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Analysis of Imam Khomeini’s Proofs for Al-Wilaya al-Mutlaqa (Comprehensive Authority)

Based on the traditions discussed here, Ayatollah Khomeini asserts with certitude that all the power and authority (al-wilaya al-mutlaqa) that was vested in the Prophet and the infallible Imams now devolves upon the ulama.

One of the salient features of the Twelver Shi’i creed is the doctrine of the Imamate. This doctrine maintains that there was an explicit designation (nass) of ‘Alt by Muhammad and that the line of Imams continued in a definite individual from among the descendants of Ali and Fatima, with designation of the next Imam by the preceding one until it reached the Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi—a prerogative bestowed by God on a chosen person to act as the protector and expositor of the divine teachings until the end of time. It is incumbent upon God to appoint an Imam because such an appointment is an expression of His Grace (lutf)—and a process by which a human being is attracted to obey God and to desist from disobeying Him. Without an Imam, the Shi’is assert, the world could not continue to exist. Thus, the earth can never be void of a proof (hujja) of God lest the people have a reason to protest on the day of judgment that they were left without a guide (Imam) and as a result strayed from the divine teachings.[1]

The Imam acquires legitimacy through a process of designation (nass) from the preceding Imam and not by public acknowledgment. As long as the Imam was present, the Shiʻis were to have recourse to him to resolve their disputes and problems. However, the commencement of the major occultation (al-ghayba al-kura) of the Twelfth Shiʻi Imam posed a serious question for the Imamite community: Upon whom should the authority of the Imam devolve after the end of special deputyship (260/874-329/941), which terminated with the death of the fourth agent Abu al-Hasan Muhammad al-Samari in C.E. 941?

The prolonged occultation of the Twelfth Imam forced the jurists to delineate the scope of authority vested in them as indirect deputies of the Imam (na’ib al-lmam). The ulama arrogated to themselves certain limited authority of the concealed Imam, pending his return, by virtue of tradition reports that invested them with the role of elucidating the teachings of Islam, resolving disputes, and finding solutions to novel problems confronted by the Shi’i community. This claim to authority is evidenced in their discussions of issues dealing with qada’, hisba, jihad, khums, and trusteeship over one who has no trustee (wali man la wali lah). Thus, in general, the ulama have subscribed to the concept of wilayat al-faqih, however, in its restricted sense (al-wilaya al-khassa). What is novel in Mulla Ahmad al-Naraqi’s (d. 1245/1830) and Ayatollah Khomeini’s (d. 1409/ 1989) expositions of this concept is their widening of the scope of authority of the jurists to become identical with that of the Prophet and the infallible Imam during his absence. These opinions deviate from the general view held by the jurists that since they lacked the quality of ‘isma (infallibility), assumption of the total authority of the Imams was not possible: “The ulama indeed lacked the essential qualification on which the comprehensive authority of the Imams rested: their infallibility.”[2]

Ayatollah Khomeini’s claims for the notion of al-Wiilaya al-mutlaqa primarily rest on tradition reports and the key term ulu al-amr, from which he extrapolates arguments and interprets them in favor of the jurist’s right to assume the all-comprehensive authority of the Prophet and the Imams. This essay examines the proofs advanced by Khomeini in the light of other Islamic sciences, such as ʻilm al-hadith and ʻilm al-rijal, to test their validity, along with competing and counter arguments of others on this issue. In general, the tradition reports put forth by Ayatollah Khomeini suffer from weak chains of transmission (isnad), and the meanings he imposes on the text (matn) of the hadith are not consistent with the way they were understood by earlier jurists.

First Proof

The first tradition cited by Ayatollah Khomeini in expounding the concept of al-wilaya al-mutlaqa is as follows:

The Prophet said: “O God! Have mercy on those that succeed me (khulafa’i). He repeated this twice and was then asked: “O Messenger of God, who are those that succeed you?” He replied: “They are those that come after me, transmit my traditions and practice, and teach them to the people after me.”[3]

Shaykh Saduq has narrated the above tradition through five chains of transmission (isnad) with variations at the end of the hadith. In one instance, the last part of the tradition, “and teach them to the people after me,” is totally omitted, and in another instance it is replaced by “and teach them.” Another version states that “they are my friends in paradise.”[4] What is crucial to Ayatollah Khomeini is the last part of the hadith, “and teach them to the people after me,” since it has implications for the nature and scope of the jurists’ authority: to substantiate that their role extends beyond just narrating traditions to guide the masses. As a result, he conjectures that either the copyist inadvertently dropped the last part of the hadith or it was omitted by Shaykh Saduq or that they were altogether different traditions. However, these assumptions are contrary to the established rules in ‘ilm al-hadith and he acknowledges this (khilaf al-asl).[5]

The other deficiency in this tradition is that it is regarded as mursal—that is, its authenticity and veracity are not complete because there is a flaw in the chain of transmission. Mursal, as defined by the Imamite jurists, is a tradition whose chain of transmission goes only as far back as the “followers” (tabi’i) of the Prophet. Thus, there is a break in the chain of transmission with one or more persons (rajul) missing. Among the Imamite jurists who unquestioningly accepted mursal traditions as authentic are Ahmad b, Muhammad b. Khalid al-Barqi (d. 274/887) and his father. The other Imamite jurists viewed a mursal tradition as inadequate proof (ʻadam al-hujjiya) on its own. This group includes al-Muhaqqiq al-Hilli (d. 676/1277), ‘Allama Hilli (d. 726/1325), Shahid I (d. 786/1384), and Shahid II (d. 966/1558). Shaykh Tusi followed a middle course by validating a mursal tradition provided that no contradiction existed between it and an authentic text with a sound chain of transmission.[6] Ayatollah Khomeini dismisses this defect in the chain of transmission by arguing that since it was cited by Shaykh Saduq, a great jurist, he should be accorded the same status as Muhammad b. Abi ‘Umayr, whose mursal traditions are accepted because he is from the ashab al-ijma and his integrity is unquestionable (thiqa).[7] Again this practice contravenes precedents established by earlier jurists, for although they respect and have a high estimation of Shaykh Saduq, they do not accord any special distinction to the mursal traditions he narrates. In fact, Ayatollah Khomeini in his own works asserts that every mujtahid should scrutinize each tradition by engaging in personal research (ijtihad) and not be bound by the conclusions of previous jurists.[8]

