Sayyid Ali Husayni Khamenei

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Sayyid Ali Husayni Khamenei
Personal Information
Full NameSayyid 'Ali Husayni Khamenei
Well-Known AsAyatollah Khamenei
BirthApril 19, 1939
Place of BirthMashhad
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsSayyid Muhammad Hadi Milani, Ayatollah Burujirdi, Imam Khomeini

Sayyid ʿAli Ḥusaynī Khāminiʼī (Farsi: سید علی حسینی خامنه‌ای) (b. 1939) also known as "Ayatollah Khamenei", is among Shi'a Marja's and the second leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Before being elected as the leader in 1989, he was elected by the people twice and served as the third president of Iran from 1981 to 1989. and also he was a member of parliament for a short period. He was also appointed as the imam of Friday Prayer (Imam al-Jumu'a) of Tehran by Imam Khomeini. Before the Islamic Revolution of Iran, he was among the active clerics in Mashhad.

Ayatollah Khamenei's authored or translated some works. The most comprehensive ones he wrote are Tarh-i kulli-yi andisha-yi Islami dar Qur'an (the general scheme of the Islamic thought in the Qur'an) and Sulh al-Hasan is his most famous translation. Moreover, his speeches have been compiled in a comprehensive work called Hadith-i wilayat (book). Several other books have also been collected and published about his speeches and written messages on different topics.

His fatwa against insulting Sunnis' respected personalities is among his most famous and influential fatwas in the Islamic world. The concepts of "cultural invasion" and "Islamic awakening" are among the concepts that have been adopted from his speeches and emphasis and entered Iranian political and social literature.

Ayatollah Khamenei is knowledgeable in literature and has composed some poems; his pen name is "Amin". Contemporary history is another field of his studies and interest areas.[1]

Birth and Lineage

Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei beside his father
Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei sitting next to his father, Ayatollah Sayyid Jawad Khamenei in their house in Mashhad, Iran.

Sayyid 'Ali was born on April 19, 1939, to a religious family in Mashhad. His father, Sayyid Javad Khamenei (d. 1986), was among the mujtahids and scholars of his time. He was born in Najaf, moved to Tabriz, and later in 1918, moved again to Mashhad. After a while, he went back to Najaf and after completing his studies with great scholars such as Mirza Muhammad Husayn Na'ini, Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Isfahani and Aqa Diya' 'Iraqi and receiving his permission of ijtihad,[2] returned to Iran and settled in Mashhad to the end of his life. He was the imam of Friday Prayer of Seddiqiha mosque in the Bazaar of Mashhad (Azerbaijaniha Mosque) while he taught different seminary topics.[3] He was also among the imams of Congregational Prayer of the Grand Goharshad Mosque.[4]

Khadija Mirdamadi (1914–1989), his mother, was a pious and zealot follower of the religion. She was knowledgeable in the Qur'an, hadiths, history, and literature.


His great-grandfather was Sayyid Muhammad Husayni Tafrishi, whose lineage reached back to Aftasi Sayyids and his family tree reached Sultan al-'Ulama Ahmad, known as "Sultan Sayyid Ahmad", who was about five generations after Imam al-Sajjad (a).

The grandfather of Sayyid Ali Khamenei, Sayyid Husayn Khamenei (about 1843–1907), was among pro-constitution scholars and student of scholars such as Sayyid Husayn Kuhkamara'i, al-Fadil al-Irawani, Fadil Sharabyani, Mirza Baqir Shakki, and Mirza Muhammad Hasan Shirazi.[5] After his return from Najaf to Tabriz, he became a teacher at Talibiyya School and imam of Congregational Prayer of the grand mosque of Tabriz.[6]

Shaykh Muhammad Khiyabani, the combatant cleric of Mashruta era was a student and the son-in-law of Sayyid Husayn Khamenei.[7]

Sayyid Muhammad Khamenei (1876–1934-5), known as "Payghambar",[8] was the uncle of Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei and a student of al-Akhund al-Khurasani and Shaykh al-Shari'a Isfahani and among pro-constitution scholars.[9]

