Reasons Why People Gravitate Towards Atheism
By: Martyr Ayatullah Murtuza Mutahhari
Incidentally, there are other people who have been able to recognize the things which pain this generation and have been able to misuse these youth and misguide them. What path did the teachings of materialism - which have even appeared in this country (Irān) – use which were able to make people sacrifice their lives for these things and for the purpose of atheism?
They used this same path (that we are after) since they knew that this generation was in need of something. They knew that they needed a school of thought which would be able to answer their questions, and thus they presented such a thought ideology to them. They knew that this generation possessed a series of great societal ideals and aims which they wanted to reach and wanted these things to prove true for themselves and thus, these materialists made these their same ideals and aims. Thus, they were able to pull many people towards themselves and with what sort of self sacrifices (on their part) and what kind of closeness!
When a person is found to have a serious need for something, he does not really think of the good and bad in that thing. When the stomach is hungry for food, it does not really pay attention to the type of food it gets – it will eat whatever it finds simply to satisfy the hunger. The soul is the same way – if it reaches to a stage that it is hungry for a school of thought to follow and such a school which is run on some predefined and known principles which is able to answer the questions brought forth and is able to tackle all of the issues of the monotonous world and the societal issues which are placed in front of it, then it will not care if the beliefs are based on strong logic or not. Thus we see that humanity is not really after firm and logical speech – rather, it is after an organized and well-prepared thought which would be able to answer all of the day to day questions that come forth.
We, the philosophers, knew that all these words were nonsense, and although it was meaningless, the aforesaid philosophy was in fact a demanding exigency which filled a vacancy and saved a room for its place, and thus it was accepted.
Signs of Intellectual Development
After a child passes through the stage of being breast-fed and the power of his brain and the powers of discernment have developed, he then starts to ask questions about the things around him and we must be ready to answer his questions according to his level of understanding. We must not say to him, “Do not be nosy” or “What is it to you?” or things such as this. The child asking questions is a sign that his brain is developing and that he is thinking. These questions also show that his spiritual powers have developed and have taken a firm hold within him. These questions are a natural sign; they are a sign of creation. The creation announces to others that it constantly needs something new within itself and thus, those people who are around the child must give him what he asks for.
The same thing can be said for society. If within society, a new feeling or understanding is brought forth, then this too is a sign of development and progress of the society. This is also a sign that the elements within the society have a new need which much be met. These types of things must be shown as things which are different from the low desires and the need of worshipping the self, and thus we should never assume that these questions are some how a form of following the lower desires. Thus, when these things come about, we must immediately keep in mind the following verse of the Qurʾān:
Åöäú ÊõØöÚú ÃóßúËóÑó ãóäú Ýöí ÇáÃóÑúÖö íõÖöáøõæßó Úóäú ÓóÈöíáö Çááøñåö
“If you were to follow a majority of the people on the Earth then they would definitely misguide you from the path of Allāh.”
In addition, we read:
æó áóæö ÇÊøóÈóÚó ÇáúÍóÞøó ÃóåúÜÜæñÇÆóåõãú áóÝóÓóÏóÊö ÇáÓøóãñæñÇÊö æó ÇáÃóÑúÖö
“And if you were to follow their lower desires instead of the Ḥaqq (Truth), then surely the Heavens and the Earth would have become corrupt.”
 Sūratul An`ām (6), Verse 116
 Sūratul Mo’minūn (23), Verse 71
The Abandonment of the Qur'ān
Today, we have a complaint that we must address to this new generation which is: Why are they not acquainted with the Qurʾān? Why are they not being taught the Qurʾān in their schools? Even if we go to the Universities, we see that the (Muslim) university students cannot even recite the Qurʾān! Of course it is unfortunate that this has occurred however we must ask ourselves, “What steps have we taken to help them in this path?”
Do we assume that with the lessons of Fiqh, Sharīʿah and Qurʾān which are being taught in the Islāmic schools (Madāris) that this is enough for the new generation to become completely acquainted with the Qurʾān?
What is more amazing is that the previous generations were also distanced from and had abandoned the Qurʾān – and then we wish to complain to the new generation why they have not developed a relationship with the Qurʾān!? Without doubt, the Qurʾān has truly been alienated from ourselves and then we still expect the new generation to hold onto the Qurʾān!?
At this point, we will prove to the readers how we have alienated ourselves from this Sacred Book.
If a person’s knowledge is that of the science of the Qurʾān - meaning that he does a lot of contemplation upon the contents of the Qurʾān and if he knows the complete interpretation of the Qurʾān, how much respect would such a person have amongst us? None. However, if a person was to know “Kifāyah” of Akhūnd Mullāh Kādhim Khurāsānī, then he
would be respected and would be considered as one with integrity.
