What Should be Done?
Ali distributes freedom. People are in love with Ali and yet, the young intellectuals are aware of the weaknesses and the decline of Ali's followers. The main reason for this contradiction is `not having come to know'. It is coming to know which has value. Love and faith have no value if they precede coming to know and choosing or commitment. If the Qur’an is read but is not understood, it is no different from a blank book or white notebook. Ali gives his followers awareness, greatness, chastity and freedom when they know who he is. When a book is read in our language which does not correctly give his character, when a book with his sayings is not given to his longing people, what effect can loving him, praising and eulogizing him have?
Love and faith follow coming to know something. It is that which moves the spirit and brings up the nation. This is why the face of Fatima has remained unknown behind the eternal praise, eulogies, crying and lamentations of her followers.
In Iranian and other Islamic societies there are three visages of women. One is the visage of the traditional woman. Another is the visage of the new woman, European like, who has just begun to grow and introduce herself. The third is the visage of Fatima which has no resemblance whatsoever to that of the traditional woman. The visage of the traditional woman which has taken form in the minds of those loyal to religion in our society, is as far away from the face of Fatima as Fatima's face is from the modern woman.
The reality which we are facing in the world today, in the East, and in particular, in an Islamic and Iranian society, the contradiction which has appeared, the crises, the change, comes from the breaking down of human qualities. It comes from the creation of a very strong agitation which affects the way a society behaves and its way of thinking. Principally, the changing human form has produced a particular type of intellectually educated man and woman, modernists, who contradict the traditional man or woman. This contradiction had to come into being. There was no one potent enough to stop it. It was a compulsion which no power could have prevented.
This is not to confirm this change or to deny it. That is not within the scope of this discussion. Rather, we refer to the change in society, the change in the dress of man, his thoughts, his lifestyle and his direction in life. Women also follow this change. It is not possible that she remain in her traditional mould.
In previous generations, a son was inclined to fit exactly into his father's mould. His father had no fear or apprehension that his son may be other than him. There was no difference between them. There were such strong feelings and ties between them that no doubt or indecisiveness could be heard in their words. But today it is not like this. One of the peculiarities of our generation, whether in the East or in the West, is the distance between the two generations. From the point of view of 'calendar time', their distance is 30 years, but from the point of view of society's time, 30 centuries.
Yesterday, society was permanent. Values and social characteristics were incapable of change. In a period of 100, 200, 300 years, nothing changed. The foundation of society, the forms of production and distribution, type of consumption, social relationships, government, type of religious publicity, religious ceremonies, created things, negative and positive values, art, literature, language, and all other things were the same during a father's and a grandfather's lifetime as in the time of their children and grandchildren.
The Worthy and the Unworthy
In such fixed worlds and closed societies, where society's time stands still, men and women are of a permanent type. It is perfectly natural that a daughter be an exact copy of her mother. If there is a difference of opinion between a mother and her daughter, it only relates to extraneous things in life or it arises from daily conflicts. If it has its roots in the difference between a forbidden or corrupt personal ethics, it would have been something which all groups and all social types agree to. They all agree to and accept the same things as being corruption. It is not the case that one group considers such and such an action to be proper whereas another group considers its description alone to be corruption as is the case now.
But in the world today, a girl, without having gone astray, without
having fallen into corruption, creates a distance between herself and
her mother. They are strangers to each other. An age difference of 15,
20 or 30 years separates them into two distinct people, two human beings
attached to two different social cycles, attached to two histories, two
cultures, two languages, two visions and two lives. Their relationship
is such that only their home addresses are the same.
In the external forms of society we see the same contradiction and historic distance between two generations, two types of visions. Just as we see flocks of sheep grazing on the asphalt streets of Tehran, with the shepherd milking the sheep in front of the consumer resident of the capital, at the same time, pasteurized milk is available in the stores. Or, you see a camel standing next to an automatic shift Jaguar sports car. The distance is the same as that which separated Cain and Abel from the electronic age and automobiles.
We see a mother and daughter, with this distance between them, walking shoulder to shoulder down the street, one eating a traditional Iranian ice cream and the other chewing gum.
