persian gulf

Persian Gulf 

The Persian Gulf is an extension of the Arabian Sea, positioned in the heart of the Middle East. 

It connects with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea through the Strait of Hormuz, and it’s approximately 615 mi (990 km) long. 

The Persian Gulf is certainly one of the most vital bodies of water on the planet, as gas and oil from Middle Eastern countries flow through it, supplying much of the world’s energy needs. 

Over many centuries the Persian Gulf has been a flash point for controversy. In 1990, after Iraq invaded Kuwait, an international coalition led by the United States drove Iraq out, but as they left Iraq’s military set fire to hundreds of Kuwati oil fields, causing a major environmental disaster in the area. In 2003, tension in the gulf increased again as U.S. and British forces invaded Iraq, and powerful naval forces from both countries remain in its waters, mostly to protect the flow of oil. 

map of the persian gulf

Taq-e Bostan or Taq-i-Bustan (Persian: طاق بستان‎)

Taqwasân or Taq-e Bostan or Taq-i-Bustan (Persian: طاق بستان‎) is a series of large rock relief from the era of Sassanid Empire of Persia, the Iranian dynasty which ruled western Asia from 226 to 650 AD. This example of Sassanid art is located 5 km from the city center of Kermanshah in western Iran. It is located in the heart of the Zagros mountains, where it has endured almost 1,700 years of wind and rain.
The carvings, some of the finest and best-preserved examples of Persian sculpture under the Sassanids, include representations of the investitures of Ardashir II (379–383) and Shapur III (383–388). Like other Sassanid symbols, Taq-e Bostan and its relief patterns accentuate power, religious tendencies, glory, honor, the vastness of the court, game and fighting spirit, festivity, joy, and rejoicing.
Sassanid kings chose a beautiful setting for their rock reliefs along an historic Silk Road caravan route waypoint and campground. The reliefs are adjacent a sacred spring that empties into a large reflecting pool at the base of a mountain cliff.


Taq-e Bostan and its rock relief are one of the 30 surviving Sassanid relics of the Zagros mountains. According to Arthur Pope, the founder of Iranian art and archeology Institute in the USA, “art was characteristic of the Iranian people and the gift which they endowed the world with.”
Carvings description

Taq-e Bostan and its rock reliefs comprise two big and small arches. They illustrate the crowning ceremonies of Ardashir I and his son, Shapur I, Shapur II and Khosrau II. They also depict the hunting scenes of Khosrau II.
The coronation ceremony of Ardashir I

The first scene outside the arch, crowning ceremony of Ardashir I
The first Taq-e Bostan relief, and apparently the oldest, is a rock relief of the crowning ceremony of Ardashir I and his son Shapur I. It includes the figures of four people with swords, helmets, and lotus, the latter being the flower cultivated extensively by Iranians.
Researchers have long debated the identities of the figures in this relief, although most are agreed on the identity of the fallen figure. He is Artabanus IV, the last Parthian king whose rule terminated in 226 AD. This rock relief does not depict a scene of the coronation ceremony of two Sassanid kings. Rather, it depicts the demise of the Parthian dynasty, where Artabanus’s figure has fallen under the feet of new rulers. Another view maintains that the fallen figure is Haftanbokht mentioned in Karnamak-i Ardashir, and the right figure is Kayus of Kermanshah who was reinstated as a local governor by Ardashir (the figure in the middle).
It is now believed that the figures represent Ardashir I and his son Shapur I, stomping over the dead body of Artabanus IV, delighted and intoxicated with victory over their enemy. Izad, the Zoroastrian name for God, stands behind Ardeshir as a symbol of protection.


