March 2005
March 2

Bright ages

In response to Fouad Kazem's "Distant stars":

I felt your article was a bit biased and blind-sited of today's reality.

You speak of our great philosophers, alchemists, poets, and intellectuals of our past. And you remark that we are in some kind of "dark ages" and have no produced such great works since.

I would completely disagree.

Our intellectuals of the past, as you noted, borrowed from the works of the ancient Greeks and combined it with Islamic idealogy to produce great works that brought a civilization that the world admired and wanted to imitate. However, our intellectuals of the present have done the same.

Our great philosopher Shaheed Ali Shariati combined his knowledge he gained in France with his knowledge of the Islamic sciences to produce great works of philosophy that is still admired today amongst the Islamic "reformists".

Our great Shaheed Ayatullah Muttahari was learned in all the western philosophies, and produced great works to gain what was good from the West, and reject what was bad. He told us what was wrong with our own society, and what to take from it, and what to reject from it.

His great books of philosophy and sociology are read throughout the Muslim world, especially amongst the world's Shia.

Even Ayatollah Khomeini, whom the sectors of the diaspora despises, was a philosopher himself. Everyone knows the philosophy of "Vilayat Faqih" is not simply "Islamic". It is a combination of ancient Greek philosophy (Plato's Republic), modern forms of western government, with the Shariat (Qanun'eh Islamee).

What he brought to Iran was not 1,400 years backwards as some people claim, but an experiment to combine Western forms of government, with Islamic Law. At the same time he was a mystical poet, writing poems about Love and Spirituality.

We've had tons of people that have repeated the philosophical exchanges that happened hundreds of years ago amongst the Muslims of that time. We've had philosophers from Shaheed Beheshti, Taleqhani, Mutahari, Shariati, and now this self-proclaimed Islamic Philosopher, Dr. Abdolkarim Soroush.

I've named the Islamic philosophers of our time, since those are the works I've read and studied.

But we've had secular philosophers and scientists as well. We already know many successful Iranian/Muslim scientists in the West, but their are great scientists in Muslim countries including Iran.

Just because these people haven't become famous in the West, doesn't mean they don't exist. I don't think Rumi was famous in the West until the past 100 years when his work was translated and mass distributed amongst spiritual circles especially in America.

Maybe in 500 years, they will be reading Mutahari and Shariati in schools in the US.

Don't look at our past, and say we were great, and look at our present and say we are nothing now.

We had good and bad in the past, and we have good and bad now too.

Dariush Abadi


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