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Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

Through a twisted path i came across this quote today, attributed to the prophet of Islam, Muhammad:

‘If learning were suspended at the highest parts of heaven the Iranians would attain it.’

In fact i came across it in an excerpt of an essay by famous Iranologist Richard Frye, wherein he quotes Ibn Khaldun.  Now i did not know who he was, this Ibn Khaldun, and was much more surprised that i did not know him, after finding out who he actually is!

According to Wikipedia,

was a North African polymath — an astronomer,economisthistorianIslamic scholarIslamic theologianhafizjuristlawyermathematicianmilitary strategistnutritionistphilosopher,social scientist and statesman—born in North Africa in present-day Tunisia. He is considered a forerunner of several social scientific disciplines: demographycultural historyhistoriography, the philosophy of history, and sociology.  He is also considered one of the forerunners of modern economics …  Ibn Khaldun is considered by many to be the father of a number of these disciplines, and of social sciences in general, for anticipating many elements of these disciplines centuries before they were founded in the West. He is best known for his Muqaddimah (known asProlegomenon in the West), the first volume of his book on universal historyKitab al-Ibar.

Seems like quite a character!  Its a shame that we are so well indoctrinated on western (i.e. european) thinkers, and miss out on all the incredible other characters from the world.

Anyways, Ibn Khaldun has  a passage in his Muqaddimah, wherein he makes a reference to aforementioned hadith by Muhammad regarding Iranians:

”It is a remarkable fact that, with few exceptions, most Muslim scholars both in the religious and intellectual sciences have been non-Arabs… Thus the founders of grammar were Sibawaih, and after him al-Farisi and al- Zajjaj. All of them were of Iranian descent. They were brought up in the Arabic language and acquired knowledge of it throught their upbringing and through contact with the Arabs. They invented the rules (of grammar) and made it into a discipline for later generations. Most of the hadith scholars, who preserved the traditions of the Prophet for the Muslims, were also Iranians, or Persian in language and breeding, because the discipline was widely cultivated in Iraq and regions beyond. Furthermore, all the great jurists were Iranians, as is well known. The same applies to speculative theologians, and to most of the Qur’an commentators. Only the Iranians engaged in the task of preserving knowledge and writing systematic scholarly works. Thus the truth of the statement of the Prophet becomes apparent, ‘If learning were suspended at the highest parts of heaven the Iranians would attain it.’ The intellectual sciences were also the preserve of the Iranians, left alone by the Arabs, who did not cultivate them. They were cultivated by Arabicized Iranians, as was the case with all the crafts, as we stated at the beginning. This situation continued in the cities as long as the Iranian, and the Iranian lands, Iraq, Khurasan and ma wara-l-nahr, retained their sedentary culture. But when those cities fell into ruins,

sedentary culture, which God has devised for the attainment of the sciences and the crafts, disappeared from them. “

Wow, i did not know that! That arabic grammar was basically systematized and formed by Persian scholars after the arabic conquest.
Professor Edward G. Browne summarizes the extent of Iranian’s contribution to Arabian science as follows:
Take from what is generally called Arabian science from exegesis, tradition, theology, philosophy, medicine, lexicography, history, biography, even Arabic grammar the work contributed by Persians and the best part is gone. (Ed Browne, Vol. I, p. 204)

Wow, i did not know that! That arabic grammar, in its modern form, was basically systematized and formed by Persian scholars after the arabic conquest, namely one named Sibawayh.  Once again according to Wikipedia:

Abu Beshr ʻAmr ibn ʻUthman ibn Qanbar Al-Beşrey (aka:Sibawayh) (Sibuyeh in Persian, سيبويه Sîbawayh in Arabic, سیبویه) was alinguist of Persian origin born ca. 760 in the town of Bayza (ancient Nesayak) in the Fars province of Iran, died in Shiraz, also in the Fars, around 180 AH (796797).

He was one of the earliest and greatest grammarians of the Arabic language, and his phonetic description of Arabic is one of the most precise ever made, leading some to compare him with Panini. He greatly helped to spread the Arabic language in the Middle East.

Of interest also is the motivation for such work:

Much of the impetus for this work came from the desire for non-Arab Muslims to understand the Qur’an properly and thoroughly; the Qur’an, which is composed in a poetic language that even native Arabic speakers must study with great care in order to comprehend thoroughly, is even more difficult for those who, like Sibawayh, did not grow up speaking Arabic

The other named by Ibn Khaldun is:

Kamal al-Din Abu’l-Hasan Muhammad Al-Farisi (1267-ca.1319/1320[1]) (Persianكمال‌الدين ابوالحسن محمد فارسی) was a prominent PersianMuslim physicistmathematician, and scientist born in TabrizIran. He made two major contributions to science, one on optics, the other on number theory. Al-Farisi was a pupil of the great astronomer and mathematician Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi, who in turn was a pupil of Nasir al-Din Tusi.

