Sunni and Shi’i are the two largest branches of Islam, with the overwhelming majority of Iranians practicing Shi’i Islam. About 90 percent of Iranians practice Shi’ism, the official religion of Iran. [i] By contrast, most Arab states in the Middle East are predominantly Sunni.
- 1 Is Iran Sunni or Shia?
- 2 What sect of Islam is Saudi Arabia?
- 3 Was Iran a Sunni?
- 4 What are the 3 sects of Islam?
- 5 Are Persians Arabs?
- 6 Is Tajikistan a secular country?
- 7 Is Turkey Sunni or Shia?
- 8 What was Muhammad’s revelations?
- 9 Why Is Arabia called the cradle of Islam?
- 10 Can you practice Christianity in Iran?
- 11 Who converted Iran to Shia?
- 12 What are the 5 branches of Islam?
- 13 What is the dominant branch of Islam in Iran?
- 14 Iran – Religion
- 15 Shiʿism
- 16 Religious minorities
- 17 Islam’s Sunni-Shia Divide, Explained
- 18 The Aftermath of Muhammad’s Death
- 19 Battle of Karbala and Its Lasting Significance
- 20 The Sunni-Shia Divide Into the 21st Century
- 21 Myth vs. Fact: Iran’s Sunni Muslims — American Iranian Council
- 22 Iranian Culture
- 23 Iran’s secular shift: new survey reveals huge changes in religious beliefs
- 24 Reaching Iranians online
- 25 A secular and diverse Iran
- 26 Religion and legislation
- 27 Sunnis in Iran: An Alternate View
- 28 ‘Bleak’ Future Seen for Iran’s Sunnis as Minority Cleric’s Detention Drags to 6 Months
- 29 Removal of the heart: how Islam became a matter of state in Iran
Is Iran Sunni or Shia?
Sunnis are a majority in almost all Muslim communities around the world. Shia make up the majority of the citizen population in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan, as well as being a small minority in Pakistan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Chad and Kuwait.
What sect of Islam is Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam, and most of its natives are adherents of the majority Sunni branch. In modern times, the Wahhābī interpretation of Sunni Islam has been especially influential, and Muslim scholars espousing that sect’s views have been a major social and political force.
Was Iran a Sunni?
Due to their history being almost fully intertwined, Iran as well as Azerbaijan are both discussed here. Iran and Azerbaijan were predominantly Sunni until the 16th century. Changes in the religious make-up of nowadays both nations changed drastically from that time and on.
What are the 3 sects of Islam?
Muslims Adhere to Different Islamic Sects
- Sunni Muslims include 84%–90% of all Muslims.
- Shi`ite Muslims comprise 10%–16% of all Muslims.
- Sufis are Islamic mystics.
- Baha’is and Ahmadiyyas are 19th-century offshoots of Shi`ite and Sunni Islam, respectively.
Are Persians Arabs?
One of the most common is the conflation of Middle Eastern ethnic groups. Many people continue to believe that “Persian” and “Arab” are interchangeable terms, when, in reality, they are labels for two distinct ethnicities. That is to say, Persians are not Arabs.
Is Tajikistan a secular country?
Tajikistan is a secular country, but the post-Soviet era has seen a marked increase in religious practice in the country. The majority of Tajikistan’s Muslims adhere to the Sunni branch of Islam, and a smaller group belongs to the Shia branch of Islam.
Is Turkey Sunni or Shia?
Religious statistics Most Muslims in Turkey are Sunnis forming about 80.5%, and Shia-Aleviler (Alevis, Ja’faris, Alawites) denominations in total form about 16.5% of the Muslim population. Among Shia Muslim presence in Turkey there is a small but considerable minority of Muslims with Ismaili heritage and affiliation.
What was Muhammad’s revelations?
Muhammad first received revelations in 609 CE in a cave on Mount Hira, near Mecca. Muslims regard the Quran as the most important miracle of Muhammad, the proof of his prophethood, and the culmination of a series of divine messages revealed by the angel Gabriel from 609–632 CE.
Why Is Arabia called the cradle of Islam?
The kingdom is called the “home of Islam” due to Islam being founded in modern day Saudi Arabia as well as it is the birthplace of Islamic Prophet Muhammad and all territories of Saudi Arabia and Arabian Peninsula being United and ruled by Prophet Muhammad, It is the location of the cities of Mecca and Medina, where
Can you practice Christianity in Iran?
Freedom of religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) is marked by Iranian culture, major religion and politics. The Constitution of Iran stipulates that Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians are the only recognized religious minorities.
Who converted Iran to Shia?
Abbas I of Persia Abbas hated the Sunnis, and forced the population to accept Twelver Shiism. Thus by 1602 most of the formerly Sunnis of Iran had accepted Shiism.
What are the 5 branches of Islam?
Followers of the faith recorded these revelations in the Qur’an. As with all other world religions, Islam is represented by several major branches: Sunni, Shi’a, Ibadi, Ahmadiyya, and Sufism. These branches started to develop after Muhammad’s death when people began to disagree on the successor of the religion.
What is the dominant branch of Islam in Iran?
Sunni and Shi’i are the two largest branches of Islam, with the overwhelming majority of Iranians practicing Shi’i Islam. About 90 percent of Iranians practice Shi’ism, the official religion of Iran. [i] By contrast, most Arab states in the Middle East are predominantly Sunni.
