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From B. N. Dhabhar, Persian Rivayats, Bombay, 1932, p. 437 ff.
There are two treatises of the "Olmâ-i Islâm." The first (MU. II, pp. 72-80),
so far as has been ascertained, has not been hitherto translated inasmuch as a portion
of it is rather speculative and abstruse. This first treatise of the Olma-i Islam
I have attempted to translate with the kind assistance of Prof. N.D. Minocherhomji,
Professor of Persian at the Elp er die Religion des Zoroaster" (pp. 43-67). M. Blochet
has translated this treatise in the "Revue de L'Histoire des Religions," Vol. 37
(No. I), (pp. 23-49) with a critical and interesting Introduction. Anquetil (Zend-Avesta,
t. II, p.339) says that this second treatise of the Olma-i Islam must
have been written in the seventh century, whereas Sir W. Ouseley gives the
thirteenth century as the period of its composition. Blochet confirms Anquetil's
opinion and says, quoting several instances from this treatise, that from the
language criterion it may be surmised that it is a translation or rather a transcription
of an original Pahlavi text.
On conflicting opinions about Zurvan in Pahlavi writings, see
Menog-i Khrad 27 § 10 and
Zadspram I § 24. Latterly it was commonly believed that the
Zervanite heresy was countenanced by the Magians in general, e.g., cf. the following
line from the "Hadiqatu 'L-Haqiqat" of Sana'i (by Major J. Stephenson, 1910):
Although Sana'i here does not mention Zurvan, yet he says in common with other
Mahomedan writers, that according to the Magians, i.e., the Parsees, good
comes from God and evil from Ahriman.
For an account of the Zervanite System, refer also to "Sects (Zoroastrian)"
in Dr. Hastings' Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics and to an interesting
article thereon by T. F. Blue in 'Indo-Iranian Studies' in honour of Shams-ul-Ulema
Dastur Darab Peshotan Sanjana (pp. 61-81). Further, an attempt is made in the
Rivayats themselves to explain away the Zervanite doctrine thus: [Persian quote omitted].
"His wrath and His kindness appearing in the newly-formed
world are the cause of the error of the Guebre and the doubt of the Magian."
(See p. 35 l. 6 of Text and p. 55 of Translation.)
There are two treatises of the "Olmâ-i Islâm." The first (MU. II, pp. 72-80), so far as has been ascertained, has not been hitherto translated inasmuch as a portion of it is rather speculative and abstruse. This first treatise of the Olma-i Islam I have attempted to translate with the kind assistance of Prof. N.D. Minocherhomji, Professor of Persian at the Elp er die Religion des Zoroaster" (pp. 43-67). M. Blochet has translated this treatise in the "Revue de L'Histoire des Religions," Vol. 37 (No. I), (pp. 23-49) with a critical and interesting Introduction. Anquetil (Zend-Avesta, t. II, p.339) says that this second treatise of the Olma-i Islam must have been written in the seventh century, whereas Sir W. Ouseley gives the thirteenth century as the period of its composition. Blochet confirms Anquetil's opinion and says, quoting several instances from this treatise, that from the language criterion it may be surmised that it is a translation or rather a transcription of an original Pahlavi text.
On conflicting opinions about Zurvan in Pahlavi writings, see Menog-i Khrad 27 § 10 and Zadspram I § 24. Latterly it was commonly believed that the Zervanite heresy was countenanced by the Magians in general, e.g., cf. the following line from the "Hadiqatu 'L-Haqiqat" of Sana'i (by Major J. Stephenson, 1910):
Although Sana'i here does not mention Zurvan, yet he says in common with other Mahomedan writers, that according to the Magians, i.e., the Parsees, good comes from God and evil from Ahriman.
For an account of the Zervanite System, refer also to "Sects (Zoroastrian)" in Dr. Hastings' Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics and to an interesting article thereon by T. F. Blue in 'Indo-Iranian Studies' in honour of Shams-ul-Ulema Dastur Darab Peshotan Sanjana (pp. 61-81). Further, an attempt is made in the Rivayats themselves to explain away the Zervanite doctrine thus: [Persian quote omitted].
(MU. II. pp. 72-80-H. F. ff. 168-178.)
Thanks and praise be to God Who created us — his servants — through His will and power. Just as man and the creation exist through His power and Omniscience, so His compassion and forgiveness (for His creatures) will be through His grace and mercy. May the benedictions of God be on the pure soul of the righteous Zartosht Spitaman and on those versed in the religion, the innocent and the virtuous, up to the resurrection. In the Book of Religion, I have so found that the foundation of religion consists of four questions. These will be here noted. May God, the Exalted and the High further the cause of salvation and of the next world, and of the redemption of His servants, and protect us from ignorance and depravity.
