Genesis of Shi’a Islam


Amil Imani
by Amil Imani

In order to understand the clerical rulers of Iran, we need to learn about the genesis of their religious faith, Shi’a Islam, and the pivotal place of the Mahdi. Examination of the vast Islamic literature shows that the present sect of Shi’a Islam has evolved from a mix of cultural, political, economic and religious influences. I shall outline, in a summary form, how the belief in the Mahdi, the revered Imam whose advent is expected by the Shi’a faithful, crystallized over time. The Mahdi is expected to appear and save the world when it has reached the depth of degradation and despair. Below is a brief chronological account of how Shiism and the belief in the Mahdi as its pivotal figure were formed.

* Muhammad ruled with an iron fist while alive and no one contested his authority. He designated no heir, and left no will, oral or written, and had no male issues from any of his wives and slave women to inherit the office. Some believers, however, felt that the prophet wished for Ali, his cousin’s and son-in-law, to assume the Ummah’s leadership while a vast majority opted for the Arab’s traditional patriarchal seniority-based practice by choosing Abu-Bakr as the Caliph.

* Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s oldest high disciple and the father of Muhammad’s nine-year-old child-bride Ayesha, assumed the position of the first Caliph and died shortly thereafter. He was followed by Umar ibn al-Khattāb. Then, Uthman ibn Affan became the third Caliph, and finally by Ali ibn Abu Talib.

* Ali was considered by his admirers to be the greatest Muslim warrior and by his detractors as a vicious killer. Two of Ali’s sons, Hassan and Hussein were viewed similarly. Ali was murdered, according to one version, by one of his own followers who resented Ali’s capitulation to the Caliphate hierarchy. That is, the assassin and his like-minded Muslims felt that Ali betrayed Muhammad by not fighting to be his immediate successor and by consenting to be the fourth Caliph. Another version of his death is that a Persian warrior by the name of Brahman Jazyyeh killed Ali, avenging the death of numberless Persians that Ali and his people had slaughtered.

* Ali reportedly killed untold numbers of Islam’s enemies, including Persians, with his much-feared sword that had its own name: Zulfiqar. He was addressed by his followers as Amir-ul-Momeneen (Commander of the Faithful).

* The death of Ali transformed the feuding among the various Muslim factions into open warfare. Some decided to follow Ali’s son Hassan who was soon killed by contenders, then the faction adopted another son of Ali Hussein as their Imam. Hence, to these people, Ali was the first Imam; an appointee of Allah, without a firm basis for this belief. Ali was considered sinless and pure (taher) and immune from error. Over time, eleven males from Ali’s line were taken in succession as Pure Imams.

Thus, the 12-Imamate Shi’a originated with Ali as the first, Hassan as the second, and his brother Hussein as the third Imam.

* Hussein was killed in a fierce lopsided battle with Muslim opponents of the Imamate (those who opposed the system of Imamate leadership which is based on the hereditary succession of leaders from the line of Ali.) The two major divisions in Islam diverged with Sunnis opting for the elective Caliphate and Shiites for the hereditary Imamate.

* After Hussein’s death, some of his followers claimed that he had not died and that he would return. Others took to his brother Muhammad, and then later many took to Hussein’s son Zayn al-Abidin, as their Imam; and when he died, many followed his son, Muhammad Al-Baqir.

* Starting with the death of Ali, a strong belief began to form among his grieving followers that he had not died and that he would return to assume his rule. This belief in the return continued and eventually metamorphosed into the notion of Mahdi, or the Sahib-ul- Zaman (the Lord of the Age.)

* When al-Baqir died, there were once again elements from among the Shi’a who denied his death and claimed that he would return one day, while others settled on his son Ja'far al-Sadiq as their Imam.

* When Ja'far al-Sadiq
died, there was mass splintering among the Shi’a. Each of his sons Isma'il, Abdullah, Muhammad, Zakariyya, Ishaq and Musa Al Kazem was claimed by various groups to be their Imam. Also a faction believed that Jaa'far did not die, he had simply disappeared from view, and that he would return one day.

* The same splintering and confusion happened after the death of Moosa. Some denied his death, believing that he will return, some following his son Ahmad as their Imam, while others chose his other son Ali al-Rida .

* After al-Rida, many took his son Muhammad al-Jawwad , also known as al-Taqi, and after him his son Ali al-Hadi -, or an-Naqi. At the death of Ali al-Hadi, they adopted his son Hassan al-Askari  as their new- and 11th- Imam.

The above is a very brief synopsis of a tumultuous genesis of the Shi’a adoption of the Imamate belief which climaxed at year 254 AH: the time when a major section of the Shi'a accepted as their Imam the 22-year old Hassan, son of Ali al-Hadi, and 10th lineal descendant of Ali and his wife Fatima (Muhammad’s daughter). Six years later, Hassan al-Askari is lying on his deathbed, but unlike any of his forefathers he leaves no offspring, no one to whom the Shi’a might turn to as their new Imam.

The Shiites, who had been regarding Hassan al-Askari as their Imam, were thrown into mass disarray. Does this mean the end of the Imamate? The end of the Imamate, they felt would mean the end of Shiism. They were not prepared for that.

The confusion that reigned among the Shi'a after the death of Hassan al-Askari is recorded by his contemporary Shi'a writer, Hassan ibn Moosa an-Nawbakhti, who reports the emergence of at least 14 sects among the followers of Hassan al-Askari, each one with a different view of the future of the Imamate and the identity of the next Imam. Another contemporary Shi’a writer, Sa'd ibn Abdullah al-Qummi, records 15 sects, and a century later the historian al-Mas'udi lists 20 separate sects.