Ayatollah Sayyid Hashim Najafabadi (known as Mirdamadi) (1886–1960), the grandfather of Sayyid Ali Khamenei's mother, was among the students of al-Akhund al-Khurasani and Mirza Muhammad Husayn Na'ini. He was among the Qur'an scholars and exegetes and one of the imams of Congregational Prayer of Goharshad mosque.[10] He also made great efforts in enjoining the good and forbidding evil. He was exiled to Semnan following his criticism of killing people in Goharshad mosque at the time of Reza Shah.[11] Sayyid Ali Khamenei's lineage from the side of his mother reached Muhammad al-Dibaj, son of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a).[12]

Scientific Biography

Sayyid Ali Khamenei in his early youth when he had just entered al-Hawza al-'Ilmiyya. The handwriting on the back of the image indicates that it had been given as a gift to Sayyid Hadi Khosroshahi.


Sayyid 'Ali began studying in Maktabkhana by learning the Glorious Qur'an when he was four years old.[13] During his primary school period, he began learning recitation and tajwid of the Qur'an under some reciters of Mashhad. He started primary hawza studies when he was in the last years of primary school. After he finished primary school, he continued his religious studies in Sulayman Khan School. Sayyid 'Ali studied a part of "muqaddamat" (preparatory courses of Hawza studies) and intermediate level with his father. He finished the intermediate level in Nawwab School. He continued his studies up to the second year of high school at the same time as his studies at Hawza.[14]

In 1955, he attended advanced lessons (the highest-level courses of Hawza) of Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Hadi Milani. In 1957, he had a short trip to Najaf with his family and participated in the lessons of famous teachers there; however, due to his father's disinclination to stay in that city, he returned to Mashhad[15] and attended for one more year in Ayatollah Milani's class. In 1958, he went to the Hawza of Qom.[16]

Sayyid Ali Khamenei returned to Mashhad in 1964 to help his father, who suffered from an eyesight problem, and attended again in the sessions of Ayatollah Milani until 1970.


Since he was in Mashhad, he taught fiqh and usul (including the books Rasa'il, al-Makasib, and Kifaya) at high levels and held public sessions of tafsir of the Qur'an. In 1968, he began teaching a special course of tafsir of the Qur'an for seminary students, which continued until 1977 before he was exiled to Iranshahr. Tafsir sessions continued in some years of his presidency and after that. After becoming the president of Iran, he began his kharij classes in 1990; he has been teaching lessons of jihad, qisas, and al-makasib al-muharrama so far.


Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei has been a student of many great scholars of Hawza, some of whome are as follows:

Scientific Works

Ayatollah Khamene'i began research and writing since he was a seminary student as he wrote his teachers' class scripts.[18] His thoughts have been compiled in a comprehensive work under the title of Hadith-i Wilayat. Different books have also been compiled and published containing his talks and written messages. Moreover, some other works of him and some translations have been published.


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An Outline of Islamic Thought in the Quran (book)
  • Chahar kitab-i asli-yi ilm-i rijal (the four major books of rijal)
  • Pishwa-yi Sadiq (the truthful leader)
  • Az zharfa-yi namaz (from the depth of prayers)
  • Sabr (patience)
  • Ruh-i tawhid, nafi-yi 'ubudiyyat-i ghayr-i Khuda (the spirit of monotheism, negation of worshipping rebels)
  • Guzarish-i az sabiqi-yi tarikhi wa awza'-i kununi-yi Hawzi-yi 'Ilmiyyi-yi Mashhad (a report from the historical record and current situaltion of the Mashhad seminary)
  • Filistin az manzar-i Ayatullah Khamini'i (Palestine from the perspective of Ayatollah Khamenei)
  • Tarh-i kulli-yi andisha-yi Islami (An Outline of Islamic Thought in the Quran): This book is a written form of Ayatollah Khamenei's speeches which were delivered in Imam hasan al-mujtaba Mosque in Mashhad in Ramadan 1974 (four years before the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran). In this book, the most important intellectual foundations of Islam are explained based on the teachings of the noble Quran.
  • Insan-i 250 sala (A 250-Year-Old Person): This book includes speeches by Ayatollah Khamenei concerning the political life of the infallible Imams of the Shia. The book revolves around the Theory of a 250-Year-Old Person on which, despite their apparent differences, the lives of the infallible Imams constitute a continuous movement that began since the demise of the Prophet (s) and lasted until 260/873 for 250 years. On this account, they all sought to establish an Islamic government.
  • Ghina': This book contains seventy-six sessions of advanced fiqh classes of Ayatollah Khamene'i about ghina', which were presented in 1999-2009.
  • Aftab dar masaf: It is a collection of Ayatollah Khamenei's speeches about Imam Hussein (a) and the events before and after the Battle of Karbala.
  • Shu'a'i az nayyir-i a'zam: This book is a collection of Ayatollah Khamene'i's words about the Prophet of Islam.


