The Fundamental Problem in the Clerical Establishment

Morteza Motahhari and Hamid Dabashi

in The Most Learned of the Shiʿa

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780195137996
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849055 | DOI:
The Fundamental Problem in the Clerical Establishment

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Morteza Motahari, assassinated in May 1979, was one of the most important ideologues of the Islamic revolution. A vociferous writer, he ardently attacked Iranian secular intellectuals and the materialism he felt he was corrupting Iranian society. While Khomeini lived in exile, Motahari acted as his representative in Iran while maintaining his own independent status as a revolutionary. This chapter presents Motahari's treatise, where he clearly places the blame for the marja 'ya's lack of leadership and influence in society, not on the clerics themselves, but on various facets of its organization. Of particular concern to Motahari is the manner in which the ulama are funded. While expressing approval that the mujtahids are not financially supported by the government, which frees them from state control, he bemoans the fact that the ulama are forced to cater to public opinion in order to collect the khums. As a result, the productivity of the ulama is hampered by the “intellectual limitations of the populace”.

Keywords: Shiʿism; Morteza Motahari; ulama; marja 'ya; Khomeini; state control

Chapter.  12360 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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