FARĀHĀN, a district (baḵš) in Tafreš subprovince (šahrestān) of the Central (Markazī) province. The Farmahīn River traverses the district and drains into the Mīqān salt lake. Due to an abundancy of subterranean water, many perennial qanāts operate in the district which, together with its fertile soil, make possible both irrigated and dry farming. The main agricultural produce consists of cereals, cattle feed, sugar beets, fruits, and vegetables. Farāhān is also celebrated for carpets with a “Sārūq” design, named after one of its villages (Farhang-e joḡrāfīāʾī-e Qom-Arāk, p. 137; Wakīlī, p. 386; Dehḵodā, s.v. “Sārūq”).
Also called Parāhān (Rašīd-al-Dīn, 1994, II, p. 935; Idem, 1945, p. 228), the earliest mention of Farāhān and its villages is by Yaʿqūbī (Boldān, p. 274), who groups them as dependencies of Qom. Ebn al-Faqīh (p. 239) included Farāhān as one of the 24 villages of Hamadān (cf. Yāqūt, Boldān V, p. 988). Mostawfī (p. 76) mentions a lake called Čaḡān Nāʾūr by the Mongols, on the shores of which Abaqa (q.v.) was enthroned as the successor of the Il-Khan Hülegü (ibid.; Rašīd-al-Dīn, Jāmeʿ al-tawārīkò, ed. Rowšan and Mūsawī, III, p. 1059)
Farāhān is reported to have been a prosperous welāyat in the 17th century (Haft eqlīm II, p. 488). In 1879, it was a village, administratively part of Ḵalaj of Qom, containing 41 houses and with a population of 295 (Modarresī, pp. 75, 300). In the late 19th and early 20th century Farāhān was a dependency of the governor of ʿErāq (Afżal-al-Molk, p. 298; Kayhān, Joḡrāfīā II, p. 386) until 1937, when it fell within the administrative district of Solṭānābād (see ARĀK) in the Central province (Razmārā, Farhang II, p. 15). The confines of Farāhān shrank eventually to those of the present district, with 62 villages in two subdistricts (dehestān), with Farmahīn as its center. The population of the district fell from ca. 28,000 in 1991 to 23,000 in 1996 (Joḡrāfīā-ye Ostān-e markazī, p. 33; cf. Sayfī, p. 42).
There are reports of fire temples in the area, among which the one in the village of Fordojān was still in use in the mid-9th century (Ebn al-Faqīh, p. 246; Qomī, pp. 88 f.). From these temples, remnants of tombs and ceramic graves, and the persistence of certain Zoroastrian traditions (Qomī, pp. 28, 89; Sayfī, pp. 15, 18, 89), one may conclude that the penetration of Islam was a slow process. Nevertheless, both Rāvandī (p. 395) and Mostawfī (pp. 75 f.) indicate that there were significant numbers of Shiʿites among the population of Farāhān. The only notable monument in Farāhān is Šāhzāda Aḥmad shrine with relatively recent decoration, especially its steel-coated conical dome.
Farāhān was the birthplace of many learned men and artists such as Abu’l-Ḥasan Jalāl b. Jaʿfar, a poet and mystic of 14th century; Amīnā, a poet of Shah ʿAbbās I’s time (Naṣrābādī, p. 183); Mīr Abu’l-Karam (or ʿAbd-al-Karīm), a 17th century poet (idem, p. 383; Āftāb Rāy, p. 27); Adīb-al-Mamālek (q.v.); Mīrzā Moḥamma- Mahdī Ḥosaynī Malek-al-Kottāb (d. 1260/1844; Ḥabībābādī, Makārem III, p. 1017); Amīr-e Kabīr (q.v.); Mīrzā Bozorg, the vizier and poet (d. 1237/1832); Mīrzā Abu’l-Qāsem Qāʾem-maqām, the grand vizier of Moḥammad Shah Qājār; ʿAlī-Akbar, a musician (b. 1269/1853; Hedāyat, III, p. 1519); and ʿAbd-Allāh Bāqerī, a miniaturist (see also Eskandar Beg, I, pp. 161, 163; Wāleh Eṣfahānī, p. 451).
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(Reżā Reżāzāda Langarūdī)
Originally Published: December 15, 1999
Last Updated: April 14, 2010