  • Ayanda dar qalamru-yi Islam, written by Sayyid Qutb
  • Sulh-i Imam Hasan (a); Pur shukuh-tarin narmish-i qahramanana-yi tarikh, written by al-Shaykh Radi Al Yasin
  • Tafsir fi zilal al-Qur'an, written by Sayyid Qutb
  • Musalmanan dar nahdat-i azadi-yi Hindustan, written by 'Abd al-Mun'im al-Nimr
  • Eddi'anama 'alayh-i tamaddun-i gharb, written by Sayyid Qutb

Socio-political Activities

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After being arrested by SAVAK

The turning point for Sayyid 'Ali, which led to the beginning of his political activities and fighting the Pahlavi regime, was meeting with Sayyid Mujtaba Navvab Safavi (Mirluwhi) in Mashhad. In February 1963[19] and also in 1964, he was the messenger between Imam Khomeini and Ayatollah Milani.[20]

On a trip to Birjand, he made speeches against the then regime and thus was arrested on June 2, 1963,[21] and was prisoned in Mashhad.[22] After he was released, Ayatollah Muhammad Hadi Milani visited him.[23] He was among the clerics who sent a telegram, on January 1, 1964, to Sayyid Mahmud Taliqani, Mahdi Bazargan, and Yadullah Sahabi, who were imprisoned after they supported Imam Khomeini.[24]

At the same time, having him as their leader, some clerics from Khorasan wrote a letter to Hasan Ali Mansur, the prime minister of the time, and published it, in which they objected to the continuation of Imam Khomeini's arrest. Sayyid Ali Khamenei, Abu l-Qasim Khaz'ali, and Muhammad 'Aba'i Khurasani were among those clerics.[25]

In February 1964, Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei went to Zahedan to preach and explain the theories behind the Islamic Movement.[26] His speeches in the mosques of Zahedan led to his arrest and transfer to the prison of Qizil Qal'a.[27] He was released from prison on March 4, 1964.[28] And later, he returned to Qom from Mashhad in the Fall of 1964.[29]

File:The Letter of Arrest of Ayatullah Khamenei in Khorasan.jpg
A report about the arrest of Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei, due to his political activities against the regime and promoting the ideas of Imam Khomeini.

He was with ten other people, including 'Abd al-Rahim Rabbani Shirazi, Muhammad Husayni Bihishti, 'Ali Fayd Mishkini, Ahmad Adhari Qumi, 'Ali Quddusi, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Sayyid Muhammad Khamenei and Muhammad Taqi Misbah Yazdi to make a group of 11 formed to fight the Pahlavi regime by strengthening and reforming the Hawza of Qom.[30]

He was also the imam of congregational prayer at Amir al-Mu'minin Mosque in Tehran. Following the arrest of Ayatollah Sayyid Hasan Qumi in March 1967, which happened after his anti-regime speech in Goharshad Mosque, Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei asked Ayatollah Milani to object to his arrest.[31]

On April 3, 1967, he was arrested at the funeral of Ayatollah Shaykh Mujtaba Qazwini[32] and was released on July 17.[33] He went to visit political prisoners in Tehran later.[34]

After the destructive earthquake in the south of Khorasan on August 31, 1968, some clergies led by him went to Ferdos to help and organize people's aids to earthquake-stricken people. While he was there, he continued his political activities in meetings, lectures, and religious gatherings. Such activities made his stay in Ferdos cut short.[35]

