Are We Really So Special?

Giving up some specialness to live more in peace and harmony with others


Are We Really So Special?
by varjavand

My children often remind me of how infatuated I am with my Iranianness and how obsessed I am with my cultural distinctiveness. Admittedly, we Iranians are not shy about acknowledging the superiority of our culture, especially of our religion. We have a keen tendency to over-glorify our historical achievements. Some of us are indeed puffed up with pride, particularly when it comes to our past, no matter how upset we are with our present. Unlike in the West where detachment from the past is almost viewed as a benchmark of progress, in Muslim countries, living in the past is viewed as faithfulness and provides fodder for demarcation, self-aggrandizing, and bullying.

It seems like we Muslims have a mental predisposition to become obsessed with everything, whether real or imagined it does not matter, especially with our religious rituals which sometimes have an almost pathological influence over us. A few centuries after Islam was exported to Iran by the early conquerors, we defiantly crafted an exaggerated version of it, Twelver Shiaism, which we believe is the real deal, the pure and legitimate Islam. Even to this day, the ultra faithful Muslims in Iran are so obsessed with their version of Islam that they have placed, often moronically, the word Islamic at the front of almost every word. They have created an Islamic version of everything imaginable, no matter how trivial. There is an Islamic swim suit, an Islamic Barbie doll, Islamic beer, and preposterously, an Islamic way of conceiving a child! They have unilaterally abolished anything deemed to be even remotely un-Islamic. Shamelessly, they think that ordinary, non-fanatic adherents are a bunch of pinheads who live in a hunter-gatherer society and need to be herded around like mindless sheep. I wonder if Christians or Jews identify everything through the lens of conformity to their religious standards and if Christian countries have ultra-national, strictly conservative organizations such as Muslims countries do. Could this be the so-called Moral Majority in America?

Islamic fanatics have created their own Islamic God made in their image and likeness. They have bestowed upon him the personal characteristics they would like to see in him, the ones that serve their whimsical or self-serving purposes. It is very convenient to have a special kind of God who is merciful to those who are blindly obedient believers such as themselves, and a vengeful God for those who critically observe, form opinions, and are different from them. They have so far come up with 99 attributes for Allah, the God of Islam, failing to recognize that the Allah they claim to have a monopoly on was already the God of Christians and Jews before the advent of Islam. They fail to recognize that the only difference was, and still is, in the name. We are so special that we believe heaven is exclusively reserved for Muslims while hell is the only possible destination for all others. Some Iranian Muslims are so obsessed with Arabic, the language of Islam, that they have made themselves even more Arab than the Arabs, no offense intended. Read the words of the moron who claims that Arabic is the official language of heaven and Ajami is the only language spoken in hell!

Some of these Islamic fanatics remind me of one of my colleagues, a devout Muslim from a prominent non-Arab Muslim country, who claims distinctiveness by being a descendent of the Prophet Mohammad! One day he was telling me about the birth of his new daughter. I offered my congratulations and asked him what name he gave to his daughter. He said he named her Reza. He most likely was unaware that Reza is a male name; I know this because, it is my name and I am most definitely a male! He is not alone in his blind complacency and obsession with something vaguely known to him; millions are like him. I call them confused Muslims. They are confused because they don’t understand the language of Islam and subsequently they don’t understand what they hear in the exhortations of Mullahs or read in Holy Scriptures. However, they don’t dare to question what the Mullahs try to shove down their throats because they have been told these things are unquestionable and eternal truths.

Muslims are taught to believe that only their Holy Scriptures are authentic and the Islamic laws are the irrefutable words of God. Mohammad was the last prophet who came to complete and supplant all the previous religions. Islam is the chosen religion and Mohammad is the last prophet chosen by God, mainly because Christians and Jews either distorted or corrupted God’s sacred revelations and in so doing failed to preserve their authenticity. Muslims believe that Mohammad came to fulfill God’s ultimate intent for humanity and to supersede all previous prophets. His book, Quran, is the only authentic Holy Scripture directly revealed by God, and all other so-called Scriptures have been distorted and corrupted over time by ill-equipped adherents. According to some Muslims, Quran has always coexisted with God from time immemorial.  

