Ali Illahism (Persian: علیاللّهی) is a syncretic religion which has been practiced in parts of Iranian Luristan which combines elements of Shia Islam with older religions. It centers on the belief that there have been successive incarnations of the Deity throughout history, and Ali Ilahees reserve particular reverence for Ali, the son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who is considered one such incarnation. Various rites have been attributed as Ali Ilahian, similarly to the Yezidis, Ansaris, and all sects whose doctrine is unknown to the surrounding Muslim and Christian population. Observers have described it as an agglomeration of the customs and rites of several earlier religions, including Zoroastrianism, historically because travelogues were "evident that there is no definite code which can be described as Ali Illahism".
Sometimes Ali-Illahism is used as a general term for the several denominations that venerate or deify Ali, like the Kaysanites, the Alawis or the Ahl-e Haqq/Yarsanis, others to mean the Ahl-e Haqq.
The Dabestan-e Mazaheb (a Persian book of the 17th century about the South Asian religions) presents the Ali Illahians as a sect that respected Muhammad and Ali and discarded the Quran as it was compiled under Umar. They avoided killing any animals and believed that the rules allowing the killing of some animals are created by Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman ibn Affan and their followers.
Ali ibn Abi Talib (Arabic: عَلِي ابْن أَبِي طَالِب, translit. Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib; 13 September 601 – 29 January 661) was the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, the last prophet of Islam. He ruled as the fourth caliph from 656 to 661, but is regarded as the rightful immediate successor to Muhammad as an Imam by Shia Muslims.
Ali was born inside the sacred sanctuary of the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest place in Islam, to Abu Talib and Fatimah bint Asad. He was the first male who accepted Islam, and, according to some authors, the first Muslim. Ali protected Muhammad from an early age and took part in almost all the battles fought by the nascent Muslim community. After migrating to Medina, he married Muhammad's daughter Fatimah. He was appointed caliph by Muhammad's companions in 656, after Caliph Uthman ibn Affan was assassinated. Ali's reign saw civil wars and in 661, he was attacked and assassinated by a Kharijite while praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa, being martyred two days later.Ali is important to both Shias and Sunnis, politically and spiritually. The numerous biographical sources about Ali are often biased according to sectarian lines, but they agree that he was a pious Muslim, devoted to the cause of Islam and a just ruler in accordance with the Qur'an and the Sunnah. While Sunnis consider Ali the fourth and final of the Rashidun (rightly guided) caliphs, Shia Muslims regard Ali as the first Imam after Muhammad due to their interpretation of the events at Ghadir Khumm. Shia Muslims also believe that Ali and the other Shia Imams (all of whom are from the Ahl al-Bayt, Muhammad's household) are the rightful successors to Muhammad. Ali has also received recognition from a variety of non-Muslim organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Organization for Human Rights, for his governance and social justice.Antireligion
Antireligion is opposition to religion of any kind. The term has been used to describe opposition to organized religion, religious practices or religious institutions. This term has also been used to describe opposition to specific forms of supernatural worship or practice, whether organized or not. Opposition to religion also goes beyond the misotheistic spectrum. As such, antireligion is distinct from deity-specific positions such as atheism (the lack of belief in deities) and antitheism (an opposition to belief in deities); although "antireligionists" may also be atheists or antitheists.Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith (; Persian: بهائی Bahā'i) is a religion teaching the essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people. Established by Bahá'u'lláh in 1863, it initially grew in Persia and parts of the Middle East, where it has faced ongoing persecution since its inception. It is estimated to have between 5 and 8 million adherents, known as Bahá'ís, spread out into most of the world's countries and territories.It grew from the mid-19th-century Bábí religion, whose founder (the Báb) taught that God would soon send a prophet in the same way of Jesus or Muhammad. In 1863, after being banished from his native Iran, Bahá'u'lláh (1817–1892) announced that he was this prophet. He was further exiled, spending over a decade in the prison city of Acre in Ottoman Palestine. Following Bahá'u'lláh's death in 1892, leadership of the religion fell to his son `Abdu'l-Bahá (1844–1921), and later his great-grandson Shoghi Effendi (1897–1957). Bahá'ís around the world annually elect local, regional, and national Spiritual Assemblies that govern the affairs of the religion, and every five years the members of all National Spiritual Assemblies elect the Universal House of Justice, the nine-member supreme governing institution of the worldwide Bahá'í community, which sits in Haifa, Israel, near the Shrine of the Báb.
