Muslims constitute a majority in the Islamic Republic of Iran while Zoroastrians, Christians, Jews and Bahá'ís make up the non-Muslim minority of the nation. Iran is a predominantly Shi'ite country where Sunnis and Sufis are minority Muslim communities. The Shi'ite branch of Islam has been further divided in to several sub-sects and majority of Iranian Muslims are followers of Twelve Imams. Islam pervades public life in Iran is evident from an Islamic dress code for women, the existence of numerous mosques across the country, prayer rooms in public places to trains halting to offer namaz (prayers), all glimpses of the Islamic way of life are visible across the country. The Sassanian Kings who once ruled over Iran recognized Zoroastrianism as the official religion of the country. All this changed after the Arabs invaded Iran and many of the Zoroastrians were converted to Islam. A majority of those who did not convert migrated to India while others chose to stay behind and practice their faith. Muslims today dominate the religious make up of the country and are divided in to three main sects; Shias, Sunnis and Sufis.
The post-revolution government in Iran restricted freedom of religion. The Constitution declared that the "official religion of Iran is Islam". "The Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran must be an Islamic army" However, members of religious minority communities sometimes served in the military. It also stated that "other Islamic denominations are to be accorded full respect," and recognizes Zoroastrians, Christians, and Jews, the country's pre-Islamic religions, as the only "protected religious minorities." The primacy of Islam affects all sectors of society. For example, non-Muslim owners of grocery shops were required to indicate their religious affiliation on the fronts of their shops. Individuals of all religions are required to observe Islamic codes on dress and gender segregation in public. Individuals of minority religions are prohibited from serving in senior administrative positions in many government ministries. The government generally allowed recognized religious minorities to conduct religious education of their adherents, although it restricted this right considerably in some cases. Members of religious minorities were allowed to vote, but they could not run for President.
Muslims observe five formal prayers each day. The timings of these prayers are spaced fairly evenly throughout the day, so that one is constantly reminded of God and given opportunities to seek his guidance and forgiveness. Muslims observe the formal prayers at the following times:
Fajr (pre-dawn): This prayer starts off the day with the remembrance of God; it is performed before sunrise.
zohr (noon): After the day's work has begun, one breaks shortly after noon to again remember God and seek His guidance.
Asr (afternoon): In the late afternoon, people are usually busy wrapping up the day's work, getting kids home from school, etc. It is an important time to take a few minutes to remember God and the greater meaning of our lives.
Isha (evening): Before retiring for the night, Muslims again take time to remember God's presence, guidance, mercy, and forgiveness.
In Muslim communities, people are reminded of the daily prayer times through the calling of the Azan For those in Muslim-minority.
In ancient times, one merely looked at the sun to determine the various times of day for prayer. In more modern times, daily prayer schedules are often printed which precisely pinpoint the beginning of each prayer time.
When a Muslim is near death, those around him or her are called upon to give comfort, and reminders of God's mercy and forgiveness. They may recite verses from Qur'an, give physical comfort, and encourage the dying one to recite words of remembrance and prayer. It is recommended, if at all possible, for a Muslim's last words to be the declaration of faith: "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah." Upon death, those with the deceased are encouraged to remain calm, pray for the departed, and begin preparations for burial. The eyes of the deceased should be closed, and the body covered temporarily with a clean sheet. It is forbidden for those in mourning to excessively wail, scream, or thrash about. Grief is normal when one has lost a loved one, and it is natural and permitted to cry. One should strive to be patient, and remember that Allah is the One who gives life and takes it away, at a time appointed by him. It is not for us to question his wisdom. Muslims strive to bury the deceased as soon as possible after death, avoiding the need for embalming or otherwise disturbing the body of the deceased. An autopsy may be performed, if necessary, but should be done with the outmost respect for the dead.
Animals slaughtered in the name of anyone but "Allah". All that has been dedicated or offered in sacrifice to an idolatrous alter or saint or a person considered being "divine".
Carrion (carcasses of dead animals which were not killed by men or pets trained for purpose, like dogs or falcons.
An animal that has been strangled, beaten (to death), killed by a fall, gored(to death), or savaged by a beast of prey (unless finished off by a human).
Intoxicants and alcoholic beverages.
A Hijab is a veil that covers the head and chest, which is sometimes worn by some Muslim women beyond the age of puberty in the presence of adult males outside of their immediate family as a form of modest attire. According to some interpretations, it may also be worn in the presence of adult non-Muslim females outside of their immediate family. The Hijab can further denote any head, face or body covering worn by Muslim women that similarly conforms to a certain standard of modesty. It can also be used to refer to the seclusion of women from men in the public sphere, or it may embody a metaphysical dimension – Al-Hijab refers to "the veil which separates man or the world from God". In fact the word "veil" derives from a Latin word which means much the same as Hijab. Most often, the Hijab is worn by Muslim women as a symbol of modesty and privacy. The Quran admonishes Muslim women to dress modestly and cover their breasts and genitals. Most Islamic legal systems define this type of modest dressing as covering everything except the face and hands in public. The Quran mandates Hijab for both men and women, the word "Hijab" does not mean headscarf, but cover. The Quran states "tell the believing men to lower their gaze (in the presence of women), this is better for them.
In Iran, there is a month is called Ramadan. During Ramadan, in addition to taking special care to avoid certain sins mentioned in the Qur'an, Muslims must abstain from food or drink of any kind during daylight hours, a long stretch in the middle of the summer. The first call to prayer arrives shortly after 4am and the final call just after 8pm. The rules must be abided by throughout, and the summer doesn't make the job any easier. In this month people are not allow to eat or drink anything in public.
Moharam is the first month of the Islamic calendar. The Shiie Muslims commemorate the Battle of Karbala and consider that as a month of sadness and mourning. Ashurah is the day Hosseinn ebn Ali, the grandson of the prophet Mohammad was martyred along with his family members and friends in the Battle of Karbala. This month is period of intense grief and mourning. Clergymen give sermons with themes of Hossein’s personality and position in Islam, and the history of his uprising. They retell the Battle of Karbala and speak about the pain and sorrow endured by Hossein and his family. Many people congregate together in the mosques for chest beating and mourning .They show their devotion to Imam Hossein by Lamenting and grieving to the tune of beating drums, sound of bugles and chants of “Ya Hossein.” Some people sacrifice a sheep and cow in Ashura.
Had a great time in Tehran with Ahmad Janati-he took us all over Tehran. It was an amazing experience. The people were so nice-even for a big city such as Tehran. Ahmad accommodated all of our requests for the things we were interested in seeing-Shah's...More
At the beginning we were scared to have a guide driving the two of us for two weeks. What if we don't like each other? It turned out that Ahmad is an excellent guide not because he possesses a lot of knowledge about his country...More
The tour with Ahmad was part of a three week tour around ( part ) of the country. We have been in many places and met nice people. I have enjoyed my time. He knows the country and want to share it. Great ! I...More
Thank you for the best trip of my life, Ahmad and Iran!! Iran was at once everything I had hoped and not at all what I expected. It is an exceptionally beautiful country with an equally warm and inviting population. The delicious food doesn't hurt...More
Sadly Americans can no longer visit Iran but if we could we would return immediately and of course spend our trip with Ahmad. He has extensive and thorough understanding of both the history and modern circumstances of this fascinating country. Ahmad is passionate about his...More
Kerman, Yazd, Shiraz, Isfahan, Kashan and Qom: for two weeks we were regaled with many insights into the fabulous centuries-old history of Iran. From the roots of the Zoroastrianism to the splendors of Persepolis, a journey through the country’s history is given more meaning when...More