Morteza Motahhari

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Morteza Motahhari
مرتضی مطهری در جوانی.jpg
Personal Details
Title Ayatollah
Born Morteza Motahhari
(1919-01-31)31 January 1919
Fariman, Iran
Died 1 May 1979(1979-05-01) (aged 60)
Tehran, Iran
Cause of death Assassination
Nationality Iranian
Religion Islam
Main interest(s) Fiqh, Kalam, philosophy
Notable work(s) The Rights of Women in Islam
Justice of the God
Part of a series on the
History of the
Iranian Revolution
Return of Khomeini from exile

Morteza Motahhari (31 January 1919 – 1 May 1979) (مرتضی مطهری) was an Iranian cleric, philosopher, lecturer, and politician.

Motahhari is considered among the important influences on the ideologies of the Islamic Republic.[1] He was a co-founder of Hosseiniye Ershad and the Combatant Clergy Association (Jāme'e-ye Rowhāniyat-e Mobārez). He was a disciple of Ayatollah Khomeini during the Shah's reign and formed the Council of the Islamic Revolution at Khomeini's request. He was chairman of the council at the time of his assassination.[2]


Early life[edit]

Motahhari was born in Fariman on 31 January 1919. Then he attended the Hawza of Qom from 1944 to 1952 and left for Tehran.[3] His grandfather was an eminent religious scholar in Sistan province and since that he travelled with his family into Khorasan Province then there is little information about his originality as Sistanian.[4] His father Shaykh Muhammad hoseini was also an eminent figure in his village Fariman and people respected him.He counted as one of the pupil of Akhund khorasani and besides he is admired by Ayatollah Marashi Najafi.[5]


He joined the University of Tehran, where he taught philosophy for 22 years. Between 1965 and 1973 he also gave regular lectures at the Hosseiniye Ershad in Northern Tehran.

Motahhari wrote several books on Islam, Iran, and historical topics. As outlined by Ayatollah Murtaza Mutahhari in 1975, the phrase ‘equal rights’ means something different from what is commonly understood in the western world. He clarifies that men and women are innately different and therefore enjoy different rights, duties and punishments.[6] His emphasis was on teaching rather than writing. However, after his death, some of his students worked on writing these lectures and manage them in order to publish them as books. As of the mid-2008, the "Sadra Publishings" published more than sixty books of Motahari. Nearly 30 books were written about Motahari or quoted from his speeches.

Morteza Motahhari opposed what he called groups who "depend on other schools, especially materialistic schools" but who present these "foreign ideas with Islamic emblems". In a June 1977 article he wrote to warn "all great Islamic authorities" of the danger of "these external influential ideas under the pretext and banner of Islam." It is thought he was referring to the People's Mujahideen of Iran and the Furqan Group (Guruh-i Furqan).[7]

On 1 May 1979 Morteza Motahhari was assassinated in Tehran by gunshot by a member of the Furqan Fighters after leaving a late meeting at the house of Yadollah Sahabi.[8] The group acclaimed the responsibility of the assassination.[8] The alleged assassin was Akbar Goudarzi, who founded the group, leftist Islamic group.[9]

Motahhari was the father in law of Iran's former secretary of National Security Council Ali Larijani.[10] It was by Motahhari's advice that Larijani switched from computer science to Western Philosophy for graduate studies.

In honor of Motahhari, a major street in Tehran (formerly Takhte Tavoos--Peacock Throne in English) was named after him. Morteza Motahhari Street connects Sohrevardi Street and Vali Asr Street, two major streets in Tehran.

activity in islamic revolution[edit]

During the struggle with shah’s regime, Morteza motahhari had contribution in creating of new Islamic discourses .Besides he was among who had discussed the conditions of maraja after the death of Ayatollah Broujerdi.He wrote the book of Mutual services of Iran and Islam in such a condition.Also his work has an important role in expanding the movement of religious reform in early days of revolution.His work primarily were about traditional Islamic and shia thought. [11] He counted as one of the eminent ideolgue of islamic revolution of Iran.He wrote an essay about revitalization of religious thought in the occasion.writing the "need for Candidness in religious leadership, he want to show the youth the attractiveness of islam and its interesting.[12]


