|Full Name||Sayyid 'Abd al-Karim Musawi Ardabili|
|Place of Birth||Ardabil|
|Studied in||Ardabil, Qom and Najaf|
|Death||Safar 22, 1438/Nov. 23, 2016|
|Burial Place||The Holy Shrine of Fatima al-Ma'suma (a)|
|Professors||Ayatollah Burujirdi, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i, Sayyid Muhammad Muhaqqiq Damad, Sayyid Ahmad Khwansari|
|Works||Fiqh al-qada' , Fiqh al-hudud wa l-ta'zirat, Fiqh al-diyat, Fiqh al-qisas etc.|
|Membership in the Council of the Islamic Revolution, membership in the Assembly of Experts of the Constitution, membership in the first Assembly of Experts of Leadership, Attorney General of Iran etc.|
Sayyid ʿAbd al-Karīm Mūsawī Ardabīlī (Persian: سَیِّد عَبْدالکَریم موسَوی اَرْدَبیلی, b. 1926, d. 2016) was a Shiite marja'. He was a political activist against the Pahlavi government and a companion of Imam Khomeini. He founded institutes such as Maktab Amir al-Mu'minin, Maktab Tawhid, and Mofid schools. After the Islamic Revolution of Iran, he established Mofid University in Qom. He held positions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, such as membership in the Council of the Islamic Revolution, membership in the Assembly of Experts of the Constitution, membership in the first Assembly of Experts of Leadership, temporary imam of Friday Prayer in Tehran, Attorney General of Iran, head of the Supreme Court of Iran, membership in the Higher Judiciary Council, membership in the Council of Revisiting the Constitution, and executive of the 6-point command of Ayatollah Khomeini. He passed away on November 23, 2016, and was buried in the Holy Shrine of Fatima al-Ma'suma (a).
Mir Karim Musawi Karimi, known as Sayyid 'Abd al-Karim Musawi Ardabili, was born in Ardabil on Rajab 13, 1344 (January 28, 1926). His father was Sayyid 'Abd al-Rahim, and his mother was Sayyida Khadija. His mother died when he was two years old. His father was a Shiite clergy and an opponent of the Pahlavi government.
Musawi Ardabili started studying at the age of 6. He studied and taught in Ardabil, Qom (for two years), Najaf (for 3 years), and again Qom (for 12 years). He moved to Ardabil and resided there since 1961, and then migrated to Tehran in 1969. He mainly served as an instructor in the Islamic seminary, as well as the imam of congregational prayer and the administrator of the Tawhid Mosque and Center (Kanun). In these years, he was also politically active against the Pahlavi government.
Since 1979 when the Islamic Revolution of Iran gained the victory, he was a member of the Council of the Islamic Revolution. He was later elected as a representative in the Assembly of Experts of the Constitution, and then served in the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran for ten years. He first served as the Attorney General of Iran, and after the martyrdom of Ayatollah Bihishti, he succeeded him as the head of the Supreme Court of Iran, which was regarded as the highest judiciary position in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ardabili was also elected as a representative in the first Assembly of Experts of Leadership. In the meantime, he was a high-ranking member of the Islamic Republican Party as well.
In 1990 after the demise of Imam Khomeini, he withdrew from judiciary positions and resided in Qom where he began teaching advanced courses of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) until his death. He also served as a temporary imam of Friday Prayer in Tehran until 1995. He published his Tawdih al-masa'il (the essay of his fatwas) after the demise of Shiite authorities such as Ayatollah Gulpayigani and Ayatollah Araki, introducing himself as a marja'.
Ayatollah Ardabili died on Safar 23, 1438 (November 23, 2016). Two days of national mourning were announced after his death. His funeral was held on November 25, 2016 in Qom. Sayyid Musa Shubayri Zanjani performed the Funeral Prayer on his corpse. He was buried in the Holy Shrine of Fatima al-Ma'suma (a).
Ayatollah Musawi Ardabili began his education at the age of 6 in Maktabkhana. He began learning Arabic lessons in 1939. In 1940, he went to the Seminary School of Mulla Ibrahim in Ardabil and finished Jami' al-muqaddamat, al-Suyuti, Jami, al-Mutawwal, Hashiya Mulla 'Abd Allah, al-Shamsiyya, Ma'alim al-din, and Shara'i' al-islam in 1943 in the same school, and started teaching preliminary courses of the Islamic Seminary, such as Arabic grammar and logic.
Education in Qom and Najaf
Sayyid 'Abd al-Karim Musawi Ardabili moved to Qom in 1943, where he studied parts of al-Makasib al-muharrama, Kifayat al-usul, the bay' (transaction) part of al-Makasib, the second volume of Kifayat al-usul, Sharh al-hidaya by Maybudi, al-Rasa'il, al-Manzuma, and al-Asfar. At the same time, he taught Ma'alim al-din, al-Lum'at al-Dimashqiyya, and Qawanin al-usul.
