Sayyid Muhammad Husayni Bihishti

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Sayyid Muhammad Husayni Bihishti
Muhammad Husayni Bihishti portrait.jpg
Personal Information
Full Name Sayyid Muhammad Husayni Bihishti
Birth October 24, 1928 in Isfahan
Residence Isfahan
Studied in Isfahan, Qom, Tehran
Death June 28, 1981 in Tehran
Burial Place Bihisht Zahra, Tehran
Scholarly Information
Professors Ayatullah Burujirdi, Sayyid Muhammad Muhaqiq Damad, Shaykh Murtada Ha'iri Yazdi, Imam Khomeini, 'Allama Tabataba'i
Works Khoda az didgah-i Qur'an (Doctorate thesis), Iqtisad-i Islami, Haqq wa batil az didgah-i Qur'an, Naqsh-i azadi dar tarbiyat-i kudakan
Socio-Political Activities
Founding Din wa Danish High School; foundation of Haqqani Seminari in Qom; membership in Counsel of Revolution of Iran; participation in writing the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran, being the chairman of the Supreme Court of Iran

Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayni Bihishtī (Farsi: سید محمد حسینی بهشتی) was an influential and noticeable clergy in the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He studied under scholars such as Ayatullah Burujirdi, Imam Khomeini, Muhaqqiq Damad and 'Allama Tabataba'i In seminary of Qom.

He was one of the few clerics who studied in university on that time and knew English and German languages. He was one of the founders and teachers of Haqqani School in Qom, in which religious subjects were taught with new methods. He founded Din wa Danish High School with the purpose of educational improvement of religious youth.

Bihishti opposed the Monarchy in Iran and because of this political opposition, he left Iran for a while. During this period, he had cultural activities in the Islamic center of Hamburg, Germany. He returned to Iran in 1970 and concentrated on cultural activities including authoring educational books for students.

On the threshold of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Imam Khomeini appointed him as a member of Shura-yi Inqilab (The Council of the Revolution). After the victory of the revolution, he was one of the most important people in preparing the draft of the Constitution. He was the first head of the Judicial system in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

After founding Jami'a-yi Ruhaniyyat-i Mubariz-i Tehran (Combatant Clergy Association), he along with his friends established the Islamic Republic Party and became its first general secretary. Finally, he and 72 of his companions and colleagues were martyred by a terrorist attack on the central office of the party, in Sha'ban 25, 1401 (June 28, 1981).

Bihishti had his own standpoint in various religious issues and sometimes his stances were different from other clerics. For instance, in 1971, he defended 'Ali Shari'ati against the clergies' criticisms. A number of his books have been published. However, most of his books are transcripts of his lectures.

Birth and Lineage

He was born on Jumada I 9, 1347 (October 24, 1928), in Lunban neighborhood in Isfahan. His father, Sayyid Fadl Allah Bihishti, was one of Isfahan's clergies and his maternal grandfather, Haj Mirza Muhammad Sadiq Khan Mudarris Khatunabadi, was a student of al-Akhund al-Khurasani and Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Yazdi and was considered among the outstanding scholars of Isfahan.[1]

Family tree of al-Sadr Family
Al-Sayyid Salih
Abu l-Hasan
Sadr al-Din
Muhammad Ali
'Abd al-Karim
Muhammad 'Ali
Mirza Ja'far
Musa al-Sadr
Hadi al-Sadr al-Kazimayni
'Isa al-Sadr
Al-Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr
Abu Ja'far Khadim al-Shari'a
Abu l-Hasan
Aqa Mujtahid
Muhammad Jawad
Muhammad Mahdi
Sadr al-Din
Muhammad Jawad
Bint al-Huda
Muhammad Baqir
Abu l-Hasan
Muhammad Ja'far
Muhammad Sadiq
al-Sayyida Baygum Agha al-Sadr al-'Amili
SalamMuhammad Mahdi
Ma'suma Baygum
Muqtada al-Sadr
Sayyid Muhammad Husayni Bihishti
Imam Musa Sadr
Sadr al-Din
Ibn 'Ali


He passed his elementary school and the first two years of high school in the public schools of Isfahan. In 1361/1942, when Iran faced the aftermath of Reza Shah's downfall and went through a chaotic and eventful period, he entered al-Hawza al-'ilmiyya, and started studying in Sadr School of Isfahan.

