Zoroastrianism and Islam: An Evaluation on Similarities
Magusism, Mazdeism or Zoroastrianism was named after its founder, Zoroaster, or the monotheistic god Ahura Mazda. It differed from the ancient religions in terms of including monotheistic belief among Iranian religions.
What is Magusism, Zoroastrianism?
Magusism, Mazdeism or Zoroastrianism was named after its founder, Zoroaster, or the monotheistic god Ahura Mazda. It differed from the ancient religions in terms of including monotheistic belief among Iranian religions. Its place in Iranian culture is evaluated with the Arians, and it is thought that it emerged after the Aryans’ cultures in Iran and India. The important point here is the change in the social and economic life of Mithraic and Aryan beliefs, especially in the transition period from livestock society to agricultural society. (Erbaş, 272) According to Biruni, Zoroastrianism replaced Buddhism. (Jeffrey, 238.)
The word Zoroaster is the Greek equivalent of Zarathustra. Zarath; While it means beautiful, right, utra means camel and it is thought to mean the one who has beautiful camels. Although there is no exact consensus on when he was born, BC. It is estimated to be in the 570s. Biruni Zoroaster BC. He supports the idea that he lived in the 7th or 6th century. (Adam, 242.) As well as being a prophet, there are also those who consider him as a shaman or a judge. (Tumer; Küçük, p.107.) In the Qur’an, Zoroastrianism appears with the word Magus. (Quran, Surah Hajj, Verse 17.) The word “Mazdayasna” was used before the conquest of Muslims, just as Magusism was used for Zoroastrians. (Worshiping Ahura Mazda.)
After Zarathustra emerged, he took place as Hormuz in the past Islamic sources as Ormazd. Ahura Mazda means the sovereign lord as the god of the world. The basis of religion is that Ehrimend, the source of lies and evil, is defeated by the goodness of Ahura Mazda. According to Zarathustra, there were two primary views in the universe as good and evil, and man will choose between these two spirits and will determine his destiny. In Zarathustra, he states himself as the representative of Ahura Mazda, that is, of goodness. (Tumer; Küçük, p.107.)
It is thought that Zoroaster was born in the Bagrat region and later migrated to the East and lived in eastern Iran. While the religion spread to the West, the city of Ragha near Tehran emerged as the center of this religion.
According to Zoroastrianism, religion is the whole of the wise knowledge that humanity is born with, and this wisdom comes from the essence of Ahura Mazda. (Erbaş, 272.)
Zoroastrianism or Magi? Did Zoroastrians worship fire?
It is thought that there was a religion as Magus before Zoroastrianism. (Jeffrey, 339.) While Ahura Mazda was considered a spiritual being, his light was thought of as an uncreated light, and thus Magusism emerged as the fire cult. (Tumer; Küçük, 109.) Zoroastrianism in Ragha was ruled by the Med priest class, and they were called Magi or Maci.
The cult of fire was a tradition practiced by the ancient Aryans in Persia before Zoroaster, and the cult of fire became central after Zoroaster. After Zoroaster, priests symbolized the ritual of religious cleansing with fire, and priests are described as “fire-burners”. In the Sassanid period, there was a tradition of fire as a symbol of national unity in the palace of the ruler. The fire was carefully preserved in the temples, it was fed with wood that was ritually cleaned with a sacred understanding, and the priests used to cover their mouths and gloves so that it would not be polluted by hand or breath. This fire, which went from the temple to the house, was also not extinguished.
The recognition as this firefighter for the Iranian region in Islamic sources has developed in this direction. (Sarıkçıoğlu, 58)
Similarities Between Zoroastrian Faith and Islam
DESCRIPTION OF THE CREATOR
The meaning of Ahura Mazda is translated as “Lord who knows everything”. (Sarıkçıoğlu, 58.) Six archangels are depicted next to Ahura Mazda. These are also considered as his attributes such as good mind, justice, divine will, humility, perfection and immortality.
Describing Ahura Mazda in Yasna 44/36, Zoroaster says:
“Who orbited the sun and the stars?
Who is it that immediately takes the moon and loses it?
