Sayyid Abd Allah Musawi Shirazi

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Sayyid Abd Allah Musawi Shirazi
Personal Information
Religious AffiliationTwelver Shi'a
BirthSha'ban 13, 1309/March 13, 1892
Place of BirthShiraz
ResidenceShiraz, Najaf, Mashhad
Studied inShiraz, Najaf
DeathMuharram 1, 1405/September 27, 1984
Burial PlaceShrine of Imam al-Rida (a), Mashhad
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsSayyid Abu l-Hasan Isfahani, Diya' al-Din 'Iraqi, and Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Na'ini

Al-Sayyid 'Abd Allāh al-Mūsawī al-Shīrāzī (Persian: سید عبدالله موسوی شیرازی), (b. 1309/1892- d. 1363/1984) was a Shiite marja' in the 14th and 15th/20th centuries in Mashhad. He was one of the scholars who publicly opposed Reza Shah's policies and played a role in people's gathering in Goharshad Mosque. He issued several statements against Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and was considered as a supporter of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He is buried in Mashhad in the Shrine of Imam Rida (a). Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Musawi Shirazi (d. 2014) was his son.


Sayyid 'Abd Allah Shirazi was born on the eve of Sha'ban 13, 1309/March 13, 1892 in Shiraz. His father, Sayyid Muhammad Tahir Shirazi, was a religious scholar in Shiraz. After finishing his preliminary educations in Shiraz, he went to Najaf and then returned to his hometown after achieving the degree of ijtihad.

Sayyid 'Abd Allah Shirazi was under pressures for his political activities against the Pahlavi dynasty. He continued his political campaigns in Iran, announcing his official, public opposition to the government of Reza Shah Pahlavi. He was then arrested and imprisoned. He spent the last 10 years of his life in Mashhad, teaching religious disciplines and training students.

Scholarly Life

Sayyid 'Abd Allah Shirazi went to maktab at the age of 7, learning the recitation of the Qur'an, reading and writing in Persian, and the Persian literature from his father. He then studied Arabic vocabulary, sarf, nahw (grammar), and Arabic literature in the Islamic seminary of his hometown, Shiraz. He also studied some books of usul al-fiqh and fiqh (jurisprudence) as well as logics and philosophy there. He attended the lectures of Shaykh 'Ali Abu l-Wardi, Mirza Muhammad Sadiq Mujtahid, and Shaykh Muhammad Rida Shamini.

He left Shiraz in 1915 to study in the Islamic Seminary of Najaf where he attended the lectures of Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Isfahani, Diya' al-Din 'Iraqi, and Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Na'ini. After 13 years of stay in Najaf and achieving the degree of ijtihad, Sayyid 'Abd Allah returned to Shiraz and concerned himself with the revival of its Islamic seminary school. After a while, he went back to Najaf, and after several years, he went to Iran and continued his scholarly activities in Mashhad.

Political and Cultural Activities

After 10 years of stay in Najaf, Shirazi went to Shiraz, concerning himself with training the students of the Islamic seminaries and taking care of the religious conditions of the city which were chaotic after Reza Khan. He also negotiated with other scholars of Shiraz, Isfahan, and Qom with regard to anti-religious actions of Reza Khan.

Later in the Muharram month of 1354 (April 1935) after negotiations with Ayatollah Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri, Shirazi secretly entered Mashhad where he negotiated Sayyid Husayn Tabataba'i Qummi and Sayyid Yunus Ardabili. As a result of these meetings, they decided to call people to have a sit-in in Goharshad Mosque, which led to the Event of Goharshad Mosque in which 8 scholars, including Sayyid 'Abd Allah Shirazi, were arrested. People's reactions led to their release. After his release from Reza Khan's prison in Tehran, Shirazi entered Shiraz on Tuesday Rajab 28, 1354/October 26, 1935, and after a short stay, he went to Najaf.

Other activities by Shirazi in this period include: support for Ayatollah Sayyid Abu l-Qasim Kashani, condemnation of the execution of Nawwab Safawi, opposition to the Bill of State and Provincial Councils, sending a telegraph to Amini, the then prime minister of Iran, summoning the senior Iranian ambassador in Baghdad to Najaf to announce the urgency of the abolishment of the Bill, opposition to the referendum of January 26, 1963 (the White Revolution of Shah and People), and the condemnation of the raid by the agents of the Pahlavi regime on the School of Faydiyya.

In 1354/1975 when Iranian scholars and students were deported by the Ba'ath regime from Iraq, Shirazi went back to Iran, resided in Mashhad, and played an effective role in the Islamic Revolution of Iran. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, he was considered as one of its supporters, and with regard to the 8 years of war between Iraq and Iran, he believed that not only Saddam was a threat to the existence of Iraq, but that there would not be any stability and safety in the region as long as Saddam was in power. He also appeared in the war fields in order to encourage the fighters. His house was a place where revolutionaries came and go. Shirazi issued statements on different occasions and events, and was active until his demise.


Ayatollah Shirazi died at the age of 96 at the dawn of Muharram 1, 1405/September 27, 1984. He was buried in the Shrine of Imam al-Rida (a).