motahriEvery year the great Iranian Islamic thinker Morteza Motahhari is commemorated. This is done to appreciate his scientific and ideological efforts and it also expresses the Islamic world’s need to thinkers like him.

Martyr Motahhari was a perfect model for all Muslim thinkers. He was a wise man, pious philosopher, God seeking gnostic and a great writer. These good characteristics were quite clear in his works. The books of martyr Motahhari open the gates of knowledge, philosophy and various sciences for the seekers of knowledge.


Motahhari enjoyed two major characteristics; namely a deep and all-out cognizance of Islam and endeavor to express religion according to the requirements of time. He says: “Since I remember my spiritual developments, I was sort of concerned at the age of 13 and I was strangely sensitive towards the issues related to God and religion.”

In different works of professor Motahhari, his attention to man’s eternal bliss and an accurate cognizance of religion is noticeably visible. Through research, preaching and rational books, he has tried to introduce Islam as the loftiest copy of human living to the world. The Holy Quran always stresses in its cahpters and verses that religion brings a real life for mankind. Verse 24 of Surah Anfal says:

“O you who believe! Answer (the call of) Allah and His Apostle when he calls you to that which gives you life;”

Therefore positive response to the call of God and His Messengers is the source of life. Certainly whatever is the source of life will be ever- lasting and immortal.

According to professor Motahhari religion never dies; from his viewpoint the revival of religion requires its presence in human life. This presence is materialized by activating religion in man’s life and revitalizing its role in human deeds and thoughts.

Social phenomena should be in compliance with human needs so that they may continue to exist. Human needs consist of the natural and unnatural ones. Natural needs stem from the natural characteristics of mankind. For example human being is interested in scientific research or he likes beauty. His unnatural needs are a series of tendencies spring from habits. For instance majority of people are accustomed to have tea or to smoke. Since these are not natural, human being can give them up.

In the path of human progress, we have witnessed that as conditions alter many things change. For example once Thomas Edison invented electricity, candle and lamp were ceased to be used. For, electricity could well meet the human need for light.

But some things can never change. Religion is one of them.

According to Martyr Motahhari, religion is in accordance with human inherent and emotional needs. In terms of securing human needs, nothing can replace religion. The Holy Quran in verse 30 of Surah Rum expresses the inherent nature of religion saying:

“Then set your face upright for religion in the right state-the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah’s creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know”

Throughout centuries many things have been put forth about the causes behind the emergence of religion. Some believe that religion has its roots in human fear and ignorance, while some others are of the opinion that the reason for human tendency towards religion is his interest in order and justice. The maintainers of these theories believe that if knowledge develops, religion will gradually disappear. Nevertheless, despite the speedy progress of science, religion has not lost its role, but mankind has found out that religion is imperishable. German psychologist Karl Yung acknowledges the fact that religion is part of the things which exist in human nature and subconscious. American psychologist William James in his book entitled “Religion and Spirit” says it is true that the sources of many of our internal tendencies are natural and material affairs but most of them spring from Metaphysics. He adds: I always see a specific dignity and sincerity in religious matters. Human religious conditions enjoy certain characteristics which are not comparable with any state of mankind.

Elsewhere, professor Motahhari responds to the question as how can religion meet human needs. He says mankind is in need of religion both personally and socially. Therefore when the Russian author Lev Tolstoy was asked what belief is, he said belief is the very thing with which mankind lives. Faith is the asset of human life.

Martyr Motahhari also believes that religion is the stronghold of morality and law. He says today it has become clear that morality without religion has no firm basis.

All sacred values of the human society like justice, equality, humanity, altruism and sympathy could not be materialized without belief in religion. Alexis Carl referring to this fact says: “Brains have now made progress but unfortunately hearts are still weak. It is only the faith that can strengthen hearts.”

In addition to raising natural emotions within human beings, Islam is also coordinated with the real nature of mankind in terms of laws, regulations and teachings. With such an understanding of religion, the American writer Will Durant says in his book “The Lessons of History” that religion has one hundred lives. If everything dies once, it will die for ever but if religion dies one hundred times it will revive again. In this relation, professor Motahhari considers religion as a sun which always shines but what makes it stagnate and recess is that on one hand under the name of religion, superstitions, and illogical concepts enter people’s minds and on the other people’s reasonable needs are countered. Martyr Motahhari believes that if the truth of religion is revealed to people, then as the Holy Quran says people would enter God’s religion in groups.

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