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Hassan Nasrallah And The Iranian Civilization

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Hassan Nasrallah and the Iranian Civilization

by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles

Puzzling motivations for denial of national heritage, belated release of video.

[ comment ] In late July 2006, I traveled to Tehran to see my family and relatives, and to work with several Iranian doctoral students whom I was advising at the time. The war between Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah fighters was at its height. The Islamic world and indeed the entire globe was mesmerized by what was happening, as Israel did not seem capable of gaining a quick victory over the Hezbollah irregulars.

When I arrived at Mehrabad Airport (international flights had not yet been transferred to the new Imam Khomeini Airport) and went to my parents' home in central Tehran, I was struck by an amazing new feature of the city: huge posters of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, were everywhere, in the airport and all along the route to my parents' residence.

The Voice and Visage of the Islamic Republic -- as the national television and radio network is known -- was in full gear, reporting from Lebanon and lionizing Nasrallah and his fighters. He was being referred to as Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, rather than Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, as he is known to the rest of the world. One of my students asked why he was being referred to in this manner. I responded that the reason was twofold. One is that Tehran's hardliners know that the word sheikh has taken on a very negative connotation in Iran. The second is that a sayyed is still respected by Muslims, as the title implies that the person is directly linked to the Prophet Muhammad. By applying the term to Nasrallah, the hardliners were thus killing two birds with one stone.

Although there was much discussion of the conflict in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the United States and its allies prevented the council from passing a ceasefire resolution during the war's initial stages. The reason was obvious: The George W. Bush administration was hoping that Israel would deliver a knockout blow to Hezbollah, which would have paved the way for the administration to ratchet up its rhetoric and threats of war against Iran without risking a Hezbollah attack on Israel. Indeed, the United States and Israel consider Hezbollah to be the Islamic Republic's first line of defense. In their view, its decapitation would substantially improve their odds in a war with Iran. Iran's military strategists similarly consider Hezbollah fighters as their "strategic depth."

But the war did not go the way Israel and the United States wanted. Israel could not dislodge Hezbollah's fighters from southern Lebanon. On August 14, UNSC Resolution 1701, mandating a ceasefire, went into effect, and Nasrallah became a folk hero in the Islamic world. The Islamic Republic considered the war and its outcome a great victory for itself, and even top U.S. generals seemed to agree -- one was quoted to the effect that the Iranians were demonstrating what would happen to the U.S. armed forces if they attacked Iran.

Hezbollah continues to enjoy significant support within Lebanon and the Arab world. Even if Iran's support were to be cut off at once, Hezbollah would remain a powerful force to be reckoned with, just as Cuba did not collapse in 1992, once its $5 billion in annual aid from the Soviet Union suddenly disappeared. But while it is true that Hezbollah's fighters are highly disciplined and well-trained, it is also true that they would not be as effective a force if the Islamic Republic did not provide Hezbollah with significant financial and military support.

In fact, many consider the Lebanese Hezbollah as the Islamic Republic's creature, although I believe that the most important factors that gave rise to the organization's birth were the discrimination against Shiites in Lebanon and the inability of the mainstream Amal Organization -- the main Lebanese Shia group in in the 1970s -- to defend and advance Shiites' rights, along with Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 (following one in 1978) and its occupation of southern Lebanon, where most of the country's Shiites live. In any event, there is no doubt that Nasrallah is significantly indebted to the Islamic Republic.

Five days after last year's June 12 presidential election in Iran led to huge, peaceful demonstrations that attracted the world's attention, Nasrallah gave his first major post-election speech. He advised his March 14 coalition to "leave aside the issue of Iranian elections. They should not bother about an issue that they do not understand.... Iran will overcome this ordeal easily, God willing." It thus appeared that Nasrallah did not want to take sides in the Iranian presidential election.

So it was a shock to many when a video surfaced recently in which Nasrallah dismissed Iranian or Persian civilization. In the first part of the video, which shows a speech he delivered about 17 months ago, he says,

There is nothing in Iran called Persian or Persian civilization. What exists in Iran is Islamic civilization. What exists in Iran is Muhammad's religion from Arabia, from Tahami, from Makka, from Quraish, from Tamim and from Mathar, and the founder of the Islamic Republic [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] is an Arab, son of Arab, son of God's messenger. The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic today is Imam Khamenei, sayyed from Quraish, from Hashim, son of God's messenger, son of Ali ibn-Abitaleb, son of Fatemeh Zahra [the Prophet's daughter and Imam Ali's wife], and they are [all] Arab.

Nasrallah is clearly referring to the fact that both Khomeini and Khamenei are sayyeds, hence direct descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. In the second part of the video, Nasrallah takes sides in Iran's presidential election of last year, saying,

In the last few weeks, some people waged [war] and some of them dreamed to end the Islamic Revolution and [fantasized] about the fall of the Islamic Republic in Iran. These are nothing but mirages. This Iran, which many in the world spoke widely about its events, I declare today to you that this Iran, its system, its state, its people, and its elite exist because of the blessing and existence of a wise leader who is brave, merciful, a mastermind leader, a historic leader -- this is Imam Al-Sayyed Al-Khamenei (may God grant him a long life) -- and the blessing and historic presence of [its] people over [the past] 30 years. Iran today is most powerful and toughest since that day [of the Revolution], and when it overcomes its crisis and its predicament, this Iran will stay at it is now.

Nasrallah is widely recognized as a shrewd strategist, including by American and Israeli experts. That he did not initially take sides in the immediate aftermath of last year's election in Iran was understandable. Five days after the rigged election, it was still not clear what was going to happen. The Islamic Republic's foundations seemed shaky, and Nasrallah did not want to antagonize any new government that might emerge in the aftermath of the huge demonstrations.

