Anthropological foundations of Islamic revolution

Anthropological foundations of Islamic revolution Hujjatulislam Najaf Lakzai[1]

Anthropological questions are among the long standing questions in political philosophy. The answers given to these questions highlight the differences among thinkers of political philosophy. The way these questions are arranged and presented in the beginning of this article, shows somehow the extent of the discussion has. Though it is not possible to deal with these questions in detail here we will suffice to dealing with them to the extent needed.


The positions adopted by a thinker in anthropological matters affect his political thoughts and visions. For instance, the way one answers to questions related to the origin of human beings and their relations, goals and desires specifies the political system one is pursuing.

The political thought and actions of a thinker who believes that human beings have a divine origin are not the same as those of a thinker who believes that human beings are of a martial origin. Likewise a person who believes that human beings end up in God will not prescribe the same thing prescribed by a person who believes that human beings end up in matter. The article is of the view that the Islamic revolution [of Iran] is based on certain anthropological foundations.

Other politically important anthropological questions include the following:

1.            Are human beings individualists are communitarians? In other words, are human beings created such that tend towards individualist life as is suggested by many liberal philosophers[2] or tend towards social life as is proposed by Marxists[3]?

2.            Is man political or apolitical by nature? Aristotle was of the view that man was civil by nature. He intended to say that man was naturally inclined towards politics[4]. This is while utilitarians believe that man, an apolitical animal, is naturally utilitarian and hedonist. Among others, Bentham is more prominent in this connection[5].

3.            Is man by nature, free and rational or compelled and irrational? Thinkers like Hegel in Western political philosophy and Mutazilites in Islamic climate advocate the former whereas intellectuals like Hobbes in the West and Asharites from among Muslim theologians support the latter[6]. This is while all Shiite scholars support a moderate view that is located in between predestination and free will[7].

4.            Does man seek to attain perfection and can he get perfect? There is also difference on how man can attain perfection. Anarchists are of the view that human beings are self-sufficient, being able to identify perfections and reach them whereas according to Muslims it is a self-evident truth that human intellect is imperfect and it can reach perfection through divine guidance.[8] 

In addition to these questions, there are also other similar questions[9] such as similarities and differences among human beings, factors responsible for human divergence and convergence, priority of divergence or convergence, superiority of human beings over other animals, human beings as a part or special part of universe, man's essential and acquired virtues, man's spiritual and material dignity, man's place in the universe, man's existential dimensions, man's instincts, intellect and soul, soul's powers, theoretical and practical stages of intellect, man as having an objective etc. These are important questions in political philosophy.

Though it is not possible to deal with all these issues here, we will treat some issues on the basis of Quranic verses and the visions expressed by Imam Khomeini as the leader of the Islamic revolution of Iran and his expositors.

The most important specification of Islamic anthropology as mentioned by Imam Khomeini is that it believes in the existence of essential qualities for human beings. In addition to essential qualities, man can, as it says, acquire certain characteristics, tending towards goodness or evil. You can check for yourself the truth of this claim as you go through this article.

1.            Man's essential qualities

In his Forty Traditions, Imam Khomeini throws light on the issue of the nature of man when he explicates the meaning of the eleventh tradition. According to the explanation presented, fitrat means 'creation'.[10] Islamic traditions have touched 'fitrat' using different terminologies such as monotheism (tawhid), Islam and the like. However according to Imam Khomeini these traditions show an example of 'fitrat' or say, an outstanding particle of it. Fitrats are special favors bestowed by God upon human beings. Other animals possess only a portion of it if they possess it at all. Before enumerating these fitrats, we had better learn about the characteristics of these fitrats. According to Imam Khomeini fitriyat are things that are common to all human beings and do not change with the change of time and place.

It has to be noted that fitriyat being associated with nature and creation, belong to all human beings whether they are knowledgeable or ignorant, civilized or swage. The variety of locations, climates, traditions and customs does not affect fitriyat though it affects even intellectual issues.[11]

It is due to the consideration of fitrat that Shiite scholars believe that human beings are essentially united. According to Shiite scholars all human beings are of the same nature (fitrat). As a result, priority lies with cooperation, unity and peace among human beings and things like conflict and war occur due to ignorance.

It is however very astonishing that though fitriyat exist equally in all human beings, human beings are generally unaware of the fact that they are essentially united. Instead they think they are different.