Religious Studies

In seminary of Isfahan, he learned Arabic literature, logic, Theology, and the advanced level of Fiqh and Usul, and at the same time he started studying English. In 1365/1946, he moved to Qom to continue his religious studies and after a year, he attended lessons of Kharij al-fiqh and usul by great teachers of seminary of Qom.[2]

Among his teachers in Qom were Ayatullah Husayn Burujirdi, Sayyid Muhaqqiq Damad, Imam Khomeini and Shaykh Murtada Ha'iri Yazdi. During these years, he focused on learning philosophy by attending philosophy lessons of 'Allama Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i and was a member of the session where 'Allamah Tabataba'i's famous articles, which later published under the title of Usul-i falsafi wa rawish-i realism, was discussed.


Along with studying in Hawza, Bihishti completed his unfinished high school, and after acquiring a diploma in literature in 1367/1948, became a student of the Ma'qul and Manqul (intellectual and narrative) School (currently known as Ma'arif-i Islami (Divinity and Islamic Studies)). In 1369/1950-1951, he moved to Tehran and started teaching to make a living. After graduating with a Master's degree in 1369/1951, he moved to Qom and with the grasp that he had gained of English language, he started teaching English at Hakim Nizami high school. In 1370/1952, he got married and continued studying in Hawza beside teaching at high school.

Bihishti, who was determined to continue his studies in university along with studies and activities in seminary, started his doctorate in philosophy in 1956 at the School of Ma'qul and Manqul, and after a pause caused by his trip to Germany, he graduated from doctorate in 1394/1974.


Shari'ati, justujugari dar masir-i shudan is a book written by Shahid Bihishti about Dr. 'Ali Shari'ati.

He did not have many works as a writer. Most of his books are written from his lessons and lectures. His books includes titles such as:

  1. Khuda az Didgah-i Qur'an (God from Qur'an's Perspective); (Doctorate thesis)
  2. Shinakht-i Islam (Knowing Islam); with the association of Muhammad Jawad Bahunar and 'Ali Gulzadi Ghafuri
  3. Namaz Chist? (What is Salat?)
  4. Bankdari, riba wa qawanin-i mali dar Islam (Banking, usury and financial laws in Islam)
  5. Muhit-i paydayish-i Islam (The Environment of Islam's Emergence)
  6. Iqtisad-i Islami (Islamic Economics)
  7. Shari'ati, justujugari dar masir-i "shudan" (Shari'ati, a searcher on the path of "becoming")
  8. Haj dar Qur'an (Hajj in Qur'an)
  9. Shinakht az Didgah-i Qur'an (Cognition in Qur'an's Perspective)
  10. Wilayat, rahbari, ruhaniyyat (Wilaya, leadership, the clergy)
  11. Haqq wa batil az Didgah-i Qur'an (Right and wrong in Qur'an's Perspective)
  12. Bihdasht wa tanzim-i Khaniwadi (Family planning and hygiene)
  13. Naqsh-i azadi dar Tarbiyat-i Kudakan (The role of freedom in children's upbringing)
  14. Bayad-ha wa Nabayad-ha (Dos and Don'ts)
  15. Other articles and speeches, about the theoretical foundations of the Constitution, gathered in one book.

Social Activities

From his early youth, Bihishti was interested in social activities and inclusive educational and propagational planning. In 1366/1947, as a member of an 18-person group including Murtada Mutahhari, he practiced a new method of propagational travels and religious studies planned under the supervision of Ayatullah Burujirdi and perseverance of Imam Khomeini.

In 1371/1952, influenced by the activities of Sayyid Abu l-Qasim Kashani and Muhammad Musaddiq in the uprising for the nationalization of oil, he participated in the strikes that led to the Incident of Tir 30, 1331 SH (Shawwal 28, 1371 AH/ July 21, 1952 AD) and the downfall of Qawam al-Saltana in Isfahan. He gave speech to the group of strikers in Isfahan's Telegraph House.

Founding Din wa Danish High School

The famous coup in August 19, 1954 (Dhu l-Hijja 8, 1372) made Bihishti, who had a sharp and sensitive mind in social issues, notice how weak the religious community was. His first attempt to raise efficient religious force was to found "Din va Danish High School" in 1375/1955 in Qom. He was the principal of this high school until 1383/1963.[3]

Article Writing

Bihishti standing next to some of clergymen in Qom.

In those years, Seminary of Qom started new cultural plans to introduce Islam to the younger generation and the educated students of university. Bihishti, took an effective part in activities such as publishing Maktab-i Islam Magazine and the annually or quarterly published magazine, Maktab-i Tashayyu'. He authored an extensive article in the latter called Hukumat dar Islam (Governing in Islam) through the years 1378/1959 and 1379/1960. He also participated and gave lectures along with clergies like Shahid Mutahhari and Sayyid Mahmud Taliqani in the lecture sessions known as "Guftar-i Mah" (The Word of the Month) which were held in Tehran for the youth and the students of university.