In an attempt to substantiate the veracity of this tradition, Ayatollah Khomeini classifies narrations received from Shaykh Saduq into two categories. First are those traditions that he records by appending to them the verb qala (he said), as in “Amir al-Mu’minin (upon whom be peace) said so and so.”[9] The second form uses the passive form of the verb rwy (it was said). Ayatollah Khomeini surmises that the first form is equivalent to an accepted mursal tradition because the active form of the verb qala indicates that Shaykh Saduq had personal certainly on the reliability of the hadith. In contrast, when Shaykh Saduq employs the passive form ruwiya, the usage suggests that he is hesitant and unsure about validating the tradition as authentic.[10] However, this division of the hadith is more common in the Sunni hadith literature, and the meaning attached to it was probably not the intent of Shaykh Saduq. This is clearly evidenced in the beginning pages of his work Man La Yahduruh al-Faqih, where he writes: “I do not intend to present all of what they have narrated; rather I intend to present that which I choose and believe in its authenticity, and believe that it is a proof between me and God.”[11]

Chain of Transmission (sanad)

A central argument advanced by Ayatollah Khomeini to reconcile the variation among the four texts of the hadith is that they are reported by narrators who live at a great distance from each other and, thus, could not possibly have been able to conspire in creating similar versions of the tradition.[12] This argument is crucial in explaining why the end of the hadith differs in each case. Furthermore, he argues that since the hadith is reported by several independent chains of transmission, it provides adequate proof that they are authentic despite the fact that three are mursal, This tradition has been reported through eight channels, three of them are mursal recorded by Ibn Abi Jumhur al Ahsa’i in ‘Awali al-La’ali al-‘Aziziya,[13] Qutb Rawandi[14] and Shaykh Saduq in Man La Yahdaruh al-Faqih,[15] One is recorded in Amali of Shaykh Saduq and another in Ma’ani al-Akhbar, both of which are linked to ‘Isa b. ‘Abdullah. There are three traditions recorded in ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Rida.[16]

The two versions of this tradition narrated through the intermediary ‘Isa b. ‘Abdullah are both deficient. For instance, Muhammad b. ‘Ali is a weak narrator.[17] In fact, ʻlsa b. ‘Abdullah is grouped amongst the unreliable transmitters even by Sunni jurists and labeled as a liar.[18] Some of the Shi’i scholars concur with this assessment; however, others view him as trustworthy and reliable because his name is mentioned in Kamil al-Ziyarat.[19] Another observation worth noting is that Kulayni in his Al-Ka.fi relates several traditions from ʻlsa b. ‘Abdullah but does not record the one under consideration.[20]

One chain of transmission is linked to Ahmad b.’Amir b. Sulayman (b. 157/773), who reportedly heard this tradition from Imam Ali b. Musa al-Rida (d. 202/817). Several factors cast doubt on the veracity of this transmitter. One is that he is reported to have heard this tradition from Imam Rida in 194 A.M. but it is narrated by his son, ‘Abdullah b. Ahmad, in the year 260 A.M., i.e., 66 years after he first heard the tradition.[21] The natural question is, Why was this tradition transmitted so late? The year 260 A.H. coincides with the beginning of the minor occultation (al-ghayba al-sughra) of the Twelfth Shi’i Imam. Second, although ‘Abdullah b. Ahmad died in the year 324 A.H. and had in his possession a manuscript of traditions,[22] neither Kulayni nor Himyari in Qurb al-Asnad record any tradition from him.

The second chain through Dawud b. Sulayman is also suspect for several reasons. For one, he relates this tradition in the year 330/941, which is approximately 130 years after the death of Imam Rida. He is alleged to have recorded this tradition from a manuscript that was composed while Imam Rida was kept in hiding in Qazvin.[23] History cannot attest to an instance when Imam Rida’s whereabouts were concealed because of fear. On the contrary, in ʻUyun Akhbar al-Rida an incident is recounted in great detail in which Imam Rida is escorted with pomp and fanfare by a government official, Raja’ b. Dahhak.[24] In addition, the ‘Abassid caliph, Ma’mun, had on several occasions offered to abdicate the caliphate in favor of Imam Rida.

I (i.e., Musa b. Salama) was in Khurasan with Muhammad b. Ja’far. I heard that the man with two offices (i.e., al-Fad b. Sahl, who was in charge of the military and civil administration) had gone out one day saying: “How fantastic, I have seen a wonder. Ask me what I have seen?” They asked him: “What have you seen, may God set you right?” “I have seen al-Ma’mun, the Commander of the Faithful,” he answered, saying to ‘Ali b. Musa: ‘I will invest you with the affairs of the Muslims. I relieve myself of my responsibility and make it yours.’ Then I saw Ali b. Musa saying: ‘Commander of the Faithful, I have no ability or power for that.’ I have never seen the caliphate more abandoned than that. The Commander of the faithful deprives himself of it and offers it to Ali b. Musa. Then Ali b. Musa rejects it and refuses it.[25]

Thus, two things become apparent from this analysis of Ayatollah Khomeini’s first proof to establish full-fledged authority for the jurists. One is that the chains of transmission of this tradition are weak and lack historical validity. To compensate for this flaw, Ayatollah Khomeini argues that since it is narrated by several independent chains with minor variations, it can lead one to attest to its authenticity.[26] But even this claim cannot be supported because two chains link with ‘Isa b. ‘Abdullah, one each to Ahmad b. ‘Abdullah, Ahmad b. Amir, and Dawud b. Sulayman, and three are mursal. It would also not be far-fetched to conjecture that the latter three obtained this tradition from the same manuscript (nuskha) as in Riyad al-‘Ulama’, where is a mention of a nuskha attributed to Imam Rida dated 194 A.H.[27] Ahmad Najashi also mentions that Ahmad b. Amir had in his possession a reliable manuscript (nuskha hasana).[28] Thus, Ayatollah Khomeini’s assertion that it is possible to arrive at certainty on the basis that this tradition is reported through several independent chains of transmission is untenable.

Text (matn) of the Hadith

Pertaining to the text of the hadith, the key term khulafa has been given three possible interpretations:

  1. It refers exclusively to the twelve infallible Imams who have been endowed with comprehensive knowledge and are thus capable to guide humanity.[29]
  2. Reference is to all transmitters of traditions irrespective of whether they are expert jurists (faqih) competent in Islamic sciences and able to sift through the corpus of hadith literature or not.[30]
  3. The term applies only to the expert jurists who can carefully scrutinize the traditions and sift the forged traditions from the authentic ones.[31]

Ayatollah Khomeini rejects the first two interpretations of the word khulafa and adopts the third. He argues that if the term khulafa’ were delimited to the twelve infallible Imams, then the Prophet would have employed magnificent attributes (sirat jamila) to refer to them as “the treasure of His knowledge, exalted be He”[32] instead of as simply transmitters of traditions. Furthermore, if only the Imams were referred to in this tradition, then for the sake of clarity it would be appropriate for the Prophet to state explicitly ‘”Ali and his infallible progeny”[33] in place of the term khulafa’. However, there are several instances in the hadith literature where the infallible Imams have been referred to as khulafa’ and this usage is not viewed as pejorative or as lowering the noble station enjoyed by them. In al-Kafi, several traditions are recorded in praise of the Imams following the consecutive chapter headings:

Concerning the fact that the Imams are the witnesses (shuhada’) of Allah, to Whom belongs Might and Majesty, regarding His creatures.[34]

Concerning the fact that the Imams, peace be upon them, are the guides (al-huda).[35] Concerning the fact that the Imams, peace be upon them, are the custodians of Allah’s affairs and the treasurers of His knowledge (khazanat ‘ilmih).[36]

Concerning the fact that the Imams, peace be upon them, are the vicegerents (khulafa’) of Allah, to Whom belong Might and Majesty on His earth and His gates through which He can be reached.[37]

Thus, it is evident that the appellation khulafa’ is one of the meritorious titles employed to refer to the Imams. The tradition under the last mentioned chapter reads: “I heard Abu al-Hasan al-Rida (peace be upon him) say: ‘The Imams are the vicegerents (khulafa’) of Allah, to Whom belongs Might and Majesty, on His earth,’[38] “Another tradition in which the sixth Shi’ite Imam, explicating the Qur’anic verse “God has promised unto those of you who believe and do good deeds that He will certainly appoint them successors (la-yastakhlifanna-hum) in the earth as He appointed successors those before them,”[39] equates the successors to the Imams.[40] The verb used for successors in this verse is derived from the same root kh-l-f as the noun khalifa.

Ayatollah Khomeini dismisses the second interpretation as more absurd and far-fetched than the first. He argues that the term khulafa’ cannot encompass all the transmitters of traditions (muhaddith) because the tradition under consideration qualifies the role of the khulafa’ as one of disseminating the teachings of the Prophet to the people. This task demands certain prerequisites and abilities to be able to discriminate between the authentic traditions and the unauthentic ones, as many traditions were either forged or related by the Imams under taqiya (precautionary dissimulation). Thus, he advocates that the term khulafa’ be confined to expert jurists who have attained the level of ijtihad and adds “it certainly does not apply to those whose task is simply the narration of tradition and who are not competent to express an independent juridical opinion or judgment.”[41] The last part of the tradition—”and teach them to the people”—is central to his argument in rejecting the second interpretation of khulafa’.


In Lane’s Lexicon, the word Khulafa’ has a general sense of “one who comes later, or follows, or succeeds.”[42] Thus, the context of the sentence would indicate the extent of authority that the successor would possess. However, Ayatollah Khomeini construes the word khulafa’ in this tradition to signify all the authority that was vested in the Prophet and the Imams except that which is explicitly excluded by proof: “[Authority] is possessed by the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) unless there is a proof. It appears from the tradition that the ulama should possess that (authority) which is possessed by the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) unless there is a proof which indicates its exclusion, then it [the proof] should be followed.”[43] Thus, the jurists succeed the Prophet and enjoy all of his functions of prophethood. He denounces those who attempt to reduce the role of the jurists to dissemination of Islamic ordinances: “It is remarkable that nobody has taken the phrase: ‘Ali is my successor,’ or ‘the Imams are my successors,’ as referring to the simple task of issuing juridical opinions; instead, they derive the tasks of successorship and government from them, whereas they have hesitated to draw the same conclusion from the word ‘my successors’ in a tradition under consideration.”[44]

According to Sayyid Murtada ‘Askari, a contemporary scholar in Iran, equating the term khilafa’ with governorship is a late development from the constant usage of this term by the believers in the context of government. A more appropriate term to refer to this function of governing would be ‘ulu al-amr.[45] He argues that a similar distortion of the original meanings also applies to terms such as ijtihad, qiyas, and istihsan.[46] Thus, he asserts that it is erroneous to render the term khulafa’ as “successors to the Prophet in all his capacities,” because this meaning was applied by jurists and theologians when formulating the Islamic political structure.[47]

Furthermore, the tradition explicitly states in what capacity they are the successors of the prophet—that is, in disseminating Islamic ordinances to the people (“and teach them to the people”). Thus, he finds it untenable to advance a claim for absolute and comprehensive authority for the jurists based upon this tradition. In addition, if this claim were true, then the singular noun for “successor”—khalifa—would have been used instead of the plural, khulafa’, which suggests that the function of the Prophet which is transferred is one of propagating Islamic knowledge.[48]

Traditions that are attributed to the Prophet in Kanz al-Ummal employ the term khulafa’ to refer to the ulama in the restricted sense of being expositors and disseminators of Islamic knowledge: “Should I guide you to the khulafa’ who are related to me, to my compassions and Prophets before me? They are the bearers of the Qur’an and the traditions. . . ,”[49] The bearers of knowledge in this world are khulafa’ of Prophets in the hereafter.[50]

‘Askari divides the technical terms into two categories, shar’i and mutasharriʻ.[51] The distinctive feature of a shar’i term is that it has retained its original (asli) meaning that was given either by God or the Prophet, such as salat (ritual prayers), wudu’ (ritual ablution), and hajj (pilgrimage). In contrast, the mutasharri’ terms acquire meanings and connotations as a result of constant use by believers and scholars who endow them with a disparity in meanings. For instance, the term ijtihad is defined differently by Shi’i and Sunni jurists; however, gradually, through incessant use of the term, it erroneously came to be considered a shar’i term. Such is the case, he argues, with the meaning of the term khalifa, whose original meaning is apparent in works dealing with the Imamate and the guide for the community.[52] However, with the passage of time and repeated usage, the term khalifat rasul was equated to the shari’ term khalifat Allah and found its way even into the work of the learned scholar Ibn Khaldun, who writes that “khalifa in reality is on behalf of the Prophet (sahib al-shar’) in safeguarding religion and managing the affairs of the world.[53]

In the Qur’an, the term khalifa is employed in the sense of being khalifa of God (khalifat Allah) and not of the Prophet. This is evident when the Qur’an refers to Adam[54] and David[55] as the khalifa of God. It would be absurd to regard Adam as khalifa of a prophet because there was none before him.[56] Further, to dispel any ambiguity, the term khalifa was originally employed in a construct as Khalifat Rasul Allah or Khalifat abih; however, later the second part of the construct was omitted and the term khalifa came to mean a “ruler who succeeds the Prophet.”[57] Thus, this later accretion to the meaning of the term khalifa should be discarded in the effort to understand the scope and nature of the authority invested in the jurists as successors to the Prophet.