Bahá'í teachings are in some ways similar to other monotheistic faiths: God is considered single and all-powerful. However, Bahá'u'lláh taught that religion is orderly and progressively revealed by one God through Manifestations of God who are the founders of major world religions throughout history; Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad being the most recent in the period before the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. Bahá'ís regard the major religions as fundamentally unified in purpose, though varied in social practices and interpretations. There is a similar emphasis on the unity of all people, openly rejecting notions of racism and nationalism. At the heart of Bahá'í teachings is the goal of a unified world order that ensures the prosperity of all nations, races, creeds, and classes.Letters written by Bahá'u'lláh to various individuals, including some heads of state, have been collected and assembled into a canon of Bahá'í scripture that includes works by his son `Abdu'l-Bahá, and also the Báb, who is regarded as Bahá'u'lláh's forerunner. Prominent among Bahá'í literature are the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Kitáb-i-Íqán, Some Answered Questions, and The Dawn-Breakers.Comparative religion
Comparative religion is the branch of the study of religions concerned with the systematic comparison of the doctrines and practices of the world's religions. In general the comparative study of religion yields a deeper understanding of the fundamental philosophical concerns of religion such as ethics, metaphysics, and the nature and forms of salvation. Studying such material is meant to give one a broadened and more sophisticated understanding of human beliefs and practices regarding the sacred, numinous, spiritual, and divine.In the field of comparative religion, a common geographical classification of the main world religions includes Middle Eastern religions (including Iranian religions), Indian religions, East Asian religions, African religions, American religions, Oceanic religions, and
classical Hellenistic religions.Druze
The Druze (; Arabic: درزي darzī or durzī, plural دروز durūz; Hebrew: דרוזי drūzī plural דרוזים, druzim) are an Arabic-speaking esoteric ethno-religious group originating in Western Asia who self-identify as Al-Muwaḥḥidūn (lit., "The People of Monotheism"). Jethro of Midian is considered an ancestor of all people from the Mountain of Druze region, who revere him as their spiritual founder and chief prophet. It is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the teachings of Hamza ibn-'Ali ibn-Ahmad and the sixth Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, and Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle.The Epistles of Wisdom is the foundational text of the Druze faith. The Druze faith incorporates elements of Isma'ilism, a branch of Shia Islam, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, Pythagoreanism, and other philosophies and beliefs, creating a distinct and secretive theology known to interpret esoterically religious scriptures, and to highlight the role of the mind and truthfulness. The Druze follow theophany, and believe in reincarnation or the transmigration of the soul. At the end of the cycle of rebirth, which is achieved through successive reincarnations, the soul is united with the Cosmic Mind (al-ʿAql al-kullī).Although dwarfed by other, larger communities, the Druze community played an important role in shaping the history of the Levant, where it continues to play a large political role. As a religious minority in every country, they have frequently experienced persecution, except in Lebanon and Israel, where Druze judges, parliamentarians, diplomats, and doctors occupy the highest echelons of society. Even though the faith originally developed out of Ismaili Islam, Druze are not considered Muslims, although Al Azhar of Egypt recognizes them as one of the Islamic sects, akin to Shia. Fatimid caliph Ali az-Zahir, whose father al-Hakim is a key figure in the Druze faith, was particularly harsh, causing the death of many Druze in Antioch, Aleppo, and northern Syria. Persecution flared up during the rule of the Mamluks and Ottomans. Most recently, Druze were targeted by the ISIL and Al-Qaeda in order to cleanse Syria and neighboring countries of non-Islamic influence.The Druze faith is one of the major religious groups in the Levant, with between 800,000 and a million adherents. They are found primarily in Syria, Lebanon (where the Druze are considered part of their Muslim population), and Israel, with small communities in Jordan. The oldest and most densely-populated Druze communities exist in Mount Lebanon and in the south of Syria around Jabal al-Druze (literally the "Mountain of the Druzes"). The Druze's social customs differ markedly from those of Muslims or Christians, and they are known to form close-knit, cohesive communities which do not fully allow non-Druze in, though they themselves integrate fully in their adopted homelands.Ishikism
