Lutf Allah Safi Gulpayigani
|Religious Affiliation||Twelver Shi'a|
|Well-Known Relatives||Sayyid Muhammad Rida Gulpaygani (father-in-law)|
|Place of Birth||Golpayegan|
|Studied in||Qom, Najaf|
|Professors||Ayatollah Burujirdi, Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Khwansari, Sayyid Muhammad Hujjat Kuhkamara'i, ...|
|Works||Muntakhab al-athar, Al-Ahkam al-shar'iyya thabita la tataghayyar, ...|
|A member of Assembly of Experts of the Constitution and Guardian Council, ...|
Luṭf Allāh Ṣāfī Gulpāyigānī (Persian: لُطْف الله صافی گُلْپایِگانی, b. 1337/1919) is a Shiite marja' and a lecturer of advanced courses of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and usul al-fiqh (principles of jurisprudence) in Qom. He was a prominent student of Ayatollah Burujirdi and a member of his istifta' council. He wrote the book, Muntakhab al-athar, concerning the Twelfth Imam (a) at the request of his teacher. He held political positions, including membership in the Assembly of Experts of the Constitution (to codify the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran), as well as membership and secretaryship of the Guardian Council. He wrote as many as 80 books and essays in Persian and Arabic. Some of his books were awarded prizes, such as Wilayat Yearbook and Mahdawiyyat Yearbook.
Life, Education, and Marja'iyya
Lutf Allah Safi was born in Golpayegan on Jumada I 19, 1337 (February 20, 1919). He began his educations in Golpayegan and finished studying the intermediate level of Arabic literature, kalam, the exegesis of the Qur'an, hadith, fiqh, and usul al-fiqh in his hometown.
At the age of 23 (in 1941), Lutf Allah Safi Gulpayigani migrated from Golpayegan to Qom, attending the lectures of Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Khwansari, Sayyid Muhammad Hujjat Kuhkamara'i, al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din al-Sadr, Sayyid Muhammad Rida Gulpayigani, and Ayatollah Burujirdi. After 4 years of stay in Qom, he went to Najaf for one year, attending the lectures of Muhammad Kazim Shirazi, Sayyid Jamal al-Din Gulpayigani, and Shaykh Muhammad 'Ali Kazimi. Safi is Sayyid Muhammad Rida Gulpayigani's son in law.
Scholarly and Jurisprudential Position
Lutf Allah Safi Gulpayigani was a prominent student of Ayatollah Burujirdi. As a result of his remarkable scholarly achievements, Safi was assigned the task of replying to jurisprudential and theological questions as well as writing the book, Muntakhab al-athar, by Ayatollah Burujirdi. He was also a close consultant as well as a member of the istifta' council of Ayatollah Burujirdi. He taught and researched about fiqh, usul al-fiqh, hadith, and rijal, and wrote books and essays on these issues. His scholarly character has been pointed out by prominent Shiite scholars, such as Sayyid Jamal al-Din Gulpayigani, Sayyid Husayn Tabataba'i Burujirdi, Imam Khomeini, and Sayyid Muhammad Rida Gulpayigani.
After the death of Ayatollah Gulpayigani, Ayatollah Safi Gulpayigani was recognized as a marja' in December 1993. In his will, Sayyid Muhamamd Rida Gulpayigani referred to Lutf Allah Safi Gulpayigani as an incontrovertible, just mujtahid.
Safi Gulpayigani is one of the few Shiite marja's who have had the experience of membership in the Assembly of Experts of the Constitution, as well as membership and secretaryship of the Guardian Council.
A member of the Assembly of Experts of the Constitution: Safi was one of the 73 members of the Assembly which was in charge of codifying the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran from August 19, 1979 until November 15, 1979.
A member and the secretary of the Guardian Council: in 1980, Safi was appointed by Imam Khomeini as a member of the jurisprudents (fuqaha) of the Guardian Council, and for 8 years (until July 1988), he served as the secretary of the Guardian Council. In July 1988, Lutf Allah Safi resigned from membership in the Guardian Council.
The Office of Ayatollah Safi Gulpayigani has established some scholarly and religious centers and institutes, including the Dar al-Zahra' Center for Islamic Researches in 2010 in Tehran in order to reply to people's questions about jurisprudential rulings, as well as to provide religious and family consultations.
Ayatollah Safi Gulpayigani has been a prolific Shiite author. He has published over 80 books in Persian and Arabic. Some of his books have been translated into English and Urdu, and some of them were awarded Wilayat and Mahdawiyyat Yearbook prizes. Some of his essays, articles, and poems have also been published in different magazines, journals, and other media.
Here are some of Lutf Allah Safi Gulpayigani's books:
- Muntakhab al-athar fi l-Imam al-Thani 'Ashar concerning the Twelfth Imam (a) in 10 chapters. The main parts of the book include the texts about the Twelve Imams, the texts about the Twelfth Imam (a), his life history, and the way he will reappear.
