Musa al-Sadr believed in Iranian theologian Ali Shari’ti, who was also used as a spiritual mentor, and central character for Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolutionary push. Mansour Farhang, the Islamic Republic’s first ambassador to the United Nations sheds light on the importance of Ali Shari’ti prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution:
“Since the beginning of open revolutionary struggle against the Shah’s regime in early 1978, Dr Ali Shariati’s portrait has come to symbolize the ideological dimension of the Iranian revolution. The portraits appear on the walls in the streets, in the places of public gatherings, in the living rooms of Iranian homes, in the shops… More than 80% of the books on display on the pavements of Iranian cities are the writings of Ali Shariat… Shariati has become the Voltaire of the Iranian revolution.
Shariati’s Islamic revolutionary ideology linked Musa al-Sadr directly to Iran. Meanwhile, Musa’s adherence to Ali Shariati set the table for Iranian export of the Islamic movement to the Shi’i community in Lebanon. Shariati’s was not only the bedrock for Musa al-Sadr, but his character and great popularity also helped Khomeini attract people to the revolution.
Iran consolidated and strengthened the Islamic state of affairs or Islamic sphere (al-Hala al-Islamiyya) in Lebanon; this constituted its sole power-base. The al-Hala al-Islmamiyya was the physical outcome of the Islamic revolution in Lebanon. Iran’s contribution to the revival of Islamic life in southern Lebanon is highlighted by these institutions and networks.
The Islamic Revolution not only inspired Lebanese Shi’i, but also provided a platform, and template to build a society where Islam was central. Iran’s involvement in Lebanon was more than a mere import of ideology; it was instead a design to rekindle the kinship, which had existed between the two communities.