Ishik or Ishik Alevism (Işık Aleviliği), also known as Chinarism (Çınarcılık), is a new syncretic religious movement among Alevis who have developed an alternative understanding of Alevism and its history. These alternative interpretations and beliefs were inspired by Turkish writer Erdoğan Çınar with the publication of his book Aleviliğin Gizli Tarihi (The Secret History of Alevism) in 2004.List of people who have been considered deities
This is a list of notable people who were considered deities by themselves or others.List of religions and spiritual traditions
While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a
[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic." A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.Lurs
Lurs (also Lors, Lurish: لوریا and لُرو; Persian: لُرها) are an Iranian people living mainly in western and south-western Iran. Their population is estimated at around five million. They occupy Lorestan, Kohkiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Khuzestan and Fars (especially Lamerd, Mamasani and Rostam), Bushehr, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Hamadan, Ilam, and Isfahan provinces.
The Lur people mostly speak the Lurish language (sometimes called "Luri"), a Southwestern Iranian language related to Persian. According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the Lurish language is the closest living language to Archaic and Middle Persian. According to the linguist Don Still, Lori-Bakhtiari like Persian is derived directly from Old Persian. Michael M. Gunter states that Lur people are closely related to the Kurds but that they "apparently began to be distinguished from the Kurds 1,000 years ago." There is also a significant population of Iraqi Lurs in the eastern and central parts of Iraq, mainly known as Feylis.Lurs are the demographic majority of the provinces of Kohkiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Ilam, Lorestan, and Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari. Half of Khuzestan's population is Lur and 30% of Bushehr's population is Lur.Organized religion
Organized religion (or organised religion—see spelling differences), also known as institutional religion, is religion in which belief systems and rituals are systematically arranged and formally established. Organized religion is typically characterized by an official doctrine (or dogma), a hierarchical or bureaucratic leadership structure, and a codification of rules and practices.Religion
Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings or "some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life". Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of deities), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places, that aim mostly to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life, the universe, and other things. Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs.There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, but about 84% of the world's population is affiliated with one of the five largest religion groups, namely Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion. The religiously unaffiliated demographic includes those who do not identify with any particular religion, atheists, and agnostics. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs.The study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social scientific studies. Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief.Religion in the Middle East
Three major religious groups (i.e. the two largest religions in the world: Christianity and Islam, plus Judaism) originated in the Middle East. Smaller minority religions, such as the Bahá'í Faith, Druze, Nusairism, Manichaeism, Sabianism, Bábism, Yazidism, Mandaeism, Gnosticism, Yarsanism, Samaritanism, Shabakism, Ishikism, Ali-Illahism, Alevism, Yazdânism and Zoroastrianism are also present in the Middle East.
The smaller, religiously unaffiliated population is forecast to grow 56%, from about 2 million to more than 3 million. Hindus, adherents of folk religions and Buddhists are expected to experience the greatest growth as a percentage of their modest 2010 counts, with each group more than doubling in size by 2050.Royal Canadian Chaplain Service
The Royal Canadian Chaplain Service (French: Service de l'aumônerie royal canadien) is a personnel branch of the Canadian Armed Forces that has approximately 192 Regular Force chaplains and 145 Reserve Force chaplains representing the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths. From 1969 to 2014 it was named the Chaplain Branch. It was renamed on October 16, 2014.State religion
A state religion (also called an established religion or official religion) is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state. A state with an official religion, while not secular, is not necessarily a theocracy, a country whose rulers have both secular and spiritual authority. State religions are official or government-sanctioned establishments of a religion, but the state does not need be under the control of the religion (as in a theocracy) nor is the state-sanctioned religion necessarily under the control of the state.