The chief of the Mobeds says: "The good religion has existed from the time of King Faridoon up to this day in the country of Iran and it will last till the resurrection. Airân [Av. Airya] means Behdins (i.e., those belonging to the good religion). This religion will last until this prosperous land and country will last. From the time of king Faridoon to the time of king Vishtasp, this single attribute of Behdini [lit. of the good religion; hence piety and devoutness.] has been ascribed to the Zarthushtrians [better, Mazdayasnians], and they have been in this pure religion from the time of king Vishtasp up to Yazdegard Sheriar, descendant of Khosraw; and the kings of Iran (remaining in the fold) of this religion have ruled there for the period of 1,000 years. Zartosht Spitaman, who first went to the conference of Ohrmazd, was from Eranvej [Av. 'Airyanem Vaejah']; then he went to Adarabadgan [Azarbaijan], and from Adarabadgan to Balkh. He approached the throne of king Vishtasp and carried on controversy with 120 philosophers and wise men and confuted them in the controversy. Thereafter he laid claims to the prophetship and made manifest the miracles which were wanted of him, and which will never remain concealed up to the resurrection. Now when king Vishtasp and Aspandyar and other great men saw his miracles and listened to the word of God and the Amshaspands and to the accounts thereof, they sacrificed their souls (for the religion) and extirpated idol-worship and irreligiousness from Iran and made manifest the religion of Ohrmazd and the law of Zartosht and learnt by heart the Avesta and Zand. This good religion will last and continue for 1,000 years. And there in nothing better in the world than this, that one should study the history [or annals] of Iran, and travel far and wide [lit., frontiers] in the country and ponder over the history of those kings who will succeed hereafter on the surface of the world. Now all this warfare, enmity, controversy, slaughter, fight with one another, sickness, and ruin which befall men, the desolation of the world and the calamity which befalls good men, poverty, helplessness, harm of the tormentors, falsehood in the affairs of God, ingratitude, carnage and the afflictions which are in this world -- from whom do all these proceed and whence come these? If they say that it is not the work of Iblis (i.e., Satan), they must say whose work this is. From whom are the discords in the midst of the different religions?
There are many things amongst us men, which we regard as of great merit and you regard them as heinous sins; there are many things which we regard as heinous sins, and you regard them as of great merit. If you say that these vices are not the work of the devil, then whose work is it? If you say that it is the work of God, then this evil, falsehood, opposition amongst various religions and amongst men — (whence are these?) --
They say that God is generous and merciful; but so much opposition existing amongst men and (different) religions cannot be on account of the generosity and mercy of God. We cannot then ascribe to God the Most High this oppression and tyranny. Whoso says, all this proceeds from God, cannot say that God is generous and merciful, because the tumult which arises amongst men and the unkindness between father and son cannot be on account of His generosity and mercy.
All this we have mentioned can arise from unmercifulness and not out of mercy. Now when such is the case, there does not arise the need for a prophet, when all may be under His order and commandment. All men expect that at the time of the resurrection God the Most High will give a place in heaven to the good and will punish the guilty. Now it ought to be known that God the Most High cannot change His very nature. When we travel from one part of the world to another and get the instruction about good and evil, then, out of our helplessness, evil and afflictions are attributed to God. But no one can change the commandment of God, except that it is the will of God Himself to do so. Now as we cannot do any work without His commandment, nothing will move without His decree; and without His regulation, there will be no heaven and hell. Now when He carries one to heaven and another to hell, then what shall we fix our hopes on, as by ourselves we cannot do anything, and how can we know what He will do with us? Again, if God the Most High has commanded that you should not practise evil but do good and if a person has His divine decree in his own hands [i.e., if anything has been preordained by God in connection with him.], then how can that person change the evil into good; and if one cannot change evil (into good), why should you, therefore, say that His commandment about predestination cannot be changed?
Now, if one practises that evil, God the Most High punishes him in hell and
this is not through mercy, because mercy is that He should be kind to the helpless.
If they say that, all proceeds from the commandment of God, then whatever He wills,
He doss; and without His commandment, no good or bad action can be done. And
then, if any person does a deed, whether good or bad, it is through the command of
God. If this is settled, there is no need of a prophet. If one says that God the
Most High has created men with free-will and independence and that, the evil which
men do is without His permission, then we can do a work without the commandment
of God the Most High; and when, without the commandment of God, one
can do a good or bad deed, then this in not preordained.
|As regards this, the similitude of the four seasons has been given: The season of summer is compared to this world, because if one wishes one can maintain oneself with but little in summer, and in this world also, if one wishes, one can maintain oneself with but little. The season of autumn has been compared to death, because if a person has laid by something for the rainy day , he is delighted; and (in the, same manner), if one has (a stock of) good deeds, at the time of death, he is equally delighted. The season of winter has been likened to the next world, because if one has laid by something in summer for the winter, it will be easy for him (to pass his life) and (similarly) if one has accumulated good deeds, he is not carried to hell. The season of spring is compared to the resurrection, because in the spring all men are cheerful, and the reason in this, that if a person possesses wealth, he obtains (the fruit) thereof; but if one has not got anything, he suffers the severity of winter. Similarly, at the resurrection, if one has acquired good deeds, one obtains the reward thereof; hut if one has committed sins, one will reap the fruit of the tortures of hell .||
1. lit., if one possess the means (of sustenance) in winter. Every preparation must
be made for withstanding the severe cold of winter: Cf. Vos. ambâr. bêd.
chun. zamestân (Paivand-Nameh).