Consider the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, for instance, which was initially instituted for the purpose of commerce and intertribal trade before the emergence of Islam. Look at the kind of extravaganza devout Muslims have created out of it over time. Currently, almost every Iranian, from children to grownups, has travelled to Mecca at least once to perform the Haj rituals; most have done this a few times at great expense just to enhance their specialness. Shia Muslims also greatly revere Imam Ali, one of the successors to the Prophet Mohammad and the most celebrated Shia godlike figures there ever was and still is; he is so special that he was born inside Ka’ba, the holiest Muslim shrine. No one else can claim such a prestigious distinction. Come on, what difference does it make whether a religious leader was born inside Ka’ba or in a stable like Jesus? The most important things are what kind of values a religious figure instills in his followers and what kind of messages are communicated through his deeds.   

Islam, contrary to what Mullahs want us to believe, was not born as a result of original revelation; it is mostly an amalgamation of Christianity and Judaism. Lack of chronology and consistency in its Scriptures indicate that its messages may have been uttered mostly in reaction to what was currently happening and the mundane or momentous situations that the prophet Mohammad was faced with and had to remedy. Given that compromises with the Jews, Christians, and even the tribal pagans of Arabia in the early years of Islam were necessary for its advancement, Islam was not a radically innovative religion with a completely a new character. It basically fed off the existing systems of belief and is in fact a mixture of them. Noting this is not in any way a judgment of deficiency; it is merely a statement of fact and the same could be said about other religions.

It seems like fanatic religious people claim specialness simply because they have nothing else to be proud of or to capitalize on. Or, they want to create distinctiveness as the instrument for generating fictive bonds that could grow and lead to domination. I believe things would be so much better if fanatic religious people gave up some of their specialness and learned how to live with others on the basis of mutual cooperation. They have to leave the vestige of their specialness behind and cherish a global, borderless world. When they give up some of their specialness, they will then be able to live much more in peace and harmony with others. If they think that they gain by despising and deprecating others, or fomenting an artificial status for themselves, they are creating and enlarging a profound deficit in their lives.


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more from varjavand

sense of superiority?

by Parthianshot91 on

Islam I don't really care about. Iran matters to me, and I'll die for it and it's people if I have to. Now, why don't you guys watch the news, whenever you see someone talking about freedom, the Americans always say how "Iranians want to be normal and westernized like us" (Their words not mine). So now tell me who has a sense of superiority?

The Persian/Iranian culture is alot more healthier than that of the west/America and sharia islam and the arabs.


"They are not afraid of the ideology alone, but of the detemination and will of the men behind it"


No real subject

by TehranSoParvaz on

Very interesting perspective.  I myself thing that pride in ones heritage as long as funneled positively is very useful.  However you make several interesting points.


Iranians are so predisposed to everything Iranian and so proud of being Iranian but they seem not to like other actual Iranians.   


ps. Im that SPECIAL =) (ask my mom...) 


Drugs and side effects!

by Shokaran on

Any religious belief and nationalism beside having false energy and periodic unity have lots of side effects which brings fail and blindness to the real happiness and pure joy of life!



by masoudA on

Were you there when Mohammad said all that?   Please spare us BS Mohammad referenves.   Other than that - Yes you are correct - you win because you saved wine and we win because you saved wine!!!   But what you miss is the fact that your ancestors ran away to save the wine.   We held the fort are still there fighting in the trenches.


I will take you up on your promiss - let's see how erfanic you can be.

Make a new years wish - and make it as Erfanic as you can - just don't ask around for ideas.  

BTW - don't think making an unselfish wish - is enough to land you into erfan. 


Unlike Persia ~ the West will keep its wine!!

