For other uses, see Majus (disambiguation).

Majūs (Arabic: مجوس , Persian: مگوش , pl. majūsī) 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]

In al-Andalus the pagan non-Christian population were called majus and could either have the status of mozarab or of muladi.

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."[5]

The term majus is distinct from Arabic kafir "unbeliever". Persian gabr is no longer synonymous with majus.[4]


  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 1-84511-062-5.
  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. 1 2 "Gabr". Encyclopedia Iranica. 10. Costa Mesa: Mazda. 2001.
  5. Al-Marashi, Ibrahim (2000). "The Mindset of Iraq's Security Apparatus". Cambridge University: Centre of International Studies: 5.

See also

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