Foundation of Haqqani Religious School

Meanwhile, using his fresh mind and criticizing and reformative ideas, Bihishti decided to make changes and improvements in Seminary of Qom. He founded "Kanun-i Islami-yi danish amuzan wa Farhangiyan-i Qom" (The Islamic Center of Students and Educators) which was managed by the clergy Shahid Muhammad Mufattih, and besides that, with the help of other clergymen, he managed to design a new method and curriculum for the students of Islamic studies, which was carried out by the foundation of Muntaziriyyi or Haqqani School.[4]

Political Campaigns

Shahid Bihishti with Imam Khomeini and Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei.

After the demise of Ayatullah Burujirdi in Shawwal 12, 1380 / March 30, 1961, and the rise of Imam Khomeini to Marja'iyya, a new chapter of changes and political campaigns started in Seminary of Qom and religious communities. Bihishti joined the campaigns. His activities in the incident of Shawwal 26, 1382 / March 22, 1963 and the uprising of Khurdad 15 (Muharram 12, 1383 / June 5, 1963) and also the arrest of Imam Khomeini is thoroughly mentioned in the documents of "Country's Safety and Intelligence Organization" of that time (SAVAK).[5]

Membership in Associated Islamic Boards

When an organization of several religious boards (Hai'at) called Hai'at-ha-yi Mu'talifi-yi Islami (Associated Islamic Boards) was created with the purpose of supporting Imam Khomeini, Bihishti was one of the clergymen appointed by Imam Khomeini to supervise and help the organization.[6] With the expansion of his political and cultural activities in Qom, SAVAK made Bihishti leave the city and the Ministry of Education of the time, suspended his state in military service.[7]

After moving to Tehran, he found a much wider area of activity, although he did not stay there for long.

Travel to Germany

Sayyid Muhammad Husayni Beheshti in front of the Reichstag building of Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, between 1964-1970.

In 1384/1964, Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Hadi Milani, who was one of the Maraji'i Taqlid living in Mashhad, asked Bihishti to travel to Germany as a response to the request of the Muslims and Iranians living in Hamburg, and take charge of Hamburg's Islamic Center. Ayatullah Sayyid Ahmad Khwansari also affirmed the importance of this trip. Bihishti's travel to Germany, which was not very easy due to SAVAK's objections, opened a new horizon for his dynamic and modernist mind.[8]

He stayed in Germany for 5 years. During this time, besides being in charge of religious matters of Hamburg's and Germany's Iranians and Muslims, he managed to establish The Union of Islamic Forums for Farsi Speaking Students (in Farsi: "Ittihadiyyi-yi anjuman-ha-yi Islami-yi danishjuyan-i guruh-i Farsi-zaban") with the help of some religious students. Using this union, he could gather religious students of opposition who could not join the Iranian Student Confederation or other organizations as such due to their irreligious beliefs. Bihishti took beneficial measures to spread Islam among Europeans. Mastering German besides English, he could also familiarize himself with thoughts of Western philosophers.

During these years, he traveled for Hajj in 1966 and met Imam Khomeini in Iraq in 1969. The reports from SAVAK shows that he was extremely worried and careful about his activity during this period.[9]

Return to Iran

In 1390/1970, Bihishti returned to Iran, and SAVAK did not allow him to travel to Germany again. Between the years 1970 and 1977, he performed cultural and educational activities and managed the propagational and educational sessions for students of Islamic Schools and students of university, and in this way, he spread his ideas through the society.

One of his most important activities was the participation in Scheduling Department for Religious Studies Books in Ministry of Education, where he and other clergymen like Dr. Muhammad Javad Bahunar, 'Ali Gulzadi Ghafuri and Sayyid Rida Burqi'i co-authored the textbooks of Qur'an and Religious Studies for the whole country. These books helped to inform the youth at the time about Islamic teachings and prepared the intellectual ground for the Islamic Revolution. In 1975, SAVAK arrested Bihishti and imprisoned him for a short time.[10]

Combatant Clergy Association

As Iranian people's campaign under the leadership of Imam Khomeini peaked in 1977, Bihishti's effort became more noticeable and his skill and experience in organizing, management and employment of practicing forces became fully visible. One of these efforts was participating in the foundation of an organization called "Combatant Clergy Association" (Farsi: "Jami'i-yi ruhaniyyat-i mubariz-i Tehran") in fall of 1978, and he also became a core member of the organization.