Second Proof

The second tradition adduced by Ayatollah Khomeini in favor of all-comprehensive juristic authority in the absence of the infallible Imam is the following:

Whenever a believer dies, the angels weep together with the ground where he engaged in the worship of God and the gates of heaven that he entered by means of his good deeds. A crack will appear in the fortress of Islam that naught can repair, for believers who are fuqaha’ are the fortresses of Islam, like the encircling walls that protect a city.[58]

Chain of Transmission (sanad)

Ayatollah Khomeini points out a serious flaw in the chain of transmission of this tradition due to Ali b. Abi Hamza al-Bata’ini, who is reported to have been condemned and disowned by Imam Rida because of his conversion to the Waqifi sect. He is alleged to have been the first to subscribe to this sect upon the death of Imam Musa al-Kazim.[59] He asserted that the Imam had not died but rather was in a state of temporary absence and would return soon. There are reports that Bata’ini propagated this notion because of material ambition as he possessed a substantial amount of wealth he had collected as an agent (wakil) of Imam Kazim.[60] This money would have had to be transferred to Imam Rida if he believed in the continuation of the Imamate. Because of these considerations, Bata’ini is well-known for being classified as a weak transmitter (da’if ‘ala al-ma’ruf)[61] and is thus not accepted. Ayatollah Khomeini argues that there is no contradiction between the deficiency in the chain of transmission of this tradition and use of it to substantiate the all-comprehensive authority of the jurists, for three reasons:[62]

  1. Shaykh Tusi has mentioned in his book ‘Uddat al-Usul that the Imamite jurists relied upon traditions narrated by Bata’ini.
  2. Ibn al-Gada’iri’s characterization that Bata’ini’s father was more trustworthy than he (abuh awthaq mink).
  3. The ashab al-ijma’, whose tradition reports are accepted unquestioningly by Imamite jurists have narrated traditions from Bata’ini.

These three factors collectively, according to Ayatollah Khomeini, compensate for the weakness in its chain and thus make the tradition acceptable. This is known in the science tradition as jabir li al-da’f. However, Ghurayfi, in his Qawa’id alHadith, argues that Sheikh Tusi amends his opinion of Bata’ini in his later work Kitab al-Ghayba, where he says about the deputies of Imam Kazim: “Among the blameworthy ones from the group are All b. Abi Hamza al-Bata’ini, and … all of them were agents of Abu al-Hasan Musa and they possessed abundant property. When Abu al-Hasan Musa passed away, they embraced the Waqifi sect out of greed for the wealth, and rejected the Imamate of al-Rida and denied him.”[63] In addition, Bata’ini is reported to have been cursed by Imam Rida and labeled as a polytheist and desirous of extinguishing the light of Allah, based on the Qur’anic verse:

They wish to extinguish the light of God with their mouths, but God will not have it so, for He wills to perfect His light, however the unbelievers be averse.[64]

Other evidence put forth by Ghurayfi to discredit Bata’ini as a reliable transmitter is character assessment by other scholars. For instance, ‘Allama Hilli writes that Bata’ini was the pillar of the Waqifi sect and extremely unreliable.[65] In addition, Majlisi regards Bata’ini as weak and Mamaqani concurs with this assessment in his Tanqih al-Maqal.[66] Al-Kashshi further substantiates the view that Bata’ini was unreliable by recounting an incident that took place in the time of Imam Rida. Bata’ini read a tradition from Imam Rida and omitted a sentence from it, upon which the Imam disowned him and cautioned him to fear God.[67]

It is argued that the credibility of a transmitter is not contingent on his sharing the faith of the Twelver Shi’is or possessing the quality of justice (‘adala) in its comprehensive sense. What is required is that the transmitter not be a liar. However, collective reports against Bata’ini, such as the curse from the Imam, the warning of punishment in the hereafter, and his disassociation from the Imamites due to greed for the wealth that was entrusted to him as the agent of Imam Kazim, malign his character to the extent that his reports are considered of questionable accuracy.[68]

Despite strong defamatory statements against him, Bata’ini is still considered a reliable transmitter by Ayatollah Khomeini because of Sheikh Tusi’s assertion in ʻUddat al-Usul that the three persons from ashab al-ijma—i.e., Muhammad b. Abi ‘Umayr, al-Bazanti, and Safwan b. Yahya, do not relate traditions from any transmitter unless he is reliable. Since they narrate traditions from Bata’ini, he must be a trustworthy transmitter.[69]

The fact that these three individuals, along with other members of ashab al-ijma’ record traditions from Bata’ini, speaks in favor of his credibility.[70] Other points cited in Bata’ini’s favor include a tradition he related, on the authority of the Prophet that the number of Imams after him will be twelve. The first one among them would be Ali b. Abi Talib and the last one al-Qa’im. They are his successors, testators, friends, and proofs for his community after his demise. Those who associate with them are believers, and those who reject them are unbelievers.[71] Furthermore, Imam Rida prayed for mercy upon the deceased Bata’ini, suggesting that he had not disowned him. Ghurayfi argues that this act in no way confirms the moral integrity of Bata’ini as it was customary for the Imam to pray for forgiveness for all the Shi’is.[72] Also, the Prophet petitioned God to forgive people, even the hypocrites (munafiqun) as the Qur’anic verse testifies: “Whether you plead forgiveness for them or not, God will not forgive them, even though you plead seventy times, for they disbelieved in God and His Apostle; and God does not guide the transgressors.”[73] Pertaining to the statement by Ibn al-Gada’iri about Bata’ini that “his father [i.e., Bata’ini] is more trustworthy than he,” Ghurayfi argues that it does not establish the reliability of Bata’ini because his son is unanimously viewed by the jurists as being a weak transmitter. Thus, what can be deduced from this statement is that Bata’ini’s son was less reliable than his father but it does not vouch for the character of Bata’ini.[74]

Text (matn) of the Hadith

The significance of this tradition has been marginalized by the interpretation that the role of the jurists is to expound the ordinances of Islam and that in so doing they would preserve Islam. Since the tradition does not employ any verb of appointment like j-l, as in the case of maqbula of ‘Umar b. Hanzala, Ayatollah Khomeini has been taken to task for extrapolating all-comprehensive juristic authority from this hadith. However, he dissents from this restricted interpretation and vociferously objects, “If a faqih sits in the corner of his dwelling and does not intervene in any of the affairs of society, neither preserving the laws of Islam and disseminating its ordinances, nor in any way participating in the affairs of the Muslims or having any care for them, can he be called ‘the fortress of Islam’ or the protector of Islam?”[75] To supplement this tradition, Ayatollah Khomeini narrates another one that is attributed to the Prophet: “The fuqaha are the trustees [umana’} of the prophets, as long as they do not concern themselves with the illicit desires, pleasures, and wealth of this world. The Prophet was then asked: ‘O Messenger of God! How may we know if they do so concern themselves?’ He replied: ‘By seeing whether they follow the ruling power. If they do that, fear for your religion and shun them.'”[76] There are also other traditions, attributed to the Prophet, where the ulama are referred to as the trustees of God:

The ‘alim is the trustee of God on earth.[77]

The ulama are the trustees of God over the creatures.[78]

