Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari was a prominent Shia jurist, philosopher, theologian, thinker, and writer of the twentieth century. He was a student of Allamah Tabataba’i and Imam Khomeini and was considered to be one of the most influential contemporary Iranian clerics in expounding upon Islamic teachings, in keeping with the need of the time. Prior to the Islamic Revolution, Motahhari’s intellectual struggle against the Marxist movement in Iran played a stellar role in turning away the youth from its ideology. He was one of the founders of Husayniyya Irshad, a very important center for the propagation of Islamic teachings prior to the revolution. Elucidating Islamic beliefs and acting according to the need of the time were the characteristics of Motahhari’s intellectual activities. Islamic concepts that were earlier dealt with in a complicated and difficult manner were presented by Motahhari in a simple and easy manner in his own personal style. His books on different topics have been repeatedly published in Persian and other languages. Motahhari is considered an influential person and an intellectual leader of the Islamic revolution of Iran.
Creating transformation in religious literature
Prior to the Islamic revolution in Iran, religious literature was scarce and old-fashioned; it addressed matters in a complicated and outdated manner that did not match the taste of the new generation. Most of these writings disregarded the need of the time of the audience, and used complicated prose. Motahhari, who was aware of this climate in society as he frequented the college arena, persevered in order to create a new atmosphere in religious literature.
By authoring books such as Dastan-i Rastan he presented religious and moral traditions to the audience in the form of captivating Persian stories. On the other hand, he wrote on subjects like jurisprudence, mysticism and Islamic philosophy in a simple and easy language for all. He addressed these topics in books like Introduction to Islamic Sciences which catered to the students and the learned alike.
The book Dastan-i Rastan, with its numerous re-prints proved that religious and historic traditions can be adapted into modern day language free from complicated jargon. Motahhari’s easy style of writing and explaining Islamic beliefs in clear Persian language set an example for future writers after the revolution.