By Faranak Bakhtiari

Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi a unique character in Islamic world

February 13, 2021 - 11:30

TEHRAN – Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi played a unique role in transmitting internal Islamic thoughts and beliefs to the outside world and vice versa, while promoting Islamic culture, conducting numerous researches and leaving no scientific areas behind, Mehdi Golshani a distinguished philosopher and professor told the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview.

A principlist cleric, Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi spent most of his life teaching and conducting research on Islamic thoughts. “Teaching Philosophy,” “Ethics in Quran,” and “Islam’s Political Theory” are among his famous works.

The ayatollah was a member of the Assembly of Experts and the Society of the Seminary Teachers of Qom. He also founded the Baqir-ul-Uloom Institute and then the Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute in the city of Qom, which he headed for the rest of his life.

He passed away at 86 due to digestive disease, in Tehran on January 1st.

Referring to the international character of Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, Golshani said that “he started his activities before the Islamic Revolution (1979) when he first established Institute of Dar-Rahe-Hagh (literally meaning on the way to the truth) in 1964.”

“He also opened up Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute in 1991, which resulted in numerous researches and publications, however, the results of his efforts and researches have not been sufficiently reflected in national and international arenas,” Golshani said.

Although one of his books has been translated into English in the United States, his significant efforts have not yet been disseminated across the country and throughout the world, which should have been by the responsible bodies like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture, and Islamic Guidance, Islamic Culture and Communication Organization, he highlighted.

Mesbah-Yazdi was ahead in many areas, a clear example of that is Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute which was one of the few centers that awarded doctoral scholarships to graduates of the seminary, he emphasized.

And this action played an important role in transmitting Islamic thoughts and beliefs to the outside world and vice versa, which has been done less. Western countries, for example, offered scholarships to Christian priests to get a doctorate in physics or biology, but this was the first place to start from the seminary and theology, helping graduates of the seminary get familiar with the issues of the day to be more effective, he explained.

His vast work and Islamic Revolution ideology

Highlighting Ayatollah Mesbah made great efforts to earn a good reputation for the Islamic Revolution in the world, Golshani said that “his conversations with Western thinkers have helped much in this regard, but he has taken various measures to introduce the Islamic revolution’s ideology to the world, to leave no doubts about it.

So that he started working on various areas, including, Quranic teachings, Marxist criticism, the relationship between science and religion, cultural invasion, Islamic ethics, teaching philosophy, teaching beliefs.”

Translation of his works might be an effective way to introduce his character to the world, he further emphasized, adding, some educational centers like Al-Mustafa International University must take steps to translate Ayatollah Mesbah’s books and publications.

Dedicated to promoting Islamic culture

Referring to Ayatollah Mesbah’s thought to strengthen Islamic culture among the people, Golshani said that “Ayatollah Mesbah has published numerous books and held many training courses in related fields like ethics in Quran, Islamic culture and thoughts.

He was very effective in introducing and promoting Islamic culture to the people.”

Ayatollah Mesbah, a rare valuable character

“I was in contact with Ayatollah Mesbah at the same time as the establishment of the Institute of Dar-Rahe-Hagh, but our friendship began in the 1370s (1990s) when I was appointed director of the Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.

According to the decision of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, the institute had a high council of professors, which I introduced Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, Seyed Jafar Shahidi, and Shahla Habibi to the council, and it was scheduled to invite these professors to the research institute once a month to plan for the activities, so our relationship with Ayatollah Mesbah became closer.

Many achievements and developments of the institute are made by their contributions,” he said.

“In 1990, an international conference on the philosophy of science and methodology of experimental sciences which was held in the Sharif University of Technology, which was the first and largest conference about the philosophy of science in Iran; and we invited Ayatollah Mesbah and Prof. Fazlollah Reza to attend the conference.

Ayatollah Mesbah’s presence in the conference was a rare and valuable event,” he explained.

Referring to another experience of cooperation with Ayatollah Mesbah, Golshani said that our next cooperation was in the 1380s (2000s) when we held a big council on the humanities books of the universities, and I asked Ayatollah Mesbah to attend the event. 

“After a while, I published a book, called “The relationship between science and religion from the perspective of four contemporary scholars”, that had eight questions answered by local and foreign scholars; I decided to publish the second edition of this book, and one of the scholars was Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, who answered our questions one or two months before his death, despite his illness and problems. And this book is going to be unveiled soon.

That was the latest cooperation we had, which might also be the last work of Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi,” Golshani noted.

An important role in humanities evolution

Highlighting the role of Ayatollah Mesbah in the evolution of humanities in Iran, Golshani said that “he played a significant role in various scientific fields including humanities, science, and philosophy.

Authorship was his main work and it had to be published and reflected in universities, colleges, and educational centers depending on the level of the students and educational needs. 

Universities and schools did not pay special attention to using the thoughts of these valuable thinkers such as Allameh Morteza Motahhari, Mesbah-Yazdi, and sufficed to one or two books. But he was trying to answer all the questions and remove the doubts in his whole life.”

I personally expected the scientific community to disseminate his vast work, thought and effort in the universities at the national and international level, a work that has not been done properly, he lamented.

Leave a Comment

6 + 1 =