The Story of Mohammad

The revolutionary, warrior and sovereign


The Story of Mohammad
by Arash Monzavi-Kia

As it was customary among the wealthy Arabs of Mecca, the new born Mohammad was given to a Bedouin nanny to breast-feed him in her tribe’s campground outside the town. Zarrin Koob attributes that separation to the fact that Mecca was so filthy and decease-ridden at the time that most kids would have died, if they were kept there at an early age. So the prophet spent his first years among the Bedouin tribes and in the wild and fresh air of the desert.

Mohammad was very young when his father passed away and his custody (based on Semitic traditions) went to his grandfather, and upon his death, to his uncle. In the brutish city of Mecca, the orphaned Mohammad was treated roughly by the other kids who were better off, and was constantly reminded of his poverty and loneliness. Nevertheless, he grew up to be a hardworking, honest and thoughtful young man, very employable in the service of the Mecca traders.

Back then, the Roman trade with Far East (mostly India) had been disrupted by the century old Persian-Roman wars. Therefore, some of that trade was rechanneled through Yemen, Mecca and Syria. It was a lucrative operation for the Arab warlords who would organize and protect the safe passage of the caravans to the East Roman Empire (Byzantine).

Mohammad worked for nearly a decade in the Roman trade route and became very familiar with both the Christian and the Jewish traditions of the Near East. As an intelligent young man, although illiterate, he absorbed most of the biblical stories, which put his life in a much more appealing prospective. He found solace in the hardship stories of Job and Moses, but perhaps was most influenced by Abraham, a Semitic prophet who recanted his own town and traditions, to build a new Utopia and create a new way of life.

At the age of 40, after marrying a wealthy business woman, Mohammad found some spare time to contemplate his past and future, his beliefs and doubts. Like some other contemporary mystics of Mecca, he started frequenting the caves outside town, fasting and praying to the god for guidance. He finally claimed that an angle of god had spoken to him, and had read him a book (Koran) which would put the affairs of all mankind, including the Arabs, the Jews, the Persians and the Christians, in order!

That message was first tried on his wife and close relatives, with partial success. A handful of them accepted that the honest Mohammad was not lying, and that the incredible verses he was reciting were miraculous and could not be the work of an illiterate man. Soon, the prophet said that god had asked him to openly summon all the people of Mecca to the new faith. But the tough and cynical men of Mecca laughed at Mohammad’s calls to brotherhood, monotheism and observance of what seemed like the Jewish rituals. Even the Jewish rabbis criticized his inadequate knowledge of the biblical traditions and mistakes in reciting their stories as part of a new testament.

The laughter and the criticism made Mohammad upset and angry enough, to start confronting the prominent townspeople with daily repudiation of their barbaric manners. In response, the Mecca nobility boycotted his business, openly disowned him and even encouraged the street kids to ridicule and stone him. Poor and desperate, the prophet then concentrated his message towards the disadvantaged of Mecca, the deprived and the slaves. He not only promised them freedom and hope, but also the Abraham god’s pledge that ‘the meek would inherit the earth’!

When the Mecca upper class was confronted with the specter of a slave uprising, they killed some of the rebellious poor, confiscated Muslims’ properties and banished Mohammad and his followers to the outskirts of the city. Pained and worried that the fickle flame of his calling would die in such hardship, Mohammad sent messengers far and wide. The people of Yathrib (later called the Medina or city of prophet) gave him refuge, and became his base to fight the aristocracy of Mecca.

From his base in Medina, Mohammad encouraged and organized his followers to revenge on the Meccans, who had earlier confiscated their belongings. This started years of looting of the Mecca caravans that had to pass Medina on route to Syria, and back. In reply, the Mecca warlords organized much bigger trade missions that could be guarded more effectively. This in turn encouraged the now militaristically organized Muslims to engage in open combat with the Meccans who were accompanied by large sums of money and goods.

The rich and powerful of Mecca lost their first famed battle (Badr) to the Muslims, because they had grossly underestimated the ragtag party of Mohammad. The true strength of Mohammad’s faith was the open-door policy and merit-based hierarchy. If you wanted in, well, you were in, without any tribal or racial barriers. And if you were any good, you could get command, without prejudice and bias. In addition, most of the followers ‘had nothing to lose but their chains’ (as Karl Marx rediscovered later), and had a lot to gain by attacking and defeating the pampered, pompous and disorganized aristocracy.

His first relatively easy victories made Mohammad both jubilant and gracious. He would be forgiving even towards his tormenters (the Mecca rich) and his ridiculers (the Jewish tribes). However, soon the opposition woke up under the leadership of Mohammad’s own grandfather tribe (Ghoraish), and organized successful campaigns (like Uhud) against the Muslims. Many of Mohammad’s family and friends were killed, and he was himself injured.

But neither the bloody defeat of Uhud, nor the subsequent siege of Medina (war of Khandagh) could break the back of Mohammad’s uprising. In the face of diminished loots and proceeds of war, the prophet promised eternal heaven to his battle-wary followers, where ‘streams of milk and honey’ would quench their thirst and ‘flocks of young virgins’ would satisfy their desires. At a more practical level, Mohammad resorted to such Persian-Roman war veterans like Salomon the Farsi, who taught the latest war techniques to Muslims. He also started a campaign of intimidation against all the Ghoraish allies, including the neighboring Jewish tribes, starting with the threat of force and concluding with their massacre and total annihilation.