Even though he was prosecuted, he was in contact with some combatant clerics in Mashhad and Tehran, such as Sayyid Mahmud Taliqani, Sayyid Muhammad Rida Sa'idi, Muhammad Jawad Bahunar, Muhammad Rida Mahdawi Kani, Murtada Mutahhari, Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani, and Fadl Allah Mahallati and even though he was in Mashhad, he came to Tehran and participated in some of the gatherings of scholars and combatant clergies.[36]

In August 1969, he was invited to make some speeches in some politically active Islamic centers of Tehran, including Husayniyya-yi Irshad and Masjid al-Jawad, to explain the significant issues in the process of the movement.[37]

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In attire of Sunnis when he was exiled to Sistan and Baluchestan Province in Iran.

After Ayatollah al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim passed away in May 1970, Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei made a greater effort to reinforce the religious authority of Imam Khomeini as the most knowledgeable religious authority. On September 24, 1970, he was arrested and held in the army prison of Khorasan. In August 1971, he was summoned to SAVAK of Mashhad and sent to the army prison of Khorasan again so that he would not have any activities against the 2500-year celebration of the Persian Empire.[38] These celebrations were banned by Imam Khomeini.[39] After he was released, he was arrested two more times in the same year, and the second time, he was sentenced to 3 months in prison with the charge of acting against national security.[40]

After his release, Sayyid 'Ali Khamene'i expanded his political and social activities. His classes and tafsir sessions continued in Mirza Ja'far School, Imam Hasan Mosque, Qibla Mosque, and his own house in Mashhad.

In December 1973, he moved the place of his congregational prayer, and tafsir class to Karamat Mosque.[41] After a while, security organizations stopped holding congregational prayer in that mosque.[42]

In November 1974, he began making speeches in the Jawid Mosque of Tehran. He was again arrested in January 1975, but this time he was moved to the Joint Committee of Anti-Sabotage prison in Tehran.[43] In this prison he had no opportunity to visit, and his prison's place and situation were not informed to his family.[44]

He was released on August 24, 1975. But, he was still under the surveillance of security agents, and he was banned from leading congregational prayer, making speeches, teaching, and holding tafsir courses even in his own house;[45] however, he continued his tafsir and other activities in private.[46]

After Ali Shari'ati passed away on June 19, 1977, Sayyid Ali Khamenei attended his funeral. After Sayyid Mustafa Khomeini passed away, Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei and some other combatants held a memorial ceremony for him in Mulla Hashim Mosque on October 28.[47]

He then was sentenced by the Social Security Commission of Khorasan to exile to Iranshahr for three years.[48] So, agents rushed to his house on December 14, 1977, arrested and moved him to Iranshahr.

After the Islamic Revolution of Iran

Membership in The Council of the Islamic Revolution

After Imam Khomeini immigrated to France, he ordered the formation of The Council of the Islamic Revolution in late October 1978 and its members were being gradually chosen by him.[49] The first members of the council were Mortaza Motahhari, Sayyid Mohammad Beheshti, Sayyid 'Abd al-Karim Musawi Ardabili, Muhammad Rida Mahdawi Kani, Sayyid Ali Khamenei, Muhammad Jawad Bahunar, and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei attended the council sessions in late January 1979.[50] At that time, the council made significant decisions about fighting with the regime, including negotiation with the officials of Pahlavi government and foreign countries, forming a committee to welcome Imam Khomeini[51] and introducing Mahdi Bazargan to Imam Khomeini as the president of the temporary government.[52]

After the Islamic Revolution, the Council was in charge of legislation in the absence of an official legislature, performing some cabinet duties after merging the transitional government with the Council of Revolution in July 1979 and performing all duties of the government after the transitional government resigned on November 5, 1979. Besides all these duties, it was an authority for solving the problems and crises ahead of the newly born Islamic Republic and a counseling body for Imam Khomeini.[53] Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei was a permanent member of this Council until the end of its activity on July 20, 1980. [54]

He believed that the Council of the Revolution needed to be composed of different representatives from various groups and parts of society. The problems of Kurdistan, Sistan and Baluchistan, and other parts of the country and maintaining the unity of people were among other vital issues Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei focused on in the council.

