Ahmad Kasravi

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I never wanted to be known and my name to be mentioned.

Seyyed Ahmad Kasravi Tabrizi, Commonly known as Ahmad Kasravi (29 September 1890 – 11 March 1946) was a leading Iranian linguist, nationalist, religious reformer, historian and former Shia cleric.


Our words have deep strong roots, and will never be eradicated with a pistol. There will be no better result from using a pistol than bloodshed. Say and write whatever you like, we will never be offended, but your support for thugs has a different meaning.
  • All Iranians with little knowledge are concerned about the country's backwardness - especially the decline of Iran from a large and powerful empire to a weak and small state. Where is the root of degeneration? At the turn of the century, intellectuals could claim that the main culprits were tyrants who had a hidden interest in the illiteracy and ignorance of the people of the country. But in fact, twenty years after the constitutional government, we can not give the same answer. We now know that the main fault lies not with the rulers but with the obedient. Yes, the main cause of underdevelopment in Iran, and perhaps in most Eastern countries, is division and discord among the masses.
    • "The main causes of backwardness", Parcham, 27 April 1942
  • Today, one of the problems of Iran, in fact, its worst problem, is the dispersal of Iranians. People who share a common land and live within the territory of one country should not be divided into rival sects. Today's Iran is in this misery, and if this continues, God knows what a hard hand the Iranians will suffer.
    • Peyman, 1 February 1934
  • Regarding Reza Shah, it should be said: Many of the benevolent ideals of Iran were fulfilled by Reza Shah, from founding the National Bank, overthrowing the capitulation, unifying the clothes, railways, etc., to liberating women and removing the veil and chador.
    • Our sisters and daughters, p. 23
  • Our words have deep strong roots, and will never be eradicated with a pistol. There will be no better result from using a pistol than bloodshed. Say and write whatever you like, we will never be offended, but your support for thugs has a different meaning.
    • Farhikht, Majid (2017). Why did they kill Kasravi?
  • The basis of Shiism is that the caliph should be chosen by God and not by the people. We ask: What was the reason for this? The book of Islam was the Qur'an, where is the Qur'an in such a statement? How could there be such a thing and it is not mentioned in the Qur'an?
  • If the Prophet wanted to appoint a "caliph", he must first speak on the fact that the selection and appointment of a caliph should be from God and not from the people, and he must said openly: "Now is my first caliph It is Ali who has been chosen by God."
  • Curses and insults about the companions of the Prophet, which they called "Tabarra", is another basis of Shiism, and this is a disgraceful ugliness. Shiite books are full of curses and insults.
  • They have said that the Qur'an, which was a book for reading, understanding and salvation, should not know its meaning except for the Imams, and thus they have despised that book. Shiite scholars considered the Qur'an incomprehensible to the general public and preferred "hadiths" to it.
  • The Europeans have been trying for years to keep the Orientals in the well of ignorance, and they have come to one conclusion from this behavior: the Orientals become powerless and helpless in the shadow of this ignorance.
  • We know that when Nader Shah was killed, the greatness he had created for Iran disappeared. But Iran was still considered one of the so-called countries, and Karim Khan and his successors, if they did not add anything to the country, did not reduce it. But during the Qajar dynasty, Iran became very powerless, and its greatness, position and reputation were greatly diminished, and the reason for this was more than one thing, and that was that the world was modernized and countries changed, but Iran was backward.
  • As we have seen, they created a small group of constitutionalists in Iran, and many people did not know the meaning of constitutionalism, and it is clear that they did not want it either. At the beginning of its rise, the constitutional movement, above all, had the character of "Shiism" in order to gradually acquire the character of "patriotism". This duplicity also appeared in the newspapers, and the newspaper Sur-e Esrafil followed this new practice from the very beginning, and its writers showed a good knowledge of the history of Europe and the countries there, and over this innovation, animosities arose with them.
  • If we want the truth, these scholars of Najaf and Sayyids and other scholars who insisted on constitutionalism did not know the true meaning of the constitution and the result of the prevalence of European laws, and did not know the very obvious incompatibility between the constitution and the Shiites. The brave men, on the one hand, saw the distress of Iran and the inability of the government, and saw no other way out of it than the constitution and the parliament, and tried to support it with great insistence, and on the other hand, were bound by religion and could not ignore it.
  • If you have heard that Dr. Zamenhof has created a language called Esperanto from the rules of knowledge, the ease of which is amazing, we should follow the same rules in adorning the Persian language and make this language very easy.
  • There is no doubt that our alphabet must be changed. It has been talked about for fifty years, and now it must be used, and it is the most worthy group to use. If we do not use it today, it will either remain unfulfilled or fall into the wrong hands of those who have created something flawed and called it the alphabet.
  • It is the responsibility of literate writers to try to cut down on Arabic words, and for others to follow them. The involvement of inexperienced youth in this work will bring no other benefit than loss and will create a series of other destructions in Persian.
  • The work of the word should not be despised, whoever turns to goodness, his word should also be trimmed and adorned. Language is the mirror of thoughts, language is the example of temperament

