Well, if it was about anybody else I would probably still stay in my dark corner and watch how you mess people up but not this time.
First of all, Dr. Shariati's targeted audience, the buzzword these Westerners use a lot, was not ordinary people. He was a humanist sociologist and his audiences were mostly students. This means he had a very narrow definition about Imam and leadership. As you see the subject, leadership, is a major component of any social study.
Now this gets very interesting that you divert what Dr. Shariati meant about Imam to what people picture in their mind about Imam. When you say Imam people picture the Time magazine cover … and the 80s. But what Ali meant is far beyond what you are trying to illustrate. I am looking for a word to explain better.
Let me put it in this way. How do you picture Cyrus the Great? How do you wrap him up with holly words? Don't you even say he was a prophet? Why is the Shahnameh so popular? More popular than your freaking weblog. Can't we criticize Ferdowsi with the same standards that you set for the Shariati's?
Why we fail to understand why Shariati chose very strong words to define a leader is the answer we all lack. Because it's been such a long time we haven't seen such a tremendous leader, some 10 million times bigger than Reza Shah who dumped an opportunist baker into his own oven. Does anybody remember anything, any trace of any leader with some impacts after Qajar era?
For people who don't know Shariati well, I have to say that Shariati was always one of the harshest critics of mollas. That's why despite of his distinct rule in forming Iranian revolution he was soon forgotten by them.
To get the full picture of Shariati, you got to read his books and put the puzzle together slowly. One thing is enough to say that he was an IRANIAN thinker who influenced intellectual people form India to Morocco when western intellects were smoking pots, and running bare butts down the street.