The Land Of First Human Rights Charter

  • "I have no religion, but if I were to choose one, it would be that of Shariati's." Jean-Paul Sartre ---------------------------------- My Lord, grant me success in struggling during failure, in having patience in disappointment, in going alone, in Jihad without weapons, in working without pay, in making sacrifice in silence, in having religious belief in the world, in having ideology without popular traditions, in having faith (Iman) without pretensions, non-conformity without immaturity, beauty without physical appearance, loneliness in the crowd, and loving without the beloved knowing about it. ----------------------------------
  • HAJJ: Reflection on Its Rituals, by Ali Shariati
  • photos: Farshad Palideh & Ehsan Mohammadi
  • April 2008
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Where shall we Begin (VII)

Posted by Parsin on April 2, 2008

Ali ShariatiLet us summarize the points raised here.

Given our culture and specific definition of “enlightened” as a person with a prophetic mission, the objectives and responsibilities of such a person are to transform the existing social conflicts from the context of the society into the feelings and self-consciousness of its members.

An enlightened person should obtain the raw materials from his contemporary society and social life. There exists no universal type of enlightened person, with common values and characteristics everywhere. Our own history and experience have demonstrated that whenever an enlightened person turns his back on religion, which is the dominant spirit of the society, the society turns its back on him. Opposition to religion by the enlightened person deprives society of the possibility of becoming aware of the benefits and the fruit of its young and enlightened generation. Due to their unique worldviews and awareness, enlightened individuals can play the most effective and long-lasting role in educating and mobilizing the masses of their society. With great intensity, the society expects its enlightened persons to educate it concerning various elements of danger, reactionism, corruption, anachronism and confusion. The dominant spirit of the Islamic culture is that of Justice and Leadership. Islam is a religion unlike other religions it challenges other religions, expresses lack of belief in them and declares them void. Our society is based upon a religion and outlook, which is the ideal of all contemporary men, because our religion has the “tradition of martyrdom.” None of the holy leaders of Islam have died of natural causes in isolated caves or monasteries: rather, they have all been martyred in prisons or on the battlefield.

Ali Shariati

To emancipate and guide the people, to give birth to a new love, faith, and dynamism, and to shed light on people’s hearts and minds and make them aware of various elements of ignorance, superstition, cruelty and degeneration in contemporary Islamic societies, an enlightened person should start with “religion.” By that I mean our peculiar religious culture and not the one predominant today. He should begin by an Islamic Protestantism similar to that of Christianity in the Middle Ages, destroying all the degenerating factors which, in the name of Islam, have stymied and stupefied the process of thinking and the fate of the society, and giving birth to new thoughts and new movements. Unlike Christian Protestantism, which was empty-handed and had to justify its liberationist presentation of Jesus, Islamic Protestantism has various sources and elements to draw from. Such a movement will unleash great energies and enable the enlightened Muslim to:

1-Extract and refine the enormous resources of our society and convert the degenerating and jamming agents into energy and movement.

2-Transform the existing social and class conflicts into conscious awareness of social responsibility, by using artistic, literary and speaking abilities and power as well as other possibilities at hand.

3-Bridge the ever-widening gap between the “island of the enlightened person” and the “shore of the masses” by establishing kinship links and understanding between them, thus putting the religion, which came about to revive and generate movement, at the service of the people.

4-Make the weapon of religion inaccessible to those who have undeservedly armed themselves with it and whose purpose is to use religion for personal reasons, thereby acquiring the necessary energy to motivate people.

5-Launch a religious renaissance through which, by returning to the religion of life and motion, power and justice, will on the one hand incapacitate the reactionary agents of the society and, on the other hand, save the people from those elements which are used to narcotize them. By launching such a renaissance, these hitherto narcotizing elements will be used to revitalize, give awareness and fight superstition. Furthermore, returning to and relying on the authentic culture of the society will allow the revival and rebirth of cultural independence in the face of Western cultural onslaught.

