ʿAYYĀR, a noun meaning literally “vagabond,” applied to members of medieval fotowwa (fotūwa) brotherhoods and comparable popular organizations.

i. General.

ii. ʿAyyār in Persian sources.


i. General

The history of ʿayyārs and ʿayyārī presents a paradox. On the one hand, there can be little doubt as to their pre-Islamic origin, not only because in later times they were said to have certain distinctively Iranian customs, but above all because in the Islamic period up to the Mongol invasion they were only to be found in territories which had once belonged to the Sasanian empire. On the other hand, our scanty documentation on that empire does not appear to contain anything about them. The early Islamic sources present difficulties because they combine different traditions—Arab, Iranian, urban, rural-aristocratic—under the same name.

In the pre-Islamic Arab tradition, the noun fatā (plur. fetyān), literally “young man,” was applied to any individual claiming the specific qualities of youth (fotowwa). The latter noun also acquired the collective meaning of a group of such individuals, though this usage is not attested before the 2nd/8th century. The qualities were essentially courage, generosity, and chivalry. In the Iranian aristocratic tradition, the noun javānmard, also literally “young man,” or its Arabic equivalent fatā meant a sort of knight-errant, in whom similar qualities were expected. The urban brotherhoods were evidently influenced by these ideas and words, but to what extent we do not know; in any case they were different in their recruitment, corporate organization, and confinement to towns.

Comprehension of the urban fotowwa movement is hampered by the fact that the sources are of two different kinds. As will be seen, the fotowwa brotherhoods at a certain stage of their development began to absorb ideas of mystic origin, and this trend found expression in writings which prompted a long-held belief among modern scholars that the movement was essentially ideological. Although F. Taeschner, who collected almost all our documentation, and L. Massignon, who set Islamic socio-religious problems in the context of his personal understanding, did not ignore certain aspects of recruitment conducive to this ideology, neither could really explain the position of the fotowwa brotherhoods in the social contexts of their times. Research faces the difficulty that for the early Islamic period we possess no texts emanating from fotowwa circles, and that for later times we possess little except ideologically slanted writings. Our only information about social aspects of the fotowwa movement in early Islamic times comes in works by authors connected with aristocratic circles, who take no interest in it except in cases of its involvement in disorders, when they describe it as a bandit organization; they never credit it with ideological motives. Nevertheless it seems possible, if clear questions are asked, to extract sufficient evidence from the sources to permit the piecing together of an interesting social record.

The picture is one of groups of young men (fetyān) aspiring towards a better life. Although the members were not required to quit after growing older and acquiring wives and children, they were for the most part bachelors, which led their adversaries to accuse them of homosexuality. They lived more or less together, ate together, and held joint entertainments. In short they were “comrades,” bound by a strong sense of group loyalty (ʿaṣabīya), who saw themselves as “smarter” than other men and apparently had demanding notions of personal and group honor. Although it appears (contrary to some opinions) that they did not admit non-Moslems, who may have had similar groups of their own, religious belief was clearly not the main bond. The evidence shows only that particular groups were associated with different persuasions. The fetyān have often been portrayed as artisans or proletarians, but it should be borne in mind that fotowwa groups were not organized on a craft basis before late medieval times, and then only in the Turco-Iranian lands; also that the fetyān, while clearly for the most part of humble origin, included and would increasingly include influential notables, who found membership useful in building up clienteles for furtherance of their ambitions.

In historical chronicles and other writings, the fetyān generally appear as trouble-makers, ready in times of breakdown of authority to harass rich merchants and other worthies by pillaging or threatening to pillage the shops or premises of any who would not pay them fixed sums of protection-money. Being subject to police surveillance even in undisturbed times, the fetyān pressed for appointments of police chiefs sympathetic to them and even applied for enrollment in the police, which would assure them of regular pay as well as impunity. At Baghdad they achieved these goals for a short time in the 5th/11th century, but never did so in the subsequent period of Turkish rule when urban policing was in the hands of the army. In provincial towns where the central government’s grip was less tight, the fetyān in the early period often made themselves the real masters, no doubt after admitting a “bourgeois” element into their ranks. In the subsequent period when political fragmentation permitted the rise of local lordships, fetyān groups were more than once able to bring their own candidate to power.