The ulama are the trustees of my community.[79]

He argues that trusteeship is not confined to issuing juridical opinions but rather extends to establishing a just social system based on the Qur’anic prescription. Thus, all tasks that were entrusted to the Prophet would now devolve upon the jurists: “We verily sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance, that mankind may observe right measure.”[80] Ayatollah Khomeini is criticized for reading too much into this tradition. It is argued that all that this hadith attempts to point out is that the fuqaha’ are custodians of prophets’ knowledge. However, to claim by extension that this endows them with exclusive prerogative to govern is not plausible. In addition, the chains of transmission of this tradition are all weak. Another objection leveled against Ayatollah Khomeini’s interpretation of this tradition is that the second part of it implies that ruling and government are not the exclusive right of the jurists—”[Evaluate the jurists] by seeing whether they follow the ruling power. If they do that, fear for your religion and shun them.” If only jurists were competent to govern, then the admonition to shun jurists who follow the ruling establishment would not be justified. Furthermore, the last part of the tradition, “fear for your religion,” also implies that the jurists’ trusteeship is over strictly religious matters, and thus people are advised not to disassociate from those enslaved to the governing power because it would adversely affect on religion.

Third Proof

The third tradition adduced by Ayatollah Khomeini in favor of al-wilaya al-mutlaqa is a tawqi’ (rescript) in which the Imam Mahdi responds to a number of questions posed to him by Ishaq b. Ya’qub during the minor occultation.[81] The text of the questions that was conveyed to the Imam through his second deputy, Muhammad b. Uthman al-‘Amri, has not survived, but the full text of the Imam’s answers on various issues is preserved.[82] To one of the questions of Ishaq b. Ya’qub, in which he presumably asked the Imam with whom to seek recourse in the event of new contingencies in the future, the Imam wrote: “As for the newly occurring events (al-hawadith al-waqi’a), return to the transmitters (ruwat) of our traditions, for they are my proof (hujja) over you as I am God’s proof.”[83]

Chain of Transmission (sanad) The chain of transmission of this tradition has been subjected to criticism because Ishaq b. Ya’qub is an unknown (majhul) figure in works of rijal.[84] However, Ayatollah Khomeini accepts this tradition because he believes that one can test the veracity of a tradition by means of external factors in the event that the moral probity of the narrators of the traditions are unknown or questionable, or even if they are known to be immoral. This view is adopted by the majority of the jurists, including Sheikh Abd al-Karim Ha’iri (d. 1355/1937) and Sheikh Ansari. The other view, to which Ayatollah Khu’i subscribes, is that only a sound chain of transmission can produce confidence in its authenticity. What is crucial is to critically examine the individuals on whose authority the tradition is narrated. Other factors like the text of the tradition, historical proofs and the opinions of previous jurists do not justify acceptance of a tradition composed of an unsound chain of transmitters. Thus, Khu’i rejects this tawqi’ as unreliable because the trustworthiness of Ishaq b. Ya’qub has not been established.[85]

This tradition has been recorded by Shaykh Saduq in Kamal al-Din wa Tamam al-Niʻma, by Shaykh Tusi in Kitab al-Ghayba and by Abu Mansur Ahmad al-Tabarsi in Al-Ihtijaj  All of them have derived it from a chain that links to Muhammad b. Ya’qub al-Kulayni, the author of AlKafi, However, surprisingly, this tradition is not recorded in the hadith collection of the latter, and it is likely that he mentioned it instead in Rasa’il al-A’imma, whose subject is the Twelve Imams. This work apparently has been lost. The fact that Kulayni is the common link for this tradition strengthens its authenticity, since he lived during the period of minor occultation, during which the Shi’a were said to be perplexed by the absence of the Imam and the proliferation of factions.[86]

Text (matn) of the Hadith The text of this tradition is more important than the previous two traditions in establishing wilayat al-faqih, because the Imam commands his followers to resort to the transmitters of traditions to resolve new issues. These ruwat cannot be simply transmitters of traditions, argues Ayatollah Khomeini, because merely narrating the traditions would not encompass novel problems and issues confronting the Muslims. Thus, the ruwat are expert jurists who can issue juridical opinions after exercising ijtihad.[87]

Ayatollah Khomeini interprets the term hujjati ‘alaykum (my proof upon you), which refers to the transmitters, as equivalent to bestowing the comprehensive authority of the Prophet and the Imams upon the jurists and as not limited to issuing legal judgments or transmitting traditions, which was the case even during the time of the infallible Imams.[88]

Today, the fuqaha’ of Islam are proofs to the people. Just as the Most Noble Messenger (upon whom be peace and blessings) was the proof of God—the conduct of all affairs being entrusted to him so that whoever disobeyed him had a proof advanced against him— so, too, the fuquha’ are the proof of the Imam (upon whom be peace) to the people. All the affairs of the Muslims have been entrusted to them. God will advance a proof and argument against anyone who disobeys them in anything concerning government, the conduct of Muslim affairs, or the gathering and expenditure of public funds.[89] A. A. Sachedina observes that the version of the tradition preserved by Majlisi ends with “I am proof over them [the transmitters] (ana hujja alayhim)” instead of “I am proof of God (ana hujjat Allah).” Importantly, for the authority of the jurists this implies a hierarchy in which the jurists oversee the needs of the people and the Imam caters to the needs of the jurists. Thus, Sachedina conjectures that the tradition was tampered with to give credence to the concept of taqlid and to arrogate for the jurists the position of deputyship of the Imam.[90]

Another key term in the tradition is “al-hawadith al-waqi’a” (new occurrences), to resolve which, the Imam instructs the Shi’is to seek recourse to the ruuiat. Ayatollah Khomeini infers that what is meant by newly occurring contingencies includes the sociopolitical affairs of the community and extrapolates further that the fuqaha’ possess wilaya over all affairs.[91] It is also important to note that the pronoun in fi-ha refers to the new contingencies, suggesting that the jurists’ role encompasses social issues and is not limited to issuing decrees; otherwise, it would have been appropriate to replace the pronoun with fi-hukm (in legal judgments). This stand is in contrast to the interpretation of Ayatollah Khu’i, who restricts the scope of authority of the jurists to hisba and issuing legal judgments.[92] Nonetheless, even if “new contingencies” is interpreted in its widest sense to refer to all forms of exigency—political, social, and economic—still it does not follow that only a jurist should head the government. The jurists’ counsel in executing affairs of the state could be sought by a non-jurist. However, Ayatollah Khomeini has been insistent in demanding that only a jurist would be eligible to assume leadership because of his characteristic attributes of knowledge, justice, and piety.[93]

Fourth Proof

The next tradition that is instrumental for Ayatollah Khomeini in establishing al-wilaya al-mutlaqa is the maqbula of Umar b. Hanzala:

I asked Imam Sadiq (upon whom be peace) whether it was permissible for two of the Shi’is who had a disagreement concerning a debt or a legacy to seek the verdict of the ruler or judge. He replied: “Anyone who has recourse to the ruler or judge, whether his case be just or unjust, has in reality had recourse to taghut [i.e., the illegitimate ruling power]. Whatever he obtains as a result of their verdict, he will have obtained by forbidden means, even if he has a proven right to it, for he will have obtained it through the verdict and judgment of the laghut, that power which God Almighty has commanded him to disbelieve in.” (“They wish to seek justice from illegitimate powers, even though they have been commanded to disbelieve therein.” [4:60].)