At least four major divisions of belief emerged to deal with the crisis of not having a legitimate male from the line of Muhammad to turn to as Imam. One group accepted the death of Hassan al-Askari and the fact that he left no offspring. To them Imamate had ended in like manner that Nubuwat (mission of Muhammad himself) had ended with his death. Yet, some in this group retained hope for the advent of a new Imam.

Another group refused to accept the death of Hassan al- Askari, and claimed that he would return in the future to establish justice upon earth. The refusal to accept the death of an Imam and retain the belief in his future return goes back to the very early days of the Imamate line.

Yet another group bestowed the mantle of Imamate to Hassan’s brother Jaa'far.

The final major group headed by Uthman ibn Sa'id al-'Amri claimed that Hassan al-Askari did in fact have a son, Muhammad, who had gone into hiding at the age of four for reasons of safety and no one but himself could have any contact with him.  Uthman ibn Sa'id al-'Amri further claimed that as Wakeel (representative) of the Imam he was the one to collect money in the name of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (descendents of Muhammad).

Hassan al-Askari's own family denied the existence of any child of his, and divided his estate between his brother Jaa'far and his mother. Yet Uthman ibn Sa'id and his gang won the allegiance of the masses of the believers by denouncing Jaa'far as al-Kadhdhab (the Liar).

This school of thought ultimately became the dominant view in Shiism with a new Wakeel following the death of a previous one.

With the passage of time, in-fighting among the various claimants for being the Wakeel exposed the scheme for nothing more than a way of extracting money from the gullible faithful. Yet, the belief in the Hidden Imam and his return remains a fundamental belief of Shiites.

To this day, the ever-supplicated cry of the Shi’a faithful is Ya Saheb-ul-Zaman (Lord of the Age Mahdi) hasten your return. Who is the much prayed for Mahdi? The four-year old who never was? The four-year old who went into hiding in a well, as some Shiites believe to this day—the well in Iran’s Jamkaran where president Ahmadinejad frequently visits, submits his written requests, and receives his marching orders from the Hidden Imam to whom he claims he is accountable?

Debunking the belief in the Hidden Imam and his return is pivotal to the falsifying of Shiism and helping the long-deluded Muslims in abandoning a fiction that has ruled and ruined their lives for far too long.


Recently by Amil ImaniCommentsDate
The Islam I Left Behind
Aug 04, 2010
Will America Survive Islamofascisim?
Apr 01, 2010
Jews as Scapegoats
Mar 29, 2010
more from Amil Imani

I know you are there

by amirkabear4u on

You can run but you can not hide. Still need to answer my question:

What is your religion Amil?

That is ok you can talk we are all open minded people. Open minded because we read your thoughts.



by Anonymous Observer (not verified) on

Thank you. I watched Bazargaan's nonsense as well, and came to the same conclusion. He is part of the Islamo-left 60's self-loathing generation. These people have an inherent despise for anything that they perceive to be glorifying Iran's pre-Islam history because they associate it with the Shah. They are still stuck in their "revolution" thirty years after Shah's death. Another point worth mentioning is that he uses the Quran to justify arguments for Islam!! It's kind of like me trying to prove that a document is authentic by relying on what the document itself says about being authentic!!! Warped logic!!!



by logical (not verified) on

All religions have a Messiah... it is better to have one that is defined and specific, not like the many others that have raised in the name of an un-specific Messiah and have fooled many to disparity, aka Bahais, Ahmadiyeh, all these Protestant sects, etc etc. Its something to think too.... Does it not make sense now to have a defined Messiah than one that could be un-defined, un-specified and could easily fool un-educated people. Think history, not the modern internet age...

The existence of the Hidden Imam has limited many mullahs and fake preachers in Shia Islam from committing many evil acts in the name of Islam. If you think about it, Shia mullahs have been much more limited in terms of their religious jurisprudence and power than Sunnis. Some have tried to shadow that, yet they have not been successful. Compare that with some of the rhetoric that Sunni and in particularly Wahabbi clerics and leaders preach and implement (look at Afghanistan, Pakistan). Then you will only notice the importance of the Hidden Imam.

Shisim is based on reason more than history and narrative... please use your reason and logic along with a realistic perspective on society before making such outrageous comments. Think of how society has been in the past 1400 years, how easily people were fooled into Messiahs and how they can still be fooled. It is awfully easy to sit in a Air Conditioned room and make assumptions about Islam and Shisim in particularly when you have no sense of society, no sense of reality... instead of reading just books, go live in society, then you will realize how ridiculously wrong you are.

Humans cant live without hope, hope on this planet, hope that believes that one day justice will prevail on the planet...


Re: Alternative Argument

by Anonymous ... (not verified) on

I watched the first link supplied by "myth buster". After watching Mr. Bazargan stating a lot of misinformation I had to respond.

First, he states that Khosrow Parviz called himself "Khoda" therefore claiming to be god. Mr. Bazargan leaves out the fact that Khosrow Parviz spoke Middle Persian or Pahlavi not Farsi. In Pahlavi "Khoda" means lord or ruler not god. In fact even village rulers were referred to as Khoda so Khosrow Parviz being the king was quite right in what he said. Two examples of Khoda are the book "Khodai Namak" the predecessor to Shah Nameh {destroyed by the same Arabs whom Mr. Bazargan is so enamored with}. Khodai Namak literality meant "Book of the Kings". The other example is Kad-Khoda i.e. the Khoda or ruler of a village. I think Mr. Bazargan is well aware of this and was deliberately misstating fact in order put the Persian culture in a bad light.

