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Majūs (Arabic: مجوس) or Magūs (Persian: مگوش) was originally a term meaning Zoroastrians[1] (and specifically, Zoroastrian priests). It was a technical term, meaning magus,[2][3] and like its synonym gabr (of uncertain etymology) originally had no pejorative implications.[4] It is also translated as "fire worshipper".[5]

The term is originated from the persian word Magūsh (Persian: مگوش), then translated into the Greek language pronounced as Magee (Greek: μάγοι), then to (Roman latin: Magūs) which has mentioned in Matthew 2.[6] The arabs pronounced the word in Majūs (Arabic: مجوس) due to lack of G letter in the arabic alphabet (like G in the word Gate). The word is mentioned in the Quran at 22:17 which says "Indeed, those who have believed and those who were Jews and the Sabeans and the Christians and the Magians and those who associated with Allah - Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah is, over all things, Witness".[7][8]

They are also mentioned by Ibn al-Jawzi in his famous work Talbis Iblis (The Devil's Deceptions).[9]

In the 1980s, majus was part of Iraqi propaganda vocabulary of the Iran–Iraq War to refer to Iranians in general. "By referring to the Iranians in these documents as majus, the security apparatus [implied] that the Iranians [were] not sincere Muslims, but rather covertly practice their pre-Islamic beliefs. Thus, in their eyes, Iraq’s war took on the dimensions of not only a struggle for Arab nationalism, but also a campaign in the name of Islam."[10]

Today the term majus is distinct from Arabic kafir "unbeliever". Persian gabr is no longer synonymous with majus.[4] Subsequent usage by takfiris against Shiites has meant that some people view the term as Anti Shia.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Curtis, Vesta Sarkhosh & Stewart, Sarah (eds.) (1995). Birth of the Persian Empire: The Idea of Iran, Volume I. London: I. B. Tauris. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-84511-062-8.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Steingass, Francis Joseph, ed. (1892). "Majūs". A Comprehensive Persian-English dictionary, including the Arabic words and phrases to be met with in Persian literature. London: Routledge & K. Paul.[permanent dead link] p. 1179.
  3. ^ See also: references to Majus/Magi in academic publications
  4. ^ a b "Gabr". Encyclopedia Iranica. 10. Costa Mesa: Mazda. 2001. Archived from the original on 2007-09-08.
  5. ^ Ashton, Nigel John; Gibson, Bryan R. (2013). The Iran-Iraq War: New International Perspectives. Routledge. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-415-68524-5. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  6. ^ Matthew 2 - biblehub
  7. ^
  8. ^ Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions: A Historical Survey. Oxford University Press file p. 22 and 218. Jacques Waardenburg (1999). ISBN 0-19-510472-2
  9. ^ Talbis Iblis (The Devil's Deceptions) by Ibn al-Jawzi
  10. ^ Al-Marashi, Ibrahim (2000). "The Mindset of Iraq's Security Apparatus". Intelligence and National Security. 18 (3): 5. doi:10.1080/02684520412331306900.
  11. ^ Rumi, Raza (May 2015). "The Prospects for Reform in Islam". Current Trends in Islamist Ideology. 18: 85–103. Retrieved 3 April 2018.