Once, however, it appeared to Nasrallah that the hardliners had won the battle of the day (though the long struggle is by no means over), he decided to take sides. That certainly explains the second part of his speech, in which he boasts about the strengths of the Islamic Republic.

But, why did Nasrallah, the shrewd strategist, deny that there is such a thing as Iranian or Persian civilization? Even a cursory glance at history reveals that the claim is utterly ridiculous. Iran has over 4,000 years of written history, and the Persians have lived in Iran for at least seven millennia. Pre-Islamic Iran was one of the most glorious civilizations. Even after the invasion of Iran by the Arabs, though Iranians accepted Islam as their religion, they largely preserved their language -- as opposed to the rest of the Middle East and North Africa, which became Arabic-speaking after they were conquered by Islam -- and proudly remembered and preserved their pre-Islamic heritage. Why did Nasrallah make such a ridiculous claim that has rightly offended most Iranians, even those who are deeply pious Muslims?

Iranian culture has many elements of the pre-Islamic Persian civilization and empire, certain aspects of Islamic teaching and, similar to most other countries, features of modernity, which is why it is such a rich culture. Islam teaches us that what matters are not race and nationality, but knowledge, honesty, piety, and not acting against the interests of the common people. Nasrallah's boasting about Islamic civilization in Iran and the nonexistence of Iranian civilization is thus not only hurtful to Iranians, it also violates Islamic teachings.

Nasrallah is fully aware that the Arabs, especially those in the Middle East, are wary of the growing influence of the Islamic Republic in the region, given the fact that Shiites allied with Iran are in power in Iraq. Though popular because of its resistance against Israel's army, Hezbollah is still viewed by many Arabs as an extension of Iran in the Arab world. And the faith of the ruling Alawites in Syria is an offshoot of Shiism. King Abdullah of Jordan has spoken of a "Shia Crescent" from Iran to Lebanon, through Iraq.

By denying that Iranian or Persian civilization exists, Nasrallah was perhaps trying to enhance Iran's Islamic image and give it much more weight than its Iranian identity. If his attempt is successful it might make the Islamic Republic far less threatening to the Arabs and boost its image as "one of us" in the region.

Of course, as far as the vast majority of Iranians, including the author, are concerned, even if we assume that this was indeed Nasrallah's goal, insulting us seems to be a strange way of achieving it. A typical reaction to Nasrallah's ridiculous claim was that of Jafar Panahi, the distinguished movie director, who wrote on his Facebook page: "I am an Iranian, Mr. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. I will never put human beings on the weight scale of race, but I also do not allow you to deny the existence of my civilization." On the other hand, in reaction to the angry protests of many Iranians, the hardline websites in Iran took Nasrallah's side and attacked the Green Movement and its supporters for criticizing him.

Two intriguing questions still remain unanswered. Who released the video on the Internet? To my understanding, no one knows. And, given that the speech is about 17 months old, why release it now? Does it have to do with the fact that the United States has announced a $60 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia in the name of "stability of the region," which is actually meant to deter the Islamic Republic (even though there is no evidence that Iran has any plan to threaten Saudi Arabia)? If there is such a link between the arms sale and the video's release, then the hypothesis that Nasrallah is trying to help Iran appear less scary to the Arabs makes sense. It might even help make the Saudis look bad for precipitating a massive arms race in an already unstable region.

It is also possible that the video was released by Hezbollah itself to bolster its position in Lebanon's internal politics. Nasrallah has said repeatedly that Hezbollah obeys the Velaayat-e Faghih (guardianship of the Islamic jurist, represented by the Supreme Leader). In addition, during the recent trip of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Lebanon, the country was seemingly taken over by Farsi/Persian-speaking people and banners. Television stations controlled by both the Amal Organization and Hezbollah broadcast Iranian revolutionary songs. When he met with Ahmadinejad, Nasarallah used Farsi in his greeting. The release of the video at this time may thus be intended to emphasize that, despite all of the foregoing, Hezbollah is still an Arab organization.

Is it possible that a faction of the hardliners opposed to recent statements by Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Ahmadinejad's close aide and relative, and Ahmadinejad himself about maktab-e Irani (Iranian school of thought) -- versus maktab-e Eslami(Islamic school of thought) -- released the video to send the duo a message? Some of the top Revolutionary Guard commanders are very close to the reactionary Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, who has attacked Mashaei for his statement. They include Brigadier General Mohammad Bagher Zolghadr -- now a deputy to Sadegh Larijani, the judiciary chief -- and Brigadier General Ebrahim Jabari, the new commander of the Guard division that protects Ayatollah Khamenei. Before his appointment to the post, Jabari commanded the Guard forces in Qom and had very close relations with Mesbah Yazdi.

Mashaei's promotion of the "Iranian school of thought" and Ahmadinejad's talk of "Iranian Islam" have created extensive negative reactions across the Islamic world. The release of the video might also be an attempt to counter this negative reaction.

These are, of course, speculations, but there are certainly some very intriguing questions that remain to be answered. Most interestingly, not a single high official of the Islamic Republic has taken a position regarding Nasrallah's speech.

http://www.pbs.org/w...vilization.html

Edited by sadr

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Wow, he insulted the Iranian culture and civilization with what he said…

Iran has been there for a long time and is going to stay forever. Our culture, history and the grand name of Persia are everlasting! We adopted Islam, and we defended it numerous times in our history, and we are proud of it!

Anyways, God bless Persians, Arabs, Muslims, followers of other religions and humanity in general, may we witness a different world from the one we live in today…

Peace

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Wow, he insulted the Iranian culture and civilization with what he said…

Iran has been there for a long time and is going to stay forever. Our culture, history and the grand name of Persia are everlasting! We adopted Islam, and we defended it numerous times in our history, and we are proud of it!

1) It's probably lies.

2) Culture, in this sense of the word, is not everlasting. How many of the practices of the ancient Iranian civilization live on today?

