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Grand Ayatollah Montazeri's Fatwa

12 Jul 2009 17:4033 Comments

FatwaGrand Ayatollah Montazeri's Fatwa: an Unfair Supreme Leader is Illegitimate

By MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles | 12 July 2009

In a very important development, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the most senior cleric living in Iran, and one of the top two* marja' taghlid (source of emulation) in Shiite Islam, issued a series of Fatwas, calling the Supreme Leader illegitimate and saying that he was working with the government against religion. Montazeri has called on people to take action against this injustice, even if they have to pay a heavy price for it.

Ayatollah Motazeri, who has long been one of the most outspoken critics of Iran's hard-liners, issued the Fatwas in response to a letter that Dr. Mohsen Kadivar, a progressive cleric and a former student of his, wrote asking for answers to several pointed questions. (Dr. Kadivar was jailed a few years ago for his outspoken criticism of the hard-liners and now lives in the United States.)

The letter congratulates the Grand Ayatollah on the occasion of last week's anniversary of the birth of Imam Ali, the Shiites' first Imam, and a cousin and a son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammad. The letter says that the anniversary has fallen at a time when peaceful protests against rigged elections have been met by injustice by the government, which has resulted in tens of deaths, hundreds of injured, and thousands of arrests -- all carried out in the name of Islam and Shiism by those who use Imam Ali's name but take the path of his enemies instead.

The letters continues,

I learned from you that spreading what the Holy Quran, the Prophet, and his descendants [the Imams] have taught us is the best way of confronting injustice under any condition. Thus, now, in order to keep the weak light of hope in the pure hearts of the young generation to whom injustice is being done, who are being taught superstitions in the name of Shiism, and whose soul are injured and tired by all the lies, treachery, and treason [by the government], I have come to the home of hope for the Iranian nation, [where I know that your] efforts and valiant defense of the rights of the nations - particularly on the same anniversary in 1997 [when the Grand Ayatollah harshly criticized the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for his interference in the affairs of the state] and the subsequent five-year house arrest [of the Grand Ayatollah] will never be erased from the nation's historical memory; [I have come] to ask you to respond to questions by your humble student in order to shed light in this dark place. These are the questions of our courageous and oppressed people from their religious leader [Grand Ayatollah Montazeri].

Dr. Kadivar then asks the questions:

Question 1: Taking up positions of power for serving the public -- which according to the laws must be occupied by those who are fair, honest, competent, and require the vote of the majority of the people -- by those who are either not qualified, or no longer satisfy the conditions and qualifications stipulated by the laws by exhibiting the characteristics that, with almost complete certainty, are against the required qualifications, requires what course of action [by the people]?

To this question, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri has responded:

Answer: If any of the qualifications mentioned in the question, which religiously and reasonably govern the conditions for occupying the official position for serving the public, is no longer met by the person who occupies the position [to serve the public], that person, automatically and without any need for dismissal, is sacked, which also means all the orders issued by him are no longer valid. But, if the conditions are such that they are not religiously and reasonably necessary for taking up the position, but have been mutually agreed upon by the people and the person [taking the position] who serves them and takes care of their affairs, and have been violated by that person, the people can dismiss him. After the fall [destruction] of justice, honesty, and loss of the vote [trust] of the majority that must be reiterated constantly, which are the conditions for serving [the public] and ruling, the criterion is no longer that the person is innocent unless proven otherwise when it comes to the public affairs that he was in charge of, rather the person must prove his innocence, lack of violation of the laws and the religion, and the efforts for protecting people's right by giving the people a valid reason, in order to satisfy them. If there is still a difference [between the public and the person], the person must prove his claim [of innocence] to a free, fair, and neutral adjudicator who is independent of the government; otherwise, the adjudication will not be acceptable.

Question 2: What is the religious duty of the people with regard to the public servants who, despite the warning by the wise and good-intentioned people, insist on continuing to act against religion?