When you add these two together, you do not get a natural, permanent sum. It is obvious that the mother is beginning the last years of her life. She is pulled and preserved by habit. The daughter, on the other hand, is just beginning the first days of her life's journey. It is clear that the days of the traditional ice cream will set in tomorrow's mother, but she will never return to the type who eats traditional ice cream.
The mother and daughter will eventually become identical. The distance in terms of social time will become one. It will be exactly the same relationship that her mother had to her grandmother. Her daughter will be a 'worthy' child, a copy similar to the original.
The change from the traditional type of 'mother' to the new type of 'daughter' is inevitable. Face to face with this reality (whether it be the truth or an erroneous reality, it is certain), beginners who think and begin to write about this phenomenon of change, just hit the tip of the issue. They have not sensed the abusive language, accusations, aspersions, anger, fighting, pressure, punishments, inflictions and deprivations. They have not sensed the chains and irons around their necks; they have never screamed or cried out in pain; they have never fainted from loss of strength.
While these observers of change in society are just beginning to touch
upon these issues, and predict them, they occur. The work has been done.
They are wasting their efforts. As the change is swift, their results
are worth less than zero. The opposition's front is strengthened.
Those who act as guides, who give explanations, and suppositions in the name of faith; belief, religion and charity are also mistaken in trying to save each type of form which has been inherited from the past. They try to preserve old traditions and habits, and are referred to in the Qur’an as 'tales of the ancients', `the ancients,' `legends of the ancients', 'legends of the ancients', 'fathers of old', 'fables of the ancients', 'stories of yore.'
These words all refer to the first traditions, first myths and first fathers. But they see old as being synonymous with tradition. As a result, they call every change, including even change in dress or hair‑do, 'infidelity'. They mistakenly believe that the spiritual source and the belief in submission (Islam) can only be preserved through the worship of tradition and anything which is old. They turn away from anything new, from any change and from any re‑birth.
Woman, in their view, must also remain as she is today because, simply enough, her form exists in the past and has become part of social traditions. It may be 19th century, 17th century or even pre-Islamic, but it is considered to be religious and Islamic, therefore it must be preserved. They accept this view because it has become part of their way of life or because it suits their interests. They try to remain the same and hold onto things of the past forever. They say, 'Islam wanted it to be this way. Religion has taken this form. It should remain like this until judgment Day.'
But the world changes. Everything changes. Mr. X and his son change. But a woman must retain her permanent form. In general terms, their point of view is that the Prophet sealed women into this form and she must retain the inclinations which make Haji Agha, [her husband], happy. He has molded her.
This type of thinking tends to lead us astray. If we wish to keep the forms because of our own inexperience, the inconsiderate speed of time itself will run us over. We must realize that destruction is also a reality. The insistence upon keeping these forms will bear no fruit because society will never listen. It cannot listen because these are mortal customs.
They try to explain social traditions, which have come into being through habit, in religious terms. Ancient customs cannot be retained by the force of religion for if this were so, it would mean that religion is mortal. When we equate religion and social traditions, we make Islam the guardian of declining forms of life and society. We mistake cultural and historical phenomena with inherited, superstitious beliefs. Time comes along, and as it moves in haste, it changes habits, forms of life, social relationships, indigenous, historical phenomena and ancient, cultural signs. We mistakenly believe the Islamic religion to be these social traditions. Aren't these great errors being committed today? Aren't we seeing them with our own eves?
Three Clear Methods of Problem Solving
There are three well known methods of problem solving:
Conservatism is the method of approach used by the traditionalists and the guardians of the Traditions. It is used by a leader who guards society, preserving a phenomenon with his or her total being. Knowing all the superstitions of society, he or she still preserves them because of the more important role of guardian.
The logic of the conservative is this: If we change the customs of the past, it is as if we had separated the roots from the body of a tree. The social relationships which are preserved in that custom are connected to the body of society like a hierarchy of nerves. That society will suddenly fall into anguishing difficulties which are very dangerous.
It is exactly because of this that after a great revolution, anguish and confusion and/or dictators come into being. They are the binders and the bound of each other. Hastily digging out the roots of social, cultural and traditional phenomena in a quick, revolutionary manner, will cause society to face a sudden void. The results of this void will be made apparent after the revolution subsides.