A closer look at the rock relief shows how meticulously Sassanid artists created this scene. The figure standing to the right wears a jagged crown. He has turned to the middle figure and holds out a ribbon-decked royal ring. The middle figure wears a helmet. Both figures have robes that cover their bodies to the knees, though the robes differ in detail with the middle figure’s robe showing a rounded hem. The middle figure’s helmet is also round and allows his curly hair to fall from beneath. This differs again from the crown worn by the figure on the right. Behind the middle figure, another figure stands in a halo of light around his head. This figure represents Izad Bahram, who, in all the extraordinary adventures of Ardashir, performs the role of guardian and guiding angel. Previously, Izad Mithra (Mehr) had been the guardian god of the Parthian military. The feet of the Izad are noticeably smaller than the other figures. He wears delicate and elegant shoes. His small heels rest on a lotus, indicating the artists intention to create soft and tender platform for his delicate shoes.
Relief panel measured on 15.08.07 is approx. 4.07m wide and 3.9m high.
[edit]Crowning ceremony of Shapur III
The smaller arch bears two Pahlavi scriptures and carvings of Shapur II, or Shapur the Great, and his son Shapur II facing each other. The smaller cave within the arch’s vestibule measures 6 x 5 x 3.6 meters. It was believed built during the reign of Shapur III. Some put the date of its completion at 385 AD. The Pahlavi inscriptions clearly introduces the two figures. The translation of their text follows:
Shapur II inscriptions :
This is the figure of the good worshiper of Izad (God), Shapur, the king of Iran and Aniran (non-Iran), divine race from God. Son of the good worshipper of God, Hormizd, the king of Iran and Aniran, divine race, grandson of Nersi, the Shahanshah (king of kings).
Shapur III scripture:
This is the figure of the good worshiper of Izad (God), Shapur, the king of Iran and Aniran, divine race from God. Son of the good worshiper of God, Shapur, the king of Iran and Aniran, from divine race.
The figures of the two kings have been carved in silhouette, looking at each other. The each figure stands 2.97 meters. Shapur II is on the right and Shapur III is on the left. Each figure’s hands are placed on a long straight sword which point downwards. The right hand is holding the grip and the left rests on the sheath. Both figures wear loose trousers, necklaces, curled hair, and a pointed beard ending in a ring.
[edit]Crowning ceremony of Khosrow Parviz

Khosrow Parviz is standing here. On his left is Ahura Mazda, on his right is Anahita, and below is, Khosrau dressed as a mounted Persian knight riding on his favourite horse, Shabdiz.
One of the most impressive reliefs inside the largest grotto or ivan is the gigantic equestrian figure of the Sassanid king Khosrau II (591-628 CE) mounted on his favorite charger, Shabdiz. Both horse and rider are arrayed in full battle armor.

       

Ancient Sasanid Cataphract Uther Oxford 2003 06 2(1)
The arch rests on two columns that bear delicately carved patterns showing the tree of life or the sacred tree. Above the arch and located on two opposite sides are figures of two winged angles with diadems.
Around the outer layer of the arch, a conspicuous margin has been carved, jagged with flower patterns. These patterns are also found in the official costumes of Sassanid kings.
Equestrian relief panel measured on 16.08.07 approx. 7.45m across by 4.25 m high
[edit]Scene of boar and deer hunting
On the right wall of the arch, there is a picture of the king’s hunting measuring 3.8 X 5.7 meters. From the time of Cyrus the Great to the end of Sassanid period, hunting was one of the most favourite hobbies of Iranian kings. Therefore scenes of hunting are frequently found next to those of crownings.
There are two hunting scenes on each side of the ivan. One scene depicts the imperial boar hunt, and in a similar spirit, the other scene shows the king stalking deer. Five elephants flush out the fleeing boars from a marshy lake for the king who stands poised with bow and arrow in hand while being serenaded by female musicians. In the next scene, another boat carries female harpists and shows that the king has killed two large boars. The next boat shows the king standing with a semicircular halo around his head and a loose bow in his hand, meaning the hunt is over. Under this picture, elephants are retrieving the game with their trunks and putting them on their backs.
These royal hunting scenes are among the most vivid and highly narrative murals immortalized in stone.
Panel depicting boar hunt measured on 16.08.07 as approx. 6.0 m wide x 4.25 m high
Panel depicting deer hunt measured on 16.08.07 as approx. 5.9 m wide x 4.35 m high
[edit]Dowlatshah Relief
Jumping 1300 years in time the upper relief shows the 19th century Qajar Governor in Kermanshah city, Dowlatshah carving a relief in a big arch.
[edit]Taq-e Bostan Photos

Female musicians accompanying king during hunting

 

Capital of a Sasanian column in Taq-e Bostan complex with geometrical design

 

Head part of a column with figural decoration of a Sasanian king

 

Detail from a Sassanian relief on the incoronation of Ardashir showing a defeated Julian.

 

relief of Fath Ali Shah , the Qajar king, added to the ancient complex in 19th century.

