Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist

theory in Shia Islam which holds that Islam gives a faqīh (Islamic jurist) custodianship over people

Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist (Persian: ولایت فقیه‎‎, Vilayat-e Faqih; Arabic: ولاية الفقيه‎‎, Wilayat al-Faqih) is a type of theocracy in Shia Islam wherein senior Islamic jurists exercise temporal authority.

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  • The Rule of the Jurisprudent" – will not gain widespread popularity, because it does not have such popularity in its country of origin....Even in Iran. I've lived in Iran.
  • Khomeini was sought after by others who were attracted to his uncompromising stance. Najaf was the oldest and most prestigious hawza (Shia seminary), and Shias came from all over the world, not only to visit the shrine of Imam Ali, but to study. Over time, Khomeini trained hundreds of clerics and preached to thousands of students who then returned to Iran, Bahrain, or Pakistan. During those lectures, Khomeini laid out his vision for an Islamic state ruled by Islamic law, the shari’a, which he delivered in Persian to avoid censure by the Iraqi authorities. Traditionally in Shiism, the perfect Islamic state can come into existence only with the return of the Mahdi, or Hidden Imam, a messiah-like redeemer and the twelfth imam after Ali, who had gone into hiding, or occultation, in the ninth century. Until the return of this infallible man, governance would be in the hands of the secular state. But Khomeini asserted that the Quran had in fact provided all the laws and ordinances necessary for man to establish an Islamic state and that the prophet and Imam Ali had intended for learned men to implement them: with these tools, a wise man, or faqih, could be the guardian and rule over such a state, or wilayat, with absolute power and bring about a perfect and just Islamic society. The Guardianship of the Jurist, or wilayat al-faqih, had been a theoretical subsection of Shia jurisprudence, and clerics believed that in current times such guardianship could apply only to widows and orphans. Khomeini had transformed it into an immediate, political goal.
    • Kim Ghattas Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East, (2020)

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