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Review of Iranian and Islamic Identity of Iranians

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Hamid Ahmadian-Rad 

The first step in protecting national identity is to define it. Some major encyclopedias have noted that Iran has been abode of human beings since ancient times and recent discoveries can cast a new light on this issue and tell us what the ancient Iranian civilization has looked like many centuries before the rise of early civilizations in Mesopotamia.

It was then that Cyrus the Great issued his rights charter, which seems to be the first human rights charter in the world. His ideas affected later human life. His rule which was based on love instead of hate had inspired the constitution of the United States. During the Sassanid period, the Iranian culture engulfed vast regions which transcended the limits of the Iranian Empire so that it has left its influence in Western Europe, Africa, China, and India and has played a great role in shaping art in the Middle Ages both in Europe and Asia. That impact later extended to the world of Islam.

Iran was defeated by Arabs and became part of the Arab Empire. However, that defeat did not lead to transformation and gave rise to a different form of victory. Iranian literature, philosophy, medicine and arts constituted the main component of the Islamic civilization from Cordoba to Delhi, and from Konya to Samarkand. In addition to undisputable intellectual superiority of the Iranians, as a result of thousands of years of the Iranian civilization, Iran availed of its industrial and artistic superiority and its consequences. During that period, Iran and Iranian scientists created the golden age of the Islamic civilization. At that time, Iran became a world center for scientific research, which gave rise to many philosophers, scientists, engineers and historians whose discoveries in technical fields as well as in medicine and medical sciences led to later scientific progress of Europe through Renaissance.

This shows that Islam, availing of the Iranian culture, has given rise to many sciences and its culture has been universal. It also shows that the Iranian identity has a wide definition. Therefore, both those who restrict our identity to pre-Islamic era and those who deny it are mistaken because the Iranian identity encompasses both eras and while being very resilient, it has always impacted other nations. Therefore, it is necessary to first come up with an unprejudiced definition of the Iranian identity and accept that it has its roots in many millennia before the birth of Christ. We must also accept that Iranian identity applies to all Iranian peoples and speaking about Aryan race to describe all Iranians is quite mistaken because all Iranians are not from the same stock. Many Iranian peoples hail from other races, peoples and languages and Iran ranks the third in the world in this regard. Every one of those factors has left its impact on the Iranian identity. It is for this reason that archeologists maintain that exploration in any place in Iran will unearth a historical object and the icons of contemporary history have also helped hammer that identity out. If Rostam, a legendary hero from Sistan, aimed to defend Iran, men from Azarbaijan, where Zoroaster was born, tried to protect the Iranian identity through the Constitutional Revolution and democracy.

Architectural style used in central parts of Iran is unique and everywhere from north Iran to Kordestan to Khuzestan and Khorasan, many cultural values and components in various fields of sciences, arts, poetry, music, architecture and language were introduced into the Iranian identity, so that, Iran would remain Iranian and all peoples would rise to defend it at the time of war. Therefore, Iranians visiting Mowlavi's tomb recite his poems in Persian for other tourists and when the name of Persian Gulf is changed to Arabian Gulf in maps or museums, they protest to it regardless of what part of the world they live in. Anywhere an Iranian lives outside the country, they try to cover their houses with Iranian carpets and teach Iranian customs and traditions to their children. We, however, must note that this identity has been preserved for several thousands of years and we must do our part in protecting it.

طراحی و توسعه آگاه‌سیستم