Other than norouz, there is nothing. Same goes with all the other ancient civilizations. They are dead, and we want them to be dead. The few practices that remain are retrograde.

There is no reason to be proud of ancient Iranian civilization. We were no less jahil than the Arabs were before Islam.

The only thing that is everlasting is God and God's message.

Ya Ali

Edited by baradar_jackson

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Wow, he insulted the Iranian culture and civilization with what he said…

Iran has been there for a long time and is going to stay forever. Our culture, history and the grand name of Persia are everlasting! We adopted Islam, and we defended it numerous times in our history, and we are proud of it!

Anyways, God bless Persians, Arabs, Muslims, followers of other religions and humanity in general, may we witness a different world from the one we live in today…

Peace

(salam)

How exactly does he insult iranian culture!

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(salam)

How exactly does he insult iranian culture!

Yeah, after reading it, I am wondering what all the fuss is about.

He is obviously making a specific point. His audience are those Arabs that consider Iran to be an enemy: the minority who see Iran as wanting to establish predominance over the Arab countries.

This is his way of saying: "No. They are our friends. They are no different from us. Our interests and their interests are the same. They are our brothers in faith." etc...

So why is it blown out of proportion? Perhaps because it is written by "MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles."

Ya Ali

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(salam)

How exactly does he insult iranian culture!

Our culture has a written history and has lived in Iran for over 4000 years, and any attempt to extinguish that is HIGHLY offensive, and also provocative.

Additionally, Iranians today still continue to identify themselves with their Persian heritage, and significant elements of Iranian culture extend as far back as seven millennia! Mr. Nasrollah is denying the current existence of the Persian culture in Iran, and that is unacceptable.

As a nationalist-religious Iranian, I am proud of Iran's entire history - pre- and post-Islam. As a believer in an enlightened interpretation of Islamic teachings, I do agree that Islam is part of the Iranian's identity.

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He is obviously making a specific point. His audience are those Arabs that consider Iran to be an enemy: the minority who see Iran as wanting to establish predominance over the Arab countries.

As far as the intent of sheikh Nasrollah's statements, it makes sense that he was addressing an Arab audience weary of the Persian Influence (perceived as a threat)….however, I still believe that his statements were offensive, provocative and inaccurate.

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There is no reason to be proud of ancient Iranian civilization. We were no less jahil than the Arabs were before Islam.

The only thing that is everlasting is God and God's message.

True, why do we need to be proud of anything else when we have Islam? We don't need anything other than Islam and without it we are nothing. Technically what Sayyed Nasrallah said is true, and if it isn't, it should be true. Why waste our time with a dead and redundant civilisation (specific to just one small part of the world), when we can be all mobilised and united under the banner of Islam (which has no borders). As you said, only Allah is everlasting, therefore busying ourselves with other than Allah (and His Message/Messenger) is essentially wasting our own time and will get us nowhere.

Our culture has a written history and has lived in Iran for over 4000 years, and any attempt to extinguish that is HIGHLY offensive, and also provocative.

Forgive me if I am wrong, but don't most 'Persians' count the start of the civilisation at roughly 500BC. Of course If you are using another date or not specifically the beginning of the Achaemenid Empire than again please forgive me (you may be talking about Sumerians, Elamites, etc). I have seen many people exaggerate about history with "facts" such as:

- Persian Empire was the first ever empire

- Persian Empire was the largest ever empire

- ???

- Profit

What the point of lying about history. Maybe some people genuinely believe these things, but historical facts tell a different story.

Personally, I believe other traditions rooted in Zoroastrianism need to be eradicated as well, especially the jumping over fire ceremonies (4 shanbeh souri?)

Edited by Ibn Abdullah

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Our culture has a written history and has lived in Iran for over 4000 years, and any attempt to extinguish that is HIGHLY offensive, and also provocative.

Additionally, Iranians today still continue to identify themselves with their Persian heritage, and significant elements of Iranian culture extend as far back as seven millennia! Mr. Nasrollah is denying the current existence of the Persian culture in Iran, and that is unacceptable.

As a nationalist-religious Iranian, I am proud of Iran's entire history - pre- and post-Islam. As a believer in an enlightened interpretation of Islamic teachings, I do agree that Islam is part of the Iranian's identity.

I'm sorry but I don't see the sense in this.

Mohammad Reza Shah was self-proclaimed "nationalist-religious Iranian" with "an enlightened interpretation of Islamic teachings," and yet it is evident that his policies were aimed at uprooting Islam.

Part of his efforts to uproot Islam were manifested in his glorification of pre-Islamic Iranian history. This policy often involved complete distortion and self-delusion (which is why, for example, you have members of the pre-revolutionary elite in the West right now talking nonsense about how Iran invented the spaceship 4000 years ago or some nonsense like that).

Nationalism is one of the worst human "instincts" (I put this in quotations, because the phenomenon of nationalism is too recent to be considered a real instinct). National consciousness is only useful in a fight for independence. When taken beyond that, it is an evil.

Nationalism is, essentially, national-chauvinism. It is nationalism that caused the major wars between the Western powers throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. It is nationalism that caused virtually every instance of genocide. It is nationalism that causes petty territorial disputes between nations, turning countries into little kids, and people into xenophobes.

Third World nationalism is the most laughable of them all, because it involves a country trying to subvert certain countries while making themselves subservient to other countries. (For example, Iran's predominance over the Arab countries before the revolution was primarily due to its position as head flunkey in the eyes of the US).

We need to eradicate this disease called "nationalism." What good will it do us to be "proud of our country's past?" Moreover, it occurs to me that most of the people who are "proud of our country's past" want our country to be a pathetic slave today.