2. Cf., with this simile of the Seasons, the forthcoming text of "The Selections of Zadsparam," p. 142, §§ 27-29.
Another import: Man is likened to this earth ; for man possesses (in his little
body) specimens of all the things of the universe: — e.g., the sun and the moon (are
like) the two eyes; the stars are like the teeth; the incoming and out-going day,
the two ears ; the celestial sphere (is like) the tongue which revolves (in the
mouth) the earth is like the flesh; and the mountain is like the bone; the water,
like the blood; vegetation, like the hair; the sky, like the nails; and just as the
universe; and man have been mentioned (as analogous), so it is said of Ohrmazd and
the universe; for whatever there is in Ohrmazd, there is the specimen thereof in the
universe; and just as a person is the soul (or essence) of wisdom in this world, so
this world is the soul  (or essence) of Ohrmazd's wisdom. And about the mention of
the seven heavens, and about the seven (creations of) the earth, it is thus said in
Avesta: (1) water, (2) the sky, (3) the earth, (4) vegetation, (5) animals, (6) man,
(7) fire . Again (the seven heavens are): (1) wind station, (2) sphere-station, (3)
star-station, (4) moon-station, (5) sun-station, (6) endless lights, and (7) Garothman ,
which is of the nature of diamonds. The body of man has seven divisions: --
(1) Brain, (2) marrow of the bone, (3) veins, (4) nerves, (5) flesh, (6) skin, and (7) hair.
1. The great world, i.e., the macrocosm, is analogous to the little world of men,
i.e., his body, which is the microcosm. (See Iranian Bd., pp. 189-196).
2. soul; energy; meaning.
3. Cf. Ys. 19, where, as in the Bundahishn, six creations are mentioned, with the order of the water and the sky interchanged and with the exclusion of fire.
4. All these classes are found in the Pahlavi hooks, except the first two; but see Iranian Bd. and the Pah. Texts by Dastur Jamaspji, p. 72, § 4.
As for the several fires which are mentioned, one is high above and it does not
consume anything. Another is in the bodies of men and animals; and it consumes
everything. The third is in vegetation; it consumes water but does not consume
any other thing. The fourth is that which is near us , and except water, it consumes
everything. The fifth fire is that of lightning, and the sixth is the fire which
is in stones and the seventh is the fire Neryosang, which is in the navel of
||1. i.e., which we make use of in this world.|
Again, about what you asked as to how, at the resurrection, the fire which will
be within us will exist without food, the answer is evident that the sun is hotter than
other fires, but it lives without food. It is clear that food is eaten by the demon
(Az) , as it is said that there are several demons intermingled in the body of man.
It is asked: When there will be no food, how will there be any pleasure? It should be
known that when there are no (demons like) Az and Nyat (i.e., avarice [or greed]
and want), what need there be for food? If there is no druja of summer, what need
is there for shelter? And if there is no druja of winter, where is the need for
fire? And if there is no druja of lust, where is the need for woman? All this is
like this — that we take refuge from one druja to another druja and these
drujas are more in opposition to one another and they strike one another, e.g.,
the druja of winter kills summer, and that of summer kills winter. Again, that food is
pleasant and the more it is before us, the more we want it; but when we are satiated, we
want no more of it. It is clear that the desire for food is of use at that time when they
are hungry, but at the time when they are satiated, they cannot, eat anything, and when they
are pleased (and satiated) with the various foods; they cannot eat more. If they
eat it, then all these (pleasant) eatables will be turned into disagreeableness 
and will recoil upon us.
1. âz given only in Antia'a MS. The heat within us requires food which is
consumed by a demon, but as there will be no demons in men's bodies at the time of
resurrection men can then live without food.
2. Indisposition, or bad health.
When it is winter, they put on full garments and go and sit near fire; but if this passes
beyond measure, it will be changed into disagreeableness. In the same manner, if one
stirs up (the demon of) the tormenting lust and goes near one's wife, and if one steps
beyond measure, then this is simply unspeakable.
The enjoyment of this world is all on this reckoning. Discomfort is also transitory.
Then one should look for pleasure which, the more it is, the more one wants,
and not that the more it is, the less is requisite.
Pleasure (or happiness) is this, that you may understand God and accept His
religion and execute His commands and nourish the soul. Know that the Creator is
one. His religion is one. The Creator as well as His religion will never deteriorate.
There is only one way and devious paths are many . There is only one Creator,
but the inquirers are legion. Every sect calls Him in a different manner. First
I shall speak of the Behdins. The followers of Zartosht regard Yazdan (God)
as the Great One and there are some who call him by different names. By the
truth of the Creator and by the true Religion (I swear) that if God and all the
Amshaspands and all the Behdins gather together, they cannot bring into existence
the slightest particle without (the help of) Zamâna (i.e. Time) 
because it can come into existence by Time. I mention (the word) Ruzgâr
(i.e. Time) for this reason that there are many persons who do not know that
ruzgâr is Zamân (i.e. Time). Religion can be taught
through Time; a trade can be taught through Time; manners can be taught through Time;
and gold  and garden can be acquired through Time. A tree grows through Time and it
yields fruit through Time. Crafts can be acquired through Time and the existence of all
things is justified by Time; and it cannot be said that Afridagâr (i.e.
the Creator) is and Ruzgâr (i.e. Time) is not. If a person says that
ruzgâr is night and day, then it should be known that for a great length 
of Time when days and nights did not exist, Zamân (i.e., Time without
bounds) did exist.
1. Cf. the adage: aêvô pañtå ýô ashahe
vîspe anyaêshãm apañtãm ["There is only one path
— that of Asha; all other paths are false paths." Yasna 72.11].
2. Here the writer reverts to his original subject and zaman (Time) is the maker of everything. Zaman and ruzgar are here identically used. In fact, in modern Persian they are synonymous.
