Newsletter 30

Holding the International Conference of “Arba'een: The Shared Spiritual Legacy of the World of Islam”at the Iranology Foundation

The International Conference of “Arba'een: The Shared Spiritual Legacy of the World of Islam” was held in Mohtasham Hall of the Iranology Foundation on 15 October 2018 in presence of a number of researchers and experts in the fields of intangible cultural heritage and Islamic culture and identity. This Conference was held with the cooperation of the Iranology Foundation and the Think Tank Advisory Board of Women’s Deputy Office of Arba'eenMain Office.

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In the opening ceremony of the Conference, Ghodratollah Alizadeh, Information and International Affairs Deputy of the Iranology Foundation, after greeting the participants, announced, “Last year this time, the Iranology Foundation issued and sent a statement in several languages to Iranologists all over the world inviting them to help turn this huge demonstration into a cultural heritage.” Accordingly, the President of the Foundation issued the order of holding a conference on this theme in order to explore the various dimensions and angles of the shared heritage of Arba'een.

The Conference was inaugurated with a speech by Professor Ayatullah Seyyed Muhammed Khamenei, President of the Iranology Foundation. He stated, “One of the features of the discussions related to the intangible cultural heritage is that, though it appears to be an external material phenomenon, it demands profound interpretation, analysis, and reasoning.Therefore, we must explore Arba'eenas a phenomenon which enjoys various historical dimensions and, at the same time, sets specific goals and creates cultural concepts and ideas for the history of the whole world and humanity.” He added that the purpose behind Arba'eenis not merely to remember a wronged Imam; rather, human beings’ conscience and divine essence persuade them to seek justice and freedom. The growth of such a culture can contribute to the creation of a peaceful and unified society and make people aware of their true rights so that they would never tolerate oppression.

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Laleh Eftekhari, Head of Women’s strategic Council and Deputy of Women’s Cultural Committee of Arba'eenEducation, introduced the institution of family as the most important factor in transferring the culture of Arba'een. She divided the participating families in Arba'eenMarch programs into two guest and host groups and added that this event has a huge potential in transferring Islamic culture and civilization to both hosts and guestsof this historical event.

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Sheida Mahnam, Head of the Social and Human Sciences Department of the Iran-UNESCO National Commission, stated thatArba'eenis the largest religious gathering of the world. In order to demonstrate this claim, she referred to the statistical data provided by the Religions and denominations Department of the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies, which estimates the global population of Shi’ites to be about 400 million.

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Atusa Mo’meni, Legal Counselat the Cultural Heritage Organization and Board Member of Governors Center for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office (affiliated with UNESCO), after providing a brief account of the features of intangible heritage, maintained that a review of the five-fold manifestations of intangible heritage in the course of holding this ritual can kindly whisper Muslims’ love of Arba’een and the value of this religious event to its participants in the ears of the people of the world and persuade them to advocate peace and altruism.

She added that the rituals, dramatic arts, and oral narrations of Imam Hussein’suprise for freedom contribute to Arba'een’s eternity as a cross-border phenomenon and a multinational heritage. Although the mourning ceremony of Arba'een is limited to one day in the lunar calendar, it embodies several old and new customs and rituals which are always alive in the everlasting beliefs of the Shi’ites of the world.

Abdulhadi Fiqhizadeh, the Qur’an and Household Deputy of the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, introduced Arba'eenas the most sacred of all historical epics involving bloodshed. He added that Ashura is the manifestation of the opposition of two philosophical and ethical systems and represents the culture of sacrifice as opposed to the culture of selfishness and egotism. He also maintained that Ashura and Arba'eendo not merely belong to Muslims; however, they are honored to be the first heirs to this Islamic legacy, which is the epiphany of generosity, selflessness, and sacrifice for a holy belief against Taghut (Satan).

Janet Blake, Faculty member at the Department of International Law at Shahid Beheshti University and Head of the Research Center for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in West and Central Asia under the auspices of UNESCO, emphasized that in order to register Arba'eenas an intangible cultural heritage, we should first specify its place in Islam. After referring to the criteria for registering a cultural work or phenomenon as an intangible cultural heritage, she referred to religious and political challenges as the most important problems regarding the registration of Arba'eenas an intangible heritage. She reminded that the main shared feature of all religions is advocating peace, and we should employ all available tools in order to establish permanent peace all over the world.

