Ali Shariati, or the intellectual in pursuit of justice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



This essay, drawing on ‘Ali Shari’ati’s most important works on what is an Intellectual and what is Justice, will try to address how he conceived the role of the intellect and of the intellectual in the pursuit of justice. For Imam ʿAli, the ‘true intellectual’ (al-aqil) is one who not only thinks correctly but also acts ethically, and, at the deepest level, one who seeks to realize the ultimate Reality. The intellectual is defined as one who ‘puts all things in their proper place’, which is the very definition of justice also. Only the true intellectual can, therefore, be fully ‘just’, for only one who sees things as they truly are is able to put them in their right place. Thought, action and realization are all the concern of the true intellectual, the aqil. With this text, I hope to show how ‘Ali Shari’ati emphasised both the harmony between intellect and revelation, and the distinction (though not conflict) between intellect and reason, and how his intellectual endeavours were, ultimately, a pursuit for Justice. Shari’ati, in particular, criticised the Western project of positivism for falsely proclaiming the ability to separate knowledge from its human context. He also argued that all science should actively affirm its human interests, rather than pretending to rise above them. Human knowledge should thus always be recognised as having been produced through human social relations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-67
Number of pages20
Journal Islamic Perspective
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Intellect
  • Justice
  • Knowledge
  • Al-aqil
  • Adl


Dive into the research topics of 'Ali Shariati, or the intellectual in pursuit of justice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this