Yes, the Iranian empire had some "achievements." It also committed many crimes and had many wrong beliefs. Just as Western civilization has had some achievements and has committed many crimes and has many wrong beliefs. Nothing to be proud of or ashamed of, just a period of history which has passed and which we should be thankful for its having passed.

Ya hagh

Edited by baradar_jackson

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Yes, the Iranian empire had some "achievements." It also committed many crimes and had many wrong beliefs. Just as Western civilization has had some achievements and has committed many crimes and has many wrong beliefs. Nothing to be proud of or ashamed of, just a period of history which has passed and which we should be thankful for its having passed.

Ya hagh

Civilization evolves from the simple to the complex.  Even Islam recognizes that with our belief in the Seal of the Prophets (as) and all who came before him.  If evolution was not part of the process we wouldn't have needed any of the Prophets except Muhammad (as).  Instead it took how many thousands of years and how many Prophets to go from Noah's religion to Islam? 

I don't agree with the policies of the Pharaohs and yet I find Egyptology to be a fascinating subject.  Is there not room in Islam to allow for these sorts of fascinations?   

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I'm sorry but I don't see the sense in this.

Mohammad Reza Shah was self-proclaimed "nationalist-religious Iranian" with "an enlightened interpretation of Islamic teachings," and yet it is evident that his policies were aimed at uprooting Islam.

Thats the result of trying to mix or dilute Islam with external ideologies. Nationalist Islam (Pahlavi), Communist Islam (munafiqeen), Feminist Islam (many examples today) are all attempts to destroy Islam from within. Islam doesn't need such things. Islam is Islam

Nationalism is another word for Racism, and Racism has no place in our faith

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Civilization evolves from the simple to the complex.  Even Islam recognizes that with our belief in the Seal of the Prophets (as) and all who came before him.  If evolution was not part of the process we wouldn't have needed any of the Prophets except Muhammad (as).  Instead it took how many thousands of years and how many Prophets to go from Noah's religion to Islam? 

I don't agree with the policies of the Pharaohs and yet I find Egyptology to be a fascinating subject.  Is there not room in Islam to allow for these sorts of fascinations?   

Fascinations and pride are two very different things.

I am fascinated by Imperial Japan, and I even admire many of its characteristics. But I can't idealize it, or I have deviated from Islam. Their deification of their emperor, their xenophobia, and their acts of imperialism and genocide are all against Islam.

That's the difference.

I find Imperial Japan fascinating. You find ancient Egypt fascinating.

I am not Japanese, nor are you Egyptian. We do not feel "pride" toward either of these civilizations.

Sanazi is saying that she is proud of ancient Iranian civilization. This is the difference.

Thats the result of trying to mix or dilute Islam with external ideologies. Nationalist Islam (Pahlavi), Communist Islam (munafiqeen), Feminist Islam (many examples today) are all attempts to destroy Islam from within. Islam doesn't need such things. Islam is Islam

Of all these, I find nationalism to be the most dangerous, because it is the most natural.

The masses do not tend to accept Communist Islam or Feminist Islam, but Nationalist Islam has that potential to arouse the interests of the masses.

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Nationalism is another word for Racism, and Racism has no place in our faith

Actually, one of the benefits of nationalism is that as long as the national identity is defined in broad and inclusive enough terms, racism and other chauvinisms can be diminished. The American society is an example of an all-inclusive national identity that has as its ideal equality between races, religions and other aspects of human identities.

The Iranian national identity includes many sub-groups some of which are not Muslim. Cultivating citizen loyalty to a broadly-defined national identity (as opposed to a narrowly-defined shia national identity) should result in a more harmonious society.

If Iran is not a nation-state but a relgion-state then I, as a Shia, request the right to be allowed to vote in Iranian elections.

Edited by Photi

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Actually, one of the benefits of nationalism is that as long as the national identity is defined in broad and inclusive enough terms, racism and other chauvinisms can be diminished. The American society is an example of an all-inclusive national identity that has as its ideal equality between races, religions and other aspects of human identities.

The Iranian national identity includes many sub-groups some of which are not Muslim. Cultivating citizen loyalty to the broadly-defined national identity (as opposed to a narrowly-defined shia national identity).

If Iran is not a nation-state but a relgion-state then I, as a Shia, request the right to be allowed to vote in Iranian elections.

American nationalism is 'civic nationalism' (one of the few in the world). And even then, it is not so all-inclusive when it comes to foreign policy. There is a clear delineation between "American lives" and the rest of the people in the world. So yes, anybody can become American, but non-Americans are still considered as having less worth than Americans.

Iranian national identity is a unique one, because it has a religious basis while also placing certain value on the Iranian land. The formation of this identity coincides with the beginning of the Safaviyeh empire. Iran has only lost territory since then -- without gaining any -- so the people currently inhabiting Iran have been united by the same thing (Shia Islam) for roughly 500 years.

So, on the one hand, Iranian national identity is a multi-ethnic, multi-language one, and on the other hand, there is the idea that Iranians have historically played the role of the flagbearers of Tashayyu. So it is both a religion-state and a nation-state.

Also, there is a distrust of foreigners arising from imperialist attempts to subvert the country. This is one of the reason for the apparent exclusiveness of Iranian nationality. It is, I believe, a practical one rather than an ideological one.

Ya Ali

Edited by baradar_jackson

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those who believe Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah insulted persian civilization or whatever they call it should get a rope and hang themselves.

there is no insult in saying Iran is like us,they are part of us and we are part of them.do you know how many times we shia have suffered in lebanon because of our association with Iran?do you know how many terms deregatory terms like "majous" have being used against us?we being called persians and zoroatrians.

our association with Iran is based on islamic brotherhood and nothing more.in Islam there is no race or ethnic distinction.all muslims are equal.Islam is our identity.we believe Iran is islamic and we are one.those who want to make this a story where there is no story should stop being stupid and arrogant.if you are proud of whatever element of your persian civilization,that is good for you and we are also proud of you.but when Islam is here,it is superior to all civilizations.if you would have remained persian and un-islamic we would not have had this bond between us in the first place.we could not even have done that knowing the propaganda trying to brainwash arabs against iran and the shia.islam is our umbrella.

so whoever is idle and has no work to do should try and find something meaningful to do rather than raising up nationalistic sentiments that do not bear any reason.those iranians who are not proud of their islamic identity and do not see islam as a higher and superior civilization to any civilization that formally existed should better declare their apostasy openly and stop pretending.start worshipping ahura mazda.

