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Zam (Zām)[pronunciation?] is the Avestan language term for the Zoroastrian concept of 'earth', in both the sense of land and soil and in the sense of the world. The earth is prototyped as a primordial element in Zoroastrian tradition, and represented by a minor divinity Zam who is the hypostasis of the 'earth'. The word itself, changed to 'Zamin' in Modern Persian, is cognate to the Baltic 'Zemes', Slavic 'Zem', Greco-Thracian Semele, meaning the planet earth as well as soil.
The element zam exists with the same meaning in Middle Persian, which is the language of the texts of Zoroastrian tradition. The divinity Zam, however, appears in the later language as Zamyad, which is a contraction of 'Zam Yazad', i.e. the yazata Zam.
Zam of the earth is not related to the Zam of the Shahnameh. That Zam—Zahhak-e-Maar-Doosh (Aži Dahāka in Avestan, Azhdshak in Middle Persian)—is the king of dragons that slew Jamshid.
The element zam is the domain of the Armaiti, the Amesha Spenta of the earth and one of the Ahura Mazda's primordial 'divine sparks' from whom all other creation originates. It is through the earth that Armaiti is immanent. This close identification of the element zam with Armaiti also causes the divinity Zam to paired with Armaiti, to the extent that in some verses Armaiti appears where 'earth' is expected. The rare dvandvah expression Zam-Armaiti occurs in Yasht 1.16, 16.6 and 42.3.
The Zamyad Yasht, the Avesta's hym nominally devoted to Zam, has little to do with 'earth': The first eight chapters of that hymn simply enumerate geographical landmarks, while the rest of the hymn is in praise of those who possess kavaem khareno 'royal glory'. These remaining verses begin with the creation of the earth, that is with a verse to Ahura Mazda (chapter 10), and closes with a verse to the Saoshyant (89). In between, it contains verses invoking the Amesha Spenta (15), Mithra (35). Mortals invoked include Yima (31), Thraetaona (36), the Kayanian dynasts (66-72), Zarathushtra (79) and Vishtaspa (84). According to Darmesteter, 'this Yasht would serve as a short history of the Iranian monarchy, an abridged [Shahnameh].'
The Zamyad Yasht has been considered to be an example of a simple concept being elevated to the rank of an angel. For Zam, this probably occurred as a linguistic conciliation between Zam and Armaiti. But notwithstanding the dedication of the 28th day of the month and the manifestation as one of the primordial elements, Zam is not a particularly significant divinity. Dhalla goes so far as to say 'her personality is very insipid as compared with Armaiti, who, as we have seen, has the earth under her care and is, in fact, a more active guardian genius.'
The principal source of information on the Zoroastrian notions of the earth (and accordingly of its divinity) is the Bundahishn, an account of the religion's cosmogony and cosmology completed in about the 12th century. According to that text, the earth was the third of the primordial creations, following that of the sky and the waters, and before that of plants and fire. The creation of the earth is described in three stages: At first, the surface of the earth was a round, flat disk, floating in the center of the waters that filled the lower half of the 'sky'. Then, from its surface grew up the mountains, the tallest of these being Hara Berezaiti whose outlying ranges encircled the earth and beyond which lay the world river Aredvi Sura. Finally, during the time of the fourth creation (plants), the primordial tree grew up, and was the prototype of all plants (this tree is already alluded to in scripture as the Saena tree; in Yasht 12.17 it is further described as the 'Tree of All Remedies' because it bears the seeds of all healing herbs). The fifth creation is that of the primordial bovine Gavaevodata from whose seed, marrow, organs and soul the earth is populated with animal life and the progenitors of the human race.
In the Shayest na-Shayest ('[what is] Proper and Improper'), an enumeration of the qualities that each divinity epitomizes associates Zam with 'conclusiveness'. In contrast, Armaiti is identified with 'fruitfulness'.
In the Counsels of Adarbad Mahraspandan the author advises his readership not to take medicine on the day of the month dedicated to Zam.
In the PazendAfrin-i haft Amshespand ('Blessings of the seven Amesha Spenta'), Zam is joined by Amardad, Rashn and Ashtad (Ameretat, Rashnu and Arshtat) in withstanding the demons of hunger and thirst.
The last hymn recited in the procedure for the establishment of a Fire temple is the Zamyad Yasht. This is done because the required 91 recitals in honor of the Yazatas would in principle require each of the 30 hymns associated with the divinities of the 30 days to be recited thrice with one additional one. However, the first three recited are dedicated to Ahura Mazda, leaving 88, and 88 modulo 30 is 28, the day-number dedication of Zam.
From among the flowers associated with the yazatas, Zam's is the Basil (Bundahishn 27).
