The Goals of Islamic Education - Light of Islam

The Goals of Islamic Education




Martyr Muhammad Jawad Bahonar

Translated from Persian


Mahliqa Qara'i

By the soul, and Him Who perfected it and inspired it to

[distinguish between] lewdness and God-fearing.

Prosperous is he who purifies it, and failed has he
who seduces it.

The mission of the Holy Prophet (S) marks the
beginning of a historical movement for fashioning godly
human beings and for founding great human societies on
the basis of the sublime criteria of Islam. Though it
marks the beginning of this historical movement, it was
also a point of climactic end in the history of prophetic

During those days human history had reached a point
that it could learn its ultimate lesson from its final
teacher, a lesson always as much productive and dynamic,
and every day turning a fresh leaf to humanity. This is
itself a miraculous quality of Islam and the Quran that
in spite of being the ultimate religion it is also ever
alive and fresh, capable of not only moving in step with
the movement and growth of human societies and the
development of culture and civilization, but also infused
with the capacity to induce dynamism and movement. It is
so resourceful that it can always cater to the needs of
changing times and newly arising problems.

The verses of the Quran have been revealed in such a
fashion as if there are layers upon layers of meaning:
every layer when removed reveals new depths and.
profundities of content. This is a miracle of the Quran.
The Quran and Islam can best be compared to Nature
itself; like nature, the more it is studied, newer
dimensions are revealed, and fresher secrets are
discovered with new research. Neither this inquiry and
investigation come to an end, nor the discoveries and
findings are ever exhausted. No matter how much progress
and advancement man may make in the field of science he
is still confronted with new enigmas posed by nature,
which he has to understand and solve.

Knowledge has no limits. The profound book of nature
is so rich in content and meaning that if the history of
human thought continues for ever, this book is not likely
to be read to its end. The Quran, too, is like the rich
and profound book of nature, with the difference that the
Quran is articulate and eloquent while nature is silent.
But its content and resources are equally inexhaustible,
and will ever remain as fresh and novel. Every day it
conveys a new message to the humanity. The celebration of
the days is for the purpose of the renewal of this
covenant and is for the sake of giving life to these
messages. If this reminiscence is not renewed and revived
often, it is likely to face the danger of receding into
oblivion. The yearly commemoration of this day is meant
for the purpose of keeping alive those messages, and to
remind the people about their covenant, that they may
recollect that Islam had stirred various intellectual
legal, educational, and cultural movements in human
history, and is ever dynamic and alive and that, we, too,
are called upon to actively participate in this movement
and play our own role in this mission.

I want to discuss the problems associated with the
subject of education in this gathering of brothers and
sisters, who are all teachers.

We shall have to discuss this problem in the context
of the system of the Islamic Republic, not in a
traditional context. In our department of education,
which was formerly a department with an official and
traditional outlook, ordinarily we were used to
functioning in an official capacity. The employment in
this department was counted as one among different kinds
of employment. Someone held a position in the
municipality or the ministry of finance, someone else
held a post in the ministry of education. One took up the
job of a teacher because it was a job among other jobs
and one had to work for a salary.

That was all there was to being a teacher. If there
was any aim of education, it did not go beyond having to
keep millions of our youth confined within four walls, to
read aloud to them the contents of the books and to
provide them with a diploma at the conclusion of their
academic terms, a document that served as a permit to
enter some new lucrative trade. In this way, from the
first day all that the parents cared about was what his
or her child would become after twelve or sixteen or
eighteen years of school and college education, what
office he would hold and what sort of income he would
secure for himself.

Knowledge was not relevant. The diploma and the
certificate served as a bridge to cross over to higher
salary. Therefore, all that mattered was the diploma.
There were, of course, certain hidden objectives also
behind this organization of the educational system. The
pagan system of the past wanted it that way that
education should be no more than a kind of distraction
for the people, ultimately ensuring cultural poverty,
bankruptcy, dependence, absurdity and sterility. That
system of education was designed to breed generations of
indifferent, irresponsible and hollow individuals who
cannot rely upon themselves.

