To understand Baha'id Iran, one must start with the religion known to its adherents as Khorramdin
(خرمدین) and to the Mu'mins as the Muhammirat (محمرة) for their traditional red turbans. The religion arose after the Arab conquest of the Sasanid Empire during a period of radical revolutionary fervor in the Azarbaygan region of the burgeoning Imamate. Combining elements of Zoroastrianism and separatist Imanic traditions, Khorramdin is usually considered the first pseudo-Imanic religion
, religions that are akin to Iman but either acknowledge a differing lineage of prophets and most importantly disagree on who the true last prophet is. In the case of Khorramdin, besides believing a differing list of prophets including Zoroaster as a prophet, believe that the last prophet wasn't Mustafa, but instead one Ruzbeh (روزبه), better known to the Mu'minin as Salman the Persian
. They believe that the true final revelation was granted to Ruzbeh, but was stolen and distorted.
Returning to Azarbaygan the late 700s, a prophet, al-Muqanna'
(المقنع) appeared to the people claiming to hold his holy book, the Khodaname
. The book of sayings besides containing moral reasoning, also contained significant theological practices and beliefs. Khorramdin believes in one god named Khoda
, an omniprescent god who created a divine plan, and that all darkness and bad in the world is caused entirely by human free will and is a sin against Khoda's divine plan. Hence, death is a sin against Khoda, who guarantees the transmigration of the soul through reincarnation. Shadows in Khorramdin are the physical representation of the soul. Prophets in Khorramdin are hence all reincarnations of the same being, Keyumars, the first man. Khorramites believe that after the death of Ruzbeh, the soul of Keyumars was sent into a state of occultation until the end of time, a new epoch (زمانه) will begin after a new Keyumars, the Sushyans, wins a final judgement and will lead the world into a state of paradise and eternal life in a seven tiered heaven. Furthermore, al-Muqanna taught a complex angelology and cosmology, where Khoda's will is carried out by the Fareshtegan, angels created by the light of god who take the spot in the chain of being between God and man. At the head of the Fareshte are the 7 Amahraspand, who are essentially Archangels. Opposing the Fareshtegan are the Divan, who are fallen angels corrupted by their free will who take the form of monstrous beasts. Finally, religious practice included the consecration of wine, the uniform prayer towards the west in Eyvans, and spiritual fasting for a month to represent Rusbeh's journey to Bakkah.
After the defeat of the original movement, the religion remained a state of Taqiyah, moving to the underground in the mountains of Northwest Iran. During the Iranian Intermezzo, the Khorramites had their revenge during the Wahrizid Empire
(938-1048), which began from a secret order of Daylamite slave soldiers, who entrapped the Imams in their palace in Mansuria. After their defeat by the Arpadids, the Khorramites retreated to mountain fortresses, where they lead devastating raids against caravans. In 1275, the Mongols attacked their main fortress in Alamut, killing much of the political leadership, ending the first order. One scholar, Baha'-al-din
, was capable of escaping the onslaught and began a new order, the Baha'i Order
in the mountains of Arasbaran. From there, the order slowly gathered recruits. The Mongols Invasions of the Near East were a devastating event, but the subsequent Wars of Babur
proved to be even more disastrous for the region. Outside of the cities, most of the countryside had been leveled to pasture by warfare and plague. the Imams, who already had the Shia Revolution end their territorial dominion end in the region, had been cloistered by the Baburids and then rescued by the Mamluks of India, abandoned the region. In the wake of Babur's wars, a power vacuum developed. Magyar tribal confederations ruled over the region, but were fundamentally weak due to their dependency on dubious tribal loyalty.
, ambitious Shahrab of Kaleiban, was secret leader of the Baha'i Order, militarized his order around a horde of Vöröshfej warriors. In 1499 he defeated his sovereign in battle and declared himself Shah of Iran. He rapidly conquered Eraq-e Ajami and Eraq-e Arabi, Pars proper, and Kerman. Unlike the Wahrizid Empire, who seemed more enticed to humiliate the Mu'minin, the Baha'ids set their goal at permanently ending all Mu'min influence in among Persian Iraq, Pars, and Kerman. The Baha'id conversion of Iran to the Khorramdin
was a long and brutal process that succeeded, creating a Persian identity that stuck. Ishag's expansion came to an end with the disastrous battle of Halabiye
, where an attempted invasion of the Levant was crushed by the Saracens. The subsequent Shahs set their goals at internal unity, with Khodadad the Great
moving the capital to Espahan. Under Baha'id rule, arts and architecture flourished. The Tag-e Kasra was restored, and Espahan became center for a massive building program of eyvans with the construction of the monumental Takht-e Gahan
Square and its ornately decorated Eyvan-e Shah.
The empire peaked under Khodadad the Great, but slowly declined afterwards due to constant conflict with their neighboring Gurkani, Saracen, Afghan, and Hazaras states. The sons of Baha'ollah proved to be terrible rulers, and a revolt by the Afghan Lodi tribe overthrew the Baha'ids, restoring the Sunnah to Iran for a period of 35 years, before being taken over by Gyevicsa Shárközi
, who would unify Greater Iran into a short lived empire. The legacy of the Baha'ids remains eternal for creating a Persian identity that seperated it from the struggles of surrounding powers, maintaining a constant core of territories.