Mirza Husayn Khalili Tihrani

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Mirza Husayn Khalili Tihrani
Personal Information
Full NameMirza Husayn Khalili Tihrani
Studied inNajaf
Burial PlaceNajaf
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsMuhammad Hasan Najafi, Shaykh Ansari etc.

Mirza Ḥusayn Khalīlī Tihranī (Persian: میرزا حسین خلیلی تهرانی) (b. 1230/1814-5 - d. 1326/1908) was a twelver Shi'a jurist and Marja' of 13th/19th and 14th/20th centuries, and one of the leaders of Iranian Constitutional Revolution. In Najaf he studied under great scholars such as Muhammad Hasan Najafi (Sahib Jawahir ) and Shaykh Ansari and finally became a famous Shi'a Marja' in the world. He was very sensitive about political and social issues in Iran and reacted toward them in many cases e.g. in deposal of Amin al-Sultan (Iranian chancellor of that time) and also his efforts in Iranian Constitutional Revolution.

Birth and Education

He was born in 1230/1814-5 in Najaf. At the beginning he studied under his father Mirza Khalil and his bother Hajj Mulla 'Ali. When he finished the basic level, he started studying under Muhammad Hasan Najafi (d. 1266/1850) and after his demise under Shaykh Ansari (d. 1281/1864). He received narration certificate from them and other scholars like Mawla Zayn al-'Abidin Gulpayigani. It was then that he started teaching jurisprudence in Najaf. His scholarly reputation was built on his comprehensive knowledge about jurisprudential issues, his extraordinary power of expression while teaching and his great opinions.


After Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Kazimi passed away in 1308/1891, he became a Marja', and by the demise of Mirza Shirazi (1312/1895) he was listed among great Marja's, and many people from Iran, India, Iraq and other countries followed him.


He taught many students. Famous jurists attended his class, some of which are:

Also great scholars like: Aqa Buzurg Tihrani, Muhammad Husayn Kashif al-Ghita', Mirza Ali Akbar Hamadani and Shaykh Muhammad Taliqani received narration certificate from him.

Social and Political Activities

Objection to Amin al-Sultan's Policies

He was very sensitive about Iranian social and political issues. In 1321/1903, after chaotic social and political situation in Iran caused by Amin al-Sultan's Policies which led to people's dissatisfaction with him, Tihrani and Akhund Mulla Muhammad Kazim Khurasani (d. 1329/1911) wrote a letter to Iranian scholars expressing their dissatisfaction and opposition to Amin al-Sultan's Policies, even it is said that Tihrani excommunicated him. These activities finally led to deposal of Amin al-Sultan.

Supporting Iranian Constitutional Revolution

Tihrani, Akhund Khurasani and Mulla 'Abd Allah Mazandarani (d. 1330/1912) supported the revolution from its early beginning. These three scholars, who took Marja'iyya position after the demise of Mirza Shirazi, played an important role in the success of the revolution by their letters, statements and guidance. The goal of this support was preservation of Islam, overthrowing dictatorship and eliminating foreign interference in Iran.

Signing the Constitution of the Constitutional Revolution

Soon after the Revolution's success and establishment of Majlis-i Shura (parliament), the Constitution was sent to these three persons for singing. After that they signed it, they tried to support newly established parliament by sending frequent mails and telegrams.

Opposing Dictatorship

After cannoning the first Majlis in 1326/1908, he and other Iranian scholars who were resident of Iraq at that time, opposed the dictator government more severely and consequently added up to their support of constitutionalists. Tihrani, Khurasani and Mazandarani said that deposing Muhammad 'Ali Shah is "one of the most obligatory obligations", and paying tax to his agents is "one of the biggest Harams (forbidden acts)" and efforts for stabilizing the Constitutional government is like fighting in Imam Mahdi's (a) army. It is said that after occurrence of some distortions in the revolution, Tihrani regretted his support of it.

Moral Characteristic

Tihrani was a very pious person and cared very much to recite supplications and Ziyarahs. Most of his time, Tihrani spent his time worshiping in Masjid al-Kufa and Masjid al-Sahla, and walking to Karbala for Ziyarah. He was very well-mannered, well-spoken and kind. He built a pilgrims-house (Za'ir Sara), two seminary schools and a qanat (subterranean water channel) in Najaf, as Waqf for public use.


He passed away in Shawwal 1326/November 1908 in Masjid al-Sahla. His body was taken to Najaf in a respectful funeral and there, it was buried near the school he had built. Memorial ceremonies were held in Iran, India and Iraq, and the Bazaar of Tehran was closed for some days in his honor. Many poems were composed honoring him. After that he passed away it was rumored that he was poisoned, consequently, he was called "Dhabih A'zam" (the great slain) and "Shahid Akbar" (the great martyr).


He left many works in fields like: jurisprudence, its principles and Rijal. Allegedly, they were all hand-written and were in his student's –Muhammad Taqi Gurgani- possession. Some of his works are:

  • Dhari'at al-Widad; a commentary on Najat al-'Ibad written by Muhammad Hasan Najafi. Apparently this book is incomplete. It was first published in Mumbai and then in 1312/1894-5 in Iran.
  • Glosses on some "Islamic laws"s.
  • Kitab al-Ghasb.
  • Kitab al-Ijara.
  • Jurisprudential treatises about Bay' and Khyarat.

Some of his fatwas along with other scholars' have been published in the book "Majma' al-Rasa'il " (published in Tehran in 1331/1912-3). Also some of his students have written down his opinions given in his classes. He also has written comments on many books.


He had six sons who all studied Islamic studies.

The most famous one, Muhammad, was born in Najaf and studied high levels of jurisprudence and principles of jurisprudence under his father and Akhund Khurasani. He took his Ijtihad certificate from great scholarly personalities of Najaf. From his childhood, Muhammad composed poem and which were mostly about praising and glorifying Ahl al-Bayt (a). In some pieces of his poems, he called Muslims into awakening. Nevertheless, he spent most of his life worshiping, praying and being Mu'takif, in the holy shrine of Imam 'Ali (a). He passed away in 1355/1936 in Najaf and was buried next to his father's tomb. He also has written: Kitab fi al-Tahara, Kitab fi al-Khums, Qamus Gharib al-Quran and some jurisprudential treatises.