3. Or cultivation.
4. The writer here alludes to the creation which for 3,000 years was in a spiritual state.
Ahriman also is called by some name by some people and they ascribe evil
unto him but nothing can also be done by him without Time. It is a wonderful
thing that they practise evil deeds on this computation , but it is improper that
he should be called maleficent. More wonderful is it that the injunction is that
if you practise evil, punishment is prescribed for you in connection with the evil
you practise and that punishment is (prescribed) for the soul before the resurrection.
||1. i.e. thinking that all evil is instigated and done by Ahriman.|
It is said in another religion that if a person dies and if he is sinful, he will draw
upon himself the torture of the grave up to resurrection and when they raise men
up at the resurrection, he who has committed sins is thrown into hell, and he who
has practised good deeds is sent to heaven.
One sect says: 'We are fit for heaven'. Another sect says: At every stated
time, men are metamorphosed  or (they become) a different tribe (from that to
which they once belonged). It is not (the case) that as you yourselves believe ,
the soul goes out from one body and enters another and that disquietude and
comfort are all (to be found) in this world, and that that world which (seems) far is
nearer. Of every (such) subject, the signification may be given.
1. Metempsychosis is discussed here.
2. lit., as you have laid down (the dogma of Metempsychosis) for yourselves.
We see that, in this world, many causes are brought to our vision. On the
surface of the earth, there are various kinds of animals provided with food, covering
and work; we find them in water also. Of the several kinds of animals, some can
live in water but cannot live on earth, and there are animals who can live on earth
but cannot live in water. Again, there are animals which can both live in water
and on earth. We see, above us, the stars, the moon ,and the sun which all have
a form. They are also of this world, but they are higher up. That world is a
great place: one sect calls it transitory and another sect calls it eternal. One sect
says: There ought to be a mediator who can say what is right and what is wrong.
This saying is true in this way A person holds a book in his hand and (there are)
the two eyes as on the face of men. Now as long as there is no mediator between
his eyes and the book, that book cannot be read. That mediator is light, for this
reason that the book cannot be read in dark. Now if a mediator is necessary for
reading a book, a mediator is also necessary for the religion and for the true path:
Just as the Jews say: "Our mediator is Ayûf ." The Christians say:
"Our mediator is Gusha ." The Mahomedans say: "Our Mediator is the
Imam," and the Rafizan  say: 'Our Mediator is Sahaf  of the time.' The
followers of Zartosht say: "That person should be our mediator who has great
wisdom, high magnanimity, and a bright soul and who is most powerful of all the people
and the justest of all in administering justice." And at the time of mediation, he
looks to the Creator (for guidance and proper mediation). Now with all this magnanimity, and
greatness and glory, some follow him, whereas some do not, and when the (evil) times
of Ahriman come, those also who have attached themselves to him withdraw themselves
from obeying his commands. He who wishes to lay the foundations of)
justice knows that such is the case as we have described, and such will happen up
to 57 years prior to the resurrection  i.e., 57 years before the raising up
of the dead.
1. Ayûf (=Job) is, perhaps, used for Yûsuf (=Joseph) who is also the
Messiah according to the Jews.
2. lit., opener; one who reveals; the saviour.
3. A sect of the Shi'ahs.
4. "The Books". Some MSS. give "the Truth". At the battle of Siffîn between Ali and Muâviya, hostilities were suspended for a time, for arbitrations by the Koran. It is said that the sacred scrolls were fixed on the points of the lances of the soldier, who cried out: "The law of the Lord! Let it decide between us." (Ses Muir: Annals of Early Caliphate (1883), p. 384.)
5. lit., which is on the border of the resurrection.
During those 57 years, Ahriman is kept back from the work of destruction so
that he does not make attempts at seducing men. Even his weapons for that work
become worn out and all persons are relieved from his oppression. On this subject
the similitude of the four seasons of the year has been given. The season of summer
has been compared to this world, because if they wish to ..........6
||6. There is some text missing, although there is no blank between them. The sense is incomplete.|
Today , the revolution of Zamânê (i.e. Time) and its account
have been stated in a different manner, and since a few of the Mobeds and the wise have been
left, I saw it proper to make known the origin of Religion so that every one of the
congregation who is not (steadfast) on the religion may hear a word thereon and the
friendship of his heart for the religion may not come to nothing, and, he may not
leave the path of righteousness for that of wickedness, but pray to God for salvation
that this world full of antagonism may suddenly disappear.
||1. i.e.. in our times.|
The Mobed of Mobeds said: The Yazads and the Amshaspands who are mentioned are the names of
Hamkars (i.e. cooperators); the name of God, the Most High, is Izad; and no one can
alter the nature of Ohrmazd or of Ohrmazd Izad. Ohrmazd cannot be described. He is purity,
goodness and light so that no evil or darkness can mix with him. The sect which opposes our
good religion contradicts our propositions and says that good and evil are from God, but
Zartosht Spitaman has not ascribed falsehood, perfidy, ignorance, oppression and deceit to
the nature of God.
Now we must answer the opponents of our religion. We say: when we have no
faith in your books and when you have no faith in our books, then to clear up the
origin of the good religion cannot come to pass without pertinent proofs and demonstrations.
You cannot take exception to the fundamental tenets of our religion
that the knowledge of God should be acquired by wisdom. (Now for) the answer:
When the world and whatever is in the world are subject to development and decay
that must at any rate be endowed with a cause and being endowed with a cause
cannot be ascribed to God , and when it is established that the creatures look up to
God, the Most High and to the Creator (for support and protection), then they
must have been created, and that which is created cannot do without the Creator.
and the personality of all the accidents (of material bodies) cannot be comprehended 
and (therefore) in such subjects the sum-total of the reasoning faculty is required by us.
