Mohammad Shirazi

For other people of the same name, see Shirazi.
Imam Shirazi
Born 1928
Najaf, Iraq Kingdom of Iraq
Died December 17, 2001
Qom, Iran Islamic Republic of Iran
Nationality Iraqi
Other names King of Authors (سلطان المؤلفين)
Occupation Grand Ayatollah
Known for The New Order for the World of Faith, Freedom, Welfare and Peace
Sayyid Muhammad ibn Mahdi al-Hussaini al-Shirazi (Arabic: آية الله العظمى السيد محمد بن مهدي الحسيني الشيرازي), commonly known as Imam Shirazi, was an author, politician and religious leader (Marja) to millions of Twelver Shi'a Muslims around the globe. He made contributions in various fields ranging from jurisprudence and theology to politics, economics, law, sociology and human rights.

Early life

Muhammad Shirazi was born in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, in AD 1928 (1347 AH). He belonged to a distinguished family rooted in Islamic sciences and literature. The Shirazi family has produced many scholars and Marja's (The Marja of Taqleed are clerics that have the authority to declare fatwas and decrees into all matters of Islamic jurisprudence. Only several exist at any given time) as well as leaders. Two of the best-known leaders are Grand Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi, leader of the constitutional, also known as the Tobacco Movement in Iran, and Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi Shirazi, leader of the 1920 revolution in Iraq, which liberated Iraq from colonial powers. The Shirazi's father, the late Grand Ayatollah Mehdi Shirazi, had been a famous and a highly respected scholar and the Marja' of his time. He was subsequently able to assume the office of the Marje' at the early age of 33 in 1961.

Imam Shirazi opposed despotism. In 1971 he was exiled to Lebanon by the Ba'thist regime of Iraq. He later stayed in Kuwait until the Islamic Revolution, and in 1979 he migrated to the holy city of Qum, Iran. His followers believe his stay in Kuwait was an era of religious renaissance for Shi'a Muslims in that country, and also indirectly affecting religious discourse among Sunni school of thought. Imam Shirazi had established many Islamic centers, medical and charitable financial services, educational, welfare and social foundations, libraries, and Hawzah's, or universities for Islamic Sciences, in different regions of the world. Hundreds of individuals have graduated from his school as scholars, lecturers, authors and intellectuals.

Political career

In his lifetime Imam Shirazi witnessed at first hand the deposition of the late Shah of Iran regime and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran by the late Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Khomeini. Despite this rare historic opportunity and his great prestige, Imam Shirazi did not take any government posts or become politically involved in the Islamic government. His disagreements were eloquently stated and defended.

After his departure, his legacy and school of thought was continued through the Hawzah'a which he had established. His brother Sadiq Hussaini Shirazi is at the helm of this school of thought [1] today. Sadiq Hussaini Shirazi is a leading religious authority in his own right today.

His followers have met with some unpleasantness at the hands of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.[2] In 1995, one of his sons Seyd Morteza Shirazi was imprisoned for 18 months after which "reportedly escaped to Syria and has requested political asylum, the INP reported in Tehran."[3]

Amnesty International reports that in Iran:

several followers of Grand Ayatollah Sayed Mohammad Shirazi were detained during [1998]. In January Sheikh Mohammad Amin Ghafoori, a well-known religious figure and writer, his wife, and Sayed Hossein Fali were arrested in Qom. There were reports that they were beaten during arrest and tortured in detention. Sayed Hossein Fali was reported to have been released in June. Sheikh Mohammad Amin Ghafoori was said to have been sentenced in July to two and a half years' imprisonment by the Special Court for the Clergy, whose procedures fell far short of international standards. In October, five other followers of Grand Ayatollah Shirazi, including Reza Sultani, were reported to have been arrested and they remained held incommunicado at the end of the year. Sheikh Sadiq Za'eemiyan has also been harassed.
Seven students arrested in November 1995, apparently on account of their links with Grand Ayatollah Shirazi (see Amnesty International Reports 1996 and 1997), were released in June. However, two of them, Aman Allah Bushehri and Sheikh Mohammad Qahtani, were reportedly rearrested in July and August respectively.[4]
According to reports, methods of torture used against some of these detainees have included beatings, prolonged sleep deprivation, electric shocks and threatened execution by electrocution after attaching electrodes to the body. Sheikh Ali Maash is said to have required medical treatment after his release for the effects of torture, including for a toe on his right foot which was broken and left untreated." [5]

Writing philosophy

Imam Shirazi has written various specialized studies that are considered to be among the most important references in the Islamic sciences of beliefs or doctrine, ethics, politics, economics, sociology, law, human rights, etc. He has enriched the world with his staggering contribution of more than 1200 books, treatise and studies on various branches of learning. His works range from simple introductory books for the young generations to literary and scientific masterpieces. Deeply rooted in the holy Qur'an and the Teachings of the Prophet of Islam, his vision and theories cover areas such as Politics, Economics, Government, Management, Sociology, Theology, Philosophy, History and Islamic Law.

Assad Ali, a poet and professor of Arabic literature, called him the King of Authors, because Imam Shirazi has been considered as the most prolific Arabian writer ever. Assad Ali tried several times to set a record in Guinness World Records, but the publisher denied.

