The Ayatollah Khomeini and the concept of political Islam in the 1979 Iranian Revolution


Jake Hogue

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In a study of Islamic political ideology, the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the nexus of many lines of thought and theory. The revolution, which installed the only modern day theocracy, was not simply a matter of religion versus secularism but a complex combination of causes and effects which included radically new definitions of Islam as well as what it meant to be an Iranian. In understanding the revolution it is possible to gain a better understanding not only of Iran, but of the progressive radicalization of Islam which we see manifested in today?s world. In my studies I examined the Iranian revolution from a historical as well a personal perspective through the writings of three of the important figures in the revolution: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Murtaza Mutahhari, and Dr. Ali Shari?ati. These men run the gamut from radical clergy to secular but they all share a belief in the primacy of Islam for revolutionary change. By looking at these men and the environment in which their ideas were formed I am not only studying Iran but also delving into the roots of political Islam. Though it would be inaccurate to say that the Iranian revolution is tied directly to the current global situation, my research provides an analysis of the ways in which Islam can be, and has been, used as a directed political ideology.


Malek Moazzam-Doulat




Ford Research Endowment

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