1. i.e., God is not a creature but the Creature.
2. i.e., no one can say definitely what are the accidents of a thing.
If they say that He (God) is an accident, then the essence of an accident
is capable of being influenced by times . An accidental quality is not an eternal
thing and is not proper (to be attributed) to God.
||1. lit., the two times, i.e., Zravâna akarana and Zravâna daregho khadhâte.|
It is said in the History of Persia that Noshervan the Just asked of Buzergmeher
what limit was there to the reasoning faculty. Buzergmeher said: "It is a thing
which is not found with every one in its entirety and its extent is not known to
me." Then it is clear that the wisdom of a wise man can be more advanced than
that of any other wise man, and every sect has collected sayings in proportion to
its power of discrimination and the strength of its judgment and named it burhâr-i
ma'qûl (i.e., reasonable demonstration) which should not be (considered to
be) a (final) order (on the subject). It should be considered that the great and wise
ones have laid down rules and have made them manifest in this world, and great
kings and wise philosophers have acted up to them. Know that (such rules) cannot
be absurd or impossible, just as Plato has said of them in his time, while discoursing
in his Academy, that there are four natures (or temperaments) (taba'} and Jesus
has spoken of three climes (iqlim), and all Christians believe in his religion, and
Zartosht has spoken of Yazdan and Ahriman, and these great ones have laid down
the laws for the religion of the world, and they have been wise with the ornament
of wisdom and their words cannot be void of burhân-i ma'qûl i.e.,
Now we will return to our story. You have asked the question: Can the
Creator of good destroy the Creator of evil, or can the Creator of evil destroy the
Creator of good? If we say no, then it is a curious argument; and if we say yes,
then it will be said why this is not done. They have themselves laid down some
propositions (as regards this), but have not thought of the answer thereof. Now
we give this answer: If the Creator of evil does good and (also the work of) nonexistence,
then he must (be said to) have done two deeds, and it has been already said
that from one single essence, two actions cannot proceed. If the Creator is
good, then evil, annihilation, wickedness or death cannot come (from Him). If
the Creator of good practises evil, then He practises animosity and' wickedness.
Hence it is that He has permitted the Creator of evil to be enslaved by his own
evil. Evil reaches unto him and his evil works are to the detriment of man. And
when it will be resurrection, his evil will not remain. The reason is that men have
undergone the punishment of hell, and (hence), sorrow, trouble, punishment and
pain proceeding from the Creator of evil will disappear, and the weapons and
instruments of his evil will not endure and he will he destroyed. Hence it is
clear that Ahriman is a non-entity. When, at the resurrection, he will be destroyed,
his power and weapons will also disappear and it will he proper that the
evil will be changed to good and all will be good. At the resurrection Ahriman
will be destroyed and thereafter all will be good; and it will proceed through
the will of God. Again, any one who argues about this must be wise, for this
reason that the wise have two reasoning powers and the ignorant have only one,
and two will be more powerful than one, and wise men are endowed with bright
(i.e., innate) intellect and understanding and (also endowed with) the intellect
acquired through the ears . And in the Mahomedan religion, even the same
signification is attributed to the innate wisdom ('aql-i gharizi) and the acquired
wisdom ('aql-i iktasâabi). Hence it is established that a wise man has two
reasoning faculties and an ignorant man has only one, and, at any rate, two
forms (or qualities) are more powerful than one. Finally, then, it is to be said
that one cannot go on with an ignorant man for the reason that he is
fundamentally defective in his ignorance and reason. He cannot acquit himself
well in the matter. His words will not have any power. He will prefer enmity.
For this reason, this much has been said for the ignorant.
||1. i.e., by knowledge and experience. Asna-khratu and gaosho-sruta-khratu are referred here.|
|May the magnificence of God, the Exalted and most High, increase whatever promotes the well-being and guidance for all and save us from all (calamities) and convince us of these questions out of His generosity and mercy.|
ULAMA-I ISLAM (another version).
(MU. II, pp. 80-86 — H. F. ff. 178-185.) [The two versions run parallel only as far paragraph 18. Compare with translation in R. C. Zaehner, Zurvan — a Zoroastrian Dilemma, New York, 1972, pp. 409-18.]
(1) About the mandate of the Religion, after 600 (years) after Yazdagard: some Musalman Doctors proposed several questions to one versed in the religion and answers have been given with regard to their elucidation. In this connection, they have prepared a book. This book is called 'Ulamâ-i Islam' i.e., (herein will be found) an exposition of the constitution of the world and of the soul of man from the beginning up to eternity.
(2) It was asked: "What do you say about the resurrection? Do you believe in it or not?"
(3) The Mobed of Mobeds replied: "We believe in the resurrection: there shall be the day of judgment."
(4) Then the Moslem Doctors inquired: "How has the world been created? What benevolence is there in God's creation of man, his non-existence and death and his restoration to life again?"
(5) The High-priests [dasturs] of Religion of that age replied: about what you inquire relative to the resurrection, you must first know what creation is and what causing one to die means and what is the restoration of life for. It must be discussed whether the world has existed or has been created.