Against the undefeated rich and powerful of Mecca, Mohammad the war-strategist concluded a balanced peace treaty, which among other things, allowed him and his followers to visit Mecca and its famed cubic temple once a year during the pilgrimage. The cubic temple of Mecca (Kaaba) was a traditional holy site for the idolater Arabs, where each tribe used to keep its god’s symbol (idol) for protection, and then visit it once a year. The annual pilgrimage was supposed to be a time of peace, and the tribesmen were only allowed to enter Mecca without their weapons.

Initially, Mohammad had forfeited the holiness of Mecca and Kaaba, in favor of the Jewish holy town of Jerusalem. However, in face of bitter struggles with the neighboring Jewish tribes, and in order to gain favors with the Arab tribes who worshiped Kaaba, Mohammad changed the Muslim point of prayer. Then next year, the Muslims returned to Mecca for pilgrimage and show-of-force, chanting: ‘no god but Allah’. However, they did not otherwise force the issue on the Meccans. Allah being one of the chief existing gods in Kaaba, the message started to sink in.

The simple unifying message of ‘no god but Allah’ appealed to the disjointed Arab tribes who could finally see a chance for unity and nationhood. The most powerful of them appealed to Mohammad to also accept the legitimacy and holiness of four highly regarded idols in the Kaaba, as a precondition for them to join the Muslims. Upon reflection, Mohammad accepted and uttered verses which praised the four idols of Kaaba as holy and legitimate. However, the next day, he changed heart and recanted that acceptance as the Satanic Verses, which apparently the devil had whispered into his ears!

Next year, during the pilgrimage to Mecca, Mohammad summoned 10,000 armed Muslims to converge on the city. He reneged on the peace treaty and gave two options to the Meccans, Islam (submission) or war! However, when the rich and powerful of Mecca submitted, Mohammad was again gracious and allowed them full amnesty, and even notable positions in his armed forces and governmental organization. There and then, the prophet’s journey from revolutionary to sovereign was complete!

Reading Mohammad’s life, one can find so many similarities between him and the other revolutionaries, who tried to change the world but world, changed them. Mohammad being an actual person (unlike such mythical characters like Moses and Jesus with no direct historical confirmation), is so real and flesh-and-blood that we can easily see his similarities with many other revolutionaries everywhere and even down to our own time (Cromwell, Robespierre, Lenin, Mao and even Khomeini).

At the end, no story is luscious without a bit of rumor. In Islamic tradition, it is known that the first wife of Mohammad (Khadijeh) was the first Muslim believer, and that the prophet did not marry anyone else (although Khadijeh was 15 years his senior) as long as she was living. Apparently, it was Khadijeh who proposed marriage (so 21st century) to the then shy Mohammad (a 25 year-old bachelor in her employment). It is also reported that Khadijeh was of a monotheistic family (Hanifian), who are rumored to have been Jewish. Now, based on most Jewish traditions, even if a person born into the faith recants Judaism, they are still considered a Jew. More interestingly, Jewish lineage is a maternal one, going from mothers to offspring. Therefore, deliciously enough, that can make Khadijeh, her daughter Fatima and even her grandson Hossein, all Jewish! Not that there is anything wrong with it!

The 23 years of prophecy, by Prof. Ali Dashti, temporarily posted at the link below.




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more from Arash Monzavi-Kia

Arash aziz

by IRANdokht on

I think some folks don't realize that the greatness of our culture is in the way it has gone through all the hurdles throughout the history and come out richer and more beautiful.

What you are saying about the Sasanid corruption at the time was also mentioned in this video that Party Girl posted. 


and please don't change your name. It's one of the most beautiful persian names!



Arash Monzavi-Kia

Name change

by Arash Monzavi-Kia on


Since I came to North America as a teenager, you are not the first person to recommend a name-change. However, the others were mostly trying to make me less of a skin irritant (a rash)! Now, in your case the irritation seems to be of another kind, but again unfounded.

Please read more carefully as what is said is that the Arab barbarians defeated the civilized Sassanid, because the Persians had turned corrupt. There is no shame in assessing our history, and that does not make us an Iran hater.

Again, history shows that Iran was not finished after the Arab conquest, but actually rose to new heights of civilization quickly. What nearly caused the demise of Iran and even the Arabic world was the Mongol invasion that killed most of the population and left no cultural and civil aspect of society intact. 

Arash M-K


shiasm and judaism.