It is a well-known fact that medieval Moslem cities were often torn by strife between factions whose sectarian labels must have masked social cleavages not easily detectable today. The fetyān, with their group loyalties (ʿaṣabīyāt), frequently appear as militant wings of broader movements. Like the sans-culottes of the French revolution, they often proudly appropriated insulting or contemptuous names given to them by their adversaries—names which varied from century to century. It would therefore be hazardous to dissociate them from those to whom the texts give names such as ʿayyār (vagabond), šāṭer (adroit), rend (rogue), and in the nineteenth century lūṭī (pederast, rowdy).

Sometimes there were separate and rival fotowwa groups in a town. On the other hand, groups in different towns maintained a degree of solidarity, notably through hospitality to traveling comrades. The Ismaʿilis may have tried to infiltrate fotowwa groups in this way, but (despite certain suppositions) there is no evidence that they had any success.

The fetyān or ʿayyārān have often been confused with the ḡāzīs. This is incorrect but explicable. The ḡāzīs, being volunteers for holy war, were only important in frontier regions, at first mainly in Central Asia where they faced the pagan Turks. Although they were recruited from town-dwellers and concentrated in towns, they had no links with the urban social organizations. Conversely the ʿayyārān had nothing to do with holy war. In the frontier regions, however, the two elements were obviously bound to become more or less intermixed, whereas in the towns on the Iranian plateau no such process occurred. Where intermixing did take place, it was fostered by the popular institution of the zūrḵāna (gymnasium), in which young men practiced archery and other sports.

It has already been mentioned that from the 5th/11th century onward, some of the fotowwa groups began to adopt an ideology which brought them into contact with mystic circles then seeking corporate forms, and that this trend gave rise to a considerable literary output. The groups thus acquired an increasing cultural role in contemporary society. As a result they began, during the 6th/12th century, to attract favorable attention from official and clerical quarters hitherto hostile to them. Finally the caliph al-Nāṣer (575/1180-622/1225) decided to support them while planning to use their organizations as instruments for integrating them in a social framework which would transcend sectarian difference and be held together by the aristocracy and the caliphate. Literature written under official auspices to promote this policy is the source of such knowledge as we possess concerning initiation ceremonies and patron saints (ʿAlī, Salmān) in the ritual of various groups. It is significant that Šehāb-al-dīn Sohravardī, one of the chief exponents of fotowwa teachings, was also the founder of a mystic order. In later times we find occasional mentions of notables who combined mystic literary activity with leadership of more or less violent protest-groups.

The originality of the caliph al-Nāṣer’s fotowwa policy lay in its being on the one hand an effort to promote unity and discipline, and on the other hand an attempt to win over the notables by giving them exclusive control of sports and thereby enabling them to acquire popular clienteles. Al-Nāṣer not only pursued this policy in his own domains but also persuaded most of the leading Moslem princes in the east to adopt it. The fact that the orientalist J. von Hammer-Purgstall happened to find the manuscript of a “Court fotowwa” text at a time (in the mid-19th century) when no other fotowwa texts were known, gave rise to the long-held notion that the fotowwa was initially a sort of order of chivalry. In Iraq, the city and therewith the fotowwa of Baghdad were soon afterward destroyed by the Mongol invasion. Somewhat surprisingly this was just the time when the fotowwa achieved a remarkable and long-lasting spread into Asia Minor and Azerbaijan in the new and perhaps original form of the brotherhoods mentioned under the name aḵī (plur. aḵīān). We do not have such clear information about what happened in the rest of Iran and in Central Asia under the various Mongol and Turkish regimes of the next two and a half centuries. The outstanding development in the Turco-Iranian sphere as a whole in this period is the increasingly (though unevenly) close linkage between fotowwa groups and guilds. The fetyān began to identify and organize themselves on the basis of their craft or trade, and thus to gain control of the respective guilds. This system subsequently spread to the Arab countries as a result of the Ottoman conquest.

In later times the fotowwa tended to become semi-official. Fotowwa catechisms and guild rule-books had virtually identical titles and contents. Popular dislike of this tendency may perhaps have been an underlying cause of the Sarbadār revolt in Khorasan in the 8th/14th century; in Qajar Iran it was voiced by the lūṭīs (rowdies) and by men of the type made known to Europeans and Americans through J. Morier’s portrayal of Hajji Baba of Isfahan.



The largest number of original texts as well as the most important and the greatest number of studies bearing on ʿayyārs and fotowwa were published by Franz Taeschner; nearly all of these are now assembled in a posthumous volume edited by Heinz Halm under the title of Zünfte und Bruderschaften im Islam, Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich, 1979.

