Ayatollah Morteza Motahari, born 1920, received his elementary education in theology from his father, Sheikh Mohammad Hossein in his home town, Fariman in Khorasan province. When he was twelve years of age joined the Islamic Educational Center at Mashhad and pursued his studies there for five years. Then he proceeded to Qom, the great center of Islamic education. He stayed there for fifteen years and completed his education in Islamic Beliefs and Jurisprudence under the supervision of the renowned philosopher Allameh Mohammad Hossein Tabatabai, Ayatollah Khomeini and many other distinguished scholars. Then he migrated to Tehran.
During the period of his education the Motahari felt that the communists wanted to change the sacred religion of Islam and destroy its spirit by mixing their atheistic views with the Islamic philosophy and interpreting the verses of the Qur'an in a materialistic manner. Communism was not the only thing which received his attention. He also wrote on exegesis of the Qur'an, philosophy, ethics, sociology, history and many other subjects. In all his writings the real object he had in view was to give replies to the objections raised by others against Islam, to prove the shortcomings of other schools of thought and to manifest the greatness of Islam. He believed that in order to prove the falsity of Marxism and other ideologies like it, it was necessary not only to comment on them in a scholarly manner but also to present the real image of Islam.
Ayatollah Motahari wrote assiduously and continuously from his student days right up to 1979, the year of his assassination. He was one of the most versatile Islamic scholars and prolific writers of recent times, deeply rooted in traditional learning and enamoured of its exponents. He was a Islamic thinker who had fully absorbed a rigorous philosophical training. Much of his work has been published in and outside Iran.
The activities of the Ayatollah Motahari were intolerable for the followers of some other Islamic faction, Forqan, and they, therefore, decided to remove him from the scene. Eventually they succeeded on the 1st of May 1979. When the sad news was conveyed to Ayatollah Khomeini he, in his condolence message, said: "I have been deprived of a dear son of mine. I am lamenting upon the death of one who was the fruit of my life."
Ayatollah Motahary was a popular figure in the religious circles of Iran. He served in the Tehran University as the Head of the Department of Theology and Islamic Learning's. At the time of his assassination he was the president of the Constitutional Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran and a member of the Revolutionary Council.