Hamed Forouzan, Research Deputy of the Iranology Foundation, was the last speaker of the Conference. Based on one of his previous research projects, he referred to four fundamental strategies which are derived from Arba'eenMarch and contribute to consolidating the roots of Islamic culture, as follows:

  • 1. The change of the models of human relationships into some elements in the servant-pilgrim communication systemduring the days of Arba'eenMarch. One of the effects of this system is reinforcing the social solidarity of Iraqi people based on a common goal.
  • 2. The change of the model of international Islamic relationships.
  • 3. Real practice of preparation for the period of the re-emergence of Imam Mahdi (a). This is because one of the elements of re-emergence is its reliance on people.
  • 4. Practicing the true educational route, that is, enduring hardships, making sacrifice, keeping away from worldly possessions, and refraining from conflicts on the marching route.

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The Conference was closed at 12.30 on the same day by giving letters of appreciation and some cultural gifts to the speakers.

Holding the First Meeting of “Iranology Mondays”

The First edition of the weekly meetings of “Iranology Mondays” was held in Dr. Habibi Hall of the Iranology Foundation on 8 October 2018. The theme of this meeting was “An Analytic Geopolitical Study of the Maritime Boundaries of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman”.

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In this event, Dr. Naser Takmil Homayoon and two captains of Iranian oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, Mr. Taherdin and Mr. Moarrab, Marine Sciences graduates from England, delivered speeches on the traffic of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

When speaking about his memories of war, Captain Taherdin stated that, after the outbreak of war, the Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran displayed great bravery. During the war, Iranian oil tankers could commute in the Persian Gulf in the light of the brave sacrifices of the Navy and the Air Force and, accordingly, the export and import of petroleum products continued almost smoothly. It was a very difficult period, during which the tankers, similar to a floating bomb on the sea, were threatened both from the air and from the sea. That is why they had to be covered from both directions to safeguard them against potential threats as much as possible. The captain added that, in spite of all such measures, Iranian tankers suffered huge casualties and material losses. Moreover, since the bunkering seaports had been frequently hit by rockets, each time a new and farther place was chosen for this purpose.

Regarding the present conditions of the country, the speaker said, “During the war, sometimes it happened that we could not export our oil, which resulted in many hardships. Today, no one can paralyze our country through imposing sanctions.”

Captain Taherdin emphasized, “We need to return to our main roots and review those difficult days, which were not so far; we should know how we have come to the present point and, in the light of God’s help, we will leave this period and its hardships behind.”

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Dr. Naser Takmil Homayoon was the second speaker of the meeting. He began his speech by these words: “The Persian Gulf is a part of my heart.” He maintained that the Persian Gulf has been called so since ancient times and, even during the pre-Islamic periods, it was considered to be a lake inside our country. In other word, the other side of Persian Gulf also belonged to Iran. Many of the findings of Italian archeologists who worked in this region are similar to the archeological findings in Iran. The paintings found in the archeological excavations in Kalat-e Naderi in Khorasan Razavi Province are similar to the paintings found in Miana, a large village in Turkmenistan. This indicates that the borderlines around Iran have been created by colonial powers, including the British and Russians. Presently, Americans wish to divide Iran in some other way.

During the Islamic period, the Persian Gulf has been called by names such as al-Khalij al-Fars and Bahr al-Farsi. However, in no Arabic geography book has it ever been called the Arabic Gulf.Dr. Takmil Homayoon offered two suggestions at the end of his speech. The first was to establish the Persian Gulf University in order to grant scholarships to Iranian and Arab students, familiarize them with the history and anthropology of the Persian Gulf and the related marine sciences and sources. His second suggestion was to establish a syndicate for the countries which have inherited the Iranian civilization. The Research Deputy of the Iranology Foundation found both suggestions worthy of further attention. At the end of this meeting some questions were asked and answered.

Holding the 8th Iranology Knowledge Enhancement Course

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Continuing with the previous years, the 8th Iranology Knowledge Enhancement Course was held with the cooperation of the Iranology Foundation and the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization. This course, which lasted for 14 days, was attended by a number of students from six countries, Armenia, India, Georgia, Kazakhstan, China, and Turkey. At the end of the course, on 12 September 2018, the related certificates were awarded to the participants during the closing ceremony. In this event, which was attended by some of the authorities of the Iranology Foundation and the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization, the participants expressed their satisfaction with the scientific quality of the classes and the designated programs. Some of them also mentioned that they were willing to travel again to Iran and to participate in later courses.

