From Issue: 1016 [Read full issue]
We see that the "leadership" has become a means of recourse to omit one's duty. Ashura, the day of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn, has become the symbol of a school of bereavement! Anticipation, awaiting the Mahdi, has become a philosophy of submission, justifying oppression, and the tyranny of corruption, and condemning any steps for reform or any arisings for justice, before they even occur.
All of these was made possible with a single policy: a policy which took the Book of Supplications from the cemetery to the city and the Quran from life and the city to the cemetery where it was offered to the spirits of the dead. It is obvious that when the Quran not only deserts the life of Muslim people but Islam, as well, everything becomes possible in its absence and we see that everything has been done!
An intellectual feels responsible to his people; a Muslim to his faith. Thus, a Muslim intellectual, having a double responsibility, suffers both from the metamorphosis of the sublime values of his faith as well as from the degeneration of his people. His greatest anguish is to observe that his society—with the Christ-like spirit that it has which can give life to the dead and sight to the blind—is now so dying and becoming blind!
Can he negate, deny and disavow his responsibility and sit in fruitless anticipation for further centuries by using the excuse that it is religious scholars who are responsible for the destiny of Islam and only express his existence with intellectual grumblings?
If Islam is a mission and not a special subject in philosophy or science, then it is only people who are directly addressed and it is a conscious clear-thinker who is directly responsible for it. And you—my sympathetic intellectual, fellow Muslim: whether you consider yourself responsible to the people or to God, in practice, our work is the same, our responsibility, the same.
"Hajj: Reflections on its Rituals" - Ali Shariati