Sterility was inbuilt in all sections of life through
the system of education, which produced persons without
any ideals, indifferent and neutral regarding their aims
and goals. The result was that they were totally devoid
of the goals of self-sufficiency, specialization, and
expertise and consequently dependent upon others
regarding their industry and agriculture. The weak level
of indigenous specialization and expertise necessitated
supervision and domination of the country by foreign
political, military, technical, and even educational
advisers and administrators. During the course of victory
of our Revolution, we have watched how approximately
sixty thousand foreign advisers, who were only a part of
those engaged in administration and management of our
affairs, fled this country.

There was hardly any construction company,
corporation, ministry, factory, research centre or any
other establishment in this country that was not run by
foreign experts and advisers. In almost every industrial
contract that was made, there were scores of various
aspects of dependence on foreigners. In one atomic energy
project alone, and other such projects, there were
approximately two hundred military contracts that made us
dependent upon two hundred different international power
centres. We were happy in our heart of hearts that we had
brought such and such a thing to our country, while in
reality, with the establishment of such a project we had
made our economy dependent upon the two hundred centres
of exploitation and domination servile to the desires of
bloodthirsty colonialists, who were responsible for
exporting consumerist thinking and culture to our
country. If they established some colleges in certain
specialized fields which, for example, produced good
doctors, we were so weak with regard to our goals and
ideals vis-a-vis our own people that our doctors were
absorbed by American and European hospitals to treat
others, as if they deserved their services more than
ourselves! If we established one or two specialized
faculties in our country and succeeded in producing some
experts, they were of benefit only for others. It was a
strange thing that some of the prescribed courses of
specialization in the medical colleges were about
diseases that occurred in America and were not found in
our country!

It meant that our student had to pass four, six or ten
credits and spend thousands of túmans and a great deal
of his time only for diagnosing a disease that exists in
such and such a part or in such and such a state of the

What was the reason, and on what grounds much simpler
diseases that occurred in our own country were not
prescribed in the medical course? It is because our
entire system of education was geared to the foreign
interests. When 1 say that education also suffered from
dependence, it should not be misunderstood. Dependence
does not mean translation of foreign texts of physics and
chemistry, for instance, into our language. Learning from
others is in no way opposed to the ideals of
self-reliance. The Muslims were responsible for
developing the sciences of physics and chemistry. It were
Muslims who first taught these sciences to others and
later on other people made expansions in these fields. We
should learn from others, complying with the words of the
Prophet (S):

Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.


Seek knowledge even [if it is to be found in a
place as distant as] China.

The question of acquisition of knowledge from others
is not a matter of dependence. Man should acquire good
ideas, thoughts, knowledge, and skills, from all corners
of the world. That is a different thing. The real problem
with an educational system not geared to the objective of
self-sufficiency is that the people are trained in such a
way that instead of fulfilling the needs of their nation
and establishing a sympathetic relationship with the
deprived masses, instead of the service of the people and
the care and treatment of the sick of our motherland,
instead of making roads for our deprived villages, all
efforts are directed in such a way that every effort
undertaken is either for the sake of one's pocket, or in
the interests of the pagan oppressors, or for launching
such projects as multiply our dependence on foreign
powers. The real problem is the culture of dependence,
adoption of hollow and empty cultural and intellectual
ideals, values, aims and principles, which are devoid of
meaning and are bankrupt.

There are 300,000 high school graduates in our
country, whose only hope in life is that the universities
may open, and that they may get an admission. It is
perhaps because they count upon their chances of getting
good employment after college education and elevation of
their place and position in society. If they are told
that the high school diploma bears the same value in the
employment market, I think the majority of them would not
care for the university education. If you visit any
Eastern or Western country, you will find that only
eleven to fourteen per cent of high school graduates find
way into the university.

The majority, unable to find their way into the
university, are absorbed in other jobs and fulfil other
needs of the society.