by omer (not verified) on

"I, as a kid was always curious, very curious about Shias. I always wanted to know that what do they do with the blood of children they kidnap every Ramadan. Yes! I was told by someone that the people who come with drums in Ramadan at the time of sehri to wake people up are Shias, carrying their campaign of kidnapping children, so that they can add their blood to their special dishes in muharram. This way I never went out to look at them in cold at the time of sehri. Then when I grew up, I was told by my cousins about Shias, how evil they are, how wrong they are and how they stick to their false beliefs, refusing to even discuss their beliefs with other people. I kept hearing a lot of other rumors about Shias after that too, so my desire to know the truth about shiaism kept increasing with every passing day.
There came a time when I was a complete senseless Sunni (I didn't use the word fanatic, because, according to me, Muslims are never fanatics, as Islam is the moderate religion offering great compliance, one whose a Muslim can not be fanatic) thinking of Shias to be polytheists because they say 'Ya Ali Madad', believing them to be non believers due to the fact that they do matam which was the biggest innovation to me then, and knowing that Shias will be sent to hell because they curse the companions of Nabi (SAW).
When I got to learn about the true shiaism, I found out that actually the people who say such stuff are wrong themselves and they actually disregard clear Quranic orders, because when you say something about someone that is not true, or that you are not sure about, or there's even a slightest doubt in it to you, you are saying something wrong, also without conforming the truth. While Allah instructs us to do otherwise in the Quran, He says;
O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah and speak the right word;
Quran [33:70]
O you who believe! if an evil-doer comes to you with a report, look carefully into it, lest you harm a people in ignorance, then be sorry for what you have done.
Quran [49:06]
We are thus supposed to speak only the right thing, also we should inform other people of only the things we are sure about. And people who talk against Shias, usually, attribute weird stuff to Shias, stuff that not even an alien would do! Stuff like Shias doing Zina in Muharram!
Coming to the main point now, where did I get my inspiration for shiaism from? Spreading lies and odd news without any truth in it is a great act of sin in itself. And it was lies like this against Shiaism, which convinced me that something was infact strong and real about Shiaism which made people spread lies against them as to discourage us from learning about the true spirit of Shia Islam. It was such lies which kept me away from Shiaism, and increased my curiosity about the "Aliens" at the same time. Fortunately, the bubble of my curiosity burst and I started to learn a few basic things about Shiaism from authentic Shia resources and to my shock, they did not kidnap children in Ramadan, neither did they spit in the water before serving it to Sunnis. I also learned Shias did not have tails and were infact following those verses of Quran which were hidden or overseen by Sunnis.
The thing I like the best about shiaism is that it is based on direct Quranic orders for most of the deeds and patterns of worship. While for the fundamentals of the sect, as it's foundation stone rests the love of Muhammad (SAW) and his highly blessed family members, the Ahlulbayt. I think its amazing that the whole of your life is in accordance with that of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his blessed family, you celebrate when they were rejoicing, you are grievous when they went through troubles. You do things that associate you directly to that blessed family! How well oriented one's life would be, one who celebrates for them, one who mourns for them, erasing off the sense of his own being, one actually lives for them!
I would now go in a sequence, listing down the stuff that I truly like about shiaism, which according to my view gives shiaism a superiority over sunnism in authenticity and being right.
The most decisive stage in turning away from sunnism was knowledge of the timing of opening fasts (iftaari) in Sunnis.
.... and eat and drink until the whiteness of the day becomes distinct from the blackness of the night at dawn, then complete the fast till night ...
Quran [2:187]
It is something fundamental, second of the five pillars of Deen, still Sunni scholars are unable to give their followers a definitive time for iftaari as extracted from the Quran, they rather follow Ahadith, which, logically, in presence of a clear Quranic order don't have to be followed (if a difference exists between the two) and the followers are credulous enough to believe them without even consulting the Quran. This was very distressing for me! How unreliable your highly respected scholar is when he cant even convey to you the Quranic orders accurately.
Later a friend pointed out another mistake of the same category; divorce issues, in which the Sunnis ignore clear Quranic order in the name of narrations. And this time, its not the messenger's (SAW) so-called sayings, its a caliph's innovation that makes them alter the Quranic instructions about divorce matters! Read more about Innovation in Divorce.
Then I got information about ablution, the Quran tells you to wipe your feet and Sunnis wash them, rather than wiping them. It is a small difference, but it is about something as essential as wudu, and the order being ignored was from the Holy book, so that was again distressing.
One of the bigger difference between Shias and Sunnis is on display in Ramadan, where the Sunnis pray Tarawih while the Shias do not. When I came to know the truth from Sunni history books, i kept asking my self that how could Sunnis pray Tarawih in congregation when it was in direct and explicit contradiction to what Prophet Muhammad (SAW) ordered. Shias did perform their Ramadan prayers and recital of the Quran but they preferred to do so in their own homes, as ordered by Prophet (SAW).
Another thing which made me think of shiaism to be reasonable and unbiased was the difference in descriptions of Islamic historical events by shia and Sunni scholars. I always felt a communication gap while talking to Shias, because I had virtually zero knowledge of Islamic history, and they talked about so many battles, that too between people as 'pious' as Ayesha and Ali. When you ask your elders about it, they would say that it was only a misunderstanding and all of them are equally respectable for us, so don't worry about the battles between them. Sunni scholars do mention the historical events but with a bit of sugar coating for a few companions and wives of Nabi (SAW). And when you compare it to history mentioned in oxford books (I take them as unbiased usually) it does not match them, it rather matches to the shia historians` material and it made more sense

and next mutah the religios prostitution they believe in if all shia women follows it means they are all prostitutes not respected and accepted by global society.


I have had it

by Shamse Vazir (not verified) on

I have had it with Arash's insults to our heritage. I have not been responding to his writings because they are beneath contempt. Arash, since you hate Iran so much why not change your name to an Islamic one? I guess you want to keep insulting the sacred name of "Arash". Besides, if you think Iranians were all barbarians before Islam then why use the symbol of "The Parthian Man" ? I find you to be very hypocritical.


