Modern Sirah texts are deeply affected by the formidable historical currents that have shaped the post-colonial Muslim world. The intellectual rigor of some of these texts notwithstanding, the trend that dominates most nineteenth and early twentieth century Sirah works is to justify and apologize. Muslim intellectuals of this period were generally reacting against two centuries of colonial dominance; with few exceptions, their characterizations of the life of the Prophet were attempts to rationalize the miracles mentioned in classical works of Sirah, omit events which would be considered “scandalous” in the political climate of their times, and more generally introduce an ‘historical-critical’ mode of so-called scientific objectivity borrowed from the intellectual apparatus of Orientalism.
With reliance upon Allah we will continue to break through the walls of ignorance/misunderstanding and offer our effort to Allah in trying to consolidate at least a common understanding that will preclude us from what is otherwise a bleak/doomed future. In the previous khutbahs we took a closer look at the way our previous/first generation of Muslims dealt with the issue of power.
The line Shariati draws in the following speeches is between two religions, a "religion of revolution" and a "religion of legitimation." The difference between them is sharply drawn: the first is a religion working to overcome differences in class and economic status, while the second is a religion legitimating and perpetuating such differences. As opposed to some socialists who draw the line between religion, as supporter of class divisions, and non-religion, which overcomes these divisions, he places the dividing-line within religion itself. From his perspective, it is thus not religion itself that needs to be rejected as the "opium of the people," but only one type of religion, the "religion of legitimation," while true religion remains unscathed. The consequences of this impressive analysis are far-reaching. Not for nothing has he been called the ideological leader of Iran's "Islamic Revolution."1