Sheikh Fazlollah Noori


Sheikh Fazlollah Noori

Sheikh Fazlollah Noori (Persian: شیخ فضل‌الله نوری, d. July 31, 1909, Tehran) was a prominent Shiite Muslim cleric in Iran during the late 19th and early 20th century who fought against the Iranian Constitutional Revolution and was executed for treason as a result. Today he is considered a martyr (shahid) in the fight against democracy by Islamic conservatives in Iran.

Background

Noori was one of, if not the most vigorous opponents of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution, a movement to remove foreign influence from Iran, limit the power of the Shah and to establish a national consultative assembly that would give the people a voice in the affairs of state. The movement was led principally by merchants, intellectuals and some clerics. Noori initially gave restrained support to the uprising, but he soon became an extreme critic and enemy of the constitutionalists. He authored pamphlets and encited mobs against Constitutionalism and constitutionalists preaching that they would bring vice to Iran. He issued fatwa declaring all members of the new parliament and government "apostates", "atheists," "secret Babis," and "koffar al-harbi" (warlike pagans) whose blood ought to be shed by the faithful. [Taheri, Amir, "The Spirit of Allah" by Amir Adler and Adler (1985), p.45-6] [Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions by Ervand Abrahamian, University of California Press, 1999 p.24]

Noori allied himself with the new Shah, Mohammad Ali Shah who with the assistance of Russian troops staged a coup against the Majlis (parliament) in 1907. In 1909, however, constitutionalists marched onto Tehran (the capital of Iran). Noori was arrested, tried and found guilty of `sowing corruption and sedition on earth,` [Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions by Ervand Abrahamian, University of California Press, 1999 p.24] and in July 1909, Noori was hanged as a traitor.

Since then, and especially after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Noori has been honored by the most conservative sections of the Shiite Muslim clergy in Iran, including Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (the spiritual and political leader of the revolution) and the current leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Today he is honored in Iran's capital, Tehran, by billboards graced with his image and the Sheikh Fazlollah Nouri Highway. [Molavi, Afshin, "The Soul of Iran", Norton, 2005, p.193.]

Nouri is said to be the only ayatollah executed in the modern history of Iran, [ [http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/journal_of_democracy/v016/16.4milani.html Project Muse. Access Restricted] ] although given the extent of the numerous and well-documented crimes of senior members in the Islamic Republic's clerical elite, including leading ayatollahs, it is probable that in the likely case of major political change in Iran this will not remain to be the case for long.

Nouri also had an influence on cinema in Iran. When motion pictures first arrived in Iran, Sheikh Fazlollah Nouri issued a fatwa declaring the watching of films an unpardonable sin. Very few pious Iranians dared go to the movies thereafter. [ [http://www.massoudmehrabi.com/articles.asp?id=1414606616 THE HISTORY OF IRANIAN CINEMA] ]

Nouri is celebrated in the Islamic Republic of Iran as `the rose of Iran's clergy` "martyred for his defense of Islam against democracy and representative government," with Sheikh Fazlollah Noori highway in Tehran named after him and his image adorning a large billboard above the highway. [ [http://books.google.com/books?q=Persian+Pilgrimages++fazlollah+nouri+&btnG=Search+Books Persian Pilgr
] p.193
]

ee also

*Iranian Constitutional Revolution
*Qajar Dynasty
*History of fundamentalist Islam in Iran

References

Further reading

* Ahmad Kasravi, "Tārikh-e Mashruteh-ye Iran" (تاریخ مشروطهٔ ایران) (History of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution), in Persian, 951 p. (Negāh Publications, Tehran, 2003), ISBN 9643511383. Note: This book is also available in two volumes, published by "Amir Kabir Publications" in 1984. "Amir Kabir's" 1961 edition is in one volume, 934 pages.
* Ahmad Kasravi, "History of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution: Tārikh-e Mashrute-ye Iran", Volume I, translated into English by Evan Siegel, 347 p. (Mazda Publications, Costa Mesa, California, 2006). ISBN 1568591977



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