How can one overcome these differences? How can one bring human beings closer to each other and iron out differences? The solution presented by Shiite scholars, stresses on increasing public awareness about the matter in question. This is because it is awareness that affects human behaviors. If people learn about the reality of fitrat, they will come to know that they are united though they thought they were not united. The main argument that proves Shiite scholars’ point of view is Quranic verses in addition to traditions. One of the verses that support Shiite scholars’ view is the following verse:

  «فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفاً فِطْرَتَ اللّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النّاسَ عَلَيْها لا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ‏اللّهِ ذلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَ لكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النّاسِ لا يَعْلَمُونَ[12]

So set you (O Muhammad ) your face towards the religion of pure Islamic Monotheism Hanifa (worship none but Allah Alone) Allah's Fitrah (i.e. Allah's Islamic Monotheism), with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Khalq-illah (i.e. the Religion of Allah Islamic Monotheism), that is the straight religion, but most of men know not.


According to this verse divine fitrat is nothing but divine creation.  The fact that divine creation does not change (لاتبديل لخلق اللّه) implies that fitrat is unchangeable. The term people (الناس) implies that fitrat exists in all human beings. The last portion of the verse indicates that people are usually unaware of this common factor that exists in all human beings. Now the question is what this fitrat that exists in every human being is. The main elements of fitrat include things such as believing in the principle of existence, monotheism, the fact that God is absolute perfection, Day of Judgment, prophecy, angels and the existence of desire for perfection, comfort, freedom etc. Some of these elements constitute fitrat whereas others are the implications of fitrat.

Fitrat as a natural desire has prompted man to actively seek perfection, though human beings have not been unanimous on determining what is really perfection due to the prevalence of ignorance and evil desires. Those who are materialists equate perfection with wealth whereas the people of sciences and industries define perfection as sciences and industries. Those who love remembering God and are engrossed in thinking about hereafter define perfection as something other than political power, which is defined as perfection by the people who are in search of political power. The most significant quality of man’s natural desire for perfection is that all human beings are in search of flawless perfections. When a person attains a lower stage of perfection he tries to make his way into its higher stages. Since only God the Exalted, is the absolute perfection, therefore human beings are knowingly or unknowingly moving towards God. Not only human beings but also other creatures clearly and unanimously say: We love absolute perfection. We love absolute beauty and absolute greatness. We seek absolute power and infinite knowledge. Do you know any existent in the world other than God, which exemplifies absolute perfection and absolute greatness? That is the reason why Shiite scholars recommend human beings to contemplate on their own essences and the perfection in question. If their examination showed that they are in search of imaginary perfection instead of real perfections, they should, the scholars say, change their stance and turn to real perfections.


O you who have not gone astray and lost in the desert of confusion! O lovers of absolute beauty and absolute perfection refer to the book of your nature and turn its pages, which bears a writing that reads that human nature is a divine nature.

Hating imperfection is another side of the coin of natural desire for perfection. Human beings do not like what is imperfect. Similarly things like loving comfort, avoiding discomfort and suffering, seeking freedom and exerting influence upon other things are among other implications of divine nature. These natural desires have to be fulfilled in this world. The next world is a place for absolute perfection, absolute comfort, absolute tranquility and the fulfillment of all human wishes and desires. As put by Muslim philosophers, human movement is a constant movement from potentiality to actuality, from part to whole, from imperfection to perfection and from matter to form. This is while sometimes this movement is derailed due to prevalence of evil desires, ignorance etc. These factors attract human beings towards imaginary perfections. The above discussions yield the following results:

1.            There are certain general permanent essential attributes that are common to all human beings.

2.            Human beings are not foreign to each other. Everyone has the desire for unity, cooperation and collaboration. Thus conflict and difference are accidental and temporal.

3.            Knowledge paves the ground for unity among human beings.

4.            Human beings have the desire for perfection.

5.            The real perfection is the absolute perfection that is equal with divine essence.

6.            All human beings particularly politicians and political leaders must strive to lead people towards absolute perfection and prepare the ground for everyone to make use of fitriyat common to all human beings. The most significant quality of religious governments is that they concentrate on the implementation of these doctrines.

The theory of fitrat (that stresses on the essential qualities of human beings) also yields the following results, which are affective mainly on social life:

1.            It explains the everlastingness of Islam and the end of prophecy. If human beings enjoy having a common stable nature one can make, for the improvement of all human beings, a common planning shared by all of them.

