The Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly (Persian: مجمع جهانی اهل بیت) is an international non-governmental organization established to introduce the genuine Islam, distribute the teachings of the Qur'an and the Ahl al-Bayt (a), reinforce the Islamic unity and identify, organize, educate and support the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a).
This assembly was established in May 1990, after an international conference, where more than 300 of the thinkers of the Islamic world, especially the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) participated, was held under supervision of Ayatullah Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Publishing books and magazines in different languages, supporting periodicals and books and communities of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) around the world, holding scientific conferences, sending religious preachers, financial, scientific and cultural support of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and equipping libraries, etc. are among the activities of this assembly.
The headquarter of this assembly is in Iran and its programs are organized under the supervision of the Supreme Leader. The general assembly is held every four years and the General Assembly, the Supreme Council and the Secretary General are three bases of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly. The members of the supreme council and the secretary general of the assembly are appointed by the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The supreme council is comprised of Shi'a thinkers and intellectuals of different nationalities. Rida Ramadani Gilani is the present general secretary of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly.
The most important goals of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly:
- Revival and promotion of the culture and teachings of the genuine Islam and guarding the sanctity of the Holy Qur'an and the tradition of the Holy Prophet (s) and the Pure and Infallible Ahl al-Bayt (a);
- Defending the essence of Islam and the sanctity of the Holy Prophet (s), the Holy Qur'an and the Ahl al-Bayt (a);
- Deepening and strengthening unity in the Islamic community, especially among the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a);
- Supporting the rights of Muslims around the world and the position of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a);
- Developing material and spiritual infrastructures of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) around the world;
- Helping the growth and correction of the intellectual, cultural, political, financial and social status of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) around the world;
- Liberating the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) from media oppression and scientific and financial deprivations;
- Making efforts for developing peace, friendship, cooperation and collaboration among all human beings and nations of the world;
Members and Structure of the Assembly
The general assembly, which is one of the bases of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly, is an institution comprised of elites and thinkers among the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) from around the world. Elite followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) from 120 countries are members of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly. Members of this assembly are continuously in contact with the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly and every four years, they gather for policy making, studying opportunities and threats and the mechanisms of their activities. In this assembly, decisions for improvement of the cultural, social, financial and legal status of Muslims are made and plans and suggestions to achieve the goals of the Assembly are presented.
The supreme council is comprised of the prominent members of the general assembly who are responsible to approve policies, programs and the budget of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly and also supervise its executive areas. This assembly is one of the bases of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly and is comprised of individuals and legal personalities. It is formed by the membership of some of the members of the general assembly. Here are some of the great personalities who formerly were or currently are members of this assembly:
- Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah from Lebanon
- 'Abd Allah Jawadi Amuli from Iran
- al-Sayyid Sajid 'Ali Naqawi from Pakistan
- 'Abd al-Hadi al-Fadli from Saudi Arabia
- 'Isa Ahmad Qasim from Bahrain
- Al-Sayyid Muhammad 'Ali Muhsin Taqawi from India
- Muhammad Asif Muhsini from Afghanistan
- Sayyid Mahmud Hashimi Shahrudi from Iran
The general secretary is the highest executive position of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly elected by the supreme council and appointed by the decree of Wali faqih to manage the Assembly and carry out approved policies. Reza Ramazani is the present general secretary of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly.
Offices in Different Parts of the World
In order to strengthen and promote communications with the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and with regards to political and social status and the presence of Shi'a in different parts of the world, so far, many assemblies and local centers in about 90 countries of the world focused on localization of cultural and religious activities of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) in order to manage cultural, religious and social affairs of Shi'a in those regions. In some cities and countries, with regards to the distribution of the population of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a), two or more Ahl al-Bayt (a) institutes are active, all of which depend on their local assembly. These assemblies and offices of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) have official and independent identities and work based on the national laws of their respective countries. According to the latest statistics, the number of offices and local assemblies in different continents are as follows:
Thirty nine countries in Asia, 42 countries in Africa, 18 countries in America, 40 countries in Europe and two countries in the Oceania. Additionally, Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly is connected with local assemblies and cultural centers of Shi'a in most countries of the world.
Social Activities and Cultural Support
Here are some of Assembly's activities in this regard:
- Committee for mosques and building and supporting public utilities: Helping the construction of mosques, Husayniyyas, religious centers, schools, libraries, medical centers and orphanages are among the most important activities in this field which the Assembly carries out or organizes by the help of benefactors.
- Holding and cooperation in seminars and conferences: In order to spread and promote the culture of the Ahl al-Bayt (a), the Assembly has held different seminars:
- The International Congress of Sibt al-Nabi al-Akbar (a) (The Prophet's (s) eldest grandson)
- The International Conference of Nasir Kabir
- The Grand Award Festival of the Great Prophet (s)
- The International Conference of the Caricature of International Quds Day
- The Scientific-Research Conference of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) Lifestyle
- The International Conference of Imam al-Sajjad (a)
- The International Conference of Abu Talib (a)
- The International Conference of Shi'a Physicians.
- Defending the rights of Muslims following the Ahl al-Bayt (a): In order to give information to Muslims in the world about their rights and ways of legal pursuit and using entities, means and international strategies to remove religious, racial and other kinds of discrimination and oppression, the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly has taken effective steps and has been able to deliver the voices of the oppressed to the international organizations and diminish some pressures and violations of human rights or bring them under control of supervisory institutions.
- Supporting local preachers: The Assembly supports local preachers in the network of preachers and locals, in order to localize preaching activities in different parts of the world, to benefit from the presence of graduates of universities and Shi'a seminary schools after they return to their homelands and also to promote the scientific and cultural level of the society of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a).
- Interacting with Shi'a sects: Although, most of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) around the world are Twelver Shi'a, millions of other Shi'a follow other Shi'a sects in fiqh or other issues. Forming different committees, the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly tries to intellectually and culturally support the followers of these sects such as 'Alawites, Zaydis, Isma'ilites, Bohras and Sufis.
Publication and Translation Activities
Here are some of the Assembly's activities in this regard:
- Publication and translation of Shi'a books: The total number of researched and published books by the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly and its branches exceeds 1800 titles and the books of the Assembly have been translated to 55 languages so far. The publication of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly has participated in the world's most important book fairs.
- Publication of periodicals: To carry out its cultural and preaching mission, the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly has published several periodicals (including the Ahl al-Bayt (a), Intizar, Balagh, Message of Thaqalayn, Message of Zaynab, Tawhid, Dhawi l-Qurba, Salam, Tuba, Fereshtegan-e Kuchak (The young angels), Faryad, Qibla, Kawthar, Ganjina-yi Majma', etc.) in different languages and different countries and has supported some Islamic magazines and periodicals.
- Library and document center: In the library and the document center of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly located in Qom building, more than 30 thousand books, magazines and research documents are available.
- Supporting New Shi'a: In publications, the Assembly supports the establishment and activities of websites and theses by new Shi'a.
Affiliated Educational Centers
- The Ahl al-Bayt (a) International University: This university is a non-governmental educational organization established by the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly in 2000. This university identifies, admits and educates non-Iranian students among followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) in postgraduate education (MA and PhD) and offers official certificates to them upon graduation.
- Schools under Supervision of the Assembly: Establishing schools and educational centers in different countries, the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly educates children and teenagers of the families following the Ahl al-Bayt (a).
- The hadith in Arabic: إنّی تارِکٌ فیکُم الثِّقْلَیْن، کِتابَ الله و عِتْرَتی
- The material of this article is mainly taken from مجمع جهانی اهل بیت in Farsi WikiShia.