Iran – Religion
The Situation in Which the Wife Is Dissatisfied with Her Husband Dr. Ahmad Shafaat contributed to this report (1984) In the Qur’an 4:34 (Surah Nisa, ayah 4) the Prophet Muhammad provides some advise on how to cope with marriage troubles when men believe that their wives are beingdeliberately unpleasant to him. The Holy Qur’an also provides instruction in circumstances where the woman believes that she is being mistreated and is dissatisfied with her husband’s behavior. In this context, it is essential that all Muslims understand that the Holy Qur’an categorically forbids the forced marriage of women against their choice, and that this understanding must be shared by everyone.
women) into marriage against their choice in order to cause them emotional distress.
Also, do not dismiss God’s signs as mere coincidences or coincidences.” Verse 19 of Surah an-Nisa says, “And in Surah an-Nisa we read: “Those of you who have reached faith, salute you.
According to some cultural traditions, particularly some sections of the Muslim world, women are occasionally forced by their family into marrying men of the relatives’ choosing or beaten to remain in a marriage bond.
It is true, as we have shown in another article, that husbands can lightly beat their wives when they engage in protracted and intentionally unpleasant behavior, but such beating can only be carried out when both the husband and the wife are committed to remaining in the marriage.
Keeping women in marriage against their choice is not often accomplished by physical force.
The Book of God, in Surah an-Nisa, fights against social and economic pressures such as: “If a woman is concerned about her husband’s ill-treatment (mushuz) or indifference (i’radh), it is not wrong if the two of them work together to put things right in a peaceful manner; after all, peace is the best policy, and selfishness is a trait that exists in all human beings.
Because God is both resourceful and knowledgeable, if the two separate, God will provide for everyone from His wealth.” (4:128-130) In many cultures, including the Muslimculture, it is considered forbidden for a woman, particularly if she is of “noble” (sharif) lineage, to voice dissatisfaction with her marriage and to attempt to rectify the situation (except in casesof extreme cruelty on the part of the husband).
It is this sort of thinking that contributes to the societal pressure that is utilized to keep women subjugated in society.
does not show her enough affection or mistreats her, and she is therefore unhappy, there is nothing wrong with her taking efforts to rectify the problem.
Specifically, the view that women should remain in their marriage bonds as long as their husbands do is being challenged in the text above.
Obviously, the first step that a woman should take in order to modify her marriage situation if she is dissatisfied with it is to sit down with her spouse and “talk it over.” There are two possible outcomes from this: a deeper understanding between the two that results in a satisfying shift in the husband’s attitude, or a mutual agreement to break the marital bond (with the woman perhaps repaying some of the dowry (2:229)).
- The words of the poet brilliantly promote such a peaceful resolution of disagreements “When it comes to human souls, peace wins out, and selfishness is always present.
- Our selfishness must be balanced with a sense of God’s presence and care for others, which is what we should strive towards.
- It is in this spirit that the husband and wife should talk about their marital troubles with one another.
- For example, if the husband is not willing to discuss matters in this manner and continues to abuse thewife, she can take the matter to an Islamiccourt, which must then enforce a fair settlement onto him.
- As stated in the Holy Qur’an, a wife’s desire to seek a change in her marriage arrangement if she believes her husband mistreats or ignores her should be considered socially acceptable by the community.
- The Koran expresses concern about such a situation.
- Please allow the woman and her family to place their confidence in God, who is the true giver of all things.
- The spouse is also intended to be reminded that God is the ultimate provider.
- Out of His unlimited fullness, God, who supplied him with all he needed to spend on his wife, may bless him with even more in the future.
If you (i.e., husbands) part, it is simply stated in the latter case, but it is stated in the preceding line, “If a lady fearsnushuzori’radhon her husbands part.” A notable difference between a husband and a woman is the inclusion of the word i’radh, which means turning away or growing uninterested.
There is another distinction between the two situations in that when the husband is afraid ofnushuzon on the part of the wife, he can separate the wife from the husband in bed and lightly beat her, whereas when the wife is afraid ofnushuzori’drah from the husband, such measures are not suggested to the wife.
As an alternative, because women are often physically weaker than males, the Qur’an acknowledges that it would be impossible for them to carry out such actions against their husbands as is customary in Islamic society.
However, this does not imply that Islam abandons women to the whims of their husbands or other male figures.
The promise of the return of the divinely inspired 12th imam— Muhammad al-Mahdi al-Ujjah, whom the Shi’ah believe to be the Mahdi—as well as the worship of his murdered forefathers are the two pillars of Iranian Shi’ism. It is possible that the lack of the imam contributed indirectly to the formation in contemporary Iran of a powerful Shi’i clergy, whose desire for prestige, particularly in the twentieth century, resulted in a profusion of titles and honorifics that were unique in the Islamic world.
Islam does not recognize the notion of ordination.
In such an institution, Islamic jurisprudence (Arabicfiqh) is the primary subject of study; however, a student does not need to complete his or her madrasah studies in order to become an afaqh, or jurist.
To progress to the position of mullah, one just has to achieve a degree of scholastic competence that is acknowledged by other members of the clergy.
Aspirants to the higher status of mujtahid (Arabicijtihd), a scholar competent to practice independent reasoning in legal judgment, must first graduate from a recognized madrasah and gain the general recognition of his or her peers, and then, most importantly, gain a significant following among the Shiah (Muslim community).
In the end, only a few clerics are acknowledged as mujtahids, and some are even honored by the termayatollah (Arabic: yat Allah, meaning “sign of God”).
As a result, these honorifics are not bestowed onto individuals, but rather are achieved by scholars via widespread agreement and public appeal.
This has elevated the influence of the ulama in Iran, and it has also enlarged their position as intercessors with the divine in a degree that has not been seen in either Sunni Islam or previous Shiism before.
Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians are the three most important religious minorities in the United States of America. Christians are the most numerous of them, with Orthodox Armenians representing the majority of the population. A few converts from other ethnic groups have joined the Assyrians in their faith. They are Nestorian, Protestant, and Roman Catholic. Yazdin, in central Iran, Kermn, in the southeast, and Teheran are the main centers for Zoroastrian communities. Religious toleration, which had been one of Iran’s distinguishing traits during the Pahlavi regime, came to an end with the Islamic revolution of 1979.
Members of the Bahá’ faith – an Iranian religion that originated in Persia — were among those who suffered the most severe repression.
Islam’s Sunni-Shia Divide, Explained
Despite the fact that the two largest factions within Islam, Sunni and Shia, agree on the majority of Islam’s essential principles and practices, a severe division exists between the two that dates back more than 14 centuries. In the beginning, there was a disagreement about who should follow the Prophet Muhammad as head of the Islamic faith that was introduced by the Prophet Muhammad. According to a recent estimate by the Council on Foreign Relations, around 85 percent of the approximately 1.6 billion Muslims across the world are Sunni, with only 15 percent belonging to the Shia faith.
Despite their differences, Sunni and Shia Muslims have coexisted in relative peace for the most of history, despite their disagreements.
The Aftermath of Muhammad’s Death
The origins of the Sunni-Shia division may be traced all the way back to the seventh century, just after the death of the prophet Muhammad in A.D. 632, when the two groups first met. While the majority of Muhammad’s supporters felt that his successor should be chosen by the other prominent members of the Islamic community, a tiny fraction believed that only someone from Muhammad’s family—specifically, his cousin and son-in-law, Ali—should be chosen to replace him. This group became known as Ali’s followers, or in Arabic, the Shiat Ali, or just Shia, as a result of their religious beliefs.
Ali finally rose to become the fourth caliph (or Imam, as Shiites refer to their religious leaders), but only after the two caliphs who came before him were both slain.
Not only was the control of Muhammad’s religious and political heritage at danger, but also a substantial sum of money in the form of taxes and tributes collected from the different tribes that had gathered under the banner of Islam, which was at stake as well.
Within a century after Muhammad’s death, his followers had established an empire that spanned from Central Asia all the way down to southern Europe. The Battle of Karbala. Fine Art Photographs/Heritage Photographs/Getty Images
Battle of Karbala and Its Lasting Significance
A group of 72 followers and family members marched from Mecca to Karbala (present-day Iraq) in 681 to face the corrupt caliph Yazid of the Ummayad dynasty, who was ruling the country at the time. Upon their arrival, a vast Sunni army awaited them, and at the conclusion of a ten-day standoff that included several minor battles, Hussein had been murdered and beheaded, and his head had been sent to Damascus as a tribute to the Sunni caliph. Hussein’s death, as well as the deaths of all surviving members of Muhammad’s family, at Karbala was “clearly intended by the Ummayads to put an end to all claims to leadership of the ummah based on direct descent from Muhammad,” writes Hazleton of the Ummayads’ intention to put an end to all claims to leadership based on direct descent from Muhammad.
He was killed in Karbala, and his martyrdom at Karbala became the primary tale of Shia tradition, and it is honored every year on the Shia calendar on Ashoura, which is the most serious day.
The Sunni-Shia Divide Into the 21st Century
A party of 72 followers and family members marched from Mecca to Karbala (present-day Iraq) in 681 to fight the corrupt caliph Yazid of the Ummayad dynasty, which Ali’s son led to victory. He was slain and beheaded by a vast Sunni army waiting for them at the end of a 10-day stalemate that included several minor battles. His head was then sent to Damascus as a gift to the Sunni caliph. Hussein’s death, as well as the deaths of all surviving members of Muhammad’s family, at Karbala was “clearly intended by the Ummayads to put an end to all claims to leadership of the ummah based on direct descent from Muhammad,” writes Hazleton of the Ummayads’ intention to put an end to all claims to leadership based on direct descendence from Muhammad.
Ashoura is the most somber day in the Shia calendar, and it commemorates Hussein’s martyrdom at Karbala, which has instead become the core tale of Shia tradition.
Myth vs. Fact: Iran’s Sunni Muslims — American Iranian Council
Research Fellow Andrew Lumsden contributed to this article. MYTH: (1)Islam in Iran is the same as Islam in any other Muslim country, excluding minor differences. (2)In Iran, only non-Muslims are subjected to religious persecution. FACT: The Shi’a majority in Iran is in control of the country, despite the fact that Sunnis constitute an overwhelming majority (85 percent to 90 percent) of the Muslim population worldwide. According to government figures, Sunnis constitute between 7 percent and 10 percent of Iran’s total population, depending on the source.
- Sunnis in Iran have long been subjected to state-sponsored suppression of their religion, as well as social and economic discrimination, dating back centuries.
- The Sunni-Shi’a Religious Divide Since the death of Muhammad in 632, there has been a split between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims.
- Others, on the other hand, maintained that Ali, Muhammad’s cousin, was the legitimate heir.
- Following the killings of Ali in 661 and his son in 680, the political gap evolved into a spiritual one over time.
- Muslims, on the other hand, depended on the Sunnah, a body of literature chronicling Muhammad’s behavior, traditions, and legal decisions, as their guidance to Islamic life, hence the term Sunni Islam was created.
- Their spiritual and cultural leadership, as opposed to that of the Sunnah, is likewise derived from their ayatollahs.