See also “Futuwwa” by Claude Cahen and Franz Taeschner in EI2. Most of the references to studies on the subject are found in Claude Cahen, “Mouvements populaires et autonomisme urbain dans l’Asie musulmane du Moyen Age,” Arabica, 1958-59, also printed separately, Leiden, 1960. Despite the Iranian nature of the fotowwa and the ʿayyārs the majority of the relevant works are in Arabic and concern the Arab world. In addition to major Arabic histories, mention should be made of Ketāb al-ḏaḵāʾer wa’l-toḥaf by the Egyptian Rašīd b. Zobayr, ed. Ḥamīdallāh, Kuwait, 1959. (For Persian sources and studies see the Bibliography of the following article.)

(Cl. Cahen)

ii. ʿAyyār in Persian Sources

In Persian sources the term ʿayyār varies widely in meaning with time and context. It appears in prose texts and poetry of all periods, and is used literally and metaphorically with both positive and negative connotations. No succinct definition can cover all occurrences of the term, but three broad areas of meaning can be distinguished: (1) In a neutral or negative sense, mostly in historical works, ʿayyār can mean irregular fighter, rogue, highwayman, robber, troublemaker. (2) In a sense ranging from somewhat negative to somewhat positive, mostly in poetry, it can mean strong, fast, or rough; a night prowler, a deceiver, or a coquette. (3) In a wholly positive sense it can mean a noble-minded highwayman, or a generous, clever, brave, modest, pious, chaste, hospitable, generally upright person. This last image is found mostly in poetry, in adab and Sufi texts, and popular romances. The meaning of ʿayyār often reflects the social point of view of the author of the text in which it appears, so it can be found with quite different meanings in the same period. Further complicating the problem of definition is the fact that at times ʿayyār is synonymous with javānmard (q.v.), and the abstract noun ʿayyārī is synonymous with javānmardī and fotowwa (fotūwa). Rather than attempt a chronological or generic survey of the term, this article will examine the three large areas of meaning mentioned above, and the sources for each.

1. ʿAyyārs portrayed in a neutral or negative sense appear in early historical texts as irregular fighting men. Tārīḵ-eSīstān mentions Ṣāleḥ b. Naṣr, a local ʿayyār, who rose to power in Bost in 238/852-53 and that “all of his army’s strength came from Yaʿqūb b. Layṯ and the ʿayyārs of Sīstān” (p. 193; tr., p. 153). Qābūs-nāma describes what sort of songs to sing on particular occasions, and says “If you see [in your audience] soldiers and ʿayyārs, sing quatrains in the Transoxanian style about war and bloodshed, and in praise of ʿayyārs” (pp. 195-96; tr., p. 189). Qaṭrān of Tabrīz, in a qaṣīda praising a ruler’s military prowess, says of an enemy fortress that it was as wide and high as the sky and filled with fighting men, each one chosen for his bloodthirstiness and ʿayyārī (Dīvān, p. 397). In the story of Ardašīr and Haftvād, Ferdowsī says: “There was an ambitious man named Šāhōy/who was of bad character and ill-spoken” (Šāh-nāma [Moscow] VII, p. 145), and: “There was also Šāhōy, [Haftvād’s] ʿayyār/who was his eldest son and his commander” (loc. cit., p. 153).

ʿAyyārs acting in groups appear to have been led by sarhangs. Gardīzī, discussing Yaʿqūb b. Layṯ, says, “After being a coppersmith he turned to ʿayyārī, and from there to stealing and highway robbery. Then he became a sarhang, acquired a following, and gradually became a commander (amīr). He was the first to be given the leadership (sarhangī) of Bost” (Zayn al-aḵbār, ed. Ḥabībī, p. 139). Tārīḵ-eSīstān describes how in 248/862-63 Yaʿqūb b. Layṯ promised rewards to defecting Kharejites: “Yaʿqūb gave their leaders robes of honor and praised them saying that "whoever of you is a sarhang I shall make an amīr, and whoever is a cavalryman I shall make a sarhang, and whoever is a footsoldier I shall make a cavalryman"” (p. 205, tr., pp. 162-63).