2.            It can present a religious explanation of natural rights. Natural rights are common to all human beings. These are the rights that all human beings can, as human beings, avail themselves of. Since the theory of fitrat presupposes a common transcendental nature for all human beings, it provides a firm basis for natural rights. It can also help explain these rights and delimit their boundaries.

3.            It also refutes the theory of moral relativism. Given the theory of fitrat assumes a permanent value common to all human beings it provides bases for a moral school of thought that is not relativist.

4.            The theory of fitrat can play a determining role in matters related to education. It can serve as a source of inspiration for philosophy of education.

5.            The theory of fitrat can present an acceptable explanation of good and bad as being natural and intellectual.

6.            Since based on the theory of fitrat man is naturally in need of religion and a deep vacuum will emerge in human life once religion is omitted from his life, it can address the question of the origin of man’s need to religion. According to this theory religion deals with man’s imperfection. A man without religion is an imperfect man.

7.            In view of the theory of fitrat, the desire for worship and the desire for permanent life are among the natural desires of human beings. It proves resurrection in addition to the existence of a necessary being and his unity. It is useless to have a desire for permanent life if permanent life is not a possibility for human beings.

8.            It can explain very well why human beings have been religious throughout the history.

9.            It prepares the ground for refuting skepticism and relativism. As self-evident truths, fitriyat can provide the infrastructure for knowledge.

10.        Based on this theory, psychology will be prior to sociology.[13]

2.            Man’s acquired qualities

Though human beings have certain essential qualities, they can acquire other qualities (qualities which are not common to all human beings). The fact that human beings can acquire certain qualities indicates that man can take decisions on social and individual matters and that he can implement these decisions. Man is always faced with two ways: one straight path and many curved ways. Man can choose to become divinely or devilish. Man is a wonderful creature. No creature from among the divine creatures can be a match for man. As a marvelous creature he can mold his destiny. He can choose to become divinely and to enter paradise just as he can choose to become devilish or to get into hell. Other creatures are not free to shape their fates. It is this creature that has thus far ascended to the level of prophecy, descended to the level of evil or taken a middle course. The number of those who have taken a middle position between prophet and evil is not few and far between.[14]  The straight path is not more than one while curved and zigzag ways are many. Education helps man to follow the straight path of God. Contrary to other creatures, man has an infinite capacity for being educated and trained. Other creatures have a limited capacity for knowing whereas human beings have almost an unlimited capacity for learning.[15]

The reason why man has an unlimited capacity for learning and being trained is that man has a spiritual dimension in addition to material dimension. The spiritual or metaphysical dimension of the existence of man requires him to be educated under those who know about the unseen. Man alone cannot educate his fellow beings. This is because man’s knowledge is limited to the natural world whereas his existential dimensions are not limited to matter and nature.

A person who undertakes this training must know about the unseen and the relation that exists between man and the unseen. Such knowledge is not available among ordinary human beings. An ordinary man can study about natural objects but he cannot see metaphysical entities no matter how powerful his microscope may be. To know about the unseen is in need of having a command on certain other things. Thus man is naturally unaware of the unseen. Being the creator of all things, God knows about such relations. Through the mechanism of revelation, God maintains relation with some of His qualified servants. God lets His chosen servants know whatever is needed for educating other human beings. Once their knowledge attained perfection, they go to their people and began educating them.[16]

Whatever we said above about the dual dimensions of human beings as well as about the necessity of prophecy for training human beings is derived from Quranic verses. Below we will mention verses that deal with the two existential dimensions of human beings and the necessity of prophecy for training human beings. There are two groups of verses about human beings in the Holy Quran: verses that deal with the qualities of human beings as a superior creature and verses that rebuke human beings as inferior beings. 

3.            Man as a superior being

Man is the vicegerent of God on earth.

وَ إِذْ قالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلائِكَةِ إِنِّي جاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً قالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيها مَنْ‏يُفْسِدُ فِيها وَ يَسْفِكُ الدِّماءَ وَ نَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَ نُقَدِّسُ لَكَ قالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ ما لاتَعْلَمُونَ[17]

And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth." They said: "Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, - while we glorify You with praises and thanks (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners) and sanctify You." He (Allah) said: "I know that which you do not know." [18]

The scientific capacity of man is far more than that of the angels.

