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Iran’s Enlightenment – The Insurrection (Rastakhiz) Movement

Monday, 23 November 2009 03:28

“The wars of the 1990s and today are inspired by religion, not economics or territory, and this trend will continue into the indefinite future…. Many in today’s culture of materialism remain unaware of the extent to which religious foundations affect their ethical positions and decisionmaking.”

Gregory R. Copley, The Art of Victory, 2006.

In 1946 at the age of 55, the life of a progressive Iranian intellectual Ahmad Kasravi was cut short at the hands of a Fadaiyan-e Islam assassin for his criticism of religion and the mullahs. Although Kasravi’s untimely death abruptly ceased his efforts to enlighten fellow Iranians, his writings are still applicable to Iran’s current affairs. This revelation on its face is discouraging in reflecting Iran’s inability to overcome the backwardness that laid down the foundation for the theocratic dictatorship in Tehran.

Kasravi had trained as a Shiite clergy and was fluent in several languages. He memorized the Koran in Arabic to minimize corruption and deviations in its teachings. His writings often focused on religion, because he claimed it was the root of Iran’s national problems, and the country would continue down the path of self-destruction unless people dealt with religion.

“…belief in God represents an inherent ‘natural order,’ which is at the core of victory, but there is always the element of human will, skill, and wisdom, which either moves along this path or slips from it.” Ibid.

According to Kasravi, a Creator is basic to religion. The most valuable gift bestowed upon humans is rationale. Prophethood is not contradictory to science, because it too is a mystery of the universe. The Creator appoints guides or prophets at different times to show people the way. These appointed guides do not need to commit extraordinary acts. The Chosen individuals simply shake people’s minds by telling the truth and fighting ignorance. This is God’s law. If one understands God, then one must understand his Laws -- nothing can occur without a cause. The world is always evolving, and this progress is significant to the laws of universe.

A deteriorated religion is defined by Kasravi as one which can no longer unite its followers and make them good. If a religion has misguided and unfounded beliefs and is incompatible with modern day life then it has deteriorated. Kasravi goes further to say that preserving such a useless religion would mean denouncing freedom and dignity. If a religion loses its essence or applicability to the time and age, then it will be replaced by another.

“There is a balance in, and natural order to, how societies strive competitively for victory. Failure to strive for victory invites the excessive demands and depredations of others. Victory and God are inextricable, because both represent the societal struggle to survive and prosper through history.” Ibid.

According to Kasravi, religion should unite people and prevent them from ignorance. It should help them advance. Religion should teach that the world is orderly and organized, and its operation is based on certain laws. As the Creator’s chosen creatures, humans must desire good versus evil, and have the rationale to understand truths. By pursuing truths, humans can then live in happiness and peace.

Kasravi states God favors rational and beneficial acts. Religion is a path that is parallel to world progression. It should follow God’s will. Religion is for the sake of the people and should teach the realities of life. Further, it is for the living not the dead. In humans, there is the essence of life which desires evil and the essence of soul which desires good. Therefore, the conscious is always struggling. Religion should teach people not to commit evil acts, because it causes disorder and not for fear of “hell.”

Kasravi says a nation can be victorious, prosperous, and proud when its people follow the laws of the land and work for its advancement. Progress in the world is apparent when masses take charge of their nation. Religion is not a blockage to victory, but rather a fluid part that guides people as they advance spiritually, socially, politically, and materially.

Iranians have been struggling for over a century to modernize. The religious problems were overlooked, appeased, or avoided. In the 1940s, Kasravi warned about the outcome of such a behavior. The end result was the formation and maintenance of the Islamic Republic through a bloody revolution, an unnecessary 8-year war with Iraq, and today’s butchery of civilians by the regime’s agents. In 2006, three years before the unprecedented uprising of the Iranian people, a strategic thinker Gregory Copley predicted “[i]f [Iran’s clerics] fail to galvanize Iranians by creating a siege mentality [by using God], then they will be gone from the political scene” since the regime’s only tool for survival is God. The world is now witnessing Iran’s enlightenment, and revisiting Kasravi should be regarded as moral support not discouragement.

Sheda Vasseghi is a member of the Board of Azadegan Foundation and She is a regular contributor on Iran’s affairs.

This Articl published in the Iran Quest this is a courtesy copy to the original article.








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