About the Author

Martyr Murtadha Mutahhari was born in Fariman, in the province of Khurasan (Iran) in February of 1919. His father Shaykh Muhammad Husayn1 was a religious scholar and a pious man who spiritually inspired the young Mutahhari. At the age of twelve, he joined the traditional Islamic School at Mashhad where he pursued his studies for five years. Then he proceeded to Qum, the famous theological Centre of Shia Muslims where for fifteen years he pursued his religious education under the supervision of Ayatullah Burujardi in jurisprudence and its principles (who had comprehensive knowledge of Islamic sciences and remarkable insight in socio-political issues), Imam Khumayni2 in spirituality and principles of jurisprudence, 'Allamah Tabataba'i'3 in Islamic philosophy, and Mirza Ali Agha Shirazi, amongst many other distinguished scholars.

In 1952 he migrated to and settled in Tehran, teaching traditional Islamic philosophical texts in Madrasah-i Marvi and modem Islamic philosophy in the Faculty of Theology at Tehran University. More importantly, he devoted his scholarly research to contemporary challenges to the Islamic faith, creating a rich and profound legacy of original exposition of the Islamic world-view which he presented through lectures, articles, and books to Islamic associations of students, doctors, engineers, traders and in mosques and which covered issues ranging from Islamic philosophy, responses to communist arguments against religion, doctrinal matters such as Divine unity and justice, Predestination, Resurrection, Commentary of the Qur'an and Nahj al-Balagha, social issues such as hijab, women's rights, economic issues such as an Islamic economic system and banking without usury, and political topics such as global Islamic movements and revolution in Iran.

Politically, he engaged in covert struggle against the Shah's tyranny and in 1963 was arrested along with Imam Khumayni. After the latter's exile to Turkey and then to Najaf, he maintained close contact with his mentor for fifteen years and guided the Islamic resistance movement, culminating in the victory of the Islamic revolution. Subsequently, he was nominated as the President of the Revolutionary Council, but his activities were intolerable for the followers of the materialistic schools whose deviation he actively opposed and exposed, who therefore decided to eliminate him. Eventually they assassinated this eminent scholar on May 1, 1979. His martyrdom was a great tragedy for the revolution and the Muslim ummah. When the sad news was conveyed to Imam Khumayni, he could not control his tears (he held his beard and cried “Mutahhari! Mutahhari! Mutahhari!”). In his condolence message he said: “In him I have lost a dear son. I am mourning the death of one who was the fruition of my life.”

He was laid to rest in Qum in the precincts of the Holy Shrine of Hazrat Fatima al-Ma'suma, the sister of the eighth Shia Imam, in Qum. May his soul rest in peace.

Murtaza Alidina
7th Safar, 1425/March 28, 2004

  • 1. He was his first guide to his faith, piety and integrity
  • 2. An important part of my personality was shaped in those spiritual and other classes over twelve years
  • 3. Author of Al-Mizan, the most authentic exegesis of the holy Qur’an