The Trivialization of Shi’i Marja’iyyat: Impeaching Iran’s Supreme Leader on his Marja’iyyat 


Mohsen Kadivar
Mohsen Kadivar

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ABSTRACT: Hojjatol-Islam wal-Moslemin Seyyed Ali Hosseyni Khamenei (b. 1939 in Mashhad) was one of the famous combatant broad-minded orators of Khorasan in the 1970s. After the success of the revolution, he was assigned to important positions, such as membership of the Council of the Revolution, leader of Tehran’s Friday prayer, and the third President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. At fifty, the Assembly of Experts chose him as the second Supreme Leader of I.R.I. on 4 June 1989, after Ayatollah Khomeini’s passing. After Ayatollah Araki’s death, Jame’eye Moddaresin Hawzeye ‘Elmiyeye Qom (the Association of the Teachers at the Qom Seminary) introduced seven jurists as marjae’ jayezol-taqlid (qualified for marja’iyyat) in a newsletter on 2 Dec 1994. “The Grand Ayatollah Khamenei Supreme Leader” was the third one. The Jame’eye Rawhaniyyate Mobareze Tehran (the Association of the Combatant Clergy of Tehran) also introduced three jurists as marja’ jayezol-taqlid, of whom Khamenei was the first.

“Grand Ayatollah Khamenei”, in a speech on 14 Dec 1994, announced that he humbly accepted the marja’iyyat abroad, since it was abandoned outside of Iran. His treatise titled Ajwibat al-Istifta’at (Requested Fatwas) was published in Arabic in 1994 in Kuwait and in Farsi in 1996 in Tehran. In 1998, he concluded that it is incorrect to have seven marja’s, and that instead, only one person should take on marja’iyyat. He assigned the Jame’eye Moddaresin Hawzeye ‘Elmiyeye Qom the task of introducing the supreme leader as the unique and supreme Marja’. From then, in official circles, especially outside of Iran, he is referred to as “Imam Khamenei”. Continue reading


DOWNLOAD PDF or READ KADIVAR’S CHAPTER, Revisiting Women’s Rights in Islam: ‘Egalitarian Justice in Lieu of Deserts-Based Justice’  in Gender and Equality in Muslim Family Law (I.B. TAURIS, May 28, 2013, Edited by: Lena Larsen, Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Christian Moe, Kari Vogt) below: 

In traditional Islamic thought women’s rights have been defined on the basis of a ‘deserts-based’ notion of justice (al-ʿadāla al-istiqāqiyya), by which individuals are entitled to justice according to their status, abilities and potential. This notion of justice leads to proportional equality, which recognises rights for individuals in proportion to their ‘deserts’. In modern times this notion of justice has encountered enormous problems. Can we reread the Qurʾan and the Traditions in the light of an egalitarian notion of justice that is premised on fundamental equality between men and women? Continue reading