وَ عَلَّمَ آدَمَ الْأَسْماءَ كُلَّها ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى الْمَلائِكَةِ فَقالَ أَنْبِئُونِي بِأَسْماءِهؤُلاءِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صادِقِينَ × قالُوا سُبْحانَكَ لا عِلْمَ لَنا إِلّا ما عَلَّمْتَنا إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْعَلِيمُ‏الْحَكِيمُ × قالَ يا آدَمُ أَنْبِئْهُمْ بِأَسْمائِهِمْ فَلَمّا أَنْبَأَهُمْ بِأَسْمائِهِمْ قالَ أَلَمْ أَقُلْ لَكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ‏غَيْبَ السَّماواتِ وَ الْأَرْضِ وَ أَعْلَمُ ما تُبْدُونَ وَ ما كُنْتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ[19]

And He taught Adam all the names (of everything), then He showed them to the angels and said, "Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful." They (angels) said: "Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise."  He said: "O Adam! Inform them of their names," and when he had informed them of their names, He said: "Did I not tell you that I know the Ghaib (unseen) in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing?"


As mentioned before, man naturally knows God and this knowledge has its origin in his existence.

«وَ إِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَ أَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلى أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قالُوا بَلى شَهِدْنا أَنْ تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيامَةِ إِنّا كُنّا عَنْ هذا غافِلِينَ»[20]

And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seed (or from Adam's loin his offspring) and made them testify as to themselves (saying): "Am I not your Lord?" They said: "Yes! We testify," lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: "Verily, we have been unaware of this."

4.            In addition to a material dimension, man has a spiritual and divine dimension.

«الَّذِي أَحْسَنَ كُلَّ شَيْ‏ءٍ خَلَقَهُ وَ بَدَأَ خَلْقَ الْإِنْسانِ مِنْ طِينٍ × ثُمَّ جَعَلَ نَسْلَهُ‏مِنْ سُلالَةٍ مِنْ ماءٍ مَهِينٍ × ثُمَّ سَوّاهُ وَ نَفَخَ فِيهِ مِنْ رُوحِهِ»[21]

Who made everything He has created good, and He began the creation of man from clay. Then He made his offspring from semen of worthless water (male and female sexual discharge). Then He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him the soul (created by Allah for that person), and He gave you hearing (ears), sight (eyes) and hearts. Little is the thanks you give!

5.            Man is in possession of an essential dignity and nobility. Most creatures cannot compete with him in this connection.

«وَ لَقَدْ كَرَّمْنا بَنِي آدَمَ وَ حَمَلْناهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَ الْبَحْرِ وَ رَزَقْناهُمْ مِنَ الطَّيِّباتِ وَفَضَّلْناهُمْ عَلى كَثِيرٍ مِمَّنْ خَلَقْنا تَفْضِيلاً[22]

And indeed We have honored the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with At-Taiyibat (lawful good things), and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preference.

6.            Man moves in the direction determined by God.

يا أَيُّهَا الْإِنْسانُ إِنَّكَ كادِحٌ إِلى رَبِّكَ كَدْحاً فَمُلاقِيهِ[23]

O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, so you will meet (i.e. the results of your deeds which you did).

7.            All the worldly bounties are created for the sake of human being.

هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ لَكُمْ ما فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعاً[24]

He it is Who created for you all that is on earth. Then He Istawa (rose over) towards the heaven and made them seven heavens and He is the All-Knower of everything.

8.            Man is created in order to worship God.

وَ ما خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَ الْإِنْسَ إِلّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ[25]

And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).

Man as an inferior being

Some Quranic verses have termed human being as an inferior being. Others have termed him as worse than animals. These verses are as follows:

1.            Man as an unthankful creature

 وَ إِذا أَنْعَمْنا عَلَى الْإِنْسانِ أَعْرَضَ وَ نَأى بِجانِبِهِ وَ إِذا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ فَذُو دُعاءٍعَرِيضٍ[26]

And when We show favor to man, he withdraws and turns away, but when evil touches him, then he has recourse to long supplications.

2.            Man will rebel if he feels needless.

إِنَّ الْإِنْسانَ لَيَطْغى × أَنْ رَآهُ اسْتَغْنى[27]

Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds (in disbelief and evil deed, etc.). Because he considers himself as self-sufficient.