During Revolution, while Shapour Bakhtiyar prevented Khomeini's return to Iran in 1978, Ayatollah Motahhari was the leader to manage the clergies protesters in Tehran Universitie's mosque. Motahhari was an important figure, and helped Ayatollah Khomeini to organize revolutionary department. So because of these activities, he was favored by revolutionary people and was hated by anti-revolutionaries group such as Forghan group. He was allegedly killed by the Forghan group on 1 May 1979.[13]


Murtaza Motahhary in different majors and disciplines expreesed his opinions such as philosophy,religion,economic,politics and etc.Motahhari along with Shariati counted as two prominent figures during Islamic republique of Iran. Motahhar also express some views on development and relevant ideology.according to him freedom,culture and cultural mental evolution are rules of development.colonialism and self-alination considered by him as an effective less likely thing.He also counted some elements for a developed society such as independence,knowledge and transcedence.according to Motahhary also development has origin in cultural self steem,purification of cultural sources and logical and cautios communication with west.Motahhari believed that development of human resources but at the same time he thought that economy is not an aim but just a prerequisite for development.He emphasized on Islamic democracy for suitable political structure.[14] Motahhari also knows the fetrat as the truth of human. According to him Fitrat is a permanent and unchanged quality in human nature. In fact, fetrat plays the role of mediation in a relation between god and human beings. According to him at the same time he believes that imam is perfect man who shows the high rank of human spirituality. Imam also is characterized as a religious leader.His long footnote on the “book of principles of philosophy and method of realism” by Allame Sayyed Muhammad Hosein Tabatabaei also was against the historical Marxism.[15] Also he believes that Valy faqih only has the right of supervisory not ruling. [16] But he also maintain that the ruling is one of the political aspect of imam in society.[17]He referred to the point that there is no conflict between science and religion since that science as such has not challenge with metaphysics. He believes that the quasi conflict between science and religion is in terms of their language not themselves.[18]


Motahhari believes that the eternality of islam provided by Fiqh. He thought that fiqh along with the character of ijtihad could be an important thing for confronting with the problem of different times and places.having the ijtihad, there is no need to new prophet.[19]


According to Morteza Motahari we must to explain the description of morality according to how being and how behaving. How being refers to human deeds which consists speaking and how being relates to characters and completions of soul of human.[20]


Motahari also believes that there is great challenges between men of science for knowing the human as a phenomena and at the same time seldom we can find two philosophers who have common ideas on on approachimg to study himan kind.[20]


Motahari thinks that the social freedom is not possible and practical without considering spirituality.[21]Mutahhari defines freedom as nonexistence of obstacles. According to him obstacles are of two characters. The first one is that obstacle could limit human and besides counted as a something get human not to do something. In simple word, obstacle could has the dignity of limiting and declining humans.the second one is to thing which decline the perception and introspection of subject in terms of knowledge.According to motahhari, besided the realization of putting away obstacles we need to give the spirit of freedom. He analyze the concept of freedom as both right and obligation.He believes that the freedom has necessity for human. Human must be free to choose voluntarily his path. He believes that, contrary to liberalists, inborn right has an ultimate for transcending of human beings.[22]

Philosophy of law[edit]

Like other men of thought, mutahhari thinks that we have to define the concepts first of all. Therefore he defines right as a dominance or score on something. According to right the human is merit to possess something and other human ought to respect him. Some of rights are such as the right of parents on their children or the rights of husband and wife in relation to each other. Motahhari divided the right into two groups. First group is existential rights Or Takwini and the second is religious rights or tashriei. former is a real relation between person and object and the latter determined according to former. He knew the right as a potential score for persons. In fact the right concerned with the priority of somebody on something. He concerned with the question in that is the right and possession predicated on human as such or predicated on human in terms of being in society? He believes that undoubtedly the right existed prior to society.Contrary to John Austin (legal philosopher), Mutahhri believes that there is a mutual relation between right and obligation (Haq va Taklif).Mutahhari believes that the natural law theory is a rational one that is of importance for human kind. According to him, the foundation of natural theory of law is to world has a goal and aim finally. On the basis of principle of having goal, the God creates the world for the sake of human kind and they have potential right to change the world therefore human kind have right prior to introducing in society.[23]

philosophy of religion[edit]