Revolutionist is a method used by a leader who strongly and unconsciously tears out the roots of a phenomena because it is a custom based on old superstitions thereby making it reactionary and rotten.
The reasoning of the revolutionary runs like this: By retaining out‑dated customs, we keep society outdated, living in the past. We will preserve stagnation. Thus a revolutionary leader says that we should do away with all forms we inherited from the past which clamp themselves like chains around our wrists, feet, spirit, thoughts, will and vision. We should suddenly break away and face everyone. All of our relationships to the past which were the least bit despotic or which were simply habit should be done away with. New rules should replace them. Otherwise, society remains behind, fanatic, and stagnant, bound to the past.
Reformism is a method put into effect by a person who believes in gradually changing a tradition. This person lays the groundwork for a gradual change in social conditions. This is a middle way between the other two.
The reasoning of the reformer is just as weak as that of the other two methods. He takes a third way believing that changes should be quiet and gradual. This method saves society from the stagnation of customs. Changes should be very gradual so that the different factions do not oppose each other.
If change is gradual, the foundation of that society, their thoughts, will not take on a revolutionary form but rather will change over a long period of time. Programs should be phased to reach this end.
But the method of reformism and gradual evolution usually faces the difficulty of negative, strong reactionary forms ‑in the hands of internal and external enemies which occur during the long time period required by this method. The goal and purpose gradually changes. These forces either stop it or destroy it.
If, for instance, we wished to change the ethics of our youth, or if we wanted to enlighten the thoughts of all people, we would be destroyed before we could reach our goal. Or, perhaps, corrupt, provocative circumstances would dominate and deceive society and would paralyze us. A leader who tries to gradually bring about change in society through a relatively long period of time, believes that he used logic in calculating his programs but that which he does not take into account is the program of a neutralizing power which is against the changes. This force does not always give the time necessary in order to leisurely implement the gradual changes. The factors which were considered minor, are seeking an opportunity to make themselves manifest. Then the conciliation begins to slowly spin the roots and the tables are turned.
The Particular Method of the Prophet Stemming from his Traditions
The Traditions of the Prophet, which are so important in Islam, consist of the words which he spoke, the laws he brought, his conduct in relationship to the deeds he performed, things he remained silent about or did not disagree with and deeds he actually performed in his lifetime without telling others that they should perform them. The Traditions of the Prophet, then, are his words and his conduct. These become the rules of Islam which are divided into two groups: First, that which existed before Islam which was confirmed by the Prophet (signed rules); second, that which had not existed previously and Islam established (created rules). Other than these two, in other words, signed and created rules, or the words and deeds of the Prophet, the principle of a third one can also be understood. It is my belief that it is the most sensitive. It is the `method' that the Prophet uses.
The Prophet preserves the form, the container of a custom which has deep roots in society, one which people have gotten used to from generation to generation, and one which is practiced in a natural manner, but he changes the contained, the contents, spirit, direction and practical application of this custom in a revolutionary, decisive and immediate manner.
He is inspired with. a particular method which he uses in social combat as a leader of society. Without producing negative results, without containing any of the weak points of the other methods, his method contains the positive characteristics of the other three. Through the customs of society which apply the brakes, he quickly attains his social goals. His method is this: He maintains the container of a social tradition but inwardly changes the contents, that which it contains, in a revolutionary manner.
He uses this method in reconciling social phenomena. He adopts a process and method which is a model for all problem solving. The method can be applied to two problems or two phenomena which in no way resemble each other. Recognizing how important this is, we cannot fully develop it here. We can only clarify it by a few examples.
Before Islam, there was a custom of total ablution which was both a belief and a superstition. The pre-Islamic Arabs believed that when a person had sexual intercourse, he or she incarnated the jinn [spirits which inhabit the earth] and their body and soul would be made unclean. Until they found water and performed a total ablution, they could not rid themselves of the jinn.
