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MAJOR THOUGHTS OF DR. ALI SHARIATI

Presented By, Aamir Shehzad

Biography Literary Works Major Thoughts of Ali Shariati


On Unexplored Sociological Topics in the Quran On Social Development and Change On Individual-Society Relationship On Methodology of Knowledge On Approaches to Understand Islam On the Comparison of Religions On the World-View of Tauhid On the Ideal Man On Dialectic of Sociology On the Philosophy of History On Marxism

Tribute to Iqbal Criticism Conclusion

Born in 1933 in Kahak, Iran

Completed his elementary high school in Mashhad


Started teaching at the age of 18 at Teachers Training College

In 1960 went to France for higher studies


Doctorate in sociology from Sorbonne University 1964 Returned to Iran but imprisoned Released in 1965 and started teaching at Mashhad University Received an overwhelming response from the masses
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Lectures banned and transferred to Tehran

Lectures at Houssein-e-Ershad Religious Institute


Imprisoned again under extremely harsh conditions

Released after 18 months and kept under close surveillance


Not allowed to publish his thoughts or to meet his students Migrated to England and after 3 weeks died under suspicious circumstances (June 19, 1977)

Return to the Self Iqbal and Us Hajj ( The Pilgrimage ) History of Civilization Fatemah is Fatemah Alavid Shiaism and Safavid Shiaism Islamology What is to be Done? World-View and Ideology Methods in Study and Understanding of Islam The Education of a Revolutionary
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Extracted a whole series of new topics and themes from the Quran Migration which had been discussed only in its historical dimension Even the philosophers of history did not pay deserved attention to it However from the tone the Quran discusses it, it cannot be considered merely a historical event All the twenty seven civilizations born of a migration A primitive people attained civilization after undertaking a migration

Factor that causes a society to make a positive leap forward and changes its character and spirit completely Different approaches to answer this question Some believe it is an accident only Historical determinism For some thinkers it is only due to a powerful personality However no school has given any importance to the masses The Quran gives great importance to the masses al-nas According to Quran personality, tradition, accident and alnas are the fundamental factors

Verily God does not change the state of a people until they change the state of their own selves Al-Quran(13:11)

Every soul is accountable for what it has earned Al-Quran (74:38)


Quran does not consider them to be contrary rather they complement each other Example of an agricultural engineer having the responsibility of cultivating trees and plants in an orchard With his degree of knowledge and information he can make use of the unchanging laws inherent in the plants lying fully within the scope of existing laws he can transform an inferior fruit into a superior one

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Society like orchard established on the basis of Godgiven norms and patterns and its development and evolution is also founded on them Man is responsible and he cannot divest himself of his responsibility through reliance upon Khayyamian fatalism or historical determinism Man equivalent to will and society equivalent to norm (sunnah) exists The combination of these two represents median position Neither determinism nor absolute free will, rather a position intermediate between them (Imam Jafar)

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Cognitive method for the discovery of truth is more important than philosophy, science or the possession of mere talent Fundamental factor in the stagnation of thought, civilization and culture in Europe was the Aristotelian method of analogical reasoning Method is of far reaching importance in determining progress or decline. It is the method of investigation, not mere existence and non-existence of genius that brings about stagnation or progress The first task of any researcher must be the choice of the best method of research and investigation
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Need to employ an innovative approach to understand Islam rather than to use European methods Must learn the scientific methods of Europe, but not necessarily need to follow them For the study of Islam a single, unique method cannot be chosen because it is not a uni-dimensional religion It is not based solely on the mystic intuition of man To understand mans relation to God is a subject of philosophy Mans life on this earth can be studied through human sciences
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He compares religion to an individual Knowledge about an individual can be ascertained through studying his writings and biography In the same way Islam can be understood by studying the Quran and the Islamic history

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Five points method to compare religions 1) The god or gods of every religion 2) The prophet of each religion 3) The book of each religion 4) The circumstances of the appearance of the prophet of each religion and the audience to which he addresses himself 5) The representative figures it has trained

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Tauhid means oneness of God Shariati sees it in a very different sense Regarding the whole universe as a unity, instead of dividing it into this world and the hereafter, the natural and supernatural, substance and meaning, spirit and body Shirk regards the universe full of disunity, contradiction, and heterogeneity, possessing a variety of independent and clashing poles Tauhid sees the world as an empire but shirk as a feudal system
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The relationship of man with God, of nature with metanature, of nature with God, is the same as that of light with the lamp that emits it God is outside of things, but not in the sense of being alien to them and He is inside things, but not in the sense of being identical with them (Hazrat Ali) Demonstrates a universal unity in existence, a unity between three separate hypostases-God, nature and man-because origin of all three is the same Being is divided into two relative aspects: the unseen and the manifest
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Is the theomorphic man in whom spirit of God has overcome the half of his being that relates to Iblis, to clay and to sediment Not of those cultures and civilizations that cultivate good men and powerful men separately from each other Men pure and pious but with weak consciousness and awareness, powerful and brilliant geniuses with narrow hearts and hands polluted by sin He passes through the very midst of nature and comes to understand God, he seeks out mankind and thus attains God
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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. He is not a man whom philosophical thought does not make inattentive to the fate of mankind, and whose involvement in politics does not lead to demagoguery and fame seeking His submission to the absolute will of God has summoned him to rebellion against all forms of compulsion
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He has accepted the heavy trust of God, and for this very reason, he is a responsible and committed being, with the free exercise of his will He is not a man who has been formed by his environment rather it is he who has formed his environment He has three aspects: truth, goodness, and beauty or in other words; Awareness Ethics, and Art

