Talismans of courage: The untold stories of Iranian soldiers and their taweez in the Iran-Iraq war
- Author Salam Burdu
- Published February 10, 2024
- Word count 883
The Iran-Iraq War, spanning from 1980 to 1988, was a complex and multifaceted conflict that not only shaped the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East but also deeply influenced the cultural and spiritual lives of those involved. Among the many facets of this conflict, the use of Islamic talismans, or taweez, by Iranian soldiers stands out as a poignant testament to the interplay of faith and warfare. These talismans, often containing Quranic verses, prayers, or symbols, were believed to offer divine protection and guidance.
In Islamic tradition, taweez are more than mere objects; they are embodiments of a deep-seated faith. Crafted with care and often passed down through generations, these amulets held a special place in the hearts of the soldiers. Worn around the neck, stitched into uniforms, or kept close in pockets, each taweez carried a unique story and a personal connection to the divine.
The War’s tapestry and commanders
The Iran-Iraq War was characterized by several key campaigns, like Operation Kheibar and Operation Badr, and saw the rise of prominent commanders such as Major General Ali Sayad Shirazi and Colonel Ali Hashemi. These leaders orchestrated major offensives and defensive strategies, shaping the ebb and flow of the conflict. Their leadership was crucial, but so was the unwavering spirit of the soldiers under them, partly sustained by their spiritual beliefs. And here , we will told you some of the stories of simple soldiers, connected with the taweez.
- Amir Hossein Zadeh: A Beacon of Resilience
o Age: 22
o Hometown: Isfahan
Amir’s journey with his taweez began in his childhood, marked by a severe illness which he miraculously survived. His mother attributed his recovery to the power of their faith and presented him with a taweez inscribed with Ayat al-Kursi. Growing up, Amir’s belief in its protective power only strengthened. During Operation Badr, amidst the deafening roars of artillery, Amir felt an unspoken guardianship from his taweez. He became known among his peers for his calm demeanor under fire, a trait he credited to his cherished talisman.
- Reza Ghorbani: The Guardian from Tabriz
o Age: 26
o Hometown: Tabriz
Reza's taweez was a legacy from his mother, containing Surah An-Nas, a powerful invocation for protection. As a child, he grew up listening to tales of his grandfather's bravery in earlier conflicts, bolstered by a similar taweez. These stories etched a deep sense of destiny in Reza. In the harsh terrains near Basra, amidst chaos and uncertainty,
Reza clung to his taweez as a source of solace and connection. He believed it linked him not just to his family, but also to a lineage of bravery. His comrades often found him whispering prayers in the quiet moments before dawn, his fingers gently tracing the embossed script on the talisman. In battle, Reza was known for his fearless advances, a stark contrast to the gentle, introspective nature he exhibited off the field.
- Saeed Farhani: The Timid Warrior from Tehran
o Age: 20
o Hometown: Tehran Saeed's story was one of transformation, from a timid boy to a courageous soldier. His taweez, bearing the name of Imam Ali, was a gift from his father, who believed it would instill bravery in his son. As a child, Saeed was often bullied, but he found solace in the stories of Imam Ali's valor and wisdom. The taweez became a symbol of these virtues. In the trenches and battlefields, Saeed's comrades witnessed his metamorphosis, as he often led scouting missions and volunteered for the most challenging tasks. His belief in the talisman's protection was unwavering, and he credited it for his newfound courage.
The psychological armor
For these soldiers, taweez were more than just physical objects; they were a form of psychological armor. In the harrowing realities of war, where moments of life and death hung in a delicate balance, the taweez provided a much-needed anchor. They were a constant reminder of a world beyond the immediacy of conflict, a link to their homes, families, and deeply-rooted spiritual beliefs.
Commanders' recognition of taweez
The commanders, aware of the significance of these talismans, often encouraged their use. They recognized that the morale and mental fortitude of their troops were just as crucial as their physical prowess. In briefings and gatherings, stories of soldiers' faith and their taweez were sometimes shared, reinforcing a sense of unity and purpose.
Cultural and spiritual dimensions
The widespread use of taweez in the Iran-Iraq War highlights the deep cultural and spiritual dimensions of the conflict. For the Iranian soldiers, these talismans were a tangible representation of their faith, intertwined with their national and cultural identity. In a war that was as much ideological as it was physical, taweez played a role in defining the character and resilience of the Iranian forces.
The Iran-Iraq War, a conflict that left deep scars and profound lessons, also bears witness to the unique interplay of faith, culture, and warfare. The stories of Amir Hossein Zadeh, Reza Ghorbani, and Saeed Farhani, though fictional, symbolize the experiences of countless Iranian soldiers. Their taweez served as guardians of their spirit, a source of courage in the face of overwhelming adversity. This blend of historical context offers a glimpse into the human aspect of war, where personal beliefs and cultural practices play a significant role in shaping the experiences of those involved.
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