Participation in Military and Defense Organizations

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In a military exercise on August 6, 1987 in Persian Gulf, during the presidency of Islamic Republic of Iran.

In late July 1979, Sayyid Ali Khamenei was chosen as the Deputy of Revolution Affairs in the Defense Ministry and a member of the Commission of Security Ministers, who was in charge of all police, military, and security affairs.[55] Besides all his missions assigned by the Council of the Revolution, he also became the head of the Center for Documents of Islamic Revolution and the Chief of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution on November 24, 1979. On February 24, 1980, he resigned from this position due to his candidacy for the first period of the parliament.[56]

Establishment of the Islamic Republic Party

During the days leading to the success of the Islamic Revolution and after that,[57] Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei worked together with Sayyid Mohammad Beheshti, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Sayyid 'Abd al-Karim Musawi Ardabili, and Muhammad Jawad Bahunar for the establishment of a revolutionary institution.[58] This institution officially announced its existence on February 18, 1979, but its background dates back to sessions held in Mashhad in the summer of 1977.[59]

ayyid 'Ali Khamenei was among the ones who compiled the party's manifesto and took the party propagation task.[60] He was a founding member and a member of the central council. During the founding period of the party, Sayyid 'Ali played a more explanatory role and presented party positions in the form of pamphlets. He also played a role in the establishment of the branch of the party in Mashhad, and opened its office on March 17, 1979.

After Beheshti and Bahunar, Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei was chosen by the party's central council as its third general director.[61] In the first general congress of the party in May 1983, he was elected for the second time as the general director of the party, a member of the central council,[62] and the judgment council of the party.[63]

During his presidency, he participated in the sessions of the party in Tehran and other cities and while he explained the missions and goals of the party, he also answered questions from the members of offices and branches of the party.[64]

Imam of Friday Prayer of Tehran

On January 14, 1980, Imam Khomeini appointed Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei as the imam of Friday prayer of Tehran, pointing to his excellent background and merits in knowledge and action.[65] He led the first Friday prayer on January 18, 1980. From this time until June 27, 1981, when he was attacked in Abudhar Mosque in Tehran and was seriously injured, he led the Friday prayer of Tehran except for a few days. He had this responsibility after that as well.

Holding a seminar for the imams of Friday prayer around Iran to make an integrated network of these imams in the country and around the Islamic World was his idea, and the first seminar was held in Faydiyya School in Qom, after the approval of Imam Khomeini.

He also sometimes made Arabic sermons after the second Persian sermon of Friday prayer.

Membership of the Parliament

Sayyid Ali Khamenei entered the first round of the parliament in March 1980 elected by the votes of Tehran, with the support of the Jami'a-yi Ruhaniyyat-i Mubariz, the Islamic Republic Party, and some other Islamic organizations and groups.

In October 1981, Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei became the president and left the parliament.

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After being hospitalized due to injury in the terrorist attack.

Injury due to a Terrorist Attack

Sayyid Ali Khamenei was severely injured on June 27, 1981, after the blast of a bomb installed in an audio recorder while he was speaking after Noon Prayer in Abudhar Mosque in one of the southern neighborhoods of Tehran. After this terrorist attack, he received severe injuries on his chest and right hand, the effects of which still can be seen on his right hand, which is not very functional. Non-official reports regarded the Mujahidin-i-Khalq Organization as the organizer of the attack.

Imam Khomeini sent a message to Sayyid Ali Khamenei, condemned the attack, and praised him. [66] He was released from the hospital on August 9, 1981, continued his social and political duties and attended the parliament sessions again from August 17.


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Taking his presidential decree from Imam Khomeini, October 5, 1981

First Term

After the martyrdom of Muhammad 'Ali Raja'i, the second president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the central council of Islamic Republic Party and also the Society of the Teachers of the Seminary of Qom chose Sayyid Ali Khamenei as the candidate of the presidency. Imam Khomeini, who had not agreed with the presidency of clerics in Iran, approved Sayyid Ali Khamanei's candidacy. The election was held on October 2, 1981, and Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei was elected as the president with an absolute majority of votes (95.11%). On October 9, 1981, Imam Khomeini approved his presidential decree, and on October 13, he pledged the oath in the parliament as the third president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

A commercial poster for Sayyid Ali Khamenei, the candidate of presidency.

