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 Law and Justice in the Indo-Iranian Thought

In the Indo-Iranian culture, “Mehr” or “Mithrā” (meaning “commitment” and “loyalty”) was a very important deity and was regarded as the manifestation of ethical order and justice or according to some other interpretations, commitment and loyalty, as is also significant from the name. In the belief of the ancient Iranians, Mehr, who grants order to the worldly life of man manifests the face of divine justice and is the god of social order who unites all the various aspects of human society. The Iranian outlook in the area of law and justice was based on one major principle, viz. commitment and loyalty. A true believer was expected never to break his commitments since, according to the ancient Iranians, one’s commitment “whether it was with a believer or a non-believer” was meant to be honored. This belief itself is significant of a deep rationale indicating that in the eyes of the ancient Iranians, the various facets of human society - the family, the village, the town, and the country were all formed on the basis of various commitments and any disregard towards these commitments could lead to their disintegration.

In the ancient Indo-Iranian thought, “Āshā” or “Arta” (Truth or Cosmic Order) in its broad sense is the cosmic order that presides over the universe and in its narrower sense it is a system outlining the ethical codes (do’s and don’ts) which grants order to the human social life and the relationships. The fact that in the ancient Iranian culture besides being the manifestation of law and order, Arta was also the locus of authority and plenitude, itself signifies that in the ancient Iranian thought, political stability and economic welfare could never be accomplished without the implementation of justice.


* source: Pakatchi , Ahmad "Iran Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.10 ,pp.620

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