Teach Yourself Islamic Ideology

Teach Yourself Islamic Ideology0%

Teach Yourself Islamic Ideology Author:
Publisher: Foreign Department of Bethat Foundation
Category: Ideological Concepts

Teach Yourself Islamic Ideology

This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought

Author: Laleh Bakhliar
Publisher: Foreign Department of Bethat Foundation
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Teach Yourself Islamic Ideology

Teach Yourself Islamic Ideology

Author:
Publisher: Foreign Department of Bethat Foundation
English

This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought

Alhassanain (p) Network for Islamic Heritage and Thought

Teach Yourself Islamic Ideology

Teach Yourself Islamic Ideology contains various lessons with the aim of getting a better and thorough understanding of Islamic Ideology at 360° degrees. The Lessons presented in Teach Yourself lslamic Ideology were prepared in Persian by Mahmud Rajavi, Mahmud Muhammadi and Akbar Mirsiah from the Dar Rah Haqq Organization in Qum.

Translator(s): Laleh Bakhliar

Publisher(s): Foreign Department of Bethat Foundation

www.alhassanainl.org/english

Table of Contents

Translator's Preface 4

Lesson 1: Human Beings, the World and Ideology 5

The Role of a World View in Ideology 6

Summary of the Lesson 9

Questions to ask yourself 9

Lesson 2: Humanology (Anthropology) Part 1 10

The Differences in Attitudes 11

Types of Attitudes 11

Summary of the Lesson 12

Questions to ask yourself 12

Lesson 3: Humanology (Anthropology) Part 2 13

Intellectual Insight 13

Differences in Tendencies 13

The Differences in the Dimension of Action 13

Summary of the Lesson 15

Questions to ask yourself 15

Lesson 4: Humanology (Anthropology) Part 3 16

Is humanity the infrastructure or the suprastructure? 17

The Human Being from the Point of View of Islam 18

Summary of the Lesson 19

Questions to ask yourself 19

Lesson 5: World View 20

Divine and Material World View 21

Questions to ask yourself 22

Lesson 6: Monotheism: Part 1 23

Summary of the Lesson 24

Questions to ask yourself 24

Lesson 7: Monotheism Part 2 25

Summary of the Lesson 26

Questions to ask yourself 26

Lesson 8: Revelation and Prophethood Part 1 27

The Universal Law of Guidance 27

The Universal Law of Guidance in Plants 27

The World of Animals 28

The Needs of Human Beings 29

Meeting Human Needs 30

The Source of Consciousness in the Human Being 30

Summary of the Lesson 31

Questions to ask yourself 31

Lesson 9: Revelation and Prophethood Part 2 32

Summary of the Lesson 35

Questions to ask yourself 35

Lesson 10: Another Look at Prophethood based on Monotheism 36

The Continuation of the Message of the Prophets in Imamate 38

Summary of the Lesson 39

Questions to ask yourself 39

Lesson 11: Resurrection Part 1 41

The Human Being Is Eternal 41

The Human Being is a Two Dimensional Being 41

The Spirit in Material Schools 42

Originality and Independence 42

Unity and Stability of the Personality 43

The Substance of Perception 44

Place 44

Change 44

The Acceptance of Division 45

Summary of the Lesson 45

Questions to ask yourself 46

Lesson 12: The Resurrection Part 2 47

The Sophistry of Marxism 47

The Reasons Given by Materialism for the Spirit Being Material 47

The Brain is a Tool not the Agent of Perception 48

The Revival of Energies 50

Summary of the Lesson 50

Questions to ask yourself 51

Lesson 13: Resurrection Part 3 52

Proof of the Resurrection 52

The Grace of God 52

Divine Justice 52

God's Wisdom 53

The Role of the Resurrection in the Life of the Human Being 55

The Effects of Discipline and the Role of Resurrection in Structuring the Human Being 56

Summary of the Lesson 56

Questions to ask yourself 57

Translator's Preface

The Lessons presented in Teach Yourself lslamic Ideology were prepared in Persian by Mahmud Rajavi, Mahmud Muhammadi and Akbar Mirsiah from the Dar Rah Haqq Organization in Qum.