(6) First I will speak about the world and will discuss whether the world was or has been created. If they say that it was, this answer is impossible, for the reason that many new things develop in the world (from time to time), and they as well decay in the world, and since they decay and develop and decrease and again increase, then whatever is subject to development and decay must be endowed with a cause and being endowed with a cause cannot be ascribed to God. Then it is established that the world has not existed but has been created. Now what is created cannot but be without a Creator. (7) It should be known that in the Pahlavi religion which the Zoroastrians profess, it is said that the world is created. Then, since we say that the world is created, it must be discussed who created it, when it was created, how it was created, and why it was created.
(8) It is thus manifest in the religion of Zartosht: except Time all other things have been created and Time is the Creator. Time is without bounds; its top is undiscoverable; its bottom is undiscoverable; it has always existed and it shall ever be. He who is endowed with wisdom will not say whence came Time and on account of all its greatness, there was no one who could call it the Creator: Why? because, it had not (yet) made the creation. (9) Then it (i.e. Time) produced fire and water and when these intermingled, Ohrmazd came into existence. Time is as will the Creator as the Master in relation to the creation produced by him. (10) Now Ohrmazd was bright, pure, of a fragrant smell, beneficent and powerful in connection with all goodness. And when he looked into the lowest abyss, he saw Ahriman at (the distance of) 96,000 farsangs, black, filthy, stinking, and maleficent. It appeared very strange to Ohrmazd that this was a terrible enemy. (11) When Ohrmazd saw that enemy, He thought that He must remove this enemy from the midst and thought of the various means (to remove him). (12) He thought out all this and began (to put His scheme into execution). What Ohrmazd does, He does with the assistance of time. All good indispensible in Ohrmazd was established in Him. Ohrmazd created the Time of Long Endurance [Zravana-daregho-khadhata], which is reckoned to be of 12,000 years. He connected therewith the celestial sphere, its chart and the heavens. (13) As to the twelve constellations which are fixed in the sphere, every one of them has its duration for 1000 years. The spiritual work was accomplished in the period of 3000 years. Aries, Taurus, and Gemini completed this work — each in one constellation of 1000 years. (14) Then Ahriman lifted up his head so that he might fight with Ohrmazd. He saw an army formed in battle array and rushed to hell. Thereafter he formed an army of the filth, darkness and stench which were in him. How was this possible? There is much to be said about its import. The drift of it is that he had not the power to do anything and even rushed forth to hell. (15) On account of the truthfulness he saw on Ohrmazd, he could not move about for 3000 years, so that during these 3000 years, the work of this world was accomplished. The promotion of the world devolved on Cancer, Leo, and Virgo, and there is much to be said on this subject.
(16) However, we shall say a few words about its import. As regards the creation of the world, He first created the heavens which reached, to the extent of 576,000,000 farsangs, upwards to Garothman which was over the heavens. After 45 days, the sky was created. After 60 days, water; after 75 days, the earth; and after 30 days, large and small vegetation was produced; and after 80 days, cattle and Gayomard were created and after 75 days, Adam and Eve [Mashya and Mashyane] were created; in one year of 365 days, the aggregate of all these was made and when the arrangement (of the world) had devolved on Cancer, Adam and Eve had been created. (17) When these 3000 years which have been mentioned elapsed, men, the earth, and the other creatures which have been mentioned had (already) come into existence. Again the wicked Ahriman began to stir and perforated the sky, the mountain, and the earth, and rushed forth into the world, and whatever there was in the world, he polluted with his own wickedness and filth, (18) and he had no control over the spiritual substances, he made warfare in the world for 90 days and nights. The heavens rent asunder and the spirits came to the assistance of the world. (19) They seized seven worst demons, carried them to the celestial sphere and bound them there with a spiritual chain. Ahriman inflicted a thousand diseases on Gayomard so that he dies and several things came into existence from him. There is much to be said as to the import of this.
From the Bull also, several things and animals came into existence. There is much to be said as regards this also. (20) Then they caught hold of Ahriman and carried him to hell from the very hole through which he had penetrated the world and they bound him (there) with a spiritual chain. Two angels, viz., the Amshaspand Ardwahisht and the Yazad Warharan, have stood over him as guardians.
(21) If any one says that as all this trouble issues from him, why was he not killed when he was seized, then let it be known that if a person kills an animal, he says he has killed a certain animal; but when he has killed the animal, the fire in it mingles with the fire, its water with water, and its earth with the earth, and its wind with the wind; and at the time of resurrection, it will be raised up; but it is only the means (of existence) which have been scattered up (for the time being). (22) It is known that all these (elements) which have been spoken of have not become non-existent, since every one (who dies) becomes separated (for the time being) from these four elements. Now how can Ahriman with such grossness be killed except, in this way that he be killed quietly and slowly whereby evil may be transmuted into good, darkness into light, and impurity into purity, so that there may be skill (or excellence), and no (display of) revenge or enmity in the world.
(23) If some one says that when all this skill (or excellence) is to be observed,
then why was Ahriman himself created? Now we have said at the very beginning
that both Ohrmazd and Ahriman have been produced from Time and every sect
speaks of this in a different manner. (24) One sect says that Ahriman was created (by
Time) for this reason that Ohrmazd may know that Time is all-powerful over all
things. Another sect says that it was not necessary to create him (i.e. Ahriman).
He (i.e. Ahriman) said to Ohrmazd: I can do such (evil) things and therefore it is
not necessary to attribute evil unto Ohrmazd or unto me. Another says: What
pain or pleasure has Time from the evil of Ahriman or the good of Ohrmazd? One
sect says that Ohrmazd and Ahriman were created (by Time) so that it (i.e. Time)
may mix up good and evil and various things may be produced thereby. One sect
says that Ahriman was an esteemed angel but on account of his disobedience he
was made a butt of imprecations. There is much to be said as regards its import.