Who is it that holds the world below it?
Who does not make the sky dome fall?
Who holds the waters and the plants?
Who drives the wind and clouds to run?
Which creator creates sleep and wakefulness?
On duty morning, noon and evening.
Who awakens the consciousness of responsibility?
O absolute sovereign,
I found you with my soul as eternal and eternal” (Sarıkçıoğlu, 61.)
With the part that Zoroaster tells here, Hz. There is a similarity between how Abraham reached God. While Zoroaster is trying to bring people to God through questioning, Prophet Abraham tells his people how he reached God by questioning himself:
“This is how we showed Abraham the dominion in the heavens and the earth, so that he would be one of those who attained certain knowledge.
As night fell on him, he saw a star. “Here is my Lord!” said. When the star went down, he said, “I don’t like those that set like that.”
When he saw the moon rising, he said, “Here is my Lord!” said. When the moon set, he said, “If my Lord does not show me the right path, I will certainly be among the astray.”
When he saw the sun rising, he said, “Here is my Lord! This is bigger,” he said. When it set, he (turned to his people) said, “O my people! I am far from what you associate with Allah.”
“I have turned my face to the One who created the heavens and the earth, as a true seeker. I am not one of those who associate partners with Allah.” (Quran, Surah An’am, 75-79)
Avesta or Gathas is the holy book for Zoroastrianism. It is thought to have emerged after the death of Zoroaster. Avesta has many pronunciations. The words Upesta, Avistak, Apasiak are also examples, the meaning of which is translated as “the main text”. (Sarıkçıoğlu, 59.) Sometimes this word is also thought to mean “a place of refuge” or “help”. (Tarlan, Yesna, XIII) The Avesta consists of three parts. The first part is Yasna, the hymns sung in religious ceremonies, in which Zarathustra’s Gathas are contained. The second part is hymns addressed to various gods. The third part is the part where the rules of “talisman against demons” and “divine cleansing” are evaluated as “law against demons”. (Tumer; Small, p.108.)
The Avesta and the Qur’an show similarities in terms of the language of address. There are similarities in terms of the form of oratory, language of advice and content.
“In the next life who believes in the friend of righteousness, a long period of infamy, darkness, bad food, crying, groaning knows nothing. But you who worship lies, if your deeds guide your conscience, this is how your life will pass.”( Tarlan, Yesna, 20.)
“Mazda Ahura gives all of his power, the power of greatness, together with perfection, eternity, righteousness, sovereignty and clean sanctity, to a person who (Ahura Mazda) is a friend to him in thought and deed (action).”(Tarlan, Yesna, 21.)
“It is evident to the one who knows and understands, O Mazda Ahura, your worthy helper is the one who, by his word and deed, is the back (zahir) of righteousness and the eternal realm of goodness.” (Tarlan, Yesna, 22.)
Zarathustra’s childhood is said to have virtues such as being more mature than his age. After the age of twenty, he had experienced mental changes. There was a mountain where he often retreated. Later, when he was between the ages of thirty and forty, while he was on the banks of the Daitya river, an angel named Vohu-Manah, meaning “good-natured”, appeared to him, giving him the good news that “he brought the revelation of the supreme god Ahura Mazda”. In his encounter with the angel, “When I lose myself in the good spirit, who are you, who do you belong to? she asked me. To his first question, I said I am Zoroastrian, a true enemy of liars, but I also want to be a strong supporter of the righteous.” He could not hold on to his hometown and had to migrate.
After that, he kept in touch with this angel until the end of his life and learned what he taught. He received the orders of the Zoroastrian religion by revelation directly from Ahura Mazda and tries to spread the teaching of his Lord to choose the good first.
When we evaluate it in terms of similarity, miracles have taken place in the Prophet Muhammad since his birth. In his later years, he went to Hira Mountain with a mountain figure in order to be in permanent seclusion and experienced spiritual changes. Finally, when he was 40 years old, Gabriel, the angel who brought the news, appeared to him and sent him the first command “read”. Although he could not make sense of it at first, when he went to Hira Mountain, which experienced a great depression, and met Gabriel again, his prophethood was conveyed to him. Since then, he has constantly received revelations and conveyed God’s teaching to people.
