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Tahrir al-wasila (book)

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Tahrir al-Wasila
Author Imam Khomeini
Original title تحرير الوسيلة
Language Arabic
Series 2 vols.
Subject Jurisprudence

Taḥrīr al-Wasīla (Arabic: تحرير الوسيلة) is a jurisprudential book written by Imam Khomeini in Arabic. The book is his tawdih al-masa'il that contains his fatwas. It is arranged according to Wasilat al-najat, written by Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Isfahani. The book which contains most of jurisprudential topics and commonly needed issues is published in two volumes. Taḥrīr al-Wasīla has been translated into Persian, Urdu and Turkish, and several commentaries have been written on it the most famous of which is Tafsil al-shari'a fi sharh Tahrir al-Wasila by Muhammad Fadil Lankarani. Dealing with newly emerged issues is one of the merits of the book.


Tahrir al-Wasila is a non-inferential jurisprudential book that contains all jurisprudential topics. In the book, detailed jurisprudential opinions and terms are expressed in simple phrases. Originally, Tahrir al-Wasila is Imam Khomeini's glosses and comments on Wasilat al-najat, written by Sayyid Abu al-Hasan Isfahani (d. 1365/1946), and Wasilat al-najat was Isfahani's glosses on Dhakhirat al-salihin, written by Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Tabatab'i Yazdi (d. 1337/1919). Isfahani inserted his glosses on Dhakhirat al-salihin to the main text of the book and having added many other issues, he named it Wasilat al-najat. This book contains most of jurisprudential topics and commonly needed issues in an exact order and is published in two volumes.


Imam Khomeini regarded Wasilat al-najat as an important work. He wrote his glosses on it during his residence in Qom. Respecting the great Marja' of that time, Ayatullah Husayn Burujirdi (d. 1340), he did not publish his glosses at that time. After the demise of Ayatullah Burujirdi, it was published separately and several times with Wasilat al-najat. The exile to Bursa, Turkey, provided an opportunity for the author to use the time of eleven-month mandatory residence in that city to insert his glosses into the text of Wasilat al-najat - as the author says – and he named it Tahrir al-Wasila. It seems at that time it was ended with the chapter of Irth (inheritance).

Afterward, he was exiled from Turkey to Iraq and during his residence in Najaf, he added the issues about Hajj, Friday prayer, Defensive Jihad, enjoining the good and forbidding evil, Qada' (judgment), Shahadat (testimonies), Qisas (retaliation), Diyat (atonments) and many other frequently needed issues, which he had taught in Qom.

Differences between Tahrir al-Wasila and Wasilat al-najat

Other than inclusion of Imam Khomeini's jurisprudential opinions, there are two main differences between Tahrir al-Wasila and Wasilat al-najat: some unnecessary issues are omitted and many commonly needed issues are added. Sayyid Abu al-Hasan has also discussed frequently needed issues; but Imam Khomeini has extended them. Overall, what Imam Khomeini has added to the book is about one third of it. Newly emerged issues that are presented at the end of the book are: insurance, promissory note, goodwill, banking, lottery tickets, IVF (in vitro fertilization), dissection, organ transplantation, sex change, radio and TV and some other miscellaneous issues.

The author tried to insert his comments into the main text of Wasilat al-najat with minimum change. In addition to changes in the content, in some cases the way of explaining an issue, titles or the order of them were changed, for instance: Prayer of Burial Night which was discussed in the chapter of Salat in Wasilat al-najat has been moved to the chapter of Taharat after the issues about burial; Zihar, Iyla' and Li'an which were discussed in one chapter in Wasilat al-najat, are divided into separated ones in Tahrir al-Wasila. These changes in the content and structure, which are apparent in all parts of Tahrir al-Wasila, has caused its superiority over Wasilat al-najat.


Some characteristics of the author such as: jurisprudential reputation and fighting against tyranny; and some factors in the book, such as: comprehensiveness, fluency and dealing with commonly needed issues, made the Arab muqallids of Imam Khomeini to ask him for publishing the book. Responding to their request, the book was summarized - as the author had requested - and was published under the title Zubdat al-ahkam. After a while, the whole book was also published in Najaf for the first time. However, because the publisher had used the epithet "Za'im Hawzat al-'Ilmiyya" (master of Islamic Seminaries) on the cover of the book, the author opposed publication of the book and did not agree until the publisher removed that epithet.

Using the Book for Judging in Courts

After the victory of Islamic Revolution in Iran, judges of the judiciary used Tahrir al-Wasila as the amendment to fill the legal vacuum. By legalization of the use of the common opinion of jurists for judgment (the article 167 of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran) and the spread of Imam Khomeini's Marja'iyya, the content of the book, which mostly coincided with common opinions of jurists, received more attention in courts and scholarly circles.

Translations and Commentaries

Tahrir al-Wasila has several translations and commentaries. The most important of which are as follows:


  • Persian translation.
  • In 1996 the Deputy of International Affairs of the Institute of Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini's Works published the Urdu translation along with the original Arabic text.
  • The Cultural Center of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Istanbul in partnership with the Institute of Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini's Works has published the Turkish translation of Tahrir al-Wasila.


  • Tafsil al-shari'a fi sharh Tahrir al-Wasila is the most comprehensive commentary on the book and 28 volumes of it has been published so far. It is written by Ayatullah Muhammad Fadil Lankarani. He said that a part of the commentary was written during the exile.
  • Anwar al-fiqaha fi ahkam al-'Itrat al-Tahira, written by Ayatullah Nasir Makarim Shirazi. The chapters of Hudud, Ta'zirat and Diyat has finished.
  • Mustanad Tahrir al-Wasila, written by Sayyid Mustafa Khomeini, the author's son, in two volumes. This commentary was published in 1376/1997, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the martyrdom of its author, by the Institute of Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini's Works.
  • Mustand Tahrir al-Wasila, written by Ahmad Mutahhari Savuji, in six volumes.
  • Other commentaries written by jurists and Marja's, such as: Shaykh Yusuf Sani'i, Muhammad Mu'min Qummi, Muhammad Hasan Ahmadi Faqih Yazdi, Ahmad Sibt al-Shaykh al-Ansari, Ali Akbar Siyf Mazandarani, 'Abd al-Nabi Namazi and Zayn al-'Abidin Ahmadi Zanjani.

Ma'rifat abwab al-fiqh is a summary of Tahrir al-Wasila prepared by the Center of Research and Compilation of Textbook of the International Center of Islamic Studies for the use of Hawza students.

By the effort of Hasan Puya, Qom branch of the Institute of Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini's Works published a bibliography of the works about Tahrir al-Wasila in the spring of 1389/2010. All the aforementioned information about the translations and commentaries are found in it in detail.

Conference of Tahrir al-Wasila; Commentaries and Glosses

In Bahman 5th, 1391/January 24th, 2013 "Conference of Tahrir al-Wasila; Commentaries and Glosses" was held in the Jurisprudential Center of A'ima Athar in Qom. In this conference, the software "Tahrir al-Wasila; Commentaries and Glosses" and Tafdil al-Shari'a - the commentary of Tahrir al-Wasila, written by Ayatullah Fadil Lankarani - which was published in 28 volumes, were unveiled.