Sayyid Husayn Tabataba'i Qummi

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Sayyid Husayn Tabataba'i Qummi
Personal Information
Full Name Sayyid Ḥusayn Tabātabāʾī Qummī
Birth 1282/1865
Place of Birth Qom
Residence Qom, Najaf, Karbala, Samarra, Mashad
Studied in Qom, Najaf, Tehran, Samarra
Death 1366/1946
Burial Place The Holy Shrine of Imam 'Ali (a)
Scholarly Information
Professors 'Ali Akbar Hikami Yazdi, Mirza Abu l-Hasan Jilwa, Mirza Habib Allah Rashti etc.
Students Husayn 'Ali Rashid Turbati, Mahdi Hakim etc.
Works Muntakhab al-ahkam, Mukhtasar al-ahkam, Tariq al-najat etc.
Socio-Political Activities
He opposed anti-religious actions of Reza Shah. During World War II, he issued a fatwa of jihad against Allied Forces.

Sayyid Ḥusayn Tabātabāʾī Qummī ([Persian:سید حسین طباطبایی قمی) known as Ḥāj Aqā Ḥusayn Qummī (Persian: حاج آقا حسین قمی) (b. 1282/1865 - d. 1366/1946) was a Shi'a scholar in fiqh and a marja'. He was the Shia's general Marja' for three months after Ayatollah Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Isfahani passed away. He objected to the actions of Reza Shah and was exiled to Iraq from Iran. His arrest by Reza Shah led to gathering of people and the Event of Goharshad Mosque. His son, Sayyid Hasan Qummi passed away in 2007 in Mashhad. His other son, Sayyid Taqi Qummi is a scholar living in Qom.

Life and Education

Sayyid Husayn was born on Rajab 28th, 1282/December 17, 1865 in Qom. He began his primary education in a Maktab Khana in Qom. He then passed primary lessons of religious sciences including Arabic morphology, grammar and logics and then went to Tehran to complete his education. He studied Ma'alim al-madrasatayn, Qawanin, Sharh al-lum'a, Rasa'il and Makasib under teachers of that seminary and at the age of 22, went to Mecca and Medina to perform hajj. On his return, he entered Najaf and participated in the class of Ayatollah Mirza Muhammad Hasan Shirazi and after two years, he returned to Tehran in 1306/1889. He continued his education in Tehran for five years and once again went to Samarra in Iraq in 1321/1903-1904 and attended the class of Ayatollah Mirza Muhammad Taqi Shirazi. He stayed in Samarra for four years. His teacher especially loved him and referred his followers to him in issues required precaution.

Following the request of the people of Mashhad for sending a scholar for them, Mirza Muhammad Taqi Shirazi recommended him and Mirza Husayn move to Mashhad. Haj Aqa Husayn had permission for Ijtihad from all his teachers in Najaf and Samarra and had received the permission for narrating hadiths from Sayyid Murtada Kashmiri.



Sayyid Husayn Tabataba'i among his students.
  • Sayyid Zayn al-'Abidin Kashani Ha'iri
  • Muhammad Rida Jarquyayi Isfahani
  • Muhammad Husayn Sidqi Mazandarani
  • Ghulam Hasan Muhami Badkubayi
  • Muhammad 'Ali Kazimi Khurasani
  • Yusuf Biarjumandi Shahrudi
  • Sayyid Muhammad Musawi Lankarani
  • Aqa Buzurg Ashrafi Shahrudi
  • Sayyid Mahdi Tabataba'i Qomi
  • Sayyid Hasan Tabataba'i Qomi
  • Sayyid Sadr al-Din Jazayiri
  • Sayyid Husayn Musawi Nasl
  • Husayn 'Ali Rashid Turbati
  • Hadi Ha'iri Shirazi
  • 'Ali Tawhidi Bastami
  • Muhammad 'Ali Sarabi
  • Ahmad Mudarris Yazi
  • 'Abbas 'Ali Islami
  • Kazim Damghani
  • Mujtaba Qazwini
  • Fadil Qafqazi
  • Hasan Bujnurdi
  • Hashim Qazwini
  • 'Abbas Turbati
  • Mahdi Hakim


