Tobacco Fatwa Day in Iran Date in the current year: May 14, 2024

Tobacco Fatwa Day in Iran Tobacco Fatwa Day is an Iranian commemoration held on May 14 (the 24th of Ordibehesht in the Solar Hijri calendar). It was established to commemorate an important event in the movement that culminated in the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1905–1911.

Beginning in the 19th century, an increasing foreign presence within Iran made the position of the ruling Qajar dynasty very precarious. Nasir al-Din Shah eventually chose profit and good relations with the British over the welfare of the country’s residents and granted a concession to Major G. F. Talbot for full monopoly over the production, sale, and export of tobacco.

The concession resulted in a serious crisis in the tobacco industry. Tobacco producers and merchants were forced to sell their products to the agents of the tobacco monopoly, which undermined the relationship between local tobacco producers and sellers, and threatened the job security of over 200,000 people employed in the tobacco industry.

The first protests against the tobacco monopoly emerged in the cities of Shiraz, Tabriz and Tehran. The protesters were supported by Shia religious leaders who wanted to protect national interests from the growing foreign economic domination.

In 1891, the famous cleric Mirza Shirazi issued a fatwa (verdict) declaring the use of tobacco to be equivalent to war against the Hidden Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi, a sacred person in Shia Islam. Iranians refused to smoke tobacco because of the fatwa, and the main bazaars throughout the country were shut down.

The religious ban was so successful that the shah was forced to cancel the concession. Mirza Shirazi promptly issued another fatwa repealing the first and permitting tobacco consumption. Following the cancellation of the monopoly, the tobacco industry of Iran began to rebuild itself and foreign influence somewhat diminished.

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Tobacco Fatwa Day in Iran, Tobacco Protests in Iran, holidays in Iran, Mirza Shirazi