Next Mr. Bazargan states that is was Khosrow Parviz who lost the war. That is patently false as it was Yazdgird the third who fought for 20 years until murdered in Merv.

The last straw for me was Mr. Bazargan's statement that Arabs had a "superior" ideology to Iranians. That really showed me that Mr. Bazargan is an Arabist who is continuing his father's assult on anything that is Persian. I just hope that people realize where he is coming from and do not take anything he says as ture. The worst disservices to Iran have been done by its so called intellectuals particularly the 60's generation. People should wake up and stop idolizing these gomrahs


Got this in an email. Just sharing!

by Anonymous4now on

من اگه خدا بودم وقتی شیطان در برابر انسان سجده نکرد خشتکش رو در میاوردم و از بارگاه بیرونش میکردم ! چه معنی داره شیطان به حرف خدا گوش نکنه ! وقتی میخواستم پیغمبر برای خلق تعیین کنم از ۱۲۴۰۰۰ پیغمبر ۶۲۰۰۰ نفرش رو از زنان منسوب میکردم تا عدالت رعایت بشه !

کمی سلیقه به خرج میدادم و بجای اینکه خونه خودم رو در صحرای خشک و بی اب و علف عربستان بنا کنم در سواحل جزایر هاوایی یه خونه شیک و مدرن بنا میکردم با سوییت های مجهز و مجانی برای زواری که برای زیارت میومدن ! هیچوقت خونه خودم رو در انحصار مسلمون ها قرار نمی دادم و همه حق داشتن بیان خونه ام … حتی بی خدا ها ! قدمشون سر چشم ! زوار بجای اینکه تو صحرای عرفه بدو بدو کنن کنار ساحل بدو بدو کنن حالشو ببرن و بجای لباس احرام هم مایوی دوتیکه بپوشن ! یه مشت از این حوری ها و قلمان رو هم مامور میکردم به حجاج سرویس بدن و پذیرایی کنن تا زیارت بهشون بهتر بچسبه !

اصلا نمیذاشتم ادما صبح و ظهر و شب هی نماز بخونن و سجده کنن و حرفای تکراری بزنن ! کمبود که ندارم هی بخوام طفلکی ها رو اذیت کنم که ! همه مسجد ها رو هم جمع میکردم به جاش کافی شاپ و کتابخونه و سینما درست میکردم ! یه چند تاش رو هم قهوه خونه سنتی درست میکردم که محسن نامجو توش سه تار بزنه بخونه ! هر کسی هم که من رو صدا میزد و میگفت اِی خدا زود بهش میگفتم جانم قربونت برم …عزیز دلم … فدات بشم نه اینکه محل سگ هم نذارم ! بنده افریدم باید سرویس بدم دیگه … گوسفند که نیستن ول کنم تو بیابون !

قشری به نام روحانیت رو اصلا خلق نمیکردم ! به بنده هام همه یه جو عقل میدادم تا بتونن بد رو از خوب تشخیص بدن و نیازی به فتوا و این چرندیات  نباشه ! عزراییل رو هم میفرستادم اونجا که عرب نی انداخت بره غاز بچرونه ! به جای عزراییل یه حوری خوش هیکل سفید و بلوری میفرستادم تا جون مرد ها رو بگیره و یک جوان رعنای خوش هیکل رو هم میفرستادم تا جون خانمها رو بگیره ! جون بچه ها رو هم اصلا نمیگرفتم ! اصلا اجازه نمیدادم انسان ناقص و معلول به دنیا بیاد … ریشه جنگ رو هم خشک میکردم بجاش عشق و عطوفت و مهربونی میکاشتم ! سعی میکردم حضورم اینقدر در زندگی مردم ملموس باشه که دیگه هیچ کس نگه خدای چی ! کشک چی ! ….. خدا کیلو چند ؟ ….. کدوم خدا ؟

اخ که اگه خدا بودم یه بهشت توی یکی از سیاره ها خلق میکردم اخرین مدل ! نه اینجوری که توی جوب هاش ( جوی هاش ) شیر و عسل بیاد ! شیر و عسلی که توی جوب ( جوی ) باشه به درد همون اعراب هزار و چهار صد سال پیش میخوره ! اونایی که بنده صالح بودن میفرستادم توی این بهشت و اونایی هم که خطا کار بودن و بنده های درستن درمونی نبودن بجای جهنم میفرستادم توی ایران زندگی کنن قدر عافیت رو بدونن ! از خدا بخاطر این همه اختلاف سلیقه عذر خواهی میکنم.


Well done Sir

by Rok Goo (not verified) on

thanks Mr Imani
Islam was the biggest lies of the century 1400 years ago when it happens, and continued up to now.
I borne as Muslim and shiah.after the devolution of 1979 I realized who fake is this religion is and it's another form of a business(mafia type)) whit high income and no hard work.
by looking at the history of Islam and the their followers in the countries around the world you will see how fake is this religion is.
I believe in humanity and doing the right things and helping the others if I could .


I have looked at Richard

by sadegh on

I have looked at Richard Frye's work and articles on ancient Persia, Michael Axworthy's Empire of the Mind, Juan Cole's Sacred Space and Holy War, James A. Bill and John Alden Williams' Roman Catholics and Shi'i Muslims and others...With all due respect it's awfully condescending to equate all Shi'ites with a cult committing suicide – for instance, the work of Mollah Sadra, Sohravardi, Ibn Arabi and others are not so facilely explained ...

