About the Author
Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari is the son of the late Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Asghar Lari, one of
the great religious scholars and social personalities of Iran. His grandfather was the
late Ayatullah Hajj Sayyid Abd ul-Husayn Lari, who fought for freedom in the
Constitutional Revolution. In the course of his lengthy struggles against the tyrannical
government of the time, he attempted to establish an Islamic government and succeeded in
doing so for a short time in Larestan.
Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari was born in 1314/1925 in the city of Lar where he completed
his primary education and his preliminary Islamic studies. In 1332/1953, he departed for
Qum to continue his study of the Islamic sciences, studying under the professors and
teachers of the religious institution, including the main authorities in jurisprudence
In 1341/1962, he became a collaborator of Maktab-i-lslam, a religious and scientific
journal, writing a series of articles on Islamic ethics. Three articles were later
collected into a book published under the title Ethical and Psychological Problems. Nine
editions of the Persian original of this book have been published, and it has also been
translated into Arabic and, most recently, English.
In 1342/1963, he travelled to Germany for medical treatment, and returning to Iran
after a stay of several months, he wrote a book called The Face of Western Civilization.
Thebook includes a comparative discussion of Western and Islamic civilization, and in it,
the author seeks to prove, by way of a comprehensive, reasoned, and exact comparison, the
superiority of the comprehensive and multidimensional civilization of Islam to that of the
West. This book has recently been reprinted for the seventh time. In 1349/1970, it was
translated into English by a British Orientalist, F. G. Goulding, and it aroused much
attention in Europe. Articles concerning the book appeared in several Western periodicals,
and the BBC arranged an interview with the translator in which the reasons for translating
the book and the reception accorded it in England were discussed. The English version of
the book has up to now been printed three times in England, five times in Iran, and twice
About three years after the publication of the English translation, Rudolf Singler, a
German university professor, translated it into German, and the version he produced proved
influential in Germany. One of the leaders of the Social Democratic Party informed the
translator in a letter that the book had left a profound impression upon him, causing him
to change his views of Islam, and that he would recommend the book to his friends. The
German translation has now been reprinted three times.
The English and German versions of the book were reprinted by the Ministry of Islamic
Guidance for wide distribution abroad through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the
Islamic Students' Associations abroad.
At the same time that the first printing of the German translation was published, an
Indian Muslim scholar by the name of Maulana Raushan Ali translated it into Urdu for
distribution in India and Pakistan. This Urdu translation has now been reprinted five
Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari has also written a pamphlet on tauhid (divine unity), which
was translated in England and published several times in America.
In 1343/1964, he established a charitable organization in Lar with the purposes of
propagating Islam, teaching Islam to rural youth, and helping the needy. This organization
remained active until 1346/1967. Its main accomplishments were the dispatch of students of
the religious sciences to the countryside to teach Islam to children and young people;
providing thousands of school children with clothing, books and writing equipment;
building a number of mosques, schools, and clinics in towns and villages; and the
provision of miscellaneous services.
Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari pursued his interest in Islamic ethics, writing new articles
on the subject. In 1353/1974, a collection of these articles, revised and supplemented,
appearedin book form under the title, The Function of Ethics in Human Development. This
book has now been reprinted six times.
In 1357/1978, he travelled to America at the invitation of an Islamic organization in
that country. He then went to England and France and after returning to Iran began writing
a series of articles on Islamic ideology for the magazine Soroush. These articles were
later collected in a four volume book on the fundamental beliefs of Islam (tauhid, divine
justice, prophethood, imamate, and resurrection) under the title The Foundations of
This four volume work has been translated into Arabic, some parts of it having already
been printed three times. The English translation of the first volume of this work forms
the present book; the remaining volumes will also be translated and published. Urdu, Hindi
and French translations are also underway; two volumes of the French translation have
In 1359/1980, Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari established an organization in Qum called
Office for the Diffusion of Islamic Culture Abroad. It dispatches free copes of his
translated works to interested persons throughout the world. It has also undertaken the
printing of a Quran for free distribution among Muslim individuals, institutions and
religious schools in Africa.