August 11, 1897

Execution of Mirza Reza Kermani





Mirza Mohammad Reza Kermani, the son of Mullah Hussein Agdayii well known as Father Mullah Hussein, was born in Kerman. His father moved to Yazd as a result of oppression suffered during the long reign of Mohammad Ismail Khan Vakil al-Mulk in Kerman. He bought an estate land in Aqdai region of Yazd and began farming. He sent his son Mohammad Reza to school for a while and then he came to Tehran for prosecution, and stayed in Mullah Abdullah’s school and passed away there too. While Mirza Mohammad Reza was acquiring knowledge and theology in Yazd, he also undertook sermonizing and preaching. He came to Tehran from Yazd and engaged in peddling and dealing in second-hand goods. He succeeded in this job and gradually won credibility near Tehrani merchants. He took cashmere scarf for safekeeping from the well-known merchant of Tehran Mullah Hussein Nazem al-Tojar and sold it in house of lords and princes who lived in capitals. Maybe it was thanks to very same comings and goings to house of lords and political leaders that he later turned to politics. By entering the houses of courtiers for selling goods , he found a considerable influence of words among women as his chief customers, an influence he later took advantage of in tobacco uprising. He delivered Mirza Shirazi`s fatwa on tobacco ban to the corners of houses of lords and invited all people to obey Marja (source of emulation) of the time. Of course, this action of Mirza Reza bothered him later. Mirza Reza Kermani who committed the first political homicide in contemporary history of Iran, resembled Naser al-Din Shah to an old rotten tree under which different kinds of vermins were gathered together, and so opened fire toward him with this motivation in his mind. The servant of the Shah Mirza Mohammad Khan Amin Khaqan narrates, “Naser al-Din Shah and his chancellor entered courtyard of Hazrat Abdul Azim Holy Shrine around the noon. The courtyard’s master and servants wanted to drive out people and close it to the general public, as it was the custom at that time. The king opposed and said, “Do not eject anybody from arriving. Today, I want to go on a pilgrimage like other people.’ The king decided to take on a pilgrimage. The chancellor recommended, ‘It is better to eat lunch before going on a pilgrimage’. The king returned, ‘No, first, I go on a pilgrimage because I’m with ablution. No problem, if I eat lunch one hour later.’ The king entered and circled the holly shrine. He stood on lower position of his foot and asked for a prayer rug and cloth cover for the praying seal. The chancellor went a few steps farther to bring a prayer rug. The king wore his glasses and looked at women. From the left side of the king, a person from among two women took his hand out of his cloak and stretched a big paper as a petition toward him. About a span to king, the sound of fire of five or six shots was heard from the under of the letter. The king just had the chance to say, ‘Hajj Hassan-Ali Khan hold me.’ Hajj Hussein Ali Khan, I and some other servants who were near the king held him. He took five or six steps before his feet became numb. We took him to the room known as Tomb of Crown Prince, which was near the shrine. There, after stretching him on the floor, he heaved a loud sigh and did not breathe any more….” Apparently, Muzaffar al-Din Shah did not want to kill Mirza Reza, but finally he made his decision. Mirza Reza was transferred to drill field to be hanged. Minute-by-minute report of his execution reveals that he did not change his mind and had faith in his action to the last moment. His words and behavior in the last moments shows his defiance against death. According to an oral quotation, when Amir Tooman Arqon, the father of colonel Arqon (known as number-one colonel) who was charged with Mirza Reza`s execution, was taking him to hang said, “You son of a gun killed the king and now you see that they are going to hang you. Mirza Reza answered, “You yourself are son of a gun, if you die no cat and dog will participate in your funeral procession, but as you see, all of these formalities have been held for my execution.

It is said that he willed to imprint on his gravestone,

Lover of Mohammad’s tribe, Slave of eight and four,

Devotee of Iranian people, Reza, the hunter of Shah!

Event code : 241



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