Shi’ism works for many people (that people should have the opportunity to decide if this is the case or not goes without saying – clearly the Iranian education system in this respect as well as many others is totally flawed) and as I said they find peace and solace in it…it has of course a reactionary and superstitious nonsensical side to it – anyone who has read and understood their Kasravi knows that (this is nothing special and to be perfectly frank takes very little intellectual labour) – but it does have a symbolic dimension which exceeds positivism and reductive scientism (e.g. what is “love” but a series of chemical reactions? Is that what Hafez or Shakespeare were talking about? Of course not.) – the allegory of the just resisting the oppressor and tyranny – this has inspired many, not just religious zealots to fight injustice (of course it’s associations with the present regime have discredited it greatly)...

Also and again with the greatest of respect, it's pretty self-righteous to take it upon yourself to "re-educate" the nation...Mr. Imani has the right to say what he likes as do I, but we all have the right to accept or reject his arguments and assertions if we wish, just as many though I strongly disagree choose to reject evolution in the U.S and elsewhere….that is their right or do wish to set up internment camps to impose the “unimpeachable truth of Darwin” on one and all…I’m not saying you have suggested any such thing, it just seems to be the implicit logic of a few of your statements (e.g. your comments regarding disabusing the “masses” of their “ignorance”) and sounds pretty Orwellian to me…To reiterate: nothing is beyond criticism, parody or mockery…One still needs to ask however: what is one trying to achieve in doing so?

We are however in agreement that fanaticism and zealotry ought to be combated with rational and thoughtful argument…I just don’t take it upon myself to eradicate “faith” as such (and that is just what the “seal” of the prophets and revelation are predicated upon – I can understand this even if I find myself capable of such belief or faith)…it is a futile task to start with and simply unnecessary if one aims for the realization of democracy and a liberal polity in Iran…The fact that the majority of Americans conceive of their nation as a Christian one and yet can with the occasional bump in the road maintain secularism and democracy is proof of this…I argue with fundamentalists just as I argue with racial-supremacist “Aryans” here on – both of them are completely wrong in my view…

Also please do not be fooled by the likes of Zion, who is him or herself a racial-supremacist and religious zealot – he or she is merely grinding his or her axe with your insightful comments, but has no respect whatsoever for argument, reason or factual evidence…the fact that he or she fires the opening salvo by terming all those who dare disagree with him or her “morons” says it all…Anonymous4now thanks for this spirited debate…I enjoyed it very much…


Ba Arezu-ye Movafaghiat, Sadegh


Arash Monzavi-Kia

12th imam the Achilles heel of Shiaism

by Arash Monzavi-Kia on

Dear Amil,


Thanks for sharing your well researched and nicely presented piece. Yes, indeed the 12th imam is the Achilles heel of Shi’aism, as its base is so fraught with incredible claims and hair-brain tales. As a Shi’a myself, I hate to live with lies and even worse, die for them. Same for my family, friends and compatriots; I do not wish to see them lose their sanity and livelihood over the bunch of self-serving myths produced by the Shia mullahs! 

Arash M-K



Anonymous Observer

by Zion on

Thanks my friend. I was hanging around, taking some leave from the nonstop garbage coming from this moronic bunch.

You are doing great. Keep up the heat. :-)


Thank you Mr. Rashidian and Anonymous Observer

by Anonymous4now on

for the kind words.


Sadegh Jaan:


“By trying to disabuse believers of their belief, especially when done in an abrasive fashion it comes across as another form of proselytizing . “


Sounds like self sensorship under the guise of political correctness.


“Just because you're a Shirazi today it doesn't mean your a descendant of Koroush!!!”


Why not call this to “disabuse believers of their belief”.  You would, with the stroke of a pen, shatter my belief that I am a descendent of Kourosh but would refrain from stating facts such as Mr. Imani has about a cult that has misguided so many for so long!?.  It seems a bit selective to me.


Although I agree with you that people should be free to practice their religion, as a private matter, what would you do if you came across a group of people who are kept under the spell of a cult and about to commit suicide (Jim Jones’ People’s Temple).  Would you try and talk some sense into them or refrain from saving them?   


Stating facts, as Mr. Imani has done here, which can be corroborated by many scholarly works, is not to “disabuse believers of their belief”, but to make them aware of how misguided they are.  There was a time when you could not discuss religion because people believed they would turn into stones, to listen to you.  Should we surrender out intellect and accept tradition, because it has always been that way?  


You seem skeptical about the fact that Islam was indeed forced on Iranians and of the sources I have quoted.  If you have sources that state the contrary I would be grateful if you could site them. 


Anonymous Observer thanks

by sadegh on

Anonymous Observer thanks again...though I am sure you are correct in this particular instance...they nevertheless remained tribal societies based on dynastic ties and allegiances - also though not all Iranian tribes were nomads, nomads nevertheless continued and to this day continue to populate Iran...Secondly, not all the peoples of Iran ever have been "Iranic"...Elamite civilization preceded that of the Achamenids...Iran's history has always been one of multiple religions and ethnicities...

Ba Arezu-ye Movafaghiat, Sadegh



Sadegh Jaan

by Anonymous Observer (not verified) on

Thanks for the kind words. A quick point, though. Recent archeological evidence is disproving the old belief that Persians were nomads. In fact, recent finds in Iran show very sophisticated, pre-planned cities complete with separate residential and commercial areas during the Sassanid era. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, I read somewhere recently that one of these cities was just discovered as their were building a damn, and the damn threatened to flood the site before it was completely excavated. I am short on time now and cannot locate the links for these subjects, but if you Google it you may find it.