What is the reason that our students while deciding
upon the choice of their field of study are always after
the subjects which offer better chances of entrance into
the university or which are more paying. They do not give
their mind as to which of the subjects is more congruous
to their taste, their capabilities, or is appropriate to
the needs of their society. It does not matter to them as
to which of the subjects can be more useful for improving
the lot of the deprived and the downtrodden, or which is
more effective in assisting their societies in achieving
self-sufficiency. The only thing that they consider is
the market value of any field, or subject with better
chances of admission to the university, regardless of
whether the subjects opted by them for study are in
conformity with their interests or not, whether they are
in accordance with the demands of their society. that is
absolutely of no concern to them. All this exhibits
deterioration of our values, degeneration of ideals, and
absence of any sense of responsibility.

Now, I ask my friends if they have sometimes asked
themselves as to what purpose the schools serve? For the
primary education perhaps it may be said that it serves
the purpose of teaching the children to read, write and
to do arithmetical sums, so that they may learn to sign
their names and do not remain illiterate. But what is the
purpose of secondary education then? Why do our children
have to go through the high school?

You must have an answer for this 'why'. If a few
hundred questionnaires be distributed among you asking
the very purpose of the higher secondary education,
asking you why we send our children to schools, why we
want to give our children secondary education, and so on,
what shall your answer be? These questions are of great
importance for us. I can imagine what the possible
answers to these questions may be.

Perhaps most of you will say that the purpose is to
learn and to make a headway in life, to be able to find a
good job with a good pay, or something of this kind.

I think that in the system of the Islamic Republic, no
act should be without having an aim to it. There should
be a purpose in every act.

Moreover, the aims and purposes should be definite. I
have already mentioned elsewhere that we have to see
whether it is necessary for the children to study all the
lessons prescribed in their texts. Are those lessons
useful for the child and the future of his society? If
they are not useful, we are obliged to announce that such
and such a chapter in such and such a book is useless and
unnecessary, or such and such a topic or even a subject
is struck off from the syllabus. But if any of them are
useful, they should not only be retained, but also
studied, and learnt well. Sometimes I contemplate about
this problem as to why eighty or ninety per cent of the
children put aside their books and completely abandon
them as soon as their examinations are over. What does
this attitude imply? Does it not show that the book was
not read or studied for the sake of its subjects, and
there did not exist any bond between the student and the
book? In other words, the book was studied merely for the
sake of marks on the progress report. Once the report
reflected the numbers, the whole affair comes to an end.
The book becomes irrelevant for the student. This is a
kind of loss for the Islamic Republic. We have to see
first whether these lessons are essential for the society
or not. If they are essential, what is the explanation
for this behaviour.

If we really want to march forward in the direction of
achieving self-sufficiency, if we do not wish to import
any experts and specialists from foreign countries, if we
do not wish to rely upon foreign experts and specialists
for every small matter, we should firstly make our
universities and schools independent of alien elements.
We do not lack talent, as our youngsters are full of
capacities. By God, Europe and America are not specially
favoured regarding their intellectual and natural
talents. That intelligence, intellect and potentiality
exist in ample amount in this land also. Then why should
we need to bring from other lands any experts or managers
for setting up and managing our factories or advisers for
training our armed forces? Why should we need to import
spare parts from foreign countries? Why should we depend
upon others for all kinds of ordinary industrial

These children of ours have proved during these two
post revolution years that they have initiative,
creativity, capacity for working hard and productivity.
While I was visiting the war fronts, I noticed this
reality. I saw that they had not only made certain
important parts of tanks and guns, but also they could
manufacture certain parts of Phantom planes. I saw them
repair one of the biggest warships, the same ship that if
they had wanted to repair three years back, it would have
had to be in British waters waiting eleven months for its
turn, and which would have cost us an expense of several
million dollars also. It was repaired by our own workers.
Our children have immense capabilities, why shouldn't
they be utilized? Why shouldn't they be allowed to
blossom? Why in lieu of this we should be so much
dependent on others?

Who is it that can do this work, and lead the country
towards self sufficiency? Who?