Re: Faryam

by jamshid on

My god! Are you really trying to make us believe that Mohamad recieved "divine" verses from God because there are Quranic verses that states, "And each star moves in its own heaven"???

And form this verse you conclude, "Thus is explained the movement of the sun, of the moon, of the earth, and of other bodies."

WHAT? How does it explain that? It only explains your desperation!

You then wrote another verse: "the sun moves in a fixed place".

From this you concluded, "... which shows the fixity of the sun, and its movement around an axis"

What are you talking about? The sun DOES NOT move in a fixed place! Even the entire galaxy in which the sun and its axis resides is moving at mind buggling speeds. The sun NEVER moves in a fixed place, NEVER!

You take the verse, "the sun moves in a fixed place" which is totally false, inject a few nice words, and voila! You got proof Mohamad was sent by God! Just like that!

It is pathetic.

Trust me, if there is a God, he would respect disbelievers like me a lot more than blind followers like you.

You wrote, "The arrival of Islam to Iran was a blessing in disguise..."

No, it was not. It was a tragedy in disguise. Iran was in its dark ages during the Sassanids. So was Europe several centuries ago. Did the Europeans also needed an Islamic invasion/infusion/catalyst in order to exit their dark ages? The answer is NO! They left those dark ages on their own. Look where they are now.

So would have and could have Iranians. There were many Iranians movements at the end of Sassanids, as they were in Europe at the end of the dark ages. They would have eventually succeeded despite the tyrany of Sassanid kings. They call this social and political evolution. However, the Arab invasion ended it all.

I would have much preferred a domestic evolution or even a revolution, than an Arab invasion. Obviously, your preferences lies somewhere else.


Re: Arash Monzavi Kia

by jamshid on

You expect people to compare Mohammad with previous kings and rulers. Your logic is flawed since if we accept your logic then we could say long live the IRI because it is better than the Mongols.

You wrote, "The fevered hatred fanned by the 'Zion's and the 'Aryan's of this world... those same characters embrace their rotten ancient prophets and kings like eternal gems"

Your statements more adequately applies to fanatic Iranian moslems who embrace their truely and really rotten ancient prophets and emaams like eternal gem.

You seem to be burning in hatred, still you complain and accuse others of being hateful. There is a word for this attitude. It is called hypocrisy. No offense intended, it is just an observation and a factual conclusion.

In the futrue when you thank others for their "humanistic" replies, try to follow suit and do the same when you respond to others.



by Roshanbeen (not verified) on

Mammad agha

Ironically, many of the irrational and reactionary behaviors in ME are in response to immense pressure of western governments and their proxy governments. I truley believe if war mongering and Bullish attitudes of big powers changes , moderates and reformists will prevail.

Arash Monzavi-Kia

On a happier note ...

by Arash Monzavi-Kia on

All the interesting and mostly serious discussions on this thread can make anyone thirsty for a light hearted laughter. So here is a link to the late George Carlin's amusing view on religion.


Arash M-K


MIsha. It is agood thing

by KouroshS (not verified) on


It is agood thing that even you admit in the beginning that there are bad things being done to your iran IN THE NAME of islam. You see, That does not truly represent islam. It Is like saying New born christians are so fanatic, and rule in the name of christianity, and reach the conclusion that all christians are alike. that is absurd.

I have talked and have seen many investors doing buisness in dubai. Iunderstand who really calls the shots but that doesn't any way take islam out of the mix.

. You don't think that there are Western companies, with principle managemnet rolesand all-iranian labor (or at times foreign laborers) are in iran and operate extensively? An Islamic regime would not create hurdles for a western company to operate.

I KNOW what the basic tenets of shi'sm are. Please. You don't have to start at the top and repeat all that for me in every single reply! BUt think about it. IF we as people, see it in ourselves that we absolutely must follow the Marja and have no other options, would you and I or anyone else for that matter be living outside iran? Do you really not think the majority of iranians don't even give a Hoot about what shi'sm is and what it demands of people?

The point here is not whether khamenei or khatami or rafsanjani or etc are in charge or have the final say, rather it is that most iranians knwo what they have up their sleeves, and whether it is mandated by god or islam,either which way PEOPLE DO NOT CARE ANYMORE. They have discovered their own individual paths and are making a run for it, LEAVING THE COUNTRY:)



by Anonymous Misha (not verified) on

I had no ill-thoughts against islam in 1979 but I must admit that I do have it after 30 years of seeing what has been done to my country in its name. As for the two points, I think you should talk to people who are more familiar with those issues if you really want to know what is going on.

(1) Talk to someone who is familiar with, say dubai, the most prosperous of P Gulf state. They essentially realized that they had lots of money but were incapable of putting it to good use. All the buildings, schools, major industries are minority-owned and majority-operated by western companies. Even universities are branches of american universities (like johns hopkins' or yale schools). Arabs put the money and have minor management role and westerners do all the crucial work (like design and management of implementation) of the project. Talk to someone who is investing in dubai (as there are many iranians who do that these days) and they will tell you. Or make a visit and see who is behind running those luxury hotels, or designing the palm island, etc. All is done by westerners, mostly american, with arab ownership and asian labor. There is also very minimal high-tech industry or production, but mostly tourism and oil industry.

