Motahhari, standard-bearer of insight and awareness

shiitenews_Motahhari_shaheedIn the circumstances that the Islamic world is experiencing awakening, the need of Islamic societies to the thoughts of elites like the Martyr Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari of Iran is more felt. Perhaps one can say that today the people of Islamic states who are seeking freedom, independence, and religious and Islamic identity, are indebted for their awakening to the pure thoughts of ulema like the great Professor Morteza Motahhari. Today, the 2nd of May is the martyrdom anniversary of this great ideologue of the Islamic Revolution was martyred in 1979, less than a month after establishment of the Islamic Republic by terrorists, affiliated to the US. The day is commemorated as Teacher’s Day.

Ulema and thinkers are two kinds. A group brings their human societies to progress and development through their scientific inventions and innovations and some others lead the societies to perfection and sublimity. Professor Motaharri is one of them. The writings left behind by Motahhari in the philosophical, jurisprudential and social fields indicate his vast knowledge and his unique thinking power. The answer which Martyr Motahhari gives to the needs of the time, places him among the great thinkers and revivers of religious thought. Revivers enjoy high thoughts and objectives and in order to remove the obstacles of unity they drive human beings towards material and spiritual perfection. Martyr Motahhari was a creative and intellectual thinker. His mind is the mind of creativeness and change, for this reason he always worked for spreading Islamic movements and he was the pioneer of this move. In one of his books, Motahhari clarifies this issue in the form of the movement of a train and stone-throwing by children at it. He says: “when the train comes and stops children look at it with awe and respect, but when it begins to depart, they hurl stones at it. Later on I realized that this is a psychological issue in the society. This means that the persons who rise are suppressed but the people who keep silence are respected. We see this in the backward societies.”

In the intellectual defense of religion, Professor Motahhari conducted a lovely research. In order to revive the Islamic thought, first of all he embarked on finding the root of weakening religion and turning away from truth. In the book titled Reasons for Inclination to Materialism, he refers to cases as the most prominent causes for inclination to materialism in the west and in every case he tries to make the western intellectuals and the Muslims deceived by the supposed glory of the western civilization, understand that if the westerners have given up religious thought, this cannot be compared with Islam which is basically the religion of life and movement. In the discourse of revival of religious thought, Motahhari points out that Islam both exists and does not exist among Muslims. The Islamic duties like prayer and other obligations exist among Muslims but the spirit of Islam is dead in Islamic societies. Therefore he raises the discussion of revival of Islamic life and stressed that the Islamic life should be revived through insight and awareness. One of the cases of Islamic thought is to make our thought appear in our behavior and to understand that Islam is the religion of practice and forward movement.

Professor Motahhari says in his book Dah Goftar: “We should be the reviver of religion since religion also revives us. That is we should keep the source of our life namely religion alive, as water is the source of our life. But we should keep this water clean and free of any contamination. In continuation, he says: “One of the issues agreed upon by scholars all over the world, is the practicability of Islam in all continents of the world, where Islam is spreading. Perhaps you may read this in many newspapers. It is frequently discussed how Islam is spreading in the US especially among the deprived people and they cannot stop it. It is the same in Europe. In Africa, Christian missionaries are active, supported by colossal budget but they meet failure, while Islam is spreading everywhere.

Professor Motahhari in several cases invites people to think and ponder upon. In his book Bist Goftar, he says: “One of the principles of the holy Quran’s teachings is invitation to ponder upon. The power of contemplation in the creatures of God is meant to realize the mysteries of creation. Thinking is a great asset for human soul. Islam considers monotheism as its basic and main principle. Monotheism is the peak of human perfection. Actually, the source of thinking is knowledge, for; thinking without knowledge is impossible. All advices of Islam on acquisition of knowledge are a preliminary to the proper religious thought which can be the reviver of religious thought and as a result reviver of humanity.

Thus Professor Motahhari embarked on tireless campaign against superstitions in society in order to revive genuine Islamic teachings among the people. He enjoyed two characteristics. One is he made the most use of his life and time, and second he used to think deeply about various issues before speaking. The most important of his books are The Principles of Philosophy and the Method of Realism and Women’s rights in Islam.

He viewed his life as service to God. He had a great interest in the world of nature and sometimes he sat for hours pondering upon, and reciting the holy Qur’an.


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