Groups of ʿayyārs often acted independently, siding with or against the established authority. When the Saffarid Ṭāher b. Ḵalaf revolted in 393/1002-03 against his father Ḵalaf b. Aḥmad, and Ḵalaf captured Ṭāher after swearing a false oath, “The people of Sīstān (i.e., Zaranj) and Ṭāher’s army and the ʿayyārs closed up the city, turned against Ḵalaf, and proclaimed their allegiance to the Ghaznavid Sultan Maḥmūd” (Tārīḵ-eSīstān, p. 350, tr. p. 285). In contrast, in 635/1237-38 the ruler of Herat with a group of ʿayyārs from the city went five farsangs out of Herat to greet the amir ʿEzz-al-dīn Moqaddam and welcomed him warmly (Asfezārī, Rawżāt al-jannāt II, p. 110).

In times of weak central authority, groups of ʿayyārs would often harass local populations. After the death of Maḥmūd of Ḡazna in 421/1030 “Turmoil appeared on the earth and the world was disturbed . . . . The ʿayyārs took the city and engaged in fighting and factionalism . . . and burned and plundered the houses of Imam Fāḵer b. Maʿāḏ and his sons” (Tārīḵ-eSīstān, p. 362, tr. p. 295). In 423/1031-32 affairs were still in turmoil, but “[Bū Saʿd Jīmartī] had arrived and the uproar of the ʿayyārs had lessened because he had cut in half a number of them, and ʿAzīz [Fūšanjī, who had arrived earlier] had arrested the sarhangs and whipped them, and had decapitated and cut in two their leaders” (ibid., p. 363, tr. p. 296). Similarly, in the troubled times following the death of the Saljuq Sultan Malekšāh in 485/1092 the ʿayyārs harassed Bayhaq, and Faḵr-al-dīn Abu’l-Qāsem Faryūmadī patrolled the city with cavalry and foot soldiers for five months to protect the families and property there (Ebn Fondoq, Tārīḵ-eBayhaq, pp. 101, 478).

A number of individual ʿayyārs appear in the historical texts as local strongmen and troublemakers. A dark view of ʿayyārs is taken by Ebn Esfandīār: “Much trouble broke out in Khorasan at the hands of rends and ʿayyārs . . . . The most prominent of all was Yaʿqūb b. al-Layṯ the Coppersmith, who was originally of lowly origin and an ʿayyār ” (Tārīḵ-eṬabarestān I, p. 245, tr. pp. 180-81). A particularly troublesome individual was ʿAlī Qohandezī who operated in the area of Jūzjānān. Gardīzī calls him “an ʿayyār and a malefactor” (mardī ʿayyār o mofsed; Zayn al-aḵbār, p. 202), and Bayhaqī says that “he had spent some time in that district and had robbed and plundered and made trouble; several clever fellows had allied themselves with him and they used to raid caravans and plunder villages” (2nd ed., pp. 741-43). The reputation of ʿayyārs for this sort of behavior is echoed in a line from Saʿdī where he says “If that city-disturbing ʿayyār should ask about me one day/Say "He can’t sleep at night because of [the disturbance caused by] the ʿayyārs"” (Ḡazalhā II, no. 456, p. 151). Here the ʿayyār is, of course, the beloved, and what is disturbed is peace of mind, patience, sobriety, and sleep. In addition to the above, the sources contain many references to ʿayyārs as deceivers, thieves, or worse. Ebn Fondoq says that Ṭūs was famous for its ʿayyārs (op. cit., p. 46), and Gardīzī related that when Alptigin passed through the environs of Ṭūs in 350/961-62 some of his baggage was left behind and the ʿayyārs and sarhangs plundered it and carried it off (op. cit., p. 162). The fourteenth-century historian Karīm Āqsarāʾī explains the origins of a popular expression with an anecdote about a trusting monk and a thievish ʿayyār (Mosāmarat al-aḵbār, p. 69). This view of ʿayyārs is also found in Ḥāfeẓ’ line “Depend not on the night-prowling star; for this ʿayyār/Has stolen Kāvūs’s crown and Kayḵosrow’s belt” (Dīvān, no. 407, p. 281). Similarly, Masʿūd-e Saʿd-e Salmān says “My heart-stealer, like an ʿayyār, has stolen my heart/Yes, stealing has always been the business of ʿayyārs” (Dīvān, p. 277), and again, “I do not know why I have been imprisoned/I know that I am neither a thief nor an ʿayyār ” (ibid., p. 357). Moʿezzī likewise says “Nowrūz spread a new display in the flower gardens/And stole yesterday’s display from the garden like an ʿayyār ” (Dīvān, p. 674). This attitude is seen at its most extreme in the scandalous tales recounted by Moḥammad Hāšem Āṣaf of court life during the reign of Shah Sultan Ḥosayn (r. 1105-35/1694-1722), emphasizing the decadent morality of the time. He links ʿayyārs with popular champions, wrestlers, night prowlers, imposters, rogues, dare-devils, and swindlers (Rostam al-tawārīḵ, pp. 103, 108-09, 153).

