

Piruz Nahavandi (according to some sources Piruzan, Arabiced Firuzan alias Abu Lulu also abu-lo'lo') a Zoroastrian priest warrior, was born into a Persian royal lineage, who despite his young age was a high ranking officer. Apart from his superb military skills, Piruz was also an able carpenter and painter.(1)

 

After the battle of Nahavand (February 14, 642 CE) the majority of people of Nahavand and nearby city Hamadan were massacred by Arab-Muslims, cities and villages were pillaged, women and children were raped and many were taken captive and subsequently sold into slavery, including Piruz. Some claim that he was captured during the battle of Qadisiyyah.

 

According to Tabari, once Piruz saw Iranian children abused by the Arabs he said: "You have been enslaved at such a tender age. This Umar sees [this is] eaten my heart, I will take his heart out."

 

Piruz in revenge of the massacre of Nahavand and witnessing the Arabs' injustice committed against his fellow Iranians, particularly women and children planned the execution of Umar along with a few other Arab leaders.

 

It is believed he planed the execution of Umar with the Persian General Hurmozan. The plan was to execute all the Arab soldiers who were involved in the Qadisiyyah and Nahavand Massacres, including Alī ibn Abī Tālib and his son Hussain. According to some, a former Roman Official named Jafeena who also swore revenge assisted them.

 

At that time Muslims did not permit non-Arab adult captives to reside in Madina, therefore, Piruz hired himself out as a carpenter and paid two dirhams a day to an Arab called Mughira ibn Shu'ba, the governor of Basra to act as his owner.  Following his plan, Piruz ordered Mughirah to sell him to Umar as a slave in order to reside in Median where he was able to plan and execute his assassination plan.

 

One controversial story which is largely accepted by Muslims (deriving from Ibn Shihab and Ibn Sa'd in his Tabaqat) goes:

"Abu Lu'lu'ah felt that he had to give too much of his wages to his owner. He approached Umar, the caliph, and begged for relief, saying the taxes [Mughira] are levying on me are more than I can bear." Mughira, as a Muslim, was subject to Umar; surely Umar could enforce justice.

However, Umar, after questioning him about how much his income was in proportion to the tax that Mughira was demanding from him (according to Ábu Huwayrith), told Abu Lu'lu'ah that he was such a skilled workman that he was sure to make a good wages; there was no need to reduce his obligation to his owner. The slave was enraged at the reply and swore vengeance. [Ibn Sa'd adds: So in his robe he wrapped his two-headed dagger, the grip of which was in the middle, and hid himself in a corner of the Medina mosque.]


On the 6th day of November 644 CE (26th Dhu I-Hijja 23 AH) at the time of the morning prayer, Piruz gallantly went with his two-headed dagger to the mosque and leaped upon and stabbed Umar six times.(2) In the process of escaping the scene he brought down a further 11 Arab enemies besides 'Umar.

 

fled Arabia and took refuge in the central Iranian city of Kashan, where seven years later in 23rd day of August 651 CE (26th Dhu I-Hijja 30 AH) on the same day that he executed Umar, Piruz was assassinated and buried in Kashan.

 

Some sources claim that Piruz was executed at the same day that Umar dies of his wounds, but evidence such a Tabari suggests that he escaped the scene, since during the Uthman's rule, General Firuazan was killed as the person responsible for Umar's murder.(3)

 

It is believed the current shrine was erected during the Persianate dynasty, the Khwarezm-Shaian (1077 to 1231), the vassal-kings of the Khwarezmid dynasty. Despite being Sunni-Muslims and of non-Iranian origin, they were Persian nationalists and in quest to revive the pre-Islamic Iranian culture and heritage. During the Safavid dynasty his memory was honored and given the title "Bābā Šojā od-Dīn" (the father of the brave in the cause of religion) despite being a Zoroastrian.

 

Although Piruz is respected by Iranians, but his historical figure is most hated by non-Iranian Muslims. 

 

Currently some people in Iran residing in Kashan and Aran-Bidgol believe that they are descendants of the great freedom-fighter.

 

 

 

Footnotes:

1. Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi, "A socio-intellectual history of the Isnā 'Asharī Shī'a in India", Volume I. p. 32

2. ed. Abolghasem Parto, "Tarikh-e Tabari", Vol.V. Tehran (1362). p.2027

3. ibid, p. 2088

 

 

Also see: Tomb of Firuzan (Abu-lolo) in Kashan to be Destroyed

 

 

 

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