(2) This is a well-established rule in shia islam. I wish that islam was what my grandmother practiced (as someone else on this thread claimed): benign and good-intentioned. BUT that is only a wishful thinking, whether you like it or not. According to shia islam all common people must follow a Marja-Taghlid, and only an ayatollah can bend the rules of islam according to his view in the absense of Emam Zaman. This is one of the major differences between Shia and Sunni. Read Khomeini's decrees, or any other ayatollah's. This is not any exaggeration and NOT my saying. If one is a practicing shia moslim, that is what his religion says, like or not does not change the facts.

And today, that is why Khamenei's decrees are final as they represent islam and that is why almost nobody challenges him on religious grounds (except for Montazeri that the establishment does not recognize as Marja-Taghlid anymore).

You don't like it and I don't like it either, but that is how it is unless you want to invent a new religion other than shia islam; that is how shia islam has been practiced for 14 centuries and more emphatically since safavids.


kouroshs by Anonymous Misha

by Kourosh S (not verified) on

by Anonymous Misha (not verified) on Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:07 PM CDT


Oh really? so they were lifted forward just a little bit,yet construction of all that beauty is no sign of progress? are you joking or you are just resorting to force to run your point home? I am not sure what prime sources you get your news from, but it is obvious to anyone that even among the glitters and westernization, islam does still rule in those countries. not as intensely as saudi arabia, but it has the final say.
The fact that in iran, the government sets massive hurdles in the way of progress, has nothing to with the priciples of islam, which brings me to my next point.

On your second point,
especially your conclusion at the end. Youu need to realize that khomeini's way was not The way and so it did not mean that he was REALLY laying down the truth, You and Bijan are intentionally using this as a tool to show your anger and disgust toward Islam.

Keep in mind that i am not being religious here and taking its side, but it infuriates me that even though you are well aware of the lunecy of khomeini and his cabal, yet you remain a die-hard and insist that what he preached was actually the real islam.

That is what rankles me.



by Anonymous Misha (not verified) on

Take a look at our neigboring Gulf countries and see for yourself that amid all the mosques and menarets, biggest and tallests Hotels and indoor ski resorts are going up.
I just don't understand why you and Bijan are trying so hard to shove this notion down our throats that Khomeini was the 4-star general that purly represented islam!

Both of your conjectures are wrong:
(1) Persian Gulf countries are arabs but none (except for maybe suadi arabia) exercise islam as a principal way of ruling to the extent that IRI does. All were backward in 1979 and were lifted forward (somewhat since progress is different from having hotels and tall buildings) when they apartly bandoned their islamic ways. If their oil export deplete today, they will shortly go back to their poor third-world country, as there has not been any widespread progress and creation of any self-sufficient or export-producing (except for oil) middle-class.

(2) Maybe you are not familiar with shia islam. According to shia islam, an ayatollah (i.e., khomeini) had the right to define islam in the absense of Emam Zaman. What he said "was" the definition of islam. Islam is not what you or me want it to be, it "is" defined by ayatollahs. There is no if and but in it. That is why other ayatollahs bowed to him and when Montazeri softly objected to khomeini's radical behaviour, khomeini responds essentially by saying what I just said emphatically and ends the discussion. So islam is khomeini and Khamenei and Rafsanjani. Otherwise there is no other Islam.



Cutting throught the Bull:

by pricegoesup (not verified) on

Religion and spirituality are not one and the same.

I would argue that *religious Instincts* are more devestating and insidious than any other so-called instincts. Religious instincts blind people to truth and make them tell lies and spread disinformation and half-truth. Religious instincts such as yours try to re-write history. Religious instincts have caused incredible amount of brutality and suffering throughout the world.

Spirituality does not require you to promote any organized religion or a Sheikh, a priest, or a Rabbi.

Going to the mosque or to the church does not automatically make a moral or ethical person. In fact, most "religious" people lead highly immoral and unethical lives.

On the ohter hand, an atheist could not set foot in a church or a mosque but lead a principled life.

Beliefs are not the beginning of knowledge, they're the end.

There could definitely be some form of "god" and perhaps radically different from what is commonly referred to in organized religion .

The use of archaic and coercive forms of authority is not a sign of moral superiority or truth. They are sign of ignorance and slavery. Religion is no different. It is just an obstacle to something we already have within ourselves. There is no particualr moral or value isolated to a "belief."

seriously, what moral value do you get from an archaic and barbaric control system like R/religion that you cant achieve with your own free mind? what can you really offer as evidence that R/religion has helped mankind? so far I have not been able to come up with one. I look at it this way. If there is no positive value attributed solely to R/religion and many negatives (pick from the array of schisms made available by history), then its continued existence is a crime to our species; we dont need it. we can live without it.

simply put, its a liability. but, I want to stress that religion is not alone. there are secular forms of control that are just as needless (capitalism, Marxism, authoritarianism, fascism, etc).

Belief systems are nothing more than the killing of thought. it is a form of abuse to raise children in such narrow and limited ways; to live in fear of some deity who will judge you if you steer away from doctrinal controls.

By religion, I am referring to systems of authority that are hierarchy; that have a top-down form of governance.religion fits that bill.

there is no moral value that is solely derived from an institution or a belief dont need religion to know that killing is wrong, helping people in need is good, etc.religions are not why we know the difference between right or wrong and if you think that you need the Koran to know this then you might want to consider a very healthy introspective look in yourself.

