Lebanese Shii cleric and leader of Hizb Allah. Born and educated in Iraq. From 1985, president of the Lebanese council of Hizb Allah and vice president of the central council of international Hizb Allah in Tehran. Named marja al-taqlid (source of imitation) by Khomeini in 1986. Opposed to American-brokered Arab-Israeli peace negotiations. Favored use of ijtihad in modern circumstances. Maintained the option of violent revolution but preferred change rather than sudden revolution, and favored a reformist path. Did not support restoration of the caliphate or Khomeini's principle of vilayat-i faqih on the grounds that it could lead to autocratic personal power. Rejected the distinction between political and religious power. Commended peaceful coexistence with the Christian population of Lebanon, maintaining that both Christians and Muslims must renounce political sectarianism. Played a central role in Hizb Allah's rise to power, its role in international hostage talks, and the confrontation with Israel in south Lebanon.
See also Hizb Allah (Iran); Hizb Allah (Lebanon)