According to Xenophon (Cyropaedia, 8.24), Cyrus sacrificed animals to the earth as the Magians directed.
Ruhollah Zam's father, a cleric who served as the head of Iran's state propaganda agency in the 1980s, named him after the leader of the 1979 revolution and the founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
But as an adult, Zam turned against the clerical establishment that was created by his infamous namesake.
Zam's opposition activities -- including his popular Amadnews Telegram channel with its more than 1 million followers -- cost him his life as Iranian officials accused the channel of fomenting violence during the December 2017-January 2018 mass protests.
Zam, who chose for himself the name Nima instead of Ruhollah, was hanged on December 12 after being convicted on the vague charge of 'corruption on Earth.' The criminal charge is used against dissidents, spies, and for those who attempt to overthrow the Islamic establishment.
Zam was 42 years old.
In 2019, Zam was reportedly lured -- under unclear circumstances -- to Iraq from Paris, where he was living in exile. He was believed to have been captured by members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and taken to Iran where he was put on a trial and sentenced to death.
Zam is just one of a number of sons and daughters of the Islamic republic who have rebelled against the system that was created by their fathers.
Zam, who openly said he was working to take down the Islamic establishment that he accused of 'robbing the country,' is believed to be the only one of those offspring who has been executed recently.
His father, Mohammad Ali Zam, was not successful in protecting him from authorities or preventing his execution. The cleric wrote on Instagram that his son was even unaware that his death sentence had been upheld on appeal when the father and son met one day before he was hanged.
Other prominent 'rebels' include Khomeini's oldest grandson, Hossein Khomeini, who used to be a vocal critic of what he considered the repressive system founded by his grandfather.
In media interviews, he accused Iranian leaders of oppressing the people and violating human rights.
Khomeini traveled to the U.S. in 2003 where he announced that Iranians want democracy and freedom while adding they have realized that religion should be kept separate from the state.
He returned to Iran with his family in 2005 and was put under temporary house arrest in the holy city of Qom, according to some reports, but was not prosecuted.
Media reports later suggested the restrictions had been lifted after his prominent relatives mediated on his behalf. Mount and blade warband enterprise guide. In 2018, a Tehran University professor posted a photo with Hossein Khomeini writing the Islamic republic founder's grandson was 'busy teaching and discussing' in Qom.
No Chip Off The Old Block
The eldest son of former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezai was also critical of the Iranian establishment. Ahmad Rezaei moved to the United States in 1988 where he blasted the clerical establishment in media interviews, accusing it of carrying out 'terrorist attacks.'
He returned to Iran in 2005 but did not face prosecution. Six years later he was found dead in a Dubai hotel. Some reports suggested that he had died of 'an overdose of medicine.'
Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, the daughter of one of the founders of the Islamic republic, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has also become an outspoken critic of the establishment.
She has warned that the system her father helped create has been weakened and could face collapse. She has also said Iranian leaders have been 'misusing' Islam to push their agenda forward.
In a 2018 interview, Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani said that 'intimidation' and 'fear' were the main things propping up the Islamic regime.
She has been briefly detained a few times. In 2012, she was given a six-month jail term for 'spreading propaganda against the system,' a charge often brought against critics and intellectuals.
In 2016, Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani created controversy when she visited a former cellmate, a leader of the Baha'i community that has faced state persecution since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The meeting was described by powerful clerics as 'despicable' and against norms amid calls for her prosecution. Her father was also critical of the meeting, describing the Baha'i faith that originated in Iran as a 'deviant sect.' She later said in an interview that she didn't regret the meeting.
The division within families began in the early years of the revolution when some of the sons and relatives of Islamic republic officials joined groups such as the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), which carried out a number of deadly attacks in the 1980s and later sided with Iraq during the bloody 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War.
Among them is Hossein Jannati, one of the sons of the head of the powerful Guardians Council, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who is also the chairman of the Assembly of Experts. That group is tasked with overseeing the work of the country's supreme leader and choosing his successor.
According to some reports, Hossein Jannati was killed in clashes with security forces in 1981. His brother, former Culture Minister Ali Jannati, said in a 2017 interview that Ayatollah Jannati never expressed any grief over the death of his son, but adding: 'he must definitely be very upset' over his fate.
Another prominent case of a son straying from the views of his father is the son of the former Friday Prayers leader of Orumyeh, Gholam Reza Hassani, a member of the leftist Fedayin Khalq organization.
In his 2005 memoirs, Hassani described how he helped authorities arrest his son, Rashid, in the 1980s. Rashid was executed shortly after his arrest.
Hassani said he wasn't saddened when he heard the news of Rashid's execution because he felt he had carried out his duty.
'When it comes to the Islamic Revolution, I will never balk at my duties, even if it comes to my son,' he said.