Rafed English

Supremacy of Religion and Political Power

Ardshir was a descendant of Sassan who was a priest, and as such in his psychological, hereditary and personality make up, it asserted decisive influence so that at the assumption of power he decided to establish a government on the basis of religion, and make that religion the state religion of the country so that the two pillars of power, politico-military administration and religion should form as the foundation of his rule. Whether this concept originated from a personal inspiration of Ardshir attributable to descent from a priest, or whether it was a social dictate of the time which his observations led him to believe and which would make his rule smoother, is not an easy question to answer.

What is certain, however, is that, though in the Achaemenid period a religion existed, yet a religious freedom existed in the whole of the Achaemenid empire, each group practising its own religion. Though the prevalent religion was Zoroastrianism, yet alongside of it Judaism and some other local faiths also existed. Christianity had not till then made its appearance. It we were to regard Sabean as an ancient faith, it, too, existed in the region of Syria and Phoenicia. During the Achaemenid period there was no religion as the state religion, although the priests were regarded as a distinguished class, yet they had no official recognition. During the Ashkani period, too, the position was the same.

Adapted from the book: "Background of the Birth of Islam" by: "S. T. H. Khwarazmi"

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