Second Term

The fourth round of the Islamic Republic of Iran presidential election was held on August 16, 1985. Sayyid' Ali Khamenei received %85 of the votes and became the president of Iran for the second time. After the demise of Imam Khomeini, Sayyid Ali Khamenei was chosen as the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran in June 1989 and had both responsibilities until August 1989.

In this term, to solve disagreements between the parliament and the Guardian Council for different bills, Imam Khomeini approved the establishment of the Expediency Discernment Council, and Sayyid Ali Khamenei became its first chairman and had that responsibility until the end of his presidency.

File:Speech in the genral assembly of the united nations.jpg
Speech in the General Assembly of the United Nations

Foreign Trips

In his first presidential term, he traveled to Syria, Lybia, and Algeria in September 1984, and in his second term, he traveled to Asian and African countries, for example Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Angola, and Mozambique in January 1986. He also traveled to Zimbabwe in September 1986 to participate in the 8th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. On this trip, he made a speech at the summit and met and spoke with some of the leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement. He also traveled to Yugoslavia and Romania in February, 1989 and to China and North Korea in May, 1989. Before his presidency, he had a missionary trip to India in February 1981.

On September 22, 1987, Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei participated in the 42nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. In his speech, he explained Iran's opinions and positions for the heads of world governments. This was the first presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran president in the United Nations General Assembly.

Supporting Muslim Fighters

Among other actions of Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei in foreign diplomacy was to establish strong relationships with political Shi'a groups in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon and make mutual understanding between them. The establishment of Islamic Unity Party, one of the eight parties of Afghanistan, and the Supreme Parliament of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq are important examples of such an approach.

In this period, Iranian support of Islamic combatants of Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan were expanded. Such support of Islamic parties and groups in those countries brought them a regional and international position.

Leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran

At his first speech in the meeting with the commanders of both the Military of Iran and the Army of the Guardians after the demise of Imam Khomeini.

After the demise of Imam Khomeini on June 4, 1989, the Assembly of Experts for Leadership held a session in the afternoon of the same day. There was much discussion about whether the leadership may be by a council or a person. Finally, they chose the latter. After mentioning Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei, some members of the Assembly narrated Imam Khomeini's opinion about the competence of Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei for leadership of the country. Then, there was an election, and by a decisive vote, members of the Assembly chose Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei as the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

After the revision of the constitution and the referendum, the Assembly of the Experts for Leadership held a session based on the new constitution and conducted an opinion poll about his leadership. An absolute number of them chose him again as the country's leader.

Sayyid Ahmad Khomeini, the son and the closest person to Imam Khomeini, quoted that he said: "Indeed he (Ayatollah Khamenei) is competent for leadership." Zahra Mostafavi, daughter of Imam Khomeini, quoted from him, mentioning Ayatollah Khamenei for the leadership and approving his Ijtihad. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, also among the influential politicians in Iran, quoted Imam Khomeini mentioning Ayatollah Khamenei as the country's future leader. He also said that in a private meeting with him, Imam Khomeini mentioned Ayatollah Khamenei and said, "you will not be at a dead end! Since such a person is among you."

After Ayatollah Khamenei was chosen as the leader, high-ranking officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the household of Imam Khomeini, religious authorities and scholars, elites, great personalities from Hawza and universities, families of the martyrs and different groups of people approved him or swore allegiance to him.

A few hours after Ayatollah Khamenei was chosen as the leader, Sayyid Ahmad Khomeini congratulated him and regarded the orders of al-Wali al-Faqih incumbent upon himself.

Then, people's allegiance in demonstrations, participation in rallies, declarations, congratulations, and signing scrolls were made. Caravans of allegiance with the new leadership ran on the verge of the 40th day after the demise of Imam Khomeini to visit Ayatollah Khamenei from different parts of the country. Maneuvers of allegiance with the leadership were made in some borderlines and strategic regions of the country, and seminars for promising Imam Khomeini and showing allegiance to the new leadership were held.