They proved to be so useful that the Foreign Department of Be'that Foundation decided to undertake the English translation which is presented here.

First edition by Foreign Department of Be'that Foundation in 1984

Address: Tehran, Islamic Republic of lran, Somaye Ave. between Mofatteh and Forsat

Tel: 821159-822244-82237

Lesson 1: Human Beings, the World and Ideology

In our world, with its unlimited number of creatures, the human being is a creature who 'thinks', makes choices' and then ‘acts’.

On the surface, we are confronted by the behavior and acts of human beings. For instance, we see a human being who 'oppresses'. We see another human being who is 'oppressed'. Then we see a third human being who is ‘indifferent’.

What are the motives and reasons for these various kinds of behavior? Why is one an oppressor and another, oppressed, and a third, indifferent?

Of course, many factors play an effective role in the reason behind why a human being acts in a certain way. But let us not forget that we said a human being is a creature who 'thinks' and then 'acts.’

There is no doubt that the way of thinking of human beings and how a human being thinks has a great effect upon the choices that that person makes and his or her acts. In other words, belief and one's way of thinking or the ideology of a human being plays an important role in his or her practice and behavior.

[Note: The word ideology, from the point of view of structure, means the science of ideas or beliefs. An idea is something one thinks, knows or imagines; a thought; a mental conception or image, notion, an opinion or belief. Anything existing in the mind as an object of knowledge or thought as an idea. 'Ideal', also from this root, means 'model', ‘exactly as one's beliefs are', or 'what one would wish for.'

But today the word 'ideology' has other meanings: First, in a general sense, ideology means or refers to a school of thought and action and the collection of all of the guidelines of that school of thought and action whether at the level of thought or at the level of action. When we use the word 'ideology' in these lessons, we refer to just this.

Second, ideology in the particular sense, refers only to the behavior of a human being and the rules of practice (the do's and don’ts). In this case, we will refer to this as a 'world view' or the basic ideas of a school of thought and action.]

It is the general meaning of ideology, that is, a collection of component’s of the belief system of human beings which are used for the word maktab, school of thought and action. We say, "The ideology of Islam as compared to other ideologies and schools of thought and action..."

Thus ideology means a universal or total theory about the world of existence along with or accompanied by a design for society. Because of its harmony and solidarity, it defines the way human beings should live and its goal is the well-being and the gradual development of humanity towards perfection or completion.

In an ideology, the insights, tendencies, methods and actions of human beings are defined and formed. Also, in an ideology, all of the basic lines or ways, routes, of the life of a human being, the do's and don’ts, the good and bad, the goals and means, the needs, pains and treatment and the answers to all of the needs of human beings must be made clear and defined.

In this way, the ideology of each human being or each society is the source of inspiration of that person or that society in coming to know something. This includes one's mission in life or the mission of a country, one's duties or the duties of society, individual responsibilities and society's responsibilities.

If we want to explain it in our own words, we can say 'the principles of belief and action' which underlie and explain behavior and encounters of human beings.

In the examples given at the beginning of the lesson, an individual who because of self-interests, material interests and animal desires, oppresses others, it is more often than not for the reason that he or she only looks at the world from the point of view of materiality and an animal-like life and he or she sees the sum total of life to be in these few days.

Also, the person who defends the oppressed and who fights for them and often even sacrifices his or her life in this struggle, these self-sacrifices and also struggles are because that person worships Truth and that person's beliefs are based upon spiritual values and the principles of humanity.

The indifference of the third person who is only a spectator also, in the first place, stems from the weakness of that person's beliefs and faith in spiritual values and in general , this encounter is because of the tendencies towards quick rewards and interests that are momentary like material and animal interests.

The Role of a World View in Ideology

Our age is an age of multiple ideologies and creeds. Various ideologies exist where each one claims to alone be the leader and guide for human beings. It believes itself to have a monopoly as the bringer of well-being and gradual development of human beings towards perfection and completion. Towards this end, it invites all human beings to follow its tenets and ideology.

