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Sayyid ʻIz al-Dīn Ḥosaynī Zanjānī

Place of birth: Zanjan – Iran
Place of Demise: Mashhad – Iran
Born and Upbringing
Ayatullah Zanjani was born in Zanjan (the city of learned people) in 1921 in a family known for its knowledge and fiqh. His father the late Ayatullah Uzma Mirza Mahmood Husayni Zanjani was one of the eminent and well known faqihs of that time, while his late mother was the daughter of shakhul Islam Zanjani (a famous scholar of Zanjan, who compiled many books in theology).
Ayatullah Zanjani’s great grandfather was the late Ayatullah Haj Sayyid Muhammad Mujtahid, a well known faqih and revolutionary of his era, who struggled against the misguided sect of Babiyyah. Bab Mulla Muhammad Ali was assassinated according to Sayyid Muhammad Mujtahid’s fatwa which resulted the end of this corrupt sect’s activity.
Religious Education
Ayatullah Zanjani learned the introductory lessons and the Sat-h stage, a great part of the book “al-Makaasib” and a part of Kifayeh and Taharah of Shaykh Ansari in the Hawzah of Zanjan from his eminent father, the late Ayatullah shaykh Husayn Deen Muhammadi, and shaykh Abdul Kareem (a student of the late Akhoond Khuraasaani, the author of Kifayeh). In the same, Ayatullah Zanjani was passing the primary and intermediate schools where he spent 8 years in Sa`adat, and Ittihadiyah schools.
Emigration to Qom
When he became 21 years old, he migrated to Qom and joined the Seminiray there. He began attending the lectures of Ayatullah Uzma Sayyid Muhammad Hujjat Kooh Kamara’I on Fiqh and Usool, in the same time, he was attending the lessons of Ayatullah Uzma Sadr on Usool. When Ayatullah Uzma Boroujerdi resided in Qom, Ayatullah Zanjani could benefit from his lessons on Fiqh and Usool, and also from the lessons of the late Ayatullah Uzma Sayyid Ahmad Khansari on Usool, and the late Ayatullah Uzma Imam Khumayni (the founder of the Islamic republic) until he reached high levels of knowledge and became a mujtahid. Ayatullah Zanjani studied the book called “al-Hikmah al-Muta`aliyah” with the eminent expositor and philosopher, the late allamah professor Tabataba’I, the late Ayatullah Uzma Imam Khumayni (the founder of the Islamic republic), and the well known philosopher and mujtahid shaykh Mahdi Mazandarani, and he could get the utmost benefit from those unique masters. Ayatullah Zanjani was for many times eulogized by his masters, especially allamah Tabataba’I who declared in his last interview on the TV that Ayatullah Zanjani is one of five trusted persons in Islamic philosophy.
Emigration to Najaf
After spending fair period of time in Qom, especially in its Hawzah Ilmiyyah, Ayatullah Zanjani decided to go for a trip to the holy shrine of Imam Ali (s.a.) in Najaf, and Abu Abdillah al-Husayn (s.a.) in Kerbala. He dwelt there for a certain period of time in which he could benefit from the lessons of great masters such as Ayatullah Uzma Sayyid Abil Hadi Shirazi, Ayatullah Hakeem, Ayatullah Uzma Kho’e.
Return to Iran
But unfortunately, he was obliged to return to Iran when he heard about his father’s sickness. His father then ordered him to manage the school and Masjid of Sayyid Zanjan and begin teaching.
Ayatullah Zanjani could get many licenses from his masters in Ijtihad, and when he returned from Najaf Ashraf and resided in his place of birth, he began to teach intellectual and traditional sciences, Irfan (gnosis), tafseer, guiding, struggling against corruption and misguidance especially among the youth.
Ayatullah Zanjani could strengthen the situation of Hawzah Ilmiyyah of Zanjan (which has been established and known many years before the Hawzah of Qom) with the assistance of many eminent scholars and marji`s of Najaf Ashraf and Zanjan during his last trip to this city in 1968. At that time, fair and enough monthly salary was being paid to the Hawzah’s students.
Exile to Mashhad 
When he was compulsorily exiled to Mashhad in 1974, he started to teach fiqh, Usool, tafseer, philosophy, ethics, and Islamic Irfan. Many university professors, students and young people could benefit from his knowledge.
He passed away on May 14, 2013 at age 92 in Masshad and buried in holy shrine of Imam reza (P.B.U.H)
He has many published works in persian. some of his works:

1- Speaking about Hazrat Zahra’s (s.a.) personality.
2- Commentaries on Hazrat Zahra’s (s.a.) oration.
3- The criterion of polytheism in the viewpoint of the Holy Qur’an.

A Glance over the Life of Ayatollah Husseini Zanjani

He was a peerless jurist and philosopher in great Khorasan whose expertise quenched scholars’ thirst for knowledge in the field of philosophy and rational sciences.

Ayatollah hajj Sayyid Muhammad ‘Izz al-Din Husseini Moosavi Mujtahid Zanjani was born in 1921 in a learned family of Zanjan.

