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the foundation of political philosophy in Iran-constitutional period

The foundation of political philosophy in Iran-constitutional period


Iranian Contemporary History No. 60


History Hall


  Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari 

Niloofar Kasra


Morteza Motahari was born in Fariman village, 31st January, 1919. His father, Sheikh Mohammad Motahari who had completed his studies in Najaf was one of the leading clergies ofFariman.
Motahari received his elementary education
from his father and then left for Qom to continue his education. He spent 15 years in Qom and enjoyed the teachings of the foremost scholars. During these years, he was attracted by Imam Khomeini’s personality and scientific authority, and enjoyed his company for twelve years.


He left Qom for Tehran in 1952, and was gave lessons in the religious schools of Marvi and Sepahsalar.

During these years, he met many times with Ayatollah Kashani and made acquaintance with Fadaian Eslam group and Seyyed Mojtaba Navvab Safavi.


During 1960-1962, he founded a monthly circle with the cooperation of Mohammad EbrahimAyat, in which hundreds of people would take participation. The circle was called “the Religious Monthly Society” which lasted for two years and a half and about 30 speeches were delivered by scholars from universities and religious schools in it. Later on the speeches were published in three volumes entitled “Goftare Mah” (the speech of the month). The publication of Dastane Rastan (the story of the righteous), which was series of religious stories for children and young adults.

Upon the death of late Borujerdi in the Qom Seminary, the sparks of political activities were formed among the religious authorities. From the beginning, he was among the companions of Imam Khomeini. He was arrested after the uprising of 4th June 1963 along with seventy scholars of Tehran and other cities and was arrested and imprisoned for forty days.


Following the arrest and exile of Imam Khomeini in November (1964), the activities of Ayatollah Motahhari entered a new phase of struggle, and he tried to clarify and deepen the foundation of the Islamic ideology of the Islamic movement of Imam Khomeini. Hence, its advertising activities in traditional academic circles and he tried to make a link and deep relationship between religious intellectuals and university.

In this regard, he founded Hosseinieh e ershad with the cooperation of some religious activists to acquaint the young generation with the principles of religion.  He was the manager of Hosseinieh for one year, but he succeeded to absorb a good number of university students to this center during this period.His book, Muhammad, the Seal of Prophets (two volumes) was the product of this work.


In 1968, he resigned from his office because of the sensitivity of the government and ideological difference with some religious intellectuals such as Dr. Ali Shariati. In 1970, he delivered his historical speech against Zionism and subsequently, he was arrested and imprisoned for a while.
Following the closure of Hosseinieh Ershad, Motahari transferred his site to Aljavad, Javid and Arg mosques. However he was forbidden to give speeches in pulpits from 1975.


In 1976, following a fabricated story, Motahari was deprived from teaching in university and he was retired to home. But his efforts did not stop and, despite its many problems je went to Najaf to visit Imam Khomeini and talk about Qom Seminary and the country's political and ideological issues. Upon his return, he founded “the society of Tehran combatant clergies”. He became the leading representative of Imam Khomeini’s thoughts in Iran. Upon the death of Imam Khomeini’s eldest son, he managed to hold a memorial service for him in the Arg mosque of Tehran. After the migration of Imam Khomeini to Paris, he hurried to visit Imam. Upon his return, his house became the guiding center in the country and its coordination with the imam in Europe. He was charged with the responsibility of forming the “the revolutionary council” by Imam Khomeini. When Bakhtiar was prevented Imam Khomeini entrance to Iran in February 1978, the clerics staged a sit in in the mosque of Tehran Universityto protest against this action. And Ayatollah Motahhari was on the forefront of the clergy. Also he was a member of the Committee to welcome the Imam.  He had prepared the welcome message text that was read at the Tehran airport and in front of Imam. Following the success of the revolution, Motahari was a sympathetic and trustworthy counselor for the Imam. He was also helpful in the formation of revolutionary organs, including “Revolutionary Guards of the Islamic Revolution" .He was hated by the anti-revolutionaries as much as he was favored by the revolutionaries, as all people were aware of his position in the formation of the Islamic revolution.


Therefore, he was assassinated and martyred by Forghan group on 2 May 1979.

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