Martyr Ayatollah Morteza Motahari
By: Sayyid Ali Shahbaz
Throughout the course of history, a number of thinkers have glittered in the domains of culture and science; enlightening and guiding people on the path to prosperity. The best guiders of mankind have been divine prophets, led by the Last and Greatest Messenger of God Almighty, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and his Infallible Household.
Thereafter, Ulema and Islamic scholars are the heirs to this great prophecy. Martyr Ayatollah Morteza Motahari is one of the prominent figures, who blended science with practice and faith in God with ethics, guiding the bleak community of his era out of darkness, up to the extent that he put his life for this elevated goal and attained martyrdom on May 2, 1979.
On the martyrdom of this prominent figure, the Father of Islamic Revolution, late Imam Khomeini (May his soul rest in peace) noted: “I lost a beloved and dear child. In dear Islam, the martyrdom of this courageous and eternal man, dealt an irreparable blow.”
These unique remarks by late Imam about his prominent student, Allameh Martyr Motahari were not made without reason. The merits which were embedded in Martyr Motahari had distinguished him from others. The books on monotheism, divine justice, prophecy, perfect human being, reasons behind inclination toward materialism; and rights of women in the sacred religion of Islam are some of the valuable works of this prominent Islamic scholar.
One of the characteristics of Martyr Motahari is his precise understanding of social topics of importance and ideological currents, especially in regard to the ideological doubts and issues of the young generation. This prudent figure, in addition to accurate elaboration of Islamic thoughts, was especially sensitive towards ideological deviations, considering them as the source of decline of the Islamic community. For this reason, he placed disclosure of these deviations and enlightenment of people in regard to these deviations on his agenda. A glance at the works of Martyr Motahari shows his relentless campaign against ignorance.
Attention on the ayahs of Holy Quran and Islamic narrations also go to show that the sacred religion of Islam attaches significant importance to contemplation. According to a well-known Hadith cited from Prophet Mohammad (SAWA): An hour of contemplation is better than seventy years of prayers.
This Islamic narration never downplays the value of prayers, because according to Holy Quran, the reason behind creation is to worship God Almighty. The goal of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) from making these remarks was to emphasize on the need for vigilant and alert prayers and contemplation in religion. These remarks go to show that the sacred religion of Islam is the religion of contemplation and dialogue. Hence, unawareness and ignorance has been rejected by the sacred religion of Islam.
Martyr Motahari considers ignorance as a dangerous illness for mankind which obstructs his progress and ultimately leads to his fall and deviation. He believes that ignorance either leads the ignorant to be enchanted by the appearances of materialistic life and to derail the principles of religion and/or to become bigoted. The bigoted thoughts and prejudices are rooted in foolishness and ignorance. If one is enlightened, there would no longer be any room for bigotry.
Martyr Motahari, in order to manifest the threats posed by ignorance and bigotry reminds the issue of emergence of Khawaraj (renegades) in the advent of Islam. In the battle of Saffain, in which the troops of the First Infallible Successor to Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), Imam Ali (PBUH) were on the verge of crushing the ungodly troops of Moavieh; the commander of these ungodly troops resorted to deceit, and ordered volumes of Holy Quran to be put on top of arrows. A large number of Imam Ali’s troops were deceived due to ignorance and ultimately refused to accept Imam Ali’s rule. They wrongly imagined that an Islamic community doesn’t need a ruler. However, without a ruler, the instructions of God Almighty will not be fully implemented. As the consequence of this ignorance; a radical, inflexible, and selfish group emerged under the name of Khawaraj, who wrongly imagined themselves as the representatives of religion and the only heirs of true Islam. They said any Muslim who would commit a major sin is a disbeliever. This thought brought about destructive impacts on the Islamic community. They imagined themselves as the representatives of Islam and spilled the blood of any Muslim who didn’t accept their views.
The nature of the thoughts of Khawaraj which were based on ignorance, has infiltrated in the Islamic community in different forms throughout the history of Islam. Martyr Motahari says the history of Khawarj teaches us lessons. Khawaraj, due to their foolishness were very narrow-minded and dealt numerous blows against the sacred religion of Islam. Their acts of ignorance were also scaremongering.
A glance at the current situation of the Islamic community goes to show that the danger which Martyr Motahari tried to inform people about, is currently in need of attention. The ominous phenomenon of Takfiris, who highly resemble Khawaraj in the advent of Islam, in ideology and practices, are the result of ignorance and bigotry. They wrongly imagine themselves as the only Muslims and brutally kill anyone who opposes them.
Imam Ali (PBUH) in description of Khawaraj and all foolish and bigoted individuals notes: They are violent; lack elevated thoughts and delicate sentiments. He adds: There are the worst of people.
One of the plagues that the wrong thoughts of the sanctimonious individuals impose on Muslims is that they cause doubts among people, who lack insight, in distinguishing between righteousness and falsehood.
Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) pointed out: \"Two groups of individuals broke my back. The prejudiced ignorant, and the irresponsible clergy.\"
Martyr Motahari, throughout his fruitful life, made every effort to wipe out ignorance and misunderstandings in regard to the sacred religion of Islam, and put his life for this elevated goal. Although he has not been among us for a number of years, his enlightening thoughts continue to guide those, who seek the truth.