Shouldn't the Department of Education and Training
with its budget of more than forty billion túmans be
able to shoulder this responsibility? Shouldn't our
universities accomplish this job with their expenses of
eight billion túmans per year and bring about
self-sufficiency for our country?

Why should a student have to spend precious twelve
years of his life and give nine months of every year, and
twenty to twenty-five days of each month, working four to
five hours a day, in order to obtain a certificate and
run after jobs without possessing any skill, any
experience or capability whatsoever? May I ask you,
gentlemen, with whom does this responsibility of wastage
of thousands of invaluable hours of the life of our dear
ones lie?

Why on earth should this expenditure of approximately
four thousand túmans that the Department of Education
and Training spends on every student, go down the drain
and be all wasted in vain?

Why should all these resources be wasted? Is it
inevitable that this waste and this loss should occur?
Should our Department of Education be nothing more than a
factory for production of worthless diplomas?

Our student who takes his high school diploma in
literature does not have the skills of writing, does not
know the art of public speaking, cannot do any kind of
artistic work, has no idea of research and cannot even
write a simple political analysis.

The one with a technical diploma does not know even
very simple technological skills and crafts. The one who
has completed the commerce and management course, knows
nothing about clerical work or keeping of accounts. All
of them, what they were after was to get a piece of
paper. With this piece of paper in their hands, they go
from place to place saying, "Give me some job,
wherever you can. Don't consider what I have studied,
management or literature. I just want some job, no matter
what. Give me one, and give me money."

But, what did you study for the satisfaction of the
needs of society? What have you done? What for was that
money spent? To what purpose was all that time spent?
There is no answer.

Even now the system of education is static, lifeless,
sluggish, despondent, and decadent. My dear colleagues, I
just want to mention something which is related to the
nature of our own work. By God, whenever I visit the war
fronts-those bustling centres of intense devotion and
joyous activity I see a youth working without caring
whether it is morning or evening, night or noon, without
thinking about his rank, grade, salary or promotion
orders. He toils for this country for more than eighteen
hours out of his twenty-four hours; whereas, we, dear
colleagues, besides a full three-month vacation, enjoy a
two-week holiday at the New Year, and many more holidays
besides. When the schools reopen on the first of Mehr, it
takes some time before the school warms up and the
classes get into full swing. Yet despite it all there are
many among us who ask if the present twenty -four hours a
week cannot be reduced to twenty-two and later on perhaps
to eighteen!

Should I be content to teach for a meagre eighteen
hours? Let us see how many hours there are in a week.
Seven multiplied by twenty-four makes one hundred and
sixty-eight. It means that I work for just eighteen hours
out of 168 hours of the week, and that, too, not without
a lot of grumbling about the hardships of the job, the
pressure of the classes and so on. And these eighteen
hours a week are without taking into account the other
holidays throughout the year on the days of celebration
and mourning. Besides, there are various kinds of leave,
the sick leave, the contingency leave, and so on. Then
there are other factors besides. Someday I may come late
to the school. It does not matter, however, because the
children are busy anyway. Someday I feel tired and finish
the class earlier, or merge two periods into one of
seventy minutes, and count these seventy minutes as two
hours! But this does not stop us from expecting
travelling allowances, overtime, upgrading and promotion:
This year's new grades have not come. There are rumours
that the remuneration for correcting exam answer sheets
is going to be reduced. There is some talk about the
payment for setting exam papers too. There are rumours of
a summer programme for us this year! What a hassle it has
become. Only if Bakhtiyar would have come back! Alas, we
shouldn't have struggled, and the previous regime would
have remained!. There are, of course, very few who think
in these terms.

Dear colleagues, I want to make it clear that we have
to change our old ways radically in dealing with the
system of the Islamic Republic. We should open a new
account for it. Let me give an example from one of the
so-called advanced countries of the world. Some years ago
we were in Tokyo for a visit. There I enquired about
their school vacations. They told me that they have just
a forty-day summer vacation, and two other vacations of
ten days each, which altogether make two months in the
whole year.