Counsel of Revolution

Shortly after that, Imam Khomeini established the "Counsel of Revolution", and Bihishti was among the first who was appointed as a member by Imam Khomeini.[11]

In late 1978 and early 1979, Bihishti played a big role in directing and organizing the Islamic campaigns of Iranian people under the leadership of Imam Khomeini, while his activities and connections with others during these days were carefully watched by SAVAK.[12] He was extremely active in holding the rallies of Tasu'a and 'Ashura of 1399 AH (1979) in Tehran and other cities of Iran.[13]

After the Revolution

Bihishti as the spokesman of the Jumhuri-yi Islami party in a debate session

Nearly coincidently with the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Rabi' I 13, 1399 (February 11, 1979), together with Ayatullah Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei, Musavi Ardabili, Hashimi Rafsanjani and Bahunar, Bihishti announced the establishment of Islamic Republic Party.[14] This party was well received among the people who supported the revolution. Bihishti, who was the general secretary of the party, made it the center of his political and revolutionary activities, and according to Ayatullah Khamini'i, "in every moment of the adventurous life of the party, he used all of his sincerity, patience, wisdom, tact and God-given intelligence to achieve the ideals of the party which were the same goals of the Islamic revolution."[15]

Participation in Writing the Constitution

Bihishti played an important role in conducting the election of Assembly of Expert for Constitution. He was a member of the assembly as a representative of Tehran's people, and was selected as the vice president of the assembly by its members and practically became in charge of it. He also made great efforts and had great impacts in preparing the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran.

Chairman of the Supreme Court

Bihishti as the chairman of Iran's Supreme Court, appointed by Imam Khomeini in 1400/1980.

In 1980, Imam Khomeini appointed Bihishti as the chairman of Iran's Supreme Court and gave him the order to create a new judicial system according to the teachings of Islam… and write new legal bills for the Islamic Republic of Iran.[16]

Important Role in Forming Islamic Republic

In the rather short period of time between revolution and his martyrdom, Bihishti made continuous and tireless efforts to prepare and formulate the theoretical and legal background of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also, to found and organize the main components for the Islamic government. During that period, he was definitely one of the most famous believers and advocates of Imam Khomeini's thoughts.

He believed that fulfillment of Islam depended on the fulfillment of fundamental concepts such as independence, justice, freedom and people's participation in politics and economic activity. Having such visions led him to emphasize on ending the rule of foreigner over the country, the necessity of stability, independence of the Judiciary, adjustment of wealth in the society through cooperative ownership and strengthening cooperative enterprises, and the importance of political activity in the form of parties and collaborating in counsels.[17]

Bihishti in anniversary of Islamic Revolution of Iran, sitting next to Shahid Bahunar, Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei and Sayyid Ahmad Khomeini.

Bihishti had a significant talent in attracting the youth to political and social activities, and encouraging them to build the country. He used his talent to build a cadre for the Islamic Republic of Iran. "Jahad-i Sazandigi" (construction jihad) and similar organizations were, therefore, backed up by his support and management.[18]

Besides having great knowledge of Islamic teachings, he was familiar with western thoughts as well. He was a great lecturer and a magnificent writer. He had an attractive face, a tall body, a good manner combined with kindness, patience, justice and dignity. He had a joyful and hopeful spirit, and was remarkable at discipline, order and management. He was very careful about performing Salat at the beginning of its time.[19]

All of these qualities, besides putting him in the spotlight of religious crowd and the general people who supported the Islamic revolution, had made him a target for animosity and accusations of all the people who saw him as a barrier to their own purposes. The wide range of animosity and objections and the intensity of the accusations against him, especially after the revolution, were extraordinary. The enemies of the Islamic revolution tried their best to spread rumors and to fabricate lies about him.


On Sha'ban 25, 1401 (June 28, 1981), Bihishti and some of his companions and colleagues were martyred in the office of Islamic Republic Party. This event revealed his innocence and marked the start of a new wave of awareness in the country. In his statement for the martyrdom of Bihishti and his colleagues, Imam Khomeini mentioned, "Bihishti… was oppressed while living and when he died, and was a thorn in the eyes of Islam's enemies."[20]

