Khorasan, province of Iran, but also an ancient kingdom comprising parts of present-day Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Fishburn and Hughes: Persian for 'land of the sun': a province in north-east Persia from which it has been frequently separated by political unrest. The Zahir: the veiled prophet of Jorasán is Al Moqanna, who ruled the region for fourteen years (c.765-79) in defiance of the armies of the Mahdi. Because he had only one eye he veiled his face in green silk, claiming that he was God incarnate and that he wore the mask to spare his followers 'the dazzling and insupportable effulgence of his countenance'. When he was eventually besieged by the Mahdi's armies, he burned himself in order to destroy his remains, to confirm to his followers that he was God and would rise again. But his body was found and his deformity and deceit exposed. Borges gives a version of this story in 'The Masked Dyer Hakim of Merv'. Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius; The Zahir