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A Doctrine In The Making? Velāyat-E Faqīh In Post-Revolutionary Iran

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Chapter Summary

The way in which Iranian clerics are acknowledged as religious authorities, or themselves lay claim to such a position, has undergone fundamental changes since the Islamic Revolution, specifically in the period after Ayatollah Khomeynis death in 1989. This chapter discusses both the arguments employed by post-revolutionary Iranian clerics in favor of velāyat-e faqīh and those of its critics. In terms of individual authors, the chapter focuses on the arguments put forward by Ayatollah Moḥammad Taqī Meṣbāḥ Yazdī, one of the theoreticians of the official Iranian position, and the viewpoints of Irans most outstanding dissident on the subject, Hoseyn ʿAlī Montazerī. One of the crucial points distinguishing modern Shiʿite Islam from Sunni Islam is the fact that it has a clergy that is hierarchically organized. This clergy became the highest non-governmental authority in Iran with the victory of the usūlī school over the akhbārī school in the nineteenth century.

Keywords: Ayatollah Moḥammad Taqī Meṣbāḥ Yazdī; Iran; Islamic revolution; velāyat-e faqīh



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