The Counterreformation: Becoming a Marjaʿ in the Modern World

Linda S. Walbridge

in The Most Learned of the Shiʿa

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780195137996
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849055 | DOI:
The Counterreformation: Becoming a Marjaʿ in the Modern World

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Since the Iranian revolution, reforms have been put into place that have caused the marjaʿiya to undergo substantial change, which has been brought about, both intentionally and inadvertently, by the policies of the current Iranian regime. In addition, the Gulf war, intellectual debate among high-ranking clergy, and the emigration of many Shi'a to the West have also contributed to this change. Ironically, they have resulted in reduction of prestige of the marjaʿiya in Iran at a time when the institution is gaining in prestige at a world level. This chapter firsts review the style in which the “traditional” marjaʿiya works: how the marja' is chosen and how he asserts his influence. The focus then shifts to the reforms begun by Khomeini and promoted by the Iranian government. It next looks at the consequences of these reforms for the Shi'i world.

Keywords: Shiʿism; marja'iya; Khomeini; Iran

Chapter.  10164 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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