Middle Eastern Religions

Middle Eastern religions originated in the Middle East; namely Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and Iranic religions. Smaller minority religions, such as the Bahá’í Faith, Druze, Nusairism, Manichaeism, Sabianism,  Bábism, Yazidism, Mandaeism, Gnosticism, Yarsanism, Samaritanism, ShabakismIshikismAli-Illahism, Alevism, Yazdânism and Zoroastrianism are also present in the Middle East.

 

The smaller, religiously unaffiliated population is forecast to grow 56%, from about 2 million to more than 3 million. Hindus, adherents of folk religions and Buddhists are expected to experience the greatest growth as a percentage of their modest 2010 counts, with each group more than doubling in size by 2050.

Hanukkah Candles

Jewish Holidays

Jewish Holidays Jewish holidays, also known as Jewish festivals or Yamim Tovim (ימים טובים‎, lit. ‘Good Days’, or singular יום טוב Yom Tov, in transliterated Hebrew, are holidays observed in Judaism and by Jews throughout the Hebrew calendar. They include religious, cultural and national elements, derived from three sources: biblical mitzvot (“commandments”); rabbinic mandates; Jewish history and the history of the State of Israel....

Birkat Hamazon is recited after consuming a meal eaten with bread

Birkat Hamazon

Birkat Hamazon Birkat Hamazon (בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוׂן‎, The Blessing of the Food), known in English as the Grace After Meals (בֶּענְטְשֶׁן‎‎; bentschen or “to bless”, Yinglish: Bentsching), is a set of Hebrew blessings that Jewish Halakha (“collective body of Jewish religious laws”) prescribes following a meal that includes at least a kezayit...

Detail of Dayenu in the Birds' Head Haggadah

Aniconism in Judaism

Aniconism in Judaism Aniconism in Judaism covers a number of areas. The portrayal of God in any kind of human or concrete form is not encouraged. The Tanakh A number of verses in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) refer to prohibitions against the creation of various forms of images, invariably linked directly with idolatry. The strongest over-all...

Moses and burning bush

Idolatry in Judaism

Idolatry in Judaism Idolatry in Judaism is prohibited. Judaism holds that idolatry is not limited to the worship of an idol itself, but also worship involving any artistic representations of God. In addition it is forbidden to derive benefit (hana’ah) from anything dedicated to idolatry. However, aniconism in Judaism has not prevented traditions of Jewish art at various periods....

Part of the All Souls Deuteronomy, containing the oldest extant copy of the Decalogue.[2] It is dated to the early Herodian period, between 30 and 1 BC.

Ten Commandments

Ten Commandments The Ten Commandments (עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת‎, Aseret ha’Dibrot), also known in Christianity as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship. These are fundamental to both Judaism and Christianity. The text of the Ten Commandments appears twice in the Hebrew Bible: at Exodus 20:2–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–17. Modern scholarship has found likely influences in Hittite and Mesopotamian...

Flag Israeli Israel Symbol National Middle East

Jewish State

Jewish State Jewish state is a characterization of the nation state of Israel as a sovereign homeland of Jewish people. Modern Israel came into existence on 14 May 1948 as the homeland for the Jewish people. It was also defined in its declaration of independence as a “Jewish state,” a term that appeared in the...

Though not subject to the Inquisition, Jews who refused to convert or leave Spain were called heretics and could be burned to death on a stake

Apostasy in Judaism

Apostasy in Judaism In Judaism, apostasy refers to the rejection of Judaism and possible defection to another religion by a Jew. The term apostasy is derived from Ancient Greek: ἀποστάτης, meaning “rebellious” (מורד) Equivalent expressions for apostate in Hebrew that are used by rabbinical scholars include mumar (מומר, literally “the one that was changed”), poshea Yisrael (פושע ישראל, literally,...

Kaunas pogrom in German-occupied Lithuania, June 1941

Persecution of Jews

Persecution of Jews Persecution of Jews has been a major part of Jewish history, prompting shifting waves of refugees throughout the diaspora communities. Historically, what began as a conflict over religious beliefs evolved into a systematic policy of political, economic, and social isolation; exclusion, degradation and attempted annihilation. It did not begin in the Nazi...

Flowers Floral Petals Bloom Blossom Plant Garden

Trinity: Jewish Objections

Trinity: Jewish Objections TRINITY: The fundamental dogma of Christianity; the concept of the union in one God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three infinite persons. It was the Nicene Council and even more especially the Athanasian Creed that first gave the dogma its definite formulation: “And the Catholick...

Egyptian depiction of the visit of Western Asiatics in colorful garments, labeled as Aamu. The painting is from the tomb of a 12th dynasty official Khnumhotep II at Beni Hasan, and dated to c. 1900 BCE. Their nearest Biblical contemporaries were the earliest of Hebrews, such as Abraham and Joseph.