‘Umar b. Hanzala then asked: “What should two Shi’is do then, under such circumstances?” Imam Sadiq answered, “They must seek out one of you who narrates our traditions, who is versed in what is permissible and what is forbidden, who is well acquainted with our laws and ordinances, and accept him as judge and arbiter, for I appoint [jaʻaltu] him as judge [hakim) over you.”[94]

Chain of Transmission (sanad)

The chain of transmission of this tradition is not flawless because the character, integrity and moral probity of ‘Umar b. Hanzala has not been established in the works of rijal. Ayatollah Khomeini is aware of this deficiency in the chain; however, evidence that the previous Imamite jurists acted upon it and accorded it the status of maqbula (approved) is compelling enough for him to disregard any doubt about the chain.[95] However, some jurists have questioned the reliability of ‘Umar b. Hanzala, and as a consequence Ayatollah Khu’i rejects this tradition because of a weak link in the chain of transmission.[96] It should be noted that this tradition is also related by Safwan b. Yahya who is from amongst the ashab al-ijma’ whose traditions are generally authenticated on the basis that they do not relate traditions unless the transmitters are reliable (la yarwi illa ‘an al-thiqa).[97]

Text (matn) of the Hadith

The operative phrase in the above tradition which invests the jurists with a mandate to resolve disputes on behalf of the Imams is, “I have appointed him a hakim over you (fa inni qad ja’altu ‘alaykum hakim). This is interpreted by Ayatollah Khomeini to encompass not only adjudicating disputes but also to include the necessary means and resources to enforce the verdict:

I said earlier that for the adjudication of both civil and penal cases, one must have recourse to judges, as well as to the executive authorities or general governmental authorities. One has recourse to judges in order to establish the truth, reconcile enmities, or determine punishment; and to the executive authorities, in order to obtain compliance with the verdict given by the judge and the enactment of his verdict, whether the case is civil or penal in nature. It is for this reason that in the tradition under discussion the Imam was asked whether we may have recourse to the existing rulers and powers, together with their judicial apparatus.[98]

As further evidence, Ayatollah Khomeini emphasizes that the Imam’s admonition not to seek a judgment from a taghut (illegitimate ruling power) but instead resort to the narrators of traditions implies that the latter are invested with the judicial and executive authority, not unlike the tyrannical government.[99] In addition, having authority to pronounce a judgment without power to enforce compliance with it would be ludicrous.[100] This all-comprehensive authority, he feels, is also expressed in the following Qur’anic verse:

 God enjoins that you render to the owners what is held in trust with you, and that when you judge among the people do so equitably. Noble are the counsels of God, and God hears and sees everything.

You who believe, obey God and the Prophet and those in authority among you; and if you are at variance over something, refer it to God and the Messenger, if you believe in God and the Last Day. This is good for you and the best of settlements.[101]

Fifth Proof

Another evidence to support the investiture of the jurists as deputies of the Imam is the mashhura of Abu Khadija:

I was commanded by the Imam [Sadiq] to convey the following message to our friends [i.e., the Shi’a]: “When enmity and dispute arise among you, or you disagree concerning the receipt or payment of a sum of money, be sure not to refer the matter to one of these malefactors for judgment. Designate as judge and arbiter someone among you who is acquainted with our injunctions concerning that which is permitted and prohibited, for I appoint [jaʻaltu] such a man as judge [qadi] over you. Let none of you take your complaint against another of you to the tyrannical ruling power.”[102]

This tradition, like the maqbula of ‘Umar b. Hanzala, is categorized as khabar al wahid; i.e., it has been conveyed by just one source.[103] Again, the verb j-‘-l (to appoint) is of primary significance in this tradition, and Ayatollah Khomeini argues that the investiture is permanent and not temporary: “According to this tradition, then, the ulama of Islam have been appointed by the Imam (upon whom be peace) to the positions of ruler and judge, and these positions belong to them in perpetuity. The possibility that the next Imam would have annulled this ruling and dismissed the fuqaha from these twin functions is extremely small.”[104]

In this tradition, unlike the maqbula of Umar b. Hanzala, the noun used in the investiture sentence is qadi and not hakim (fa inni qad jaʻaltu ʻalaykum qadi). The former restricts the authority of the jurists to issuing verdicts on legal issues and is narrower in scope that hakim. However, Ayatollah Khomeini dissents from this interpretation and instead feels it plausible that the scope of authority of a qadi be broader than that of a hakim based on Qur’an 33:36, where the verb Q-D-Y has been used in reference to a decision rendered by God and His messenger: “And it become not a believing man or a believing woman, when God and His messenger have decided [qada] an affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their affair; and whoso is rebellious to God and His messenger, he verily goeth astray in error manifest.”[105]

Other Proofs

The other traditions cited by Ayatollah Khomeini constitute supplementary evidence to establish al-wilaya al-mutlaqa and are susceptible to differing interpretations. The Prophet is reported to have said:

For whoever travels a path in search of knowledge, God opens up a path to paradise, and the angels lower their wings before him as a sign of their being well pleased [or God’s being well pleased]. All that is in the heavens and on earth, even the fish in the ocean, seek forgiveness for him. The superiority of the learned man over the mere worshipper is like that of the full moon over the stars. Truly the scholars are the heirs [waratha] of the prophets; the prophets bequeathed not a single dinar or dirham; instead they bequeathed knowledge, and whoever acquires it has indeed acquired a generous portion of their legacy.[106]

Another version of the tradition has the following appended at the end:

Therefore, see from whom you may acquire this knowledge, for among us, the Family of the Prophet, there are in each generation just and honest people who repel those who distort and exaggerate, those who initiate false practices, and those who offer foolish interpretations [that is, they will purify and protect religion from the influence of such biased and ignorant people and others like them].[107]

Both the above traditions appear to establish the excellence of knowledge and the great merit in seeking it. Furthermore, the legacy of the prophets which is inherited by the scholars is specified to consist of knowledge, their sayings and traditions. This would suggest that the role of the scholars is limited to disseminating the teachings of the Prophet and does not necessarily extend to governance. Ayatollah Khomeini rejects this interpretation:

The meaning of the next expression in the tradition, “The prophets bequeathed not a single dinar or dirham,” is not that they bequeathed nothing but learning and traditions. Rather it is an indication that although the prophets exercised authority and ruled over people, they were men of God, not materialistic creatures trying to accumulate worldly wealth. It also implies that the form of government exercised by the prophets was different from monarchies and other current forms of government, which have served as means for the enrichment and gratification of the rulers.[108]

Importantly, the above tradition appears in Al-Kafi under the section “Divine Rewards for the Scholars and the Students,” which suggests that it was earlier viewed as outlining the merits of acquiring knowledge and making this task commendable and meritorious. In the same section, the following tradition is recorded on the authority of the fourth Shi’i Imam, Zayn al-ʻAbidin (d.95/713):

Had the people known the real worth of the acquisition of knowledge, they would have acquired it even if they had to pay for it with a bleeding heart or if they had to dive in the deep seas. Almighty Allah revealed to Daniyal, “Most wretched among My creation is the rustic who makes light of the learned and stops following them. And the most lovable among My creation is the person who guards himself against evil seeking My maximum rewards, attaches himself to the learned, follows the path of the patient and the forbearing, and always accepts the words of the wise.[109]

Another objection leveled against employing this tradition to establish the authority of the jurists is that the word ‘alim (scholars) may be ascribed to the infallible Imams and not to the fuqaha’. Ayatollah Khomeini finds this interpretation flimsy because the virtues and characteristics of the Imams are far more sublime and exalted than the attributes mentioned in this tradition. In addition, in the second version of the tradition, the warning, “therefore, see from whom you may acquire this knowledge,” indicates that the reference cannot be to the infallible Imams because they do not revert to others to acquire knowledge.[110] However, in the section preceding this one titled “Categories of People,” the following tradition is recorded in al-Kafi, where the word alim is used to refer to the Imams: “People are of three types: (i) The learned scholars; (ii) the learners; and (iii) the rubbish. We are the learned scholars [al-ʻUlama], our disciples (Shiʻatuna] are the learners, and the rest are just rubbish.”[111]

Another piece of supplementary evidence advanced by Ayatollah Khomeini in support of wilayat al-faqih is a tradition from Imams Ali b. Abi Talib and Husayn b. Ali from Tuhaf al-ʻUqul. It castigates scholars for neglecting to address the plight of the oppressed and allowing their rights to be trampled. It calls for those who are knowledgeable concerning God (al- ʻulama bi Allah) to wrest power from the wretched tyrants by engaging in jihad and remedy the state of affairs by enjoining good and forbidding evil. “The administration of affairs and the implementation of law ought to be undertaken by those who are knowledgeable concerning God and are trustees of God’s ordinances concerning what is permitted and what is forbidden.”[112] The chain of transmission of this tradition is weak, and the author of Mustadrak al-Wasa’il casts doubt on the identity of the author of Tuhaf al-ʻUqul.[113] The author is supposedly Hasan b. ‘Ali al-Hirrani who was a teacher of Sheikh Mufid and who lived during the fourth century A.H. In addition to the weak link in the isnad, it is postulated that the term al-ulama bi Allah refers to the infallible Imams who are viewed as the genuine repositories of knowledge. This interpretation is disputed by Ayatollah Khomeini on the basis that the advice in this tradition is not restricted to any particular period; rather, it is for all times, and thus he argues that it is the scholars who have been addressed as al-‘ulama bi Allah.[114]



Based on the traditions discussed here, Ayatollah Khomeini asserts with certitude that all the power and authority (al-wilaya al-mutlaqa) that was vested in the Prophet and the infallible Imams now devolves upon the ulama. He acknowledges that some of the traditions advanced to support his thesis exhibit weak links in the chain of transmission; however, textual and historical proofs compensate for this deficiency. His extrapolation that the jurist has a prerogative even over the fundamentals of Islam, such as ritual prayers and fasting in order to promote public welfare, is a novel concept that is not found in the works of his predecessors who wrote on wilayat al-faqih, people such as Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Ghita’ (d. 1374/1954), Mulla Ahmad Naraqi, and Mirza Muhammad Husayn Na’ini. Attempt has been made to demonstrate the fragility of these claims and the extent to which Ayatollah Khomeini had to stretch some of the tradition reports that he employed in order to sustain his argument. This theme of the all-embracing authority of the jurists is consistently reiterated in the works of Ayatollah Khomeini. The notion of al-wilaya al-mutlaqa was stretched to its farthest limit with the proclamation of Ayatollah Khomeini in January 1988, that the Islamic state has priority over secondary injunctions, such as prayers, fasting and hajj. Debate on this issue was curtailed by his death in June 1989 and his replacement by a junior cleric who lacks both his charisma and the credentials of a marja’ taqlid. Thus, the Constitution of Iran was revised in 1989 to divide the two functions: leadership (rahbar) of an Islamic state and marja’iya.

The article was written by Hamid Mavani, and first published in the book “the most learn of the Shia”.


[1] Muhammad b. Ya’qub b. Ishaq al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, trans. Muhammad Rida al-Ja’fari (Tehran: WOFIS, 1978), vol. 1, pt 2, p. 36.

[2] Wilferd F. Madelung, “Authority in Twelver Shiism in the Absence of the Imam,” in La notion d’autorite au Moyen Age: Islam, Byzance, Occident, ed. George Makdisi and Janine S. Thomine (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1982), p. 167.

[3] Khomeini, Rohallah al-Musawi, Islam and Revolution, trans. Hamid Algar (Berkeley: Mizan Press, 1981) p. 68; Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, (Najaf: Matba’at al-Adab, 1971), vol. 2, p. 467.

[4] Muhammad Husayn al-Nuri, Mustadrak al-Wasa’il (Tehran: Al-Maktaba al-Islamiya, 1962), vol. 3, p. 182.

[5] Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, p. 470.

[6] Al-Shaykh ‘Abdullah al-Mamaqani, Miqbas al-Hidaya (Qum: Mu’assasat al al-Bayt li Ihya al-Turath, 1990), pp. 341-44.

[7] Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, p. 468.

[8] Khomeini, Al-Rasa’il (Qum: al-‘Ilmiya, 1965), vol. 2, pp. 96-99.

[9] Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, p. 468.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Muhammad b. ‘Ali Ibn Babuya al-Saduq, Man la Yakduruli al-Faqih, ed. Hasan al-Khirsan (Beirut: Bar al-Adwa5, 1985), vol. 1, p. 3.

[12] Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, p. 468; Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, p. 68.

[13] Muhammad Mahdi Musawi Khalkhali, Hakimiya dar Islam (Tehran: Intisharat-i Afaq, 1982), p. 339.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Abu al-Qasim al-Musawi al-Khu’i, Mu’jam Rijal al-Hadith, 3d ed. (Qum: Madinat al’Ilm, 1983), vol. 16, pp. 298-300.

