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Juducial and Rational Challenges of the Doctrine of Jurist Rule
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Studies in Faith and Ideologies, Systematic Theology and Studies in World Views.
2013 (English)In: Alternative Islamic Discourses and Religious Authority: Contemporary Thought in the Islamic World / [ed] Carool Kersten & Susanne Olsson, Burlington, USA: Ashgate, 2013, 1, 35-54 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Ever since the political doctrine of jurist rule, velayat-e faqih, was introduced at the end of the 1960s, there has been heated debate among Shi‘ite jurists regarding its rooting in the judicial traditions of Shi‘a Islam. The central question has been whether this political theory has any support in the Qur’an, the Tradition of the Prophet (Sunnah), and not least the sources dating from the era of the Twelve Shi‘ite Imams. This debate intensified after the doctrine was translated into a dominant-party ideology in Iran in the wake of the 1979 Revolution.

The critics have been especially sceptical regarding the role ascribed by this doctrine to the jurists during the time the Twelve Shi‘ite Imams were awaiting the return of the Twelfth Shi‘ite Imam, Muhammed ibn Hassan (b. 868), or al-Mahdi. The Twelver Imamites, believe that the last Shi‛ite Imam, al-Mahdi, who went into hiding after a period of underground activity in the 880s, is still living in hiding today and will one day return to free the world from all evil and create a world of justice.

The question discussed in connection with this very central notion has been the role or roles to be played by the jurists while awaiting the Hidden Imam’s return. The discussion has been concerned primarily with the jurists’ religious, judicial and worldly powers and their area of jurisdiction. Should they be seen as the representatives of the Hidden Imam or should their function be strictly one of interpreting judicial and religious issues? Should they play an active role in worldly affairs? Have they the right to intervene in all worldly affairs or is their area of worldly jurisdiction restricted to defined areas? 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Burlington, USA: Ashgate, 2013, 1. 35-54 p.
Keyword [en]
Velayat-e faqih, Jurist's rule, al-Mahdi, Shi'ite Jurists, Political Islam
National Category
Research subject
Systematic Theology and Studies in Worldviews; History of Sciences and Ideas
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-211863ISBN: 978-1-4094-4130-4ISBN: 9781409441311 (ebk- PDF)ISBN: 9781472400536 (ebk - ePUB)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-211863DiVA: diva2:669060
Negotiating authority in contemporary Shi’ite thought and practice
Swedish Research Council, 421-2012-822
Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2013-12-03Bibliographically approved

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