Incidentally, that day when we went to visit the
schools was their last working day after which their
forty-day holidays were to commence. Despite the fact
that it was their last working day, in whichever class we
went we saw that the class was at work. The teacher was
busy teaching lessons while pupils attentively listened
to him and answered his questions. On the last working
day, and even in the last moments the classes were
functioning normally. But here, as soon as we smell
vacations even from a distance, we give up everything to
do with teaching or learning.

If one tries to compare this situation with the
sacrificing spirit of the thousands of youth on the war
fronts, he has reasons for disappointment and
frustration. If we sometimes pay a visit to their
entrenchments, we can draw a lesson from them. In the
volley of bullets and rain of fire we see them busy in
making roads, erecting bunkers, repairing vehicles, or
repairing arms. All are busy with their work. One dares
not then ask as to how much they are paid. They do not
know what is an appointment order, grade or promotion;
they do not get any emoluments; they do not know what
these things mean. Are they from a world different from
ours? Is their duty obligatory for them and not for us?
He is fighting in the defence of his own country; but
does this responsibility of defending one's motherland,
and the responsibility of its construction lie on the
shoulders of a limited group of people?

Do we really want to help this revolution in achieving
fruition and success? If we do, then for the sake of God
let us give more attention to the pupils inside the
classroom. Suppose you, mothers and fathers, while on
returning home your child comes and asks for your help to
understand and solve some problems. Would you tell him
that your working hours are over now? Would you tell your
child that these are not your office hours and you are
not in duty bound to solve his problems? Of course, it is
not like that. He is your own child, and you are always
ready to help him with your whole heart and in the spirit
of generosity and love. There will be no consideration of
day and night, or holiday or working day for you then.

In the same way, it is necessary that in this system
of the Islamic Republic we should consider these dear
children as our own children, the children of the Islamic
Republic and the children of the Revolution, and put
aside all other considerations of time, timetable,
working hours and other such superficialities, and rise
above all such things and realize our duty and our
mission. We should raise the standards of education and
attend to the needs of these children. We should
invigorate and animate the schools in order to attain the
goal of self-sufficiency. We should try to raise the
general standard of scientific knowledge, specialization,
and expertise. We should realize our duties with
earnestness and awaken to the sense of responsibility. I
do not say that we should not think about grade and
designation. Of course not, we do not mean that all these
things should be annulled. But as some used to say about
the pulpit (minbar) that if other things have
drawn you to the pulpit, at least think of God when you
step upon the pulpit; in the same way, I would like to
remind you that if salary and grade or something else is
required to draw you to the classroom, at least as soon
as you step into the class enter for the sake of God, for
the sake of your revolutionary duty, and teach the
children with devotion and dedication. Therefore, I would
like to suggest that the working hours be increased in
order to assist the children properly. We should have
more extra classes. We should not accept the idea of
sitting idle for three long months. Instead we should
organize camps, coaching classes, and classes for giving
training in first aid, social work, art work and military
training. For our own benefit we should organize
refresher courses, ideology classes and other study
programmes. We should chart out programmes for
participation in the activities of the Reconstruction
Jihad, Baseej (volunteer forces), the war fronts and
social work. The thought that we are idle today, or that
we shall be idle this week should be distressing to us.
Basically, the thought of idleness should be disagreeable
in the system of the Islamic Republic. We should keep
ourselves busy in one or some other constructive

A programme for the summer vacations has already been

Some of the schools that are sufficiently equipped
with respect to the physical training equipment and have
ample space shall be kept open to children. They may come
for half a day or twice a week and participate in the
programmed activities. How easily in a short period of
time a group of high school girl students can be trained
in first aid, nursing care of the sick, and in looking
after the wounded of the war fronts. Boy students may be
given a short term technical training so that they may
become useful for their society. Their physical training
curriculum may be adapted to the goals of military
education. Islamic ideology classes for strengthening
their thinking may also be organized.

