Perceptions, Beliefs and Values

    • Symbols:  An important symbol for this culture and what it means or entitles

 

Coat of Arms: Iran’s coat of arms symbolizes the five principles of Islam. The centered sword represents the country’s strength.

(World atlas,2016)

 

  1.  Numbers: Good numbers, bad numbers, luck numbers. Find out why.  The women’s parents were obliged to prepare and send cloths and other baby items. The seventh month was normally designated for this purpose. Number seven so precious to the ancient Zoroastrians was regarded the lucky number and normally seven sets of cloths, socks, hats for boys and small scarves for girls, diapers, bibs etc. were made and send for the baby. (Price, 2001)
    •  Superstitions: What type of superstitions are valid in this culture? Where do they come from?
  2. Sneezing: When someone sneezes, we usually say  “Sabr umad” which literally means “patience has arrived”. This means that it’s better to stop any ongoing actions or decisions and to give a little time for consideration and patience! (Shirin, 2015)
  3. The palm of your hand: If the palm of your right hand feels itchy , it means that you will soon earn some money. If it is your left, then you will lose some money. (Shirin, 2015)
  4. Staying inside their houses on the 13th of the Iranian new year (Shirin, 2015)
    • Colors: Are there any colors that are important? Why? What do they mean?
  5. Green stands for vitality, growth and prosperity. Green color represents Islam as it is believed to be a favorite color of Prophet Muhammad and his daughter, Fatima. Green is also mentioned several times in the Quran, in relation to paradise.
  6. White represents honesty, purity and peace
  7. Red symbolizes valour, sacrifice and bloodshed by the martyrs for the Iran’s freedom (Iran flag, 2002)
    • Credibility: Who is given credibility? Why?

Most of Iranians give credibility to Allah and his representatives, because the majority of their population are Muslims.

    • Food: What is considered as an important ingredient or a way of cooking? Why?

Dried limes, green herbs, rose water and rose petals, saffron,  sumac. All of these ingredients are used to give a great and exotic taste to Iranian food.

(Shafia, 2013)

 

We picked 5 value topics from Hofestede´s list bellow to talk about Iranian values:

•      Evil vs. Good

•      Dangerous vs. Safe

•      Ugly vs. beautiful

•      Abnormal vs. normal

•      Irrational vs. rational

•      Dirty vs. clean

•      Decent vs. indicent

•      Unnatural vs. natural

•      Moral vs. inmoral

 

How these values are represented in Iran? What beliefs are those values based on? Where do they come from? How do these examples contrast or not with Mexican culture?

Evil vs Good.

Iran, being and Islamic nation, finds most of their common values, based in the Islamic religion. According to the Islamic Holy Book, the Quran, the philosophy of good and evil is based on the nature of man. It has cautioned man to always be virtuous and avoid vices, the knowledge of both being inherent in him and not imposed from outside his personality.

According to Islam, the highest good is the belief in the unity and providence of Allah.  When the Holy Prophet Muhammad was asked which act is the best, his reply was that the belief in Allah is the only act that can be described as good. On the other hand, when asked about the most heinous sin in the eyes of Allah, he replied that it is the act of setting up another god beside Allah. Evil, cruelty and falsehood are as a result of man’s submission to his immodest desires and everyone holds them to be undesirable.

This is why their actions are ruled by God´s willing, cause if they act according to their god, they are being good people, but if they act according to their will, desire, and as Linked In (2015) says, their “Immodest desires”, that´s where the evil will reside, so they avoid acting like that so they are not considered evil. But they also believe people who act not according to their god, are evil people, and defending their God´s will is the good, that is why they find good in wars that defend against the evil, the one´s who are against or not with Allah.  This values are represented by their most significant virtues that lead their way to goodness, which are charity and philantropy, forgiveness, tolerance, honesty, kindness and leniency, kind treatment to animals, justice, fulfillment of promise, modesty and humility, decent speech, trustworthiness, anger management, anger management, sincerity and respecting the elders.

In contrast with Mexican culture, I think it´s a little bit similar to what happens with the Holy Bible and what our Christian God says. The bible, God, and the entire Catholic church have found rules and behaviors on what is good and evil. That´s why we believe in women as beings that should be pure, submisive, people that should wait… And we find evil and represent evil also by women who don´t wait, who are sexually free or active, and who are not submisive to men. Also, many of their virtues, are shared with the catholic religion.

Dangerous vs. Safe

Since we are talking about actions, values, virtues and paths to the good and the evil, their dangerous and safe perceptions and values are based of the “fear of their God”.  For them, being safe, means to follow Allah´s path, philosophy, rules, behavior, then, they will cultivate a safe and beatifull after life, if not, if they are hipocrite with their religion, if they commit acts punished by Allah like suicide or abortion under not permmited situations, for example, the worst afterlife is awaiting them, and there is where they find danger. For example, they find safer to go to war by defending Allah´s vision, than not following Allah´s vision and not defending it, that would be more dangerous in their consideration.