[edit]See also

Kermanshah
Sassanid architecture
Naqsh-e Rustam
Bishapur
[edit]References

Dr. Ali Akbar Sarfaraz, Dr. Bahman Firuzmandi “Mad, Hakhamanishi, Ashkani, Sasani” Marlik, 1996. ISBN 964-90495-1-7
Gardeshgary magazine Vol. 13, September 2002
Iranian Cultural News Agency (CHN)
[edit]External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Taq-e Bostan
Ernst Herzfeld Papers, Series 5: Drawings and Maps, Records of Taq-e Bostan Site Collections Search Center, S.I.R.I.S., Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Photos of Taq-e Bostan
Kermanshah and Taq-e Bostan
Photosynth of Taq-e Bostan
Coordinates: 34°23′15″N 47°07′56″E
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Kermanshah Province
Capital
Kermanshah

Counties and Cities
Dalahu County
Kerend-e Gharb Gahvareh
Eslamabad-e Gharb County
Eslamabad-e Gharb Homeyl
Gilan-e Gharb County
Gilan-e Gharb Sarmast
Harsin County
Harsin Bisotun
Javanrud County
Javanrud
Kangavar County
Kangavar
Kermanshah County
Kermanshah Halashi Kuzaran Robat
Paveh County
Paveh Bayangan Nowdeshah Nowsud
Qasr-e Shirin County
Qasr-e Shirin Sumar
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Ravansar
Sahneh County
Sahneh Mian Rahan
Salas-e Babajani County
Tazehabad Ozgoleh
Sarpol-e Zahab County
Sarpol-e Zahab
Sonqor County
Sonqor Satar
Sights
Kohneh Bridge Behistun Inscription Taq-e Bostan Temple of Anahita Dinavar Ganj Dareh Essaqwand Rock Tombs Sorkh Deh chamber tomb Malek Tomb Hulwan Median dakhmeh(Darbad,Sahneh) Parav cave Do-Ashkaft Cave Tekyeh-e Moavenalmolk Dokan Davood Inscription,Sar Pol-e-Zahab Tagh e gara,Patagh pass Sarab Niloufar Ghoori Ghale Cave Khaja Barookh’s House Chiyajani Tappe Statue of Herakles in Behistun complex Emad al doleh Mosque Tekyeh-e Beglarbagi Hunters cave,Behistun_complex Jamé Mosque of Kermanshah Godin Tepe Bas relief of Gotarzes II of Parthia Anobanini bas relief,Sarpol-e-Zahab

the life of imam hussein

Birth

On the third of Sha’ban in the year 4 A.H. the city ofMedina witnessed the birth of a boy in the house of Lady Fatimah (PBUH) and Imam Ali (PBUH); he was later nicknamed the “Master of Martyrs.” This newly born baby was the second son of a family whom the Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP) saluted by the name of “Ahl al-Bayt” (people of the house of the Prophet). They were referred to as Ahl al-Bayt after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) received the verse of Tat’hir (Purification) (The Holy Quran, 33:33). His mother was Lady Fatimah (PBUH), one of the greatest women in history, whose deep knowing, morality, purity, and other great characteristics are well known to all, a mother whose rank and status is described by the Holy Quran in a whole chapter.

 

His father, Imam Ali (PBUH), hugged his newborn second son in his arms. Imam Ali (PBUH) was the first person who became Muslim, most knowledgeable in religion, and most eloquent in the Arab language. As his exceptional record of self-sacrifice and courage in defending the religion of Allah (SWT) was passed down with the rise and expansion of Islam. He was the one whom Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) constantly announced as his successor by the command of Allah (SWT). 

 

Naming

On such an auspicious day, Imam Ali (PBUH) took his son to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), as was the custom of respect, in order for a name to be chosen for his newborn son, just as he had done for his first son. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) named him ?Hussain? by the order of Allah (SWT). Hussain is the Arabic equivalent of Shubayr in Hebrew. Shubayr was the name of the second son of Haroun/Aaron, the successor of Musa/Moses (PBUH).

 

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) once informed Imam Ali (PBUH) about the similarity found between Muhammad and Musa, Ali and Haroun, Shubbar and Hassan, Shubayr and Hussain: “O Ali, your status with respect to mine is equivalent to the status of Haroun with respect to Musa, except there will be no prophet after me.”