Official religions have been known throughout human history in almost all types of cultures, reaching into the Ancient Near East and prehistory. The relation of religious cult and the state was discussed by Varro, under the term of theologia civilis ("civic theology"). The first state-sponsored Christian church was the Armenian Apostolic Church, established in 301 CE. In Christianity, as the term church is typically applied to a Christian place of worship or organisations incorporating such ones, the term state church is associated with Christianity as sanctioned by the government, historically the state church of the Roman Empire in the last centuries of the Empire's existence, and is sometimes used to denote a specific modern national branch of Christianity. Closely related to state churches are ecclesiae, which are similar but carry a more minor connotation.
In the Middle East, many states with primarily Islamic population have Islam as their state religion, either as the Shiite or Sunni variety, though the degree of religious restrictions on the citizen's everyday life varies by country. Rulers of Saudi Arabia use both secular and religious power, while Iran's secular presidents are supposed to follow the decisions of religious authorities since the revolution of 1979. Turkey, which also has a primarily Muslim population, became a secular country after Atatürk's Reforms, although unlike the Russian Revolution of the same time period, it did not result in the adoption of state atheism.
The degree to which an official national religion is imposed upon citizens by the state in contemporary society varies considerably; from high as in Saudi Arabia to minimal or none at all as in Denmark, England, Iceland, and Greece.Virtual Museum of Protestantism
The Virtual Museum of Protestantism, created in 2003 by the Fondation pasteur Eugène Bersier, recounts the history of Protestantism in France from the 16th century to the present.Women as theological figures
Women as theological figures have played a significant role in the development of various religions and religious hierarchies. The study of women and religion typically examines the role of women within particular religious faiths, and religious doctrines relating to gender, gender roles, and particular women in religious history. It is worth noting from a gender scientific approach, women occupy the second room in all of the following religions in the examples below, with the exception of Nakayama Miki, the founder of Tenrikyo.
George H. Gallup Jr. wrote in an analysis for the Gallup Organization in 2002 that, a mountain of evidence shows that women have more religiosity than men. Gallup goes on to say that women hold on to their faith more heartily, work harder for the church, and in general practice with more consistency than men.Yarsanism
The Yarsan or Ahle Haqq (Kurdish: یارسان, Yarsan, Persian: اهل حق; "People of Truth"), is a syncretic religion founded by Sultan Sahak in the late 14th century in western Iran. The total number of Yarsanis estimated at around 2,000,000 or 3,000,000. Primarily found in western Iran and eastern Iraq, mostly ethnic Goran Kurds, though there are also smaller groups of Turk, Persian, Lori, Azerbaijani and Arab adherents. Some Yarsanis in Iraq are called Kaka'i. Yarsanis are also found in some rural communities in southeastern Turkey. Yarsanis say that some people call them disparagingly as "Ali-o-allahi" or "worshipers of Ali" which labels Yarsanis deny. Many Yarsanis hide their religion due to pressure of Iran's Islamic system, and there are no exact statistics of their population.The Yarsanis have a distinct religious literature primarily written in the Gorani language which also is known as Hawrami dialects. However, few modern Yarsani can read or write Gorani (a Northwestern Iranian language belonging to the branch Zaza-Gorani) as their mother tongues are Southern Kurdish and Sorani Kurdish, which belong to the other two branches of the Kurdish language family. The speakers of Sarli, living near Eski Kalak are adherents, as Edmonds (1957: 195) and Moosa (1988: 168) observed. Their central religious book is called the Kalâm-e Saranjâm, written in the 15th century based on the teachings of Sultan Sahak.
