What do you mean by secular JJ?

by alimostofi

Ba Dorood JJ

Explain secular.  It actually is a non definition, in that it is a word created by Republican wing of the political spectrum to say that it is not regilious.  It is then not a positive identity.

The culture of Iran actually is secular and more in that it is older and more comprehensive than any political description, lile Democracy or Secular.  So just accept Iranian culture as the base and then put the political, and other elements in it.  We all stand on the same carpet, look at the same Damavand, share the feelings of eating Ghormehsabzi, as our culture.  That unites us more than "secular".

So what are you on about?  And in that regard we need an institution to defend that so that the mullahs or some other political or religious or business ideology does not dissolve it.

It is very simple.


more from alimostofi


by Nur-i-Azal on

You have no idea what you are talking about. I suggest you read the following book by your co-religionist Alessandro Bausani, an Italian Baha'i and one of the most eminent European scholars of Iran and Islam of the 20th century: Religion in Iran (trans. from Italian Persia Religiosa) Acta Iranica, 2000.

 The Samanids not only revived Persian culture but they also determinedly propagated Sunni Islam. In doing so, the Samanids repressed Ismaili Shiism[10] but remained tolerant of Twelver Shiism"

And they did so because a bulk of the Samanid family were actually Twelver Shi'a. Duh!

 Next, "Hafiz Shiraz, Lisan'ul-Ghayb, was an initiate and shaykh of the Ruzbahaniya Sufi Order." 

He was indeed. All of the scholarship of the past twenty/thirty years plus attests to it, i.e. that Hafiz was an initiate of the Ruzbihaniya Order. Paul Ballanfant and Carl Ernst's studies on Ruzbihan Baqli proved it, as did Mohammad Mo'in's separate studies on both Ruzbihan and Hafiz, not to mention Daryush Shayegan and Henry Corbin. And who you are, again?! Nobody! Clearly, Mooshie jun, as always, you are way out of your depth and league.



Didn't I tell you? Copy correctly Azali

by hooshie on

When Azali is wounded he comes back with more gibberish presented hysterically as history (LOL). Take a look at this: " ... Iran had Shi'ism as a national religion under the Buyids and the Samanids ..."Next time you want to copy from Wikipedia at least do it correctly Azali. Here is what Azali should have copied:

"The Samanids not only revived Persian culture but they also determinedly propagated Sunni Islam. In doing so, the Samanids repressed Ismaili Shiism[10] but remained tolerant of Twelver Shiism"

Well so much for our Wiki Scholar's patchy copy jobs.

Next, "Hafiz Shiraz, Lisan'ul-Ghayb, was an initiate and shaykh of the Ruzbahaniya Sufi Order." 

Nonsense! There is absolutely no substantiated account of Hafez's life and all these mumbo jumbo are sheer speculations by the likes of cultists like Azali and his one of many former gurus Nourbakhsh. What is indisputably clear is that Hafez was a vocal enemy of Sufism in all it shapes and froms. Azali's savaad stops at the distinction, in Hafez's poetry, between sufi, and zaahid on one hand and dervish and rendd on the other.  Now go google Azali (LOL)

Third, Azali's savaad  fails to see the difference between the Christ's non-politcal message and Mohammad's openly challenging politcal institutions of his native land (and beyond). Azali's narrow minded view misses the faith for its followers.


Finally, I couldn't agree more with Azali when he says I am a fountain and he is a statue standing over me. I have always enjoyed p*$$**g at him (LOL).


Mooshie the...LOL...heestoreeyan

by Nur-i-Azal on

It appears that you are a fountain and I am the statue standing over it ;-)


To start with the Safavids were the founding fathers of Shiite Islam as a national religion in Iran.

The discussion was about secularism and theocracy, and after Shah Isma'il Safavi Iran has not been a theocracy until the Islamic republic 31 years ago. And, no, the Safavids were not the founding fathers of Shi'ite Islam as a national religion of Iran. Iran had Shi'ism as a national religion under the Buyids and the Samanids as well as the Isma'ili states in Alamut, Mazandaran and Turbat Haydariya. The Safavids made Twelver Shi'ism the state religion, not Shi'ism the national religion. Shi'ism in various Isma'ili, Zaydi and Twelver forms already existed well before Shaykh Safiuddin or Shah Isma'il.