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Holding the Introductory Meeting for Iranology Students (2018)

The introductory meeting for MA students of Iranology was held on Sunday, 23 September 2018. The authorities of the Higher Education Center of the Iranology Institute, the Director of the Research Deputy of the Institute, and the newly admitted MA students attended his meeting. At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Forouzan, Director of Research Deputy of the Institute, while welcoming the students, offered his congratulations on the beginning of the new academic year as well as his condolences for the martyrdom of Imam Hossein (a). Then he read the welcome message of Ayatullah Professor Seyyed Muhammed Khamenei, President of the Iranology Foundation, to the students. The message read as follows:

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Praise be to God and greetings to Prophet Muhammad (s) and the People of His House. I would like to congratulate you, dear students, on your admission to the Higher Education Center of the Iranology Foundation and your success at this period of your life. May God Grant all of you success at all stages of your education and happiness in this world and in the other world. I would like to seize this valuable opportunity to remind you of a few important points on the threshold of this new chapter in your life: Every thinker and knowledge seeker should initially follow a supreme purpose – not a material and childish one – in their process of acquiring knowledge so that they would not wander in their future life or become tired of doing research and increasing their knowledge. Second, for you, who have chosen to study Iranology, it is necessary to learn about the importance of Iran and its culture and history. The other nations of the world are deeply indebted to Iran and Iranians because this ancient land could be the origin and birthplace of knowledge, ethics, and human culture. The West has been trying for centuries to hide the glorious cultural history of Iran and even persuade us to believe that we have no significant historical roots. The history of each country defines the identity of its people. Therefore, Iranology students should be aware that from today onwards they have stepped on a way leading to the accumulation of a hugely important wealth of knowledge. Hence, they need to take solid steps in order to compensate for the damages that the ignorant West has caused to Iranians and even the slanders it has spread against this great nation. Thirdly, the students of Iranology should not merely aim to gain some knowledge and obtain a degree. Rather, in order to perform their national duty and to be able to deservedly introduce the Iranian history, politics, and culture to international realms, they should develop mastery over this field and, in a sense, similar to competitors in fields of rivalry, appear like victorious champions in their confrontations with foreign or foreigner-loving Iranologists and historians. They should be superior to non-Iranians in the field of Iranology so that they would never have to surrender to the opponents of the Iranian nation. Undoubtedly, such goals can only be accomplished relying on a research-loving spirit and in the light of having a great passion for hard work, study, and education. Moreover, we should not forget that the history of Iran is not limited to ancient times, and this nation has had several great achievements and honors after the rise of Islam. Today, the world is indebted to Iranian scientists in all domains of knowledge. In fact, this export of knowledge was done through Spain to Europe. We are proud of the glorious Iran of today, which, similar to Ka’ba and in spite of the enmity of some Western Zionists or Zionism-serving countries, attracts the love of their peoples and other nations to itself and has managed to teach them the love of freedom and the human ways of life. At the end, I wish to add that it is not enough for a human being to have massive knowledge; rather, they should possess great souls, praiseworthy human conduct, and transcendent thoughts. They should also turn to Almighty God in all their affairs and beseech Him to bestow power, honor, and happiness upon them. May God grant all of you esteemed professors and students success in life.

Ayatollah Professor Mohammad Khamenei

President of the Iranology Foundation

The meeting continued with some explanations regarding the conditions for pursuing higher education at the Iranology Foundation and the facilities there by Dr. Forouzan; Dr. Tahuni, Head of the Higher Education Department of the Iranology Foundation; Dr. Zarshenash, Head of the Education Deputy of the Iranology Foundation, and Dr. Afkari, Professor at the Manuscripts Department of the Iranology Foundation.

New Publications of the Iranology Foundation

Publication of the Second Issue of Faranama (Electronic Quarterly)

The second issue of the Electronic Quarterly of Faranamawas published by the Research Deputy of the Iranology Foundation and uploaded on the website of the Foundation ( Faranama is a journal in the field of human sciences and cultural studies advocating an interdisciplinary approach to publishing research papers and related reviews in the field of Iranology. This issue contains the following papers:

  • - Illumination in the Manuscripts of the Qur’an by Mohammad Ebrahim Qomi and Ahmad Neirizi

    Yaghoub Azhand and Zynab Qanbari

  • - Manuscripts of Diwans of Persian Poets (14-17 centuries AD) in Turkey’s Libraries

    Maryam Heydari

  • - Libraries of Old Mosques in Tehran

    Fatemeh Faridi Majidi

  • - Taqwīm al-buldān: An Important Source in Geography of Mathematics (An Introduction and Critique of Taqwīm al-buldān by Abū al-Fidā)

    Hamidreza Aryanfar

  • - A Description of Markazi Province based on the Popular Culture of its People: A Critical Study of the Book of Popular Culture of Markazi Province

    Mahbubeh Ghafouri

  • - Mirroring the Images of Important Buildings and Places in Nasir Khusraw’s Safarnamā: A Case Study, Description of Mosques

    Mojtaba Rezaei Sarchogha

This Quarterly invites all researchers interested in the field of Iranology to help the Iranology Foundation with the publication of the Electronic Quarterly of Faranamaby submitting their research papers.