I personally dont think you are that corrupt as an individual that you would need someone or something to say, "hey, dont do that!"but what has religion offered us? crusades, schisms, pogroms, torture, wars, oppression, IRI, Bin Laden, Hizballahis, basijis, christian fundeantalist like Palin et al, etc...

look at women. one of the greatest tools that has been used to oppress women has been religion. think about that.



by Mammad on

There are already many groups and individuals who are against extremists and reactionary interpretation of Islamic teachings.

Why do you think that people like Dr. Mohsen Kadivar, Hasan Yousefi Eshkevari, Mohandes Ezzatollah Sahabi, Abdollah Nouri, Ayatollah Boroujerdi, etc., have gone to jail? why did Gangi, Zeidabadi, etc., go to jail? Why do the leaders of Campaign for 1 Million Signatures go to jail? Why do university students go to jail?

Unlike what some people in this tread think, the movement for moderation, change, reform, and deep changes is very much alive and kicking in Iran.


Arash Monzavi-Kia

Dear A Lee

by Arash Monzavi-Kia on

Thanks for your many worthy inputs to this never ending debate regarding a religion (Islam) and religions in general. Your points cover a large spectrum of ideas and ideals, which I mostly agree with, but believe that most people would perceive as simply EVIL and Anti-God. Now, in the realm of politics, religiosity and belief; most often perception is as good as the truth (sadly of course)! Everyone 'sees' the same world, the same country, the same religion, but each and everyone actually sees a different 'image'.

Now, as appalling religion may seem to someone like you or me, as clear the bloody path of foolish religious ideas may appear to an observer from the moon, still for most (say 3/4) of us earthlings, it is the 'leading' creed. It is the force that shapes one generation's ideas and ideals after the next. It is one of the elements that have kept each and every civilization up and running. Now you may ask, why do we need to believe?

It is easy for someone like you not to believe, with your confident character, educated mind and successful career. But the masses of people (same 3/4) are often without one or more of those attributes. The question is, as leaders of societies, what can one give them to have hope, to strive to win, to succeed against the odds?

Again, let's remember that 99.99% of human history and life-style has been nothing like the protected way of living that we have today. 100 years ago, it was a challenge to travel for 10 km. 1000 years ago, people at 10 km away may have killed you at sight. 10,000 years ago, they would have eaten you too! So every civilization, perhaps until the 20th century, has needed a persistent system of believes filled with do's and don'ts, backed by threats and promises.

But even a look at the 20th century shows that religiosity has been the backbone of the even apparently anti-religion social movements, like Fascism and Communism. What is more faith based than believing in the infallibility of a master race or a master class? Almost all social changes in history have had a religiously believed system of dogma behind them.

Now, for all the above reasons, let's not judge the ideals of Moses, Jesus or Mohammad with our current safe, modern, well educated, moon traveled, gene breaking standards. Let's see into their humanity too, and accept that they were trying to do some good for their people at their time. Nevertheless, we can safely tell everyone that their time has passed and we need to be even more innovative and skillful to respond to the challenges of our time.

Dear friend, not all our challenges are material or even logical. Human being is still mostly a living being of course, not an IBM machine. We are still ruled by our emotions. See what happens when someone cuts in front of you in the traffic, shows you a finger and honks his horn. To an all analyzing IBM machine, all of that means NOTHING. To us humans that is an open invitation to war and fight, which can lead us to a path of self or other's destruction.

If we were not driven by our instincts (good and bad), we wouldn't need spirituality. Well, the source of this spirituality for most (same 3/4) is religion. It is a time proven product, sealed in solid looking containers and available at every supermarket (Mosque, Church or Synagogue). Now, you and I are trying to sell our fresh from the garden produce at the street corner :-)

It is never easy, but I respect your optimism.


Arash M-K


Enough, already.

by kouroshs (not verified) on

Ananymous Misha.

Our iranian identity is a collective value that is in our hearts and souls there is really no way we can reclaim it! no matter where we are and under what regime.

How can islam or any other religion NOT express itself through the lives and behavior of Human beings? Perhaps iran has received the shorter end of the islam's proverbial stick here, Take a look at our neigboring Gulf countries and see for yourself that amid all the mosques and menarets, biggest and tallests Hotels and indoor ski resorts are going up.

I just don't understand why you and Bijan are trying so hard to shove this notion down our throats that Khomeini was the 4-star general that purly represented islam!
enough already.


You are looking at this from an exteremely political perspective. It is absolutely absurd to say that all others are more tolerant of people, but when it comes to islam we are dealing with a group of fanatics. As a matter of fact, your defenition of True follower of islam would apply to any pure religious individual, be it christian, bahai, etc.

I guess you are so conviniently omitting the fact that khomeini and his clan and all the stoning and other atrocities they committed was based on the fact that they WERE NOT true moslems and wanted to exert their control and dominance over our society just because they could.

It is more than clear to me that you hate islam with passion, But the logic you are using to show that hatred and prove your point, is not helping you one bit.


