Fada'iyan-e Islam

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Society of Fadayeen Islam

جمعیت فدائیان اسلام
General Secretary Mohammad-Mehdi Abdekhodaei
Founder Navab Safavi
Legalised2 July 1989 (1989-07-02) [1]
Headquarters Qom and Tehran
Newspaper Manshoor Baradari
Ideology Political Islam [2]
Islamic fundamentalism [2]
Islamic revivalism [2]
Religion Shi'a Islam
Slogan Arabic: الاسلام يعلو ولايعلى عليه
"Islam is above anything and nothing is above Islam"

Fadā'iyān-e Islam (Persian : فدائیان اسلام, also spelled as Fadayan-e Islam or in English "Fedayeen of Islam" or "Devotees of Islam" or literally "Self-Sacrificers of Islam" [3] ) is a Shiʿite fundamentalist group in Iran with a strong activist political orientation. [4] The group was founded in 1946, and registered as a political party in 1989.

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.

Islamic fundamentalism Islamic ideology

Islamic fundamentalism has been defined as a movement of Muslims who regard earlier times favorably and seek to return to the fundamentals of the Islamic religion and live similarly to how the prophet Muhammad and his companions lived. Islamic fundamentalists favor "a literal and originalist interpretation" of the primary sources of Islam, seek to eliminate "corrupting" non-Islamic influences from every part of their lives and see "Islamic fundamentalism" as a pejorative term used by outsiders for Islamic revivalism and Islamic activism.

Iran Islamic Republic in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Its territory spans 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), making it the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital, largest city, and leading economic and cultural center.


An alleged terrorist organization, [2] [5] [6] [7] it was founded by a theology student nicknamed Navvab Safavi. Safavi sought to purify Islam in Iran by ridding it of 'corrupting individuals' by means of carefully planned assassinations of certain leading intellectual and political figures. [8] After a series of successful killings and the freeing of some of its assassins from punishment with the help of the group's powerful clerical supporters, the group was suppressed and Safavi executed by the Iranian government in the mid-1950s. The group survived as supporters of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

Terrorism use of violence and intimidation against civilians in order to further a political goal

Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror among masses of people; or fear to achieve a religious or political aim. It is used in this regard primarily to refer to violence during peacetime or in context of war against non-combatants. The terms "terrorist" and "terrorism" originated during the French Revolution of the late 18th century but gained mainstream popularity in the 1970s in news reports and books covering the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Basque Country and Palestine. The increased use of suicide attacks from the 1980s onwards was typified by the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. in 2001.

Navvab Safavi Iranian cleric

Sayyid Mojtaba Mir-Lohi, more commonly known as Navvab Safavi, was an Iranian Shia cleric and founder of the Fada'iyan-e Islam group.He played role in assassinations of Abdolhossein Hazhir, Haj Ali Razmara, Hossein Ala' and Ahmad Kasravi. On 22 November, after an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Hosein Ala', Navvab Safavi and some of his followers were arrested. On January 1956, Safavi and three other members of Fada'iyan-e Islam were peppered by a trial.

Iranian Revolution Revolution in Iran to overthrow the Shah replace him with Ayatollah Khomeini.

The Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution or the 1979 Revolution, was a series of events that involved the overthrow of the last monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and the replacement of his government with an Islamic republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a leader of one of the factions in the revolt. The movement against the United States-backed monarchy was supported by various leftist and Islamist organizations and student movements.


Navvab Safavi, founder of the Fadayan-e Islam Navvad Safavi.jpg
Navvab Safavi, founder of the Fadayan-e Islam

The group was part of a "growing nationalist mobilization against foreign domination" in the Middle East after World War II, and has been said to presage more famous Islamist terrorist groups. [9] Its membership is said to have been made up of youth employed in "the lower echelons of the Tehran bazaar." Its program went beyond generalities about following the sharia to demand prohibitions of alcohol, tobacco, opium, films, gambling, wearing of foreign clothing, the enforcement of amputation of hands of thieves, and the veiling of women, and an elimination from school curriculum of all non-Muslim subjects such as music. [10]

Islamism set of ideologies holding that Islam should guide social and political as well as personal life