(25) Now we will return to our story: Again, when the spiritual beings had bound
up Ahriman in hell, seven demons were also bound up in the celestial sphere. The
names of the demons fixed therein are these: Zirach, Tarich, Nãangish,
Tarmad, Hesham, Sij, Niz .
||1. Av. zairicha, tauru, nãonghaithya, taromaiti, aeshma, and ithyejah.|
Ohrmazd surrounded every one of
these seven (planets) with lights, and they were given Ohrmazdian names and were
made to revolve, i.e. Kivan, Ohrmazd, Warharan, Shed, Nahid,
Tir, and Mah .
||1. meaning, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon.|
(26) When these works were perfected, it became the sphere, and the
sun, the moon, and the stars began to rise and set and hours, days, and nights,
years, and months have come into existence and they (i.e., the planets) have been
made manifest as the formers of one's destiny. There is much to be said on this
(27) For three thousand years, the demons lived also manifestly with the men
who lived (on the earth)  and men fought with the demons. In men there are
several things pertaining to Ohrmazd and several things belonging to Ahriman. In
his body is fire, water, earth, and wind, and again there are the soul, intellect, conscience,
and farohar. Again there are five senses in him, such as the sense of seeing,
hearing, taste, smell, and of touch. (28) If any one says that all these arise from (i.e.
are a part of) the soul, it is not so. The reason is that there are many men who are
dumb and lame. If any one says: "If the soul is not provided with all these resources,
what can be done by it?": — then, again, this is not the case, because we see
that although fire has no mouth, it consumes food, and although it has no legs, it
will pervade through the smell of the fuel which is laid on it, and although it has
no eyes, it gives clear vision to the eyes. These reasons are given so that we may
know that we are nothing without its (soul's) guidance notwithstanding all these
resources which are bestowed on us, notwithstanding the pride and presumption
we show towards one another.
||1. cf. Ys 9: Tum zemar-guzo-akerenavo vispe daeva, etc.|
(29) When we have mentioned things pertaining to
Ohrmazd, we will also mention the things pertaining to Ahriman so that they may
be known. (They are): Avarice, want, jealousy, revenge, lust, falsehood, and wrath.
Had these demons been incarnate, their natures would have been of these
four kinds .
||1. i.e., their bodies would have been made up of the four elements, fire, water, earth, and wind.|
(30) For the reason that the power of Ahriman reaches those demons (fixed) in the
sky, they transmit this evil afresh into the world until the power of Ahriman will
decrease and the wickedness of Ahriman will thereby become less and at the time
of resurrection all his wickedness will decrease and perish.
(31) During those times, men followed the path of truthfulness and killed the demons until the time when Jamshed attained to sovereignty. He ruled for 616 years and 6 months. The demon Khesham (i.e. Wrath) overpowered him and he laid claims to the creatorship. The Arab Dahak [Zohak] seized and killed him and sat on the throne of sovereignty. (32) He ruled for 1000 years and demons and men became intermingled and he practised much witchcraft in the world until Faridoon Aftyan came and bound him up (on Mount Demavand). Dahak means ten defect. Now he is called Zohak. Thereafter warfare became manifest amidst men because a part (of the men) was mixed up with demons and some had been depraved. Then Faridoon exerted himself so that he might call men to the true path. When Afrasiab descended from his (i.e. Faridoon's) lineage, the tumult was on the increase. When Kay Khusraw appeared, he purified the world of the wicked. (33) Thereafter Zartosht Spitaman attained to prophetship and brought Avesta, Zand, and Pazand. King Vishtasp accepted them and propagated them in this world. For 300 years the work of the faithful prospered every day until Sikander Rumi [Alexander the Great] came and tumult was again on the increase. (34) Thereafter Ardashir Babagan quelled that tumult and thus 500 years passed by. Then the Arab army put itself in motion and subjugated Iran and every day it becomes enfeebled until Behram Hamavand comes and captures the throne or the kingdom of the Sasanians.
(35) Then comes Ushedar Bami and brings the Nasks of Avesta and Zand more than those brought by Zartosht Spitaman and Behram Hamavand will make them current in the world. Out of those three parts (of men) who had not accepted the religion in the time of Zartosht, one-third of it more accepts it and it is propagated for 400 years more. Again there arises a tumult. There is much to be said on this subject. (36) Then Ushedarmah comes and removes the tumult from amongst the men and makes the Nasks of Avesta current in the world, more than those brought by Ushedar Bami, and one-half of the men who are without religion accept that good religion. Once more the time of happiness passes by and the period of wickedness sets in, but that also passes away. (37) Thereafter Siyavushani [i.e. Soshyos/Saoshyant] introduces the Nasks of Avesta more than those of Ushedarmah and all the people of the world accept the religion, and altercation goes out of the world. Then after the expiry of 57 years, there will be the resurrection of the world. On this subject also much is to be said. I cut it short so that the reader may not be tired.
(38) We shall return to our story.
