Zoroastrian tradition states that Zoroaster was a Prophet of ancient Iran who lived in the seventh to sixth centuries BC. His birthplace was Azerbaijan. Modern Zoroastrians dismiss their own traditions about the miraculous stories of Zoroaster and his encounters with various beasts during his infancy, such as a she-wolf accepting him amongst her cubs, a bull standing to protect him from being trampled by cattle, etc.
The vague and problematic Zoroastrian traditions state that Zoroaster was trained to be a priest – but by whom? What were the books he studied? What did he teach? This is all unclear.
Anyway, against the wishes of his parents, he left home at the age of twenty. He supposedly had left on a quest for the truth – which culminated in a vision or revelation. The story goes that Zoroaster had gone to fetch water from a nearby river for a sacred ritual. As he returned, he saw the shining figure of an angel called Vohu Mana, who led Zoroaster to the presence of Ahura Mazda and the five (or six) “Immortals,” and this is where he was taught the principles of the true or good religion. Western scholars have likened the Immortals to the angels of Christianity.
These “Immortals” are listed hereunder:
- Vohu Manah – good mind and good purpose.
- Asha Vahishta – truth and righteousness.
- Spenta Ameraiti – holy devotion, serenity, and loving-kindness.
- Khashathra Vairya – power and just rule.
- Hauravatat – wholeness, and health.
- Ameretat – long life and immortality.
After facing difficulties and the rejection of his claims, Zoroaster happened to gain a small circle of followers and disciples. It is also said that the priests of the day opposed him. What were they preaching which was contrary to him? This too is unclear.
Zoroaster died a violent death at the age of seventy-seven. One source says that he was assassinated while praying in a fire temple. Another story says that he was killed along with other priests while they were praying in the fire temple.
In summary, there is no agreement on the very details of Zoroaster himself and his life. In fact, some scholars and researchers have gone to the extent of doubting the historicity of Zoroaster altogether.
The Zoroastrian tradition surrounding Zoroaster is so problematic that contemporary Zoroastrians themselves shy away from it and deny its details. It is filled with legends and myths which are completely devoid of any substance.
It is the grace of Allāh Ta’ālā upon the Muslim Ummah that every aspect of the life of Sayyidunā Muhammad sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam has been meticulously recorded and preserved for Muslims to practice upon – happily and easily – and all with a chain of transmission tracing back to Allāh’s Messenger sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam directly.
No religion besides Islām can provide genuine, practical and logical solutions to the problems faced by humanity.
Alhamdulillāh for the blessing Islām.
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Source: The Zoroastrian Faith: Tradition & Modern Research, SA Nigosian, McGill-Queen’s University, 1993
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