Ancient temple of fire worshippers will be restored in Tajikistan

Ancient temple of fire worshippers will be restored in Tajikistan

An ancient house of worship – a temple of Zoroastrians will be restored in Tajikistan. This temple named Mug is located in Itaravshan city, in northern Tajikistan. Barotboy Jumaev, a historic building preservation specialist of Istaravshan city told Radio Ozodi the following: “Mug Temple is sacred place of Zoroastrians. When Cyrus the Great established this city (858-830 BC), the temple already existed on the Mug hill and Zoroastrians used to make fire on the hill. The word Mug means “a hill for making fire”. According to the authorities of Istaravshan city, at this stage, the Mug Temple is restored for 80% and 26 million somoni is spent for restoration. Barotboy Jumaev says, the government decided to restore the ancient temple of fire worshippers in a form it was built in ancient times. According to Jumaev, restoration of the temple will be completed by the mid-summer of this year. “The country budged allocated 8.5 million somoni for restoration of the Mug temple, but this amount is not sufficient to complete restoration. That is why we want assistance of local businessmen… Zoroastrians worshipped fire in this temple for 1500 years. Arabs came and executed the ruler of Istaravshan and ended fire worshipping. Before Islam, Tajiks practiced Mazdo Yasno religion (Zoroastrianism). After invasion of Arabs, all sanctities of ancient religions were removed from society”, Jumaev added. According to Faridun Hodizoda, religious expert, there are Zoroastrians now in Tajikistan and Afghanistan, and they established a committee – Mazdo Yasno. However, due to strong protests of civilians and mysterious murder of Rudaki Samadov, establisher and head of the committee in 2001, fire worshippers went underground. According to some experts, Zoroastrian traditions are ancient heritage of the Tajik people, and there is no harm in their revival. However, it was delayed because most Muslims did not approve it. Revival of Zoroastrianism is dangerous for Tajikistan, say nothing of doing harm. Now there is high possibility that people enter this religion. There are such moods as nationalism, pride for ancestors among the people, especially among the intellectuals. When Islam came to the Tajik lands, it annulled all other religions and proved their invalidity. However, nowadays, for Tajik people who are among the first who accepted Islam and who strictly abided to the Shariah laws for centuries, there is a danger of assimilation of their Islam by other religions. If yesterday churches were built for Christians under pretense of tolerance in Islam, now, under pretense of restoring historical monuments, conditions are created for Zoroastrians to revive their fire worshipping cult, which is categorically forbidden in Islam. So, in the next year’s so called “Navruz fest”, the government will head fire worshipping rituals by making fire at the Mug hill! Munavvara

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