His father Ayatollah Mirza Mahmoud Husseini Zanjani was one of the outstanding Iranian clergies. His father trained many great scholars including: Ayatollah Sayyid ‘Izz al-Din Husseini Zanjani, departed Ayatollah Sayyid Mahmoud Taliqani, departed professor Reza Roozbeh Zanjani, and Ayatollah Sayyid Hujjat Hashimi Khorasani.


He learned primary seminary course from his father, then he continued its high level under the great scholars from Qum, such as: Sayyid Muhammad Hujjat Kooh Kamari, Sayyid Sadr al-Din Sadr, Sayyid Ahmad Khansari, and Mirza Razi Zanuzi Tabrizi; As well as the scholars from Najaf, like: Sayyid ‘Abd al-Hadi Shirazi, Sayyid Abu al-Qasim Khu’i, and Sayyid Muhsin Hakim. He also learned Transcendentalism from Imam Khomeini, ‘Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Hussein Tbatba’i Tabrizi, and Ayatollah Sheikh Mehdi Mazandarani.

Political Activities

Ayatollah Sayyid ‘Izz al-Din Husseini Zanjani joined to Imam Khomani’s movement since 1963, delivering strongly critical lectures against dominant regime and tyrannical laws. Eventually he was prisoned along with some other personages and clergies for a while.

After Islamic revolution, He was appointed by Imam Khomeini as a Friday prayer imam at the city of Zanjan. Later, he came back to Mashhad and continued his scientific activities beside the holy shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.).


He was teaching for more than 30 years in seminary of Mashhad. He trained many students through teaching khārij-e fiqh wa usūl (high level of teaching seminary lecture not based on reading textbooks), Qur’an commentary, theology, beliefs, and philosophy.

Emphasis on Teaching Philosophy and Rational Sciences

He was among the few imitated authorities of the present time who, beside jurisprudence, usūl (jurisprudential principles), and exegesis; was an specialist in mysticism and philosophy. He was fully knowledgeable about rational sciences. He put considerable importance on the courses of beliefs, philosophy, and Qur’an commentary.

There were many persons from European countries who met him when he was living in Mashhad. Every year many people came from France and Germany to enjoy his expertise in philosophy and mysticism.

Authority of Imitation

Ayatollah Zanjani, through appealing some devout people of Zanjan, published his practical treatise in 1975 under the title of Jāmi‘ al-Aḥkām in the holy city of Mashhad.


Some of his compilations are as follows:

Risāleh-e Jāmi‘ al-Aḥkām, Risāleh-e Tawḍīḥ al-Masā’il, Muntakhab-e Tawḍīḥ al-Masā’il, Manāsik Ḥaj wa ‘Umreh-e Mufradeh, Sharḥ-e Khuṭbeh-e Ḥaḍrat Zahra (A.S.), Ḥikmat-e Fāṭimī, Tafsīr-e Sūreh-e Mubārakeh Ḥamd, Rāh-e Rastigārī, Justārī dar Bāb-e Islam wa Īmān, Muṭāriḥāt Ḥawl Mi‘yār al-Shirk fī al-Qur‘ān, Mi‘yār-e Shirk dar Qur‘ān, Sharḥ-e Ziyārat-e Āshūrā, and 110 Pursish wa Pāsukh.

Some Scientific and Moral Characteristics

He was very courteous, kind, companionable, modest, open-faced, and forbearing. He used to answer the questions of youth precisely and very patiently; therefore university and seminary students mostly preferred him to ask their questions.

He was enthusiastic about mourning meetings for Imam Hussein (A.S.), and venerating Imam’s symbols, to the extent that he has held weekly mourning meetings for Imam Hussein (A.S.) in his house at Mashhad for more than 35 years.

Ayatollah Husseini Zanjani, from Others Point of View

Departed Ayatollah Sayyed Muhammad Hadi Milani, in the letters that have written to Ayatollah Zanjani, has addressed him by the titles like: “the body and soul of goodness”,” … of the world”, “assistant of Islam”, and “learned”.

Departed ‘Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Hussein Tbatba’i, in his last TV interview, responding the question that which one of your students was your special disciple who could be considered reliable in the field of Islamic philosophy; at first mentioned the name of martyr Murtaza Mutahhari, and then mentioned Ayatollah Husseini Zanjani by the title of “imam Zanjani”.

Ayatollah Sheikh Ali Falsafi, the disciple of Ayatollah Khu’i, in a meeting called him “the most learned among the scholars of the city”.

Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Hussein Husseini Tihrani, in his writing about ‘Allamah Tbatba’i, says: “dear veracious, Ayatollah hajj Sayyid ‘Izz al-Din Zanjani is a person whose deeds suit with his knowledge. He uses both rational and narrated knowledge. He is an interpreter of Qur’an, expert in practical and philosophical discussions, God’s devout servant, and endowed with pleasant nature. He is one of the objects of pride in Islam.

About Alireza Mosaddeq

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