The Politics of Zoroastrian Philanthropy and the Case of Qasr-e Firuzeh
- Publisher: Routledge
In Iran and India religious philanthropy has been a feature of Zoroastrian piety as well as providing the means by which both communities have prospered throughout their respective histories. In Iran an elaborate structure for the regulation of charitable donations was already in place during the Sasanian period and laid the foundation for the laws governing pious foundations, awqāf, after the Islamic conquest. The increased interaction between Iranian Zoroastrians and Parsis from the mid-nineteenth century\ud onwards led to the expansion of the Tehran Zoroastrian community and the rise of a wealthy merchant class which in turn enabled philanthropic activity to flourish. This\ud development will be discussed here with reference to a particular vaqf, that of the first ārāmgāh or Zoroastrian cemetery to be established in Tehran in the early twentieth\ud century. The case of Qasr-e Firuzeh spans three successive governments in Iran and gives an insight into the management of a charitable endowment within different political contexts.