The Ideals of Islamic Government: The Political Thought of Khomeini, Shariati and Bazargan, and their followers

Stream: Panel 6 - Comparative Politics: The International Political Economy of Islamophobia
Date: Monday, 26 September 2016
Time: 11.30 am – 1.00 pm


This paper examines the dominants schools of thought that drive current political debates in Iran. The recent discourse of political Islam in Iran can be categorized into three main schools: jurisprudential Islam (grounded in the writings of Ayatollah Khomeini); ‘leftist’ Islam (based on Ali Shariati’s works); and ‘liberal’ Islam (exemplified in the thinking of Mehdi Bazargan). The followers of these schools played a greater role in mobilizing the Iranian masses in the 1960s and 1970s than the nationalist secularists and the socialists. Their efforts led to the success of the1979 Islamic Revolution and shaped the ideology and direction of the Islamic Government that followed. This paper will demonstrate that in the post-revolutionary era it was jurisprudential Islam and liberal Islam that dominated Iranian political discourse, albeit with some major changes. The paper will also show how political Islam was adjusted, after the success of the Islamic Revolution, in order to accommodate what became known as “social Islam”. This is important because, in the approach of political Islam, the aim of Islamist groups and thinkers is, first, to seize political power then, second, to impose social and cultural changes. In contrast, in the approach of social Islam, the aim is to enact social changes and reforms before taking control of government by democratic means. By drawing a clear line of distinction between these approaches, this paper will enhance our understanding of modern Islamic movements, particularly in the Iranian context.


Seyed Mohammad Lolaki (Presenter), Waikato University
Academic Record

November 2010 to present:
Department of Political Science and Public Policy, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, PhD candidate in Political Science.

September 2002 to September 2005:
Mofid University, Qom, Iran, Master in Political Science.
Master thesis on “Left-Political Islam in Iran in the period between 1924 and 1979”