Each one of these ideologies and creeds, whether they want to or not, are a perception of a general evaluation and finally, they offer a particular interpretation and analysis of the world. Every ideology looks at the world and human beings with a particular view and existence is interpreted in a certain way. This total outlook or perception which in reality is the infrastructure which forms an ideology is called 'world view’.

For instance, materialism is a world view based upon which existence is equated to materiality and no truth exists above materiality. According to the world view of materiality, the human beings is merely a material creature which is destroyed upon death and in no way does an enlightened future confront the human being.

Confronting materialism is the Divine world view and based upon it the world is not limited or confined to materiality. Rather, the material world is a world which is dependent and in need of essence 'from Him' and 'towards Him'.

According to the Divine world view, the world of existence has a God and a precise accounting or reckoning rules over the world. The changes in the world do not merely materially obey the endless actions and reactions The destiny of a human being and one's future obeys particular criteria. The human being is not destroyed with death. In the next world, after death, the rewards and punishments of one's deeds will be seen.

In general, the ideologies which are prevalent in the world today are one of these two world views. The basic lines of one’s desires or the way of one's reaching towards them are either based upon a world view of materiality or a Divine one. For instance, Marxism as one material ideology today, claims by offering its ideology to be able to save some of the groups of society and it has a world view based on materiality. This is why we say that Marxism is the infrastructure of materiality which its world view stands upon.

Confronting that today, Islam, as the last heavenly ideology, containing the most complete Divine world view, that is, the world view of monotheism, offers its ideology to the world of humanity. It calls or invites all to follow its guidelines which bear the responsibility of saving lost and alienated individuals of today. Its eternal questions to all of humanity, in every age, in every century from whatever group, whatever class and whatever race is this: Where do you come from? What must you do: Its special message for alienated human beings in our age: Oh mankind! Oh those who bear the mission of the Divine successors upon their shoulders, you have forgotten God and as a result, you have forgotten the self and your own mission. Today you are alienated because you are alienated from God. Return to your 'self’. Your medicine is this: Return to the selfhood of the self, the real and true self.

From the point of view of Islam, when a human being seeks the self, he or she finds God. When God is forgotten, the self is forgotten. It is at this moment that one becomes alienated and loses one's identity.

The human being is a wayfarer and religion is a way which the wayfarer must take. The human being grows in two important dimensions: Thought and action. A complete ideology and religion must guide human beings in both the area of thought and in the area of practice. Thus the important dimension of an ideology consists of the dimension or level of thought and the dimension or level of practice. At the level of thought, a principle phase and infrastructure exists which is that very world view and in the second phase, based upon that world view, the ideals of human beings are defined. And with the actions of a human being, they give a connection which is sometimes called ideology (ideology in its particular sense) which means that ideology, in truth, is the intermediary or transition between a thought and action of a human being.

(In the Islamic view, a thought, principle or strategy is then a connection with the Divine precepts. It moves through the transition of a system of beliefs which is called an ideology. And then from there, it moves to the stage of culmination, that is, the practice of that Divine principle.)

The practice of an ideology may also be divided into two sections. The first consists of the constant and permanent precepts and criteria. We normally refer to this part as the practice of religion and today it is called the strategy of an ideology.

The second part is the changing methods which obey the conditions of time and place and they change within the framework of strategies. This section is the one which today is called tactics.

[Note: Here it is relevant to know that the authority or power of ‘leadership through a religious jurisprudent' (wilayat al-faqih) which Islam gives to a religious jurisprudent’ who meets all of the conditions of a religious authority relates to this very section on the tactics of an ideology. That is, it is the religious jurisprudent who meets all the conditions of a religious authority who relates to this very section on the tactics of an ideology. That is, it is the religious jurisprudent who meets all the conditions of a religious authority alone who can assume the responsibility of being aware of the strategic issues of an ideology which he has arrived at through reasoning from the basic texts of religion throughout the various periods of history. The changing and permanent relevant Islamic laws are expressed by him as well as all of the duties which that Islamic law gives.]