3.            Man is exultant and boastful.

وَ لَئِنْ أَذَقْناهُ نَعْماءَ بَعْدَ ضَرّاءَ مَسَّتْهُ لَيَقُولَنَّ ذَهَبَ السَّيِّئاتُ عَنِّي إِنَّهُ لَفَرِحٌ‏فَخُورٌ[28]

But if We let him taste good (favor) after evil (poverty and harm) has touched him, he is sure to say: "Ills have departed from me." Surely, he is exultant and boastful (ungrateful to Allah).

4.            Man as extreme wrong-doer, disbeliever, ingrate and stingy.

«إِنَّ الْإِنْسانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفّارٌ[29]

And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Verily! Man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, - a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate, denies Allah's Blessings by disbelief, and by worshipping others besides Allah, and by disobeying Allah and His Prophet Muhammad ).

إِنَّ الْإِنْسانَ لَكَفُورٌ[30]

It is He, Who gave you life, and then will cause you to die, and will again give you life (on the Day of Resurrection). Verily! Man is indeed an ingrate.

إِنَّ الْإِنْسانَ خُلِقَ هَلُوعاً[31]

Verily, man (disbeliever) was created very impatient;

إِذا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ جَزُوعاً × وَ إِذا مَسَّهُ الْخَيْرُ مَنُوعاً[32]

Fretful when evil touches him; And niggardly when good reaches him.

Thus Quranically speaking, on the one hand man is the vicegerent of God on earth who has a divine free nature that has an infinite capacity for knowledge, possesses essential dignity and can dominate the whole universe. On the other hand, he is a bad creature with qualities such as unthankful, rebellion, pride, oppression and being inferior to animals[33].

The fact that man is of dual dimensions has been analyzed in a variety of ways. Based on Allama Tababaei’s hermeneutical principles, Ayatollah Jawadi Amuli believes that the creation of man involves two sets of elements: elements that include spiritual and divine specifications (which are the examples of positive human qualities) and elements that include human instincts and material characteristics. It is this latter sect of qualities that cause human beings to exploit each other. It is these qualities that manifest man’s negative traits.[34]

Muhammad Taqi Ja’afari believes in two selves: natural self and human self. Man’s natural life can be explained within the framework of natural self whereas his ‘natural psychological life’ can be explicated within the domain of human self. From a natural perspective, man loves wealth and is utilitarian.

«إِنَّهُ لِحُبِّ الْخَيْرِ لَشَدِيدٌ[35]

And verily, he is violent in the love of wealth.

وَ تُحِبُّونَ الْمالَ حُبًّا جَمًّا[36]

And you love wealth with much love!

He escapes harms[37] and is a cunning creature[38]. The word ‘soul’ refers to natural self. Natural self causes both corruption and reform. The following verse explains very well the impartiality of ‘soul’ or ‘natural self’. In other world, it throws light on the capacity of ‘soul’ for both corruption and reform.

كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِما كَسَبَتْ رَهِينَةٌ[39]

Every person is a pledge for what he has earned.

That is the reason why man is in need of education. It is through the medium of education that man can move in the right direction[40]. If a man leads his natural life towards goodness and reform he improves his divine nature.

In an important word, Mulla Sadra considers various stages for the evolution of man. According to him, man is created such that he can assume different forms. Thus he can approach God far closer than angels can. Similarly he can go worse than animals.

It has to be noted that no species are as varied as human beings are. This is because the matter from which man is created is capable of assuming any form and of being described by any adjectives. Some human beings remain at the stage of pet animals. They have lustful souls. Others are at the stage of predators that have ‘angry souls’. Some are stationed at the stage of evils while others are at the level of angels. Each of these four genuses has its own numerous species.[41]

Professor Mutahhari has talked of two selves: higher perfection seeking self and bestial lower self.[42] Other Shiite scholars have also accepted pluralism in man’s acquired traits. Creationally, man possesses a divine nature that is as an essential characteristic common to all human beings. As far as acquired characteristics are concerned, human beings are however different, facing at least three ways: way of fitrat, way of nature and way of evil. In some cases these three ways are reduced to two ways: way of God and way of Satan, way of Paradise and way of Hell or way of humanity and way of bestiality.