  • Marginal notes on al-'Urwat al-wuthqa (from the beginning of the issues on emulation to a part of the issues about prayer)
  • Hidaya al-anam fi l-masa'il al-halal wa l-haram (Risalat al-ahkam)
  • Al-Dhakhira l-baqiya fi l-'ibadat wa al-mu'amilat
  • Marginal notes on Risala riba'iyya rida'iyya
  • Marginal notes on Risala Irth wa Nafaqat
  • Marginal notes on Sihhat al-mu'amilat
  • Marginal notes on Majma' al-masa'il
  • Muntakhab al-ahkam
  • Mukhtasar al-ahkam
  • Tariq al-najat
  • Dhakhira al-'ibad
  • Manasik Hajj

Marja'iyya [Religious Authority]

After entering to Mashhad, Haj Aqa Husayn Qummi held the congregational prayer and established his connection with people and by answering their questions and following up the situation of the needy and deprived people, accepted the leadership of the seminary. In addition to following up the affairs of the students of religious studies, he taught fiqh and usul in his house. Qummi avoided sending out a guide to rulings and accepting the authority, but after many religious people insisted and referred to him, his guide to rulings was published in 1351/1932-1933 and his authority began from that date.

Haj Aqa Husayn always took a strong position against anti-religious actions of Reza Shah. Finally, after the Event of Goharshad Mosque, Pahlavi regime arrested him for a while and then exiled him to Iraq in 1354/1935. Therefore, his authority transferred to Karbala from then. With the presence of Haj Aqa Husayn Qummi, the general situation in the seminary changed and the classes and sessions greatly improved. Beside management of the seminary, religious leadership of people and performing the affairs related with his authority, he also taught and educated students and taught Kharij fiqh and Usul. After Ayatollah Sayyid Abu l-Haasan Isfahani passed away, Qummi left Karbala for 11 years and moved to Najaf and sources of emulation in Najaf left the authority to him.

The time of his authority was short and after some months, he passed away. Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Hadi Milani reported that he was concerned that his authority would not damage his religion and faith. Therefore, he prayed that if leadership was going to damage his religion, God takes his soul.

His Political Activities

The time of Reza Shah and his actions stirred the objection of religious scholars and Haj Aqa Husayn Qummi began to oppose Reza Shah's regime. In one of the sessions religious scholars in Mashhad gathered in his house, he became so sad for the situation in the country and cried and said, "Today, Islam needs sacrifices and it is upon people to rise."

Finally, religious scholars decided that Ayatollah Qummi goes to Tehran in opposition to anti-religious actions of Reza Shah and speaks with him. In the last session of his class, he said that if preventing anti-religious actions leads to the killing of ten thousand people, and top of whom would be Haj Aqa Husayn Qummi, it would be worth it.

Before moving to Tehran, a group of the people of Mashhad asked him what would he ask in his meeting with Shah and he answered, "I will first ask him to give up anti-Islamic programs and if he does not accept, I will suffocate him!"

His Arrest

After entering Tehran, Ayatollah Qummi went to Rey and resided in Siraj al-Mulk garden. People of Tehran went to meet him in great numbers and Pahlavi regime besieged his residence. The news of his arrest led to great demonstration of people, especially the people of Mashhad. People gathered in the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Rida (a) and Goharshad Mosque and listened to speakers. Every day, the size of demonstrations increased until the agents of the government attacked the gathering of religious scholars and people who had sit in Goharshad mosque on Rabi' II 14th, and killed some of them.

After killing and suppressing people in Goharshad Mosque, Pahlavi regime exiled him from Iran to Iraq.

Fatwa for Jihad

During his presence in the Seminary of Karbala during occupation of Iraq in World War II, he issued the fatwa to make Jihad against the Allied forces together with some other religious scholars of Iraq and sought the encounter with the occupants. After Reza Shah was deposed, Haj Aqa Husayn's eight years of exile ended and he returned to Mashhad in 1943. He asked the government to accept cancellation of the rule on removing hijab, cancellation of coed schools, holding up congregational prayers, teaching of the Holy Qur'an and religious teachings in schools, freedom of seminaries, decreasing economic pressure on weak people of the society, making efforts for repairing the graves of Imams of al-Baqi' Cemetery. He threatened that if the government would not accept it, he would announce armed fight against it. His threat and people's support led to acceptance of his requests.

His Demise

Haj Aqa Husayn Qummi passed away in Najaf on Rabi' I 14th, 1366/February 5, 1947, some months after Ayatollah Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Isfahani passed away and was buried near the grave of Imam 'Ali (a).