The goal of Yarsanism is to teach humans to achieve ultimate truth. The Yarsani believe sun and fire are holy things and follow the principles of equalization, purity, righteousness, and oneness, which leads some researchers to find Mithraic roots in this religion.Yarsanism is barely mentioned in historical religious books as its doctrine and rituals are largely secret. The followers of Yarsanism perform their rituals and ceremonies in secret, but this has not relieved the harassment of many of the Yarsani by Islamic or other governments over the centuries. The followers of this religion say that after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, pressure on the Yarsani community has increased and they have been deprived and discriminated against for over 30 years.One of the signs of Yarsanic males is an intact mustache, as the Yarsanic holy book Kalâm-e Saranjâm says that every man must have a mustache to take part in Yarsanic religious rites.Yazdânism
Yazdânism, or the Cult of Angels, is a proposed pre-Islamic, native religion of the Kurds. The term was introduced by Kurdish scholar Mehrdad Izady to represent what he considers the "original" religion of the Kurds.According to Izady, Yazdânism is now continued in the denominations of Yazidism, Yarsanism, and Ishik Alevism. The three traditions subsumed under the term Yazdânism are primarily practiced in relatively isolated communities; from Khurasan to Anatolia, and parts of western Iran.
The concept of Yazdânism has found a wide perception both within and beyond Kurdish nationalist discourses, but has been disputed by other recognized scholars of Iranian religions. Well established, however, are the "striking" and "unmistakable" similarities between the Yazidis and the Yaresan or Ahl-e Haqq, some of which can be traced back to elements of an ancient faith that was probably dominant among Western Iranians and likened to practices of pre-Zoroastrian Mithraic religion. Mehrdad Izady defines the Yazdanism as an ancient Hurrian religion and states that Mitanni could have introduced some of the Vedic tradition that appears to be manifest in Yazdanism.Yiguandao
Yiguandao (simplified Chinese: 一贯道; traditional Chinese: 一貫道; pinyin: Yīguàn Dào; Wade–Giles: I-Kuan Tao), meaning the Consistent Way or Persistent Way, is a Chinese salvationist religious sect that emerged from the Xiantiandao ("Way of Former Heaven") tradition in the late 19th century, in Shandong, to become China's most important redemptive society in the 1930s and 1940s, especially during the Japanese invasion. In the 1930s Yiguandao spread rapidly throughout China led by Zhang Tianran, who is the eighteenth patriarch of the Xiantiandao lineage, among thousands of other movements that thrived since the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911.In the 1930s Yiguandao was a local religion of Shandong with a few thousand followers, but under Zhang Tianran's leadership and with missionary work the group grew to become the biggest movement in China in the 1940s with millions of followers. After 1949, Xiantiandao sects were proscribed as illegal secret societies and heretical cults. While still banned in China, Yiguandao was legally recognised in Taiwan in 1987 and has flourished since then. In the years 2000–2005 the ban on Yiguandao was lifted in China too, and branches of the movement were tacitly allowed to return to the mainland.Yiguandao is characterised by an eschatological and soteriological doctrine, presenting itself as the only way to salvation. It also encourages adherents to engage in missionary activity. Yiguandao is the worship of the source of the universal reality personified as the Eternal Venerable Mother, or the Splendid Highest Deity (Chinese: 明明上帝; pinyin: Míngmíng Shàngdì) as in other folk religions. The highest deity is the primordial energy of the universe, identified in Yiguandao thought with the Tao in the wuji or "unlimited" state and with fire. The name used in contemporary Yiguandao scriptures is the "Infinite Mother" (Chinese: 无极母; pinyin: Wújímǔ) and the "lantern of the Mother" (Chinese: 母灯; pinyin: mǔdēng)—a flame representing the Mother—is the central focus of Yiguandao shrines.