FAHRAJ

FAHRAJ, subdistrict (dehestān) and town in the Persian province of Yazd. The town (31ò 46’ N, 54ò 35’ E), 1270 m above sea level, is located 30 km southeast of Yazd on the main road to Bāfq and on the foothill of Čalta mountain (Farhang-e joḡrāfiāʾi,p. 70). In 1996 the population of the town was 16,549 (Markaz-e Amār-e Iran, p. 9). The local people are Persian-speaking and Shiʿite. Fahraj is situated in an arid environment on the desert fringe, and its irrigation is from qanāts and deep wells. The economy is basically agricultural with some carpet weaving. The main agricultural produce is wheat and fruits such as pomegranates, grapes, apples and apricots.

Jaʿfari, in his Tāriḵ-e Yazd (p. 30) attributes the foundation of Fahraj to Qobād (Kawād), the Sasanian king. The tenth century geographers called it Bahra and ranked it together with Meybod and Nāʾin as major settlements of Yazd, in the kura (province) of Eṣṭaḵr, each having a congressional mosque (Eṣṭaḵri, p. 97; Moqaddasi, pp. 75, 424; cf. Ḥodud al-ʿĀlam, ed. Sotuda, p. 137). Abu’l-Fedāʾ (p. 330) gives its geographical coordinates, an information provided for important locations only (Šokuhi, p. 16).

In the early Islamic years the inhabitants of Fahraj were Zoroastrian (Moḥammad Mofid, III, p. 542). During the caliphate of ʿOmar part of the Moslem army who were chasing Yazdegerd III arrived at Fahraj and called the people to convert to the new faith. The inhabitants of Fahraj as well as those of Ḵovaydak and Farāftar resisted, they fought back and killed a number of the Prophet’s companions and the following generation (ṣaḥāba and tābeʿin) who came to be known later as šohadā-ye Fahraj{The Martyrs of Fahraj} (Aḥmad b. Ḥosayn, pp. 48 f.; Jaʿfari, p. 31; Mofid, III, pp. 543, 707f.). Today the mausoleums of these alleged martyrs are in Ābādi-e Šohadā, 2 km from Fahraj. (For its endowments, see Afšār, II, pp. 405, 438, 469, 911, 916)

The congregational mosque of Fahraj is located at the center of the present town. It is among the oldest extant mosques in Persia; it demonstrates the simple architectural characteristics of the early Islamic centuries. Its basic construction material is large sun-dried bricks, whereas the façade is coated with sim-gel (mixture of clay, sand and chopped straw), gel-rig, and plaster bracing (cefthā-ye gaci). The minaret was built in 10th or 11th century and is made of smaller raw bricks. The elegant stucco reliefs on the eastern wall and some other decorative pieces possess Sasanian art features (Šokuhi, p. 22). It is believed that there have been hiding places in the mosque in which people would hide their valuables during chaotic times (Pirniā, pp. 331-36).

Another historical monument of Fahraj is the tomb stone of Sayyed Faḵr-al-Din Abu Jaʿfar Ḥosaynī al-ʿAriżi made by ʿAbd-Allāh b. Aḥmad Mara in the 12th century (Afšār, II, p. 911).

Bibliography:

Abu’l-Fedāʾ, Taqwim al-Boldān, ed. B. de Slane, Paris, 1840.

Afšār, Yādgārhā-ye Yazd, Tehran, 1348-54 Š./1969-75.

Aḥmad b. Ḥosayn b. ʿAlī Kāteb, Tāriḵ-e jadid-e Yazd, ed. Ī. Afšār, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1978.

Eṣṭaḵri, Masālek o mamālek, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961.

Farhang-e joḡrāfiāʾi-e ābādihā-ye kešvar LXXXIII, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990.

Jaʿfar b. Moḥammad b. Ḥasan Jaʿfari, Tāriḵ-e Yazd, ed. Ī. Afšār, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1343 Š./1964.

Abu’l-Qāsem b. Aḥmad Jeyhāni, Aškāl al-ʿĀlam, tr. ʿAlī b. ʿAbd-al-Salām Kāteb, ed. F. Manṣuri, Tehran, 1368 Š./1989.

Markaz-e Āmār-e Iran, Šenāsnāma-ye dehestānhā-ye kešvar. Jeld-e 26: Ostān-e Yazd, Tehran, 1376 Š./1997.

Moḥammad Mofid-e Mostawfi, Jāmeʿ-e Mofidi, ed. I. Afšār, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961.

M.-E. Mowaḥḥedi “Mongrāfi-e Fahraj,” M.A. thesis, University of Tehran, 1352 Š./1973.

M.-K. Pirniā, “Masjed-e jāmeʿ-e Fahraj,” in Ī. Afšār, ed., Yazd-nāma, Tehran, 1371 Š./1992, pp. 325-36.

M. Šokuhi, “Masjed-e jāmeʿ-e Fahraj: Yādgār-i kohan,” tr. A. Mujāni, Majalla-ye bāstān-šenāsi o tāriḵ 3/1, 1367 Š./1988, pp. 325-36.

(Reżā Reżāzāda Langarūdī)

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