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AccueilAbstracta IranicaVolume 264. Histoire, Période Musulmane4.2. Histoire du XVe au XIXe siècle4.2.1. Safavides et QâjârsMoojan Momen. « Usuli, Akhbari, S...

4. Histoire, Période Musulmane
4.2. Histoire du XVe au XIXe siècle
4.2.1. Safavides et Qâjârs

Moojan Momen. « Usuli, Akhbari, Shaykhi, Babi: The Tribulations of a Qazvin Family ». Iranian Studies 36, 3 (2003), pp. 317-337.

Colin Mitchell

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1This article examines the shifting doctrinal rivalries between the shi‘ite juridical schools of Usulism and Akhbarism, as well as the impact of prominent heterodox phenomena such as the Šayḫī and Bābī movements, against the backdrop of the history of the prominent Baraghani family of Qazvīn of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Baraghani family has historically been associated with the rise of the clerical elite in Iran under the banner of ʽUṣūlī Shi‘ism and its emphasis on the independent juridical power of the mujtahid. Momen focuses on how this family enjoyed considerable prestige and power in early Qajar Qazvīn thanks to the efforts and teachings of three brothers, Mullā Taqī, Mullā Ṣāliḥ, and Mullā ⁽Alī. Initially repulsed by the aḫbārī community of Qazvīn, these brothers managed ultimately to reintegrate themselves and rise to considerable power as Mullā Taqī became a chief judiciary official, while Mullā Ṣāliḥ established and administered the Salihiyya madrasa. Familial rifts began appearing with the advent of the Shaikhi (or Kafshi) movement and its renewal of mystical philosophical traditions once associated with Mullā Ṣadrā and Mīr Dāmād; specifically, Mullā Ṣāliḥ’s eldest daughter, the soon-to-be famous Qurrat al-⁽Ayn Ṭāhira, was attracted to the teachings of Šayḫ Aḥmad and used her teaching position in the Salihiyya madrasa to propagate the Shaikhi movement. Familial tension, most notably between uncle (Mullā Taqī) and niece (Ṭāhira) intensified to the point that Ṭāhira left Qazvīn to study in Karbalā. Ṭāhira would show remarkable doctrinal adaptability as she then joined the nascent Bābī movement and earned considerable prestige as one of the highly-ranked “letters of life” (ḥurūf al-ḥayy). Returning to Qazvīn after a period of imprisonment and expulsion by the Ottoman authorities in Karbalā, Ṭāhira exacerbated Bābī-⁽Uṣūlī frictions in family and city alike by continuing to preach and endorse the arguably heterodox claims of the Bāb. Matters culminated in October 1847 when Mullā Taqī was murdered by a Bābī adherent, and orthodox members of the Baraghani family (including Ṭāhira’s former husband) called for the castigation and punishment of anyone associated with Babism. Momen provides sufficient evidence to question how the Baraghani family has ‘rewritten’ its own history to sanitize it of the injurious reputation of the heterodox Ṭāhira but also to question the characterization of early Qajar Iran as a period of unrivalled growth for ⁽Uṣūlī Twelver Shi‘ism.

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Colin Mitchell, « Moojan Momen. « Usuli, Akhbari, Shaykhi, Babi: The Tribulations of a Qazvin Family ». Iranian Studies 36, 3 (2003), pp. 317-337. »Abstracta Iranica [En ligne], Volume 26 | 2005, document 236, mis en ligne le 08 décembre 2005, consulté le 28 mai 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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Colin Mitchell

Dalhousie University - Halifax

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