Islamism is a concept whose meaning has been debated in both public and academic contexts. The term can refer to diverse forms of social and political activism advocating that public and political life should be guided by Islamic principles or more specifically to movements which call for full implementation of sharia. It is commonly used interchangeably with the terms political Islam or Islamic fundamentalism. In academic usage, the term Islamism does not specify what vision of "Islamic order" or sharia are being advocated, or how their advocates intend to bring them about. In Western mass media it tends to refer to groups whose aim is to establish a sharia-based Islamic state, often with implication of violent tactics and human rights violations, and has acquired connotations of political extremism. In the Muslim world, the term has positive connotations among its proponents.

Sharia, Islamic law or Sharia law is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God's immutable divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations. The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between Muslim fundamentalists and modernists.

Hijab veil worn by Muslim women

A hijab in common English usage is a veil worn by some Muslim women in the presence of any male outside of their immediate family, which usually covers the head and chest. The term can refer to any head, face, or body covering worn by Muslim women that conforms to Islamic standards of modesty. Hijab can also refer to the seclusion of women from men in the public sphere, or it may denote a metaphysical dimension, for example referring to "the veil which separates man or the world from God." People usually talk about "the hijab" rather than "a hijab", as evidenced by this article.



Its first assassination was of a nationalist, anti-clerical author named Ahmad Kasravi, who was knifed and killed in 1946. Kasravi is said to have been the target of Ayatollah Khomeini's demand in his first book, Kashf al Asrar (Key to the Secrets), that "all those who criticized Islam" are mahdur ad-damm, (meaning that their blood must be shed by the faithful). [8] Secularist Iranian author Amir Taheri argues that Khomeini was closely associated with Navvab Safavi and his ideas, and that Khomeini's assertion "amounted to a virtual death sentence on Kasravi." [11]

Ahmad Kasravi Iranian academic

Ahmad Kasravi was a notable Iranian linguist, historian, nationalist and reformer.

Amir Taheri Iranian journalist

Amir Taheri is an Iranian-born conservative author based in Europe. His writings focus on the Middle East affairs and topics related to islamic terrorism. He has been the subject of many controversies involving fabrications in his writings, most notable of which was the 2006 Iranian sumptuary law controversy. He is the current Chairman of Gatestone Institute in Europe.

Hussein Emami, the assassin and a founding member of the Fada'iyan, was promptly arrested and sentenced to death for the crime. The Iranian intelligentsia united in calling for an example to be made of him. Emami, however, was spared the gallows. According to Taheri, he roused religious defenders and used his prestige as a seyyed, or descendent of the Prophet Muhammad, to demand he be tried by a religious court. Khomeini and many of the Shia clergy pressured the Shah to give Emami a pardon, taking advantage of the Shah's political difficulties at that time, such as the occupation of Azerbaijan province by Soviet troops. Khomeini himself asked the Shah for the pardon. [12]

Sayyid honorific title

Sayyid is an honorific title denoting people accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his cousin and son-in-law Imam Ali through his grandsons, Hasan ibn Ali and Imam Husayn ibn Ali, sons of Muhammad's daughter Fatimah and Ali.

Azerbaijan (Iran) region in northwestern Iran

Azerbaijan or Azarbaijan, also known as Iranian Azerbaijan, is a historical region in northwestern Iran that borders Iraq, Turkey, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan. Iranian Azerbaijan is administratively divided into West Azerbaijan, East Azerbaijan, Ardabil, and Zanjan provinces. The region is mostly populated by Azeris, with minority populations of Kurds, Armenians, Tats, Talysh, Assyrians and Persians.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

In 1949, the group killed court minister (and former prime minister) Abdolhossein Hazhir. On 7 March 1951, the Prime Minister Haj Ali Razmara was assassinated, in retaliation for his advice against nationalizing the oil industry. [7] [13] Three weeks later the Education and Culture Minister Ahmad Zangeneh was assassinated by the group. Razmara's assassination was said to have moved Iran "further away from a spirit of compromise and moderation in relation to the oil problem" and "so frightened the ruling classes that concession after concession was made to nationalist demands in an attempt to pacify the intensely aroused public indignation." [14] The Fada'iyan are also reported to have "narrowly failed" in an attempt on the life of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. [15]

Abdolhossein Hazhir Iranian prime minister

Abdolhosein Hazhir was a Prime Minister of Iran.