Thus, the Qurʾān is truly unknown and has become distanced from us and this is the same complaint that the Qurʾān itself will proclaim!
We are all included in the protests and objections of the Messenger of Allāh (s.w.a.) when he complains to Allāh (s.w.t.):
íñÇ ÑóÈöø Åöäøó Þóæúãöí ÇÊøóÎóÐõæÇ åñÐóÇ ÇáúÞõÑñÂäó ãóåúÌõæÑÇð
“O’ my Lord! Surely MY nation took this Qurʾān as something trivial.”
Approximately one month ago, one of our own great scholars had
gone to the holy cities (in ʿIrāq) and narrates that he visited Ayatullāh Khūʾī (q.d.s.). He said to the Ayatullāh, “Why have you stopped the lessons in Tafsīr which you were previously giving?” The Ayatullāh
replied to him that there were many obstacles and difficulties in offering classes on Tafsīr of the Qurʾān. This scholar then told Ayatullāh Khūʿī (q.d.s.), “ʿAllāmah Tabā’tabā’ī (q.d.s.) has continued his classes on Tafsīr of the Qurʾān in Qum and thus, most of his time is spent in this area of study and research.” Ayatullāh Khūʿī replied, “Ayatullāh Tabā’tabā’ī has sacrificed himself – he has withdrawn himself from the society” - and he is right.
It is amazing that in the most sensitive issues of the religion, if we see a person who sacrifices his entire life to study the Qurʾān, then he will fall into thousands of difficulties and problems from the point of view of his food, overall life, his character (within the society), his respect and he will be removed from and deprived of many things. However, if he was to spend his entire life in the study of books such as “Kifāyah”, then he would be worthy of receiving everything!
Thus, in summary, we can find thousands of people who know “Kifāyah” very well. They also know the replies to the points brought up in “Kifāyah” and they even know the replies to the replies that have been given - and they even know the replies to the replies of the replies of “Kifāyah” however we cannot find even two people who know the Qurʾān properly! If you ask any scholar about a verse of the Qurʾān, they will say that they must go back and refer to the Tafsīr of the Qurʾān.
What is even more amazing than this is that the older generation has acted in this regards to the Qurʾān, however we had higher hopes that the new generation of the youth would be able to read the Qurʾān, understand it and act upon it!
If the previous generations had not strayed away from the Qurʾān, then without doubt, this new generation too would not have been led astray from the path of the Qurʾān. Thus, it is ourselves who have acted in this way to earn the wrath and curse of the Prophet (s.w.a.) and the Qurʾān.
In relation to the Qurʾān, the Noble Messenger (s.w.a.) has stated:
Åöäøóåõ ÔñÇÝöÚñ ãõÔóÝøóÚñ æó ãñÇÍöáõ ãõÕóÏøóÞñ
By this we mean that in the presence of Allāh (s.w.t.), the Qurʾān is an intercessor and its intercession will be accepted and in relation to those people who ignore the Qurʾān, it will complain (to Allāh (s.w.t.)) and its complaints will be accepted as well.
It is both the older generation and even the newer generation who have done an injustice to the Qurʾān and continue to do so. It is the previous generation who had initiated this act of ignoring the Qurʾān, and it is the newer generation who are continuing in their footsteps.
This in conclusion, in the issue of the leadership of the youth, more than anything else, there are two things which we must do
1) We must first recognize that which is troubling this generation. Once we have done this, then we can sit and think of the cure and remedy for their problems, since without knowing what is troubling them, it is not possible to go forth and cure the illness.
2) The second thing is that the older generation must first correct themselves. The older generation must ask forgiveness for the greatest sin which they have committed and that is that they have left and ignored the Qurʾān. We must all return back to this Qurʾān and place the Qurʾān in front of us and then march forward under the shadow of the guidance of the Qurʾān so that we will be able to reach to happiness and perfection.!
 This is one of the major books in the field of Usūlul Fiqh that students of the Theological Seminary need to study as they progress in their studies to reach the highest level of learning – Ba`thul Khārij. (Tr.)
 Sūrah al-Furqān (25), Verse 30
 From when this lecture was originally given in 1963. (Tr.)
 It has been narrated that Āyatullāh Khū`ī was offering classes in Tafsīr of the Qurʾān some 8 or 9 years ago in Najaf, some of which were also printed in book form.
 al-Kāfī, Volume 2, Page 599