Anonymous4Now thanks for

by sadegh on

Anonymous4Now thanks for the info...very interesting...this is not really my field though my point stands, what people choose to believe is none of my concern as long as it does not interfere with my own freedoms and rights. Negative freedom in this spirit is the basis of any liberal polity - a liberal Islam articulated in the domain of personal belief is in the making and has been argued for by Soroush, Ramadan, Nawal al-Saadawi and many others...It is a matter of political organization and the distribution of rights not essentialist claims vis-a-vis religion. And this holds for the notion of velayat-e-faqih a fortiori. If we're taking about a religious justification of tyranny, we're still just talking about tyranny. It is the distribution of freedoms and rights which ought to be put into question.

Also all regimes have manipulated sacred symbols for political gain and expediency. The Sassanians and Parthians most certainly did. The Shah manipulated the myths of Aryanism and Iran's pre-Islamic past and today the IRI manipulates and selectively deploys Shi'ism in order to justify it tyranny and crimes against humanity. I don't see why this is so difficult to see, it's in fact painfully obvious when one steps back and looks at the situation analytically...

Also it's amusing to see many Iranians talk about how Islam was imposed on "us"...firstly Iran has a strong tradition of nomadism, multiple ethnicities and religions, so which "Iranians" are you even talking about?...Second though Zoroastrianism was the language of the central authority it underwent several metamorphoses and transmutations between the Achaemenid and Sassian dynasties. Local religions and tribal practices (the Achamenids, Medes, Elamites, Parthians, Sassanians etc...were after all like the Arabs of Mecca just tribes; you may want to argue that their culture was more sophisticated etc...but my point stands) continued to thrive exactly because there was no centralized national identity. No such thing existed. Reza Shah in his efforts at state formation by emulating Ataturk was amongst the main factors in the emergence of modern Iranian identity. 

In fact the language of administration of the ancient Persian dynasties was Aramaic not Old Persian. No only that, but Persians have long projected their wills and power onto the periphery of the cental plateau in an attempt to erase the cultural and religious traditions of the Turkic tribes, Azeris, Balochis, Hazaras etc...Just because you're a Shirazi today it doesn't mean your a descendant of Koroush!!!

By trying to disabuse believers of their belief, especially when done in an abrasive fashion it comes across as another form of proselytizing . If however it enters the public domain, then yes it's up for graps and "anything goes"...polemic and invective help nothing however; all they do is sow controversy and sensationalism and as I said polarize the debate...though this is perhaps necessary from time to time, progress and hearts and minds are not won in any such fashion - all it does is induce a siege mentality. 

Anonymous Observer - you make some excellent points as usual and I agree the past shouldn't be forgotten and should not be occluded at the expense of state propaganda...

Ba Arezu-ye Movafaghiat, Sadegh




by amirkabear4u on

Reading only a few lines and knowing your usual EXTRAORDINARY comments I have two questions. I bet you never answer the first one correctly; 

1- Just as a matter of interest what is your religion?

2- By any chance are you related to Ahmadinejad?

It seems you and Ahmadinejad are twin. Do you know why? You both have your brain filled with rubbish. At least if you want to express yourself make sure your information is correct. But then it maybe just because you have Islamophobia.

David ET

same old ..

by David ET on

Power struggles of 1400 years ago were not any different than those in middle east today where practically all rulers regardless of the system (monrachy or republic) have tried to keep the power within their family and friends (IR, Asad, Saddam, King Hossein, Saudi's, Persian Gulf countries etc)

Anyone who thinks it was any different then, needs a reality check. Shia is nothing but a sect of Islamic Monrachy .. which was later used by the Safavids and Othomans and Europeans to their advantage...

Than you Mr. Amil Imani for your informative articles .


Darius Jaan - & Zion

by Anonymous Observer (not verified) on


There is no confusion here aziz. As I said, I am PERSONALLY an atheist. Most Iranians are not. Therefore, I am not against Zoroastrianism being advocated as an alternative to Islam for those who want to believe. As one who believes in freedom of thought and speech, I am not here to impose my atheism on anyone. I am also not against Islam being advocated. Read my comment and you will see. If you want to advocate Shia Asna Ashari, go right ahead. I will criticize you, but I don't think that you should be stopped from doing so. All I said was that people like Amil should be free to criticize Islam and advocate Zoroastrianism without being attacked.


Where have you been? These anti-Semites (NOT referring to Darius) have been killing us with their comments....please help!!


Alternative Arguement

by myth buster (not verified) on

Let us be objective and before submittig to our 1400-years-too-late patriotic sentiments do one thing we hardly do: THINK!

Abdol Ali Bazargan is one of the sons of the Late Mehdi Bazargan. Whether you approve of Bazargan te father or not, spare a few minutes and think about whathe says about conversion of Iranians to Islam.

Watch these 5 video interviews with Abdol Ali Bazaragan and then decide whether Iranians accepted Islam under the force of swords or under the the power of a new faith.


for more information about Abdol Ali Bazargan go to:


I am confused now

by darius on

You are saying ,you are an athiest which is fine . My question is

will you be refusing the doctrine of all major religion or you just cherry picking .I hope ,I am not asking too much but would that be possible to seek your advise ?Lets assume that you are not an athiest and you are forced to accept one the followings,ChristianityorJudaism .We kow that Islam is not part of your choice. your insightful comments and few others that comment about Islam is making me to look for another alternatives.Atheism is not an option for me ,and as you can see I am not very good in English ,please make it less sophisticated .I am about to make a major change and you willbe real helpful

Thank you



by Zion on

Thanks Amil. There are many clues of many distorted versions of Catholic world view in Shiism. It`s fascinating.



by Anonymous Observer (not verified) on

Thank you for your great analysis. I have not read Sykes, but will surely look for it.

