Mujtaba Tihrani

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Mujtaba Tihrani
Personal Information
Full NameMujtaba Shahidi Kalhuri
DeathSafar 19, 1434/January 2, 2013
Burial PlaceHoly shrine of 'Abd al-'Azim al-Hasani, Rey
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsImam Khomeini, Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i, Sayyid Muhammad Muhaqqiq Damad, al-Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei

Mujtabā Shahīdī Kalhurī (Persian: مجتبی شهیدی کَلهُری), known as Āqa Mujtabā Tihrānī (Persian:آقا مجتبی تهرانی) (b. 1356/1937 - d. 1434/2013), was a Shiite faqih (jurist), mujtahid (religious authority), and lecturer of ethics in the Islamic seminary of Tehran. He was a student of Imam Khomeini and contributed to editing his essay of fatwas. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, he did not undertake any position in the Islamic Republic of Iran, although he was a supporter of the revolution. Ayatollah Tihrani led congregational prayers in Masjid Jami' of Tehran's bazaar. His public lectures on ethics were popular among people of Tehran. Ayatollah Shaykh Murtada Tihrani and Mahdi Kalhur are his brothers.

Biography and Education

Mujtaba Tihrani was born in 1356/1937 in Tehran. His father, Mirza 'Abd al-'Ali Tihrani, was a student of Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri Yazdi. Mirza 'Abd al-'Ali and Shaykh Mahmud Shahabadi led congregational prayers in Masjid Jami' in Tehran's bazaar. Tihrani went to school when he was 5 years old, and studied some preliminaries of religious disciplines in Haj Abu l-Fath seminary school in Tehran when he was 10 years old. He then migrated to Mashhad with his father and studied the rest of the preliminaries. He attended private lectures on Arabic literature by Adib Nishaburi. In 1334 sh/1995-6, he went to Qom at the age of 18. He attended the lectures of Imam Khomeini, Ayatollah Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi, Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Rida Gulpayigani, and Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i, and Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Muhaqqiq Damad. He became a mujtahid at the age of 25.

Ayatollah Tihrani transcribed the lectures of Imam Khomeini on al-bay' (transactions), and published it with his permission. Moreover, Imam Khomeini's lectures on prohibited transactions (al-makasib al-muharrama) and two volumes of his essays on usul al-fiqh were edited and published by Ayatollah Tihrani. Tihrani was fond of Imam Khomeini and as he said: "I learned more from Ayatollah Khomeini than my father". He was a classmate of Sayyid Mustafa Khomeini and constantly reviewed and discussed the lectures with him. He also had close relations with Aqa Buzurg Tihrani and as he said: "until his death, Aqa Buzurg always invited me to a one-to-one breakfast in the evenings of Ramadan months".

When Ayatollah Burujirdi passed away and Imam Khomeini was introduced as a marja' or Shiite authority, since essays of Imam Khomeini's fatwas at people's disposal were full of mistakes and typos, Imam Khomeini commissioned his student, Mujtaba Tihrani, to edit his essay of fatwas and his essay of hajj rituals. It was published in 1343 sh/1964-5 and was circulated among the followers of Imam Khomeini. Later Ayatollah Tihrani and other students of Imam Khomeini opened his library in Qom, but it was shut down by SAVAK after three years.

In 1388/1968, Tihrani went to Najaf and in his three-year stay there, he taught the book, Kifayat al-usul, in Ayatollah Burujirdi seminary school and attended lectures of Imam Khomeini. He also attended lectures of Ayatollah al-Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khu'i and Ayatollah al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim.


  • Nur-i mubin, an exegesis of some chapters of the Holy Qur'an.
  • Khutba-yi Fadak, a short exposition of Lady Fatima al-Zahra's (a) oration on Fadak.
  • Daramadi bar sayr wa suluk, an introduction to mystical experiences.


Before Imam Khomeini was exiled to Turkey and then Najaf, Tihrani turned a house across Hujjatiyya School into a library, called "Library of Wali 'Asr (a)". The library is now a charity clinic called, "Quran wa 'Itrat". When Imam Khomeini was arrested by the Pahlavi government, the library was shut down and its books were confiscated. Mujtaba Tihrani was in charge of the library. When he moved to Tehran, he promoted the authority of Imam Khomeini and sent Islamic taxes given by his followers to Najaf.

Stay in Tehran

In 1349 sh/1970-1, he returned to Tehran at the command of Imam Khomeini and because of his child's illness. He stayed in Tehran, and from 1351 sh/1972-3, he led congregational prayers in Masjid Jami' in Tehran's bazaar and gave public lectures on ethics and the exegesis of the Holy Qur'an. The lectures were sometimes shut down by the government.

He started teaching advanced levels of fiqh and usul al-fiqh in 1357 sh/1978-9 in his house attended by some students in Tehran. In 1364 sh/1985-6, he continued to teach in Marvi School. His students were usually clergymen who had moved to Tehran for administrative positions and were distant from the scholarly environment of Qom.

Lectures on Ethics

Ayatollah Tihrani had intimate relations with people and his lectures on ethics were popular among people. According to one of his students, "when Ayatollah Tihrani's lectures were finished, he went down the minbar and answered people's questions. Sometimes he stayed there to answer the questions until 1:00 AM. He was careful of the youth".

According to Ayatollah Tihrani's brother, "an action is worth a thousand words. When someone gives lectures on ethics, but does not act in accordance with ethical rules, people will be repelled. But Aqa Mujtaba [Tihrani] was a lecturer of ethics whose ethical character was manifest in his behaviors. Whatever he talked about in his lectures, his students saw it in his actions".

And according to Ayatollah Tihrani's son-in-law, "his lectures on ethics were given in an organized way. As far as I know, there are about 2800 tapes from his lectures on different topics in ethics. For example, he gave lectures about prayers and supplications for about six years."

Political Approach after the Islamic Revolution

After the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Ayatollah Tihrani was expected to undertake a position in the Islamic Republic of Iran, but as he said: "I withdrew myself from any administrative position by prays to God and appeals to the Infallibles (a)". According to his son, Husayn Tihrani, he was offered positions such as headship of the Supreme Court of Iran, membership in the Guardian Council, and registration in the elections of the Assembly of Experts of the Constitution, but he rejected them all.

Ayatollah Tihrani tried to avoid active political measures, although he took a peaceful, friendly and passionate approach to the political system of Iran. He was present besides Ayatollah Khamene'i in the winter of 1379 sh/2001 in the opening of the new darih of Imam Rida's (a) holy shrine in Mashhad. He also confirmed Ayatollah Khamene'i's ijtihad in his lectures on ethics. In the fall of 1388 sh/2009, Ayatollah Khamene'i went to Ayatollah Tihrani's house and had a private meeting with him. Moreover, when Ayatollah Tihrani passed away, Ayatollah Khamene'i said prayers on his corpse.


Ayatollah Aqa Mujtaba Tihrani passed away in Safar 19, 1434/January 2, 2013 after a long period of sickness and was buried in the holy shrine of ‘Abd al-‘Azim al-Hasani. Ayatollah Khamene'i said prayers on his corpse. Many Shiite scholars and politicians issued statements of condolence when he died and held mourning ceremonies for him in different cities of Iran.