Programmes for learning political analysis, research
and collection of political material from newspapers,
writing, and art techniques can also be arranged. For
students who have failed in certain courses special
classes for coaching and for others classes for teaching
of languages like Arabic, English, etc. may also be

The thought that the children's energy is wasted in
playing monotonous games in their homes and in the lanes,
removed from any education and training, is of course a
painful one. Why shouldn't we, teachers organize some
programmes? Why shouldn't we have such programmes for
ourselves too? We may hold certain sessions of group
discussions for discussing Islamic and ideological
problems. Some people may immediately demand, "Sir,
please send some qualified teachers from Tehran so that
we may conduct ideology classes."

But from where can we bring such a large number of
teachers who are more qualified and extraordinary? What
is wrong if ten or twenty persons sit together and hold a
meeting among themselves? Any of Martyr Mutahhari's or,
Allamah Tabataba'i's or any other philosophical or
Islamic book may be taken as the topic of study and

They may study that book, do some research on the
subject and analyse the problems. Once the discussion is
started, the work can advance forward and they may reach
a certain conclusion.

It is not necessary that someone should be brought
from some other place to teach at a higher level.
However, in the Department of Education, we are taking
steps to provide video cassettes and prepare a series of
films about comparatively elementary subjects and present
them in different cities. There should be at least ten or
fifteen of them, so that some good programmes may be
within every in every city, body's reach.

But in any case, in my view, everything should
effervesce from within. This is true of our nation which
brought about this revolution.

All the people had a share in bringing about this
revolution. Actually the revolution itself is a kind of
effervescence from within the people.

The zeal and ardour for constructive work and guidance
should also come from within. There are at least some
people among you who may be more qualified than others.
Well, let them come forward to lecture about the same
subjects that they know better than others. It is
important that we advance our work through discussions,
debates, studies, and through proper distribution of work
among ourselves. As you know, there are already extension
training courses for teachers, but this year their
coverage was not so wide as to cover all the members of
the teaching community. However, a section of the
teachers would be covered anyhow.

In this connection, I have a request for the brothers
and sisters who are working in different revolutionary
institutions, like the Reconstruction Jihad, Islamic
Revolutionary Guard Corps (I.R.G.C.), and other such
organizations, who sincerely want to render some cultural
service. It is important that these organizations should
work in coordination with the Department of Education so
far as cultural programmes are concerned. It is not right
that the I.R.G.C. should have a camp of its own, the
Jihad of its own, and the Education Department another
camp of its own. Of course, there is nothing wrong in all
of them organizing a separate camp, but to coordinate
them with one another will make them more efficient and
useful. Because it is possible that a good student, an
able teacher and a good headmaster may be simultaneously
invited to participate in two camps. In such a condition,
the lack of coordination may harm the cultural programme
of each of those organizations. By coordination and
distribution of work among themselves, they may be able
to raise the general standards, and hence their
efficiency and effectiveness.

The second point is that the Department of Education
and Training has to comprehend its role. It should really
be interested in educating people, in fashioning them and
in making them useful individuals.

The teachers' attitude should change from one of
having to carry an uninteresting burden and the students'
atmosphere should be one of real interest in acquiring
knowledge and learning various subjects.

We must never forget that ours is an Islamic Republic,
and our aim should be simultaneously to create both an
independent as well as an Islamic culture in character.
Independence and richness of content are indeed among the
characteristics of the Islamic culture. Our system is an
ideological system. Our Revolution is not simply a
political, or plainly an economic revolution, that we may
say that previously we had a government with different
pawns in the key positions, the name of the former
government was 'monarchy' and that of the present is
'republic,' or that, formerly there were two houses of
the parliament and presently there is only one, or that,
formerly the prime minister was appointed in such and
such a manner, and now he is appointed in some other way,
or that a political system of one type has been replaced
by a political system of another type.