(ala Shaikh Safi -Ardabili - the founding father the dynasty)

You know why Shaykh Safiuddin Ardebili chose Twelver Shi'ism as the creed of choice for his Qizilbash Order? Because of rivarly from other Sufi Orders, particularly the Ni'matullahis who dominated the religious scene in much of central and southern Iran at the time!

Have you ever wondered why free spirited poets and Arefs such as Hafez were so anti-Sufi.

LOL! Shamsudddin Mohammad Hafiz Shiraz, Lisan'ul-Ghayb, was an initiate and shaykh of the Ruzbahaniya Sufi Order. He is against the pretenders like the founder of your creed, for example, not against the Path itself.

that unlike Christianity which is a personal faith

Really? That seems to have missed the Roman Catholic Church's attention all throughout the Middle Ages and especially during the Inquisition, or more recently the Neo-Conservative and the Evangelical movement.

Adamant stupidity and misinformation of your type of whitewashed pseudo-history is no substitute for real facts and analyses, Mooshie jun!

[Crossposted to USENET]


History according to Azali - LOL

by hooshie on

Mr Mostofi

 Please be advised that when you read stuff written by this character (endearingly called Azali) you must check its validity against at least two or three other credible sources on the same subject and then make up your own mind. Here is a classic example of his tailor-made history and self interpreted definitions of sufic and clerical thinking.


To start with the Safavids were the founding fathers of Shiite Islam as a national religion in Iran. The history is rife with their bloody campaigns against the non-shiite. And guess what? They were the chief  proponents of the sufic orders (ala Shaikh Safi -Ardabili - the founding father the dynasty) . Now do you wonder why the latter day joojeh sufis, like our own Azali, try to claim that secularism and sufism are hand in hand. In fact nothing is further from the truth, Safavids were the first dynasty that introduced politcal Shiism as a national religion to Iran. The sufi orders that followed this period were entirely made up of mullahs-cum-sufis.


Have you ever wondered why free spirited poets and Arefs such as Hafez were so anti-Sufi. Precisley because they knew full well that sufi is a sexed up version of a mullah. So Azali is turning everything upside down and in the absence of any challenge he is believed by people like VPK.

 Finally, what Azali is afraid to tell you is that unlike Christianity which is a personal faith and is a relation between the follower and his God,  Islam is political faith. From it birth until now, Islam has been a political faith and unless one re-invents a new Islam, it will always be political faith. But lo and behold Mr Mostofi, the non-political faith that took over from Islam is promising a secular salvation for the mankind. And do you know who its followers follow? The last Persian porphet: Baha'ullah.

Now, wait for the torrent of more made up history and totally unrelated response from Azali - let's see how many times he qualifies his claims by using: technically - lol. 

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Mr Mostofi

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


What is the point you  are trying to make? Honestly after reading you post I am not sure. 

The definition of Secular is obvious. JJ gave it and you can find it in any dictionary. There is nothing hard about it. Not to mention there are many real examples to see. 

As for Iran we all know that there are many different sub-cultures in Iran. Depending on region; ethnic group and other factors. Of course we all share a long common history and many customs. But again what is the point? Please clarify or update your post.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


I guess I agree with your post 100%.


Iran was secular until 1979

by Nur-i-Azal on

Secular means the sacredotal (religious) element stands on one side of the cultural lifeworld of a given society, and the secular (or administration of affairs, i.e. the state or government) stands on the other. Neither interferes in the domain of the other. That is the ideal configuration.

