Iraqi Shii mujtahid, teacher of jurisprudence and theology, writer, and spiritual leader. Was by 1970 the most widely followed Shii mujtahid in the world. Used religious tithes to provide stipends for seminary students and establish Islamic schools. Founded a publishing house in Karachi, Pakistan, and several mosques with cultural centers. Opposed to the political activism of high-ranking religious authorities. Objected to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's doctrine of vilayat-i faqih, (rule of the jurist) claiming that the authority of Shii jurists does not extend to the political sphere and cannot be restricted to one or a few jurists. Only ayatollah in Iraq after 1980, but placed under virtual house arrest until his death.