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Forgive me if I am wrong, but don't most 'Persians' count the start of the civilisation at roughly 500BC. Of course If you are using another date or not specifically the beginning of the Achaemenid Empire than again please forgive me (you may be talking about Sumerians, Elamites, etc). I have seen many people exaggerate about history with "facts" such as:

- Persian Empire was the first ever empire

- Persian Empire was the largest ever empire

- ???

- Profit

What the point of lying about history. Maybe some people genuinely believe these things, but historical facts tell a different story.

Iranians are proud of their history whether its 4000 years old or 2400 years old. Some might see contradiction between the two, I don't. Every bit of our past history, belong to us, Iranians.

Losing a culture is a pity, no matter what nation it belongs to.

I

Nationalism is one of the worst human "instincts" (I put this in quotations, because the phenomenon of nationalism is too recent to be considered a real instinct). National consciousness is only useful in a fight for independence. When taken beyond that, it is an evil.

Nationalism is, essentially, national-chauvinism. It is nationalism that caused the major wars between the Western powers throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. It is nationalism that caused virtually every instance of genocide. It is nationalism that causes petty territorial disputes between nations, turning countries into little kids, and people into xenophobes.

Third World nationalism is the most laughable of them all, because it involves a country trying to subvert certain countries while making themselves subservient to other countries. (For example, Iran's predominance over the Arab countries before the revolution was primarily due to its position as head flunkey in the eyes of the US).

Let's not get paranoid, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging Iran's past and being proud of it. Islam does not say to forget about your culture and history! Islam DOES recognize nation as it recognizes Diversity! However, Islam is against racism and extreme forms of nationalism (look at how hitler was elected... democratically!).

Even ahmadinejad praised Iran's pre-historic past by unveiling the Cyrus cylinder. He OPENLY and PUBLICLY defended our pre historic past! We need nationalism for our unity, even Ahmadinejad understands that!

I personally believe that nationalism must go hand in hand with religion in this new outlook. Would it work? maybe yes, maybe no, but its a right step in the right direction.

Khoda negahdar

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdDGUMktplI&feature=player_embedded

Its not a lie, here is the video above, with english subtitles where Nasrullah made those statments.

And yes it is offensive to Iranians, as it would be to any other group of people. It has nothing to do with puting Islam first, its about respecting cultures and history. I put Islam before every thing and I found this to be offensive.

What is wrong with being Iranian Muslims, or American Muslims, or Afghan Muslims, Uzbek Muslims, Kurdish Muslims or Nigerian Muslims and so on and so forth. What is the purpose of emphasizing Arabism? And to state iran has no culture is very offensive.

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What is wrong with being Iranian Muslims, or American Muslims, or Afghan Muslims, Uzbek Muslims, Kurdish Muslims or Nigerian Muslims and so on and so forth. What is the purpose of emphasizing Arabism? And to state iran has no culture is very offensive.

There is nothing wrong with being Iranian Muslims or XYZ Muslims. That's not the point and we are getting sidetracked here...

What Sayyed Nasrallah said was that "Persian civilisation" doesn't exist in Iran, what exists is Islamic civilisation. Meaning that the nation is mobilised towards an Islamic objective rather than a 'national' one. His audience were Arabs. He was addressing the stupid ideas held by some Arabs that iran has some sort of "Persian Kaffir majoosi Safawi" agenda in the Middle East. The same stupid people who think Shi3as are majoosi. He was assuring them that there is no "Persian" agenda from Iran and what exists in Iran is solely the culture of Islam and the religion of Muhammad (pbuh)

What he said about Imam Khomeini and Khamenei being Arabi Ibn Arabi.....well it's true?

I am not offended by what the Sayyed said, and although I can't speak for everyone, I can assure you all he didn't mean to offend people. He meant to assure people that nothing but Islam and Islamic objectives exist in Iran...

Edited by Ibn Abdullah

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so it is wrong to say in iran,there is no persian civilization presently,and that Iran has an islamic civilization?

you have to choose.if you call it persian,then its not islamic.if it is islamic,then there is no doubt you can be of any ethnicity or language group and have whatever identity.people have accused us of being "majoose,persian,fire worshippers"etc.if your persian civilization is islamic,then you fall under an islamic civilization and not the fire-worshipping civilization you boast of.if you do not want to open your blocked head,like there is a lebanese saying "tile the sea".

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so it is wrong to say in iran,there is no persian civilization presently,and that Iran has an islamic civilization?

you have to choose.if you call it persian,then its not islamic.if it is islamic,then there is no doubt you can be of any ethnicity or language group and have whatever identity.people have accused us of being "majoose,persian,fire worshippers"etc.if your persian civilization is islamic,then you fall under an islamic civilization and not the fire-worshipping civilization you boast of.if you do not want to open your blocked head,like there is a lebanese saying "tile the sea".

Fire worshipers?!? a lot of arabs with anti-iranian sentiments associate Zoroastrianism/Persians with fire worshiping. Zoroastrianism is not about fire worshiping, in fact, it is a monotheistic religion.

Also, if anyone considers him/herself Muslim exclusively, that is his/her choice; but then he/she is not by definition valuing iranian-ness valuable. These are personal decisions, but come with unavoidable consequences.

