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IslamisationComparative Perspectives from History$
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A. C. S. Peacock

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474417129

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417129.001.0001

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Zoroastrian Fire Temples and the Islamisation of Sacred Space in Early Islamic Iran

Zoroastrian Fire Temples and the Islamisation of Sacred Space in Early Islamic Iran

(p.102) 6 Zoroastrian Fire Temples and the Islamisation of Sacred Space in Early Islamic Iran

Andrew D. Magnusson

Edinburgh University Press

Local histories of Iranian cities from the early Islamic era are replete with accounts of fire temple desecration. Are such accounts reliable indicators of Islamisation? In other words, does the alleged violation or appropriation of sacred space indicate the spread of Islam? Or is it indicative of a deeper antagonism between Muslims and Zoroastrians that may have encouraged conversion? Much of the secondary literature presumes so. Scholars often treat these violent tales as a barometer for Muslim–Zoroastrian relations, and for Islamisation more generally.1 Yet if tales of fire temple desecration, intertwined as they often are with tales of mosque construction, seem ideally suited to explain the process of Islamisation in post-conquest Iran, it is because they were designed to do so. Medieval Muslims wrote them to explain the triumph of Islam over Zoroastrianism. For that reason, scholars should question their reliability as indicators of conversion. Tales of fi re temple desecration are not disinterested historical accounts; they are triumphal narratives of religious supersession

Keywords:   Iran, Zoroastrian, Islam, Muslims, Temple, Fire

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