The concept of devil is important in Zoroastrianism. There is a struggle with Ehrimend until the end of the world. Ehrimend rejects Ahura Mazda’s grace. He is the representative of evil and darkness. Humans have free will to choose between these two situations.
In the Qur’an, Satan was expelled when he was the closest angel to Allah. It leads people astray and encourages them to evil, immorality, crime and sin. They deceived Adam and Eve of their own free will and were expelled from heaven and brought down to earth. Satan has been given time until the Day of Judgment, and he will do everything to divert people from Allah’s path.
“Allah cursed that devil and he said, “I will certainly take a certain share from your servants”. “I will surely mislead them, I will certainly cause them delusions, and I will command them that they will slit the ears of animals (for an offering to idols). Again, when I command them, they will change what Allah has created.” Whoever takes Satan as a friend besides Allah, he has certainly fallen into a clear loss. Satan makes (many) promises to them and drives them into delusions. However, the devil promises them only to deceive. Their shelter is hell. They can’t find a way out of him. And those who believe and do righteous deeds, We will admit them into Gardens where rivers flow, where they will abide forever. God has made a true promise. Who is more true to his word than God’s?” (Quran, Surah Nisa, 118-1222.)
According to Zarathustra, there are two worlds, good and evil. There is “Asha” (Order of the World) consisting of goodness and light, and “Drug” consisting of evil, crime and darkness. This choice of man will give results in the “other world”.
This situation is similar in Islam. Belief in the hereafter is essential. People are in a test in this world where they live temporarily, and those who do good deeds in this world will be rewarded or punished in the hereafter.
“They believe in what has been revealed to you and what has been revealed before you. They also firmly believe in the Hereafter.” (Quran, Surat al-Baqara, Verse 4)
On the fourth day after death, the soul of the believer is judged. After death, the soul will pass through the “Chinvat Bridge” while passing to the other realm. While the middle of this bridge is like the face of a sword for the irreligious, they cannot cross it and fall into hell. (Small, 109)
Similarly, the Sirat Bridge is seen in Islam. For those who believe, the Sirat Bridge will be an easy way and they will pass easily. However, for those who do not believe, who do polytheism or who have a lot of sins, they will be sharper than the sword and they will fall.
“(Allah commands the angels): “Gather the wrongdoers, their wives, and those they worship besides Allah, put them on the path of Hell, and arrest them. Because they will be questioned.” (Quran, Surah Saffat, Verse 23-24.)
According to Zoroaster, a great judgment will be established in the future. In this reasoning, with the resurrection of the first human Gayomart, all the dead will be resurrected and gathered in a place where they will gain life. The good and the bad will be separated here, the good will go to heaven and the bad will go to hell. Those who go to Hell will be cleansed of the fire, and after being cleansed they will enter the land of Ahura Mazda. (Small, 110.)
“On the Day of Judgment you will see those who lied against Allah, their faces will be blackened. Is there no place in hell for the arrogant ones!?” (Quran, Surah Zumer, Verse 60.)
“(O Muhammad!) Surely you will die and they will surely die too. Then you will certainly be judged before your Lord on the Day of Judgment.” (Quran, Surah Zumer, Verse 30-31.)
SIN AND THE EXAMPLE LIFE
Undoubtedly, each religion reveals its own unique teaching and reveals the good and the truth accordingly. Universally, religions that appear in many different parts of the world basically bring along a moral law.
The concept of sin is an important issue in Zoroastrianism, it must be avoided and it makes people the slaves of evil forces. As the main concept, a right life and following moral orders, that is, good thoughts, good words, good deeds are essential. It is essential to be generous to the poor, to be hospitable to strangers, to stay away from all evil, to stay away from adultery. (Small, 110)
In parallel with this understanding, the Qur’an also states:
“Indeed, Allah commands justice, doing good and helping relatives; It also forbids indecency, wickedness and oppression. He counsels you so that you ponder.” (Quran, Surat an-Nahl, Verse 90)
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