- Approximately 40% of Sunni Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a Pew Research study conducted in 2012, do not believe Shi’a Muslims are authentically Muslim.
- The rise of a Shi’a Iran is a reality.
- Since the Arab invasions of Iran in 637, the country has been governed mostly by Sunni, non-Persian kings.
- Ismail, a Shi’azealot, announced Shi’a Islam to be Iran’s new national religion, a move that drew widespread condemnation.
These immigrant Shi’a Arabs were then appointed to important positions in the imperial administration, including judges, educators, prayer leaders, and government ministers, in which they would teach and promote the Shi’a faith while leading congregations in condemnation of Caliph Abu-Bakr and other historical Sunni caliphs, as well as in adoration of Ali and the Prophet Muhammad.
- In addition to being destroyed or repurposed, Sunni practitioners have faced execution, exile, forced conversions, extortion, harassment, and intimidation as a result of the persecution they have suffered.
- Although the Safavids attempted to suppress Sunni Muslims in Iran, they were able to maintain a significant presence in the nation, albeit mostly in rural regions and among some of the country’s minority ethnic groups.
- Furthermore, according to experts, isolated, rural populations, such as those of numerous non-Persian ethnic groups in Iran, were already outside the reach of the Safavid administration and hence were able to maintain their Sunni religious beliefs during this time period.
- West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan and Kermanshah (known collectively as Iranian Kurdistan), Golestan and North Khorasan (known collectively as Turkmen Sahra), and Sistan-Balochistan are among the provinces that fall within this category.
Anti-Sunni Discrimination in Iranian Politics in the Modern Era Even though Iran’s contemporary constitution recognizes Shi’a Islam as the official state religion, Article 12 of the document demands that other schools of Islam be accorded “full respect” and “official recognition.” Despite this, Iranian Sunnis are prohibited from participating in many important sectors of Iranian politics, both by law and by practice.
In accordance with Iranian law, Sunni Iranians are barred from assuming the post of President, which requires that the person of that office possess “convinced conviction” in the official religion (Shi’a Islam), according to the Constitution.
The appointment of Sunnis as government ministers in Iran after the 1979 revolution has never taken place; similarly, no Sunnis have ever been chosen to serve as provincial governors or municipal mayors, even in areas with considerable Sunni populations.
Former officials, including Sunni members of Parliament Hasel Daseh and Jalal Jalalizadeh, as well as Ali Younesi, a former Intelligence Minister and advisor to the Rouhani administration, have stated that the exclusion of Sunnis from government is the result of pressure from hardline Shi’a religious authorities on willing administrations, according to former officials.
- In public statements, both Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have called for an end to discrimination against Sunnis and other minorities in the country.
- Expression of Religious Beliefs Despite the fact that their religion is recognized by the constitution, Iran’s Sunnis continue to confront significant and pervasive restrictions on their ability to exercise freely.
- Furthermore, the Sunni population in Tehran has been denied the right to erect an official mosque by the Iranian authorities.
- The government have destroyed certain Sunni mosques in Sistan-Balochistan, Mashhad, and potentially other regions of the nation, despite the fact that Sunni mosques exist in other parts of the country.
- Since 2005, human rights groups have documented hundreds of instances of police raids on both public and private Sunni meetings, as well as beatings and detention of worshipers, according to their research.
Specific Sunni religious leaders have also come under the scrutiny of Iranian intelligence officials, most notably Molavi Abdulhamid, leader of the Sunni community in the city of Zahedan in Sistan-Balochistan and Iran’s most prominent Sunni cleric, who has been targeted by the Iranian government.
Even while going to different towns inside Iran, such as for funerals, he has encountered difficulty, according to him.
The authorities’ limitations on Abdulhamid and other Sunni leaders, despite the fact that they haven’t said anything about it, might be a reflection of their worry that they would, either amongst themselves or in combination with Sunnis in other countries, represent a threat to Iran’s security.
Gozinesh, the government’s employee candidate screening process, frequently prevents them from obtaining gainful employment.
As a result, Sunnis and other non-Shi’as are at a distinct disadvantage when seeking employment with the government.
Sunni-majority provinces such as Kurdistan and Sistan-Balochistan have higher unemployment rates than the rest of Iran, and a 2018 report from the Iranian Parliament’s Research Center found that nearly 40 percent of the population in Sistan-Balochistan and Hormuzgan, another province with a sizable Sunni population, lives in extreme poverty (defined by the World Bank as living on less than US$1.90 per day).
- While Iran’s constitution requires that all provinces be treated equally by the state, places with a majority or significant Sunni populations, such as Sistan-Balochistan and Iranian Kurdistan, have endured decades of economic and infrastructure neglect on the part of the Iranian government.
- More than 20 million WWII landmines remain in the region, and the authorities have failed to clear them completely, resulting in an estimated 2.4 million hectares of potentially profitable farmland being inaccessible to the local population.
- As a result, the majority of government expenditures designated for economic growth in Sistan-Balochistan are diverted to security and law enforcement, leaving the region’s quality of life and chances for personal improvement severely depleted.
- Justice in the Criminal Courts Many Iranian Sunnis are subjected to abuses in the criminal justice system, which are prompted and exacerbated by their religious and ethnic identities, as well as other aspects of Iranian society.
- A study conducted by the human rights advocacy group United for Iran found that Sunnis constitute at least 38% of Iranians presently imprisoned on political charges, a larger proportion than any other religious minority.
- They have also reported being subjected to routine torture and beatings in detention by Shia guards, as well as unfair court proceedings in which they were denied access to counsel.