Publication of the 7th Issue of the Specialized Quarterly of Iranian Studies

Issue 7 of the Quarterly of Iranian Studies contains the following papers.

  • - Effects of Achaemenid Architecture and Columns on Mauryan Art and Architecture
  • - A Comparative Study of the Administrative - Financial Systems of Safavid and Qajar Periods
  • - An Overview of Eid al-Fitr in Iranian Culture
  • - Concept of “Supplicating to Imam Reza (a)” in Various Artistic Periods in Iran
  • - Place and Importance of Nutrition in Iranian Culture Based onNamehkarPottery Bowl (A Case Study of Squashed Greengage in Mazandaran Province)
  • - A Journey to the Ancient City of Goor

The Quarterly of Iranian Studies can be purchased from the Publication Center of the Iranology Foundation at a price of 8,000 tomans. Interested people can obtain more information from the Research Deputy of the Iranology Foundation (Iranology Street, South Sheikh Baha’i Street). They can also contact the foundation by phone (0098-21-88608925) or Fax (0098-21-88608922) or send emails to the following address:

Publication of Issue 11 of the Scientific-Research Quarterly of Persian Gulf Studies

The 11th issue of the Quarterly of Persian Gulf Studies contains the following research papers and sections: The first two papers explore the Persian Gulf within the realm of international studies. The first paper, Effects of Globalization on the Functions of Borderlines (with an Emphasis on the Persian Gulf Region), deals with the effects of globalization on different functions of borderlines from the viewpoint of political geography following a descriptive-analytic method.

The second paper,Desirable Strategies and Opportunities for Optimal Expansion of Tourism in the Persian Gulf with an Emphasis on the Features of its Islands, focuses on the important theme of tourism through a comparison of the approaches followed by neighboring countries to attract foreign tourists relying on a thorough analysis of the related problems.

The next three papers deal with some historical aspects of the Persian Gulf. The first paper in this group, Nearchus and the Long and Arduous Route, while providing an accurate explanation of the route taken by this Macedonian Navarch in the 4th century (BC) with exact references to original resources, accurately specifies the route taken by Nearchus on present day maps. The next paper, Colonial British Empire and Military Confrontations of Iran and England in the Persian Gulf and Port of Bushehr, deals with the important problem of British colonialism. The third paper, Iranian Islamic Revolution: Collapse of American Policies in the Persian Gulf, aims to investigate the policies of Americans in the Persian Gulf with an emphasis on the downfall of the king and the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The last paper in this issue, Reflection of the Persian Gulf in Poems of Hormozgani Poets, has a literary content and examines the portrayal of the Persian Gulf as an important part of the national heritage of Iran in the poems of Hormozgani poets.

The section on Ecotourism entails some important points regarding the environment of the Persian Gulf along with some high quality pictures. In this section, the author has dealt with the “Distribution of the Sharks of the Coral Regions of the Persian Gulf in Iranian Waters”. The Research Report Section presents a paper entitled “An Analysis of Women’s Share in Native Songs of Hormozgan”.

Similar to previous issues, the Documents Section provides some authentic and reliable data for research ontopics related to the Persian Gulf. This section contains a review of a document written by Mirza Nasrullah Khan Mushir al-Dawlah addressing Salar Mo’azzam, the ruler of the ports and islands of the Persian Gulf.

The Quarterly of Persian Gulf Studies can be purchased from the Publication Center of the Iranology Foundation at a price of 12,000 tomans. Interested people can obtain more data by visiting the Deputy Office of the Iranology Foundation (Iranology Street, South Sheikh Baha’i Street). They can also contact the Foundation by phone (0098-21-8821004) or Fax (0098-21-88608922) or send emails to the following address:

The Quarterly of Persian Gulf Studies welcomes the submission of research papers and well-documented data in the field of Persian Gulf Studies.

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Photo Title: Framework of Devotion (Ashura)

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