Table of Contents

  • ĀB

    Multiple Authors

    Persian word meaning “water.”

  • ĀB i. The concept of water in ancient Iranian culture

    Mary Boyce

    The ancient Iranians respected water as the source of life, which nourished plants, animals, and men. In their cosmology water was the second of the seven “creations.”

  • ĀB ii. Water in Muslim Iranian culture

    I. K. Poonawala

    Water constitutes an essential element in Islamic ritual, as a means of purification, and serves as a common theme in folklore. 

  • ĀB iii. The hydrology and water resources of the Iranian plateau

    P. Beaumont

    Over the most of the central part of the plateau, in the Dašt-e Kavīr and Dašt-e Lūt, annual precipitation averages less than 100 mm, making these among the most arid parts of the world.

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    R. Holod, M. Sotūda

    "Water reservoir,” a term commonly used throughout Iran as a designation for roofed underground water cisterns.

  • ĀB-ANBĀR i. History

    R. Holod

    The āb-anbār was one of the constructions developed in Iran as part of a water management system in areas reliant on permanent (springs, qanāts) or on seasonal (rain) water. A settlement’s capacity for storing water ensured its survival over the hot, dry season when even the permanent water supply would diminish.

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  • AB-ANBĀR ii. Construction

    M. Sotūda

    Cisterns are built in towns and villages throughout Iran, as well as at crossroads, caravanseries, and hospices (rebāṭ). While town cisterns may be filled with rain water or from qanāts, most āb-anbārs along caravan routes are filled from the spring torrents of nearby streams.

  • ĀB-E DEZ

    H. Gaube

    a major river of Ḵūzestān and the one most vital to its economy. It rises in the central Zagros mountains about 20 km northeast of Borūǰerd near the village of Čahār Borra.


    E. Ehlers

    There is a special kind of spring, the karst spring, in areas which have no consistent water table. The water usually collects in great clefts within chalky formations or flows in a subterranean channel and often includes the best-known springs in Iran.

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    Āb-e Ḥayāt, also called ʿAyn al-Ḥayāt or Nahr al-Ḥayāt, meaning the fountain of life, is associated with Ḵeżr, who is identified with the unnamed companion of Moses in the Koran (18:65-82). See ĀB ii. Water in Muslim Iranian culture.


    C. E. Bosworth

    “Still water,” a salt lake in the province of Ḡazna in modern Afghanistan, lying 30 km southeast of the present Ḡazna-Kandahār highway and 100 km south of Ḡazna itself.


    N. Ramazani

    (or ĀB-E ḠŪRA), the juice of unripe grapes, used in Persian cuisine.


    EIr and N. Ramazani

    “meat juice,” a popular Persian meat-based soup or stew, consisting of lamb, some legume, and herb and seasoning.


    Mary Boyce

     “Nāhid of the Water,” a Zoroastrian woman’s name, first attested in the poem Vis o Rāmīn.


    Mary Boyce

    “offering of water,” the Middle Persian form of a Zoroastrian technical term, Av. Ape zaoθra. Making the offering of water is the culminating rite of the main Zoroastrian act of worship, the yasna; and preparing and consecrating it is at the center of the rituals of the second part of this service.

  • ʿABĀʾ

    H. Algar

    (in Arabic, also ʿabāʾa and ʿabāya), a loose outer garment, generally for men, worn widely throughout the Middle East, particularly by Arab nomads. 

  • ABAD

    Joseph van Ess

    “Eternity a parte post,” Arabic theological term meaning “eternity a parte post” (already in early Muʿtazilite theology); it corresponds to Greek atéleuton. It sometimes also serves as a general term for unlimited time (dahr).


    C. E. Bosworth

    Name of (1) a small town in northern Fārs province, and (2) a medieval town near the northern shore of Lake Baḵtegān in Fārs.


    Multiple Authors

    island and city in the ostān (province) of Ḵūzestān at the head of the Persian Gulf.

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  • ĀBĀDĀN i. History

    L. P. Elwell-Sutton

    In medieval sources, and up to the present century, the name of the island always occurs in the Arabic form ʿAbbādān; this name has sometimes been derived from ʿabbād “worshiper.”

  • ĀBĀDĀN ii. The modern city

    X. de Planhol

    At the turn of this century the alluvial island of ʿAbbādān had a few peasant hamlets and a scattering of palm groves along the coast. The city which devel­oped after 1900 under a foreign impulse has a struc­ture unique among Iran’s urban forms.

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  • ĀBĀDĀN iii. Basic Population Data, 1956-2011

    Mohammad Hossein Nejatian

    the population growth from 1956 to 2011, age structure, average household size, literacy rate, economic activity status for 2006 and/or 2011, and population projection from 2014 to 2021.

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    Ahmad Ashraf

    “Settlement, inhabited space,” Persian term usally applied to the rural environment; in colloquial usage it often refers to towns and cities as well.


    Aḥmad Tafażżolī

    Zoroastrian of the 9th century A.D. who apostatized to Islam.