Answer: As I said, those who have lost, religiously and reasonably, the credibility for serving the public, are automatically dismissed, and the continuation of their work has no legitimacy. If they want to use force, or fool or cheat people in order to keep their power, people must express their opinion about the illegitimacy and lack of their approval of their performance, and seek their dismissal through the best and least harmful way. It is clear that this [dismissal of the officials] is a societal duty of everyone, and all the people, regardless of their social positions and according to their knowledge and capability, must participate in this endeavor, and cannot shirk their responsibility. The enlightened who have more knowledge about the religion and the laws, and are also more influential, have more responsibility [toward dismissal of the unqualified officials]. They must unify people and through formation of political parties and organizations, as well as public and private gatherings, inform the people and show them the way [to dismiss the officials]. In his will Imam Ali said [Nahjolbalaagheh, letter 47], "the governance and domination of the evil people [in a society] is the natural consequence of not preaching good deeds and avoiding sin, because they [the evil people] abuse the opportunities.

Question 3: Will committing the following great sins and insisting on doing so [by the officials] prove that there is no longer any fairness [in their behavior], and that they are unjust [toward people]?

  1. Ordering the murder of innocent people;
  2. preventing innocent people from gathering in public places and injuring them;
  3. preventing people by force from doing their religious duty of preaching good deeds and avoiding sin through banning all the legitimate and peaceful ways of protesting;
  4. denying the freedom and jailing of those who preach good deeds and avoiding sin, and pressuring them to "confess" to doing what they have not committed;
  5. preventing a free flow of information and censorship of the news, which are the essential and introductory parts of preaching good deeds and avoiding sins to the Muslim masses;
  6. libeling the protestors, who seek justice, by claiming that, "whoever that is opposed to the [government] officials is a traitor and spy for foreigners."
  7. lying, giving false testimony, and making false reports about people's rights;
  8. treason against the national trust;
  9. ignoring people's votes and neglecting the advice of the learned and informed people;
  10. preventing people from participating in the national process of deciding their own fate;
  11. making a bad name for Islam and the religion through presenting a very violent, irrational, aggressive, superstitious, and dictatorial image of Islam and Shiism in the world.

Answer: Committing any of the above sins and insisting on doing so are some of the clearest demonstrations of lack of fairness [by the officials], and obvious signs of injustice. Indeed, if such sins are not viewed by the people as signs of injustice, what sins can be considered as such? It is clear that any sin, particularly the above, that is committed in the name of the religion, law, and justice, will cause even more corruption and elimination of justice, which will have punishments both in this world and even more severe ones in the next world, because such sins, in addition to their own particular effects, also cause the destruction of the good images of religion, justice, and law.

If there are cases in which the government officials believe they are taking just and legitimate actions, but a majority of the people consider them as unjust, illegitimate, and corrupted, the views and judgments of fair and neutral adjudicators must be the criteria [for deciding who is right].

Question 4: Can resorting to "preserving the political system has the highest priority," which only provides justification for violating the legitimate rights of the people and ignoring moral principles, be considered honest? Can the excuse of "it is expedient for the political system" be used to avoid carrying out justice, which has been a distinct characteristic of Shiism throughout history? If some officials confuse the expedience of the political system with their own, and insist on their mistake, what is the religious duty of the pious people [toward them]?

Answer: Preserving the political system is not by itself an issue, particularly when the system becomes the same as a person [who rules the system and the people]. When it is said that preserving the political system has the highest priority, we mean that system that is a tool for setting up a just society in which the religious and reasonable duties of the people can be carried out. Thus, resorting to "preserving the political system has the highest priority," in order to justify what the officials do, and presenting to others what they do as just, are not allowed. If this is done due to being uninformed, then, it can be addressed using the principle of preaching good deeds and avoiding sin. On the other hand, it is clear that committing unjust acts and against Islam cannot preserve and reinforce an Islamic system, because the principle of needing an [Islamic] political system is based on the need for carrying out justice and preserving the rights of the people or, in one sentence, carrying the Islamic principles. So, how can one think that by resorting to force, injustice, and un-Islamic acts the Islamic system is preserved and reinforced?