Take as another example, for instance, the pilgrimage to Mecca. Before Islam, it was an Arab custom, full of superstitions ancestor worship. It was a glorified type of idol worship which. held economic advantage for the Quraish tribe. It had gradually come to assume this form from the time of Abraham. Islam 'keeps the pre-Islamic custom within the context of the Abrahamic tradition, for at the same time that the pre-Islamic pilgrims had used it for their idol worship; they believed that Abraham, the Friend of God, had built it [that is, the `house'; Kaaba, which held their idols] .
The basis of the pilgrimage had been twofold : To protect the economic interests of the Quraish merchants in Mecca, and to create an artificial need among the Arab tribes for the Quraish nobility. It was revealed to the Prophet of Islam to take the form and change it into the largest, most beautiful and deepest rite founded upon the Unity of God, the oneness of mankind.
The Prophet, with his revolutionary stand, takes the rite of the pilgrimage of the idol worshipping tribes and changes it into a custom completely contrary to, and opposite of, its original use. It is a revolutionary leap and notion. As a result, the Arab people undergo no anguish nor separation by going back to the time of Abraham, no loss of having their values thrown together, no loss of their beliefs, but rather, they sense the revival and truth or cleansing of their eternal customs. They move easily from idol worship to unity whereas centuries of history exist between them. Suddenly, and more unexpectedly than any cultural or intellectual revolution, society does not realize that it had left the past; it is not aware of the fact that the buildings and foundations of its idol worship have been torn down. This leap, this social method found within the Traditions of the Prophet is a revolution within a custom which preserves the outer form but changes the content. [That is, maintaining the container as the permanent element while changing and transforming that which is contained].
Thus the conservative, at whatever cost and in whatever form, tries, to the last bit of his strength, to keep his customs, even if , it means sacrificing himself and others. The revolutionary, on the other hand, wants to change everything into another form at one time. He wants to. annihilate everything and then suddenly jump, whether or not society is prepared to leap in their direction and move from phase to phase. But if they bear up under it all, and the only possibility is that of a revolution, they must turn to anger, dictatorship, judgment and extensive public murders not only against a person who opposes the power of the people but also against the people themselves. A reformer always gives a corrupter the opportunity to destroy. The Prophet, through the inspired method of his work, shows us that if we understand, and if we put his method into action, we will have accepted a most enlightened and correct way.
A clear visioned intellectual, who is confronted by unused customs, ancient traditions, a dead culture and an unbelievable metamorphosis in their religion and social order, takes up the mandate of the Prophet rather than submit to the prejudices and beliefs which remain from the past and which put one to sleep. It is with this method that one can reach revolutionary goals without forcibly bearing all the conclusions and customs of a revolution and without opposing the basis .of faith and ancient social values. By doing so, one does not remove oneself from people, nor does one become strangers to them so that people then turn around and condemn one, because the Prophet received knowledge from the Divine Infinite and asked for the help of revelation and made use of it.
Realism: A Means of Serving Idealism
One of the peculiarities of Islam is that it accepts both beliefs which are identical to it as well as coercive beliefs of society. It admits to the existence of both. Here the perception of Islam is special.
The idealistic schools of thought lean upon the highest values, the absolute and most desirable ideologies. Each and every reality is categorically rejected if it does not suit them. They have no patience. They deny realities and dig out the roots of anger. Anger, violence, the seeking of pleasure and lovers of wealth are realities which exist. Moral idealism or religious idealism (i.e. Christianity) ignores them and denies their existence. They are condemned in any form.
On the other hand, schools of thought who are based on realism accept all things as the basis of reality. For instance, sodomy is accepted in England or in Christianity, due to religious idealism, not reality, divorce is prohibited because of not wanting to destroy family order and believing that marriage is an ideal, sacred link.
But reality is other than this. Some human beings cannot preserve the first, sacred marriage and remain loyal to each other. It so often happens that human beings grow apart during their lifetime. They become strangers. They live together like two pitiful people. That which has joined them is' not love, it is the ties of the law. They are two inflicted people. They might even become lucky with someone else. This is a reality which has existed in the past, exists in the present and will exist in the future. Civilized and uncivilized people, the religious and the nonreligious have felt it and continue to feel it. Statistics show it, but Christianity denies the reality. They bind marriage to the sacred. They force a family to stay together even when there is a real hell behind the doors and the family has become a center of murder, adultery and corruption. The door of divorce has been closed but thousands of windows of swindle and illegality have been opened.
