The Perso-Arabic script – A beauty & honour for Persia

January 9, 2015 Comments Off on The Perso-Arabic script – A beauty & honour for Persia

599px-Khatt-e_NastaliqAfter Muslim conquest of Persia (currently known as Iran), Persians adopted Arabic alphabet for Farsi language by modifying it. They added 4 new letters to 28 letters in Arabic alphabet and thus, the new Persian alphabet -based on Arabic letters- was introduced as 32 letters. Arabic hence served the Persian since even before the arrival of Islam, the Persians used to write in script that also originated from a semite nation, namely the Arameans. The Middle Persian script developed from the Aramaic script and became the official script of the Sassanian empire (224-651 AD). It changed little during the time it was in use, but around the 5th century AD, it spawned a number of new scripts, including the Psalter and Avestan scripts. Essentially there is no “pure” Persian script, hence adopting Arabic (just like Aramaic script in the past) was not forced upon Persians nor did it strip them of their identity (as Anti-Islam bigot and Iranian chauvinists usually claim to tarnish the image of Islam).

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A giant of the Salaf, Al-A’mash from Tehran (Ray)

December 28, 2014 Comments Off on A giant of the Salaf, Al-A’mash from Tehran (Ray)

1466299_763568920347540_595432581514418912_nAL-A’MASH (61-148 AH), from Ray (Tehran), can you imagine?

Another gem of Persia, even many Arab scholars are not aware of the lineage of this giant of a man until they read up his full name and nassab/lineage that containts one of the most obvious Persian names, no Arab would ever carry, even if he was a Zoroastrian Arab (yes, there were some Zoroastrian Arabs, particularly before the Fath of Persia). Like many other Persian he was a mawla (client) of an Arab tribe, but his origin has been recorded in history.

Let me quote and then straight translate from Imam al-Dhahabi’s (who was of Turkmen descent) ‘Siyaar A’laam al-Nubalaa”:

سليمان بن مهران ، الإمام شيخ الإسلام ، شيخ المقرئين والمحدثين أبو [ ص: 227 ] محمد الأسدي الكاهلي ، مولاهم الكوفي الحافظ . أصله من نواحي الري . فقيل ولد بقرية أمه من أعمال طبرستان في سنة إحدى وستين وقدموا به إلى الكوفة طفلا ، وقيل : حملا .

ulayman Ibn MEHRAN, the Imam, Shaykhul-Islam, Shaykh of the Qur’an reciters (!) and Muhaddithin (!). He was originally from Ray (located today in Iran’s capital, Tehran. It is also said that he was born in a village in Tabaristan (north Iran, today’s Mazandaran), then as a young kid he moved to Kufa/Iraq.

al-A’mash is one of the major Salaf and giants of Ahl al-Sunnah. He met and learnt from a number of Sahaba, amongst them are:

– Anas Ibn Malik
– Abdallah Ibn Abi Awfa

he also narrated from all the major Tabi’in, including Said Ibn Jubayr

Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari – The gem of the Sunnis from the lands of Persia

December 22, 2014 Comments Off on Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari – The gem of the Sunnis from the lands of Persia

11084_763191373718628_9049749461134459669_nImam al-Tabari (Rahimahullah) said,
“I am amazed by the one who reads the Qur’an but doesn’t understand it, how can he enjoy its recitation.”

Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (Persian: محمد بن جریر طبری, Arabic: أبو جعفر محمد بن جرير بن يزيد الطبري) (224–310 AH; 839–923 AD), was a prominent and influential Persian scholar, historian and exegete of the Qur’an (known as the IMAM of the Mufassirin) from Tabaristan, modern Mazandaran in Iran, from the city of Amol. A polymath who on such subjects as poetry, lexicography, grammar, ethics, mathematics, and medicine. Amongst his teachers were Abu Abdillah Muhammad ibn Humayd al-Razi, another Persian giant of knowledge, a Hadithists from Ray (today’s Tehran which used to be a stronghold of many Ahl al-Hadith!). Amongst his teachers was also Muhammad bin Dawud al-Zahiri, the founder of the Zahiri Madhab who was from Isfahan (heartland of Persia!). 

Unknown to many: Imam al-Tabari wa well-versed in four of the five Sunni legal schools (except the Hanbali school with which he had a lot of differences) before founding his own independent, yet eventually extinct, school, the Tabari Madhab (that did not reach us just like many other Madhabs). Imam al-Tabari is not to be confused with another Persian al-Tabari, namely Muhammad bin Jarir bin RUSTUM. Rafidis usually misuse the narrations of the Rafidi one (ascribing it to Imam al-Tabari).

He is one of the most influencial Sunni scholars ever, his Tafsir is amongst the most ancient Tafsirs available, a gem of Persia who enriched the Ummah like many other Persian Sunni scholars. He died in Baghdad on February 17, 923. May Allah have mercy upon him.

Imam Muhammad Abu Mansur Al-Maturidi of Samarqand (ancient Persian city)

December 11, 2014 Comments Off on Imam Muhammad Abu Mansur Al-Maturidi of Samarqand (ancient Persian city)

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The famous Imam Muhammad Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (853–944 AD) was a Persian (some mention that he was a descendant from the Sahabi Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari) Sunni from the ancient Persian city of Samarqand. Samarqand is located in Uzbekistan today (but used to be part of the Persian empire), however, the ancient Persian-Tajik parts of Uzbekistan are still Tajik-Persian to this very day, cities such as Bokhara (where Imam Al-Bukhari is from) and Samarqand (where many major scholars were from).