Mohammad's life and Islam

by ALee (not verified) on

If Mohammad lived today, he would be called an opportunist, fraud, Murderer. Officials of the current regime in Iran are the followers of the same doctrine that Mohammad had set forth before them. They know what Mohammad has done and are doing the same exact thing that he did, with respect to economical, social and cultural issues. Just look at the situation in Iran.

Back in Mohammad’s time people were extremely gullible. Arabs before invent of Islam were peaceful people. They had different views and values which were not far from the rest of the world. With invent of Islam is when they became hostile and attacked all their neighbors including Iran. Islam had to be from the same God that brought Judaism and Christianity. The reason is simple; Mohammad wanted to create his own system of control and power. What better way than just use a system already in place and just input his version of what God has stated. It also silenced all the critics who believed in the other two religions. If the Jews and Christians attacked Mohammad’s belief Islam, they in turn were going to invalidate their own invented belief. In other words, if Mohammad is fraud and is not a messenger of God, so is their messenger. This is why Quran contains no revelation and nothing new. It contains the same information that is now proven to be incorrect and deceivingly erroneous.

1400 years later people are still gullible. They blindly follow Islam not allowing the facts to be stated. This is true with all other religions similar to Islam. They will not allow criticism and any other information to surface besides what they want people to know. The reason is simple; any half witted person with even little intelligence can read and understand the actions of these people. Looking at Iran today clearly explains what Islam is about and how Moslems behave towards each other and towards others.

Here is a simple question that is worth asking. Why is Islam, Christianity or Judaism even necessary? Even Atheists go through life being happy and successful and when they die, who knows? I believe that anyone who believes in any religion has closed the door to the reality. Christians have some of the craziest believes. Being saved, born again, forgiven by imaginary beings is some of them.

Lastly, is Mohammad a great figure through out our history? The answer is definitely “NO”. The reason is simple, self satisfaction, self promotion and self justification. What does any Moslem benefit from following Islam? Does Islam teach them how to deal with personal, social and economic issues? If yes, then why is Iran an Islamic state run by Islamic clerics who are at the head of this religion, in this horrible situation?

I can’t explain or even come close to specify what God is. I can definitely say with certainty what God is not. God can not be what or how all these religions have portrayed to be. Our creator is not any kind of being that would Create, Love, Guide and then similar to what humans believe to what should happen to the sinner or guilty, he would sentence his beloved creation to hell. Religious God is a fantasy created to control the blindly submitted people.

True religion never binds anything or anyone and when some one decides to choose a different belief, sentence them to death. True religion welcomes criticism, to create stronger validity to its cause. True religion treats all creations with kindness, not with punishment. True religion never behaves like our creator to control people. Our creator is much smarter to send a book like Tanakh , Bible or Quran which were created by human imagination. Our creator never asks from its creation for anything.

Anyone who thinks that my information is incorrect should then doubt his/her own. After all this information is from one human being to other, which is exactly same as what Moses, Jesus and Muhammad’s information.


Moderate Muslims against Khamenism or Khomeinism?

by buydvd (not verified) on

If Moderate muslims truly care about their religion, if they really want to salvage the good name of their religion; if they are appalled by being represented by the Islamic Republic, then why not speak up in the name of your relgion?

Why not demand anyone who exploits your religion for political and economic gains to stop? Why not expose those who continue to portray your religion as a vile and barbaric ideology to the world?

How about Moderate Muslims Against Khomeinism or Khamenism?

Can someone build a website for them?

Anonymous Observer

Samsam Jaan

by Anonymous Observer on

I know...confused me too.  Talk about being non responsive...

Persia is Eternal.

Bijan A M


by Bijan A M on

Thank you for your relevant response and thank you for not taking my comment as personal insult like some other readers did. On many issues I always find myself  disagreeing with you, but I have always respected you as a very intelligent and knowledgeable person and have envied your eloquent and clear writing style.


I think we are getting into semantics in this discussion. You may call it cartoonish stereotype, but when a country is named ISLAMIC republic after a riot by Khomeini, or when you see day-in and day-out the violence perpetrated by those who call themselves Muslims. When you see Taliban’s philosophy, when you see beheading in front of camera….you can’t call all these, propaganda. OK, call it fundamentalist Islam to separate those from tolerant, peace loving Muslims. I can’t make any statement about whether they are majority or minority, but I know that I have lived my entire life with those who have been born to muslim families, but they call themselves spiritual. They believe in the same tolerance and goodness of human nature that you refer to. The love of my life is one of those. I made no reference to those people in my note. And for sure I never intended to promote any other religion.


Without diverting to a whole new debate, I think we should forcefully (by pen or otherwise) oppose the conduct of the IRI and their supporters (anywhere around the world) and never use Islam as a mean to soften our position.


Best regards,





by Anonymous misha (not verified) on

Iranian-Islamic heritage is an oxymoron. One cannot be proud of both good (iranian) and evil (islamic) heritage!

Islam ran over iran, converted iranians to worshiping of the devil by the force of sword and ruined iran. And destroyed iran for a second time in 1979.

I suppose the commenter means that he is proud of his arab-Islamic heritage!

That is why Educated islamists are most dangerous for the future of iran. After all, they were the ones (likes of Doctor Yazdi, the executioner for islam) who sold iran to a mulla of arab-indian descent at a cheap price and sacrificed iranians for islam and arab culture.