[18] Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Sfiara/Asfiab al-Hadith (Ankara: Matba’at Jami’at Ankara, 1971), pp. 30-31.

[19] Khu’i, Mu’jam, vol. 13, p. 198.

[20] Ibid., vol. 13, pp. 193-99.

[21] Ibid., vol. 2, p. 130.

[22] Ibid., p. 131.

[23] Radi al-Din Muhammad Qazwini, Diyafat al-lWnwan, ed. Ahmad al-Husayni (Qum: Al’Ilmiya, 1976), p. 210.

[24] Muhammad b. ‘All Ibn Babuya al-Saduq, \Jyun Akhbar al-Rida (Qum: Dar al-‘Ilm, 1957), vol. 2, pp. 136-38.

[25] Mufidiat, Muhammad b. Nu’man, Kitab Al-lrshad, trans. I. K. A. Howard (London: Muhammadi Trust, 1981), p. 470.

[26] Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, p. 68.

[27] Nuri, Mustadrak alWasa’il, vol. 3, p. 334.

[28] Khu’i, Mu ‘jam, vol. 2, p. 131.

[29] Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, p. 469.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Muhammad b. Ya’qub b. Ishaq al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi, with translation and commentary in Persian by Jawad Mustafawi (Tehran: n.p., 1969), vol. 1, p. 270.

[35] Ibid., vol. 1, p. 272.

[36] Ibid., vol. 1, p. 273.

[37] Ibid., vol. 1, p. 275.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Qur’an 24:55.

[40] Kulayni, Usul Al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 276.

[41] Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, p. 69.

[42] Edward William Lane, ed., Arabic-English Lexicon, 2 vols.

[43] Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, p. 469.

[44] Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, p. 72.

[45] Sayyid Murtada ‘Askari, ‘Awamil-i Tahrif (Qum: n.p., n.d.), p. 15.

[46] Ibid., p. 14

[47] Ibid

[48] Ibid., p. 15.

[49] ‘Ala’ al-Din ‘AH al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-IJmmal, ed. Bakri Hayyani and Safwat alSaqa (Halab: Maktabat al-Turath al-Islamiya, 1969-77), vol. 10, p. 151; Nuri, Mustadrak alWasa’il, vol. 3, p. 185.

[50] Ibid., vol. 10, p. 170

[51] ‘Askari, ‘Awamil-i Tahrif, p. 14.

[52] Ibid., pp. 14-15. Patricia Crone and Martin Hinds point out that in tradition reports and poetry, Imam ‘Ali was addressed as khalifat AllaK fi ardih/biladih. See Crone and Hinds, God’s Caliph: Religious Authority in the First Centuries of Islam (Cambridge: Cambridge University Pess, 1986), p. 17n.57

[53] Ibid., p. 14.

[54] Qur’an 2:30.

[55] Qur’an, 38:26.

[56] ‘Askari, ‘Awamil-i Tahrif, p. 14.

[57] Ibid., p.15; See also Crone and Hinds, God’s Caliph, pp. 4-25.

[58] Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, p. 73; Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, pp. 470-471.

[59] Muhyi al-Din al-Musawi al-Ghurayfi, Qawa’id al-Hadith (Qum: Maktabat al-Mufid, n.d.), pp. 79-80.

[60] Ibid., p. 80.

[61] Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, p. 471

[62] Ibid.

[63] Ghurayfi, Qawa’id al-Hadith, p. 79; Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Tusi, Kitab al-Ghayba, 2d ed. (Najaf: Maktabat al-Sadiq, 1966), p. 285.

[64] Qur’an 9:32. See also 61:8.

[65] Ghurayfi, Qawa’id al-Hadith, p. 84.

[66] Ibid., p. 92.

[67] Ibid.

[68] Ibid., pp. 85-92.

[69] Ibid., p. 93.

[70] Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, p. 471.

[71] Ghurayfi, Qawa’id al-Hadith, p. 94.

[72] Ibid., pp. 95-96.

[73] Qur’an, 9:80.

[74] Ghurayfi, Qawa’id al-Hadiih, p. 100.

[75] Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, p. 73.

[76] 76. Ibid., p. 76; Khomeini, Kitab al Bay’, vol. 2, p. 472.

[77] Al-Hindi, Kanz al-Vmmal, vol. 10, p. 134.

[78] Ibid.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Qur’an 57:25.

[81] Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, pp. 473-74.

[82] Abu Mansur Ahmad al-Tabarsi, Al-lhtijaj (Najaf: Dar al-Nueman, 1966), vol. 2, pp. 28184.

[83] . Ibid., vol. 2, p. 283.

[84] Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, pp. 474, 75.

[85] Khu’i, Mu jam, vol. 3, pp. 75-76.

[86] Khalkhali, Hakimiya dar Islam, p. 369.

[87] Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, p. 274.

[88] Ibid

[89] Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, p. 87.

[90] Sachedina, Islamic Messianism (Albany: SUNY, 1981), p. 101. However, an earlier Shi’i jurist, Shaykh Saduq (d. 381 A.H.), cites the same version of the tradition that is recorded by Majlisi, thus dismissing the possibility that this hadith was tampered with during the Safavid period.

[91] Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, p. 475.

[92] Abu al-Qasim al-Musawi al-Khu’i, al-Ra’y al-Sadid fi al-ljtihad wa al-Taqlid, 2d ed. (Qum: al-‘Ilmiya, 1991), pp. 194-95.

[93] Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, p. 79.

[94] Ibid., p. 93; Sachedina, The Just Ruler in Shi’ite Islam (New York: Oxford University Press), pp. 140-41.

[95] Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, p. 476.

[96] Khu’i, Mu jam, vol. 13, pp. 27-29.

[97] Ibid., vol. 13, p. 29.

[98] Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, p. 93.

[99] Ibid

[100] Ibid., pp.98-99.

[101] Qur’an 4:58-59.

[102] Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, p. 96.

[103] Sachedina, The Just Ruler, p. 220.

[104] 104. Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, p. 98.

[105] Qur’an 33:36.

[106] Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, p. 99.

[107] . Ibid., p. 100.

[108] Ibid., p. 106.

[109] Kulayni, alKafi, trans. Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Rizvi, vol. 1, pt. 1, pp. 87-88.

[110] Khomeini, Kitab al Bay1, vol. 2, pp. 484-85.

[111] Kulayni, Al-Kafi, trans. Sayyid Muhammad Hasan Rizvi, vol. 1, pt. 1, p. 84.

[112] Khomeini, Islam and Revolution, p. 121; Khomeini, Kitab al-Bay’, vol. 2, p. 486.

[113] Nuri, Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 3, p. 327.

[114] Khomeini, Kitab al-Eaj’, vol. 2, p. 487.

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