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Ayatollah Shariatmadari during the monarchy

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In 1963, an event took place that would play an important role in the subsequent history of Iran…

Seyyed Muhammadkazim Shariatmadari, one of the greatest Shia religious scholars of the 20th century, was born in Tabriz in 1905. Religion in his native city, and later in Qom and Najaf education got it. He was an ayatollah in his youth, then a grand ayatollah and a mujtahid.

Sayyid, the greatest mujtahid of Iran in the years after the Second World War Hussein Borujerdi was considered. He is Muhammad Reza he lived with the Shah in a “ceasefire” regime. Ayatollah does not interfere in politics, he did not even condemn the shah’s warm relations with Israel. The Shah also abandoned his father’s strict policy against religion, respected the Ayatollah, and banned entertainment in the month of Muharram.

Borujerdi often political he also forbade his student Ruhullah Khomeini, who tried to express his displeasure, to get involved in politics, and Khomeini followed this ban during his teacher’s lifetime. The great mujtahid died in 1961 and after that Shariatmadari Iran became one of the most influential religious authorities of the Shiites. In general, the greatest mujtahid in the Shiite world is Seyyed Mohsen Tabatabai, an Iraqi. Judge was considered

In 1963, an event took place that would play an important role in the subsequent history of Iran. The Shah announced a program of reforms and changes to be called the “White Revolution”. This step caused serious dissatisfaction of the conservative section. Clergy gave critical speeches. Ruhullah Khomeini compared the Shah to Yazid in his speech in Qum on June 3rd.

In response to this, on the night of June 5, Khomeini, Talaghani and a number of other clerics imprisonment was done. In the morning, the population responded to this with street protests that would take place in the “15 Khordad Uprising” (Khordad is a month in the Hijri-Shamsi calendar used in Iran, covering the days of May 22 – June 21). Government in Tehran and Shiraz military declared a state of emergency, as a result of the shooting, 86 people were killed according to government sources, and up to 400 according to opponents perished it happened

According to the Iranian constitution adopted in 1906, the mujtahid had immunity before the royal court. Khomeini and Talaghani were ordinary ayatollahs (the fact that Khomeini was older than Shariatmadari but still not a mujtahid indicates that the latter had a greater religious influence) and therefore remained in prison. At that time, Khomeini’s situation was more serious, because he could face the death penalty for insulting the Shah.

Shariatmadari, trying to save Khomeini from death, turns to two more great ayatollahs for help – Mahammadreza Gulpeigani and Mohammadhadi Milani (the latter, like Shariatmadari, was an Azerbaijani). With the fatwa issued by the three grand ayatollahs on August 5, Khomeini was recognized as marjei-taqlid. As a result, Khomeini was released from prison, but he was exiled from the country a year later for continuing his critical speeches.

Over the next 14 years, discontent and resistance in Iran did not stop, but it subsided considerably. After the death of Tabatabai Hakim in 1970, Shariatmadari became the most influential religious authority of the Shia world. Among those who imitated him, in addition to Iranians, there were Shiites living in India, Pakistan, Lebanon and other countries.

Like Borujerdi, Sharatmadari was not strictly conservative and had certain progressive views. However, he is as good as his master political He was not silent on the issues. For example, in October 1962, the government announced new local elections law Shariatmadari “Iran Shah’s “White Revolution” for the reasons I indicated in my article protest had done

Shariatmadari believed that Islam should take into account the changes and scientific and technical progress of the 13 centuries since its revelation and adapt to it. Political according to his views, he was a supporter of constitutional monarchy. During these years, he headed the Center for Islamic Studies and the Center for Islamic Propaganda. Shariatmadari also had warm relations with the progressive leader of the Lebanese Shiites, Moussa Sadr.


On January 7, 1978, in “Ettelaat” newspaper, “Iran and red-black colonialism” was published. The article with a fake author’s signature contained ideas such as Khomeini’s youthful life full of luxury and collaboration with imperialists and communists.

