On Martyrdom (<i>Shahadat</i>)

Sharat Al

in Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195174304
Published online November 2007 |
On Martyrdom (Shahadat)

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The son of a prominent religious preacher, he was active in the struggle against the Shah. In 1959 he went to Paris where he earned a doctorate in sociology at the Sorbonne and also became heavily involved in Iranian and Third World opposition movements. He later joined the Freedom Movement (Nihdat-i zd) along with yatullh Tliqn and Mehd Bzargn. He lectured at the University of Mashhad and subsequently at the Husayniya-i Irshad, a religious center in Teheran, where he drew large crowds and became very popular among the politically and religiously committed youth. The center was closed down, and Sharat was arrested. Finally, after an international campaign, he was released and allowed to go to England, where shortly after his arrival, he died of a heart attack.

Shariati was one of the most important intellectuals in the period before the Iranian revolution, more for his impact on Iranian youth than for the logic and consistency of his thought. In this selection, Shariati discusses the establishment of Islam as a revolutionary action and the Prophet as a revolutionary. Counterrevolutionary tendencies unfortunately set in after the Prophets death in 632; this set the stage for Imam Husayn (d. 680), the Prophets grandson, to rally the revolutionaries, even though martyrdom wa his only resource. Hasan, his brother (d. 670), adopted mental jihad, but Husayn could not take this path, because it would have guaranteed Islams transformation into a mere civil religion. He therefore fulfilled his destiny by playing his revolutionary role, like his grandfather Muhammad before him. His martyrdom, as Shariati emotionally puts it, was the fulfillment of a mission in which the dying of a human being guarantees the life of a nation.

Chapter.  2465 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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