Open main menu

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]

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."[6]

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.[7]


  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. 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. ^ Al-Marashi, Ibrahim (2000). "The Mindset of Iraq's Security Apparatus". Intelligence and National Security. 18 (3): 5. doi:10.1080/02684520412331306900.
  7. ^ Rumi, Raza (May 2015). "The Prospects for Reform in Islam". Current Trends in Islamist Ideology. 18: 85–103. Retrieved 3 April 2018.

See alsoEdit