al- Wakalat al-Ammah

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Concept in Twelver Shiism that justifies assumption by the ulama of the leadership role and the prerogatives of the Hidden Imam as his collective deputy. Because all spiritual and political authority rests with the imam in Twelver Shiism, the legitimacy of any political or judicial position must derive from him, and all revenues from religious taxes must go to him. The concept gave Shii ulama legitimacy and a source of income independent of secular appointments or state support, enabling them to build a separate base of power from which to challenge secular authorities; it formed the basis for Ayatollah Khomeini's vilayat-i faqih, which has been enshrined in the Iranian constitution.

Subjects: Islam.

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