The article caused great outrage. On January 8-9, madrasa students held demonstrations in Qum, the religious center of the country. On the second day of protests, students attacked a number of facilities. As a result of the shooting by the police, according to official information, 2 people were killed, and according to the opposition, 70 people were killed, and more than 500 people were injured.

After this incident, the protests stopped and it could be assumed that everything was over. But in Sand perished 40 people of Tabriz at the call of Shariatmadari on the day of the ceremony action spent May the Ayatollah rest in peace protest despite the recommendation, here too the police stations, judge to the Rastakiz Party office, hotels, bank buildings, cinemas and bars were set on fire. It is claimed that the slogan “Death to the King” was chanted for the first time in Tabriz. As a result of the fire opened by the army, 6 people were killed according to the authorities, and more than a hundred people were killed according to the opposition.

Seyyed Muhammadkazim Shariatmadari and Ruhullah Khomeini. Source: “radiofarda.com”

Thus, the basis of the tactic that will be called “Arbein (fortieth day) protests” was laid in Tabriz at the initiative of Shariatmadari. On March 29, the Iranian opposition celebrated the 40th ceremony of Tabriz victims. In this regard, in 55 large and small cities of the country protest actions were held. This time blood was shed in the city of Yazd. On May 9, protests were already held in connection with the 40th commemoration day of Yazd victims. It turned into a riot again in Tehran, Qum and some other places. They were killed again.

The events that took place in the sand had another memorable shade. Two protesters were chased by security officers and shot in the yard while trying to find shelter in Shariatmadari’s house. However, according to Iranian traditions, the house of mujtahids was considered inviolable. For this reason, the event caused great resonance. Shariatmadari, who usually takes a moderate position, criticized the government for the first time in a sharp statement. The authorities apologized to the Ayatollah.


During this period, there were three clerics who played a key role in the revolutionary camp: Khomeini, Shariatmadari and Talaghani. The latter was a rank-and-file ayatollah, not a grand ayatollah and a mujtahid, but he had great influence not only among the religious, but also among other groups, as well as among the members of the left-wing mujahideen-e people’s organization.

Among them, Shariatmadari was distinguished by his more moderate views. “Azerbaijan and the movement of Shariatmadari supporters” Mashallah Razmi interprets it as “Shariatmadari followed the path of Imam Hasan, with peace and order, and Khomeini followed the path of Imam Hussein, with jungle and blood.”

After a certain lull in the summer of 1979, the revolutionary movement picked up momentum again in late August. Events took an irreversible turn after the “black Friday” on September 8, when the demonstration in Jala square in Tehran was shot by the army and 88 people were killed.

1906 constitution of parliament and provided for the establishment of a religious control council composed of clerics to check whether the decisions and laws passed by the government are in accordance with Sharia. This Shura, which was active for a while, was the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty Reza by Shah in the 1930s cancellation was done.

Now, in the fall of 1978, the Shah, who wanted to suppress the protests with certain concessions, agreed to restore the Council of five clerics, and the leadership of the institution was given to Shariatmadari. offer did He hoped by this to create a schism among the dissenting clergy. But Shariatmadari did not accept the offer.

With the arrival of the month of Muharram on December 2, the protests intensified. It is estimated that 2 million people participated in the peaceful procession in Tehran on the day of Ashura. A king liberal who resorted to last resort to save the situation National Shapur Bakhtiyari, one of the leaders of the front, on January 4, 1979 Prime Minister appointed, and he left the country on the 16th of the month.

The resulting situation was in accordance with Shariatmadari’s political views. Although he was in favor of a constitutional monarchy, he was not against a democratic republic in the end. But Khomeini, who returned to the country on February 1, certainly did not think so. Shariatmadari sent a letter to Tehran on February 4, congratulating Khomeini on his return to his homeland. Ahead of these two Mujtahids, a confrontation awaited.



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