Our Revolution is an ideological revolution, a
revolution of values, norms, social affiliations, social
rights and duties, ideals, points of view, outlooks,
tendencies, etc. That is, there has been a revolution in
the cultural, intellectual, and social essence of this
nation and its value system. It is not a change of the
political system alone. The whole ways of thinking, the
points of view, the ideals, the hopes and the aims have
been transformed; the whole cultural pattern of the
nation has changed.

Now, such being the case, can we reopen the schools
with the same spirit of the past, with the same goals and
the same ideals? Can the teachers take up the same
lessons with the same outlook, with the same kind of
approach and attitude as they had in the past?

We hope to create a new generation of human beings, a
new generation with new values quite different from those
of the previous generation. For example, ten years back,
when someone had asked a twelve-year-old boy as to his
aspirations, or as to how he wished his country to be, or
what he would like to become in the future, his answers
would have been quite different from the answers of a
youngster of today. If today we go to a school and ask
the same questions, the children will answer in a
completely different tone, as today new meanings have
significance for them, new concepts, new values have
become relevant for them. They want to work for the
benefit of the deprived and the oppressed. They want
their country to march ahead in dignity and honour, that
it may be a free and independent nation. They want this
Revolution to be exported to the other regions of the

They wish that this enthusiasm, this ardour, this
dynamism, and this search should pervade every corner of
our society. They aspire to be truthful and sincere. They
are averse to corruption and bribery. They hate the idea
that this country should sign agreements to the benefit
of colonial and oppressive powers. They dislike to be
merely in the service of their pockets, but desire to
serve humanity in general. They want to live in such a
manner that their eyes may not be dazzled by the East or
the West. They do not want to lose their identity when
confronted with foreign cultures. They want to bargain
their dignity and honour. They want to preserve their
personal identity, and retain their sense of dignity.
They want to be at the sending end not the receiving end
of the message. They want to be exporters of thought and
cultural values and not importers.

In this system of our Islamic Republic, we want to
replace the old values with the new ones. During the past
ten years, if a little girl was asked as to what good
life meant to her, and what she desired her future to be
like, most probably she would have said that good life
meant for her plenty of cosmetics, variety of dresses,
colourful curtains, more luxury and more fun and
recreation in life and above all a higher income. But
today, when the same question is put, it is definitely
answered in a completely different way. Today she says
that she wants to serve, to struggle and to endeavour, to
be more humane, to preserve her identity and
independence, to be more self-reliant, effective, sincere
and truthful.

Self-sacrifice and generosity, love of freedom, the
resolve for resistance and headstrong perseverance, the
courage to welcome martyrdom-all these are the new values
of the new generation. Ten years ago such values were
completely dead or non-existent in this country, but
today they have been revived again and are a matter of
pride and honour for our people, contrary to the
decadence of the past years, when dainty dresses,
dandyism, knowing a few foreign phrases, familiarity with
films and film stars were regarded as an accomplishment
as a thing which conferred 'personality' on one. Such was
the kind of things our youth were after. Today the same
youth think in the terms of self-sacrifice, service,
effort, struggle, movement, resistance, etc.

These are the new values which are to be established
firmly in our country. But whose job is it to nurture
them and bring to fruition, and where? Are the schools
exempted from the responsibility of this work?

If the schools remain indifferent to this
responsibility, where are these human beings to be
moulded? And where are these values and virtues to grow
and flourish? Where are these children of ours to learn
about Islam, and to be enfused with the spirit of
revolution and resistance?