Islam has in a complete way turned its attention to this issue with Islamic laws that are permanent and changing and one of the eternal secrets of this code is found at this very point.

In order to further clarify the point, we will bring forward issues on the ideology of Islam: In the ideology of Islam, in the section on world view, we say: The Creator of the Universe exists above these creatures.

In the section of the principles of ideology, we consider friendship with the friends of God and enmity with His enemies.

In the section on strategy, in order to reach our goal, we say:

"And prepare against them what force you can ...to frighten thereby the enemy of God and your enemy and others besides them, whom you do not know (but) God knows them; and whatever thing you will spend in God's way, it will be paid back to you fully and you shall not be dealt with unjustly." (8:60)

That is, "Prepare yourselves and equip yourselves before the enemies of God in such a way that any thought on their part to attack you or aggress against you will be put aside."

The section on tactics contains the totality of the Islamic laws that the leaders with belief brought (the Prophets, the Imams and the Imam's successors) in a limited period of time and under particular circumstances. As an example the stand of Ayatullah Mirza Shirazi against the Tobacco concession may be mentioned.

It is also very important to know that a great section of the tactical issues of Islam form the general issues of the permanent Islamic laws which in various times and places take various branches. For instance, the very existence of preparedness before the enemy which was mentioned as being part of the section on strategy like 'preparedness' which is the issue of a ruling for the general public in whatever time or place has a new application.

It is clear that at the time of the descent of the revelation, it was to make the swords, arrows, chain mail, horses; etc. ready. The application was preparedness and in our times we have made ourselves ready with modern weapons which can answer any unmanly attack of the enemies of God and mankind.

Summary of the Lesson

1. Ideology as the Principle of Beliefs and Practice is a total or universal plan which is comprehensive and harmonized, whereby insights, tendencies, methods and actions of human beings are determined and the main purpose is to complete human beings and guarantee their well-being.

2. Every ideology is based upon basic principles which interpret a particular view of the world. These basic principles which are the infrastructure of thoughts of the ideology are called world view.

3. The ideology of Islam is based upon the Divine world view which is that of monotheism:

"Say: I am God, the One."(112:1).

4. The Islamic world view can be summarized in one sentence: Everything is from God and returns to God.

5. From the point of view of Islam, the reasons for the alienation of human beings in our age is because they have forgotten God.

Questions to ask yourself

1. What do we mean by ideology and world view?

2. Explain the world view of Islam and the world view of Marxism.

3. What sections make up the rules of practice in an Ideology?

Lesson 2: Humanology (Anthropology) Part 1

Without a study of the structure of the existence of a human being and the particularities which have separated human existence from the existence of other creatures and animals, we will reach this conclusion that a human being, without an inclination or tendency towards a school of belief or faith and growing towards that, cannot enter the arena of human life.

In order that we come to know the great design of a world view and ideology in the structure of the existence of a human being and his or her human life and also with the intention of understanding, to the furtherest extent possible, the necessity for the non-elusive elements of ideology, there is no choice but to endeavor to take our first steps towards understanding the human being itself.

What kind of a creature is the human being? What particularities do we contain that requires us to have a school of thought and action? Why do animals not need to have an inclination towards a particular school of thought and action?

In order that we come to understand the human being, it is necessary to place the issue in the midst of other creatures who we sense, for ln the opinion of some scholars, "The understanding of anything consists of understanding it in relation to other things."

In order to understand the human being among other sensible creatures, we must first, of necessity, look at all the other creatures who have the power of sensations.

There is no question about the fact that the human being is not part of the inanimate world nor part of the plant world. The discussion begins with the question, "Is it correct to separate the human being from other animals and know it to have special qualities'?"

Some have the opinion that separating human beings from other animals makes no sense. Now it is up to us to think about whether or not it is correct for the human being to be understood separate from others.

This is not an unimportant issue and the answer is not a simple yes or no. In a general sense, when the human being is compared to other animals, if we ignore the three dimensional differences, we see there are three other important basic differences: First, the dimension of insight or consciousness; second, the dimension of inclination or tendencies; third, the dimension of efforts or acts.