  • ĀBĀN

    Mary Boyce

    Middle Persian term meaning “the waters” (Av. āpō). In Indo-Iranian the word for water is grammatically feminine; the element itself was always characterized as female and was represented by a group of goddesses, the Āpas.


    I. Abbas

    late 2nd/8th century poet. He was of a Persian family, originally from Fasā, which had settled (probably at an early date) in Baṣra.


    Mary Boyce

    the eighth month of the Zoroastrian year, dedicated to the waters, Ābān.


    Mary Boyce

    Middle Persian name of the fifth hymn among the Zoroastrian hymns to individual divinities. It is the third longest, with 131 verses.



    the name used by Bīrūnī (Āṯār, p. 224) for the Zoroastrian feast-day dedicated to the Waters, which was celebrated on the day Ābān of the month Ābān. See further under ĀBĀN MĀH.


    W. L. Hanaway, Jr.

    Character in the prose romance Dārāb-nāma of Abū Ṭāher Moḥammad b. Ḥasan b. ʿAlī b. Mūsā al-Ṭarsūsī, a storyteller of the Ghaznavid period.


    Peter Jackson

    (or ABAḠA, “paternal uncle” in Mongolian; ABĀQĀ in Persian and Arabic), eldest son and first successor of the Il-khan Hülegü.


    ʿA.-N. Monzavi

    a large Persian and Arabic work by Mīr Ḥāmed Ḥosayn b. Moḥammad-qolī b. Moḥammad b. Ḥāmed of Lucknow on the legitimacy of the imamate and the defense of Shiʿite theology.



    Aramaic name for the lands to the west of the Euphrates—i.e., Phoenicia, Syria, and Palestine (Parpola, p. 116; Zadok, p. 129; see ASSYRIA ii). These regions apparently passed from Neo-Babylonian to Persian control in 539 B.C.E. when Cyrus the Great conquered Mesopotamia. See EBER-NĀRĪ.


    M. Kasheff

    Late Sasanian name of Qešm island in the Straits of Hormoz.


    C. E. Bosworth

    Ancient town of lower Iraq between Baṣra and Vāseṭ, to the east of the Tigris, in the region adjacent to Ahvāz, known in pre-Islamic and early Islamic times as Mēšūn (Mid. Pers. form) or Maysān/Mayšān (Syriac and Arabic forms).


    Multiple Authors

    (or ABARQŪYA), a town in northern Fārs; it was important in medieval times, but, being off the main routes, it is now largely decayed.

  • ABARQUH i. History

    C. E. Bosworth

    In present-day Iran, Abarqūh is situated in the tenth ostān, that of Isfahan, and forms a baḵš or district of the šahrestān of Yazd.

  • ABARQUH ii. Monuments

    R. Hillenbrand

    Numerous pre-Safavid monuments survive in Abarqūh, but the lack of important later buildings suggests a sharp decline in the city’s wealth.


    H. Gaube

    Name of Nīšāpūr province in western Khorasan. From the early Sasanian period, Nišāpur, which was founded or rebuilt by Šāpur I in the first years of his reign, was the administrative center of the province.


    E. Yarshater

    (APURSĀM in Middle Persian), a dignitary and high-ranking officeholder of the court of the Sasanian king Ardašīr I (A.D. 226-42).


    C. J. Brunner

    Middle Persian form of the Avestan name Upāiri.saēna, designating the Hindu Kush mountains (Av. iškata; Mid. Pers. kōf, gar) of central and eastern Afghanistan.


    C. E. Bosworth

    (ĀBASKŪN), a port of the medieval period on the southwest shore of the Caspian Sea in Gorgān province.


    N. Sims-Williams

    (i.e., “Father” Isaiah), late 4th century A.D., author of Christian ascetical texts; from these it appears that he was a hermit who lived in the desert of Scete in Egypt, of whom several anecdotes are told in the Apophthegmata patrum.

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    W. Madelung

    (or SOLAYMĀN), Muʿtazilite theologian of the 3rd/9th century.


    D. M. Dunlop

    Leader of an Arab invasion of the lower Euphrates region in which the Savād of Iraq was ravaged, in about A.D. 589, toward the end of the reign of Hormozd IV.


    J. Calmard

    half brother of Imam Ḥosayn, who fought bravely at the battle of Karbalā. According to most traditions, he was killed on the day of ʿĀšurā (10 Moḥarram 61/10 October 680) while trying to bring back water from the Euphrates river to quench the unbearable thirst of the besieged Ahl-e Bayt (holy family).


    C. Cahen

    Buyid vizier, d. 362/973.


    P. P. Soucek

    calligrapher and civil servant, d. 1255/1839-40.



    the eldest son of Bahāʾallāh and founder of the Bahaʾi movement. See ʿABD-AL-BAHĀʾ.

  • ʿABBĀS I

    R. M. Savory

    Shah Abbas, Safavid king of Iran (996-1038/1588-1629). Styled "Shah ʿAbbās the Great," he was the third son and successor of Solṭān Moḥammad Shah.