Zarandites is a religious movement that accounts for c.30% of the worlds population, which was formed in Samkhya in c.844 CE, but is considered a minority faith in the region. Starting as a religious offshoot of the Avestanii faith, this religion has spread through out the known world, and has become one of the largest religious movements in the history of the planet.
For many the story begins in c. 795 CE when the prophet Shaykhi proclaimed the rise of a "Chosen One" in the village of Babi. Nabil of Zarand (c.817 CE - 892 CE) proclaimed the fulfillment of procphecy in c. 844, before the Avestanii.
The Zarandite religious techings are based on the teachings of its founder Nabil of Zarand, Samkhya, who preached:
The independent search after truth, unfettered by superstition or tradition; the oneness of the entire human race, the pivotal principle and fundamental doctrine of the Faith; the basic unity of all religions; the condemnation of all forms of prejudice, whether religious, racial, class or national; the harmony which must exist between religion and science; the equality of men and women, the two wings on which the bird of human kind is able to soar; the introduction of compulsory education; the adoption of a universal auxiliary language; the abolition of the extremes of wealth and poverty; the institution of a world tribunal for the adjudication of disputes between nations; the exaltation of work, performed in the spirit of service, to the rank of worship; the glorification of justice as the ruling principle in human society, and of religion as a bulwark for the protection of all peoples and nations; and the establishment of a permanent and universal peace as the supreme goal of all mankind—these stand out as the essential elements
As with many monotheistic faiths the religion preaches a oneness of God:
As our knowledge of things, even of created and limited things, is knowledge of their qualities and not of their essence, how is it possible to comprehend in its essence the Divine Reality, which is unlimited? … Knowing God, therefore, means the comprehension and the knowledge of His attributes, and not of His Reality. This knowledge of the attributes is also proportioned to the capacity and power of man; it is not absolute
Remarkably the religion also preaches a call for universality:
God hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God. Whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of God, and whoso testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath testified to the truth of God Himself. Whoso turneth away from them, hath turned away from God, and whoso disbelieveth in them, hath disbelieved in God … They are the Manifestations of God amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of His glory
The religion preaches an equality of genders stating:
The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary attainment for humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment. When the two wings or parts become equivalent in strength, enjoying the same prerogatives, the flight of man will be exceedingly lofty and extraordinary
All followers are proscribed to follow a strict set of religious laws which includes prohibitions on the following activities and behaviors:
- Use of Pulpits
- The kissing of hands (As a form of obeisance)
- Confession of sins
- Homosexual acts
- Cruelty to animals
- The carrying of arms unless essential.
- Shaving of one's head and the growth of men's hair beyond the lobe of the ear.
- Adultery and sexual intercourse between unmarried couples: Sexual intercourse between unmarried couples is punishable by a fine paid to the Local Spiritual Assembly; the penalty for adultery is left to the Universal House of Justice.
- Arson: The punishment for arson is either the death penalty or life imprisonment. If the death penalty is applied the convicted person is killed by burning. The details of the law such as the degree of the offence and the circumstances are to be taken into account to decide which of the two sentences is to be selected has been left to the Universal House of Justice. The Universal House of Justice has stated that the law is intended for a future condition of society, at which time they will be supplemented and applied by the Universal House of Justice; the Universal House of Justice has written "In relation to arson, this depends on what 'house' is burned. There is obviously a tremendous difference in the degree of offence between the person who burns down an empty warehouse and one who sets fire to a school full of children."
- Murder: murder is punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment. The details of the law such as the degree of the offence and the circumstances that are to be taken into account to decide which of the two sentences are to be selected has been left to the Universal House of Justice; the Universal House of Justice has stated that the law is intended for a future condition of society, at which time they will be supplemented and applied by the Universal House of Justice. In the case of manslaughter, it is necessary to pay a specified indemnity to the family of the deceased.
- Theft: Theft is punishable by either imprisonment or exile; on the third offence, however, a mark should be placed upon the thief's brow so it is easy to identify the person and disallow him in the "cities of God". The purpose of the mark on the forehead serves in warning other people of the thief's proclivities. The details of the nature of the mark (how the mark is to be applied, how long it has to be worn, and under what conditions it may be removed) and the circumstances that are to be taken into account in deciding which sentence is to be applied have been left to the Universal House of Justice; the Universal House of Justice has stated that the law is intended for a future condition of society, at which time they will be supplemented and applied by the Universal House of Justice