Mutahhari: Challenges the Dominance of Ideology and Knowledge

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La syirqiyata wala gharbiyata, that’s the Arabic text of the banner displayed above the Iranian Embassy gate in Jakarta in early 1982, for almost two months. Still, many people did not understand it, maybe because it was in Arabic, but also because it seemed like it had nothing to do with it. Political turmoil in Iran at that time.

“There is no [not] East, and there is no [nor] West”, that’s the literal meaning of the banner. With that banner, we can catch that Iran wants to negate (condemn) the centre of cultural power (ideology and knowledge), which is always formulated (symbolized) with East and West. The power of Eastern ideology and knowledge is represented by Arabs, with Mecca as the centre. In contrast, the power of Western ideology and knowledge is represented by America and Western Europe. For Iran, East and West are nothing more than political constructions that are politically processed and discursive, unstable, and often misleading.

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Then where is Murtadha Mutahhari’s position here? He was one of the foremost Iranian thinkers. They tried to influence the world public with his brilliant thoughts on Islam and socio-politics. Like other Iranian thinkers such as Ali Shariati, he has published his thoughts in various forms and translated them into many foreign languages, including Indonesian. For example, in the works on Islam and Islam by Indonesian Muslim intellectuals, we find many references to Mutahhari.

The correlation between Mutahhari’s thoughts and the official voice of the Iranian state at that time was still a matter that needed further investigation. However, his assertion of the Qur’an and human as the most important sources from which history and order of life can be pretty constructed; And it’s sufficient to explain that he does not believe that the centre of ideological power and knowledge is based on geographical symbols, such as East and West.

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