Motahhary refers to the concept of maktab or school when he intended to define the word of religion. According to him maktab is to a thoughtful disciplined system including ideology and View in terms of ethics, politics, economy and civil law and etc. finally he defines religion as a collection of knowledge bestowed to human for the sake of guiding him and also religion is to a collection of beliefs, moralities and individual and collective judgments. Therefore he knows religion and its teaching as beliefs, moralities and judgments. Also motahhari believes that the domain of religion at all is not limited to life but concerned with after afterlife.Of course he believes that islam as a religion is consistent with life of human and there is no room for deny it.[24]

western philosophy[edit]

Dariush Shayegan believes that motahhari confused the hegelian thought and Stace's quotations in confrontong with Hegel.According to Shaygan since that motahhari and hegel,each one belong to one paradaigm, then there is no common world between them.[25]


He considered Marxism as a great threat for youths and revolution of Iran therefore he tried to criticize Marxism next to pioneer figures like shariati.Also his commentary on the book of Mulla Sadra influenced many scholars. Besides he also emphasized on the social, cultural and historical contingencies of religious knowledge. Motahhari argued that if someone compares fatwas belong to different jurists and at the same time considers their lives and states of knowledge then it is clear that the presuppositions of jurists and its knowledge affected their knowledge. According to him, because of this reason, we observe that the fatwa belong to Arab has an Arab fatwa and the fatwa belong to non-Arab has an Ajam flavor. Also He tries to compare Quran with the nature. He also believed that the contemporary interpretations of Quran are considerable than Ancient rendition of Islam because of that the future generation has a better understanding of Quran and Also a deeper appreciation of it. But At the same Time he doesn’t believe in epistemological pluralism.[26]


  • UNESCO Award, 1965.[27]


  • Tawhid (Monotheism)
  • Adl -e- Elahi (Divine Justice)
  • Nubuwwah (Prophet-hood)
  • Ma'ad (The Return, a book on Islamic eschatology)
  • Hamase -e- Husaini (Husaynian Epic)
  • Seiry dar nahj al-balagha (A Journey through Nahj al-Balagha )
  • Seiry dar sirey'e a'emeye at-har (A Journey through the Conduct of the Purified Imams)
  • Seiry dar sirey'e nabavi (A Journey through the Prophetic Conduct)
  • Insan -e- Kamel (The Complete Human)
  • Payambar -e- Ommi (The Uneducated Prophet)
  • Osool -e Falsafa va ravesh -e- Realism (The Principles of Philosophy and the Method of Realism)
  • Sharh -e- Manzume (An exegesis on Mulla Hadi Sabzavari's versified summary of Mulla Sadra's Transcendent theosophy)
  • Imamat va rahbary (Imamate and Leadership)
  • Dah Goftar (A collection of 10 essays by Motahhari)
  • Bist Goftar (A collection of 20 essays by Motahhari)
  • Panzdah Goftar (A collection of 15 essays by Motahhari)
  • Azadi -e- Ma'navi (Spiritual Freedom)
  • Ashneya'ei ba Quran (An Introduction to the Qur'an)
  • Ayande -e- Enghlab -e- Islami (The Future of the Islamic Revolution)
  • Ehyaye Tafakor -e- Islami (Revival of Islamic Thinking)
  • Akhlagh -e- Jensi (Sexual Ethics)
  • Islam va niazha -ye- jahan (Islam and the Demands of the Modern World)
  • Emdadhaye gheibi dar zendegi -e- bashar (Hidden Aids in Human Life)
  • Ensan va sarnevesht (Man and Destiny)
  • Panj maghale (Five Essays)
  • Ta'lim va tarbiyat dar Islam (Education in Islam)
  • Jazebe va dafe'eye Ali (Ali's Attraction and Repulsion)
  • Jehad (The Holy War of Islam and Its Legitimacy in the Quran)
  • Hajj (Pilgrimage)
  • Hekmat-ha va andarz-ha (Wisdoms and Warnings)
  • Khatemiyat (The Doctrine of the Seal of Prophethood by Muhammad)
  • Khatm -e- Nobowat (The Seal of Prophethood)
  • Khadamāt-e moteqābel-e Eslām va Īrān (Islam and Iran: A Historical Study of Mutual Services)
  • Dastan -e- Rastan (Anecdotes of Pious Men)
  • Darshaye Asfar
  • Shesh maghale (Six Essays)
  • Erfan -e- Hafez
  • Elale gerayesh be madigary
  • Fetrat
  • Falsafe -ye- Akhlagh (Ethics)
  • Falsafe -ye- Tarikh (Philosophy of History)
  • Ghiam va enghelab -e- Mahdi
  • Koliyat -e- olume Islami
  • Goft o gooye chahar janebe
  • Masaleye Hejab
  • Masaleye Reba
  • Masaleye Shenakht
  • Maghalate falsafi (A selection of Philosophical articles written by Motahari)
  • Moghadameyi bar jahanbiniye Islami (Consists of 6 different books written about this subject)
  • Nabard -e- hagh va batel
  • Nezam -e- hoghoghe zan dar Islam
  • Nazari bar nezame eghtesadiye Islam
  • Naghdi bar Marxism (A critic on Marxism)
  • Nehzat-haye Islami dar 100 sale akhir
  • Sexual Ethics in Islam and in the Western World (English)
  • Vela'ha va velayat-ha
  • Azadegi
  • Ayineye Jam (Interpretation of poetry of Hafez)

