Zoroastrianism is defined as a monotheistic pre-Islamic religion that emerged in ancient Persia around the 6th century BC. Established by the Persian prophet Zoroaster (also known as Zartosht or Zarathustra),...
Understanding Zoroastrianism provides insights into the religious and philosophical foundations that influenced later Abrahamic religions and sheds light on a rich cultural and spiritual heritage.
Here are some of the internet’s most asked questions about the religion:
What is Zoroastrianism?
Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions, founded by the prophet Zoroaster (or Zarathustra) in ancient Persia (modern-day Iran).
Who is the main deity in Zoroastrianism?
The central deity is Ahura Mazda, the supreme god of wisdom, who represents all that is good.
What are the holy scriptures of Zoroastrianism?
The Avesta, which includes the Gathas (sacred hymns) attributed to Zoroaster himself, is the primary collection of religious texts.
What are the core beliefs of Zoroastrianism?
Zoroastrianism emphasizes a dualistic cosmology of good versus evil, where individuals must choose the path of truth and righteousness (asha) against the forces of chaos (druj).
What is the significance of fire in Zoroastrian rituals?
Fire, representing truth and the divine light of Ahura Mazda, plays a central role in worship and is maintained in fire temples.
Who are the Faravahar and what do they symbolize?
The Faravahar is a symbol often associated with Zoroastrianism. It represents the human soul and its connection to the divine, emphasizing the religion’s dualistic beliefs.
How do Zoroastrians perceive the afterlife?
Upon death, the soul crosses the Chinvat Bridge, leading either to heaven (for righteous souls) or hell (for wicked souls), depending on one’s deeds in life.
What is the festival of Nowruz?
Nowruz, the Persian New Year, is an ancient Zoroastrian festival marking the spring equinox and symbolizing rebirth and renewal.
Why is Zoroastrianism often referred to as the first monotheistic religion?
Zoroastrianism introduced concepts like a single supreme deity and judgment after death, predating Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
What is the current state of Zoroastrianism?
While once the dominant religion of Persia, Zoroastrianism has diminished over centuries, especially after the Islamic conquest of Persia. Today, Zoroastrian communities exist primarily in India (Parsis) and Iran, with smaller diasporas worldwide.