The problem that I have with people who always advocate the status quo is that they don't have a problem with us following what is essentially an antiquated, poorly put together, intolerant, racist and violent doctrine (the Quran) that is based on 7th century Arab cultural, political and mythological structure (a lot of Islam's teachings have roots in pre-Islam pagan Arab mythology and religious practice, i.e., the Hajj pilgrimage), but the minute someone talks about teaching our people about pre-Islam Persian mythology, they try to ridicule it and imply that is irrelevant.

There is nothing wrong with an Iranian advocating Zoroastrianism. I am personally an atheist, and as such, my opposition to Islam is more doctrinal than religious. However people want to sugarcoat it, Islam, from its inception, relied on military and political conquests to spread itself. The conquest of Persia gave it what it needed in terms of resources and even philosophy to further accomplish its goals. In fact, at the time of the Arab takeover of Persia, Islam was a rather fluid philosophy, the main affect of which was not "guiding" people to the "true path", but rather unifying what had been a fragmented Arab society that was constantly at war with itself and giving it a sense of purpose, the purpose being conquest of more advances civilizations for their riches. It even had to borrow many of its practices and doctrine from Zoroastrianism (the five daily prayers for example) to be able to function as a coherent religion.

I agree that Islam has been a part of our culture for centuries, but so was Zoroastrianism before Islam. While I do not advocate the use of same techniques used in converting Iranians from Zoroastrianism to Islam, I do believe it is proper, and in fact necessary, for us to remind and educate ourselves about our own culture before the imposition of this foreign doctrine upon us by force. What Mr. Imani and others are doing is a step in the right direction.

Jahanshah Rashidian

Anaymous 4 now

by Jahanshah Rashidian on

I enjoyed reading your informative and instructive comment. Please keep up your great writings on the front page or blog centre to better inform Iranians on their imposed creed. IRI's supporters, Muslim or not, aside, an increasing majority of Iranians, Muslim or not, are eager to revamp their knowledge and judgment on their history and real identity.


Sadegh jaan

by Anonymous4now on

You say:

“If one desires to partake in a positivistic and scientific reading (i.e. historical, ethnographic, anthropological etc…) of religions they emerge as little more than aberrant nonsense and superstition, including in my opinion Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Islam, Baha’ism etc...  There is another way of looking at them however. This is not the whole story.”

 But why help perpetuate this mumbo jumbo that was forced fed to our ancestors so brutally?  Does the passage of time and not having the courage to confront the truth make this a “sacred history”?  

The notion that other religions are the same is irrelevant, because this one has crippled Iran and fostered schizophrenia in Iranians for far too long.  The truth has become so distorted and so far removed from us that we resist to even hear it.      

I have posted this before.  I see Anonymous Observer has made a similar point.

Read this to find out how Iranians have, for 1400 years, tried to remain Iranian, but the rift caused by this divisive and predatory doctrine has pitted Iranian against Iranian.  You have to strive to undo all the wrongs and injustices in life, as much as you can, not embrace them because the passage of time has made them tradition.  That would assign no value for human intellect and its propensity for acquisition of new knowledge.    


 The greatest myth, which many Iranians have come to accept, created about the fall of the Persian Empire, is that Iranians did not resist the Arab invasion of Iran because they were tired of their depleted religion of Zoroastrianism and accepted Islam with open arms. 

 Mary Boyce, in “Zoroastrianism, Its Antiquity and Constant Vigor”, writes: In 651, nearly 15 years after the first major Arab victory, an Arab army appearing in this Seistan for the first time, fought a fierce battle against Iranians in which more Arabs fell than Iranians.  Negotiations led to an agreement in which freedom of worship was guaranteed in return for tributes paid out twice, yearly.   In other places, many sacred fires were extinguished and Arabs harassed Zoroastrians out of religious zeal.  Fierce proselytizing is well documented for the north-east, where in the late Seventh century the Arab armies were commanded by the devout but ruthless Qutaiba. The local history of Bukhara records how he established Islam among its Citizens “with much difficulty.  He…made (their own religion) difficult for them in every way … He imposed the religious laws (of Islam) on them.  He built mosques and eradicated traces of unbelief and the precepts of the fire worshipers.   The poor were bribed to attend Friday prayer and Moslems were put into Zoroastrian homes to keep a constant surveillance on them.  The well to do who lived outside of the city walls were subjected to mob intimidations.   “Yet some Iranians still write of the collapse of Zoroastrianism at the coming of Islam, with all sorts of reasons suggested for it.  In fact the Iranian religion never collapsed, but survives to this day through the courage and tenacity of generations of its adherents.”   

 Sir Percy Sykes, in “History of Iran” writes:  It is clear that in the tenth century AD the population of Zoroastrians in Fars was in the majority and in the central regions of Khorasan there were large numbers of people of the Zoroastrian faith.  From my own (Sir Percy Sykes) research and findings the villagers of the regions of the northwest had not yet converted to Islam, till the 19th century AD.   Despite the fact that Iran had lost its independence, Iranian talent and intelligence helped them gain superiority over the Arabs and after a few centuries drove the Arabs, who were completely under the influence of the Iranians in the Sciences and literature, back into the desert lands of Arabia.  But on the other hand the ugliness of the acquired traits and the humiliation Iranians had gone through left an impression that remained for generations, after.    