Jews

Jews Jews (יְהוּדִים‎ ISO 259-2 Yehudim) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and a nation originating from the Israelites and Hebrews of historical Israel and Judah. Jewish ethnicity, nationhood, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the ethnic religion of the Jewish people, while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance. Jews originated as an ethnic...

Black Hebrew Israelites praying

Black Hebrew Israelites

Black Hebrew Israelites Black Hebrew Israelites (also called Hebrew Israelites, Black Hebrews, Black Israelites, and African Hebrew Israelites) are groups of African Americans who believe that they are the descendants of the ancient Israelites. To varying degrees, Black Hebrew Israelites incorporate certain aspects of the religious beliefs and practices of both Christianity and Judaism, though...

Synagogue in the village of Wolleka in Ethiopia.

Haymanot

Haymanot Haymanot (Ge’ez: ሃይማኖት) is the branch of Judaism which is practiced by the Beta Israel, also known as Ethiopian Jews. In both Geʽez and Amharic, Haymanot means ‘religion‘ or ‘faith.’ Thus in modern Amharic, it is common to speak of the Christian haymanot, the Jewish haymanot or the Muslim haymanot. The term is only associated with a particular religion (Judaism) in Israel. Religious leaders Nabiyy...

Shabak people

Shabakism

Shabakism Shabakism is the name given to the beliefs and practices of the Shabaks in the disputed territories of Northern Iraq. Most Shabaks regard themselves as Shia, but some identify as Sunnis. Despite this, their actual faith and rituals differ from Islam, and have characteristics that make them distinct from neighboring Muslim populations. Nevertheless, the Shabak people also go on pilgrimages...

Illustration of Sabbatai Zevi from 1906 (Joods Historisch Museum)

Sabbateans

Sabbateans The Sabbateans (or Sabbatians) were a variety of Jewish followers, disciples, and believers in Sabbatai Zevi (1626–1676), a Sephardic Jewish rabbi and Kabbalist who was proclaimed to be the Jewish Messiah in 1666 by Nathan of Gaza. Vast numbers of Jews in the Jewish diaspora accepted his claims, even after he outwardly became an apostate due to his forced conversion to Islam in the same year. Sabbatai Zevi’s followers,...

Rainbow Beautiful Devon Nature Sun Sunset Sky

Noahidism

Noahidism Noahidism or Noachidism is a monotheistic, Jewish religious movement based upon the Seven Laws of Noah and their traditional interpretations within Orthodox Judaism. According to the Jewish law, non-Jews (Gentiles) are not obligated to convert to Judaism, but they are required to observe the Seven Laws of Noah to be assured of a place in the World to Come...

The spread of Manichaeism (300–500). World History Atlas, Dorling Kindersly.

Manichaeism

Manichaeism Manichaeism is an extinct dualistic religion of Iranian origin, founded in the third century C.E. by the Prophet Mani (c. 216-274 C.E.). Originating in Babylon (a province of Persia at the time), Manichaeism once flourished in the ancient world. At its height, the religion claimed followers from North Africa to China. Theologically, Manichaeism is a dualistic religion that postulated an ongoing struggle between the...

Ahura Mazda relief

Ahura Mazda

Ahura Mazda Ahura Mazda (Avestan: Mazdā Ahura also known as Oromasdes, Ohrmazd, Ahuramazda, Hourmazd, Hormazd, and Hurmuz) is the creator and highest deity of Zoroastrianism. Ahura Mazda is the first and most frequently invoked spirit in the Yasna. The literal meaning of the word Ahura is “lord”, and that of Mazda is “wisdom“. Ahura Mazda first appeared in the Achaemenid period (c. 550 – 330 BCE) under Darius...

Deportation and exile of the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah to Babylon and the destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon's temple

Jewish History

Jewish History Jewish history is the history of the Jews, and their nation, religion and culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Although Judaism as a religion first appears in Greek records during the Hellenistic period (323 BCE – 31 BCE) and the earliest mention...

Fortress of Maku, Iran (2008)

Babism

Babism Bábism (بابیه‎, Babiyye) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion which professes that there is one incorporeal, unknown, and incomprehensible God who manifests his will in an unending series of theophanies, called Manifestations of God (ظهور الله). It has no more than a few thousand adherents according to current estimates, most of whom are concentrated in...

Pilgrims celebrating the Yazidi new year festival at the ancient holy temple of Lalish, Iraq

Yazidism

Yazidism Yazidism, Sharfadin (شه‌رفه‌دین ,Şerfedîn‎), or Dasni (داسنى ,Dasînî, Dasnî‎) is a monotheistic faith followed by the mostly Kurmanji-speaking Yazidis and based on belief in one God who created the world and entrusted it into the care of seven Holy Beings, known as Angels. Preeminent among these Angels is Tawûsê Melek (also written as “Melek...

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