A Literary and Historical Background of Martyrdom in Iran
- Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
- Duke University Press
- Volume 29, Number 3, 2009
- pp. 528-543
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Martyrdom in Iran and the Middle East is a phenomenon that has been subject to a plethora of religious exegesis. However, scholars, often not having prescribed to the Aristotelian notion of poetics, have not only ignored the literary aspects of this phenomenon in the Middle East but have also failed to realize the poetics that exist within the parameters of religious and Koranic exigencies of martyrdom. This article summarizes and creates reference points for the morphology of a contemporary phenomenon, which finds its prototype not only in the tragic events of Karbala but also in literary occasions that long preceded it in Iran. This paradigm is found to be quite sufficient when dealing with martyrdom in Iran, which with the onslaught of the Safavids was provided with the proverbial “trigger” for its already long-standing literary canons. The importance of a lover-beloved relationship in accordance with a martyr’s view of self as pertains to his or her actions in the face of God, country, and man under the rubric of some historical and literary events and productions throughout Iranian history is also epmhasized.