 Shojaedin Shafa, in “Taarikheh Iran ba’d az Eslaam”, writes: Abdollah Ibn Aamer was frustrated with the resistance he faced in Estakht, Faars, and so he swore he would kill many to punish them.  The number of killed in Estakhr are reported in Tarikheh Tabari to be in excess of 40,000.  Ali Ibn Abitalb told the people of Kufa that this victory had reduced the Ajam and put them in their place. In Kharazm, Yazid Ibn Mohleb ordered the prisoners to be left naked in the cold to die, and in Tabarestan the prisoners were hanged over a distance of 2 farsakh.  During Osman’s Khelafat, Tabarestan had been savagely attacked under the leadership of Said ibn Aas, with Hassan and Hossein, the sons of Ali, as his commanders.   In the year 90 after Hejrat, the son of Ghatibeh, hanged several thousand people in taleghan who had revolted against the Arabs.  In the fight against Gorgan, the bravery of Iranians scared Sa’ad Ibn vaghas into giving prayers (namaz), who in the end promised immunity if they gave up.  The 80,000 Army of Arabs killed everyone in site.  Yazid Ibn Mohleb wanted to eat bread from wheat milled by the blood of the Iranians killed.  But this proved impossible since blood clots.  They had to pour warm water over the blood to make it runny enough to turn the mill.  In Sarakhs everyone, except for 100 people, were killed.  Many of the cities that fell the first time around rebelled multiple times against the Arab armies.    

 The names of the cities that revolted against Arab occupation, between 2 to 5 times, are as follows: Bokhaaraa, Samarghand, Kharazm, Soghd, Faryaab, Sarakhs, Marv, Kash, bikand, neishabour, toos, Gorgaan, Rey, Hamadaan, Ghazvin, Dinvar, Ghom, sirvaan, Halvaan (Ghasreh  Shirin), Esfehaan, Shooshtar, Estakhr, Daaraabgard, Shaapoor  in addition to the ostaans of Tabarestaan, Faars, Geelaan, deylamestaan, Aazarbeyjaan, Kermaan, and sistaan that witnessed rebellion against the Arabs, have been documented in these books:  Taarikheh Tabari, Kaameleh Ibn Asier, Taarikheh Ya’ghoobi, Fotoohol Baldaan, Majma’ol Tavaarikh, Mokhtaserol Beldaan, Taarikheh Bokhaaraa, Faarsnaameh.    

  E. Herzfield, German archeologist, has been quoted by Shojaedin Shafa to have listed and identified the geographical locations of 100 cities in Iran at the time of the sassanids.  83 of the cities witnessed ruthless massacres and unabashed looting.  Abdol Hossein Zarrinkoob, in “Taarikheh Iran Ba’ad az eslaam”, wirtes: During Osmaan’s and Ali’s reign as Khalifs despite, altogether, 17 years of turmoil, the Islamic conquest of Iran did not stop.  Especially till the year 31 after Hejrat, when Yazdgerd was still alive....... After his death, also, in all Iraninan cities, when ever there was a chance rebellion and resistance continued.  In any case, the advancement of the Arabs in Iran was slow and repeated rebellions ware an impediment to their conquest.  ...After Yazdgerd’s death, there was no real hope left and the local resistance movements were isolated and decapitated movements.  Despite that, the victory over Iran, in contrast to the description given by Seyf Ibneh Omar, did not end during Omar’s reign and continued till the beginning of the Omavian dynasty.   In the beginning of Osmaan’s reign, when Sa’ad Ibn Vaghaas was the Amir of  Kufeh, there were rebellions in Hamedaan and Rey against the Arabs.  Sa’ad left Hamedan in the hands of Alaa Ibn Vahab who enforced Islamic tax (Jazieh) again.  But the relative quiet he gained in Rey did not last long and the people of Rey repeatedly rebelled, and the Arab armies repeatedly attacked the city.   

 In all, the initial subjugation of Iranians took close to 30 years and the resistance movements continued for 200 years until the Arabs were driven out of Iran.  Read about all the Iranian heroes who helped win Iranian independence back, in a book by Abdol Rafi’ Haghighat, “Gharemaanaaneh Mellieh Iran”.       

The resistance against the doctrine of Islam continued in literature and there is a thousand year history of it.  Shojaedin Shafa, lists the poets and their poems chronologically, in his book “Dar Paykaar baa ahriman”. 

  Hossein Heykal, a great Egyptian thinker, was asked why did Egypt, a country with so much history and so much culture, become an Arab nation?  He responded by saying we did not have a Ferdowsi.    


-- Imani, you seem to have

by Fatollah (not verified) on

-- Imani, you seem to have made some people unhappy, nonetheless a simple but very informative article! Thanks! By the way, all religions basically are the same and Nothing is sacred!!! ;)


When Pigs Fly the Real McCoy

by sadegh on

"you should have the courage to disclose your own allegiances and ideological affiliations. It is necessary so people can evaluate your writings in their proper context. If you believe in transparency as you claim then this should pose no problem."

So Fred? I know "writings" is a mischaracterization of your slanderous nonsense...but nonetheless, we're waiting?

Second, Fred that's not an're really a joke my friend...

Ba Arezu-ye Movafaghiat, Sadegh



When pigs fly

by Fred on

“I for one am a secular liberal...”