Concubines: Foreign siqehs
Social realities are such that if we do not open doors to them, they will spring out from the windows. Forbidding divorce brings about a type of concubinage. That is, a man who cannot live with his legal wife, actually separates from her, without being able to get a divorce. The same is true for a woman. She cannot get a divorce but she lives separately. They each live for years separated from each other with another man or woman. The children which are born out of this situation are natural but illegal. They have sick beliefs and complexes. They become frightening murderers. Their spirit is anti‑social.
A woman and her legal husband become strangers. They begin opposing each other. They reach the same conclusion. Their relationship of husband and wife is not just sleeping together. It cannot continue. They cannot even live as neighbors. It is natural that they separate. The man leaves the household and goes looking for the type of woman he always wanted. Love, the need for a family life, and the pull of sex, one way or the other, helps him to find a natural tie. They find a place and live together. The wife's life takes exactly the same pattern and the same fate. As a result, we see that nature and reality builds two new families, two incompatible types who are replaced by another two.
But Christian ideology does not accept this reality. Therefore, no one, including that man and woman, is responsible. They close their eyes so as not to see it. As a result, it accepts , in legal terms, a decomposed house which has no external existence. Its materials have all been used to make another house. It is the former house which they know as official and they deny these two natural families.
Here we see the distance between common law, civil law and religious law and how natural forces, realities and oppositions arise. As a result, families, which are religious or Christian, do not actually exist and families which are real and natural are considered to be corrupt and sinful. Christianity, by denying this reality, causes the family which comes into being to be illegal. The children which are born out of this union of concubinage are also illegal. From the point of view of a religious society, they are criminals and murderers. They do not have a share in the kindness of the family nor the purity of society. Society looks upon them as sinners. Complexes arise within them. They suffer an anger and an anguish which is beyond the imagination. They take their revenge on society.
All these crimes which occur in Europe and, in particular, in America, do not exist in backward and underdeveloped countries. The reason is that in these Western societies, even though they have civilizations in the sense that they have culture, ethics, nourished minds, freedom of thought, the individual, society and religion, there is also something born into this generation which fills up their beliefs and makes them take revenge upon society in the worst of forms.
An Englishman had built something which resembled a very small bow and arrow. ‑He had attached this to a box upon which he had displayed cigarettes, selling them along the streets and at movie houses. He shot a tiny poison tipped arrow into a group of people which either blinded or killed them. The police could not find the killer. They were looking for a motive connecting the murderer and the murdered. But the murderer had no particular reason for murdering those people. He murdered simply because they were accepted by society and he was not.
Such a murder can be explained according to the principles of society. It is the effect of complexes which the church refuses to accept and closes its eyes to. It has had a hand in bringing it about. Fortunately, we have not yet seen such complexes because there is divorce in our society, there are no illegal families and because there is divorce there is no family which is a non‑entity because families are not forced to live with each other through common law. They do not bind them together through the force of law.
A child wanted to go out of a room, but a samavar, a teapot and various dishes were in the way. He closed his eyes and tried to pass through. He thought all the obstacles were gone. Idealism is like a child who does not see reality. It does not want to see reality. It closes its eyes to that which it does not want to see. Because it does not see them, it thinks they do not exist.
The opposite of idealism is realism. Its followers see everything, no matter how ugly or unpleasant, simply because it has an external existence. They accept a thing, attach their hearts to it and find faith. They oppose and reject, however, all beauty, truth and correctness, simply because these do not agree with existing realities. They reject them because these are ideal and through this rejection, they become unbelievers.
One of my students, who was among the pseudo-enlightened of this country, drew only one conclusion from our conversations. As he was a supporter of dialectic materialism and l was religious, a believer in Islam, he rejected whatever I said because of his pre‑conceived notions. Even if I said something which agreed with Marxism (and which he too should have agreed with) as I didn't explain to him whose idea it was, he rejected it.