Tajik Persians (over 30% of Afghanistan’s population), the absolute majority of the inhabitants of Tajikistan and a minority in Uzbekistan and some other Asian states are a majority Sunni people. They are the Khorassani Persians of the east, the brothers of the Persians in the west (what is known as Iran today).

Were all the six Masters of Hadith originally Persians?

September 5, 2014 Comments Off on Were all the six Masters of Hadith originally Persians?

Abu Huraira reported: We were sitting in the company of Allaah’s Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) that Sura al-Jumu’a was revealed to him and when he recited (these words):” Others from amongst them who have not yet joined them,” a person amongst them (those who were sitting there) said: Allaah’s Messenger! But Allaah’s Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) made no reply, until he questioned him once, twice or thrice. And there was amongst us Salman the Persian. The Prophet of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) placed his hand on Salman and then said: Even if faith were near the Pleiades, a man from amongst these would surely find it.

(Source:Sahih Muslim, CHAPTER: THE MERITS OF THE PEOPLE OF PERSIA. Note how Imam Muslim who himself was Arab Qurashi from the Persian town of Nishabour made a whole chapter for basically one Hadith in the praise of the Persians)

Many extremist Shias try to turn the tables by saying that Sunnism (and not Shi’ism) has been heavily influenced by Zoroastrian (Majoosi) Persians. This is due to the misconception that all (or many) of the most famous Sunni scholars of the early Muslim generation were ethnic Persians. This assertion is wrong, since those who accuse the Shi’ite sect of being a Persian-Zoroastrian project due not do so due to the fact that the vast majority of modern day Shi’ite scholars (and Shi’ites in general) are Persians, rather due to the fact that Twelver Imamite Shi’ism does indeed carry elmens of Zoroastrianism and Pre-Islamic Sassanian hatred for Arabs and the early Muslim generation, see HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.

The reality is that most early Muslim scholars, in particular the four Imams of the Sunni schools of thought were all Arabs (even the Persian origin of Abu Hanifah is hugely disputed by Hanafi Sunni scholars), even the the Six Masters of Sunni Hadith were not all ethnic Persians as widely circulated on the net. But even if they were, it wouldn’t change anything nor would it make Sunnism “Iranian” for all classical Sunni scholars were raised in an Islamic environment with no interest in Zoroastrianism or Pre-Islamic Iran whatsoever (unlike the Safavids and the Shi’ite clergy of that time that reviced Persian nationalism and even Zoroastrian elments under the guise of Shi’ism). At that time concept of nation was very differant. It was this Islamic environment that despite it flaws (under some tyrannical rulers) gave everybody, including Persians, the opporunity to excell and become jurists, exegetes, physician etc. Personalities that Pre-Islamic Iran (with it’s caste system that was much worse than some Anti-Persian policies of some Umayyads) had never produced and Post-Safavid Iran has never re-produced.

In a scheme of Islamic history which is dominated by Arabo-centrism and in a contemporary world in which the association between Iran and Shi’ism is so central that one cannot think of one without the other, this fact of the Persian origin of some of the most important figures of authority in Sunni Islam becomes increasingly relevant in challenging the dominant narratives and assumptions which continue to pervade the historical understanding (and contemporary vision) of Islam and Iran.

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Persians in al-Andalus

September 4, 2014 Comments Off on Persians in al-Andalus

andalusiabannerWe have already written an article about the Persian origin of the great Muslim scholar Ibn Hazm of Andalusia. The following great article by the bellandalus blog sheds some more light on more famous Persian Sunni scholars of Andalusia

There really needs to be a comprehensive book or article written about the migration of Persians to al-Andalus in the early medieval period and their impact on the cultural and intellectual developments there. It is a little-known fact that there were several waves of migration (primarily of scholars) from the central Islamic lands to the Iberian peninsula between 800 and 1100. The evidence for such a phenomenon definitely exists and we can even trace the origins of a few key personalities, such as Ziryab (d. 857) and Ibn Hazm (d. 1064), back to the Iranian plateau. For the latter, the great fourteenth-century historian al-Dhahabi notes:

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Kuwaiti parliament stripped Shaikh Nabil Al-‘Awadhi (of Persian descent) of his Kuwaiti passport

August 11, 2014 Comments Off on Kuwaiti parliament stripped Shaikh Nabil Al-‘Awadhi (of Persian descent) of his Kuwaiti passport

10487464_706828486021584_2753938362012487988_nMany important and influencial ‘Arab’ personalties in the Gulf are actually of Persian descent (including high ranking politicans and businessmen in KSA, UAE and Bahrain). Among them is the Islamic preacher Nabil Al-Awadhi (from Kuwait). He is not just beloved in the Arab and Islamic world, but particularly in south Iran where he is actually from. Shaikh Nabil Al-‘Awadhi’s ancestors immigrated from the Persian Sunni-Shafi’i town of Evaz (to this day fully Sunni and ethnic Persian) to Kuwait

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