Religious Authority

The Farsi translation of Ajwibat al-Istifta'at which is written originally in Arabic, contains the answers of Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei to the questions of Shi'a from around the world regarding their religious rulings.

In 1994, after the demise of Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Araki, the Assembly of Teachers of the Seminary of Qom and the Community of Combatant Clerics of Tehran introduced Ayatollah Khamenei as a competent faqih for being a marja'. In a speech, Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized that there is no need for his religious authority in Iran, and he accepts only the request of Shi'as who live outside Iran. However, if there is someone to take this responsibility, he will withdraw from this one as well.

The first book of rulings published his opinions was Ajwabat al-istifta'at, which contained his answers to Shi'a questions regarding rulings.


Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, and Islamic unity

Ayatollah Khamenei has the idea of Islamic proximity and believes that victory among the Muslim would happen as a result of their unity and decreasing their disagreements. Based on such an idea, he founded the International Assembly for the Proximity among the Islamic schools of thought and has tried to gather influential personalities of the Muslim world in different ways.

In 2009, he stressed proximity among Islamic schools in his trip to Kurdistan; in his speech among believers in different Islamic schools, he criticized the critics of unity.

Criticism of Tatbir in Mourning Ceremonies

In June 1994, while he was speaking for a group of clerics, he seriously criticized some ways of mourning especially tatbir and regarded it as bid'a (illegitimate innovation in religion). Also in 1997, he was making speech in Mashhad and considered preaching of tatbir by communist regimes as a support for his idea and a sign for deviant nature of this act.

Inheritance of a Wife

In July 2007, in a meeting with a group of women, Ayatollah Khamenei mentioned his opinion about the inheritance of a wife from immovable property of her deceased husband and said he believes that a woman inherits from cash value of her deceased husband's immovable property. This opinion is contradictory with many jurists' opinion that a woman only inherits from movable property of her deceased husband.

Idea of Cultural Invasion

In early years of 1990s, Ayatollah Khamenei used expressions such as "cultural invasion" and "cultural raid" and tried to direct the attention of scholars of cultural domains to cultural changes happening in the society. In his opinion, cultural invasion is against cultural exchange; and it is a deliberate attack by colonist powers to destroy the cultures of other nations and expanding their domination over them.

Prohibition of Insulting the Holy Names of Sunni Schools

Ayatollah Khamenei regards it prohibited to insult the holy names of non-Shia people. Also, he himself does not attack holy issues of others. Ayatollah Khamenei, in a fatwa, declared insulting the holy names and great people of other Islamic schools including the wives of all the prophets as prohibited.

Islamic Awakening

After revolutionary movements and riots happened against some Arabic governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, and Yemen which led to the fall of some of the rulers of these countries, Ayatollah Khamenei called such movements as Islamic Awakening which were called by Arabic media as "Arabic spring".

Established Organizations

In order to achieve his religious goals and also make reforms in different intellectual and cultural fields, Ayatollah Khamenei established some organizations which are mostly cultural, including the organizations listed below:

International Activities

Message to the Youths of the West

After a terrorist attack by some radical Muslim groups in France in 2014, which led to a highly anti-Muslim atmosphere in the west, Ayatollah Khamenei sent a message to the youths in Europe and North America. In this message, he asked the youth that to know Islam, they need to refer to the original references for Islam which are the Qur'an and the life of the Prophet (s).

This message was widely spread in online social networks in several languages with the hashtag "Letter4u". It seems that such a message has been unprecedented among Muslim and Shi'a scholars.