Haj Ali Razmara Iranian politician

Haj Ali Razmara was a military leader and prime minister of Iran.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi 20th-century Shah of Iran

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, also known as Mohammad Reza Shah, was the last Shah of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979. Mohammad Reza Shah took the title Shahanshah on 26 October 1967. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several other titles, including that of Aryamehr and Bozorg Arteshtaran ("Commander-in-Chief"). His dream of what he referred to as a "Great Civilisation" in Iran led to a rapid industrial and military modernisation, as well as economic and social reforms.

In addition to Emami, Khalil Tahmasebi, the assassin of Razmara, was also pardoned by the Iranian Parliament during the premiership of Mohammad Mossadegh. [16] Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani, a powerful member of parliament and a supporter of the Fadayan, "arranged for a special Act to be passed quashing the death sentence on Tahamsebi and declaring him (Tahamsebi) to be a soldier of Islam," [17] to the further consternation of Iranian secularists. However, following the fall of Mossaddegh Tahmasebi was arrested again and tried in 1952. [16] He was sentenced to death and executed in 1955. [16] In addition, Ayatollah Kashani ended his alliance with Mossadegh and become close to the Shah after the assassination. [7] [16]

Although the Fada'iyan strongly supported the nationalization of Iran's foreign-owned oil industry, they turned against the leader of the nationalization movement, Mohammad Mossadeq, when he became prime minister, because of his refusal to implement sharia law and appoint strict Islamists to high positions. [18] The danger from the Fada'iyan "was one of the primary factors accounting for Mosaddeq's decision to move the prime minister's office to his own residence." [19] Another assassination attempt on 15 February 1952 badly wounded Hossein Fatemi, "Mosaddeq's dynamic and capable aide" and foreign minister. That left Fatemi "badly wounded and effectively disabled for almost eight months." The attempted assassination was planned by the group's second in command, Abolhossein Vahedi, and carried out by a teenage member of the group. [19]


In 1955, Navvab Safavi and "other members of the Fedayeen of Islam, including Emami," were finally executed. [20] The group continued however, turning, according to author Baqer Moin, to Ayatollah Khomeini as a new spiritual leader, [21] and reportedly being "reconstructed" by Khomeini disciple, and later controversial "hanging judge," Sadegh Khalkhali. [22] It is thought to have carried out the assassination of Iranian Prime Minister Hassan Ali Mansour in 1965. Mansour is reported to have been "tried" by a secret Islamic court, made up of Khomeini followers Morteza Motahhari and Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, and sentenced to death "on a charge of 'warring on Allah' as symbolized by the decision" to send Khomeini into exile. The three men who carried out the "sentence" - Mohammad Bokara'i, Morteza Niknezhad and Reza Saffar-Harandi - "were arrested and charged as accomplices", but the story of both the trial and the sentence was not revealed until after the revolution. [23]

Revolution and Islamic Republic

During the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Fadayan members served as foot soldiers for Khomeini and formed part of the fundamentalist wing of the revolutionary base, pressuring Khomeini to implement rule of Islam immediately. They called for a "wholesale introduction of Islamic legal and social codes including a ban on music, alcohol, the cinema, usury, women working outside the home and compulsory veiling." Many of its members went on to serve in the Islamic government.

In late 1998, after concern was raised about a series of killings of Iranian dissidents, (known as the Chain Murders), a statement was issued in Tehran by a previously unknown group with a name similar to Fadayaan-e Islam, taking credit for at least some of the killings. The statement by a group calling itself "pure Mohammadan Islam devotees of Mostafa Navvab," (Fadayaan-e Islam-e Naab-e Mohammadi-ye Mostafa Navvab), said in part:

"Now than domestic politicians, through negligence and leniency, and under slogan of rule of law, support the masked poisonous vipers of the aliens, and brand the decisive approaches of the Islamic system, judiciary and responsible press and advocates of the revolution as monopolistic and extremist spread of violence and threats to the freedom, the brave and zealous children of the Iranian Muslim nation took action and by revolutionary execution of dirty and sold-out elements who were behind nationalistic movements and other poisonous moves in universities, took the second practical step in defending the great achievements of the Islamic Revolution ... The revolutionary execution of Dariush Forouhar, Parvaneh Eskandari, Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh is a warning to all mercenary writers and their counter-value supporters who are cherishing the idea of spreading corruption and promiscuity in the country and bringing back foreign domination over Iran..." [24]

It is not certain what the connection of the group was to the murders.