Accordingly, our teachers are the apostles of today,
encharged with a cultural and intellectual mission and
responsibility. Therefore, permit us to strongly resist
all deviate and corrupt intrigues in our schools, and not
to let our children fall prey to the foreign plots, to be
corrupted by the venom of poisonous ideas and values. We
shall have to catch up with those unholy, treacherous
hands which corrupt our children in the schools, and cast
them away. And at the same time, it is essential that we
warmly clasp those hands that are sincere in serving
Islam and the Revolution and their motherland. I do not
say that we must be loyal to some individual, or to a
certain group; but I certainly emphasize the necessity of
loyalty to Islam and to the blood of the martyrs; or at
least, there should not be any intention to sabotage the
achievements of the blood of the martyrs. We do not
expect every teacher to be exceptionally
self-sacrificing, self-effacing, totally committed and a
hundred per cent man of faith. But we require that the
teacher, should not at least be hostile to commitment,
hostile to the Islamic Republic and Islam and opposed to
the Islamic training and education. If he himself
confesses that he has no commitment at all, that he is
merely concerned with the teaching of physics or
mathematics, we shall accept him with open arms if he is
not a saboteur or a traitor. The schools are open to all
of them. When did we intend to set aside any educated
person who is not hostile to the morality, thinking, and
ideology of our Islamic system and revolutionary movement
of our children? Never. But first we have to stop
intrigues and corrupt and treacherous practices and then
strive to provide opportunities for the development of
all our sincere colleagues in the Department of Education
and Training.

Society is like a pyramid, and not everyone is at the
apex of the pyramid, be it from the viewpoint of
commitment, faith, self-sacrifice, power, qualifications
or any other factor. However, there are persons who are
more resistant, more self-sacrificing, men of greater
faith, greater sincerity, more aware and more
conscientious than others. The nearer we approach the
apex, the narrower it is. As a rule the pyramid is wider
at the base, and there have to be people in the lower
parts of the pyramid also. However, what is more
important is that we should be a part of this pyramid, a
part of the main stream of the ummah which is led
at its head by the Imam.

The schools are in the service of those who have
comprehended this Revolution and have accepted it. God
willing, we hope that in the future we shall be able to
introduce more committed faithful, and sincere forces
into the Department of Education and Training and shall
be able to make greater use of the sincere and committed
individuals in this department.

We hope to utilize the active forces for developing
the Islamic and education potential of the Department of
Education and Training, and to provide them with more
opportunities, encouragement and support so that they may
play a more effective and active role.

The forces which are not dynamic and which have shown
little or no movement, as I have already mentioned, if
they are not harmful and disturbing, they shall also be
utilized. At the same time we have to be very careful
regarding offensive and detrimental elements in our

The doors of the school should always be kept open for
the sake of Islam, for the sake of the Muslim Ummah and
for the sake of the Islamic revolutionary path of the
Iranian nation, so that the Islamic cultural and
intellectual activities may be accelerated and enhanced.

These schools are the centres for modelling human
beings. Human beings are not modelled in the electricity
department or some other department. They are of course
to be fashioned in the schools. Why shouldn't we then
educate and train others and ourselves? Why shouldn't we
speed up the movement of Islamic, ideological,
intellectual, and educational training- Therefore, I
request you, brothers and sisters, that we should serve
Islam and our Revolution with hope, with enthusiasm and
spiritual fervour without any anxiety and doubt about the
future. In this way, we can contribute our share and
fulfil our duty by making the schools, these
revolutionary institutions, more fruitful. I hope, God
willing, that our work, our behaviour, morality, and our
mutual relations and dealings shall conform to the
Islamic standards.

Our aim is that our teachers and schools should
advance on the above-mentioned guidelines, raising the
general standards of education and enhancing the levels
of the Islamic commitment, and social and revolutionary

I hope that those brothers and sisters, who have
recently joined this profession, and those who are going
to join it in the future, will continue their work in an
atmosphere of cooperation, harmony, devotion, ardour, and
sincerity. I hope that our confrontation with problems
would not be disappointing or discouraging. I hope that
our attitude is one of hope for the fruition of our
Revolution, and of effort for increasing the productivity
and fruitfulness of the Department of Education and
Training. Wassalamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa

*This was
originally delivered as a speech by Martyr Dr. Muhammad

Jawad Bahonar, then a minister of education, to a
gathering organized by the Islamic Association of the
School Teachers of Kerman, on the day of the bi'that
of the Holy Prophet (S). At the time of his martyrdom,
Martyr Bahonar was the Prime Minister of the Islamic
Republic of Iran. This speech has been published in
booklet form under the Persian title "Hadafha-ye
amúzish wa parwarish-e Islami".