  1. Tadawum-i aftab, p. 21
  2. Sharif Razi, Ganjina-yi danishmandan, vol. 7. p. 127
  3. Bihbudi, Sharh-i ism, p. 15
  4. Zangana, Mashahir-i madfun dar haram-i radawi, vol. 1, p. 77
  5. Aqa Buzurg Tihrani, al-Dhari'a, vol. 2, p. 640
  6. Gulshan-i abrar, vol. 2, p. 971
  7. Kasrawi, Qiyam-i shaykh Muhammad Khiyabani, p. 92
  8. Bihbudi, Sharh-i ism, vol. 12
  9. Aqa Buzurg Tihrani, al-Dhari'a, vol. 6, p. 13
  10. Aqa Buzurg Tihrani, al-Dhari'a, vol. 2, p. 559
  11. Mirza 'Abd al-Rahman, Tarikh-i 'ulama-yi Khurasan, p. 308; Qasimpur, Daha-yi sarniwishtsaz, p. 60
  12. Zangana, Mashahir-i madfun dar haram-i radawi, vol. 1, p. 458
  13. Bihbudi, Sharh-i ism, p. 49
  14. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, No. 1226
  15. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 1226
  16. Bihbudi, Sharh-i ism, p. 78
  17. Jomhuri-yi Islami Newspaper, January 19, 1980
  18. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 1228
  19. Jalali, Mashhad dar bamdad-i nihdat-i Islami, p. 148
  20. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 1229-1231
  21. Bihbudi, Sharh-i ism, pp. 129-134
  22. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 614; 1231-1232
  23. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no.1233
  24. Yaran-i Imam bi riwayat-i asnad-i Savak, vol. 1, p. 468
  25. Imam Khomeini dar a'ina-yi asnad, vol. 4, p. 392
  26. Bihbudi, Sharh-i ism, pp. 162-166
  27. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 1234
  28. Bihbudi, Sharh-i ism, p. 187
  29. Buhbudi, Sharh-i ism, pp. 192-195
  30. Hashimi, Duwran-i mubarizi, vol. 2, p. 1566
  31. Yaran-i Imam bi riwayat-i asnad-i Savak, vol. 3, pp. 5-7
  32. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 614
  33. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 574
  34. Bazargan, Yaddashtha-yi ruzana, pp. 422-423
  35. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 614
  36. Yaran-i Imam bi riwayat-i asnad-i Savak, vol. 1, p. 248; vol. 2, p. 497; vol. 38, p. 14; vol. 44, p. 521; vol. 15, p. 355
  37. Bihbudi, Sharh-i ism, pp. 331-332; 470-471
  38. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 123; no. 614
  39. Sahifa-yi Imam, 358, 372, 373
  40. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 614
  41. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 614
  42. Yaran-i Imam bi riwayat-i asnad-i Savak, vol. 31, p. 455; Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 573
  43. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 527, 574, 614
  44. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 575
  45. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no.304, 389, 575
  46. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 572, 576
  47. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 389, 572
  48. Archive of the Center of Documents of Islamic Revolution, no. 576
  49. Sahifa-yi Imam, vol. 5, p. 426-428
  50. Pa bi pa-yi aftab, vol. 2, p. 192
  51. Qasimpur, Dahi-yi sarniwisht-saz, pp. 92-94
  52. Bashiri, Hashimi, inqilab wa piruzi, p. 169
  53. Sa'ili, Tarikhcha-yi shuwra-yi inqilab-i Islami, p. 11
  54. Sa'ili, Tarikhcha-yi shuwra-yi inqilab-i Islami, pp. 49-62
  55. Sa'ili, Tarikhcha-yi shuwra-yi inqilab-i Islami, pp. 117-118
  56. Bashiri, Hashimi, inqilab wa piruzi, p. 449
  57. Bashiri, Hashimi, inqilab wa piruzi, p. 125
  58. Bashiri, Hashimi, inqilab wa piruzi, pp. 215-218
  59. Jasbi, Az ghubar ta baran, vol. 4, p. 149
  60. Jasbi, Az ghubar ta baran, vol. 4, p. 146
  61. Hashimi, Ubur az buhran, p. 263
  62. Bakhshayish, Khatirat-i Sayyid Murtada Nabawi, p. 168
  63. Jasbi, Az ghubar ta baran, vol. 4, p. 300
  64. Jumhuri-yi Islami Newspaper, no. 1541, p. 15; no.1543, p. 2
  65. Sahifa-yi Imam, vol. 12, p. 116
  66. Sahifa-yi Imam, vol. 14. p. 304


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