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Sayyid Muhammad Ali Qadi Tabataba'i

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محمد علی قاضی طباطبایی.jpg
Personal Information
Full Name Sayyid Muhammad 'Ali Qadi Tabataba'i
Birth 1293 Sh./1914
Place of Birth Tabriz
Studied in Tabriz, Qom and Najaf
Death 10 Aban 1358 Sh/ 1 November, 1979
Scholarly Information
Professors Mar'ashi Najafi, Sayyid Muhammad Hujjat, Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei
Permission for Hadith
Transmission From
'Allama Tabataba'i, Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei, Aqa Buzurg Tihrani
Works Tahqiq darbari awwal-i Arba'in-i Sayyid al-Shuhada’ (An investigation about the first Arba'in of Sayyid al-Shuhada') etc.
Socio-Political Activities
Fight against Pahlavi regime, Friday Prayer Leader of Tabriz

Sayyid Muḥammad ʿAlī Qāḍī Ṭabāṭabāʾī (Arabic: سید محمدعلی قاضی طباطبایی; b. 1331/1913 - d. 1399/1979) was a Shiite clergy and the first imam of Friday Prayer in Tabriz after the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He was an activist before the revolution and a supporter of Imam Khomeini, and was exiled to different cities by the Pahlavi regime. After the revolution, he was appointed by Imam Khomeini as his representative in East Azerbaijan and the imam of Friday Prayer in Tabriz. He was assassinated by the Furqan Group and was recognized as the first martyr from imams of Friday Prayer in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Life and Education

Sayyid Muhammad 'Ali Qadi Tabataba'i was born in 1331/1913 in Tabriz. His father, Sayyid Baqir, known as Mirza Baqir, and his uncle, Mirza Asad Allah, were scholars in Tabriz. Sayyid Muhammad learned the preliminaries of Islamic disciplines from them in the Seminary of Talibiyya. He migrated to Qom in 1359/1940 to study in the Islamic Seminary of Qom.

He lived in Qom since 1359/1940 for 10 years. Then he went to Najaf and and participated in the classes of prominent scholars there and some of them gave him the permission to narrate hadith, some of whom are Aqa Buzurg Tihrani, al-Sayyid 'Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din al-'Amili, Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei and ....



  • Al-Ijtihad wa l-taqlid
  • Al-Fawa'id (about fiqh and history)
  • Khandan-i 'Abd al-Wahhab (Persian manuscript)
  • Kitab fi 'ilm al-kalam (A book about the discipline of kalam; Arabic manuscript)
  • Al-Sa'ada fi l-ihtimam 'ala l-ziyara (about ziyara; Arabic manuscript)
  • Ajwibat al-shubahat al-wahiya (Persian manuscript)
  • Risala fi ithbat wujud al-imam fi kull zaman (An essay on the proof of the existence of Imam (a) in every period of time; Arabic manuscript)
  • Safarnama Baft (A Travel Book of Baft; Persian manuscript)
  • Al-Mabahith al-usuliyya (about usul al-fiqh; Arabic manuscript)
  • Tarikh-i qada dar islam (the history of judgeship in Islam)
  • Sadaqat Amir al-Mu'minin wa Siddiqa Tahira
  • Hadiqat al-salihin
  • Risala dar awqat-i namaz (An essay on the times of prayers)
  • Risala dar mubahal (An essay on Mubahala)
  • Risala fi mas'alat al-tarattub (An essay on the problem of tarattub)
  • Tahqiq dar irth-i zan az darayi-yi shawhar (An investigation about a woman’s inheritance from her husband’s property)
  • ’Ilm-i Imam (Imam’s (a) knowledge)
  • Commentaries on the book, Islam, sirat-i mustaqim (Islam; the right path)
  • A preface to Tanqih al-usul by Haj Mirza Aqa
  • A preface to Mir'at al-sala
  • A preface to the book, Mu'jiza wa shara'it-i an (miracle and its conditions)
  • A preface to Jannat al-ma'wa by Kashif al-Ghita'
  • Footnotes to commentaries on al-Lawami' al-ilahiyya fi l-mabahith al-kalamiyya by Jamal al-Din Miqdad b. 'Abd Allah al-Asadi al-Suyuri al-Hilli
  • Commentaries on al-Firdaws al-a'la by Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Ghita'
  • A preface to al-'Aqa'id al-wathaniyya fi al-diyanat al-Nasraniyya (polytheistic beliefs in Christianity)
  • Translation of Masali-i Qandahariyya by Kashif al-Ghita' from Persian to Arabic
  • A preface to Balkhi’s Tarikh Ibn Abi l-Thalj

Political Activities

Before the Revolution

The Bill of State and Provincial Associations according to which it was sufficient for voters and candidates to be loyal to any Scripture, rather than exclusively to the Qur'an, led to protests in the Islamic Seminary of Qom and Shiite authorities, particularly Imam Khomeini. Thus, scholars of Tabriz issued statements which were signed by Qadi as well.

Another event in which Qadi tried to advance the causes of the Islamic Revolution was the event of the Islamic Seminary of Talibiyya in Tabriz. The event began with a printed statement of Imam Khomeini which was installed on the wall in the Talibiyya School. When police agents wanted to remove the statement from the wall, they faced resistance by the students of the school. The clash spread to the bazar, and with the riots of people who went out of the Mosque of Maqbara, the siege of police forces came to an end. After the event, Ayatollah Qadi issued a statement, and the next day, the statement was circulated throughout the city in red writing.

In 1347 Sh/1968, Qadi Tabataba'i’s political activities and his revelations against the Pahlavi regime led to his exile to Baft in Kerman for six months, and then to Zanjan.

In 1352 Sh/1973, a fund was established in Tabriz under his supervision as “Sanduq-i Mujahidin-i Islami” (The Fund of Islamic Warriors) in order to support anti-Pahlavi movements, such as printing and propagating statements, helping the families of political prisoners, helping the activists who had to leave their homes, and the like. He also had contacts with university students in order to strengthen anti-Pahlavi movements.

The uprising of people on January 9, 1978 in response to an article published in Ettela'at Newspaper began with a movement by Islamic seminary students, and it then spread to everywhere around the country. Under the leadership of scholars, and in particular, Ayatollah Qadi, the movement spread to Tabriz on February 18, 1978.

After the Revolution

After the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, he was appointed by Imam Khomeini as the imam of Friday Prayer and his representative in Tabriz in 1358/1979. He tried to establish security and stability in Tabriz. For example, in the middle of June, 1979, a number of Iranian air force members (Homafaran) had a sit-in and expressed their requests. They quit their sit-in after Ayatollah Qadi’s talks with them.

When the Islamic Republican Party was established, Qadi issued statements in which he encouraged people to hold a membership in the party.


Qadi Tabataba'i was attacked and martyred by a member of the Furqan Group on a street when he was returning home after holding evening and 'Isha prayers on Dhu l-Hijja 10, 1399/November 1, 1979. He is known in Iran as the first Martyr from imams of prayer. Imam Khomeini issued a statement after Qadi’s martyrdom and expressed his condolences to all committed Muslims and scholars, as well as the loyal and devoted people of Azerbaijan.