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Iranians are proud of their history whether its 4000 years old or 2400 years old. Some might see contradiction between the two, I don't. Every bit of our past history, belong to us, Iranians.

Losing a culture is a pity, no matter what nation it belongs to.

Let's not get paranoid, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging Iran's past and being proud of it. Islam does not say to forget about your culture and history! Islam DOES recognize nation as it recognizes Diversity! However, Islam is against racism and extreme forms of nationalism (look at how hitler was elected... democratically!).

Even ahmadinejad praised Iran's pre-historic past by unveiling the Cyrus cylinder. He OPENLY and PUBLICLY defended our pre historic past! We need nationalism for our unity, even Ahmadinejad understands that!

I personally believe that nationalism must go hand in hand with religion in this new outlook. Would it work? maybe yes, maybe no, but its a right step in the right direction.

Khoda negahdar

Losing a culture is a pity if it is replaced with a more degenerate form of culture. For example: Since 1945, Japanese culture has degenerated into a perverse culture. So the fall of the Japanese Empire had a tragic effect on Japanese culture.

I don't see how Islam respects "diversity" in the way that you are saying. The Quran says:

10:19

10_19.png

(Sahih International Translation)

"And mankind was not but one community [united in religion], but [then] they differed. And if not for a word that preceded from your Lord, it would have been judged between them [immediately] concerning that over which they differ."

If God created us as ONE nation, then it is only natural that we seek to return ourselves to that state.

What does this mean? This doesn't necessarily mean to speak one language, or to live under one government. (Although, if we could achieve such things, it would be ideal). But I think that we, as individuals, must let go of national consciousness. That is the first step. Just because Iran is a Muslim country doesn't make Iranian nationalism any more acceptable than German or French nationalism.

And I don't care what Ahmadinejad said. He's not masoom. He says a lot of things I don't agree with. But in any case, I think it is good for an Iranian leader to express a favorable view of ancient Iranian history. For example: during the early days of the revolution, the leadership tended to neglect the pre-Islamic Iranian history (and, really, the pre-revolutionary history). Emam Khomeini had said that all the kings that have ever ruled Iran -- even the good ones -- have ruined the country.

Of course, Emam's view was the correct view. However, it has caused Westerners and soosooli "Persians" to have a monopoly over this history, and we have seen that they have used this history to undermine us. The West uses it to hide the fact they truly have deep contempt for us, and the Persians use it because they actually believe in it. So I think it is important to reclaim that history. It's not going away, so I think it would be best if it is in our hands.

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Fire worshipers?!? a lot of arabs with anti-iranian sentiments associate Zoroastrianism/Persians with fire worshiping. Zoroastrianism is not about fire worshiping, in fact, it is a monotheistic religion.

Also, if anyone considers him/herself Muslim exclusively, that is his/her choice; but then he/she is not by definition valuing iranian-ness valuable. These are personal decisions, but come with unavoidable consequences.

if iranian-ness=zoroastrianism or even christianity and judaism,in the sense of religiousity,i do tabarra from every iranian and i seek frogiveness from Allah.

if Islam is not enough for you,call Iran "the zoroastrian republic of iran" or the "persian republic".i have never uttered such remarks against Iran in my entire life.Iran is so dear to my heart.but the stupidty and rigid brain of some people like you is unbearable.simply because you sit behind your computer does not give the right to utter irresponsible or inaccurate statements."no word is uttered except it is recorded".be mindful of Allah.you dont have to issue destructive criticism against Sayyed Nasrullah.if you do not value your Islamic leaders and you are not proud of your Sayyed leaders who are descended from the arabian Prophet,we the Lebanese are proud.to us Sayyed Nasrallah is only below God and the Ahlul-Bayt (as).

if we are to go by your sentiments,then lebanese people would hang on to being "phoenician" or canaanite or even christians.in many islamic countries,there were civilizations before islam came.that does not justify us to go back and reclaim that identity even though the heritage is well preserved.you have no right to advance your persian civilization or even compare it to the islamic civilization.islam is higher,better and superior to every civilization on earth and that included your jahiliyya persian civilization.if you dont like that description,prove to us your enlightenment in the persian pre-islamic era and i will also do my research.any civilization cannot be compared to islam.comparing any civilization to islam is like belittling the blessings of Allah.anything before islam is no better than jahiliyya.

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if iranian-ness=zoroastrianism or even christianity and judaism,in the sense of religiousity,i do tabarra from every iranian and i seek frogiveness from Allah.

if Islam is not enough for you,call Iran "the zoroastrian republic of iran" or the "persian republic".i have never uttered such remarks against Iran in my entire life.Iran is so dear to my heart.but the stupidty and rigid brain of some people like you is unbearable.simply because you sit behind your computer does not give the right to utter irresponsible or inaccurate statements."no word is uttered except it is recorded".be mindful of Allah.you dont have to issue destructive criticism against Sayyed Nasrullah.if you do not value your Islamic leaders and you are not proud of your Sayyed leaders who are descended from the arabian Prophet,we the Lebanese are proud.to us Sayyed Nasrallah is only below God and the Ahlul-Bayt (as).

if we are to go by your sentiments,then lebanese people would hang on to being "phoenician" or canaanite or even christians.in many islamic countries,there were civilizations before islam came.that does not justify us to go back and reclaim that identity even though the heritage is well preserved.you have no right to advance your persian civilization or even compare it to the islamic civilization.islam is higher,better and superior to every civilization on earth and that included your jahiliyya persian civilization.if you dont like that description,prove to us your enlightenment in the persian pre-islamic era and i will also do my research.any civilization cannot be compared to islam.comparing any civilization to islam is like belittling the blessings of Allah.anything before islam is no better than jahiliyya.

