Morteza Motahhari

Morteza Motahari
Morteza Motahhari (1659).jpg
Head of Council of the Islamic Revolution
In office
12 January 1979 – 1 May 1979
Appointed byRuhollah Khomeini
Succeeded byMahmoud Taleghani
Personal details
BornMorteza Motahhari
(1919-01-31)31 January 1919
Fariman, Iran
Died1 May 1979(1979-05-01) (aged 60)
Tehran, Iran
Resting placeFatima Masumeh Shrine, Qom
Political party
Theological work
DenominationTwelver Shīʿā
Main interestsIslamic philosophy
Years active1944–1979
Alma materQom Seminary
University of Tehran
Taught atUniversity of Tehran

Morteza Motahari (Persian: مرتضی مطهری‎; January 31, 1919 – May 1, 1979) was an Iranian cleric, philosopher, lecturer, and politician.

Motahari is considered to have an important influence on the ideologies of the Islamic Republic, among others.[3] He was a co-founder of Hosseiniye Ershad and the Combatant Clergy Association (Jāme'e-ye Rowhāniyat-e Mobārez). He was a disciple of Ayatollah Khomeini during the Shah's reign and formed the Council of the Islamic Revolution at Khomeini's request. He was chairman of the council at the time of his assassination.[4]


Early life

Motahari was born in Fariman on January 31, 1919. He attended the Hawza of Qom from 1944 to 1952 and then left for Tehran.[5] His grandfather was an eminent religious scholar in Sistan province and since he traveled with his family to Khorasan Province, there is little information about his origin as Sistanian.[6] His father Shaykh Mohammad Hosseini was also an eminent figure in his village, Fariman, who was respected by the people. He was considered as one of the pupils of Akhund Khorasani and besides he was admired by Ayatollah Mara'shi Najafi.[7]


It is said that he was very intelligent as a child. At the age of 5, he went to school without informing his parents. Sometimes he was found sleeping near the school. By the age of twelve he learned the preliminary Islamic sciences from his father. He also went to the seminary of Mashhad and studied for two years there in the school of Abd ul-Khan along with his brother. But his studies remained unfinished in Mashhad seminary because of problems faced by his family which obliged him to return to Fariman to help them.

According to his own account, in this period he could study a great number of historical books. It was in this period that he was confronted with questions on worldview such as the problem of God. He considered Agha Mirza Mahdi Shahid Razavi as an eminent master in rational sciences. He decided to go to Qom in 1315 Solar Hijri calendar.[8]

He finally took up residence in the school of Feyzieh in Qum. He studied books Kifayah and Makaseb in Shia jurisprudence under instruction of Ayatollah Sayyed Mohaqeq Yazdi popularly known as Damad. He also participated in the lectures of Hojjat Kooh Kamarehei ant sough knowledge from Sayyed Sadr Al Din Sadr, Mohammad Taqi Khansari, Golpaygani, Aaahmad Khansari and Najafi Marashi.[8]

When Ayatollah Boroujerdi emigrated to Qom, Motahari could take part in his courses on Principles of Jurisprudence. Ayatollah Montazeri was his classmate in this period.[8]

Later, Motahari emigrates to Isfahan because of hot climate of Qom. There he becomes familiar with Haj Ali Agha Shirazi who was the teacher of Nahj Al Balaghah in 1320 Solar Hijri calendar who Motahari always describes with honor.[8] Later, he joined the University of Tehran, where he taught philosophy for 22 years. Between 1965 and 1973 he also gave regular lectures at the Hosseiniye Ershad in Northern Tehran.

Motahari wrote several books on Islam, Iran, and historical topics. His emphasis was on teaching rather than writing. However, after his death, some of his students worked on writing down his lectures and publishing them as books. As of the mid-2008, the "Sadra Publication" published more than sixty volumes by Motahari. Nearly 30 books were written about Motahari or quoted from his speeches.

Morteza Motahari opposed what he called groups who "depend on other schools, especially materialistic schools" but who present these "foreign ideas with Islamic emblems". In a June 1977 article he wrote to warn "all great Islamic authorities" of the danger of "these external influential ideas under the pretext and banner of Islam." It is thought he was referring to the People's Mujahideen of Iran and the Furqan Group.[9]

Motahari was the father in law of Iran's former secretary of National Security Council Ali Larijani.[10] It was by Motahari's advice that Larijani switched from computer science to Western Philosophy for graduate studies.

A major street in Tehran formerly known as Takhte Tavoos (Peacock Throne) was renamed after him. Morteza Motahari Street connects Sohrevardi Street and Vali Asr Street, two major streets in Tehran.

Other Languages