- Al-Ahkam al-shar'iyya thabita la tataghayyar (literally: jurisprudential rulings are constant and unchangeable): an Arabic essay in reply to an article published by Dr. 'Abd al-Mun'im Nimr in the Arabic journal, al-Kuwaitiya. The essay was published in 1412/1991 by Dar al-Qur'an al-Karim Publications.
- Al-Ta'zir, ahkamuh wa mulhaqatuh: a jurisprudential research about issues of ta'zir (punishment on the basis of a judge's ruling) and the system of Islamic criminal law, as well as its relation with the government and the authority of Wali al-Faqih. The research was published in 1404/1984 in 152 pages.
- Awqat al-salawat: a jurisprudential work by Ayatollah Safi Gulpayigani concerning the precise times of prayers in different parts of the world. The work is written in Arabic and was published in 1407/1987.
- Darura wujud al-hukuma, aw wilayat al-fuqaha' fi 'asr al-ghayba (literally: the necessity of the existence of the government, or the authority of the Fuqaha' [Muslim jurisprudents] in the period of Occultation): the work appeals to rational and transmitted evidence and reasons to show the necessity of Muslim jurisprudents exercising their authority in the period of Occultation in order to prevent the shutdown of jurisprudential and social rulings.
- Furu'-i ziyarat: poems composed by Ayatollah Safi Gulpayigani in the praise of the Imams (a) and prominent Shiite figures. Part of his poem about Fatima al-Ma'suma (a) has been engraved in the darih of Fatima al-Ma'suma (a).
Articles and Poems
In addition to his published books, Lutf Allah Safi Gulpayigani has published miscellaneous articles and poems in different journals and magazines, such as an article in the journal of the Library of A'zam Mosque in Qom in 1965 about the Islamic government from a Quranic point of view, as well as poems published in 1390/1970 in the journal of Pasdar-i Islam.
He wrote some of his articles at the request of Ayatollah Burujirdi; such as an article in response to a note in an Indian journal claiming that Islam was derived from Buddhism. He also wrote an article in response to Shaykh Mahmud Shaltut's claim about istikhara from the viewpoint of the school of Ahl al-Bayt (a).
Political and Social Views and Roles
Ayatollah Safi Gulpayigani is one of the few Shiite authorities who forbid all kinds of music. He also expressed his positions on a variety of social and political matters, and in some cases, he wrote letters to domestic and foreign officials. For example, in March 2011, he sent a message to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, asking him to leave the territories of Bahrain as soon as possible and apologize to the Muslim nation of Bahrain and all Muslims in the world. Here are some other such cases:
- Protest to the death sentence of al-Shaykh al-Nimir in Arabia: on October 17, 2014, Safi Gulpayigani referred to courts of justice in Saudi Arabia as "courts of injustice", taking the issuance of a death sentence for al-Shaykh al-Nimir Baqir al-Nimr to be unfortunate and regrettable. He asked the Iranian Foreign Minister to take urgent measures on the issue. Also in July 2016, Safi condemned the denial of citizenship for al-Shaykh Isa Qassim, a Shiite leader of Bahrain, taking it to be contrary to all civil, human, and judicial laws. He regarded the ruling as surprising and highly regrettable.
- Protest to pressures on Muslims in China: in December 2014, Safi Gulpayigani protested, and expressed his concerns about, pressures on Muslims in China. Also in July 2009, he protested the murder of Muslims in China, asking the Iranian Foreign Ministry to do its Islamic and human duty in the best possible way.
- The sedition of ISIS, the sedition of defaming Islam: in June 2016, Safi Gulpayigani said that the sedition of ISIS was the sedition of defaming Islam. He said that ISIS has made a religion that aims at supporting peace, friendship, and helping the poor look to the world as something harmful and destructive.
- Independence of Islamic seminaries: on several occasions, Safi Gulpayigani has emphasized the independence of Islamic seminaries. For example, he said that the key to the success of Shiite seminaries throughout the history has been their independence and their refusal to comply with powers.
- Independence of judges and the judiciary power: on a number of occasions, Safi Gulpayigani has emphasized the independence of judges and the judiciary power. He said that a judge should be so independent and powerful that he could summon anyone at any position and execute the divine rulings.
- Emphasis on the laws of sharia in cultural and artistic activities: on several occasions, Safi Gulpayigani emphasized on the preservation of the description, "Islamic", in the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance. He said that some activities to honor the art are contrary to divine rulings. He asked that such activities stop.
On February 3, 2016, Ayatollah Safi Gulpayigani was honored for his scholarly, religious, and Quranic activities in a ceremony attended by the Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Iranian Majlis), the head of Islamic seminaries, the secretary of the Higher Council of Islamic Seminaries, and some other officials and seminary figures.
- The material for writing this article is mainly taken from لطفالله صافی گلپایگانی in Farsi WikiShia.