 

The Prophet’s flower

Hussain (PBUH) spent his childhood with Lady Fatimah (PBUH), Imam Ali (PBUH), and especially with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). The love and affection Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) had towards Hussain (PBUH) was so unique that all the companions were aware of it, had frequently seen its manifestation, and had heard of it repeatedly. Moreover, historians have recorded incidents and narrations in this respect. In one account it has been said that the Prophet’s prostration took longer than usual in his prayer. People came to the Prophet and asked, “Were you receiving a revelation or order from Allah during prostration?” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) replied, “No, my son Hussain had climbed onto my back; I waited until he wished to come down.” This is an example showing how the best creature of Allah (SWT) treated Hussain (PBUH) while he was in the best state of worship.  

 

The companions had seen Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) repeatedly put Hassan and Hussain (PBUT) on his shoulders and play with them. At other times he would kiss Hussain (PBUH) and say, “Hussain is from me, and I am from Hussain. May Allah love him who loves Hussain.” In other traditions the Prophet would say, “Hassan and Hussain (PBUT) are my two aromatic flowers from this world.”

 

Nonetheless, most people knew that the Prophet’s love for his two grandchildren, especially for Hussain (PBUH) was not a usual love of a grandfather for his grandchild. According to the Holy Quran, the Prophet’s (PBUH&HP) actions and words are apart from his desires: “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow …” (The Holy Quran, 33:21) On the other hand, although Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) had other adopted daughters and a son, the specific affection and recommendations were only shown towards Hassan and Hussain (PBUT).

 

Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH&HP) recommendations and affections for Hussain (PBUH) were in fact portraying an important fact. He would repeatedly inform people that salvation and prosperity can only be found through the friendship and love of Imam Hussain (PBUH). Umar Ibn Khattab narrates from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): “Hassan and Hussain are masters of the youth in heaven. Whosoever loves them has loved me, and whosoever has animosity with them, is my enemy.” In another account the Holy Prophet has also said, “You came to awareness by me; you found the right path and were guided by Ali; you were given blessings through Hassan; but your eternal salvation is with Hussain. Be aware that Hussain is a door from the doors of heaven. Whosoever has animosity towards him can never enter heaven.”

 

In the mirror of Allah’s book

Imam Hussain (PBUH) was still a child when several verses of the Holy Quran were revealed either about or referring to him. One of those verses is referred to as the verse of Mubahilah (3:61). On the day of Mubahilah when a spiritual contest between Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and the Christians of Najran was set up to invoke the curse of Allah (SWT) on the liars, Hussain (PBUH) and his family were the only ones accompanying the Prophet. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) had orders from Almighty Allah (SWT) through the verse of Mubahilah to take Hassan and Hussain (PBUT) as his children with him.

 

Hussain (PBUH) was one of the five people in regards to whom the verse of Tat’hir (Purification) was revealed. He, his father, brother, and mother were under the Prophet’s cloak when Allah (SWT) revealed to His Messenger: “Verily Allah desires to remove all kinds of uncleannessfrom only you, O Ahl al-Bayt (people of the house), and to definitely purify you.” (The Holy Quran, 33:33) This verse of the Holy Quran is clear proof of the infallibility of this family and their separation from all sins and mistakes.

 

In another verse, Allah (SWT) commands all Muslims to love those closely related to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): “Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives?” (The Holy Quran, 42:32). When the companions asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) who these “near relatives” were, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) replied: “They are Ali, Fatimah and their two children.”

 

Years of youth

Unfortunately, the sweet years of Hussain’s childhood were soon over. He was about seven years old when the Prophet departed from this world, after having said his final words about his Ahl al-Bayt. Alas the Islamic world mourned.

 

The Prophet’s burial ceremony was not over yet, when the conspiracies were applied to rob the caliphate. People ignored all the numerous commandments and recommendations the Holy Prophet had made in regards to his successor. The great event of Ghadir had been veiled by negligence and disregard, and despite Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH&HP) frequent emphasis on Ali (PBUH) as his successor, his right for Islamic governorship was usurped. Even Fadak, a fertile land given by the Prophet to his daughter, was seized from the Prophet’s progeny by the government. The Prophet’s basil witnessed the harms and injuries caused upon his mother over the conflicts of allegiance, and as a result, lost his mother at the age of eight because of the crisis. The loss of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Imam Hussain?s (PBUH) mother on the one hand, and the oppression upon Imam Hussain?s (PBUH) father on the other hand, in addition to the pressures he faced from the government, were bothering Hussain’s (PBUH) clean soul. This period coincided with the three caliphates’ era.