2. ʿAyyārs are not always portrayed as thoroughly bad: Often they are viewed ambivalently. Sometimes they are described as strong, quick, or rough as in a quatrain written by a famous rend after witnessing the samāʿ of the Mawlawī (Turk. Mevlevi) dervishes: “Those who associate with (barḵordār-and) that Noble One/Are quick and bold and ʿayyarish/Beware, do not grapple with them, for/They have defeated and taken as slaves a hundred like you” (Aflākī, Manāqeb al-ʿārefīn, p. 840). In the same vein, Nāṣer(-e) Ḵosrow says “The sober man is helpless in the hands of drunks/Even if he is like an ʿayyār ” (Dīvān, no. 167, p. 352), the image representing the sober but “unawakened” man in the clutches of this world. The ʿayyār as spy or night prowler is seen in an anecdote in Manāqeb al-ʿārefīn when Jalāl-al-dīn Ḵᵛārazmšāh says of ʿAlāʾ-al-dīn Kayqobād that “in ʿayyārī and night prowling he is a wonder” (pp. 49-50). Nāṣer Ḵosrow says of solitude, his “companion” in Yomgān “You will never see him nor hear what he says/Nobody has ever seen such an ʿayyār ” (Dīvān, no. 127, p. 272); and Ḥāfeẓ, about his beloved: “What hard-hearted one taught her these ʿayyarish ways/For from the first when she came out she has robbed the night-people (šab zendadārān: Dīvān, no. 153, p. 104). The ʿayyār as coquette or deceiver is seen in Ṣāʾeb’s verse: “Although that eye appears to be ill/Do not be deceived by its tricks: It might be an ʿayyār ” (Kollīyat, no. 879, p. 322), and in this verse from Solṭān Ebrāhīm Mīrzā: “Don’t think that her eye knows not the ways of ʿayyārī/It just presents itself so that you would think not” (Maktab-e woqūʿ, p. 5).

3. ʿAyyārs are presented in a strongly positive sense in many sources. Qābūs-nāma has a story about an ʿayyār from Khorasan who is described as “very respectable, of good character, and well known” (p. 145, tr., p. 133). Sīar al-molūk has Yaʿqūb b. Layṯ describe his rise to power and fortune as due to bravery and ʿayyārī, not to inheritance (p. 24, tr., p. 18). In Čahār maqāla the Amir Abu’l-Moẓaffar Čaḡānī says to the poet Farroḵī (regarding a herd of horses), “You are a Sīstānī and an ʿayyār; you can have as many as you can catch” (p. 64). ʿAyyārī means skill in Ḥāfeẓ’s lines “It is natural that I be oppressed by that curly lock/But what fear of her bonds and chains is there for one with the ways of an ʿayyār ?” (Dīvān, no. 191, p. 129), and “Thinking of your locks is not for the inexperienced/For escaping from chains is the way of ʿayyārī” (ibid., no. 66, p. 46).

From the time of the earliest appearances of ʿayyārī in Persian texts, the word has also been linked with javānmardī. Early definitions of javānmardī often involve ʿayyārī. Abu’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī Hojvīrī relates an anecdote about the Sufi Ḥamdūn-e Qaṣṣār who met in Nīšāpūr an ʿayyār named Nūḥ and asked him the definition of javānmardī. Nūḥ defined it in mystical terms (Kašf al-maḥjūb, p. 228; ʿAṭṭār repeats this story in his Taḏkerat al-awlīāʾ, pp. 401-02). Qābūs-nāma discusses ʿayyārs and puts forth a theory of javānmardī, which it divides into three levels. The first level is the javānmardī-eʿayyārī, possessed by ʿayyārs, soldiers, and merchants (p. 243ff., tr., p. 239ff.). In the chapter “On Being a Merchant” in the same work, the author advises his son to associate with three types of persons while traveling: ʿAyyārs and persons who practice javānmardī; wealthy and generous persons; and those who know the roads and the local area (p.170, tr., p. 161). The importance of the ethical code of javānmardī is stressed in an anecdote related by Hojvīrī about Fożayl b. ʿEyāż, a noble-minded ʿayyār who guarded faithfully money entrusted to him by a merchant from the very caravan that he was robbing (op. cit., p. 120; also in ʿAṭṭār, op. cit., pp. 89-90, tr., pp. 53-54). A story making the same point is found in Qābūs-nāma, pp. 108-09, tr., pp. 96-97).