According to this theory whose credit goes to Shiite scholars acquired traits are separated from essential traits and the essential traits are nothing but the divine nature that is unchangeable. Some Shiite scholars have taken the Quranic verse on emigration to mean man’s emigration from bestial self to God. Commenting on the following verse,

 وَ مَنْ يَخْرُجْ مِنْ بَيْتِهِ مُهاجِراً إِلَى اللّهِ وَ رَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ يُدْرِكْهُ الْمَوْتُ فَقَدْ وَقَعَ أَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللّه[43]

He who emigrates (from his home) in the Cause of Allah, will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by. And whosoever leaves his home as an emigrant unto Allah and His Messenger, and death overtakes him, his reward is then surely incumbent upon Allah. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Imam Khomeini says: “There are people who come out of the well of self and have migrated towards God… As to the meaning of emigration (hijra), it is possible that this migration refers to the migration from the house of self to the house of God. There are some people who have left the dark house of self, heading towards God and His Messenger. They go so far that they embrace ‘death’. They reach the stage of ‘absolute death’ and their reward is on God.[44]

Commenting on Hamd Chapter, he places three optional ways before human beings: straight path (اهدنا الصراط المستقيم), the path of the misled (ولا الضالين) and the path of those with whom God is angry (غير المغضوب عليهم). This discussion can be further illustrated with the help of the following analysis. The straight path belongs to prophets, saints, martyrs and good doers. The path of the misled belongs to those who move in accordance with natural and bestial habits. As to the path of those with whom God is angry, it goes to Satan, tyrants, arrogant people and corrupted individuals. Zero point is where a human being who is a mere potentiality begins to actualize his potentials.

Imam Khomeini has well explained human movement into different directions. We are at a junction: one is a human straight path that begins in nature and ends up in God. It begins with the formation of fetus and matures when it comes to volitional movements. It is up to you to choose between these ways: the straight path or the deviated path.[45]

According to this passage, zero point is the state of nature wherein man possesses a bestial life. In order to exit the state of nature man is faced with two ways. To choose between these two ways is volitional. Upon reaching the crossroad, man can choose a way that leads to God or a way that leads to Satan. It is base on this kind of analysis that an impure man is the source of all problems. The differences that exist among human beings are due to individuals who are not reached the stage of self-purification. The goal of the prophets is to purify people [from the dirt of sins]. Once people reach the stage of self-purification, they can begin learning theosophy and Quran. Once purification is reached no rebellion will occur.[46]

The root cause of all wars is lack of purification and the existence of selfishness among human beings. Believers do not fight with each other. The challenges with which human beings are face are due to selfishness.[47]

Based on this understanding, the mission of Islamic teaching is to educate human beings.

  The main purpose of Islam is to make human beings. To make oneself is prior to doing all other things. That is the reason why the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) termed overcoming selfish desire as ‘major jihad’. Major jihad is a jihad (holy war) that one launches against his own evil temptations.[48]

Based on the above-mentioned discussion, we can deduce the following results:

1.            In addition to essential characteristics, man has acquired traits.

2.            Man is faced with many ways. All these ways do not lead to absolute perfection. Thus it is necessary to know these ways and then to choose a way that leads to absolute perfection.

3.            Prophets have come to show us the way that leads to real perfection.

4.            The main goal of the prophets is make man. The Holy Prophet of Islam has termed man’s endeavor to make himself as ‘greater jihad’.

5.            Based on such doctrines, the main purpose of political life is to strive for making human beings, purifying human beings and saving human beings from the well of selfish desires.

6.            It is necessary to remove the obstacles that prevent man from seeking perfection. The removal of these obstacles can be done in two ways. If obstacles are removed on individual scale, it is called ‘major jihad’. Major jihad is a struggle made by every one in order to replace vices with virtues in an individual domain. The worst evils are selfishness and obeying lower desires. Contrary to major jihad, minor jihad is a struggle made by a government and its people to remove the obstacles on national and international levels.

7.            The Islamic revolution of Iran is the product of a change of worldview that occurred with Iranian Muslims. The outcome of the minor war fought by the Iranians was that they toppled their monarchy replacing it with a new Islamic political system.

Keywords: Lakzaei/ anthropology/ Islamic/ revolution/ foundations/ education/ free will/





[1] - Assistant professor of the department of political sciences of Baqir al-Ulum University.

[2] - See, Arbalester, The Rise and Fall of Liberalism in the West, Translated by Abbas Mukhbir.

[3] - See, Husain Bashiriyya, Political Thought in Twentieth Century; Marxist Political Thoughts, Tehran, Nashr Nay, 1376 AH.

[4] - Aristotle, Politics, trans. Hamid Inayat, Pocket Books, Tehran, 1364 AH.