A political system based on force, oppression, changing people's votes, killing, closure [of organs of civil society], arresting [people] and using Stalinist and medieval torture, creating repression, censorship of newspapers, interruption of the means of mass communications, jailing the enlightened and the elite of society for false reasons, and forcing them to make false confessions in jail, is condemned and illegitimate. And, according to the teachings of the Prophet and his descendants confessions in jail have no religious or legal validity and cannot be the criterion for action [against the confessor].

The courageous people of Iran are also aware of such confessions -- the examples of which can be found in the history of communist and fascist regimes -- and are aware that such confessions and fake television interviews are extracted from their jailed children under duress and torture, in order to hide the oppression and injustice, and in order to present a distorted image of the peaceful and lawful protests of the people. The [government] officials who are responsible for such acts must be aware that such acts are sinful, and are punishable both religiously and by law. Iran belongs to the people, not to you and me, and they make the decisions, and the officials are their servants. People must be able to gather peacefully, and defend their rights both in writing and orally. When the Shah heard people's revolutionary voice [in November 1978], it was too late. It is hoped that the officials will not allow the same situation to develop again, by being as flexible as possible about the people's demands.

Question 5: Under what conditions does the Faghih [the Supreme Leader] lose his qualifications [for continuing as the Supreme Leader], and what are the duties of the maraaje' taghlid [sources of emulation] and the people with regard to this issue?

Answer: Injustice is the intentional opposition to the teachings of religion, the foundations of reasonableness, and rationality, and the national accords and consensus that have become the laws of the land. The ruler who opposes these is no longer qualified to rule. Recognizing this is first and foremost the duty of the learned people who know the teachings and rulings of religion and are independent of the political system, as well as by intellectual and legal scholars who are completely familiar with the laws as well as the Islamic teachings and rulings, and are familiar with the solid evidence of the ruler being opposed to the teachings of the religions, reasonableness, and rationality, with the condition that they are independent of the political system. Next, it [recognizing the disqualification of the ruler] is done by the common people who are familiar with the Islamic rulings and the laws, and feel the opposition of the ruler in their own daily lives.

Thus, in summary, the fairness or injustice of the rulers is something whose effect in society is clear and not masked. Everyone is responsible for [opposition to] injustice and neglect of people's rights [by the officials] according to their knowledge, and must also inform others about it, and by considering the existing conditions and according to the principle of preaching the good deed and avoiding sin, present a solution [to the problem that the society is grappling with]. It is impossible and not believable to think that a person is supportive of justice, but does not take a step in materializing it, or be afraid of doing so, or use lack of power as an excuse for inaction. Being afraid of God's creation is being against God. The lives of our innocent Imams were dedicated to social justice. Had they spent their lives only for Islamic teachings regarding individuals [and not the society], they would not have been oppressed, jailed, under surveillance, and finally killed. God expects the learned people, especially those who are informed about the religion, not to be silent about oppression. Of course, taking action [against oppression] entails paying a heavy price, but will also be rewarded greatly [by God].

It is clear that Grand Ayatollah Montazeri considers the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as being unqualified and illegitimate, due to what he considers as oppression, use of force, silencing and jailing the opposition, and other acts by him. Given the authority and significance of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, and the immense respect that he enjoys among the population and in Shiite Islam, these Fatwas are bound to greatly influence the thinking of other ayatollahs.

Dr. Kadivar likens Grand Ayatollah Montazeri's Fatwas to the historical Fatwa of Akhnound Mollaa Mohammad Kazem Khorasani, an important religious figure of his era, during the Constitutional Revolution [1905-1908] against the dictatorship of Mohammad Ali Shah, and the Fatwa of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during the Islamic Revolution against the dictatorship of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

*The other top source of emulation is Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Iraq.
Copyright (c) 2009 Tehran Bureau

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How far does Ayatollah Montazeri's influence extend among the Iranian devout? How does his clout compare to Mesbah Yazdi's in the general (religious) population? After this bold fatwa, is it more likely that other senior clerics will speak out against Khamenei, specifically?