- According to the advocacy organization Iran Human Rights (IHR), more than 120 detainees were killed in Sistan-Balochistan and the Kurdish areas in 2017.
Department of State claimed that at least 20 of these killings were for vague, political accusations such as moharebeh, the causes for the other more than 100 executions remain a mystery since they were not reported to authorities.
This has occurred since June 2017, when terrorists linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacked Iran’s Parliament building and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic’s founder, killing 12 people and wounding 46 others.
According to reports, the Council of Sunni Theologians of Iran (CSTI), which represents Sunni clerics in Northwestern Iran, was forced to cease its meetings and operations in 2017 due to pressure from the Ministry of Intelligence.
Despite the fact that Iranian Sunni community leaders have been quick to reject extremism, terror analysts have underlined that organisations such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, and its smaller branches have been actively seeking to influence and attract disillusioned Iranian Sunnis in recent months.
In 2017, the Islamic State launched an attack on Tehran, demonstrating that they have already achieved some level of success, since it was determined that five of the assailants were Iranian Kurds.
Jaish al-Adl has already carried out dozens of bombings, ambushes, and kidnappings of Iranian troops, police officers, and border guards, according to reports.
Iran’s Sunni community is poised to provide Sunni militant groups operating both inside and outside of Iran with a significant pool of potential recruits and supporters as a result of continued disenfranchisement, entrenched poverty, lack of opportunity, and disaffection among the community’s members.
Iran’s population is projected to be 99.4 percent Muslim (as of July 2016), with the vast majority of Shi’a (also known as Shi’ite) Muslims being the majority of the population. 1 Iran is the only Muslim country that has officially declared itself to be Shi’ite. Sunni Muslims are a small minority of the population, accounting for around 5-10 percent of the total. There are several distinct sects of Islam under the Shi’a branch of Islam. The Twelver Shi’a are the most numerous; nevertheless, some Iranians identify as Ismaili Shi’a Muslims as well.
- Iran has a long history of embracing a more contemporary interpretation of Islam.
- Despite the fact that the great majority held a strong religious belief, it was not necessary to outwardly demonstrate it, and people were not necessarily criticized for their liberal tendencies.
- Since the creation of the Islamic Republic, the nature of society has all but vanished from the scene.
- Many policies impose restrictions on residents’ behavior, forcing them to adhere to orthodox readings of the Qur’an and other religious texts.
- The ultimate decision-making authority over the democratically elected government system is held by a council of religious leaders, and all members of the court must be Shi’a Muslims.
- Religious observance (such as at mosques) is extremely low, according to data from the World Values Survey, with barely 2 percent of the population attending Friday congregational prayers, according to the survey’s findings.
- In a nutshell, the majority of Iranians believe in Allah (God) and adhere to the teachings of Islam.
Some members of the new generation adhere to more Western philosophical schools of thought and/or practices, but they seldom make this information public.
2 In order to express their religious affiliation, an Iranian who is committed to the dominating position of Islam in politics and society may grow their beard fairly long, or they may participate in volunteer public service with the mosques.
Islamic theologians are frequently seen as possessing the moral high ground as well as skill in decision-making situations.
Religions other than Christianity It is stated in the constitution that non-Muslims should be treated in line with “ethical standards, as well as the principles of Islamic justice and equality,” while their human rights are respected.
There are 5 parliamentary seats allotted for these minority in the current legislative body.
They must typically use extreme caution when promoting their religious beliefs because the governmental authority of Islam has severely curtailed religious freedom.
Many members of religious minorities have been subjected to persecution, intimidation, and harassment as a result of their beliefs; they are frequently required to provide the government with the names of the members of their congregations.
It is believed to have developed in Iran less than 200 years ago, although it is not considered to be a branch of Islam.
It holds that all faiths are subordinate to the same divine source and that all messengers from God (e.g., Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus, Muhammad, and Baha’u’lalh) are descended from the same supreme being.
Many people believe that it is their religious obligation to urge others to join their religion, as well as to be compassionate and well-wishers for those who are suffering.
Some extremist Muslims think that Bahá’s are morally soiled and that coming into contact with them will contaminate you.
Bahá’s have, as a result, faced a great deal of hostility and have even been the target of persecution in some instances.
In the 1980s, the Bahá’ community in Australia was granted access to a humanitarian assistance program.
Almost half of Australia’s Bahá’s were born in Iran, according to official figures.
Surprisingly, 27.8 percent of Iranians in Australia answered that they did not practice any religion and did not identify with any religious group.
Indeed, religious disaffiliation is a common reason for people to migrate. 1 Central Intelligence Agency, 2017 2 Tezcur, AzadarmakiBahar, 2006 3 Central Intelligence Agency, 2017
Iran’s secular shift: new survey reveals huge changes in religious beliefs
Iran’s Islamic revolution of 1979 was a watershed moment in world history, forever altering our understanding of the link between religion and modernity. The great mobilization of Islam under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini demonstrated that modernization does not imply a linear trend of religious decline. Large-scale reliable data on Iranians’ post-revolutionary religious views, on the other hand, has always been difficult to come by. Over the years, studies as well as waves of protests and crackdowns have revealed widespread dissatisfaction with Iran’s political system among the Iranian people.
In June 2020, our research institute, the Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in Iran (GAMAAN), conducted an online survey with the assistance of Ladan Boroumand, co-founder of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran, with the help of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran.