Now, we all know (or perhaps dont know), that a great number of the so called “islamic scientists/philosophers” were in fact Persians, but who – forcibly – spoke, wrote and published in arabic.  These include – but are not limited to – the likes of :

  • Avicenna: “father of modern medicine”, “father of geology”, (first to introduce the notion of momentum in physics, 500 years before galileo), among a ton of other things
  • Zakaria Razi: considered by many to be the greatest of the “islamic” scientists, “father of pediatrics”, discoverer of ethanol and its refining, author of first treatise on infectious disease, pioneer in neurosurgery and ophtamology
  • Khayyam: one greatest mathematician of his age, one of the greatest poets of all time, possibly the first person to have proposed a heliocentric astronomic model (500 years before copernicus), and philosopher
  • Biruni : one of first exponents of experimental scientific method (the first to introduce experimentation to the study of mechanics, mineralogy, sociology, pscyhology), ‘first’ anthropologist, critic of astrology and alchemy, (not to mention having the great fortune as sharing the same birthday as me!!!)
  • Kharazmi: the founder of modern algebra
  • Farabi: (philosopher, physicists, logician, … )

just to name a few  (here is a more exhaustive list).

Professor Edward G. Browne summarizes the extent of Iranian’s contribution to Arabian science as follows:

Take from what is generally called Arabian science from exegesis, tradition, theology, philosophy, medicine, lexicography, history, biography, even Arabic grammar the work contributed by Persians and the best part is gone. (Ed Browne, Vol. I, p. 204)

Now i admit, a good part of my motivation for this ‘rant’ of sorts is that damn Iran Nationalism which I can’t seem to rid myself of, peppered with a small but omnipresent dose of begrudgement against arabs (i truly am tryign to get rid of that, and have done a fairly good job in the past years),

But here is my point: anytime you look up any of these names, in almost any encyclopedia ESPECIALLY in the west, they are identified as “islamic” scientists, or philsophers, or poets, or…whatever!

That is the the equivalent of calling Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes, Christian Huygens, and James clerk Maxwell, simply as “christian scientists”.

It makes no sense! What does religion have anythign to do with it.

Either you dispense with the qualifying adjectives before the name, be it religious, or nationalistic, or you stick to the ethnicity/nationality of the thinker.  What does religion have anythign to do with it.

On a final note, Richard Frye, comes across as a very interesting character himself. As a world renowned scholar (prof emeritus still at Harvard), he has been one of the true champions of Persian/Iranian culture through his lifetime.  Here is an interview he had with CNN regarding his wish to be buried in Isfahan upon his death (like two other noted Iranologists Arthur Pope and Phyllis Ackerman).  I just love his comment at the end regarding the Islamic republic and how the Iranian people will get through this as they have for thousands of years:

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The Daily Show in Iran: Part 3

Jon Stewart’s Daily show in Iran: Jason Jones reporting on the Knowledge of Iranian’s about the US:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Jason Jones: Behind the Veil – Ayatollah You So
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran

And part 2 of his report (interviews Ebrahim Yazdi, And Abtahi – great interview):

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Jason Jones: Behind the Veil – Persians of Interest
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran

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Here is a gallery of the photos from today’s Demonstrations at Paris, which took presence in the Presence of Mohsen Makhmalbaf, as well Jack Lang (former education minister and one of the heads of the Socialist Party in France), a representative of Bertrand Delanoe (mayor of Paris), Representative of the government’s UMP party, representatives from the Communist party, the Iranian students Union, the head of the french student union, as well as the Union of Jewish Students in france.

Here is a video of Makhmalbaf’s speech:

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I dont know what to say, other than just to listen to it, and try and not cry. All the more poignant now that we are hearing of the slaughter that is going on in the streets of our beloved country.

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Video proof of Election Fraud?

I received this screen capture in my email.  Compare the two photos taken of the Official State Television (click to enlarge):


According to these two Screen captures the count of Mohsen Rezai:

  • At 9.47 he has 633048 votes
  • At 13.53 he has 587913 votes

How does one lost about 45,000+ votes in a span of 4 hours?

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A great video, from JUST BEFORE THE ELECTIONS,  of Ahmadinejad coming out only to be greeted by a mob of Moussavi supporters, chanting at first “moussavi, moussavi”…and then “liar liar liar”…and finally “Ahmadi bye bye , Ahmadi Bye Bye!”.  (and according to election results…these guys all went and voted for Ahmadinejad right after!…)

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A couple of interesting videos

This is as Iranian as it gets, people in the subway breaking into an impromptu chanting, singing session.  The spirit is so positive:

Larry king discussing the protests in Iran (with Shiva rose and Christian Amanpour):

One of the more famous and powerful revolution songs of ’79 put to the images of the current struggle in Iran:

Mohsen Makhmalbaf & Marjane Satrapi at the European Parliament (english and persian):

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I dont know what to make of it, but i just received this email from a friend in Iran:

The man who leaked the real election results from the Interior Ministry – the ones showing Ahmadinejad coming third – was killed in a suspicious car accident, according to unconfirmed reports, writes Saeed Kamali Dehghan in Tehran.

