Old Iranian religious thought (especially Mazdaism and Manichaeism) are founded on the basic principle of the polarity of Good and Evil. Mazdaism conceives of the universe as the scene of a battle between two opposite cosmic forces: Good/Evil or Ahura Mazda/Ahriman. The notion of Good and Evil evolve significantly in Manichaeism into the concepts of Light and Darkness. Moreover, Good/Light and Evil/Darkness are represented by Old Iranian sources as the two polar opposites Wisdom and Ignorance. According to this dualistic vision, everything in the world (both Minūg and Gītīg) is influenced by this combat and sides with one or the other of these forces. Generally, the believers to the Old Iranian religions are considered the people of Good, while the non-believers are the people of Evil. This dualistic vision is not only the foundation of Old Iranian theology and its salvation system, but also its unique and distinctive characteristic.
In Shiite thought, as well, the creation of the world is the consequence of a cosmic combat between the two polar opposites of Good and Evil. In this combat Light/Wisdom is opposed by Darkness/Ignorance. This combat starts at first in the spiritual world, where the spiritual Adam-- the representative of Good/Wisdom-- is faced with the Devil as the representative of Evil/Ignorance; and then it continues in the corporal world. Thus everything in the universe (and especially humankind) is assayed in accordance with the concepts of Wisdom and Ignorance, and aligns itself with either Good or Evil. Generally the prophets, the Imams and their followers are considered as the people of Light/Wisdom, while their opponents are considered as the people of Evil/Ignorance/Darkness. This division and permanent battle between Light/Wisdom and Darkness/Ignorance is the axis of the Shiite theology and salvation system.
The present paper analyzes and highlights the similarities between these two systems.