I never said the Persian civilization is above Islam or above any other civilization, nor did I ever compare the persian civilization to the islamic one. All I am saying is that Iranians have not only a religious identity but they also have an ethnic identity. And I don’t see anything wrong with being both Muslim and Persian.

There is plenty of Persian culture in Iran. It does exist and will continue to exist.

We Iranians are proud of being part of both the Islamic civilization and the Persian culture.

As far as the Persian civilization being jahiliya….please read, learn, research, think and then talk...

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I never said the Persian civilization is above Islam or above any other civilization, nor did I ever compare the persian civilization to the islamic one. All I am saying is that Iranians have not only a religious identity but they also have an ethnic identity. And I don’t see anything wrong with being both Muslim and Persian.

There is plenty of Persian culture in Iran. It does exist and will continue to exist.

We Iranians are proud of being part of both the Islamic civilization and the Persian culture.

As far as the Persian civilization being jahiliya….please read, learn, research, think and then talk...

Sayyed Narallah did not tell you you are not allowed to be persian.Sayyed Narallah himself welcomed your president with persian words to Lebanon.

Sayyed Nasrallah's words were clear.he said iran has an islamic civilization in contrast to the one that existed before islam and that is the one the enemies of the shia accuse us of being loyal to.Sayyed Nasrallah only pointed out iran is islamic.and of what use is ethinicity and racism when islam and islamic brotherhood supercedes everything and every race?

as for the jahiliya issue,even if you live on the moon or in mars and venus or you have all the riches of this world,any so called civilization that lacks LA ILAHA ILALLAH (MUHAMMAD RASULULLAH) is jahiliyah that includes your pre-islamic persia alongside pre-islamic arabia.its all the same.

i usually think we dont have stubborn headed people and i thought only the enemies have interest in distorting facts.how much favor are you doing the enemies by blowing this issue out of proportion and distorting the words of Sayyed Nasrallah and their meanings?!or is this part of internal iranian politics?whatever it is,leave Sayyed Nasrallah out of dirty tricks and games.we got enough head-ache of our own to solve back in Lebanon.ok?

Edited by mehdi soldier

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Our culture has a written history and has lived in Iran for over 4000 years, and any attempt to extinguish that is HIGHLY offensive, and also provocative.

Additionally, Iranians today still continue to identify themselves with their Persian heritage, and significant elements of Iranian culture extend as far back as seven millennia! Mr. Nasrollah is denying the current existence of the Persian culture in Iran, and that is unacceptable.

As a nationalist-religious Iranian, I am proud of Iran's entire history - pre- and post-Islam. As a believer in an enlightened interpretation of Islamic teachings, I do agree that Islam is part of the Iranian's identity.

(salam)

Nasrallah said "Today in Iran there is no such thing as persinification or a Persian Civilisation, .. Today in Iran there is an Islamic Civilisation"

Two 'civilisations' could have a completely different culture to each other, but as long as they adhere to Islamic Law first then they are an Islamic Civilisation.

I'm still confused about how exactly he insulted Irans Culture when he called it Islamic?

(salam)

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Sayyed Narallah did not tell you you are not allowed to be persian.Sayyed Narallah himself welcomed your president with persian words to Lebanon.

Sayyed Nasrallah's words were clear.he said iran has an islamic civilization in contrast to the one that existed before islam and that is the one the enemies of the shia accuse us of being loyal to.Sayyed Nasrallah only pointed out iran is islamic.and of what use is ethinicity and racism when islam and islamic brotherhood supercedes everything and every race?

as for the jahiliya issue,even if you live on the moon or in mars and venus or you have all the riches of this world,any so called civilization that lacks LA ILAHA ILALLAH (MUHAMMAD RASULULLAH) is jahiliyah that includes your pre-islamic persia alongside pre-islamic arabia.its all the same.

i usually think we dont have stubborn headed people and i thought only the enemies have interest in distorting facts.how much favor are you doing the enemies by blowing this issue out of proportion and distorting the words of Sayyed Nasrallah and their meanings?!or is this part of internal iranian politics?whatever it is,leave Sayyed Nasrallah out of dirty tricks and games.we got enough head-ache of our own to solve back in Lebanon.ok?

Look, I don’t know who translated the video but clearly the translation sucks…

If Sheikh Nasrollah is saying that Iran is not the enemy of the Arabs and Sunnis because it is part of the same Islamic civilization, then that’s a different story.

I do agree that the Persian culture is part of the Islamic civilization. And as we know it, the Islamic civilization encompasses the Arab world, Persian world, Indian world, Turkic and so on.

Edited by sanazi

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Of course, Emam's view was the correct view. However, it has caused Westerners and soosooli "Persians" to have a monopoly over this history, and we have seen that they have used this history to undermine us. The West uses it to hide the fact they truly have deep contempt for us, and the Persians use it because they actually believe in it. So I think it is important to reclaim that history. It's not going away, so I think it would be best if it is in our hands.

Bro to some extent I agree with you, the history of Iran has been used as the main rallying point of anti-Islamic movements within Iranian groups. I see heaps of people on youtube, facebook, etc., that have pictures from pre-Islamic Iran, and their profiles are always what? Always against not only the Islamic Republic, but against Islam itself. This has unfortunately led to me subconsciously (or consciously) linking pre-Islamic Iran with these fools, and resulted in me having some sort of hatred for our history.

That being said, you are correct about the westerners and soosools. I think they are now trying to use the pre-Islamic history as a weapon to stir up nationalist sentiment among Iranians. Hollywood has already released a bunch of movies bashing our pre-Islamic past, which got peoples emotions going. I have a feeling they might start releasing movies glorifying Iran's pre-Islamic past and getting nationalistic pride going, thus driving a huge wedge between us and our Islamic brothers (and Arab brothers).