Iran can very well be secular, and in fact until 31 years ago was continuously secular since the death of Shah Isma'il Safavi. The mid-Safavi era after Shah Isma'il was secular because the actual power and administration of the state was in the hands of a Shah and his immediate bureaucracy whose office was not strictly sacredotal nor was the Safavi state a theocracy with the Qur'an as the constitution. Nadir Shah was outright anti-clerical and had no time for any interference by the ecclesiastical establishment and its agenda, and neither did the Zands. Although leaving the 'ulama largely alone to amass independent power outside of the state purview, the Qajars were secular as well and largely played the power of the mullahs in ways that did not allow them to encroach on the actual power of the state itself. As a matter of fact most of the Qajar nobility and aristocracy were for the most part affiliated with the Sufi Orders, and so they only barely tolerated the independent power of the mullahs to begin with.

We know the rest of the story since 1905.

The secularism that Iran can adapt is very much the one being propounded by people like Mohsen Kadivar, i.e. Iran's Islamic Habermasian. The cultural integrity  can be kept intact with any future state and government staying well away from preferring one ideology over any other. In other words, the religious and cultural issues play themselves out in the social domain without state interference, with the state merely there to protect rights of all citizens and ensure public order. That is the situation in most states that call themselves secular today including religiously Catholic nations in South America and Europe. This situation is coming to Iran whether the traditional religious classes like it or not. Luckily (even to save their own backsides) the major intellectual proponents of such secularism are in fact religious scholars like Kadivar, Soroush and similar.



Mr. Ali Mostofi

by Arthimis on

I agree with some of your points on your recent comments and blogs, but also disagree with many of them as well...

I also believe our original and True Persian/Iranian culture and identity (pre-Islamic) were perhaps one of the most superior one on this planet. However, in this day and age and after so much pain and anguish suffered by our beloved Motherland, Iran, I have come to this personal conclusion that a Secular Democratic system that would ensure total Freedom and Rights for all in Iran is the most logial, fair and realistic way to proceed with...

On a different note, I respectfully feel that by engaging in different debates here, perhaps you are also trying to divert some traffic toward your own site directly and or indirectly! And if so, more power to you Sir. I must admit, I enjoyed reading your site as well. There are enough resources for all...

Good Luck & best wishes for Iran and true Iranians.

Good Health, Awarness, Consciousness, Freedom, Love and Peace. 


I beg to differ

by Princess on

You say, "What I am saying is that we have to stop democracy interfering with cultural elements." 

I say dictating and advocating a certain culture in a multi-cultural country like Iran is undemocratic. And for me democracy and respect the right of individual citizens takes a much higher priority than a homogenous culture, even at the expense of our dear Ghormesabzi.

Thanks for clarifying your stance. We might just have to agree to disagree. 


PrincessI did not say

by alimostofi on


I did not say that Iranian culture is Cyrus and Ahuramazda.  What I am saying is that we have to stop democracy interfering with cultural elements.

Just look at how the mullahs have used their theocratic republic to wipe out Iranian culture. Almost all hate that.

The Shahanshah had elections as well, but they were selective like the mullahs' ones, to make sure no non-Iranian person got elected. The universalists or the die-hard left wing did not like that.

I cannot understand how the political idealists, insist on using their petty democratic tool on everything in life.  Sorry, but some things cannot be put to the vote, and ghormehsabzi is one of them. 


Ali Mostofi




I hear you

by Princess on

Mr. Mostofi,

The greatest thing about Cyrus the Great was his openness and respect for people who were different from him, including those who had a different culture. 

Cyrus did not go around telling people, this is the Persian culture, these are our values, you adhere to them or else. By his conduct he set an example, so that people were drawn to him and his culture. He would never have achieved what he did, had he tried to subjugate the people whose lands he conquered.

In today's world of choices, we choose our cultures largely a result of making a number of personal choice. We define our cultures by what we choose to wear, what we choose to eat, the books we choose to read,  and whether we believe in a god or not, etc. All these personal choices might bring me culturally closer to someone who is born in Finland, than to most of the people I might live next to in Shiraz.