The richest and most extensive representation of ʿayyārs in the positive sense is in the pre-Safavid storytellers’ romances, where the ʿayyārs are popular heroes, deeply motivated by the ideals of javānmardī. One of the functions of these romances must have been to portray and transmit the ideals of ʿayyārī and javānmardī to an illiterate population. In doing so, they present a view of ʿayyārs quite at odds with that found in the works of court historians. The earliest of these romances, and the one in which the ethical code, and the rituals of the ʿayyārs are most clearly set out, is Samak-e ʿayyār. Explicit descriptions can be found in vol. I/1, pp. 44-45, 48-49, and 65. From these, and from descriptions of the garb and equipment of ʿayyārs (e.g., ibid., I/1, pp. 44, 104; Dārāb-nāma I, p. 685) and references to initiations (ibid., II, p. 310), it is clear that in addition to engaging in the traditional activities of ʿayyārs, these ʿayyārs are being shown as members of a corporate, initiatory organization apparently similar to organizations of craftsmen, and Sufi orders in the Iranian world.

In the storytellers’ romances of the Safavid period, the ʿayyārs become almost fantastic figures. The most famous of these, Mehtar Nesīm in Eskandar-nāma and ʿAmr-e Omayya in Romūz-e Ḥamza, no longer represent the ethical ideals of javānmardī, but become essentially comic figures and vehicles for the creative imagination of the oral narrators who told these tales. They still embody a non- or even anti-courtly view of society, however, and are a balance to the early court historians who looked on ʿayyārs as threats to public order and established power. By the Qajar period, ʿayyārs are no longer mentioned in popular romances.



Šams-al-dīn Aḥmad Aflākī, Manāqeb al-ʿārefīn, ed. T. Yazıcı, Ankara, 1976.

Karīm Āqsarāʾī, Mosāmarat al-aḵbār, ed. O. Turan, Ankara, 1944.

Moḥammad-Hāšem Āṣaf, Rostam al-tawārīḵ, ed. M. Mošīrī, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969.

Shaikh Farīd-al-dīn ʿAṭṭār, Taḏkerat al-awlīāʾ, ed. M. Esteʿlāmī, Tehran, 1346 Š./1967; abridged Eng. tr. A. J. Arberry, Chicago, 1966.

Shaikh Moḥammad b. Aḥmad Bīḡamī, Dārāb-nāma, 2 vols., ed. Ḏ. Ṣafā, Tehran, 1339-41 Š./1960-63; abridged Eng. tr. W. L. Hanaway, Jr., Delmar, N.Y., 1974.

Ebn Esfandīār, Tārīḵ-eṬabarestān I, abridged Eng. tr. E. G. Browne, Leiden and London, 1905.

Moʿīn-al-dīn Moḥammad Asfezārī, Rawżāt al-jannāt, 2 vols., ed. K. Emām, Tehran, 1338-39 Š./1959-60.

Eskandar-nāma, Tehran, 1327 Š./1948. Farāmarz b. Ḵodādād Arrajānī, Samak-e ʿayyār, 5 vols., ed. P. N. Ḵānlarī, Tehran, 1338-53 Š./ 1959-74.

Ebn Fondoq, Tārīḵ-eBayhaq, ed. K. Ḥosaynī, Hyderabad (Deccan), 1968.

Ḥāfeẓ, Dīvān, ed. M. Qazvīnī and Q. Ḡanī, Tehran, 1320 Š./1941.

Abu’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. ʿOṯmān Hojvīrī, Kašf al-maḥjūb, ed. V. Zhukovsky, Tehran, 1336 Š./1957, Eng. tr. R. A. Nicholson, London, 1911.

A. Goḷčīn-e Maʿānī, Maktab-e woqūʿ, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969.

Masʿūd-e Saʿd-e Salmān, Dīvān, ed. R. Yāsamī, Tehran, 1339 Š./1960.

Moʿezzī, Dīvān, ed. ʿA. Eqbāl, Tehran, 1318 Š./1939.