Mani / July 12, 2009 2:02 PM

Wise councle indeed. If this man were the face of Islam that was presented to western society, the world would be a much safer and more respectful place - Islam would take its rightful place in the minds of westerners as a force for peace and justice in the world. One of the greatest potential outcomes of the current troubles may be a renewed respect for Islam. Let us at least pray such.

Chester / July 12, 2009 2:59 PM

Dear Mani:

You ask a good question. Mesbah Yazdi's influence is limited to the ultra-right and reactionaries, and some in the armed forces. Grand Ayatollah Montazeri's influence is far beyond the devout. Due to his courageous opposition to the murder of the political prisoners in 1988, and his opposition to oppression and repression afterwards, he is greatly respected even by the secular opposition, as well as the common people who, we should keep in mind, are still very religious.

Muhammad Sahimi / July 12, 2009 3:08 PM

It is simply not possible for any religious government or theocracy to be just, no matter how wise or fair individual clerics may be. Ask any Bahai in Iran. We in the West learned this crucial lesson in our Middle Ages. Only a secular government has even the potential to provide equal justice under law to all persons, regardless of faith. That is why religion is separate from government in all socially advanced societies. Montazeri's fatwa is interesting, and may be helpful to the Green movement, but eventual freedom in Iran or anywhere else will not happen under any kind of religious government.

Forrest Covington / July 12, 2009 3:44 PM

It seems as if nearly a third of the living Grand Ayatollahs have made strong statements against the government's handling of the election -- Here's a list: http://b3ndix.blogspot.com/

I thought the regime would evaporate in the face of this kind of opposition -- but the Supreme Leader is still there. Can he last? Can the Supreme Leader successfully transition Iran from a theocracy with some democracy to a simple military dictatorship? Have Iranian regimes like the Qajar or Pahlavi Shahs faced and survived for extended periods outspoken opposition from Grand Ayatollahs?

Bendix Anderson / July 12, 2009 4:29 PM

His Holiness Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri is a true believer and is rightfully the highest Shia ranking member in Islam. I pertain the highest regards for this man and I only wish that he had taken his rightful place as the Supreme Leader however, through treachery, Khamenei stole his place. His calls for a secular society has and will always be supported by a large portion of the devout that follow Shia Islam. May the Almighty watch over him.

Shahin Khourdepaz / July 12, 2009 6:51 PM

This is very interesting, indeed. Will this be published in the newspapers of somewhere where everyone can see it? I have heard that some people living in more rural areas where only government TV is available, they are referring to the peaceful protesters as "rioters".

Lisa W. / July 12, 2009 6:53 PM

A purely secular government with true separation of church (mosque) and state is the only way for freedom.

JasonM / July 12, 2009 7:00 PM

I am not a muslim, but I can see, if Montazeri had become the Supreme Leader, it might have worked. There is a need, apparently, for islamic government in the middle east, so every effort should be made to encourage the thoughtful and peaceful Ayatollahs. There is no basis in saying that only one form of government can be free, or that only one kind of government will work for the betterment of its people. Seeing that this is so, we must encourage any form of government that seeks peaceful relations and governance as a service to the people.

Unfortunately, I fear that the Iranian government has gone so far over that now it really is an indictment on the entire idea of an Islamic Republic. That is sad, because what has happened to the government of Iran is not even about religion it is corruption, fascism, and abuse of power by the few, which can happen in any form of government not just religiously based. If we allow it to indict Islam or the idea of a peaceful Islamic-based government, we encourage the continued divisions within world populations.

DellaRae / July 12, 2009 7:27 PM

Montazeri is nobody - he is just bitter about not being Rahbar himself.

Iran would be much better if people respected Ayatollah Khamenei more and stopped trying to put pressure on him - let the Leader do his job!

Delaram / July 12, 2009 9:01 PM

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popurls.com // popular today / July 12, 2009 9:29 PM

Hopefully these bold statements will have impact. Maybe others will begin to speak out and force the Khamenei to end the brutal crackdown on the protestors. Seems the only solution to this mess is to have a runoff election. Why is this so difficult for Khamenei to accept? If Ahmadinejad won before he will win again and the protestors will have to accept the results -- granted the polling is done fairly and monitored.

