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Muhammad Fadil Lankarani

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Muhammad Fadil Lankarani
فاضل لنکرانی.jpg
Personal Information
Religious Affiliation Twelver Shi'a
Birth 1350/1931
Residence Qom
Death Khordad 26, 1386 Sh/ June 16, 2007
Burial Place Qom, Iran
Scholarly Information
Professors Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi KhomeiniSayyid Husayn BurujirdiSayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i
Works Usul al-Shi'a li istinbat ahkal al-shari'a (6 vols.), Tafsil al-shari'a fi sharh tahrir al-wasila (28 vols.), Usul-i fiqh-i Shi'a (6 vols.), al-Dawla al-Islamiyya etc.

Muḥammad Fāḍil Lankarānī (Persian:محمد فاضل لنکرانی) (b. 1350/1931 - d. 1428/2007) was a Shiite marja' and a prominent teacher of the Islamic Seminary of Qom. He was a politically active clergy during the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. Lankarani was a member of the Society of Seminary Teachers of Qom and a member of the first Assembly of Experts of the Leadership.

When Ayatollah Gulpayigani and Ayatollah Araki passed away, Fadil Lankarani was one of the seven scholars who were announced by the Society of Seminary Teachers of Qom as being qualified for marja'iyya (Shiite authority). He was supportive of the Islamic Republic of Iran and believed that its legitimacy comes from Wilayat al-Faqih (guardianship of the Islamic jurist). Lankarani supported the taqrib approach (the proximity and unity among different branches of Islam), and believed that it is permissible to attend congregational prayers of Sunni Muslims.

His burial place is located inside the Holy Shrine of Fatima al-Ma'suma (a).


Muhammad Fadil Lankarani was born in 1350/1931 in Qom. His father, Fadil Qafqazi, was a scholar of the Islamic seminary and a member of the Istifta'at council of Ayatollah Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi. His mother was from a well-known sadat in Qom, called “Mubarqa'”. He died on June 16, 2007 in Qom, and was buried in the Holy Shrine of Fatima al-Ma'suma (a).


Muhammad Fadil began his studies in the Islamic seminary at the age of 13. After learning the Arabic literature and other preliminaries, he studied parts of al-Rasa'il and al-Makasib al-muharrama with his father, and other parts of them with Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Sultani Tabataba'i, 'Abd al-Jawad Jabal 'Amili, and Murtada Ha'iri Yazdi.

He began to attend advanced courses of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and usul al-fiqh (principles of jurisprudence) at the age of 19. He attended the lectures of Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi on fiqh for 15 years and wrote down his lectures in Arabic. He also attended the advanced lectures of Sayyid Ruh Allah Khomeini on usul al-fiqh and wrote down his lectures as well. He also studied Manzuma by Mulla Hadi Sabzawari and Asfar by Mulla Sadra with Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i.

He discussed his lectures with Sayyid Mustafa Khomeini, the son of Sayyid Ruh Allah Khomeini, as his study companion. He started teaching in the Islamic seminary when he was very young.

Muhammad Fadil obtained the degree of ijtihad at the age of 30. In 1994 when Muhammad 'Ali Araki passed away, he was announced by the Combatant Clergy Association (Jami'a-yi Ruhaniyyat-i Mubariz) as well as the Society of Islamic Seminary Teachers of Qom as qualified for Shiite authority with the majority of their votes.


His most prominent professors are:

  • Fadil Qafqazi (his father)
  • Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Sultani Tabataba'i
  • Sayyid Ruh Allah Khomeini
  • Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi
  • Husayn Ali Muntaziri
  • Murtada Ha'iri
  • Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i

Scholarly Activities

Muhammad Fadil Lankarani began to write scholarly books as well as the lectures of his teachers when he was very young, and continued to write books until late in his life. His books are concerned with issues such as the exegesis of the Qur'an, Quranic sciences, fiqh, usul al-fiqh, and the political thought. Muhammad Fadil taught fiqh and usul al-fiqh for many years.

Method of Ijtihad

Muhammad Fadil tried to establish the foundational views of Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi and Sayyid Ruh Allah Khomeini in fiqh. His book, Tafsil al-shari'a fi dhayl tahrir al-wasila, consists of jurisprudential comments on, and justifications for, Tahrir al-wasila by Sayyid Ruh Allah Khomeini. His method in ijtihad was the accumulation of probabilistic evidence which could, according to Muhammad Jawad Fadil Lankarani, lead a jurisprudent to confidence (psychological certainty).

The Jurisprudential Center of the Pure Imams (a)

The Jurisprudential Center of the Pure Imams (a) was established by Muhammad Fadil Lankarani in Qom in 1997. The center aims to train researchers and scholars, jurisprudents, and mujtahids, as well as preparing the ground for jurisprudential research. The Jurisprudential Center of the Pure Imams (a) has branches in Mashhad, Syria, and Afghanistan. It is currently administered by Muhammad Jawad Fadil Lankarani, the son of Muhammad Fadil Lankarani.


More than forty titles of Ayatullah Lankarani's works published in different subjects of Islamic sciences. Tafsil al-shari'a fi sharh tahrir al-wasila is the most famous work of Ayatullah Lankarani which is the a commentary on Tahrir al-wasila by Imam Khomeini. The digital library of his works were published as a software program by Noor Computer Research Center of Islamic Sciences in November 2, 2013.

Political Activities

Muhammad Fadil was a student of Sayyid Ruh Allah Khomeini and one of the 12 people who wrote a statement to publicly announce Imam Khomeini’s marja'iyya. He joined the Society of Islamic Seminary Teachers of Qom early after its establishment, attended its meetings, and signed many of its statements, such as the statement of Imam Khomeini’s marja'iyya and the disqualification of the Shah from the power. Following his activities in the Society as well as other political ventures, he was repeatedly arrested, tortured, exiled, or imprisoned. He was exiled to Bandar Lengeh for four months and to Yazd for two years and a half.

His political activities continued after the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He repeatedly appeared in the frontlines of the Iran-Iraq War and encouraged the warriors. After the Islamic Revolution, he was elected as a representative in the first Assembly of Experts of the Leadership from Markazi Province. He was the secretary of the Society of the Islamic Seminary Teachers of Qom for years.

Some Views

Muhammad Fadil was one of the Shiite authorities who believed in the independence of the Islamic seminaries from the government. He emphasized the freedom of the clergies and the Islamic seminaries. He rejected the idea of the Islamic seminary involving in economic affairs and believed that the Islamic seminaries should not accept the incomes obtained from endowments.

He maintained that the legitimacy of a government comes from Wilayat al-Faqih, taking the protection of an Islamic government to be a religious obligation.

Muhammad Fadil Lankarani supported the idea of unity among Muslims. He believed in practicing taqiyya (dissimulation) out of tolerance. Thus, he believed in the permissibility of attending the congregational prayers of Sunni Muslims in accordance with this type of taqiyya.

He was strongly fond of the character of Sayyid Ruh Allah Khomeini, believing that the scholarly aspects of Imam Khomeini’s character have been ignored. In his book, Tafsil al-shari'a fi dhayl tahrir al-wasila, he has expanded on Tahrir al-wasila by Sayyid Ruh Allah Khomeini.