Reaching Iranians online
Despite Iran’s official population count claiming that 99.5 percent of the country’s population is Muslim, this statistic masks the government’s deliberate animosity toward irreligiosity, conversion, and unrecognized religious minorities. Iranians live in constant dread of retaliation if they speak out against the government or against the regime. In Iran, it is not possible to simply phone individuals or knock on their doors in order to obtain answers to politically sensitive inquiries. The anonymity of internet polls, on the other hand, provides a chance to learn more about what Iranians truly believe about religion.
Iran has internet penetration levels equivalent to those of Italy, with around 60 million users, and the number is growing at a rapid pace: 70 percent of Iranians are members of at least one social media site, according to the World Bank.
Kurdish, Arab, Sufi, and other networks all shared the survey link, which was also shared on Facebook.
We reached a large number of people by distributing the poll on Instagram pages and Telegram channels, some of which had several million followers, and other social media platforms.
It was determined that the sample was weighted and balanced in relation to the target population of literate Iranians aged over 19, based on five demographic factors and voting behavior in the 2017 presidential elections.
A secular and diverse Iran
Our findings demonstrate major shifts in Iranian religiosity, as well as a surge in secularisation and a greater range of religious and philosophical viewpoints. In contrast to Iran’s 99.5 percent census statistic, we discovered that just 40 percent of the population identified as Muslim. In contrast to state propaganda portraying Iran as a Shia nation, just 32 percent of respondents openly identified as such, while 5 percent identified as Sunni Muslim and 3 percent identified as Sufi Muslim, respectively.
- Eight percent identified as Zoroastrians, which we read as a reflection of Persian nationalism and the need for an alternative to Islam, rather than rigorous commitment to the Zoroastrian faith, and 1.5 percent identified as Christians.
- A quarter of our respondents expressed belief in jinns or genies, which is consistent with prior anthropological findings.
- In 2020, GAMAAN Religion in Iran will be based on beliefs.
- An overwhelming majority, 90 percent, identified themselves as being from religious households that believe in or practice their religions.
- Compared to older respondents, younger respondents reported higher degrees of irreligiosity as well as greater conversion to Christianity.
- In a country where temperance is strictly enforced, a third of those surveyed admitted to occasionally consuming alcoholic beverages.
- A detailed poll done in 1975, before to the Islamic Revolution, found that more than 80 percent of respondents indicated they always prayed and fasted on a daily basis.
Religion and legislation
We discovered that societal secularisation was also associated with a critical view of the religious governance system: 68 percent agreed that religious prescriptions should be excluded from legislation, even if believers hold a parliamentary majority, and 72 percent opposed the law requiring all women to wear the hijab, an Islamic veil, as part of their religious obligations. GAMAAN Iran’s religion in 2020 will be hijab. Iranians also have illiberal secularist views on religious pluralism, with 43 percent of respondents believing that no religion should be allowed to proselytize in public.
- The Azadi Tower, located in Tehran, was completed in 1971.
- Abedin Taherkenareh for the Environmental Protection Agency of Iran Sociologists learned a valuable lesson from the Islamic Revolution some decades ago: European-style secularization is not generally practiced throughout the world.
- Other studies on population growth, whose reduction has been connected to rising degrees of secularisation, implies that religion is declining in Iran as well.
- During the last 50 years, increased connectivity to the rest of the world through the internet, as well as connections with the Iranian diaspora around the world, has resulted in the formation of new groups and kinds of religious experience within the country.
The disentanglement of political power from religious authority would very certainly intensify these cultural shifts in the near future. Iran as we believe we know it is changing, and it is changing in profound ways.
Sunnis in Iran: An Alternate View
“Iran’s Sunnis Resist Extremism, but for How Long?” she writes in an issue brief for the Atlantic Council titled “Iran’s Sunnis Resist Extremism, but for How Long?” In this video, Scheherezade Faramarzi addresses the present state of affairs for Sunnis in Iran. Faramarzi’s work is noteworthy due to the fact that she conducted fieldwork in Iran; yet, in the opinion of this author, her article contains inaccuracies and misleading information. The Islamic Republic of Iran, in my opinion, has failed to adequately integrate its Sunni majority into the political system, as seen by the denial of higher political posts, such as cabinet ministries, to Sunnis.
In the words of Faramazi, “Sunni Muslims are the country’s largest religious minority, constituting around fifteen million of Iran’s eighty million population.” The Sunni population of Iran, according to Sunni leaders and observers, is anywhere between “12 and 25 percent” of the entire population, she claims.
- A map in the problem brief that highlights Sunni parts of Iran, as well as allegations that Sunnis usually have poorer socio-economic situations than Shias, are also something with which I strongly disagree.
- It is feasible, however, to make educated guesses about the present Sunni population.
- I looked at interviews with Sunni religious leaders that appeared in national and local media and in which they talked about the number of Sunnis in their province or county, respectively.
- Finally, I acquired information from blogs, the majority of which were authored by Sunnis.
- According to my study, the Sunni population of West Azerbaijan constitutes around 40% of the province’s total population, with the majority of them residing in the province’s southern portion.
- Unless they live in Abadan county, where they constitute a very small minority (less than 0.5 percent of the province’s population), all Khuzestan citizens — including Arabs — are Shia.
- Faramarzi further asserts that, with the exception of Minab and Bandar Abbas, practically the whole province of Hormozgan is Sunni.
According to Abdul Baeth Qattali, a Sunni cleric from Hormozgan who is also the Imam (Imam jomeh) of the Sunni Friday prayer in Bandar Abbas, Sunnis form 40% of the province’s population, according to the Sunni cleric.
The Sunni Minority and the Development of the Country Faramarzi thinks that Sunnis have also suffered from economic disadvantages in recent years.