One day I was speaking about the murders committed by the Omayyad’s and the disagreements which existed between the classes. They had a political dictatorship which dominated religion in order to explain their situation. They wanted people to believe that whatever happened was God's will. This, they said, was particularly true about their own government. ‑1 spoke about the people who opposed them and resisted the situation. I saw how my student suddenly became unhappy. I was opposing the Omayyad’s and praising Ali, Fatima, Abu Dharr, Hojr and Husayn as leaders of a movement for justice and human freedom, and against prejudices, oppression and ignorance. What could this first class enlightened thinker do? He yelled out, `The despot is history!' That is, according to the Marxist philosophy of history, society must move through historic phases and it had to reach this stage in order for it to be a historical reality. Ali, Husayn and Abu Dharr were ideologists who opposed the despotism of history. I said, `The Mercy of God be upon this enlightened one.'
I see that I was right in re‑iterating the fact that when the level of thought and vision of a society is transformed, the religious, non‑religious, enlightened, reactionary and ignorant scholar are all the same. When a religious view prevails, when it comes upon an unknown and uncomprehended fact, it calls it fate and destiny, meaning the Divine despot. It believes that whatever occurs is the Will of God.
When a society becomes Marxist, it believes in the despotism of history. It believes that whatever happens is beyond human will. Whatever exists, is accepted because it is a reality which results from the despotism of history the despot. of society. I said, 'No. look my friend, the sword is the despot here, not history.'
We see that realists believe that whatever exists should be as. it is! The members of the Parliament in England defend the laws of homosexuality because it is an objective reality which exists in society. Therefore, it must be made legal.
To oppose this realism is to worship idealized fantasies which form the basis of politicians and pseudo intellectuals. You do not hear them argue that Israel is a reality (Yes! It is ). But the settlement of the Palestinian people in lands occupied by Israel shows the manifestation of someone who worshipped the ideal even though it it? Wrong. It is a reality which must be accepted. Although it moves against the grain of humanity, although it is murder, it exists. Politicians and intellectuals accept it and officially recognize it.
A magazine entitled `This Week' has recently been published for young people. All the articles, translations, news items and photographs are the total writings of two or three well known writers using pen names. These writers visit whore houses and then, damn them. They write for our young people giving them a point by point description of events which take place. One of the top writers, who is knowledgeable, is a politician who officially represents Islamic culture! He advises women who are overweight and unhappy because of it, in order to develop a better form, become better looking and prevent the growth of further layers of fat, they should find an illicit lover for awhile. This is all a reality. Most probably the committee of writers had themselves first scientifically experienced this and had practically gained from it.
The weakening of the weak by the strong is also a reality. Oppression and suppression of certain classes is also a reality. Reality seekers are completely objective viewers. They see the external form which is a scientific and sensible reality. Then they judge. They face no difficulties with imagination, ideology and ideas which are not translated into real forms.
We see that an idealist, a thinker, a reformer is called towards mental desires, ideals and sacred values, goodness and the highest of needs and he denies or rejects the realities which deviate from his beliefs and act as existing barriers. It is impossible to negate them. He turns his back on them, or else, through inexperience, rejects them. He pulls, himself away from realities. He thinks in terms of imagery. He occupies a sacred place but does not realize that he is in an idealistic environment. He drowns himself in objective and sensible phenomena and the existing situation.
A realist, on the other hand, kills flights of thought, mounted spirits, visions, efforts, longing desires and the seeking of perfection. A realist keeps everything (as it is). He builds walls around the framework of existing values and within the existing situation. He paralyzes creative thought, rebellion and the deep changes of life. The changes in the coercion of history and social conditions are desensitized along with changing ways of thought, the type of needs and desires and the present, external purposes of mankind. They surrender to realities and nourish that which exists.
Neither Idealism nor Realism: Both
Islam is a pure tree which belongs neither to the East nor the West and has its roots in the heavens and its branches reaching towards the earth. Contrary to idealism, Islam recognizes the existing realities in life, in the body, and in the spirit of an individual, as well as in those found in community relationships, those which reach the depths of a society and can be seen in the motion of history.
