Presentation on theme: "A LI S YARI ’ ATI Gonda Yumitro. Ali Shariati was born in 1933 in Mazinan, a suburb of Mashhad, Iran. He completed his elementary and high school in Mashhad."— Presentation transcript:
Ali Shariati was born in 1933 in Mazinan, a suburb of Mashhad, Iran. He completed his elementary and high school in Mashhad. He later attended Teacher Training College. He was graduated from college in 1960, and on a scholarship he pursued graduate studies in France. Shariati received his doctorate in sociology in 1964 from Sorbonne University. As a Muslim sociologist, he sought to explain the problems of Muslim societies in the light of Islamic principles-explaining them and discussing them with his students. Very soon he gained popularity with the students and among the religious classes in Iran. For this reason, the regime of Shah felt obliged to discontinue his courses at the university. Then he was transferred to Teheran. There, Dr. Shariati continued his very active career. His lectures at Houssein-e Ershad Religious Institute attracted not only students who registered in his summer classes, but also many thousands of people from different backgrounds who were fascinated by his Islamic teachings. Faced with the success of Dr. Shariati's courses, the Iranian police surrounded Houssein-e Ershad Institute, arrested many of his followers and thereby put an end to his activities.
Popular pressure and international protests obliged the Iranian regime to release Dr. Shariati on March 20, 1975. However, he remained under close surveillance by the SAVAK (Iranian Security Agency of Iran). Since he could neither publish his thoughts nor contact his students. Under such stifling conditions according to his believe and the teachings of the Quran he decided to migrate out of the country. He went to England but was found dead three weeks later in his apartment on June 19, 1977. It is widely believed that he was murdered by the SAVAK (Iranian Security Agency of Iran).
Ali Shariati is widely recognized as the main ideologue of the Iranian revolution. mix of ideas: traditional Muslim-Shi`a thought, radical Islamic fundamentalism, a mystical Sufi strand, Western existentialism, dialectical Marxism, and anti-imperialism. Shariati believed that Islamic societies were suffering from internal and external oppression, that revolution was the only alternative left for effecting change, and that ideology was the main tool for mobilizing society. He said, “Each ideologue, then, is responsible to change the status quo relative to his ideals and convictions“ Shariati argues that the Iranian people must stop passively moaning about their lot and start analyzing their condition using ideological and scientific methodology, so as to discover the principles that are catalysts for change.
Shariati's political ideology is Islamic-Marxist, He maintains that Islam is a revolutionary ideology because from its inception it sided with the oppressed, Muhammad having fought for social equality In his opinion, Islam needs a reformation similar to the christian reformation in Europe. Iran is at an historical stage of development similar to that of Europe in the 14th century, which after stagnating for a millennium in the Middle Ages, experienced the Protestant Reformation that generated its leap forward into modernity. - "What is important to us now are Luther's and Calvin's works, since they transformed the Catholic ethics to a moving and creative force“. This reformation will unleash great energies and lead to "a great leap forward" that will skip centuries, helping Islamic societies reach the level of Western societies.
Islam still dominates the culture, traditions and identity of Islamic societies, so it is useless to emulate secular European models with their 20th century idiom - they are simply irrelevant. A Reformed Islam is the only hope for emancipation. Shariati idealizes Islam and sees it as a panacea for all problems, encompassing a scientific and deterministic philosophy of history, a positive humanism and a belief in the inevitable victory of the oppressed.
Searching for the motor of societal change, Shariati finds that the Quran identified al-nas (the people) as the main factor inducing social change. The people as a whole represent God, and the Quran equates God with the people in social matters. This fits surprisingly well with his Marxist convictions, legitimizing his efforts to mobilize the masses by revolutionary Islamic discourse. In a contradictory manner, although the people are the main factor of social change, they must be activated by a self-conscious elite. Left on their own, the masses may stagnate in their misery for ever. The tragedy of Iran is the wide gap between its tradition-oriented masses and the alienated western educated elite, a gap which can only be bridged by militant Islamic intellectuals. Recruiting such intellectuals to become the vanguard and catalyst of change is one of Shariati's main goals These "enlightened thinkers" ( Raushanfekran ) are a key element in Shariati's thinking as there is no hope for change without them. Shi`i taqiyya colour Shari`ati's thought in the well known pattern of using different levels of discourse for different audiences.
Shariati views history as an eternal dialectical struggle between tauhid and shirk. Tauhid is the "natural", God-given order of things, whilst shirk is the enemy who has to be fought and eliminated. Tauhid means submission to God alone and a revolt against all other powers: "In tauhid man fears only one power, is answerable to one judge, turns only to one qibla, directs his hopes to only one source". Traditional tauhid, the doctrine of the unity of God, is thus transformed into the basis of revolution. Whilst Shariati disclaims that his tauhid worldview is mystical sufism (because he objects to sufi otherworldliness and passivity), the similarities to Ibn al-Arabi's "unity of being" ( wahdat al-wujud ) theosophy are striking. Creation as one organism, a unity of God, man, and nature, is a Sufi notion. Tauhid was central to Sufism, which saw God and creation as two sides of the same reality. Afghani may be one source of his infatuation with this idea. But Shariati had also studied Sufism on his own and been influenced by Rumi's " Masnavi " and by Massignon.