As we can see, the first point, this one and the fourth one, are really related. All of them are related, but this three have really marked values into following the path of goodness traced by Allah in their holy book. In contrast with Mexican culture, we also have this catholic believe that if we behave in a “right” way, we will go to heaven, that means Paradise, and if not, we will go to hell, but we don´t share this same idea of the fearing of God, we are used to believe in God´s mercy and forgiveness.

Decent vs. Indecent

In Muslim tradition, it is considered indecent for them, but mostly for woman to show the human body. It is required to be modest with the body, plus is not only considered indecent to show it, it is also immoral and unlawful. Jenkins (2014) says:

Muslim men and women are both told in the Qur’an to lower their gaze (avoid looking lustfully), and guard their modesty (refrain from indecent behavior). (24:30 -31). As Soyut Cebir put it, why do you want to hug the opposite gender? Most men, even though it’s not readily admitted don’t mind hugging women because it’s the easiest way to get a ‘feel’, It’s the easiest, and most common form of social tradition where it’s taken advantage of here in the west. It goes without saying we are referring to non-related women.
While Men and women in Islam are required to be courteous, kind, and compassionate to one another. The Qur’an also lays down guidance as to how this is to be carried out while maintaining a sense of modesty.

In contrast to Mexican culture, it is also expected to not be that “show off” with the opposite sex in public, but this “limits” are clearly less strict than theirs. Also, this Islamic behavior is not only expected in public, but also, there are some rules of behavior for women and men being alone.

Ugly vs. Beautiful

Physical beauty by itself has little worth and is given no significance in Islam if it does not accompany inner beauty (piety and good moral traits). In their values, physical beauty has little worth in comparison with the inner being. As this people believe in covering and modesty of the body, beauty is found in intelligence, kindness, and as we have said before, in following beauty and goodness though attitudes and behavior lead by the Quran. And Ugly, is found in being against it, just as evil, they are related. Whatever that goes against this route of goodness and beauty traced by the Quran, is ugly and evil. In contrast with Mexican culture, where we can see that western cultures give a lot more worth to physical beauty, sometimes, I dare to say, so much more importance than inner beauty. Western cultures aren´t really modest about physical beauty, or just, “body”.

Moral vs. Immoral

Wood (2017) says:

Muhammad himself had sex with a prepubescent girl. His courtship of Aisha began when she was only six years old.ixMuhammad had a dream about her, which led him to believe that God wanted him to marry the young girl.xFortunately, Muhammad waited three years before having sex with her; nevertheless, Muslim sources report that Aisha still hadn’t reached puberty.xi Since Muhammad is the moral exemplar in Islam, his actions are still affecting young girls today.

As we can see, thanks to this piece of text, based in the belief that Muhammad is Allah´s voicer and example, in Iran´s culture, is not seen as immoral to have sexual relationships with prepubescent girls being a mature man, in contrast to our Mexican culture, where this, would be seen as immoral or sinner.

 

References:

Jenkins, A. (Mar 27, 2014). Why is hugging the other gender forbidden in Islam. Quora. Retrieved fromhttps://www.quora.com/Why-is-hugging-the-other-gender-forbidden-in-Islam

Academic Research Paper Writing Services. (April 28th, 2015). Islamic View on Good and Evil. Linked In. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/islamic-view-good-evil-academic-research-paper-writing-services

Wood, D. (2017). Historical Muhammad: The good, bad, downright ugly. Apologetics. Retrieved fromhttps://www.namb.net/apologetics/historical-muhammad-the-good-bad-downright-ugly

(2011). Our perception of beauty. Islamic Insights. Retrieved from http://www.islamicinsights.com/religion/our-perception-of-beauty.html

Iran flag (2002). Iran national flag. Retrieved from http://iranflag.facts.co/iranflagof/iranflag.php

Shirin (2015). Mysteries of Persian superstitions. Retrieved from http://sparkling-iran.com/en/persian-superstitions/

Price, M. (2001.) Birthday and Rituals of Birth. Retrieved fromhttp://www.iranchamber.com/culture/articles/rituals_of_birth_birthday.php

World atlas (2016). Iranian symbols. Retrieved fromhttp://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/asia/iran/irsymbols.htm

Shafia, L (2013). Louisa Shafia’s 5 Essential Persian Ingredients. Retrieved from https://food52.com/blog/7044-louisa-shafia-s-5-essential-persian-ingredients

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