Ali Shari'ati

Junaid Ahmad

in Islamic Studies

ISBN: 9780195390155
Published online April 2012 | | DOI:
Ali Shari'ati


Ali Shari’ati (b. 1933–d. 1977) is considered to be one of the key figures in the Iranian revolution of 1978–1979. Although the revolution was led by Ayatullah Khomeini and although Dr. Shari’ati passed away before its outbreak, his work prepared a large number of the younger educated classes in Iran to accept, and dedicate themselves to, the ideals and goals of the Islamic revolution in Iran. Born in 1933 in Mazinan, Iran, into a family that for many generations had cultivated the religious sciences, he studied in Mashhad under the guidance of his father as well as other religious leaders. In 1959, Shari’ati won a government scholarship to study philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris. He spent five years in France, where he continued his formal studies and established close ties with the leaders of the Algerian FLN (National Liberation Front). Upon his return to Iran in 1964, Shari’ati was promptly arrested by government authorities on the grounds of his charismatic leadership, radical intellectual ideas and activities in the Algerian revolution, and pronouncements against the clergy. Nevertheless, after his release from prison, he was appointed as lecturer at the University of Mashhad, where he devoted himself to directly guiding the younger generation. His unconventional methods of teaching attracted a large number of followers, which led to his forced retirement. Shari’ati then began delivering numerous lectures at various institutions, notably at one particular institution in Tehran, Husayniya-yi Irshad, where he delivered his major lectures. Through his lectures, free classes, and analytical writings, Shari’ati created a new current of thought in society. By means of his teaching, books, and other resistance activities, Shari’ati continued to oppose the extreme traditionalists and the ulama, who, he claimed, had separated Islam from society and who, he charged, had reacted negatively to any kind of intellectual movement arising within society. He also opposed the imitative intellectuals who had made the new scholasticism their stronghold. His writings and activities led not only to imprisonment, but also to solitary confinement. He was later released, but only on the condition that he go into exile. In 1977, Shari’ati was allowed to leave Iran, but he died soon after arriving in England. He was forty-four years of age.

Article.  4207 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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