Shariati frequently employs the term love, so central to sufi mysticism. The revolutionary is a devotee of love, rotating around God: "As a butterfly who encircles the candle until it burns; and its ashes are gone with the wind...disappearing in love and dying in light". This is very similar to the Sufi concept of fana' bil-Llah, the annihilation of self in God. Love is "an almighty force in the very depth of my being...", a force enabling man to sacrifice himself for others: "It is a love which beyond rationality and logic invites us to negate and rebel against ourselves in order to work...for the sake of others". Love is the total reliance on God ( tawakkul ) that moved Hagar to submit herself to God's will and take Isma`il to a far, dry valley.
Shariati has a very Hegelian and Marxist view of dialectics lying at the centre of man, society, history and religion. Thesis encounters antithesis, and out of the inevitable struggle and movement the new synthesis arises. This process is continuously renewed and accounts for all change in the world. Man is a dialectic reality created of clay and spirit, a contradiction causing inward struggles and constant movement. In the creation myth of Islam clay symbolizes stagnation whilst spirit symbolizes movement toward perfection. Man's natural condition ( fitra ) lies between two opposite poles, a combination that creates an evolutionary movement of man toward perfection. The real battle of Satan against God is not waged in nature but within man's heart as his clay nature strives to overcome his spirit. Adam symbolizes the human species created as God's viceregent ( khalifa ) and superior to the angels. Man is the bearer of God's trust - free will - a trust that no other part of creation was willing to accept. God gave man the knowledge of names, signifying scientific truths that even angels do not know, and a mission to perform God's will and create a paradise in this place of exile. Man is not merely God's trustee on earth, he is also God's relative, partner and friend (another Sufi concept differing from traditional Ulama thought): "In Islam man is not subjugated by God, since he is the Lord's associate, friend, trustee and kinsman on earth".
Free will makes man superior to other creatures as he can rebel and chose between good or evil. God's spirit within draws him up to perfection whilst the opposing clay principle drags him down to stagnation. In this process of overcoming his lower nature man evolves and draws nearer to God. Man, composed of two contrasting elements, is bidimensional, needing a religion that transcends exclusive orientation to either the material or the spiritual. Of all religions, only Islam caters for man's dual nature as it is a two-dimensional ideology, enabling man to attain to a state of equilibrium between the two. Shariati dreams of the evolution of the "ideal man" in whom spirit has overcome clay, freeing him from doubt and contradiction and enabling him to enjoy both nature and spirit. He is wise and artistic, not molded by the environment, but forming it, creating a paradise on earth. Shariati's ideal man is both philosopher and politician, soldier and Sufi: "He holds the sword of Caesar in his hand and he has the heart of Jesus in his breast. He thinks with the brain of Socrates and loves God with the heart of Hallaj".
Whilst Shariati makes much of man's intrinsic dignity, some statements imply that he is not thinking of individual man, but of the totality of humanity in which the individual is absorbed, and without which he has no meaning: "He has dissolved his identity in the eternal identity of the human race".... "A person will live eternally if he dies as a 'man' because one is perishable but 'man' is eternal! A drop of water which is not part of a river...lasts overnight only, and will disappear with the early smile of sunshine". Dialectics also lie at the heart of society which is based on conflict and warfare. There are two hostile classes, the exploiters - the Kings, the landowning aristocracy, and the false religious establishment - and on the other hand God, the exploited majority and true Islam.
According to Shariati the Quran teaches that all political, economic and religious power belongs to the people (Marxist dogma again). In the Quran Allah and al-nas are often synonymous and society is God's representative on earth. The dictum that "Rule belongs to God" means that political power belongs to the people, "Property belongs to God" means all capital belongs to the people, and "Religion belongs to God" means that it belongs to the people - it is not a monopoly of the clergy! This is in direct contradiction to Khomeini's "vilayat-i-faqih". Dialectics also lie at the heart of Islam. There is a reactionary Islam protecting the status-quo, and a true Islam that has always fought it: "The war of religion against religion is a constant of history, a war of shirk against tauhid, of justice against discrimination". In contrast to conservative Shi`is who respect the clergy, Shariati attacks the Ulama claiming they have no monopoly of religion. Right after the death of Muhammad deviations, small at first but ever- widening, appeared in the Muslim community. The Umayyads usurped the Caliphate and tried to eliminate the faithful followers of Muhammad and Ali??
All roads lead to the inevitable climax when equality and unity are realized worldwide - this will be utopia, the end of history, the return of the Mahdi, the culmination of the dialectical struggle. Intizar is the Shi`a belief in the return of the Imam, an active waiting for, and accelerating of, his coming - a progressive movement toward the goal of revolution. "Belief in Intizar is belief in God's promise to the Muslims, in the final realization of the wretched masses' ideal and hope; in the final triumphant emergence of the classless society, a society freed from tyranny, injustice and deceit...". Shariati sees man, after having spent millennia on his difficult path of evolution, finally arriving at the end of history, to the formation of a new world and a new man.
Shariati lays great stress on martyrdom as a revolutionary weapon. Its utility lies in its being an integral part of Shi`ite ideology motivating men to become martyrs who are the heartbeat of history. Hussein's martyrdom, a protest against tyranny and a witness to the true values of Islam, guaranteed that faith would survive. Martyrdom is accepted as a deliberate choice to strengthen future generations whilst shaming the evil powers of the enemy. It is a true jihad that guarantees honour, faith, and the future of the powerless. It transforms Shi`ites from passive "guardians of the cemetries" to active followers of Ali and Hussein fighting for truth on every front: "in the permanent battle of history - everywhere and everyplace, all fields are Karbala, all months are Moharram, all days are Ashura....” - "It is an invitation to all ages and generations that if you cannot kill, die".