Nāṣer(-e) Ḵosrow, Dīvān, ed. M. Mīnovī and M. Moḥaqqeq, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974.

Neẓām-al-molk, Sīar al-molūk, ed. H. Darke, Tehran, 1340 Š./1962, Eng. tr. H. Darke, London, 1960.

Neẓāmī ʿArūżī Samarqandī, Čahār maqāla, ed. M. Moʿīn, Tehran, 1333 Š./1954.

ʿOnṣor-al-maʿālī Kaykāvūs, Qābūs-nāma, ed. Ḡ.-Ḥ. Yūsofī, Tehran, 1345 Š./1967, Eng. tr. R. Levy, New York, 1951.

Qaṭrān Tabrīzī, Dīvān, ed. M. Naḵjavānī, Tehran, 1333 Š./1954.

Romūz-e Ḥamza, Tabrīz, 1321/1903-04.

Saʿdī, Ḡazalhā, 2 vols., ed. N. Īrānparast, Tehran, 2535=1355 Š./1976-1357 Š./1978.

Ṣāʾeb Tabrīzī, Kollīyat, ed. B. Taraqqī, Tehran, 1333 Š./1954.

Studies: C. E. Bosworth, “The Armies of the Ṣaffārids,” BSOAS 31, 1968, pp. 534-54.

Idem, “The Political and Dynastic History of the Iranian World (A.D. 1000-1217),” in Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 1-202.

Idem, Sīstān under the Arabs, Rome, 1968.

Idem, “The Ṭāhirids and Ṣaffārids,” in Camb. Hist. Iran IV, pp. 90-135. (General historical works with many references to ʿayyārs, mostly in eastern Iran.) Cl. Cahen, “Mouvements populaires et autonomisme urbain dans l’Asie musulmane du moyen âge,” Arabica 5, 1958, pp. 225-50; 6, 1959, pp. 25-56, 233-65, and EI2 s.vv. “Aḥdāth,” “Akhī,” “ʿAyyār,” “Futuwwa,” “Ghāzī,” are useful for indicating connections between ʿayyārs and other organizations.

W. Hanaway, “Formal Elements in the Persian Popular Romances,” Review of National Literatures 2/1, 1971, pp. 139-60, discusses ʿayyārs in storytellers’ romances.

Ḥosayn Wāʿeẓ Kāšefī, Fotowwat-nāma-ye solṭānī, ed. M. J. Maḥjūb, Tehran, 1350 Š./1971 (Maḥjūb’s lengthy introduction includes many mentions of ʿayyārs).

K. Kāẓemaynī, ʿAyyārān, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970 (stories of ʿayyārs from Romūz-e Ḥamza; not scholarly).

P. N. Ḵānlarī, “Āʾīn-e ʿayyārī,“ Soḵan 18, 1347-48 Š./1968-69, pp. 1071-77; 19, 1348-49 Š./1969-70, pp. 19-26, 113-22, 263-67, 477-80 (discussion of ʿayyārs in historical and literary sources).

M. J. Maḥjūb, “Āʾīn-e ʿayyārī,” Soḵan 19, 1348-49 Š./1969-70, pp. 869-83, 1059-73, 1182-95; 20, 1349-50 Š./1970-71, pp. 38-51, 173-99, 301-11 (continues Ḵānlarī’s discussion, focusing more on popular literature).

Idem, “Ravešhā-ye ʿayyārī wa nofūḏ-e kār wa kerdār-e ʿayyārān dar Šāh-nāma,” Honar o mardom 15, 2536 = 1356 Š./1977, nos. 177-78, pp. 2-13 (incidents when the heroes of the Šāh-nāma behave in the manner of ʿayyārs. F. Taeschner, “Futuwwa, eine gemeinschaftbildende Idee im mittelalterlichen Orient und ihre verschiedene Erscheinungsformen,” Schweizerisches Archiv für Volkskunde 52, 1956, pp. 122-58 (fundamental study of the subject, with references to ʿayyārs as they relate to fotowwa in the Islamic world; comprehensive bibliography).

See also E. Narāqī, Āyīn-e javānmardī, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984, basically a Persian translation of H. Corbin’s introduction of M. Ṣarrāf’s Rasāʾel-e javānmardī, but with the addition of 19 articles on ʿayyārs and fotowwa by mostly Persian scholars.

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(Cl. Cahen, W. L. Hanaway, Jr.)

Originally Published: December 15, 1987

Last Updated: August 18, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 2, pp. 159-163