It is said that if a person dies or is killed, then the wind in him mixes with the
wind, his earth with the earth, the water with the water, and his fire with the fire;
and his soul, intellect, and conscience — all the three — become one and are mixed
up with the farohar and all unite in one. If the sin is on the increase, they punish
him, but if his good deeds are on the increase, they send him to heaven. Now the
demons who had been with this person have all become worn out (39) on account of the
punishment he had undergone. Ardwahisht Amshaspand mediates as regards
his punishment. He does not allow them to inflict on him more punishment than
(the extent of) his crimes. If he is fit for heaven, he is carried to heaven; if he is
fit for Garothman, to Garothman; and if he is fit for Hamistagan, to Hamistagan [Purgatory]
(where he remains) (40) up to the resurrection. The force of the demons is worn
out and wickedness is dissipated for the reason that (the souls of the wicked) have
undergone punishment, and the demons which are in men become worn out. (41) Afterwards
those fit for heaven and for hell have their bodies raised up from those first
elements (or, essences) (which had been scattered up at their death). From the
spirit of fire, they collect fire, and water from (the spirit of) water, earth from the
earth, and wind from wind. The soul again enters the body (42) and the evil which was
in the body of man — that evil will cease at the time of resurrection. Men will be
without death, old age, and want, and will thus live forever and there will be no
(43) The quadrupeds, birds, and fish have no soul but the spirits of the
four kinds (of elements) unite with them. That no account or reckoning is taken
of them is for the reason that they have neither soul nor farohar . The proof of it
is that men possess reason, understanding, truth, excellence, and the speech of the
tongue and the action (done) with the hand — all this proceeds from the medium of
the soul. Although all animals have a share of the four elements, yet men possess
them in excess on account of the soul, for which reason an account or reckoning is
taken of men (after death), which the animals do not share otherwise.
||1. According to the Avesta, they have their farohars: even inanimate beings have theirs.|
(44) In connection
with what has been said as to what creation is and what causing one to die is,
and wherefore there is hope of bringing one again to life, it is to be understood that
creation is on account of the mercy and favour of Him (i.e. God) and causing one to
die is for this reason that if we had been like the Amshaspands, who do not die, then
Ahriman would not have mixed himself in us, but his wickedness, filth, and stench
would have ever remained. He stirs up the blood of our mixed nature and perverts
it and he thinks that he can make us non-existent. He does not know that
it is his own evil that will recoil on him. This is the cause of death. (45) Now to bring
one back to life is ordained (by God)  for this reason that we have undergone much
trouble whether in this world or in the next; hence it is necessary for him that
through His mercy and generosity, He may make us alive again. Although, in
the interval, there is nothing like death , yet He reunites (the elements) dispersed
(by death); and He raises up man and bestows on him rewards of his good action.
1. Cf. Bd2.10-11 where god tells the farohars to come down
to this world and fight with evil.
2. i.e., nothing is indestructible.
(46) And of the 21 Nasks of the Avesta which have been mentioned, (know that) Avesta
is the language of Ohrmazd, and Zand is our language, and the Pazend is this that
every one may understand what is said (in Avesta and Zand). (47) The Avesta, Zand,
and Pazend of these 21 Nasks are thus made public: The Zand and Pazend of 7
Nasks are what we have mentioned; the Zand and Pazend of 7 other Nasks are about
the proper and the improper, about what to do and what not to do, about what to
say and what not to say, about what to take and what not to take, about what to
eat and what not to eat, about what is pure and what is impure, about what to wear
and what not to wear, and the like. If we are to mention all these, there will be
no end to the book, so we make it short.
The Zand and Pazend of the seven (remaining) Nasks are about medicine and
astrology. There is much to be said on this subject.
(48) It is said that the sun revolves round the earth, and wherever the sun goes
just as in the place where we are, there are with him, the sky and the stars, whether
below the earth and on the side of the earth. It is just possible that we also may
go down the earth and may say that we are above the earth . It is so said in the
Avesta and Zand that all men who were, are, and will be, all will be fit for heaven,
and the punishment is for the soul only before the resurrection.
||1. Here the revolution of the earth and the movement of the sun are confounded. What the writer says about the antipodes is correct.|
(49) More admirable
will be this that we may send our children to school, teach them virtue, and keep
them away from evil. Now if you mark well, they still learn evil more than virtue;
but virtue is best in the presence of God, as well as in the presence of men, and vice
is worst in the presence of the Creator as well as in the presence of men. In men,
there are virtue and vice, and in the world there are virtue and vice; there are
virtue and vice in the celestial sphere, and in the spiritual existence there are heaven
and hell, (50) and we are the creatures of the Creator and we are to return to Him. Had
there been no need, the Creator would not have produced the creation, and as regards
this evil which we do not want, but (still) exists, there is a veil which our
wisdom cannot penetrate . Now, if this is the case, the work of God may be left
||1. Cf. Ferdowsi. After all the metaphysical and casuistical subtleties expended by the author on the elucidation of his subject, he at last draws a veil over it as being beyond human comprehension.|
(51) And about what has been said about doing a thing, we must do it, and
what has been said about not doing a thing, it should not be done; and what has
been said about taking something into consideration, we must consider over it; and
what has been said about not taking a thing into consideration, it should not be
taken into consideration; what has been said about speaking, we must speak out;
what has been said about not speaking, we should be silent over it; what has been
ordered to eat, we must eat; what has been not ordered to eat, we should not eat;
what has been said about wearing garments, we must put on; what has been said
about not putting them on, we must not put on, and so on. The condition is this,
that we must engage ourselves in His service.
(52) May there be greetings for, and blessings on, the pure and the good, and those who show the (true) way. May there be virtue. May it be so.
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