Bob / July 12, 2009 9:31 PM

It's likely that if there was a re-election, Ahmadinejad would not win again...

... because his regime has lost a tremendous amount of credibility after the brutality it is responsible for.

S.R. / July 12, 2009 10:38 PM

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried."

Sir Winston Churchill / July 13, 2009 12:19 AM

"Islam would take its rightful place in the minds of westerners as a force for peace and justice in the world."

I'm afraid that over the past few years, we have completely lost any respect we once had for Islam.

"It's likely that if there was a re-election, Ahmadinejad would not win again?"

It is likely that the election four years ago was rigged, it is obvious that this one was rigged, and it is certain that the next one will be rigged. The next step will probably be a referendum to allow Ahmedinejad to be President for life.

Don Cox / July 13, 2009 6:42 AM

How can we give full credibility to these translated letters when the original document is not provided?

The source document or a image scan of it should be provided.

ANDY / July 13, 2009 6:43 AM

I am not an Iranian nor a Muslim but I admire the wisdom of your Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. I wish he will longer to see what he envisioned Iran to be. What a great man!

Khamenei? He's garbage. Now I knew why there is only a handful who follow this so called Supreme Leader, Ahmadinejad, the boot-licking hardline Ayatollahs, and few others who love to cling to power.

Now is the time for real change. To the majority of Iranians, I would say you are not alone.

shetty / July 13, 2009 7:54 AM

http://www.khandaniha.eu/ in farsi

Shr_Nfr / July 13, 2009 9:41 AM

While an important statement, there is little hope that the fatwa will materialize into anything. First, because Grand Ayatollah Montazeri's influence spans over the truly religious, and the reformists. This would be the same group who has opposed the regime for 30 years. The other point to consider is that the current regime only operates as an Islamic state, but is by definition anything but. In addition, those who support the common regime do so because they believe in the "revolution" not because they are devoted Muslims. Of course they religion plays an ancillary role in things, but as anyone can see here Islam and the peaceful teaching of the Quran have little influence over the actions of the current regime. It is no wonder since Khamenei is not even a real Ayatollah. It's no secret that his documentation was "advanced" so he could take position as supreme leader, and that many of the clerics believe he is not qualified for the position as he does not understand the true teaching of the Islam.

The bottom line is that this regime, it's leaders and followers are heavily entrenched. Furthermore they realize that they are not welcomed in any other society. This means they have no options but to stay in Iran. They will not let go of their grip easily (like a tiger backed into a corner). They will fight to the last drop because they have nothing else. And even if they do lose their grip, we can rest assured that they will torch Iran before leaving so that no one can have the country.

Daryoosh / July 13, 2009 12:16 PM

Daryoosh's comment points out why the world could use an international "deposed leader's retirement protocol". This would be an arrangement where if a leader and top cronies give up power peacefully, they are guaranteed estates and protection for the rest of their lives, subject to certain conditions about communicating with their home country. Why would the world (or some group of countries) want to shoulder these costs? Because the social, military and economic savings are far greater than the costs of housing these guys.

Some wealthy leaders could pay a lot of their own way, but enjoy an amount of high regard for having taken the deal.

Powerful leaders are addicted to power, to be sure. The deal would have to be sweet enough to get them to take it, if their particular regime appears about to be toppled.

It remains to be seen whether Khamenei's and other's positions will erode enough to make them candidates for such a program, but there's a chance.

Masnan / July 13, 2009 4:38 PM

This whole "Islamic" theocracy - The "Islamic" Republic - is illegal, anti-Islamic, and illegitimate, and it has been so ever since its foundation, based on lies, falsehoods, deceit and crimes! Margbar jomhooriye "Eslami"!