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Manouchehr Ganji (2002). Defying the Iranian Revolution: From a Minister to the Shah to a Leader of Resistance. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-275-97187-8. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Debating Muslims Michael M. J. Fischer, Mehdi Abedi
  3. ^ Kasra, Nilofar. "Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari". IICHS. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  4. ^ اولین همایش مطهری سیستاتی در زابل
  5. ^ Abdollah Nasri & Life's outcome, A survry of Murteza Motahhari's ideas 1386 solar, pp. 5–6
  6. ^ Bucar, Elizabeth M. Creative Conformity: The Feminist Politics of U.S. Catholic and Iranian Shi'i Women. Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2011. p. 91
  7. ^ The political thought of Ayatullah Murtaza Mutahhari Mahmood T. Davari
  8. ^ a b Nikazmerad, Nicholas M. (1980). "A Chronological Survey of the Iranian Revolution". Iranian Studies 13 (1/4): 327–368. doi:10.1080/00210868008701575. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Sahimi, Mohammad (30 October 2009). "The power behind the scene: Khoeiniha". PBS. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Sohrabi, Naghmeh (July 2011). "The Power Struggle in Iran: A Centrist Comeback?" (PDF). Middle East Brief (53). 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Martyrdom Anniversary of 'Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari' / Pics". AhlulBayt News Agency(ABNA). 3 May 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  14. ^ Analysis of Current Theories on the Development of the Islamic Republic of Iran,Journal: Academic Journal of Research in Economics and Management 2014 Vol.2 Issue 9 , pp. 42-48,Zainab Arabian Research Society for Multidisciplinary Issues( ZARSMI ),Author/s: Movahedi , Masood | Siuki , Jafar Fahimi | Shakeri , Mohsen
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ the relation of science and religion according to mUtahhari,Muhammad hosein mahdavi nejad,magazine of legal investigation,number:6-7,1381 solar,in persian
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b Naderi , Mohammad ."Pathology of Preservation of Morality in Islamic and Western Societies" Kuwait Chapter of Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review. 3.11 (a) (2014): 41
  21. ^ Givi , Majid , Mazaheri , Mohammad Mehdi , Alizamani , Amir Abbas and Dehbashi , Mehdi ."Judgment about Freedom" Kuwait Chapter of Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review. 3.8 (2014): 57
  22. ^ lif's otcome, A survey of Morteza Motahhari's Ideas.p.455-475.vol.1,1386 solar,Abdullah Nasri
  23. ^ lif's otcome, A survey of Morteza Motahhari's Ideas.p.401-410.vol.1,1386 solar
  24. ^ Ryaz Ahmaddar,religion and political and social system from motahhari and iqbal lahouri,Tolou magazine,number 21, 6th year,spring 1386 solar
  25. ^
  26. ^ Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Abdolkarim Soroush,The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics, Edited by John L. Esposito and Emad El-Din Shahin,online pub date: Dec 2013
  27. ^ Remembering Ayatollah Morteza Motahari ABNA

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Secretary-General of Combatant Clergy Association
Succeeded by
Mohammad-Reza Mahdavi Kani
Political offices
Preceded by
President of Council of Islamic Revolution
Succeeded by
Mahmoud Taleghani