Islam, as with the realists, admits to their existence, but as opposed to realism, it does not accept the status quo but changes them. It changes their essence in a revolutionary way. It carries realities along with its ideals. It uses realities as a means to reach its idealistic goals, its real desires, which are non‑existent by them. Unlike realists, Islam does not' submit to realities, but rather, it causes the realities to submit to it. Islam does not turn away from realities as idealists do. It seeks them out. It tames them. Through this means, Islam uses that which hinders the idealists as a composite for its own ideals.
Take concubinage, for instance, which in Europe is considered to be an illegal, abhorred and an unclean marriage. But it exists. It exists throughout Europe and America and in very religious societies and groups as well. But Islam accepts divorce, a new marriage contract and temporary marriage in certain very exceptional cases. Islam accepts divorce in certain social circumstances. If it did not accept divorce, divorce would still exist, but it would be outside its control. By accepting an unavoidable, natural reality, it makes it into a legal form. As a result, one can conquer the sense of guilt one has in the eyes of God and society. Thus, their contract is based upon ethical principles and religion is preserved. These people can nourish their environment. Society does not look upon them as sinners or at their children as illegal and impure.
Islam succeeded the day it admitted the existence of these social and human realities. Because of this, it can control its results. It can give realities a legal form. It can correct their form. It can give them an ethical and religiously accepted form. By confirming and admitting the existence of a reality, Islam gains strength. It can then control, guide and dominate the reality within a framework.
If we deny realities, they will dominate us. Without knowing it, we will be pulled wherever they want us to go. As can be seen, realism is drowned in existing realities, whether good or bad. On the other hand, realism can be seen running away from those very same realities. Idealists sacrifice more as they are imprisoned in the chains of useless customs. Realists move along with realities and accept them, whereas idealists, who do not recognize them, do not see them and deny them through their ignorance and their attachment to imaginary ideals. Idealists then face an attack; they fall on their knees because they are defenseless, inexperienced and weak. They will be destroyed.
We don't see the form that girls who are raised in very strict religious homes take. We don't see her when she covers her face so that, God forbid, the fish in the courtyard pool do not see her. What happens when she enters the ocean of society? She vigorously swims but she is so afraid that she loses control of herself and drowns. In order to make up for what she lacks now, she pays her fine a thousand times over.
The same is true for young men who grow up in a pious society. The nouveau riche has just moved from the former world of their idealistic pseudo religious environment. There they were prohibited from learning physics or chemistry, or studying, at the university. The women are forbidden to have a high school or college education. The men do not shave their beards; they sit in coaches instead of in buses or in taxis. They wear no neck‑tie; they do not let their hair grow long; they do not change the form of their clothes or their hair‑style. They neither buy radios nor do they spread the word of the Qur’an through a microphone! Suddenly, these young people face the new world of realities, full of twists and turns.
You see what confusion it has caused. He sees the pretense. He has learned certain airs through having had them translated in films into Persian. He learns about showing off luxury and being silly. He sees the exaggeration of it all. It is so exaggerated that even foreigners laugh about it. Why? Because they exist side by side with reality whereas we deny them before we even come to know them. This is why we have been captured.
This new civilization has attacked all boundaries and watch‑towers of the world. They have been made to fall down. The new generations have been caught by the speed of the wind of the Renaissance, the intellectual movements, the great French revolution and the industrialized life styles as they blow continuously. These changed the weather of the world. The changing of the atmosphere of our, country is also a reality. It is a most certain reality. It is clear that sooner or later the lightening will strike. V1hen it does, machines, printing presses, universities, democracy, radios, television, movies, newspapers, books, schools, women's education, new techniques, new sciences, and many other new things will come and will change them.
The leaders of the people, those responsible for their ethics, those who have been given the responsibility of guiding their lives and thoughts, those who stand face to face with unavoidable realities, have closed their eyes. They have given their hearts to mental ideologies and to their ancient thoughts. They have tried to preserve their horse drawn carriages side by side with taxis.