Shahram / July 13, 2009 6:38 PM

As the whole world watches in horror at the scenes of savage brutality shown against the Iranian people by its own government most of whom are all young (merely children). For a westerner, like me, it isn't very easy to understand the way the power in Iran is divided. Certainly the world over 'vote rigging' at elections is widespread throughout history and civilization, even within living memory in the USA and UK, but then I don't believe that this is merely about voting anymore.

When any government turns its wrath against its own people then humanity as a whole has a right to comment and demand change/action.

Seeing this violence enter our living rooms at home, knowing that our own children have seen these scenes on their computers gives us the right to intervene, to shout, to turn green, but personally I believe most importantly on a humanitarian scale the world should be screaming save the children of Iran. It is not political, it is not meddling but it is being a human being.

The protesters in Iran have through their mobile phones already revolutionized the way history is recorded; no longer are the history books written by the victors of battles but recorded in time much like the picture image changed the world during the second world war by the people standing on the actual streets where the conflict rages. There can be no longer denials after the events by the cruel and callous who have committed such evil crimes against humanity.

Intellectuals have become the enemy of the government, people who can think and see (in their opinion) that Iran has been an oppressed country for years, they advocate change and it is this change that is a threat to the people in power. They are able to educate (rightly or wrongly) their readers, informing them of all the choices the people have. Change and choose are taboo in circumstances of oppression. The whole informed world are Iranian at this point in history and the children (in the main) that are being brutally murdered are as our children. The children detained that are being shamefully tortured are as our children. And the children beaten with clubs and bars, stabbed, axed, gassed, hanged and worse are as our children. Most of the informed world is standing side by side with the Iranian people for the restrictions of boundaries and cultures are lifted during Iran's struggle for peace and the only colour in our mind and hearts is green.

There is no salvation for humanity if we fail to protect and safeguard our children

During such torrid times the greatest of leaders emerge, individuals graced with strength and courage, individuals touched divinely by God to teach all sides understanding and compassion. Today one such man has appeared (to the western world at least, but perhaps he was already in the mind to Islam) and that is Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. His brave words can hopefully save the children and people of Iran, save the souls of the strong in Iran and save a nation from grieving for their loss during this troubled time both sides are facing. Grand Ayatollah Montazeri and others who despite great danger (at least that is the impression given to a westerner) stands aloft on the same platform as individuals like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King who stood up for the whole of mankind. Grand Ayatollah Montazeri is today recognized as a revered religious figure in the western world, a man capable to teaching the words of God to mankind.

Tony / July 13, 2009 6:59 PM

How will Khamenei react?

Eduardo / July 13, 2009 7:06 PM

Islam is a symbol of peace, love, equality and kind to hum being no matter which religion they practice. All religion leads to nothing but to ONE GOD.

Brave woman / July 14, 2009 4:31 PM

I think all of you who are defending Islam as a peaceful religion need to take a history lesson. Islam was forced on Iran and other non-muslim countries through military force. No state decided on its own accord to become muslim, they were given the choice of the Koran or the end of a sword after their countries had been taken over.

Yes, there are peaceful passages in the Koran but there are also a lot of hate-filled contradicting passages. Just like all the other fairy tales humans like to call religion.

At any rate, if the past 30 years of Islamic government in Iran have not been a good lesson as to why church and state must be separated, then I don't know what would.

Montazeri's fatwa is important in this time from a motivational standpoint. It may also contribute to changing the minds of some of the less radical figures in the regime. Its effectiveness however remains to be seen as he has been largely marginalized since his fallout with Khomeini.

Maziar / July 16, 2009 5:39 PM

Islam was brought to Iran when Sassanian empire decided to attack the Muslims and vanish them not the other way around.

However the at the same time that Iran was getting conquered by Muslim army so many events were taken place in side Islamic community itself. A careful study of Islam shows that this was done by Muavieyah Abu Sufyan who was stunch enemy of Mohammad (sawa) at early times till the prophet entered Mecca after 23 years of conveying divine Message. It was at this time that Muavieyah and his father embraced Islam.

Those who know the dispute that happens over the death of Mohammad (sawa) divided the Islam in two camps. One of the majority who followed the influential Quraish tribe of Mecca. And the other some very loyal Mohammad followers and his family.