Generally I just think we should be alert. Personally (although many call me watan-furoush) I don't care about pre-Islamic anything. Not to be close minded, I acknowledge there was a civilisation and it has many achievements as it had many blunders. But I think it's pointless and counterproductive being proud of something which is in every way inferior to Islam. I don't need Kuroush to be proud, I have RasoolAllah (pbuh). I don't need Dariush, I have Imam Ali (as). The only reason I believe we should reclaim our history is in order to take it off the greedy hands of the gharbis & soosoolis, but what to do with it then?

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Bro to some extent I agree with you, the history of Iran has been used as the main rallying point of anti-Islamic movements within Iranian groups. I see heaps of people on youtube, facebook, etc., that have pictures from pre-Islamic Iran, and their profiles are always what? Always against not only the Islamic Republic, but against Islam itself. This has unfortunately led to me subconsciously (or consciously) linking pre-Islamic Iran with these fools, and resulted in me having some sort of hatred for our history.

That being said, you are correct about the westerners and soosools. I think they are now trying to use the pre-Islamic history as a weapon to stir up nationalist sentiment among Iranians. Hollywood has already released a bunch of movies bashing our pre-Islamic past, which got peoples emotions going. I have a feeling they might start releasing movies glorifying Iran's pre-Islamic past and getting nationalistic pride going, thus driving a huge wedge between us and our Islamic brothers (and Arab brothers).

Generally I just think we should be alert. Personally (although many call me watan-furoush) I don't care about pre-Islamic anything. Not to be close minded, I acknowledge there was a civilisation and it has many achievements as it had many blunders. But I think it's pointless and counterproductive being proud of something which is in every way inferior to Islam. I don't need Kuroush to be proud, I have RasoolAllah (pbuh). I don't need Dariush, I have Imam Ali (as). The only reason I believe we should reclaim our history is in order to take it off the greedy hands of the gharbis & soosoolis, but what to do with it then?

Brother I don't think there will be any Hollywood movies glorifying our pre-Islamic past. Do you know why? Because when Hollywood makes a movie portraying us as bad, the soosools will blame our own government. Whatever happens, the soosools blame our own government.

And what should we do with it? Nothing. But when it's in our hands, we keep it in its ordained sphere.

It's like Mexican politics for much of the 20th century: Mexico had a one party system. The party was called, I think, the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Anyway, this party also funded the creation of another party. This other party would serve as the 'opposition' party. So every election, the PRI candidates would run against the 'opposition' candidates, the the PRI would win. The 'opposition' was completely controlled by the PRI.

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Brother I don't think there will be any Hollywood movies glorifying our pre-Islamic past. Do you know why? Because when Hollywood makes a movie portraying us as bad, the soosools will blame our own government. Whatever happens, the soosools blame our own government.

That's actually an important point I overlooked. I have come into contact with many who blame everything on the government. For example when 300 came out, people were saying "If the Shah was here they wouldn't have made such a movie" :wacko: ...Soosools piss me off

As Imam Khomeini (qas) said (paraphrasing): "If our enemies ever support what we do, we must not be on the right path. Because our enemies never have our best interests in their hearts". So as long as they keep making us look evil, we must be doing something right.

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That's actually an important point I overlooked. I have come into contact with many who blame everything on the government. For example when 300 came out, people were saying "If the Shah was here they wouldn't have made such a movie" :wacko: ...Soosools piss me off

As Imam Khomeini (qas) said (paraphrasing): "If our enemies ever support what we do, we must not be on the right path. Because our enemies never have our best interests in their hearts". So as long as they keep making us look evil, we must be doing something right.

that is sometimes true, but can't be applied to every situation, do you think the taliban and al qaeda are on the right path? the west are (although it isn't difficult) trying to make them look bad.

the west is trying to make north korea look bad etc

The saying of Sayed Khomeini, does apply to our madhab, as it is obvious that from Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaki in Nigeria to Sayed Hassan Nasrullah in lebanon, their good actions are alwasy viliified by the enemies of justice. (look how they even tried to make Sayed Fadlallah look like an evil guy)

but i don't feel the statement can be applied to everyone

what is a soosool?

Edited by ShahHussain

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that is sometimes true, but can't be applied to every situation, do you think the taliban and al qaeda are on the right path? the west are (although it isn't difficult) trying to make them look bad.

the west is trying to make north korea look bad etc

The saying of Sayed Khomeini, does apply to our madhab, as it is obvious that from Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaki in Nigeria to Sayed Hassan Nasrullah in lebanon, their good actions are alwasy viliified by the enemies of justice. (look how they even tried to make Sayed Fadlallah look like an evil guy)

but i don't feel the statement can be applied to everyone

what is a soosool?

I get what you're saying, but we need to differentiate. What you are saying is the old western notion of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" (i.e. Taliban is enemy of US therefore our friend). This of course is incorrect, because we are a nation of principle and we are not opportunists. Just because somebody is opposed to the US or Israel doesn't automatically make them our friends. Imam Khomeini's (qas) statement applies to the Shi3a Ummah, in order to guard ourselves from all our enemies, regardless of what they appear to be (i.e. US, Israel or 'Muslims' like Taliban). So in this sense, you are correct, this statement applies to our madhhab because of the fact that we are a nation of principles and will not bend on our pillars.

The wisdom behind the Imams statement is that our enemies are not going to become our friends overnight. If they are opposed to us on a principle level then there can be no reconcliation. For example, when Abu Sufyan approached Imam Ali (as) and told him he wanted to give him Bay3ah and support him. Imam Ali (as) knew that Abu Sufyan was his enemy, so He thinks why all of a sudden is Abu Sufyan wanting whats best for me? Of course Imam Ali (as) saw right through the act, because your enemy never has your interests in his mind, and whatever he does is an act of selfishness to further his own goals, even if they appear to be supporting yours.

And BTW a soosool is this:

17iran.1.650.jpg

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