On November 7, 1945, Ardabili went to Najaf to continue his studies. He stayed there for two years and studied usul al-fiqh, fiqh, and Islamic philosophy with well-known scholars of the time, such as Ayatollah Khu'i, Ayatollah Hakim, Sayyid 'Abd al-Hadi Shirazi, Sayyid Muhammad Hadi Milani, and Sadra Badkuba'i. In 1948, he went back to Iran because of his father's illness. In the Islamic Seminary of Qom, he attended the lectures of Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi, Sayyid Muhammad Damad, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i, as well as private fiqh lectures of Sayyid Muhammad Rida Gulpayigani, Shaykh Murtada Ha'iri, and Sayyid Ahmad Khwansari. He also taught al-Rasa'il, al-Makasib, Kifayat al-usul, and al-Manzuma. He later held private lectures of advanced fiqh and usul al-fiqh as well.
He returned to Qom in 1990, when he withdrew from his judiciary positions, to engage in teaching advanced courses of fiqh as well as writing jurisprudential books until the last days of his life.
- Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Rida Gulpayigani
- Ayatollah Sayyid Ahmad Khwansari
- Ayatollah Murtada Ha'iri Yazdi
- 'Allama Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i
- Ayatollah al-Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei
- Ayatollah al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim
- Ayatollah al-Sayyid 'Abd al-Hadi al-Shirazi
- Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Hadi Milani
- Ayatollah Burujirdi
- Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Muhaqqiq Damad
Some of his works are as follow:
- Fiqh al-qada'
- Fiqh al-hudud wa l-ta'zirat
- Fiqh al-diyat
- Fiqh al-qisas
- Fiqh al-mudariba
- Fiqh al-shahadat
Other Scholarly Activities
During his stay in Qom, Sayyid 'Abd al-Karim Musawi taught fiqh and usul al-fiqh, as well as lectures on the exegesis of the Qur'an twice a week until the last days of his life. He contributed to the publication of the journal, Maktab-i Islam. He wrote some Persian articles in the journal, such as "Religion from the Quranic point of view", "Qur'an; a sun that never sets", and "The Noah's Flood". In this period, he traveled to Urmia, Mashhad, Bandar-e Anzali, Bandar-e Gaz, Hamadan, Ardabil, Babol, and Behshahr to propagate Islamic teachings.
Before the Islamic Revolution
Musawi Ardabili moved to Ardabil in 1960. In 1968, he migrated to Tehran and served as the imam of congregational prayer in Amir al-Mu'minin (a) Mosque. After his stay in Tehran, he began teaching advanced courses of fiqh (problems of khums) and the first volume of al-Asfar. Together with Ayatollah Bihishti, Ayatollah Mutahhari, and Ayatollah Mufattih, he formed an intellectual circle concerning Quranic sciences. Ardabili founded the Tawhid Mosque and Center in Parcham Street, where clergies taught religious doctrines to young people. He also established Mofid high school and junior high school in Tehran. All these centers were parts of an institute called the "Mu'assisa-yi Khayriyya-yi Maktab-i Amir al-Mu'minin (a)" (Maktab Amir al-Mu'minin Charity Institute). Ayatollah Musawi Ardabili was a political activist against Shah's regime before the Islamic Revolution. Before the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, he went to Paris to meet Imam Khomeini. He was appointed by Imam Khomeini as a member of the Council of the Islamic Revolution. He was one of the eight clergies in the council.
Political Activities after the Islamic Revolution
Musawi Ardabili was a representative of people of Tehran in the Assembly of Experts of the Constitution. He also supported an organizational role by the clergies in political matters. Musawi Ardabili, Ayatollah Khamenei, Ayatollah Bihishti, Hashimi Rafsanjani, and Muhammad Jawad Bahunar were the founding members of the Islamic Republican Party. He quit his partisan activities after joining the judiciary system.
In February 1980, Musawi Ardabili was appointed as the Attorney General of Iran, and from June 1981 until the demise of Imam Khomeini, he served as the head of Iran's Supreme Court. Moreover, he served as one of the first five members of the Council of the Islamic Revolution, the representative of the people of Tehran in the council for the final revision of the Constitution, the representative of the people of Tehran in the first Assembly of Experts, a member appointed by the leader for the council of the revision of the Constitution, and a temporary Imam of Friday Prayer in Tehran until December 1993.
Teaching Fiqh and Usul al-Fiqh and the Establishment of a University
Three months after the demise of Imam Khomeini (in 1989), Musawi Ardabili returned to Qom and began teaching advanced courses of fiqh and usul al-fiqh. He taught a complete course of usul al-fiqh, as well as courses of Islamic criminal laws, including issues of judgeship, hudud, qisas, diyat (blood money), and testimonies. Some of the lectures were published as books, including Fiqh al-qada', Fiqh al-hudud wa l-ta'zirat, Fiqh al-diyat wa fiqh al-qisas, and Fiqh al-shahadat. After finishing the courses of the main parts of the Islamic criminal law, Ayatollah Musawi Ardabili began teaching Islamic legal and civil issues. He published his essay of fatwas in 2001 and announced marja'iyya.
In addition to teaching, Ayatollah Musawi Ardabili founded and administered Mofid University.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from سید عبدالکریم موسوی اردبیلی in Farsi WikiShia.