I have arrived to a different conclusion based on statistics from Iran’s Statistical Center and consideration of unemployment rates, public hospital beds, health-care facilities, and literacy rates, among other factors.
While Kermanshah province, which has a population that is roughly 30% Sunni, has the greatest unemployment rate (25.6 percent), Hormozgan province, which has a population that is 40% Sunni, has the lowest unemployment rate (7.3 percent) (7.5 percent).
As a result, unemployment rates in Sunni-majority areas are not significantly higher than in other areas.
According to the first indication, which is shown by a bar graph, the number of health houses (Khaneh Behdashat), which provide medical treatment in rural regions, is represented by one for every 1000 people.
Sistan and Balochistan, a Sunni-majority region, has the lowest number of public hospital beds of any province in Pakistan.
The number of health facilities per 10,000 persons in the two Sunni-majority provinces is greater than the national average.
Selecting four Shia-majority counties and four Sunni-majority counties where at least 80 percent of the population belongs to one of these sects, I looked at the literacy rate, which is a significant indicator of human development.
Sunnis constitute 30% of Kermanshah’s total population, according to official figures.
Shias, on the other hand, make up more than 90 percent of the population in Harsin, Gilane Gharb, Sonqor, and Sahneh counties, respectively.
In reality, counties with a majority of Sunnis had a somewhat higher literacy rate than counties with a majority of Shias.
While the southern half of the province is made up of counties with a plurality of Sunnis, the northern section of the province has a majority of Shias.
As seen in Figure 4, there is no discernible difference between counties with Shia majorities and counties with Sunni majorities in West Azarbaijan.
In the first place, it is true that the Sunni population in Iran has been unable to ascend to higher political positions such as cabinet ministers and governorships, let alone the positions of president and Supreme Leader, despite the fact that a number of Sunnis have been appointed as Bakhshadar (district governor) and Farmandar (county governor) in recent years.
As a matter of fact, the Sunni population is now represented by three members of the Assembly — one from Sistan and Baluchistan and two from Kordestan.
The third point is that, according to my study, the government does not routinely and consciously prefer Shias over Sunnis when it comes to socio-economic decisions.
Peyman Asadzade is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Central Florida, where he lives in Orlando.
‘Bleak’ Future Seen for Iran’s Sunnis as Minority Cleric’s Detention Drags to 6 Months
Iran’s apparent arbitrary incarceration of a prominent Sunni preacher, says an expatriate Iranian rights campaigner, is the latest indicator of a dismal future for the country’s minority Muslim sect in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Last Thursday, while speaking to VOA Persian from London, Abdol Sattar Doshoki stated that Iran’s Sunni cleric Molavi Fazl al-Rahaman Kouhi had been imprisoned for six months in the northeastern city of Mashhad on the orders of a Special Clerical Court, which had ordered his summons and detention back in November of last year.
Located in southern Iran, Kouhi serves as the Friday prayer leader for the town of Pashamagh, which is mostly populated by Sunnis of the Baluchi ethnic group.
Reuters reported in December that anonymous Iranian authorities had stated that over 1,500 people had been killed in the government’s crackdown on protestors.
Iran has termed that amount overblown, but has refused to give its own data for the number of people who died in the conflict.
His statement stated: “As a result of this, the Baluchi clergyman has been arbitrarily jailed without any legal or proper process.” Since many Iranian human rights organizations reported in March and April that Kouhi was still being held in jail, there has been no information on his whereabouts.
Since its inception, Doshoki’s Center for Balochistan Studies has worked to increase awareness of Iranian Shiite prejudice against the Baluchi people in the province of Sistan and Baluchistan in southern Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province.
In April 2017, Kouhi was jailed for one week after issuing a fatwa, or Islamic religious decision, against participating in the Syrian civil war.
According to a source quoted by CHRI, Kouhi was also detained on that occasion but was released without prosecution.
According to the United States State Department’s 2019 report on religious freedom in Iran, which was released last week, 99.4 percent of Iran’s 84 million people are Muslims, with only 5 percent to 10 percent of those Muslims being Sunnis of various ethnic groups, including Turkmen, Arabs, Baluchis, and Kurds, according to the report.
However, according to the United States report, residents of Iranian provinces with large Sunni populations, such as Kurdistan, Khuzestan, and Sistan and Baluchistan, have reported continued repression by judicial authorities and members of the security services, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and torture while detained.
According to U.S.
“This demonstrates that their prospects are gloomy.” This item was first published in the Persian Service of VOA. The original Persian version of the tale may be found by clickinghere.
Removal of the heart: how Islam became a matter of state in Iran
When Ismail became king of Iran in 1501, the ceremony was low-key, as was his pronouncement that Shia Islam would be the official state religion from that point forward. Nonetheless, this was a watershed moment in Iranian history, with ramifications that continue until this day. The Safavids (1501-1722) were Sunni, like the vast majority of Iranians, while they revered Imam Ali (601-661), the first of the Shia imams, as did many Iranians outside of Shi’ism. It was the Sufi orders, which were sometimes based on commerce or guilds, that served as the primary means of organizing religion.
Historically, historians have divided on the nature of Iran’s ‘conversion’ under the Safavids: was Iran suitable in some manner for Shiism, or was the country already predisposed?
Making Shi’ism the official state religion aimed to separate Iranians from citizens of the Ottoman Empire, which was controlled by a competing Sunni sect.
When it came to establishing a new system, the Safavids turned to Shia Islamic law and the jurists (mujtahids) who were experts in it.
