A conversation about Islam

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ November 17th, 2007. Updated on April 18th, 2009. Published in: Travel blog » Iran.

Travel Journal Overview: On my last night in Esfahan I decided to go back to Imam square, it is beautiful at night. There I was approached my two young men I’d actually met before. I was soon back to my old travel ways again.

Prayer time (click to enlarge)

Prayer time (click to enlarge)

I settled in for the evening my one of the stone seats near the fountains, ready for some night time fountains. The carpet sellers were closing up shop in the surrounding stores, and locals were taking genteel walks through the square on the way home. A couple of youths approached me, I recognized them as the duo who were listening in to the Spanish Iranians conversation with me yesterday. Behrouz was the taller of the two. He had shoulder length curly hair that was awash with some kind of hair cream. Saeed was a neatly dresses more serious type with a school boy hair cut.

Our conversation started off easily, they had forgotten that they had already tried to sell me a carpet yesterday, and had failed. For some strange reason I remembered Saeed’s sales pitch. And repeated it too them. They both looked at each other solemnly, as if embarrassed at forgetting me. I laughed at there worried expressions and put them at ease. We must have spent two hours in conversation that night. Topics ranged from carpet history to would the USA invade Iran. In fact the later question hung for around for quite some time. It was a worry to them. They liked the west, and could not understand why the west hated them. I explained a little, and it seemed they knew already. They had a bad leader, just like the west.

Finally our conversation came around to religion, and there blunt effort to convert me to Islam. There approach was to tell me the similarities the Bible has with the Koran. From Ark to Jonah and the Whale its all there in both books. I needed to get out of the conversation, I was hungry, and I find religious debates tedious. So when they began comparing Adam and Eve to the Koran, I pounced.

“So you see,” Saeed would say courteously, “We have Adam and Eve, who made a child, and then another. This is how life on Earth started”.

“Yes”, Behrouz would back his friend up, “and so the earth was populated, just like it says in the Bible and Koran, it is the same.”

I nodded in understanding, “so Adam and Eve made two babies, and then the babies had babies and so that’s really how everyone arrived on the Earth?”

The two heads nodded. “And so Evolution never happened?”. I continued, explaining about Darwin theory. And it was met with much distaste, though respectfully said.

I acted as though I was learning and pondering something new, as the two covert hopefuls looked on. “So let me get this straight,” I said with a confused smile. “Adam and Eve’s Son & Daughter, who were therefore brother and sister… well they basically had relations and made babies, yes?”

Behrouz realized what was happening straight away, but Saeed nodded hastily in agreement, “Yes, Yes, you see it’s written in the Koran.”

I looked at him, putting on my best shocked face. “That means the brother and sister slept together?!!”

Saeed’s eyes widened as he hesitated, “Ehh, Yes but it’s … not…like”

I continued on with my dissolving of their statement, “That’s really not so good, shocking in fact. Not right even!”

Behrouz tried to intervene, but the damage was already done. Saeed shook his head while staring blankly at the ground, “I never thought about it like that… it is wrong… my goodness.”

Behrouz shook his friends shoulder. I changed the conversation immediately, and thanked them both for sharing with me their time and thought this evening. I had perhaps panted the seeds of doubt into one man’s mind. Or at least the seeds of free thought. I said my goodbyes, and both youths gave me the blessings of Allah and the reminder to read the Koran as I headed off for some photos.

For my last meal in Esfahan I could go nowhere else other than the “Kebab Nazi’s” place. And I was welcomed with open smiles and loud “Hello’s” by all the staff and scored fresh bread out of the oven. It was getting better…

Some related links from this website that  you might like: (including a lot more photographs from Iran)

Stories: Feeling Low on the Road, in Iran

Stories: Iranian women, and the others I met in Iran

My Iran country guide

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1 Great responses to A conversation about Islam

  1. Edwin says:

    Hahahaha …. “seeds of free thought”