and philosophies of Manichaeism
Throughout its historical eras, Iran witnessed a series of deviant religious beliefs and doctrinal philosophies far from monotheism, which had an influence on the inhabitants of the Iranian plateau and on their intellectual and spiritual formation. Most of Iran’s beliefs, religions and rituals are related to the myths and legends on which the ancient Persian mentality originated, such as the worship of the sun, the moon, stars, the components of nature, Buddhism, the worship of the fire “Magianism” and others.
These beliefs were brought by them after coming from India to Iran. Where they were combined together to form a religion advocated by some people such as “Zoroaster” and “Mani”. Despite this, there are contemporary historians who deny the emergence of such religions in ancient Persian history and claim that they were developed after Islam, where the ancient Persian history, especially the history of the Sassanid state, was distorted in a deliberate way. Historians in Islamic history qouted them and wrote it down in their books, and it reached us without thinking or research and investigation.
The goal of all this was national and religious in the Persian struggle against Arabs and Muslims within the framework of the populist movement opposed to everything that is Arab and Islamic. Whether we agree with this opinion or disagree with it, this opinion may be popular and accepted. If we investigate deeply in that Islamic history, we will find that heresy spread with the emergence of the populist movement in the Abbasid era, and during that the book of “Zend Avesta” was spread, and this matter supports that statement.
Generally, historical accounts refer to the emergence of Manichaeism as a dual religious movement in Persia during the third century AD. It was attributed to its founder, “Mani”, nicknamed the Messenger of Light or The One with Supreme luminosity. In his book “Al-Milal wa Al-Nihal”, Al-Shahristani called him “Mani bin Fatak Al-Hakim” who was killed by Bahram bin Hormuz bin Sabur, who created a doctrine between Magianism and Christianity.
He considered Buddha, Zoroaster, and Jesus, peace be upon him, as his ancestors. Mani wrote several books, including his “Gospel”, as he wanted it to be a counterpart to the Christian gospels. His movement was considered a religion in its own right due to the strength of the doctrine followed, the strength of its structure and the institutions within it, the preservation of a unique independence, and its spread throughout the Roman Empire and Asia. This was indicated by the Greek, Coptic, Persian, and Chinese texts, thus confirming that this character is real. Manichaeism was greatly influenced by Buddhism and Gnosticism.
Followers of Manichaeism believe that knowledge leads to salvation and this is achieved through the victory of the good represented by light over the evil represented by darkness. Manichaeism is a dualistic belief that is based on the belief that the world is composed of two ancient origins, one of which is light and the other is darkness. Light was the important element of the Supreme Being. God set his throne in the kingdom of light, but because he was pure and not worthy of conflict with evil, he summoned the “mother of life”, which in turn summoned the “ancient man”. This trinity is a representation of “father, mother, and son”. Moreover, this human being, who was also called “the soulful son”, was considered sincere because he defeated the powers of darkness with his steadfastness and daring.
They see that salvation is the liberation of the soul from its bodily prison, so that it can ascend to God, and its long coexistence with the body has caused it to forget its Semitic origin, meaning caused ignorance. Salvation from ignorance lies in knowledge, and therefore it needs a savior. The body and its desires are evil because they prevent the soul from being saved, and therefore Manichaeism encourages asceticism and monasticism.
We can add to this the fantasies and ideas that Sufism and Shi’ism created in Islamic history due to the influence of Manichean ideas such as spiritual closeness to God and what is known as the reincarnation of souls and solutions. Manichaeism had a great influence on concepts in other popular religions in China, such as Taoism, which was influenced by ideas related to the universe and physiological chemistry. It also had an influence on Buddhism through ideas about the purity and serenity of the earth, the nature of Buddha and other false and perverted beliefs that Persia was full of.
Through the presentation of these Manichaean beliefs, it becomes clear to us the extent of the disorder experienced by Manichaeism and its followers between various beliefs, heresies and philosophies that rely only on reason, in addition to its lack of knowledge or belief in Allah Almighty, the Creator of this great universe. It also mixed between truth and falsehood and came out to the world in a distorted way that is not accepted by common sense.