6-And finally, eliminates the spirit of imitation and obedience, which is the hallmark of the popular religion, and replaces it with a critical revolutionary, aggressive spirit of independent reasoning (Ijtihad). All of these may be accomplished through a religious reformist movement, which will extract and refine the enormous accumulation of energy in the society, and will enlighten the era and will awaken the present generation. It is for the above reasons that I, as a conscientious teacher who has risen from the depth of pains and experience of his people and history, hope that the enlightened person will reach a progressive self-awareness. For whereas our masses need self-awareness, our enlightened intellectuals are in need of “faith.”

6 Responses to “Where shall we Begin (VII)”

  1. Glenn said

    Hey Parsin:

    Got your message on my blog and responded.

    I like this man. Who is he? I have always said national and religious pride would divide us all. I never could understand how a person goes to war for his country. The people he fights are not his enemy. It’s the two governments that have a problem with each other, not the citizens.

    That’s why when the U.S. was fighting in Vietnam, I joined the Navy knowing I would never be sent there. That’s why I was against going into Iraq. Hussein never hurt me or my country. Bush just hated him because the Iraqi leader tried to assassinate his father. But Bill Clinton already punished Saddam when he was president.

    BTW: Here is a picture of Missy. She is so young and cute:

  2. Shahrzad said

    I love Dr Shari’ati’s books. Many of them. Most problem they had with him, was for his “red Shi’ism and black Shi’ism” book. He discussed the Matter of Safawism which was a royal Shi’ism and real Shi’ism.

    Interesting that those issues he mentioned in his book as a result of Saffawi tribe ruling in Iran, comes to act nowadays after many years. Like banning “Alam”, visualizing Ali (A.S) and Imam Hussain and many other craziness they used to do during Muharram..

    May God bless his soul.. Ameen..

  3. Parsin said

    . . .the people he fights are not his enemy. It’s the two governments that have a problem with each other, not the citizens.
    Thanks, you mentioned an important issue. I hope most people could understand this, in both sides.
    I also checked the link you sent me few days ago. It is an interesting site doing a good thing. Helping people has always been good in all over the world. Hope to see her in our discussions.

  4. Parsin said


    That’s true. Naturally, people tend to make everything including religion in a level of their views. And that’s what happening. I guess a main message of Shariati was to return to the true Islam. The Islam that eliminated cleric organizations as it was formed in other religions. And today we see what that means.

  5. Shahrzad said

    Unfortunately i may disagree with part of Glenn’s statement. Sure you were right to go to Navy and avoid war against Vietnam. But you should also notice that i completely see this as a right for Vietnamese to defend his country.

    That’s a fact that US policity is the major reason of too much mess, terrorism and violence in the world. It’s US that usually start a war against other countries. And sure if i was american, i would never help government for that. “discussion” and using the tongue has been rarely the policity of united stated. For example, instead of “so called” 3000 victims of 9/11, they have murdered (and still do) millions civilians. They have been always defender of oppressors and dictators and they always claim to interfere in daily life of other countries.

    Sure if someday US starts a war against Iran, i proudly “defend” my country and never allow others to make another Iraq in Iran..

    Dear Shahrzad,
    I totally agree with you, however, it seems Glenn also mentioned the same thing. He refused going to war against Vietnamese, and didn’t want to fight with Saddam Hussein!

  6. Glenn said


    While America had no right to invade Vietnam, and Iraq (or even Korea), we did not start all the wars we were involved in:

    American Revolutionary War and War of 1812: Both times, the British fired the first shot.

    World War I: It began in Europe without our help. We entered the war later on.

    World War II: Hitler and Japan started that war. We didn’t enter until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and then Hitler declared war on us.

    No one is against Colonialism/Imperialism more than I am. The only time I would advocate invading another country that didn’t attack us first is when Genocide is involved — like with Kosovo when we went in as part of a U.N. Multi-National force.

    I believe the main reason Musim nations are against us is not because of our support of Israel, but rather our long-term military presence in Saudi Arabia, and now the Iraq War.

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