Superstition and ignorance is Genesis of all religions who

by Aethiest (not verified) on

believe in a God or many gods. There is no reason to come down hard on a particular religion for its shortcomings or whatever. All religions are based on bogus superstition and mombo jumbo. It includes Zoroasterianism, Bahai faith, Hinduism, Judism, Christianity, Islam and witchcraft. Stop attacking and demonizing Shia religion. See the root of all evil called superstition and ignorance that has led human beings to invent religion.


Imani: you should have the

by sadegh on

Imani: you should have the courage to disclose your own allegiances and ideological affiliations. It is necessary so people can evaluate your writings in their proper context. If you believe in transparency as you claim then this should pose no problem. Please respect the requests of several people on this blog.

I for one am a secular liberal...that wasn't too hard was it...also by polemicizing against people's most sacred beliefs all you are doing is polarizing the debate. Rather than including moderates and liberal-minded Muslims you're attacking them and the kernel of their belief – the insane fantasy that you can erase any trace of Islam from Iran is absurd – it is just as much a part of Iran’s history as much as Zoroastrianism or the Baha’i faith.

The fact that the theocratic tyranny presently governing Iran hasn’t destroyed Iranians ability to distinguish between public and private religion or their capacity to separate politicized Islam from a personal and humanistic understanding of the religion speaks volumes. I don’t know when you last went to Iran but you’re incredibly out of touch. Institutionalized Islam has been massively discredited but the religion itself is still well and alive and the fact that you feel threatened by that intimates the ulterior motives which spur you to write.

If you believe in the notion of a liberal polity, then freedom to practice one's religion is integral to any such conception. If one desires to partake in a positivistic and scientific reading (i.e. historical, ethnographic, anthropological etc…) of religions they emerge as little more than aberrant nonsense and superstition, including in my opinion Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Islam, Baha’ism etc...  There is another way of looking at them however. This is not the whole story. One can read religion in terms of sacred history, as moral parables and allegorical speculations about the divine. For many people this works and why should we begrudge them for that? Religion for many individuals imbues the world with meaning and sense and furnishes a cognitive framework through which both the sacred and profane can overlap and discourse. It provides a way in which to understand our place in the cosmic scheme of things i.e. that man does not possess all of the answers or can unlock the manifold mysteries which inhabit the universe, that the world is not ours to dominate and exploit solely for our own selfish materialistic ends, that there is spirit as well as matter…if it works for people and is stripped of the intolerant zeal which characterizes fundamentalism then there is no problem. That Islam is an exception in this regard is pure rubbish and baseless. There is a very simple idea that you seem incapable of grasping…Islam/religion is not the problem…the majority of the 1.3 billion Muslims on this earth only desire to live their lives in peace and security. Tyranny and despotism nurture intolerance and fanaticism and have long been the history of the majority Islamic nations. Moderates need our support and backing and shouldn’t be alienated by invective such as yours which is solely motivated by searing hatred.

Ba Arezu-ye Movafaghiat, Sadegh  


Tell Me about the story about Qatari boy

by Sadaia_qesa on


Is it any thing like Palastinane Boy , Iraqi Boy may be .... Iranian Boy

 Look the cat is out of the Bag ...

What is Amil selling and on behalf of whom ?

As I said History matters :


Who is target audience for this article By Amil?

And what is being sold and on behalf whom? 

History matters and should be revisited …


What did Dawid Sasson sell to the Chinese on behalf of whom?

And Now, the Neocons (Zionest) give us the Iraq war !  Regarding my People ? I am only one voice among many world wide ... the universe is my people. 

Mehdi Mazloom

Sadaia_qesa - Don't be surprised

by Mehdi Mazloom on

Here the guy writes about the genesis of Shi'a Islam, and you reply with rubbish about another completely different matter.

You idiotic and mumble gamble reply pretty much provide the answer why your post was deleted. Because you post horse manure. not an intellectual essay.

At least, had you made any sense, fine one could extended some credit to yoy. But you don't make any sense.




by Anonymous Observer (not verified) on

Please don't try to hide behind euphemisms. You are an anti-Semite. There was an article about Joe Biden on this site, wherein you came out of the blue and claimed that he was an Iraqi Jew, a ridiculous claim. He is from Irish and English descent. Read Wikipedia for God's sake. You had a picture of him in Iraq with an inked finger. You are so blinded by your vile anti-Semitism that did not read a single new article that would have told you why he was in Iraq and why he had a stained finger. He was a poll watcher during the Iraqi election and he had inked his finger as a show of support. That is not surprising, because in that article, as in many more, you had used a white supremacist site, as your source. That is anti-Semitic site that celebrates Nazi officers. Here's the link to that comment that shows your use of that racist website:


Your anti-Semitism is so blatant that even in this article, which has nothing to do with Israel, or the Palestinian issue (which seems to be your ONLY obsession) you come out of the left field and post a gibberish of a comment calling all Jews child molesters. I am not a Jew, but I am appalled at this vile racist garbage that you spew on this site. I am appalled and concerned because these racist websites that you promote here say, think and advocate the same things about all immigrant groups--including us--that they do about the Jews. That puts us in danger as well. The perfect example of that was the tragic death of the Qatari boy that I cited in my previous post. That can happen to all of us. By the way, this is not the first time that you have cited racists websites in support of your anti-Semitic poison.

You mentioned in one of your posts that you were a father. Are you going to tell your children that it is OK for them to read the racist trash on

Why don't you get some help, see a therapist and perhaps concentrate on issues that help your own people. We don't want to see this racist trash on this site.