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Iran: Ayatollah Sistani Intervenes 

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SISTANIAfter two months, Ayatollah Sistani, the Iranian-born clerical leader in the holy city of Najaf in Iraq, has intervened, albeit in an oblique fashion, in the post-election controversy. He did so through answers to "questions from the faithful"

1) What is your eminence's opinion about [Iran's] religious supreme leadership (velayat-e-faqih)?

"Leadership in what Islamic jurists call "everyday affairs" exists for any qualified expert in Islamic jurisprudence. However [leadership] in public affairs that play a crucial role  in the order of the Islamic society, depends both upon personal qualifications of the expert and also upon other issues  including the fact that the expert must be acceptable for the public."

2) If a pronouncement  of another Marjaa [senior clerical leader] opposes that of a Supreme Leader what must be done?

"In general the pronouncement of a person that has religious supreme leadership in public and society affairs etc. supersedes all (including other Marjaa) unless the pronouncements are proven to be wrong or the pronouncements are proven to be against what is in the Koran or in Religious Tradition."

Interpretation? Sistani just told Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that he is not untouchable. Whether or not Sistani meant his reference to "personal qualifications" to flash back on Khameni's rise to Supreme Leader, even though he was not a marjaa, there will be those in Iran who immediately see the context. And "acceptable to the public" and "proven to be wrong" do not need even that level of analysis.

Beyond the intervention, here's a question to ponder: it was widely reported that, before agreeing to lead Friday prayers in Tehran on 17 July, Hashemi Rafsanjani had gone to Najaf to see Sistani. So, given the Iraq-based Ayatollah's continuing influence amongst many Iran faithful, has the former President --- due to lead prayers again this Friday --- received another boost?

Reader Comments (9)

[...] Sistani 'intervenes' Iran: Ayatollah Sistani Intervenes | Enduring America [...]

As an Iranian I feel grateful for even the oblique support but this is not enough. As a human being, specially one in position of power and religious and moral authority, I feel that Ayatollah Sistani bears responsibility to speak out more clearly and loudly against injustice that is being carried out in the name of Islam against his compatriots and fellow human beings.

August 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHamid

From the way I read that, Ayatollah Sistani just gave a very polite warning. I hope Kahmenei will heed this warning though I doubt he will.

August 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterperry1949

I just find it to be shocking that a gov would murder their own people for soo little.The axings and hangings for what? We do not do this in other countrys.It is not normal behavior at all. Nor is the rapings.No Country is truly wanting to deal with this Iran regime. I dont care if you know my name and no i dont care what you got to say i will never agree with these behaviors to the good Iran People. I dont care if you got a nuke so did North Korea no we did not fear that.You know why ? Because USA is sooo good and lookiing at you Iran regime you made me learn that! Iran regime Khmenei,ahmadinejad YOU STINK! Betty Porter

August 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBetty Porter

[...] to be against what is in the Koran or in Religious Tradition,” according to a translation by He also said of the Supreme Leader that “the expert must be acceptable for the [...]

[...] – All this after the understated intervention of Grand Ayatollah Sistani from Najaf. link [...]

This Fatwa is nothing new, his office just repeat the Fatwa which is known. But as a layman it is not your fault.

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November 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersgwjxn sgwjxn

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December 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertfdprk tfdprk

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