Folks, our country is occupied by arab worshipers, we need to de-root them and get our iranian identity back. It is a great insult to iranian culture to put sacred iranianism next to barbarian islamism.

Why can't islam stand on its foot and be something on its own. It always has to stick to iran like a leech to make something out of its disgraced existence.

Khomeini was the real face of islam, like it or not!


Mammad your discussion on Islam is excellent!

by Ari (not verified) on

Dear Mammad:

I have enjoyed reading your comments they demonstrate your in depth knowledge of Islam and its teachings.


p.s. Shadooneh I also wish many people had your grandmother as their teacher in order that they may learn about the true teachings of Islam.


Haji Forked tongue

by Fred on

Nuke loving Islamist who when it comes to the opposition to the Islamist republic along with the rest of the Islamist republic lobby consistently bemoans any foreign support says:

“Therefore, it is in world's interest to support moderate Muslims and moderate Islamic groups, helping them to evolve, so that they become the representative for a great religion, not an extremely tiny minority, like bin Laden's group, or the Wahaabi or Salafi group.”

Dr. Nuke counting his Islamist faction as Islamic and moderate at that and not mentioning his Islamist republic gang in his “tiny minority” list is very telling.



by Ajam (not verified) on

Dear Arash, I believe you meant ANGEL of death! However, my reaction was more of a curious nature. I mean, if it was suposed to be funny, I failed to get the punch line. And if it was a diatribe, then why wrapped in a lousy joke format?!
I remember before 9/11 there were Islamists of Pakistani/Arab origin who posted threatening comments on Iranian forums that discussed Islam or anything related to Islam and Mohammed (for there aren't very many of their own compatriots engaging in such discussions).
Nowadays, these Islamists pop up under different disguises just to dismiss such discussions by targetting the so-called inferiority complexes they believe we are afraid to be associated with.
Or, may be I'm reading to much into this, but then again, every once in a while you just stop and take a swat at the fruit fly wheezing in youre face!!!



by Mammad on

As always, you are kind. I am grateful.



Bijan A. M.

by Mammad on

Perhaps, you know something that I do not know!

But, more seriously, I am a practicing Shi'ite Muslim. I am proud of my Iranian-Islamic heritage. The religion that I believe in is a religion of tolerance and peace. I have no problem whatsoever with the followers of any other religion.

Although I have no way of proving it, I believe that the vast majority of Muslims are people like me, not like the cartoonish stereotype that many people have made of a Muslim.

Islam, like any other religion, has many interpretations. The present Pope is very conservative, and the last Pope was strongly anti-communist, but the Catholic church of Latin America - the liberation theology - was a leading leftist voice against right-wing, God-clinging military dictatorships there. It was the leading ally of the poor, the exploited, and the oppressed. But, it is still called the Catholic church.

And, I sincerely meant my last post to you. 



VBali Faghih

by Mammad on

You have made a completely valid point. Although I absolutely positively meant no disrespect, and was only pointing out what the followers of other religions do, my use of "absurd" was totally inappropriate. For that, I sincerely apologize.



allow me to confuse you more (to Bijan A M)

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

I bet you will find much more in common between Muslim Mammad and Jewish Jorge Soros than between Jewish Benny Morris and Jewish Soros. ..... if I want to follow your logic I should conclude that one of the most descent humanists I know couldn't be Jewish because that #$&%$* Benny Morris is Jewish!?
As far as I am concerned Mammad and Soros are both humanists and then anything else or nothing else!


Bijan, Tom Wolfe, the author of the Bonfire of Vanity once said,

by Shadooneh (not verified) on

that you learn decency from your grandmother. I learned Eslam from my grandmother who was very religious, but her take on Eslam was very simple. She believed the duty of a Moslem was to feed the poor and take extra care not to hurt anyone. Her moto was, aval yek soozan be khodet bezan, baad yek javaaldouz be mardom, which literary means stick a needle in yourself before sticking a big one into others - if you know what I mean. I am so sorry for you who thinks Khomeini, sineh zani, zangir zani, alam o kotal, and stoning in public (am I to assume you wouldn't object if it happened in private?!) make up "true" Eslam. The stuff you are referring to is nothing but garbage and Khomeini was a garbageman who managed to put that stuff in the heads of likes of you and succeeded in blinding you see the good side of Eslam. I wish you'd have the privilege of having a grandmother like mine to provide you with an alternative to Khomeini's Eslam. But unfortunately you are just another victim of Khomein's despotism because he and his legacy have blinded you to the humane grandmotherly side of Eslam. Dude, I rally pity you.


The Author & Anonymous Observer

by samsam1111 on

Anonymous asks about & challenges the author on the validity of this paragraph;

""Whether we like it or not, Mohammad has been behind the taming of the masses of barbarians in the Middle East and the establishment of one of the two truly monotheistic and non-racial religions of the world""

The author being the younger version of Imami Kashani (the incoherent senile Imam jomeh Tehran), either pretend not to understand the question , or does get it,  yet , invent his own question & then reply to it , like this.

""Of course Mohammad did not 'unite' the two existing civilizations in the Middle East (Roman and Persian), but defeated them. As described time and again in previous blogs, that is an example of barbarians (Arab Tribes) defeating defunct civilizations."" 

Anonymous Observer ! aren,t You sorry , You asked? ...Good luck with ur next question...