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Society is composed of two classes which are the class of Abel and the class of Cain Only two possible structures in all of human society He rejects Karl Marxs five stages of human society which are;
Slavery Serfdom Bourgeoisie Feudalism, and Capitalism
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There exists different modes of production, forms of relationship, tools, resources and commodities; all these constitute the superstructure The pole of Cain in the primitive and backward stages of social development is represented by a single individual, or single force that exercises power and absorbs all powers into itself It has a three aspects;

Political manifestation-power, (mala`) Economic manifestation-wealth, (mutraf) and Religious manifestation-asceticism (rahib)
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The pole of Abel is represented by God and the people confronting the threefold class of kingowner-aristocracy Allah stands in the same rank as al-nas These two classes have opposed and confronted each other throughout history

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Philosophy of history is based on a certain kind of historical determinism History represents an unbroken flow of events that, like man himself, is dominated by a dialectical contradiction A constant warfare between two hostile and contradictory elements that began with the creation of humanity and has been waged at all places and at all times, the sum total of which constitutes history

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It began at a certain point and must inevitably end at a certain point and must have an aim and a direction It began ,like man himself, with the beginning of the contradiction in the form of struggle between Cain and Abel. One killed the other, and the history of humanity began. Therefore this story is the source of philosophy of history just as that of Adam is the source of philosophy of man
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Attacks Marxism and other western isms on several grounds Marxism itself is utterly a product of the history, social organization, and cultural outlook of this same West which it seeks to deny Charges Marxism whose most basic premise is denial of the personality in history with becoming the major breeding ground of personality as the names of its variants indicate: Marxism, Leninism, Trotskyism, Titoism, Maoism, and so forth

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A religion bent on the systematic eradication of all forms of religion. Stressed Iranian youth to return to self Islam instead of being entrapped in a valueless Marxism Of all the Western isms Marxism is the most comprehensive, complete ideology, embracing every field of human activity with its world view Nevertheless it remains uni-dimensional, unbalanced and incomplete in its interpretation and evaluation of man on the sole basis of production Emphasizes the materialistic aspect of human existence while neglecting the other dimensions

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Islam and Marxism are two opposing ideologies still they also share some common ideals (social justice and economic welfare) In Islam they are means toward achieving individual moral growth and development and not the ends in themselves. Islam combines the keen sense of social responsibility of socialism with two other key dimensions, the spirituality of mysticism and the primacy of existence.

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Shariati was greatly influenced by the thoughts of Iqbal and pay him great homage Muhammad Iqbal is not just a Muslim mystic (Aref) who is solely concerned with mysticism or gnosis as Ghazzali, Muhyi Din ibn Arabi, and Rumi were. Iqbal is also not like Abu Muslim or Hasan Sabah or Saladin Ayyubi and personalities like them who, in the history of Islam, are simply men of the sword, power, war, and struggle.

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Nor is Iqbal similar to those learned individuals like the Indian, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, who imagine that no matter in what situation Islamic society be (even if it be under the domination of a British viceroy), it can be revived through profound philosophical and scholarly research. Iqbal is not among some Western people who consider science to be sufficient for human salvation, for evolution, and for the cure of anguishes.

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He is a great mystic, with a pure spirit, delivered of materiality and, at the same time, a man who respects and honors science, technological progress, and the advancement of human reason in our age. Everyone admits that he is a 20th century philosopher, but he does not surrender to the West. On the contrary, he conquers the West. He lives with a critical mind and the power of choice in the 20th century and in Western civilization.
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His method for deriving history and sociology from Islamic principles is highly arbitrary The meager sociological details supplied by the Biblical story of Abel and Cain forms the basis of Islams philosophy of history and dialectical sociology Nowhere is it explained why we should consider this story rather than any other the basis of Islamic philosophy of history

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Nor does Shariati tells us what is distinctively Islamic rather than Judeo-Christian about a story which is to be found in the Old Testament and is not even mentioned in the Quran itself

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Muslims are not going to make their contribution or change the world by chanting Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest) only. They are not going to be the movers of history by mere dogmas and rituals. They need to recognize their power within as human beings and harness the power as people. Elitist or exclusivist attitude and perspective are simply anathema to Islam. They have forgotten that they are a community not for themselves, rather they are "created for mankind (al-Nas)". [3/Ale Imran/110].

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"Shariati was a man of his times. He reflected the mood, conditions, problems, pains and conceivable solutions of his times . . . He does not fit into any classical stereotype. Those who try to portray him as such, simply deform the man. Whatever he wrote, whatever he said and whatever he did which excited and roused him was filled with riddles and puzzles. Such was his life. A true product of the fertile cultural soil of Khorasan, the land of epics and mystics, Ali Shariati was at case with words, the principal tool of his forefathers."

Professor Ali Rahnema


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On The Sociology of Islam, Trans", Hamid Algar (Berkely, Mizan Press, 1979). Marxism and Other Western Fallacies: An Islamic Critique, Tran's, R. Campbell (Berkely, Mizan Press, 1981). Iqbal and Us Hajj (The Pilgrimage) World-View and Ideology Methods in Study and Understanding of Islam

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