Imam Shirazi believed in the fundamental and elementary nature of freedom including freedom of expression, political plurality, debate and discussion, tolerance and forgiveness. He believed in the Consultative System of Leadership and called for the establishment of the Leadership Council of Religious Authorities. He called for the establishment of the Universal Islamic Government to encompass all the Muslim countries. These and other ideas are discussed in detail in his books.

Books published in English

  • The Qur'an When was it compiled?

In this book the author addresses the issues of when the Koran was compiled, on what and whose instructions was this task carried out and who accomplished its compilation in the form that it is available today. In this work the author presents cogent arguments addressing these crucial questions. Through historical, methodical and logical analyses, the author asserts his views on how and when the compilation of the Qur'an was achieved. In the latter half of the book the author cites many prophetic traditions on the significance of the learning and recitation of Qur'an.

  • The Family

In this book the author highlights the problems he sees primarily in Islamic societies and particularly in the west today from the phenomenon of unmarried young men and women through the birth control and contraception. He surveys the idea of marriage in various religions and schools of thought. The author also discusses polygamy from the Islamic perspective. He calls for simplicity in the process of marriage and draws our attention to the Islamic teachings and laws in this vital area of life. As well as being a call to the Muslim world to revert to the true teachings of the Qur'an and Muhammad, this book can also be of use as an introduction to others who seek some answers to the social problems of today. This is because Islam has detailed teachings, which promise success in every area of human life on individual and societal levels, and what's more their practicality has been historically proven.

  • On the question of the Bible and Christianity

This book consists of two separate works. In the first part, the author presents his experiences, and the debates he had with the Christians. The debates concerned their impression of Islam and its doctrine and therefore the questions/objections they had, and the issues they raised, or on the other hand some of the discussions circled around their own religious beliefs. In this presentation the author shows how he invited non-Muslims to Islam through calm but rational and intellectual debates with them. The book makes an interesting read, especially when the reader can see the simple arguments put forward in these debates. In the second part, the author and presents some of the immoral and absurd features and traits that he asserts are attributed to God and his prophets in the Bible. The author refutes what he regards as false attributes given to messengers of God, concluding that these point to distortions of fact and doctrine in the Bible.

  • War, Peace & Nonviolence: An Islamic Perspective

In this work the author addresses three controversial issues, which have come to be associated with Islam. Through his extensive knowledge of the teachings of Islam, the author presents the Islamic stand on war, peace and nonviolence, as found in the traditions and teachings of the Muhammad, which could serve as exemplary models for the Mankind. Detailed accounts of the traditions of Muhammad in his dealings with his foes during war or peace times are presented in this book, which gives the reader a clear insight into the way and the basis upon which Muhammad used to conduct his affairs in this respect.

  • Islamic Beliefs For All

In this book the author discusses the five fundamental principles of Islam. These principles are Tawheed (the indivisible oneness of God), Divine justice, Prophethood, Imamah (the leadership of mankind after Muhammad), and Resurrection. What distinguish this book are the author's subtle approach in addressing the issues concerned and the simple examples given to illustrate the discussion. This authoritative and easy to read work aims to be not only important to Muslims, but also to be of interest to non-Muslims who seek to explore Islam and its doctrines.

  • Hajj: Duties and Rulings

In this concise Hajj guide the author presents the various categories of Hajj. In the cases of Hajj and Umrah, the author details the practices of each kind of hajj and then goes on to outline the obligatory duties and of the person performing the Hajj.

  • If Islam were to be established'

This book can serve as the Muslim's guide to the Islamic government. If an opposition group has a plan for an Islamic government, this book would help to check various aspects of the plan. In the absence of such a plan, this book would present one. To the non-Muslim, the book presents a glimpse of a typical Islamic system of government. The book would also serve as a yardstick for anyone to check the practices of any government that claims to have implemented an Islamic system of government. In this book the author outlines the basic policies that must be adopted if a government were to establish a system of government based on the teachings of Islam. Some of the most important issues which the government address are general amnesty, gradual implementation of the teaching of Islam, the prerequisites for implementing the panel system, provision of freedom in all aspects of life, party-political pluralism, social justice, modesty of leaders, etc.

  • The Islamic System of Government

In this introductory book the author outlines the basic principles of government based on the teachings of Islam. The author begins with the aim and objectives of the government according to Islam and the extent of its authority. He then addresses, from the Islamic view point, the significance and fundamental nature of such issues as consultative system of government, judicial system, freedoms, party political pluralism, social justice, minorities, foreign policy, etc. The author also outlines the policies of a government, based on Islamic teaching, on issues such as education, welfare, health, crime, services, etc. as well such matters as the governments income.

  • Aspects of the Political Theory of Ayatollah Muhammad Shirazi

Muhammad Ayyub is a well-known Islamist political activist within the Iraqi circle who has established a long history of political struggle behind him. He was attracted by the views of the Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Shirazi in the fields of social and political sciences. This promoted the author to write this book-originally in Arabic- to introduce the reader to these views that have remained relatively unknown to the Muslim activists and reformists. This book deals with politics in general and the politics of Muslim countries in particular. In it the author presents the political views of one of the leading religious scholars in the Islamic world. It covers such aspects on politics and political-liberation movements as freedom of expression, party-political pluralism and organization, social justice, peace and nonviolence, consultation system of government and collaboration and unity of the various sects of the Muslim community.

See also

  • List of prolific writers


External links

  • Imam Shirazi World Foundation
  • Teachings of Islam, in view of Imam Shirazi
  • Books by Imam Shirazi (translated to English)
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