See Also


  1. Rast-qamatan-i jawdani-yi tarikh-i Islam, Daftar-i awwal, p.37; Sharif Razi, vol.1, p.243 (Farsi)
  2. Rast-qamatan-i jawdani-yi tarikh-i Islam, Daftar-i awwal, pp.38-40 (Farsi)
  3. Rast-qamatan-i jawdani-yi tarikh-i Islam, Daftar-i awwal, pp.39-42 and p.48
  4. Rast-qamatan-i jawdani-yi tarikh-i Islam, Daftar-i awwal, pp.42-44 (Farsi); Yaran-i Imam bi riwayat-i asnad-i Savak, vol.3, p.306 (Farsi)
  5. Yaran-i Imam bi riwayat-i asnad-i Savak, vol.3, p.4-11 (Farsi)
  6. Hashimi Rafsanjani, vol.1, p.198 (Farsi); Rast-qamatan-i jawdani-yi tarikh-i Islam, Daftar-i awwal, pp.44-45 (Farsi); Tahrir-i tarikh-i shifahi-yi inqilab-i Islami-yi Iran, p.177 (Farsi)
  7. Yaran-i Imam bi riwayat-i asnad-i Savak, vol.3, p.16-24 (Farsi)
  8. Rast-qamatan-i jawdani-yi tarikh-i Islam, Daftar-i duwum, pp.790-791; Daftar-i awwal, p.43
  9. Rast-qamatan-i jawdani-yi tarikh-i Islam, Daftar-i awwal, pp. 43, 46, 48; Yaran-i Imam bi riwayat-i asnad-i Savak, vol.3, pp.34-175 (Farsi)
  10. Rast-qamatan-i jawdani-yi tarikh-i Islam, Daftar-i awwal, pp.11, 44, 46, 49; Daftar-i siwum, p.966
  11. Hashimi Rafsanjani, Hashimi Rafsanjani, duwran-i mubarizi, vol.1, pp.321-323 (Farsi)
  12. Yaran-i Imam bi riwayat-i asnad-i Savak, vol.3, pp.323-395 (Farsi)
  13. Yaran-i Imam bi riwayat-i asnad-i Savak, vol.3, p.355
  14. Radawi, Hashimi wa inqilab, p.165 (Farsi); Rast-qamatan-i jawdani-yi tarikh-i Islam, Daftar-i awwal, pp.450-453
  15. Hizb-i jumhuri-yi Islami, pp.146-147 (Farsi)
  16. Khomeini, Sahifi-yi nur, vol.11, p.279 (Farsi)
  17. Seminar of "Tabyin-i andishi-ha-yi shahid Ayatullah Bihishti", pp.63-229 (Farsi)
  18. Rast-qamatan-i jawdani-yi tarikh-i Islam, Daftar-i siwum, pp.1039-1133 (Farsi)
  19. Seminar of "Tabyin-i andishi-ha-yi shahid Ayatullah Bihishti, pp.34-40; Muhajiri, Wijhigi-ha-yi shahid Bihishti, pp.6-7 (Farsi)
  20. Khomeini, Sahifi-yi nur, vol.15, p.52; Rast-qamatan-i jawdani-yi tarikh-i Islam, Daftar-i siwum, p.1117; Seminar of "Tabyin-i andishi-ha-yi shahid Ayatullah Bihishti", pp.35-36


  • The material for writing this article is mainly taken from سید محمد حسینی بهشتی in Farsi WikiShia.
  • Tahrir-i tarikh-i shifahi-yi inqilab-i Islami-yi Iran, Majmu'i barnami-yi dastan-i inqilab az Radio BBC, Tehran, 1373 SH.
  • Hizb-i jumhuri-yi Islami, tashakkul-i faragir: mururi bar yik dahi fa'aliyyat-i hizb-i jumhuri-yi Islami, vol.4, Nakhustin kungiri-yi hizb-i jumhuri-yi Islami, 'Abd Allah Jasbi, Tehran, 1377 SH.
  • Khomeini, Ruh Allah, Sahifi-yi nur, Tehran, 1361 SH.
  • Rast-qamatan-i jawdani-yi tarikh-i Islam, Tehran, Bunyad-i shahid, 1361 SH.
  • Radawi, Mas'ud, Hashimi wa inqilab: tarikh-i siyasi-yi Iran az inqilab ta jang, Tehran, 1376 SH.
  • Seminar of "Tabyin-i andishi-ha-yi shahid Ayatullah Bihishti", (Shiraz, 1376); Barrisi-yi mababi-yi fikri-yi Ayatullah shahid Doctor Bihishti, Tehran, 1377 SH.
  • Sharif Razi, Muhammad, Ganjini-yi danishmandan, vol.1, Tehran, 1352 SH.
  • Muhajiri, Masih, Wijhigi-ha-yi shahid Bihishti, Ittila'at, Appendix, Issue 20799, Tir 7, 1375 SH (June 27, 1996).
  • Hashimi Rafsanjani, Muhsin, Hashimi-yi Rafsanjani: Duwran-i mubarizi, Daftar-i nashr-i ma'arif-i inqilab, Tehran, 1376 SH.
  • Yaran-i Imam bi riwayat-i asnad-i Savak, vol.3, Tehran, The center of Historical Documents Survey for The Intelligence Ministry of Islamic Republic of Iran, 1377 SH.

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