Upon the killing of Imam Ali, the family of prophet known as Alavites would try to propagate the real message of Islam and fight the oppressive government of the time. For this very same reason the Alavites were prosecuted,jailed,imprisoned and killed mercilessly.

This lead to migration of many alavite to Iran and Afghanistan and IndoPakistan subcontinent. As the local people came in contact with these people, they were influenced by their charisma and purity of these people and small areas of this lands convert to shia Islam. This was very different from those who accepted the Islam for not paying taxes.

However the authorities themselves and majority of muslims were those of Ahl Sunnat who advocate the Quraish version of Islam and similar to Other expansionist and opportunists in human history they took advantage of this period and start the looting and plundering of many land that they conquered.

However as the time went by many acetic individual known as Sufis came to existence who while having the religion of Quraish would adhere more to true Quranic Doctrine.

The late Allamah Tabataba'ei a prominant Shia scholar of past century a sage and philosopher thought that: The resentment and hate to ward Islam is because of the Sunni expansionist Mentality in General as it mentioned above.

Mohsen / September 11, 2009 3:41 PM

Dear Mohammad,

Thanks for this really valuable contribution. Would be great if you could mention the actual source of your translation, ie. the original letter with date etc.

Cheers Gav

Gavin / September 29, 2009 7:40 PM

I wonder what Montazeri's position is regarding the plight of Iran's largest religious minority - The Baha'is. These innocent souls who believe in the Oneness of Mankind and who for 160 years have been dedicated to the notion of unity among all peoples, have, throughout successive regimes in Iran been murdered, imprisoned, tortured, extorted, vilified and under the current government systematically stripped of virtually every right that should be afforded each and every citizen. Tha Baha'i Faith which began in Iran in the middle part of the 19th century has spread to every corner of the globe, largely through the errofts of couragous Iranian believers. Even today, seven of the members of the leadership of this gentle community languish in prison, withheld from conference with their own council and awaiting trial on absurdly trumped up charges of espionage (that catch-all indictment of a sordid government seeking to crush anyone with views that it finds run counter to its own).

DH / November 22, 2009 5:52 PM

As a supporter of the Green Revolution since the beginning I wish to give my support and express my thankfullnes to this brave leader, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, of the Iranian people, who have endured great suffering and injustice as the Supreme Leader and Ahmadinejad have held the people of Iran hostage with their destructive and isolationist policies. May you be victorious. The world continues to watch and cheer you on. You are not alone. God bless.

Star Dust / November 23, 2009 3:34 PM

It appears to this American that Iranians are searching for a way to marry democracy - true, just democracy - with Islam. Can this be done?

It seems to me your grand Shiite tradition, as so beautifully exemplified by your Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, allows for this possibility. The highest clerics stand aside from day-to-day politics, but always insist that the people be served by just, decent, reasonable officials, chosen by the people, and that under certain circumstances of bad faith, certain officials must be removed.

Now, there we have a form of democracy at its most enlightened!

May God be with all Iranians who embrace the new cause. Since the days of Cyrus, Iranians have sought true justice. The day is at hand when this 2500 year goal will be achieved. God bless you all. You made it happen with the Shah. You will do it again, and all the world will truly rejoice to see one of the world's greatest peoples, and cultures, triumph in the end.

GG / December 19, 2009 11:23 AM

As a fervent supporter of all revolutions I am sorry to have to observe they invariably turn into dictatorships. Too bad about Montazeri. Iran, and the Islamic world in general, needs what in Europe was called the Enlightenment, a period of rationality, skepticism about religion, especially religious leaders, people have to start doing their own thinking rather than submit to groupthink.

leiito / December 20, 2009 12:56 PM

His Dead was very similar to Death of

Doctor in Kahrizak Prison !!!!!

who is the Murder ?????

Anonymous / December 20, 2009 3:29 PM

I don't think he was murdered. He was quite old. May he rest in peace.

Rob / December 20, 2009 7:46 PM