What is ayatollah?

  • (noun): A high-ranking Shiite religious leader who is regarded as an authority on religious law and its interpretation and who has political power as well.


Ayatollah ( /aɪəˈtɒlə/ or /aɪəˈtoʊlə/; Persian: آيت‌الله‎ ayatollah from Arabic: آية الله‎, āyatu allah "Sign of Allah") is a high ranking title given to Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah clerics. Those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies such as jurisprudence, ethics, and philosophy and usually teach in Islamic seminaries. The next lower clerical rank is Hojatoleslam wal-muslemin.

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Some articles on ayatollah:

Grand Ayatollah
... Only a few of the most important ayatollah are accorded the rank of Grand Ayatollah (Ayatollah Uzma, "Great Sign of God") ... This usually happens when the followers of one of the ayatollahs refer to him in many situations and ask him to publish his Juristic book in which he answers the vast majority of daily Muslim ... Currently there are five grand ayatollahs in Najaf, Iraq, center of the Iraqi Shi'i seminaries or Hawzas the most senior is Ali al-Sistani ...
Ali Davani - Activities
... religious magazine of Maktab-e Islam, with teamwork of Ayatollah's Makārem Shirazi, Sobhani, Imam Musā Sadr, Musavi Ardabili, Seyed Mortezā Jazāyeri, late Majdoddin Mahallāti, Wa'ez-Zādeh and Noori ... Writing the book of Ayatollah Vahid Behbahāni's Biography which was encouraged by Ayatollah Borujerdi ... Anvār in Persian about Imam Mahdi, at the behest of Ayatollah Borujerdi which entitled The Promised Mahdi… In order to disseminate the religious ...
Aqa Bozorg Tehrani
... Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammed Hassan Razi popularly known as Aqa Bozorg Tehrani (Persian آقا بزرگ تهرانی‎) (b ... He was the teacher of Grand Ayatollah Ali Hussaini Sistani, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Hussain Najafi, and many others ...
Society Of Seminary Teachers Of Qom
... the regime's registrar of who counts as a marja', a grand ayatollah, an ayatollah and a hojjatoleslam ... prominence when it announced in 1981 that Ayatollah Shariatmadati was no longer a source of emulation (marja') ... A recent case was that of Ayatollah Yousef Saanei who for his solidarity with the green movement was demoted from marja' to hojjatoleslam ...
Society Of Seminary Teachers Of Qom - Activities
... In 1963 the Society declared Ayatollah Khomeini as marja ... In 1994, after the death of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Araki, the Society nominated seven of the Ulama as his succeeders to be Marja' including Ayatollah Khamenei ...

Famous quotes containing the word ayatollah:

    During my administration the most unpleasant and perhaps most dramatic negotiations in which we participated were with the various leaders of Iran after the seizure of American hostages in November 1979. The Algerians were finally chosen as the only intermediaries who were considered trustworthy both by me and the Ayatollah Khomeini. After many aborted efforts, final success was achieved during my last few hours in the White House.
    Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr.)