by RebeccaC on

One of the problems with Muslims ~ and their belief in their  own superiority ~ is that no one believes in it ~ there are no  competitors as no one is particularly interested.   The most striking things ~ is to look at Iran and Egypt ~ once  great societies ~ but since the event of Islam ~ places of a  downhill-ism.   There is absolutely no argument ~ that Islam has did anything  significant for Egypt. Besides a few radicals travelling to  Egypt ~ to study some Islamic teaching or other ~ the  overwhelming majority of the tourists are coming to witness  for themselves ~ what the Egyptians done in their pre-Islamic  past.   Egypt's greatest achievement has been replaced by homage to an  Arabian Black Stone ~ the Kaaba meteor.    And after more than 1000 years of no advancement and little or  no progress ~ Muslims still believe that if they continue the  same ritual practise ~ that all the science and advancement  would magically appear.    Islam's takeover of Persia had to have been the rape and  pillage of a 5,000 plus year old society.    Here is what Muhammad said: 'You will see Allah will inherit Persian lands and money,  furthermore their women will lie down ready for you to rape  them'  [Of course the Muslim mindset is conditioned such that ~ 
because Muhammad said this ~ it would have to be deemed a 
perfect statement]    [One of the hopes or aspirations of the anti-Islam effort ~ 
is that Muslims wake up soon]   Here is what Muhammad said about the Turks: 'Before the end of the world you shall fight the Turks, whose  eyes are small and noses flattened and who have ugly red  faces, like hammered shields'     - Muhammad slept with a dead woman ~ described in the Hadith  'Intercourse with a dead woman' [again Muslims would have 
little choice but to view this as a perfect act] --- That the article tries to relate Persia behavior to Islam is  flawed, as Islam is 1000 years old and a society's memory is  longer than this. So that your behavior or attitudes are  likely very Persian. Look at Syria for example, very  distinctive behavior, Islam's takeover can't erase this. In  fact much of the so-called Islamic architecture, art and  calligraphy ~ was developed in Syria. And even the Koran was  written in, or compiled in Syria, ~ no doubt where the  Christian and Jewish aspects were added.    How else would they have convinced Christians and Jews of the  time to follow a religion that originated from the worship  around a Black Stone in the middle of the Arabian desert ~  Islam had to be embellished. Syria already a center of culture  ~ was one of the best places to do it.      //    A testament to the value of these countries in the ancient  world ~ Alexander the Great ~ passed Arabia twice and never  took it ~ but took Egypt, Syria [area], Persia.    And that is why you are not going to get science coming out of  Islam ~ because these advancements were acquired through  conquest. When the marauding armies out of Arabia took over  Egypt, and places like Syria and Persia, these countries'  scientific infrastructure was added to this new Islamic world.  The last was Greece, or Constantinople ~ where selected  ancient Greek manuscripts were translated to Arabic ~ which  led to a mini Islamic renaissance.    But without conquest ~ Islamic advancement has been virtually  non-existent.  And of course the noises about taking over the  west is about regaining that vigor ~ and continuing the  delusion.   If Iranians could backtrack to Cyrus ~ then we will have an  Iran that is inclusive and forward thinking. An Iran that  casts off Muhammad's tyrannical vision and regains its spirit  ~ not to destroy others ~ but to build.    Mostly we in the west don't want to end up like Iran or Egypt  ~ the Islamic delusion is too high a price to pay. If we could  pack Islam up from people's minds ~ and send it back to Arabia  ~ the Kaaba preferably ~ it would be a great time. These free  people would be welcomed. For now there are more than 1  billion enslaved. [If this is not true ~ try to freely leave 
Islam!! Then you are not free!!]   Unlike Persia ~ we will keep our wine!!


Main point of my argument

by varjavand on

Agha Masoud,
May be you missed the main intent of my argument which is obsession with our past thus ignoring our present, more importantly, obsession with, or misuse of, the imaginary religious tales that are utilized to create factious bonds, conformity, and bullying. They are divisive at best and breed intolerance. To give you an example, according to Islamic jurisprudence, we believe we are so especial that “Muslim women are not allowed to marry a non-Muslim man under any circumstances, and the marriage of a Muslim man to a non-Muslim woman is conditional” to me, such restrictions serve no purpose than to perpetuate bigotry.

I can be as Erfanic as you want me to be, but that does not put food on the table, clothes on my back, or pay my bills.


Yes we are!!

by masoudA on

If your children ave a problem understanding what is so special with our culture, maybe it is because you don't know.   Maybe it is because you follow Googoosh and satar far more than Ferdosi and Molana.   Maybe it is because you know very little about Erfan.   In a world full of rigid religious idicies, full of greed and  machiavellism, our Erfan holds one of the keys towrds ultimate human sanity and enlightenment - but how much do you realy know abouty our culture?  

Varjavand - a lot of anti Persian sentiments stems from pro-Islam sentiments.   I know nothing about you, and hope that does not apply to you.