Skip to comments.Iran's Zoroastrians remember Arab conquest of Persia
Posted on 06/18/2007 12:56:35 PM PDT by freedom44
CHAK CHAK, Iran (AP) - Dressed in white to symbolize purity, a priest recited from the Zoroastrian holy book at a shrine as members of this ancient pre-Islamic religion marked what they see as one of the most bitter events in Iran's history: the 7th century Arab conquest of Persia.
The Arab invasion changed history for Persia, the ancient name for non-Arab Iran: Islam was imposed as the new religion, replacing Zoroastrianism, whose followers were dispersed.
Thousands of Zoroastrians from Iran's small remaining community and from India, the United States and other countries gathered at this mountain shrine this week for five days of ceremonies that ended Monday, commemorating the event.
Priest Goshtasb Belivani addressed the gathering, standing at the tall bronze doors of the shrine, built into a cliff-side cave where a heroine of the faith, Nikbanou, is said to have fled from the Arab assault. «We have all gathered at this sacred place to pray Ahura Mazda,» he said, using the Zoroastrians' name for God. «We are also here to remember Nikbanou and what happened to our ancestors by the Arab invaders.
Belivani spoke to the crowd in modern Farsi, before reciting the verses from the Avesta, the faith's holy book, in an ancient version of the language.
According to legend, Nikbanou, the youngest daughter of the last king of the Persian empire, took shelter in the mountain and prayed to Ahura Mazda for help from the attackers. Miraculously, the mountain opened up and gave her protection.
Near the shrine, a slowly dripping spring emerges from the mountain, giving the site its name _ «Chak Chak» means «drip drip» in Persian. The legend says the spring is the mountain shedding tears in remembrance of Nikbanou. An immense tree stands nearby, said to have grown from Nikbanou's cane.
The legends regretting the invasion that brought Islam to this country highlight the unusual status of Zoroastrians in today's Iran ruled by an Islamic government headed by clerics.
Since coming to power in the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic has tolerated the sect, giving it official status and guaranteeing a Zoroastrian seat in parliament. It also allows its members to practice their rites. For example, while the law forbids mixed dancing, Zoroastrian men and women are permitted to dance together and play music as part of their worship in special places like temples or covered buildings.
Still, the Zoroastrian community's numbers have dwindled to around 50,000, down from 300,000 in the 1970s, with many emigrating to the U.S.
Human rights reports say Zoroastrians like members of Iran's small Jewish and Christian minorities suffer some discrimination, kept out of some jobs. But many Zoroastrians left simply because of the general restrictions on all Iranian society imposed by the Islamic government.
Still, Zoroastrian traditions remain embedded in Iran, where the population of 70 million overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim take deep pride in their pre-Islamic civilization.
Every year, Iranians of all religions mark Chahar-Shanbe Suri, or the Wednesday feast, part of celebrations for the Persian New Year, in March. During the rites, Iranians light bonfires in the streets and jump over them and dance, hoping to put failures behind them and the rite has persisted despite attempts by the ruling clerics to discourage it as un-Islamic.
Zoroastrians are not a big population in Iran but our rituals remain widely respected not only in Iran but other parts of the world, said chief Zoroastrian priest Ardeshir Khorshidian.
At Chak Chak also known by the name Pir-e Sabz, 550 kilometers southeast of the capital Tehran the pilgrims crowded into pavilions set up at the base of the mountain, below the shrine in the cliff. Families sitting on rugs had picnics, while children danced and their parents attended prayers in the shrine.
For many Zoroastrians, summer begins with a pilgrimage to Pir-e-Sabz, said Pedram Soroushpour. This event is a symbol of Zoroastrians remaining loyal to their manners and rituals.
Thanks for teh ping!
I have always wondered if Alexanders uncle, acting as ruler of Macedon in his absence, sent significant Macedonian reinforcements or whether he kept those troops home to dominate Greek & Balkan territories. There should be some indication you would think.
Either way, Alexander left signicant garrisons at strategic points along his route of march. One would think that the further East he got, the fewer actual Macedonian’s would populate those garrisons.
I love this site (Free Republic). I have learned so much from my fellow freepers and on so many subjects (things that I would not be normally interested).
Thanx for your post.
My thoughts echo yours on that point.
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Alexander’s army was mostly Persians by the time he got to India. He was Persian by then too for most practical purposes. Don’t imagine he had much trouble with astrology since they did that where he came from too.
Boy...I am impressed with the knowledge you guys have on the history of religion.
You’re too kind.
My wife (Persian), did exatly this, and has embraced Jesus Christ as her Lord.
God Bless her!
One of my students - A former muslim Persian woman also embraced the Lord along with her children. Escaped from Iran.
The coming of a prophet under a shining star was a prediction of Zarthust (Zoroaster) in the Gantas of the Avesta. Also, the word “magi” comes from the religious scholars of Zoroastrianism. They were known to perform miracles also where the word “magic” comes from.
Which adds even more prevalence on the theory that the Magi were Zoroastrians.
Thank you, FARS.
Good Thoughts (lead to ) Good Words (which combine into) Good Deeds.<<<
Clear and to the point.
It should be your tag line, a reminder all of us, who slip along the way.
Thanks to Freedom 44, for an excellent thread.
Great suggestion wince this is my root belief. Have to figure out how this is done.
Did this work?
Yes, your sig line looks good to me and says what needs to be said.
I am not surprised that it is ‘your’ motto, it has worked well with making you the special person that you are.
You are very kind. Thank you. Takes one to know one.
I’m a Persian Iranian.I would just like to thank you for posting this article.I do not practice Islam neither does my family.I just wish I can have my nation back that I grew up loving.
I have red hair and green eyes.Most of my family has blonde or brown and red hair with blue or green eyes.But we are Iranians whether Azari Turk Persian Lur.
This is not due to Alexanders invasion.Even Alexander and the Greeks never had a racial tension with Persians.
Aryan and Hitlers theory of the master race mostly has to do with his nationalism.Which was German nationalism not Aryan nationalism.
The theory of the Aryan invasion is still not known.Since we have yet to find out the exact location of where the first Aryans rose from.This could be in Iran or surrounding areas in Asia.
The word arya is described well in ancient hindu scriptures and where the meaning of word is said one who is noble,wise and literate . It means who is civilised . If somewhere the word arya is described its the ancient hindu scriptures which is coming from prior islam, christianity or any other known religion in this world . Somebody said the Arya is fictious on which one can laugh . Its the documented word and its documented in worlds most ancient litrature itself which is vedic literature belonging to Hindus .I dont know how hitler or others started to claim on it but yes the sign of swastika is also scared for we hindus and hitler was also using that sign ..i mean if germans were in connection to that sign from far ago times then hitler or hitler just started that i dont know but that swastika sign is sacred to hindus from times immemorial .