Rula Abisaab of McGill University writes in her book Converting Persia, which was published in paperback last year, that while distinguished jurists were generally revered and emulated, the clerical community as a whole, with its varying judicial ranks, was at times the target of ridicule and disdain among common Persians.
- A popular backlash against official backing for mujtahids, who used their position to ‘discipline’ for their own self-interest and avarice manifested itself in these paradoxical events.
- This practice predates the formation of the Islamic Republic, and its origins may trace back even further than the clerical system established by the Safavids.
- The Safavids were descended from Sheikh Safi, a Sufi who died in 1334 and was buried at the Safavid tomb.
- According to Turner, this Safavid ‘externalism’ imbued the Iranian state with a deeply ingrained character that has endured to the present day.
- In this regard, people who are associated with Sufism and Sufi groups, in one way or another, have frequently articulated internalism the best.
- However, throughout Islamic history, notes Turner, certain philosophers have emphasized the restricted character of jurisprudence and its practitioners, thefuqaha, as well as their own limitations (plural offaqih).
According to Ghazali, writes Turner, “jurisprudence has only a tenuous connection with religion.” To the principles of belief, the control of social life and the form of government serve as secondary – though necessary – adjuncts, and it is the regulation of social life and the form of government, with its many rules and laws, that falls under the purview of the jurist.
Turner uses a quote from Ghazali to illustrate how many jurists have a skewed view of other disciplines, such as medicine, because they do not involve “the management of religious endowments (awqaf), the execution of wills, the possession of orphans’ money, and appointment to judicial and government positions through which one exalts himself above his fellow men and fastens his yoke on his enemies.” a couple sits at the Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan, which is flanked by structures dating back to the Safavid dynasty Image courtesy of John Moore/Getty Images After first bringing religious leaders from the Arab world, notably from Jabal Amil in what is now south Lebanon, the Safavids eventually introduced a new breed of Iranian Shiaqi religious leaders.
- A notable example of this was Mohammad Baqir Majlisi, who was appointed to state-sponsored positions as Friday prayer leader in the Safavid capital of Isfahan in the 1660s and Shaykh al-Islam in 1687, and who was extremely influential.
- Therefore, the Hindu guardian of the temple, who had been saddened, committed suicide.
- In addition, the Majlisi issued a number of decisions on the proper manner to say the canonical prayer (salat), on the handling of zakat, and on the regulations for fasting.
- Majlisi wrote mostly in Persian rather than Arabic, which allowed him to reach a larger audience with his writings.
- What works by Turner and Abisaab highlight is the issue of what happened to popular, internal religiosity.
- Majlisi’s Twelver Shi’ism developed into a fully orthodox sect, with all other viewpoints being rejected and frequently violently suppressed by the authorities.
Prior to the reign of the Safavid dynasty, which lasted until its destruction by Afghan invaders in 1722, the Safavids promoted the Ashura mourning rites, in which believers were urged to engage significant personal sentiments in reenacting the 680 Battle of Kerbala, in which Imam Hossein was murdered.
The shrines, particularly those in Mashad and Qom that were the most heavily visited, channeled religious belief in a path that was well-protected by the priests.
There have frequently been persons who have opposed officialdom and its decisions.
Even when it comes to popular spiritualism and its connection to the Twelve Imams, the clerics are still apprehensive.
Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, the former reformist vice president, once described him as “riding a tide of support gained through mosque-based organizations and evenmaddahs (religious singers) to obtain support.” The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, on the other hand, has unquestionably been the most effective person in integrating Shia jurisprudence to popular religion.
- Ibn Arabi (1165-1240), Mullah Sadra (1571-1640), as well as the poets Rumi and Hafez, were among the authors who influenced Khomeini throughout his life.
- These are some of the personalities that Safavid ‘externalism’ attempted to distance itself from, and they remained out of favor with clerics into the twentieth century, to the point that Khomeini, as a young man coming through the religious ranks, was circumspect about his interest in them.
- … The practice of Safavid Shi’ism, according to Shariati, comprises both spiritual and practical devotion to the existing order.
- The reaction against Majlisi’s and his fellowfuqaha’s political silence may be considered as a crucial component in the acquisitions made by twentieth-century empires.
- an Islam that, by emphasizing politics rather than fiqh, and revolution rather than mourning the death of Husayn, continues to advocate the externalism discourse and obscure the everlasting truths and realities of Islam, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
“With the Safavid patronage of Shi’i scholars, judges, and preachers, the foundations of a religious establishment were actualized,” Kathryn Babayan wrote in her 2002 book Mystics, Monarchs, and Messiahs, which sought to highlight the rich diversity and intense religiosity that had been lost under the Safavids.
While there was no apparent hiding place for the secret Imam, these religious professionals not only claimed direct access to God, but some.would even contend that political power was also reserved for them.
After the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran in 1979, the figure of the mujtahid would supplant the role of the king.
- In 2015, Rula Abisaab published Converting Persia: Religion and Power in the Safavid Empire, a paperback version published by IB Tauris. Colin Turner is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom. Islam without the presence of Allah? The Rise of Religious Externalism in Safavid Iran, Curzon 2000
- The Rise of Religious Externalism in Safavid Iran, Curzon 2000
- Said Amir Arjomand, ‘Millennial Beliefs in Shi’ite Iran,’ in The Political Dimensions of Religion, edited by Arjomand, State University of New York Press, 1993
- Kathryn Babayan, Mystics, Monarchs, and Messiahs: Cultural Landscapes of Early Modern Iran, Harvard University Press
- Said Amir Arjomand, ‘Millennial Beliefs in Shi’ite Iran,’ in The Political Dimensions of Religion, edited by