Members of the group

These persons are main member of the group: [25]

See also

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  1. "List of Legally Registerred Parties in Iran". Khorasan Newspaper. Pars Times. July 30, 2000. p. 4. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 FEDĀʾĪĀN-E ESLĀM. (1999). In Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved from http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/fedaian-e-esla The Fedāʾīān’s importance in Persian politics was due to several related factors. First, they were exceptionally successful as a terrorist organization
  3. 1 2 "Ali Razmara Prime Minister of Iran". Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 August 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  4. Denoeux, Guilain (1993). "Religious Networks and Urban Unrest". Urban Unrest in the Middle East: A Comparative Study of Informal Networks in Egypt, Iran, and Lebanon. SUNY series in the Social and Economic History of the Middle East. SUNY Press. p. 177. ISBN   9781438400846.
  5. "The "terrorist group" that Kermit Roosevelt and Donald Wilber mobilized was the Fadaian Islam". Web.mit.edu.
  6. Iran: between tradition and modernity By Ramin Jahanbegloo
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  8. 1 2 Taheri, The Spirit of Allah, (1985), p. 98
  9. Fundamentalist Islam at Large: The Drive for Power by Martin Kramer, Middle East Quarterly, June 1996
  10. Abrahamian, Ervand Iran between Two Revolutions, Princeton University Press, 1982, p. 259
  11. Taheri, The Spirit of Allah, (1985), p. 101
  12. Taheri, The Spirit of Allah, (1985), pp. 107-8
  13. Iran Mossadeq and oil nationalization
  14. Zabih, Sepehr, The Mossadegh Era : Roots of the Iranian Revolution, Lake View Press, 1982, pp. 25-6
  15. Molavi, The Soul of Iran, (2005), p. 323
  16. 1 2 3 4 Zabih, Sepehr (September 1982). "Aspects of Terrorism in Iran". Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. International Terrorism. Sage Publications. 463: 84–94. doi:10.1177/0002716282463001007. JSTOR   1043613.
  17. Taheri, The Spirit of Allah, (1985), p. 109
  18. Abrahamian, Ervand, A History of Modern Iran, Cambridge University Press, 2008, p.116
  19. 1 2 Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran, Mark j. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne (Eds.), Syracuse University Press, 2004, p. 66
  20. Taheri, The Spirit of Allah, (1985), p.115
  21. Moin, Khomeini (2000), p.224
  22. Taheri, Amir, Spirit of Allah : Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution , Adler and Adler c1985, p.187
  23. Taheri, The Spirit of Allah, (1985), p.156
  24. "A Review of Serial Murders by Nahid Mousavi - translated from Zanan[Women]; Social & Cultural Magazine (Monthly) December 1999, No. 58". Archived from the original on 2008-01-19.
  25. http://iranmehr1.tripod.com/1Reform/RfBygone21Mar02BayganiP.html . Retrieved 18 January 2016.Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  27. "روی کفن مظفر ذوالقدر چه حرفی برای نخست وزیر نوشته شده بود". Fars News Agency. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  28. Associated Press (8 March 1951). "Premier of Iran Is Shot to Death In a Mosque by a Religious Fanatic; PREMIER OF IRAN SLAIN IN MOSQUE Cabinet in Emergency Session VICTIM OF ASSASSIN". The New York Times . Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  29. Zabih, Sepehr (1982). "Aspects of Terrorism in Iran". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science . 463 (1): 84–94. doi:10.1177/0002716282463001007. JSTOR   1043613.
  30. "IRAN: Time of the Assassin". Time . 1 December 1952. Retrieved 12 December 2016.