Whatever we decide to base the future system of Iran on, it would have to be something we define very clearly. If we create a system based on a "Persian culture", whatever it maybe, the system would interfere with people's private choices again. How would that be any different form what the current regime is doing in Iran? The new system would simply replace the "Islamic Culture" where God and Muhammad are worshiped with a "Persian Culture" where Cyrus the Great and Ahura Mazda would be worshiped. Don't you see how by doing that we would set ourselves up for another big disappointment?

A new system that is truly in line with the principles of the man you and I are brought up to respect and hold dear would not interfere in the private sphere of the citizens. It would not only tolerate diversity, but would respect it and draw its strength from it. It would be based first and foremost on the basic principles of human rights. It would respects its citizens and hold the citizen's freedom of choice sacred. 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and be well. 




by alimostofi on

Ba Dorood Princess

I think human rights is paramount, as it is written in the Zend-Avesta, and was implemented by Cyrus the Great, when it came to dealing with matters across cultures.

But I am dealing with Iranian culture. To that end, it is not elusive at all.  On the contrary, it is very clear and identifiable.  What is elusive about Iranian culture?  Its elements have been so deep and profound throughout history. It has withstood so many invasions.  Islamists have tried to wipe it out, but we have defended our culture amazingly well.  In fact when we were not Iranians, non-Iranians kept it for us (read about Sir Henry Rawlinson, and Arthur Upham Pope).

There is more to this, but I think you get my point.


Ali Mostofi




Mr Mostofi

by Princess on

Thank you for the clarification. You were basically warning against a future secular dictatorship. Now I understand better where you are coming from, but how about we let our respect for human values and human rights unite us, rather than such elusive concepts like "culture".

This can be achieved through a secular democracy which safeguards against a tip of balance by incorporating an appropriate system of checks and balances and would respect and embrace every Iranian individual regardless of their heritage, ideology, creed, etc. 



JJ, The word secular was

by alimostofi on


The word secular was created by the political movements so that the religious dogma does not gain power.


The politicians' democracy can be abused nevertheless, as the wrong people can vote to remove those cultural elements that are dear to the people.  They do not have to be the theocratic types we have in our land now.  You can have extreme left wing or right wing politicians that take advantage of Democracy.

What we need is an institution that safeguards our culture first, and unites us.  That is more important than any political solution. Political solutions come after the culture has been rescued.


Ali Mostofi




Ali jan, it must have been real late

by Faramarz_Fateh on

when you wrote this.

Not only your question does not make ANY sense, but the content of your post also requires a lot of clarification in terms of content.  

But let me make secular a bit more clear for you:

It mean absolutely NO INVOLVEMENT OF ANY RELIGION IN RUNNING OF THE COUNTRY OF IRAN, especially Shia Islam.  Another words, separation of church and state.  In a secular Iran, Islam can be a part of the politics but not the ruling system and or process (yani Islam daakhele siyasat vali kharej as hokooomat).

But, Secular however is not enough for Iran in my opinion.  Islam and other religions must be prevented to even be involved in politics. 




So, are you saying secular should not be used at all

by Cost-of-Progress on

or are you saying that just because we Iranians are so up to date with our understanding of how far politics and religion are to be kept apart, we just don't need to use this word?

Also, are you saying that Republicans invented the use of the word secular? I'd have thought the reverse. They're the ones beating the drums of religion.

And why is it not a positive identity?






by Princess on

 "We all stand on the same carpet, look at the same Damavand, share the feelings of eating Ghormehsabzi, as our culture.  That unites us more than "secular". 

Really? Never mind that neither I nor many people I know do any of what you mention in these couple of lines, but since when is our culture reduced to Ghormehsabzi and the Persian rug?

I don't know where you come from Mr Mostofi, but there is nothing "simple" about the way people think or how they approach their lives in the Iran I come from. With all due respect this is exactly the way of thinking that keeps getting us into trouble. We will never progress and develop as a nation until we learn to respect and embrace our differences. 


Jahanshah Javid

Nothing unusual

by Jahanshah Javid on

A secular democracy like the U.S., Europe, India, Turkey, Japan, Latin America. Pretty much the majority of countries in the world.