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Muhammad 'Ali Araki

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Ayatollah Araki
آیت الله اراکی.jpg
Personal Information
Full Name Muhammad 'Ali Araki
Birth Jumada II 24, 1313 (December 12, 1895)
Residence Arak, Qom
Studied in Arak,Qom
Death Jumada II 25, 1415 (November 29, 1994)
Burial Place Holy shrine of Lady Ma'suma (a), Qom
Scholarly Information
Professors Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri,Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Khwansari, ...
Students Sayyid Muhsin Kharrazi,Mahdi Shah Abadi,Muhammad Taqi Sutudi,Rida Ustadi Tihrani,...
Socio-Political Activities
Issuing statement about Regional and Provincial Councils, Approving Imam Khomeini's representatives in cities

Muḥammad ʿAlī Arākī (Persian: محمد علی اراکی) was an Iranian Marja'. He played an important role in establishment of Seminary of Qom and was the Imam (prayer leader) in the Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari Mosque in Qom for over 30 years.

Although he was a Mujtahid for more than 40 years, he renounced being a Marja' due to his humility and refer people to other Mujtahids.

He was one of the last Marja's who had studied under Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri. After his demise, students of Ayatollah Khoei, i.e. Ayatollah Gulpaygani and Imam Khomeini became held the position of being Marja'.

Birth and Lineage

Muhammad 'Ali Araki was born in Jumada II 24, 1313 (December 12, 1895) in Arak, Iran.

His father -Hujjat al-Islam Hajj Ahmad Aqa Farahani, known as Mirza Aqa and Hajj Mirza Aqa- was from Muslih Abad, a village in Farahan and a student of Mulla Muhammad Ibrahim Anjadani. His mother, 'Alawiyya Agha Beygum, was the daughter of Sayyid 'Aqil, a descendant of Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (a).

Ayatollah Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri, the founder of Hawza 'Ilmiyya of Qom, was his brother in law (husband of his wife's sister) and Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Khwansari was his son in law.

Education and Teachers

Ayatollah Araki learned how to read and write when he was 11 or 12 under Aqa 'Imad, his brother in law (his sister's husband). Then he completed primarily studies under Hujat al-Islam Aqa Shaykh Ja'far and Aqa Shaykh 'Abbas Idris Abadi.

He studied Sharh Manzuma, written by Mulla Hadi Sabzawari, under Ayatollah Shaykh Muhammad Baqir Araki Sultan Abadi, known as Sulatn al-'Ulama' Araki (d. 1382/1962-1963). He also studied under Hajj Aqa Nur al-Din Araki (d. 1340/1921-1922).

When he was 20, he participated in the lessons of Ayatollah Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri and studied under him for 8 years. He was one of the earliest students of Ayatollah Ha'iri and accompanied him to the end of his life.

Ayatollah Araki, also, studied some chapters from fiqh (jurisprudence) such as: taharat (purification) and nikah (marriage) under Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Khwansari (d. 1371/1951-1952).

Scholarly Status and Students

After the demise of Ayatollah Khwansari, and at the request of many of his students, Ayatollah Araki started teaching some chapters of kharij fiqh, including: nikah, makasib muharrma, bay', khiyarat, taharat, ijara and hajj, and kharij usul in afternoons in the school of Faydiyya.

Some of his famous students are:

Political and Social Activities

One of his politico-religious activities was his cooperation in foundation of Hawza 'Ilmiyya in Qom.

Also, because he believed that the Salat al-Jumu'a (Friday prayer) is wajib (compulsory), he preformed it for about 30 year (from 1377/1957-1958 to 1399/1978-1979) after the demise of Ayatollah Khwansari, in Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari Mosque in Qom.

For 35 years, He was the Imam of Salat al-Jama'a (Congregational Prayer), held in various places such as: the Holy shrine of Lady Ma'suma (a), tomb chamber of Shah 'Abbas (currently: Imam Khomeini masque) and Faydiyya Islamic school.

He and Ayatollah Khwansari went to Ayatollah Burujirdi after he came to Qom and discussed the uprising and opposition against the irreligious acts of Muhammad Rida Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran at that time.

When the article of taking oath to the Qur'an was omitted from the bill of Regional and Provincial Councils, which was proposed by Shah, he issued a statement in Rajab 1382/ December 1962, in which he called for explicit repeal of the bill due to its incompatibility with the Islamic laws and people's dissatisfaction and anxiety about reduction of religious symbols in the society.

One of his important actions was approving Imam Khomeini's representatives in cities. When he was asked about his opinion about the appointed Imam al-Jum'as and scholars by Imam Khomeini in various cities for "hasbiyya affairs and collection of shar'i funds (including khums, zakat and …)" he replied that he approves and endorses all of whom Imam Khomeini had trusted and appointed as his representative.

Scholarly Works

His works are divided into two main categories:


Ayatollah Bahjat is praying Salat al-Mayyit on the body of Ayatollah Araki, 1415/1994, the Holy Shrine of lady Masuma (a), Qom

Although he was a great Mujtahid and had written his glosses on al-'Urwat al-wuthqa (writing a gloss on al-'Urwat al-wuthqa was a sign of reaching the state of Ijtihad) more than 40 years ago, he renounced to become a Marja' due to his humility.

However, after the demise of Imam Khomeini, scholars in various cities and especially the Society of Seminary Teachers of Qom referred Muqallids (followers) of Imam Khomeini to Ayatollah Golpaygani and Ayatollah Araki.

After the demise of Ayatollah Khoei and Ayatollah Golpaygani, he was the only Marja'.

He was one of the last Marja's who had studied under Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri and after his demise, students of Ayatollah Khoei, Ayatollah Gulpaygani and Imam Khomeini became Marja'. After his demise multiple Marja's took the position of Marja'iyya.


Ayatollah Araki had three sons named: Ibrahim, Abu l-Hasan and 'Ali. His son, Abu l-Hasan Muslihi, was one of the Mujtahids in Islamic Seminary of Qom.

Two of his daughters married Sayyid Muhhammad Taqi Khwansari (after the first one passed away, he married the other).


He was hospitalized in Jumada I 18, 1415/October 23, 1994 for vascular diseases and finally passed away in Jumada II 25, 1415/November 29, 1994.

A public funeral was held in Qom and Ayatollah Bahjat performed Salat al-Mayyit on his body, then he was buried in the holy shrine of lady Fatima al-Ma'suma (a) next to the tombs of Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri and Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Khwansari.