 

During this time Hussain (PBUH), as a Muslim and a follower, followed the path of Ali (PBUH) and was determined to defend truth with any opportunity he received, even though he was in his youth. He would warn people about the alterations made to Islam after the demise of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). In the best of manners Hussain (PBUH), his father, and brother would express their objection to the alterations rulers of their time had made to the religion. In one of the cases for example, the third Caliph had exiled Abu Dhar, a close companion of the Prophet, for the ?wrongdoing? of expressing his complaints about the Caliph’s deviation from the path of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Although the Caliph had banned all from bidding farewell to Abu Dhar, Imam Ali, Hassan, and Hussain (PBUT) all went to bid their farewells to Abu Dhar to express their objection.Upon departing, Hussain (PBUH) turned to Abu Dhar and said,

 

“Dear Uncle, the Almighty Lord is powerful and able. He can change everything that has happened to you. These people seized your comfort, world, and life. Yet, you protected your religion from their deviations; truly you are not in need of this world and the people dependant upon this world. Their world has no value in your eyes, even though they are in great need of your way in life. Strengthen your heart and refrain from greediness and lowliness. Do not fear, and seek refuge in Allah, for perseverance is a sign of faithfulness and greatness.”

 

Hussain (PBUH) supporter of father

Hussain (PBUH) was about 32 when authority over Muslims was handed back to its rightful owner, as people paid their allegiance to Ali (PBUH). After some time, Imam Ali (PBUH) migrated to Kufah with his sons, and therein established the new capital of the Islamic government. During the span of his father’s rule, Hussain (PBUH) was a true supporter and close assistant to his Imam and father in all political and military stages. He showed his utmost respect to his father and remained obedient to his commands at all times.

 

Hussain (PBUH) was trained and raised by the greatest defender of Islam; he had learned courage and bravery from his father; and he was seriously involved in the three wars during his father’s Caliphate. In the battle of Jamal, Hussain (PBUH) was responsible for commanding the left side of the army of Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH). He also achieved the first victory for the army of Ali (PBUH) in the battle of Siffin, where he and his companions freed the Furat (Euphrates) River.(2) Moreover, his role as a witness in the Hakamiyah arbitration between Muawiyah and his father, Imam Ali (PBUH), is clear proof of his active participation in the society. 

 

Hussain (PBUH) a follower of his brother

After the martyrdom of Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH), Imam Hassan (PBUH), by the will of Allah (SWT) and the recommendations of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), became the Imam and leader of the Muslims. He took responsibility in leading the Islamic societyand in preaching the religion of Allah (SWT).

 

As in the case of his father, Hussain (PBUH), like a true follower, continued to obey and respect his brother, while remaining firmly obedient in even the smallest matters. His manners and obedience towards his brother was so exemplary that historians have acknowledged and recorded many of the cases. In one example, they have recorded a narration from Imam Baqir (PBUH) as follows: “Due to the high respect that Imam Hussain (PBUH) held for his brother, he refrained from walking ahead of or talking before his brother, Imam Hassan (PBUH).

 

As mentioned, Hussain (PBUH) was always in a state of obedience and support to Imam Hassan?s (PBUH) actions in political and social matters, especially concerning peace treaty with Mu’awiyah. Despite the unfaithfulness of all Muslims towards Imam Hassan (PBUH), Hussain, the son of Ali (PBUT), a known character in the world of Islam, defended Imam Hassan’s (PBUH) decision on the peace treaty. Imam Hussain (PBUH) believed peace was the key factor in Islam’s maintenance.

 

After the peace treaty, Hussain (PBUH) and his brother moved from Kufah to Medina, their birth place and city, in which the Prophet’s shrine was built. InMedina, they continued to educate, enlighten, interpret, and explain the commandments of Allah (SWT) to the people. Not long after, however, Imam Hassan (PBUH) was poisoned and martyred by the order of Mu’awiyah. As Imam Hassan (PBUH) departed this world, the divine position of Imamate was once again passed to the most deserving. His brother Hussain (PBUH) became the next Imam in Islam.