My Life (1945)

  • I never wanted to be known and my name to be mentioned. But whether or not this happened, it was very appropriate for me to write my own life history so that there would be no need for others to make incomplete inquiries and get a combination of right and wrong.
    • p.5
  • Our family in Tabriz was a mullah family. Aqa Mir Ahmad, my grandfather, was one of the famous scholars who was followed by all the people. He built a mosque in Hakmavar, which is now standing and is called Mirahmad Mosque. As I have heard, he was a very humble man and he was kind and sympathetic to people. When I was a child, even though thirty years had passed since his death, his memory was still alive among the people. Mir Ahmad's youngest son, my father, chooses to stay away from the mullah. My father wanted to have a child to succeed his father, so he named me Mir Ahmad.
    • p.8
  • From childhood to the age of six, I do not remember anything but shaving my head and suffering from it.
    • p.9
  • In Hokmavar, because many people were illiterate, they did not value literacy and there was no Maktab there. Only one mullah named Mullah Bakhshali taught us to read the Qur'an. He himself was not very literate and did not know Persian well, and because his teeth were missing, his words were difficult to understand. His art was to beat the hands and feet of children. People did not want anything more than this and saw education in beating children. However, from the day I went to Maktab, I did not give up because I wanted knowledge until I understood the lesson. I learned the alphabet in a week. Then I learned some lessons in Quranic chapters from mullah Bakhshali and learned the rest myself.
    • p.10
  • My father, like his father, had studied Sharia, but had become a businessman. He was a Shiite but avoided many superstitions. There were many differences between Sunnis and Shiites at that time. Especially in Azerbaijan, where hearts were full of resentment against Sunnis and this caused ugly behavior. For example, on the ninth of Rabi al-Awal, they celebrated the day of Omar's death, thinking that it was the day of his death, and engaged in a series of light-hearted work. Clear such ignorance from Iran, the constitutional movement, and that is why Iranians should be happy that that movement is happend.
    • p.12
  • Cholera broke out and people hung the Quran in the streets at that time, so that anyone who passed under it would take refuge from the disease, and they set up Rawda Khwani in the gates and alleys. One day, one of the grandchildren of an ayatollah was put on a donkey and brought to our alley, and the men and women kissed his hand.
    • p.22
  • I had to become a mullah after studying, and apart to my father's will, I hated the mullah myself.
    • p.33
  • Haji Mir Abolhassan Angji - The cowardly mullah who once threw himself in front of the constitutionalists and spread his false ideas in support of them, and then in the occupation of Tabriz by the Russians, he fell in front of the mob and looted the city.- excommunicated me because he had heard my attachments to constitutionalism.
    • p.41
  • When I was in Tehran, on the one hand, I became acquainted with the Esperantist group, and on the other hand, I became acquainted with the Baha'is. When I went to Mashhad, I wished to go to Nader Shah's grave. When I left, I was very sorry to see that they had turned it into a sleeping place for camels. When I arrived, a man with an Aftabeh came out. This upset me a lot. In Mashhad, I wrote a speech and sent it to a newspaper that I do not know whether it was published or not. A year later, in Tabriz, I wrote another speech in the newspaper Tajaddad. Bahman Mirza Sheydani, who represented the Great Association of Esperanto, had read it. Therefore, when there was a conversation in the National Assembly about Nader Shah's grave and a law was passed to clean it up, the prince wrote me a letter in which he gave good news. We got acquainted from there and sometimes we sent letters. In Tehran, he told me one day: I want you to learn Esperanto and become Esperantist. I said: I know Esperanto. He said: From whom did you read? I said I learned it myself. He was very pleased and invited me to the assemblies of the great association of Esperanto. One day he arranged a magnificent party for me.
    • p.88

Quotes about Ahmad Kasravi

  • Kasravi has the spirit of an honest historian. He is meticulous in detail and in presentation
    • Vladimir Minorsky, Jazayery, M.A. «Kasravi, Ahmad(1890-1946)». Encyclopaedic Historiography of the Muslim World. Global Vision Publishing House
  • Kasravi wore a black turban at the time, wore a long robe and cloak, and wore a black cloak. His small compact turban was the best representative of Tabrizi students. His skinny face showed prominent bones, a look of suffering and anger, and at the same time a tyrant to the vote and Egypt in belief. He was not wearing glasses yet. He spoke Persian with a special Azerbaijani accent, but very well. In the first conversation I had with him, it was proved to me that the man is very fearless and even expresses his own opinions with a certain recklessness. He was not afraid to say anything against the custom and against the opinion of others.
  • a true anti-cleric.
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