And they still light lamps, having electricity. They are aware. They even correctly predict this truth. They predict the phenomenon of the rush to the inferior world. They know it will bring about the decline of much of the beliefs, faith, piety, health and independence. They know that corruption will find a home deep within people's brains. But face to face with this coercion and this rush towards a new phenomenon, knowing the order and relationship which it imposes when it reaches the furthermost points and the most backward tribes of society, even those in the depths of the desert, they only say one thing and one thing only: Forbidden! Radios? Don't buy one. Movies? Don't see them. Television? Don't watch it. Loudspeaker? Don't listen. University? Don't go. The new science? Don't study it. Newspapers? Don't read them. Vote? Don't give it. Office work? Don't do it and ... women? Shhh ... Don't mention that word!
Face to face with the flood of industry which covers the world and the changes which have taken place in .the world order, seeing a civilization which sells refrigerators to the Eskimos, they stand to prevent it from coming about by completely defending the past. Their total army and defense consist of two things only, a word along with a negative command: `Forbidden!' and `NO!'.
What is the result? What we see is what happens. Events and realities break the barriers and tear down the watch‑towers. Realities tear down the bricks of the walls and destroy the defenseless defenders of the past who are hidden behind them with their eyes closed or who have turned their faces away as a sign of their disapproval.
The force of these realities ruins everything at once. They attack the city's inhabited areas, the bazaars, mosques and even our homes like wild bulls, wolves and chained dogs. They plunder everything. But they do not leave. They come, they kill, they burn and they take, but they do not leave as the army of Ghengis Khan had done. Why?
Because no one even sees them. Our border guards, our watchmen, don't like them. They are so exasperated that they don't even bother to look at them. They don't want to go and separate the good from the bad and correct them. They don't want to adapt them to the climate and the people of our country. They don't want to choose among them. They don't want to shame, control and dominate them. They stand in the middle of the road facing a driverless car. They are run over and crushed.
They is why veiled women who want to give birth to their children, scream, `Why men physicians? Why should women not be treated by women physicians?' She wants her child to go to school and to the university. Her cries increase ‑ is this the faculty of literature or a fashion show? Is this an Islamic university? Is this an Islamic society? Does this school smell just a bit of Islam? Does it contain a bit of ethics and meaning? Is this the radio of a religious country or just a noise box? What kind of a translation is this from one culture to another ‑ this television, this publication, this gathering, these laws which act as balancing scales, these banks? What film is this? What theater? What art? What craft? Really, what kind of a civilization is this? But then again, as Hafez [the great Iranian poet] has said,
As our destiny has been made in our absence if just a little bit is not according to our wishes, don't worry
And, in our case, we have to say:
if all of it is not according to our wishes don't worry!
When these realities come and find a place for themselves, when they begin to work, you are absent. You have run away. When you, a pious man, a religious, ethical Moslem, sensitive to people's feelings, responsible for the spirits and thoughts of society, preserver of the Islamic culture, sulk and retire into a corner, you allow a Khan, [Reza Shah] to bring and to put a new civilization into effect and employ a new industry and science for your society.
It takes great effort to effectively interfere in events which unfold. Yet it is only through this effort that you can guide the determined motion of society. People who believe we should preserve that which is incapable of being preserved and that which is dying, and who are in a position to advise those who inspire, those who appease and those who give condolences, do not recognize the dangers. They create believers from among those who accept the unacceptable. They delude the majority of society. They keep them in a state of bending forward, silent, weak and submissive.
Those who seek a flowing and active society and want a better human life, acknowledge realities. They know pain. They take their strength from these realities in order to heal their wounds. This does not include those who, as demigods, defend that which is incapable of being defended, nor those who take the public into their own hands, nor those who follow the styles of the day, nor those who praise according to what is fashionable, nor those who try to attach themselves to something.
Those who acknowledge realities are people who know time moves. They know that society has a skin which it sheds. They feel that the strong forces of the world have turned to us to make us change. Neither are they sufficiently without pain to sit down and watch, nor are they without shame to be able to take. whatever job is handed to them. They are not so stupid as to react in such a way that when they see a flood has come to cover their town, they should try to protect only their wife and children, keep them safe and pull their own carpet from the water, because they know it is a wrong and useless act. They know that today is not like the past where families were living in a closed society. Now, even if you hide your daughter in the back room of your house, national and international television will follow her, find her and show her the attractions and shows of the outside world.