The Differences in Attitudes

There are four types of attitudes or methods of understanding in the human being. Animals share three of them and the fourth one belongs exclusively to the human being and this one causes the difference in attitude.

Types of Attitudes

1. Perceptions: The direct understanding of perceptions. For example, a flower is placed before you. You see it. That which you perceive in the color and shape of the flower is a result of the function of the power or faculty of perception.

2. Imagination: The indirect understanding of perceptions (the storage area of perceptions).

For example, the flower you saw, when you come home, you still have it in recollection and you understand it. In your home, no flower is before you for you to directly understand but it has been stored in your perceptions and it is something which you pay attention to without your mind. This is called the faculty of imagination.

3. Illusion: The understanding of a particular meaning. The word ‘meaning’ refers to anything which is not capable of externally being understood like kindness or hatred and the word 'particular' is in the sense of logic. In logic it is said: Whenever a concept does not accept more than one truth, it is called particular and whenever it is possible that a concept have more than one truth, it is called 'universal'. For instance, 'this chair' brings a concept to mind which the insight into one truth does not accept. But 'chair’ brings multiple truths to mind. The first is particular and the second is universal.

For example, to understand what illusion is, you come to know something, i.e. your mother and father love you and you love them. This perception is called illusion. Thus, love is a meaning and also because it is not absolute (it is your love for them or their love for you). Thus it is particular. As we have said, the understanding of a particular meaning is called illusion.

Summary of the Lesson

1. Humanity without inclination to a school of thought of faith and following that cannot enter the life of a human being.

2. In a general sense, the human being differs in three basic, important dimensions with other animals: a. the dimension of insight and awareness; b. the dimension of tendency or inclinations; c. the dimension of acts.

3. There are four types of comprehension in the human being, three of which they share with other animals. The three that arc shared are: a. perceptions, that is, the direct comprehension of sensibles; b. imagination: the indirect comprehension of sensibles; c. illusion: the comprehension of a particular meaning.

Questions to ask yourself

1. What does the human life of a human being depend upon?

2. In what dimension does the human being differ from other animals in distinguishing perceptions?

3. Describe the insight of perceptions and imagination.

4. Describe the insight of illusion and give examples.

5. Do you accept the fact that these three kinds of comprehension are shared between human beings and animals? Why?

Lesson 3: Humanology (Anthropology) Part 2

These three types of attitudes are common between human beings and other animals. It is the fourth type of insight which is special to human beings alone.

Intellectual Insight

Intellectual insight means the comprehension of generalities and their type, perceptions und differences and includes the gradual development of human beings towards completion in an extensive and unlimited sense.

For example, that which is expressed in the various kinds of knowledge or science as laws, the comprehension of all of them falls into the category of intellectual insight. This is particular to human beings.

Paying attention to what we have said so far, it becomes clear that it is true that animals like ourselves are aware of their environment and in order to continue their life, they consciously act by choosing that which is advantageous to them. They evade that which is harmful but this consciousness is essentially external, material, particular, regional, unconscious, instinctive and limited.

On the other hand, human perceptions penetrate the external and internal. 'They go beyond the limits of materiality. They contain generalities. They are not limited to a particular region or area. They are not particular to any special time but rather include an extensive history and they reflect upon the future and in this way, they are conscious. It is not only instinctive but acquired also, unlimited and progresses rapidly.

Differences in Tendencies

All animals whether human or otherwise are equipped with a series of special tendencies and inclinations which guarantee the continuation of its life and gradual development like sexual inclinations which assures the continuation of the generations of that species.

But in this, area as well, human beings have many differences with other animals. The capacity which exists in animals is usually limited, generally personal and at the most family related. In addition to this, from the point of time, also, limited, instinctive and unconscious. The support behind these tendencies is also to draw special interests.

On the other hand, human inclinations and tendencies can move forward to infinity, break the moulds of materiality, move beyond self-interests or the interests of the family, tribe, etc., free itself from the bonds of time, penetrate the past and tile future, receive strong support from consciousness and insight and replace individual interests with the highest values of humanity and the divinity, and lofty human and ethical ideals.

