This article is not in defense of Iran. It has a people and a government to defend it. This article is not to abuse or curse anyone because all have their own respect and prestige.
This article should also not be considered as an attempt to defend the Iranian government since we have had enough in this regard but this is an attempt to put a fact straight that many may have overlooked an attempt to extinguish the burning sectarian fire, which will reduce all of us to ashes one day, if we allow it to burn.
Abdullah Al-Nafisi, the academician, researcher and politician, like everyone else has said more than once during an interview and in his lectures that the Persians hate the Arabs.
I do not think this is absolutely accurate, considering that there is a category in every people that dislikes other people, one way or another, because such is the human tendency, and therefore we should not be bothered by the fact that some Arabs hate the Persians to the same extent or may be less or more.
It is also difficult to imagine the acceptance of a people believed to be a civilization, the idea of its defeat by those who consider them as invaders from the desert while they have nothing but clothes on their backs and a herd of animals to look after but this was the fate of many other peoples defeated by the Muslim Arabs.
It does not seem to matter to us or if this makes any sense between us and them. If it is true that all Iranians or most of them hate the Arabs, how can we explain their adherence to the religion of the Arab Prophet (PBUH) and their determination year after year to perform the Hajj rituals and their undiminished recognition of the favor of the Arabs and their Prophet (PBUH) and their religion, language and culture?
Al-Nafisi says in his severe attack on the Persians: “The Poetry of the Shahnameh (long epic poem) or the Book of Kings written by the Persian poet Abu Al-Qasim Al-Ferdowsi, contained shameful and humiliating poetic texts against the Arabs.”
Because I have doubt on what Al-Nafisi mentioned and because of his other repeated exaggerations, I once again referred to the copy of the Shahnameh which I have among my collections in addition to the advice from, a well-informed friend and I came to the following conclusion.
The epic Al-Ferdowsi is considered as one of the masterpieces of international literature and art, containing 60,000 verses of poetry, grammar, ethics and stories, most of which rely on ancient Iranian myths, through which Al-Ferdowsi succeeded in reviving and enriching the Persian language and literature without blaming anyone.
Al-Fath bin Ali Al-Bandari Al-Asfahani, who died in 1245, translated the epic into Arabic. His first edition was published only after 700 years in Cairo, and was reviewed and revised by Professor Abdulwahab Azzam. Re-published by Dar Suad Al-Sabah in 1993 and the eminent Egyptian Jamal Al-Ghitani commented on it and the writer Taha Nada published a valuable research on Shahnameh and then the Dar Suad Al-Sabah published the third edition in 2014.
If the words of Al-Nafisi were correct, and we doubt that very much, where were the Arab revisers and critics, and those who are hostile to Iran in Egypt and elsewhere, for nearly a century concerning those abhorrent verses, which Al-Nafisi claim to have appeared in the book of Shahnameh?
How can we accept the idea that the epic was the subject of commandment in the Arab world from the Seventh Century until today, if it already includes those derogatory verses, especially in the original copies of the Shahnameh revised by Masqout and Djalal Khaleghi-Motlagh?
What is important here is to reaffirm that stirring sectarian nationalism is not in the interest of anyone. What is the benefit for Al-Nafisi or any other person to add fuel to the fire of hatred between us and other people, especially if that hatred is based on fallacies and exaggerations?
Here we would like to congratulate the Christians, the Easterners and the Westerners on the occasion of Easter holidays, wishing them all peace and greater peace of mind.
By Ahmad Al Sarraf