Piruz Nahavandi

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For the eighteenth Sasanian King of Persia see Peroz I.

Piruz Nahavandi also spelled Pirouz Nahawandi (Persian: پیروز نهاوندی‎, Pīruz Nahāvandī or Persian: فیروز نهاوندیFīruz Nahāvandī), also known by the Arabic teknonymy Abu Lululah (Arabic: أَبُو لُؤْلُؤَة‎) was a Persian Sasanian general who served under the chief-commander of the Sassanian army Rostam Farrokhzad,[citation needed] but was captured in the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah (or Battle of Nahavand) in 636 CE when the Sasanians were defeated by the Muslim army of Umar ibn al-Khattab on the western bank of the Euphrates River. After he was brought to Arabia, he managed to assassinate Umar in the Hijri year 23 (644–645). He also has been emphasized by some Iranologists as an important general in the Sassanian army and possibly a member of the House of Karen who played a significant role in the Persian front during Arab conquest of Persia.[citation needed] Nahavandi also has been reported as an expert blacksmith and carpenter. His name indicates that he is originally from the ancient city of Nahavand, a town in Iran (Persia). He killed himself after assassinating Umar. Thus, his death took place on the same day of Umar's assassination, but he died about 4 days before him.

Move to Madina[edit]

After his capture, Piruz was given as a slave to al-Mughira ibn Shu'ba.[1] In addition to his military skills, Piruz was apparently a skilled carpenter and artisan. According to one report he was involved in the design of a vertical-axis windmill.[2] His master allowed him to live in his own household in the Islamic capital of Medina (although according to Ibn Sa'd, Mughira ibn Shu'ba, his owner who was also the governor of Basra, had written to 'Umar from Kufa; and then 'Umar had given Mughira special permission to send Pirūz to Medina, since captives were not permitted to live in Medina).[3]

According to a Sunni Sahih Bukhari hadith, which recounts the assassination and Umar's last days in detail, the companion Amr ibn Maymun described Nahavandi as a "non-Arab infidel". In the same hadith, Umar also describes Nahavandi as a non-Muslim: "All the Praises are for Allah Who has not caused me to die at the hand of a man who claims himself to be a Muslim."[4][5] Nahavandi is referred to with the epithet al-Majusi, indicating Zoroastrian beliefs.[6]

Assassination of Umar and death[edit]

The motive for Nahavandi's murder of Umar has been reported as the latter's refusal to accept Nahavandi's request that al-Mughira be made to tax him less than the two dirhams a day he was presently taking. In response to the rejection, Nahavandi replied back to Umar with a threat.[7]

Sunni tradition has that the next day, in the Hijri year 23, whilst Umar had just begun leading the Fajr (dawn) prayer in Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, Pirouz had hidden the dagger in his robe, the grip of which was in the middle, and hid himself in a corner of the mosque. Shortly after Umar had begun the prayer, Pirūz leapt upon him and stabbed him six times (only three times, according to Ibn Sa'd), this was five times in the stomach and once in the navel, which proved fatal days later.[8] After attacking Umar, Nahavandi stabbed more people, who were trying to subdue him, killing six or nine of them as he tried to flee. When cornered, Nahavandi committed suicide and died.[9]


The supposed tomb of Nahavandi

Pirūz Nahavandi's "revered" tomb[10] is located on the road from Kashan to Fins, constructed in an eleventh-century distinctive Persian-Khwarezmian dynastic architectural style, consisting of a courtyard, porch and conical dome decorated with turquoise coloured tiles, and painted ceilings. The original date of its construction is unknown, but in second half of fourteenth century it was fully restored and a new tombstone was placed over his grave."[11]

Veneration by Shias[edit]

Among the Shia, for the act of killing Umar, Nahavandi acquired the honorific title of Baba Shuja Ad-Deen (literally 'the brave of the religion').[12][13] The day of Umar's assassination (9 Rabi' al-awwal), and the glorification of Nahavandi, is still celebrated in remote Iranian villages and was previously celebrated in major Iranian cities until the protests of Arab countries resulted in its banning there by the authorities. The celebration is known as jashn-e Omar koshi (the celebration of the killing of Umar).[14][15]

In 2010, controversy was caused when the International Union for Muslim Scholars called for Nahavandi's tomb to be destroyed—a request which was not well received by some Iranians, having been perceived as a specifically anti-Iranian act. Al-Azhar University also demanded the Iranian government demolish the shrine; the issue caused the cancellation of diplomatic relations between the university and the Iranian government.[16] These requests were made because the shrine is considered to be "offensive and un-Islamic" by mainstream Sunni scholars.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Saheeh al-Tawtheeq, Seerah wa Hatat al Farooq, page 369
  2. ^ RJ Forbes. Studies in ancient technology. Vol. 9. Brill, 1964.
  3. ^ 'Umar ibn al-Khattab: His Life and Times, Volume 2, Dr. Ali Muhammad al-Sallabi, Page 282
  4. ^ "Sahih Bukhari, Book 5, Volume 57, Hadith 50 (Companions of the Prophet)". Retrieved 30 December 2015. 
  5. ^ Ṭabarī (1994). The History of al-Tabari Vol. 14: The Conquest of Iran A.D. 641-643/A.H. 21-23 (illustrated ed.). State University of New York Press. p. xvii. ISBN 9780791412947. 
  6. ^ Bahaa-eddin M. Mazid (2012). HateSpeak in Contemporary Arabic Discourse. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 122. ISBN 9781443836920. 
  7. ^ Percy Sykes (2013). A History Of Persia, Volume 1 (reprint, revised ed.). Routledge. p. 530. ISBN 9781135648886. 
  8. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, Chapter 66, Book of the Virtues of the Companions, Hadith number 3497.
  9. ^ Michael Newton (2014). Famous Assassinations in World History: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 585. ISBN 9781610692861. 
  10. ^ Mark Downes (2002). Iran's Unresolved Revolution (illustrated ed.). Ashgate Publishing. p. 7. ISBN 9780754631880. 
  11. ^ Mohammad-Ali E. (28 June 2007), CAIS NEWS: Tomb of Firuzan (Abu-lolo) in Kashan to be Destroyed 
  12. ^ Melville, Charles Peter, ed. (1996). Safavid Persia: the history and politics of an Islamic society (PDF) (illustrated ed.). I.B. Tauris. p. 161. ISBN 9781860640230. 
  13. ^ India. Office of the Registrar General (1965). Census of India, 1961: Gujarat. Manager of Publications. p. 159. 
  14. ^ Kessler, E. H.; Wong-Mingji, D.J., eds. (2009). Cultural Mythology and Global Leadership. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 255. ISBN 9781848447387. 
  15. ^ Raihan Ismail (2016). Saudi Clerics and Shi'a Islam. Oxford University Press. pp. 92–3. ISBN 9780190627508. 
  16. ^ a b Raihan Ismail (2016). Saudi Clerics and Shi'a Islam. Oxford University Press. p. 93. ISBN 9780190627508. 

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