Mohammad Asgari, who was responsible for the security of the IT network in Iran’s interior ministry, was killed yesterday in Tehran.

Asgari had reportedly leaked results that showed the elections were rigged by government use of new software to alter the votes from the provinces.

Asgari was said to have leaked information that showed Mousavi had won almost 19 million votes, and should therefore be president.

Does anyone have any kind of news regarding this? any kind of confirmation?

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  • Filed under: Breaking News, Iran
  • I just listened to Mohsen Makhmalbaf, who’s been speakign – officially according to him – on behalf of Moussavi’s camp outside of the country.

    He was just on BBC Persian, and he basically said that Ahmadinejad was in Russia, in order to ensure their backing against this uprising in exchange for caspian sea territory and other things.

    He then literally used the term “russian backed coup d’etat” and comparing it directly the 1953 CIA-backed Coup d’etat against the Mossadegh saying that 22nd of khordad will from now on be mentioned in the same breath as 28 mordad.

    I dont know about you, but that’s huge! both as an allegation, and if it is true.

    For non-Iranian readers, let me give you some context.  Iranians are by their nature and history, quite conspiratorial, paranoid and suspicious of foreign governments (due to 2500 years of history, of invasions, wars, and betrayals).  If you think they have somethign against the american government, you should know that this suspicious pales in comparison to the two main most disliked, distrusted nations: The british, and Russia.  The english due to over 100 years of meddlign in teh region for oil profits, and Russia because of the tension due their borders and years of land grabs, and self-impositions due to Iran’s strategic position connecting the caspian and the persian gulf.

    This is why, it is one reason that the Russian coup d’etat comment is understandable, and ‘close’ to the heart of Iranians.  But still when i first heard it, it is outrageous i thought.  However i guess when you think about it, Russia has MUCH to gain from infiltration in Iran, as a means of takign advantage of the current turmoil.

    Furthermore, with Ahmadinejad in Moscow, shaking hands with Medvedev, Russia becomes one fo the few ‘big’ states that have acknowledge Ahmadi’s “legitimacy” as the duely re-elected iranian president.

    I dont know what to think about this. What do you think?

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    “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”   – Asimov

    Another day went by in the unrest in Iran.   News came through early on about the results of the peaceful demonstrations of the night before and brutal violence of the security forces and Basijis, leading to the death – according to Tehran province governor – of 7 demonstrators, and 8 deaths according to medical staff and doctors at the hospital treating the victims (see video below).

    Personally, before i go further i have some questions for Mr. Ahmadinejad (i dont doubt that there are a few million of us, each with our own questions).  First of all, i found his comment describing the protesters as ‘riff-raff’ ( i can’t find a link to the article/speech, would welcome if someone has it), oddly reminiscent not only of Sarkozy’s “racaille” comment, in 2005 sparking the paris riots, but also, of Shah’s similar comments, which in some ways sparked, or at least fed the revolution.  The Iranian people do not like being belittled or discarded with such epithets.

    Secondly I would like to know, if you, Mr. Ahmadinejad, claim and believe this was a free and fair election, Why do you need to arrest opposition politicans (and here)?

    Why do you need to arrest the country’s Human Rights Activists?

    If you won then Why do you need to arrest the peaceful demonstrators?
    If you won, then why do you need to shut down the country’s conventional and internet communication lines (and here and here)?
    If you won then Why do you need to tell International media to shut up (and here)and kick them out or to arrest them and beat them up?

    Why do you need to kill your own future, your own university students?
    If you won, then Why do you need to kill your fellow countrymen who are protesting peacefully (also, see videos below?
    Shouldn’t the president of a country LISTEN to its citizens, isnt that what democracy is about, and after all its YOU who said Iran has the healthiest democracy in the world?


    • Getting back to Andrew Sullivan, he has been one of the most active livebloggers of the situation in Iran, and at least personally i’m very thankful to him.  (i really would like to know what makes him tick).  But he has been so with the spirit of the Green revolution, that at one point yesterday he was citing Rumi on the liveblog!!!


    Another example of beautiful, peaceful, march of the protestors, in Tehran (jam-e jam):

    Another (HD) video of the attack on the Basij base that had fired (and killed) some protestors:

    SKYNEWS footage of yesterday’s demonstrations:

    Doctors and nurses on protest:

    Young protestor is shot in the stomach (disturbing video)

    More violent attacks against protestors (disturbing):

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