The human being moves forward until the point where he or she is freed from all limitations and bonds of materiality and nature and the chains of lowly animal whims and desires. It is then that he or she conquers the high peaks of love and faith (the tendency towards meta-ideals), and sacrifices everything before its Beloved.

The Differences in the Dimension of Action

The human being in the offering of acts is also without rival in the world of nature. It is true that animals also effect the environment they live in. But animals, in this dimension as in other dimensions, are imprisoned in the prison nature built for them and their behavior is generally instinctive as well as limited in area and to a particular time. They never move beyond the limits of materiality, and only move because of the pull of individual, or, at the most, family interests. In addition to these, they obey a pre-determined state, whereas the arena of the human being's actions are more extensive.

A human being can in the same way that he or she has material activity, also be active in the dimension of spirituality and meta-materiality. The human being struggles against nature and tames the natural forces upon the way of determining his or her way. They combat other human beings and are often victorious and often defeated. The most wonderous of all is that it can struggle against the self (the greater jihad) and dominate over his or her own inner self.

The human being has social capacities and inclinations, the acts of a human being accept no geographical boundaries, boundaries are broken and the world attained. He or she effects the past and sometimes takes on the color of 'immortality'.

More important than any of this is the behavior of a conscious individual who has strong and firm support of intellectual forces and rich sources of knowledge, awareness and thoughts.

The human being establishes his or her acts upon a series of universal criteria which his or her system of thought builds. In addition to all of this, the human being is free to act and he or she does not follow the determinations of nature, rather, he or she can, with free will, choose his or her own way.

The human being has, with the blessings of his or her intellect, a sense of insight which is multiple and gradually developed. This very quality is directly effective in his or her method of action. Animals have comparable acts and throughout the duration, they are uniform, and lacking in development. Whereas the acts of human beings have both a vertical change as well as a horizontal one.

Vertical change is an evolutionary change or one which gradually develops. For example, the act of building a house is a realized affair in the human being; to begin with, how to build and what to build whereas from among the multiple examples of the methods of animals, it is best to look at the honey bee. We see that with the honey bee, there is no change of gradual development nor was there ever any in building a house.

One can carefully look in the same way at the acts such as swimming, self-defense, gathering food, etc. in animals and in human beings in order to conceptualize and understand the method of vertical change in the area of human acts. Horizontal change refers to the change of external appearance and other than gradual development.

Let us look again at the building of a house. A human being does not build a house in one form, but builds, rather through the form of multiple shapes whereas animals are not like this. The complete acts like that of the honey bee can be carefully studied as an example. The other acts which were mentioned in vertical change can be studied from the point of horizontal change as well, and in an unlimited way. This change can be discovered in an unlimited way within the human being, in contrast to animals in whose act these changes are normally not found or if they exist they are very limited.

The compilation of these particularities of human beings build a multi-dimensional human being who is both material and spiritual and from among the animals of the same species in all dimensions: Consciousness and insight (knowledge), inclinations and tendencies (faith) and behavior and acts take separate ways and join the perfection of his or her unlimitedness with eternity and moves towards the Divine attributes upon the way of self-construction in nature's arena and becomes worthy of the station of 'vice-gerent' of God.

Summary of the Lesson

1. The human being shares many things in common with other animals.

2. The difference of a human being with other animals is in the three-dimension in the following way: insight or awareness of animals is external, material, particular, regional, present, unconscious, instinctive and limited.

The insight and awareness of the human being is external and internal, material and spiritual, particular and universal, present, past and future, conscious, capable of increase and gradual development, sensation, imagination, fantasy and intellectual.

The tendencies and capacity of animals: material and non-material, social, unlimited, conscious, ethical.

The acts and behavior of animals: Determined, limited, material, instinctive, unconscious, regional, present with a motive based on personal interests or family interests.

The acts of human beings: free and made by choice, material and spiritual, conscious, unlimited, universal and social, ethical and ideal, intellectual and changing both from the point of view of gradual development and from the point of external shape.

Questions to ask yourself

Describe the human being in 10 lines and explain its particularities.