[5] - For further information on utilitarians, see, Authors of Political Thoughts, Amir Kabir, Tehran.

[6] - Hegel’s theory can be followed in Reason in History, trans. Hamid Inayat. Hobbes’ theory can be tracked down in his Leviathan, trans. Husain Bashiriya. For Ash’ararite and Mutazilite thoughts see Ja’afar Subhani, Buhuth Milal wa Nihal.

[7] - A tradition that has been reported from Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) in Usul Kafi. The same tradition has been quoted from Imam Ali (peace be upon him) in Kanz al-Amal, vol. 1, p. 349.

[8] - For further information on anarchists, see Hatam Qadiri, Political Thought in Twentieth Century. For Imamate thought, see Khaja Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, Tajrid al-Itiqad.

[9] - See Gilen, Tinder, Political Thought, trans. Ahmad Sadri, Intisharat Ilmi Farhangi, Tehran.

[10] - Relying on etymologists and exegists, Imam Khomeini has taken fitrat to mean ‘creation’.

[11] - All the quotations on fitrat and its characteristics have been quoted from this work: Imam Khomeini, Forty Traditions, eleventh tradition, Intishart Mua’sisa tanzim wa Nashr Imam Khomeini’s works, pp. 179-87.

[12] - Quran, Rome Chapter, verse 30.

[13] - The details are to be found in Ayatollah Mutahhari’s Fitrat.

[14] - Imam Khomeini, Sahifa e Noor, vol. 13, p. 130.

[15] - Ibid, vol. 2, p. 226.

[16] - Ibid, p. 227.

[17] - Quran, Baqara Chapter, verse 30.

[18] - Verse 165 of Anam chapter also stresses on the position of man as the vicegerent of God.

[19] - Quran, Baqara Chapter, verses 31-33.

[20] -  Quran, A’raf Chapter, verse 172. Verses 173 and 30 of Rome Chapter also refer to the same question.

[21] -  Ibid, Sajda Chapter, verses 7-9.

[22] - Ibid, Isra Chapter, verse 70.

[23] - Ibid, Inshiqaq Chapter, verse 6.

[24] - Ibid, Baqara Chapter, verse 29.

[25] - Ibid, Zariyat Chapter, verse 56.

[26] - Ibid, Fussilat Chapter, verse 51.

[27] - Ibid, Alaq Chapter, verses 6-7.

[28] -  Ibid, Hood Chapter, verse 10, Ynus Chapter verse 12 and Kahf Chapter verse 54.

[29] - Ibid, Ibrahim Chapter, verse 34.

[30] - Ibid, Hajj Chapter, verse 66.

[31] - Ibid, Ma’arij Chapter, verse 19.

[32] - Ibid, verses 21-22.

[33] - To accomplish this part use has been made of the following works: Murtaza Mutahhari, Man in the Quran, Ali Shirwani, Nature of man, Abdullah, Jawadi Amuli, Man in Islam, Professor Muahammad Taqi Ja’afari, Man in the Quran, Ahmad Waezi, Man from the perspective of Islam.

[34] - Abdullah Jawadi Amuli, Shariat in the mirror of knowledge. What Jawadi explains on the basis of the theory of application basing it on man as naturally civil or swage is a new theory with enormous capacity for enriching Islamic political thought. This theory has to be further explained elsewhere.

[35] - Quran, Adiyat Chapter, verse 8.

[36] - Ibid, Fajr Chapter, verse 20.

[37] - Ibid, Rome Chapter verse, 33 and Zumar Chapter, verse 8.

[38] - Ibid, Ynus Chapter, verse 21, Anfal Chapter, verse 30.

[39] - Ibid, Mudathir, verse 38.

[40] - Muhammad Taqi Ja’afari, Man in the Quran, pp. 14-25.

[41] - Mulla Sadra, al-Hikma al-Muta’aliya fi al-Asfar al-Arba’a, vol. 7, p. 184.

[42] - Murtaza Mutahhari, Fitrat.

[43] - Quran, Nisa Chapter, verse 100.

[44] - Imam Khomeini, A commentary on Hamd Chapter, pp. 28-29.

[45] - Ibid, Sahifa Noor, vol. 7, p. 225.

[46] - Ibid, vol. 14, p. 154.

[47] - Ibid, A commentary on Hamd Chapter, p. 30.

[48] - Ibid, Sahifa Noor, vol. 7, p. 211.




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