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Our Philosophy – Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr

A Final Point

Lastly, at the end of our investigation of the four social schools, we reach the following conclusion. The basic problem that causes all the social evils and that results in various kinds of misdeeds is only given the proper treatment that determines such maladies, and roots them out of the human social body, by the Islamic social school, to the exclusion of other schools. It is necessary, therefore, to inquire about Islamic philosophical convictions concerning life, the universe, society and the economy. We must also inquire about its legislation and procedures, in order to acquire the complete outline of Islamic awareness and comprehensive Islamic thought, comparing these Islamic convictions to other forms of conviction regarding the procedures they pursue and the doctrines they adopt.

It is natural that our investigation of any conviction begins with an investigation of the basis of the general doctrine of life and the universe, as well as the method of understanding both the universe and life. The notions of any conviction regarding life and the universe form the basic structure of the substance of that conviction. The primary criterion for testing a conviction is experience of the basic ideological principles on whose limit and soundness of judgements the judgements and success of the superstructures depend.

We will therefore reserve the first portion of this work of ours for an investigation of the primary structure, the point from which our conviction proceeds. The superstructures will be investigated in the remaining portions of this work, God willing, exalted be He.

The capitalistic democratic system does not proceed from a specific doctrine concerning life and the universe, nor is it built on a complete understanding of the values of life that are related to, and have influence on, social life. For this reason, the capitalistic democratic system is not a conviction in the real sense of the term. This is because a conviction is a doctrine in life from which a system for life proceeds. (p. 53)

As for Marxist communism and socialism, they are established on an ideological principle which is the philosophy of dialectical materialism. Islam, on the ocher hand, reserves for itself an ideological principle of life that has its own method of understanding life and its specific scales.

We stand, therefore, between two philosophies that we must study, in order to find the sound ideological principle of life on which we muse establish our social and political awareness of the affairs of the whole world, and our social and political criteria by means of which we measure the values of actions and weigh human events in instances of national and individual difficulties.

The principle on which a conviction rests involves a method and an idea; that is, it involves a determination of the method of thinking and a determination of the notion of the world and of life. Since our purpose in this book is not philosophical studies for their own sake, but rather the study of the rational principles of convictions, we will limit ourselves to a study of the two basic factors pertaining to every rational principle from which a system proceeds. These two factors are the method of thinking, and the philosophical notion of the world. These two matters are the focus of the discussion in this book. Since it is necessary to determine the method before forming the notions, we will then begin with the theory of knowledge that involves a determination of the [identifying] marks, method and value of thinking. This will be followed by a study of the general philosophical notion of the world in general.

It is better that the dear reader knows at the outset that the benefit that lies at the heart of Islam is the method and the notion – that is, the rational method of thinking and the theological notion of the world. As for the various methods of demonstration and kinds of proof for this or that matter, we do not add all of them to Islam. Rather, they are the product of intellectual studies by prominent thinkers among Muslim scholars and philosophers.

Author’s Notes to Introduction

[1] Experimentation acquired great importance in the scientific field, and achieved an unexpected success in the discovery of many truths and in the revelation of astonishing secrets which opened the opportunity for men and women to exploit in their practical lives. (p. 18) The success of this experimentation glorified it in the common mentality, and led people to abandon rational thought, as well as all the truths that do not appear in the empirical and experimental fields, so that sense experience became, in the view of many empiricists, the only ground of any knowledge or science.

In this book, we will show that experimentation in itself relies on rational thought and that the primary ground of knowledge and science is the mind, which grasps the truths that are not accessible to the senses, as are sensible truths.

[2] A group of general doctrines were very clear and simple to the common understanding, even though they were not based on a rational method or on philosophical evidence, such as the belief that the earth is the center of the universe. But when such beliefs collapsed in the face of sound experiments, the common belief was shaken, and a wave of doubt prevailed, over many minds. Thus, there was a rebirth of Greek sophistry influenced by the spirit of doubt, as it was influenced in Greek times by the spirit of doubt which was the outcome of contradiction among philosophical schools and disputes concerning them.

[3] The church played an important role in exploiting religion in an ugly way. It used the name of religion as an instrument for fulfilling its desires and objectives and for stifling the scientific and social spirit. It established inspection courts to which it gave wide powers over managing the fates of people. All of this led to discontent and anger with religion, for the crime was committed in the name of religion, even though in its pure reality and true essence, religion was not less disturbed by that crime than those who were discontented and angry with it, nor was it less repelled by the motives and consequences of that crime.

[4] We have explicated these theories together with a detailed scientific study in the book Our Economy.

[5] See Our Economy, p. 808.

Translator’s Notes to Introduction

[6] Text: qawaninihima (the laws of both of them).

[7] i.e., control over.

[8] Text: wa -ftarad

[9] Text: wasa’il al-intaj al-hadith (the means of modem production).

[10] Text: tuhaymin ‘ala taqalid al-hukm fi al-‘umma.

[11] Text: bi -jami’ (all).

[12] Perhaps the author means ‘even’.

[13] Text: wa-dhalika li-anna (that is because).

[14] Text: idha (if).

[15] This is the type that everyone would like to be.

[16] In the text, this title is left in the form of the subdivisions under the but school discussed. However, as the early portions of this chapter indicate, thin section is intended to be a discussion of a separate school, i.e. the Islamic school. For this reason, we have put this title in the same form as that of the previous schools discussed.

[17] In other words, self-love is responsible for the individualistic motivation which, in turn, is responsible for the social manifestations of selfishness in both the economic and political fields.

[18] The text here identifies individualistic motivation with the instinct of self-love. But since the previous discussion shows that, according to the author, the former is caused by the latter rather than identified with it, we chose to break the identification by inserting what is within the brackets.

[19] The text reads: ‘for solving the problem and developing human nature’. We made the switch in conformity with the spirit of the discussion, according to which, the development of human nature is a precondition for the solution of the problem.

[20] Al-Qur’an, XLI, 46.

[21] Al-Qur’an, XL, 40.

[22] Al-Qur’an, XCIX, 6, 7, 8.

[23] Al-Qur’an, IX, 120, 121.

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