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Ahura Mazda

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Ahura Mazda - Ahura Mazda is the chief god of Zoroastrianism, Mazda means intelligence or wizdom, while Ahura may mean divine or may refer to a separate deity. In the Older Avesta that is the original book of Zoroaster the names may be separated, but in the Younger Avesta they are always used together.


Ahura Mazda embodies the concept of asha, which literally "truth," or the orderly law of the universe, as it might be though of by Albert Einstein or Spinoza for example. These are the laws and regularity that govern everything in nature such as the motion of the planets and astral bodies, the progression of the seasons, the pattern of daily life. Everything in nature runs according to this plan. Asha is opposed by druj, or lies.  Ahura Mazda rules a pantheon of lesser deities including the Yazata and others, and is opposed by Ahriman, who is a negative spirit in some ways equivalent to the Devil.


Though we are cautioned that the Asha - Druj duality is not the same as the Western duality of Good versus Evil, it was understood in precisely that way by the Christian Manichean heresy, which referred to the concepts of Zoroastrianism. It is not clear when Zoroastrian began using stylized depictions of Ahura Mazda such as the one below.


Synonyms and alternate spellings: Ohrmuzd, Oromasdes

 Further Information: Zoroastrianism

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Encyclopedia of the Middle East

Note - This encyclopedia is a work in progress. It is far from complete and is being constructed and improved all the time. If you would like to contribute articles or expansions of existing articles, please contact news (at) mideastweb.org.  Suggestions and corrections are welcome. The concise version of this dictionary is at our Middle East Glossary.

Spelling - Spelling of words in Middle-Eastern languages is often arbitrary. There may be many variants of the same name or word such as Hezbollah, Hizbolla, Hisbolla or Husayn and Hussein. There are some conventions for converting words from Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew There are numerous variant renderings of the same Arabic or Hebrew words, such as "Hizbollah," "Hisbulla" etc. It is not possible to find exact equivalents for several letters. 

Pronunciation - Arabic and Hebrew vowels are pronounced differently than in English. "o" is very short. The "a" is usually pronounced like the "a" in market, sometimes as the "a" in "Arafat."  The " 'A " is guttural.  " 'H "- the 'het ('Hirbeh, 'Hebron, 'Hisbollah') designates a sound somewhat similar to the ch in "loch" in Scots pronunciation, but made by touching the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The CH should be pronounced like Loch, a more assertive consonant than 'het.

The "Gh" combination, and sometimes the "G," designate a deep guttural sound that Westerners may hear approximately as "r." The "r" sound is always formed with the back of the tongue, and is not like the English "r."

More information: Hebrew, Arabic

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Ahura Mazda