ayatollah

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Related to Ayatollahs: Ayatollah Khomeini

ayatollah:

see ShiitesShiites
[Arab., shiat Ali,=the party of Ali], the second largest branch of Islam, Shiites currently account for 10%–15% of all Muslims. Shiite Islam originated as a political movement supporting Ali (cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam) as the
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ayatollah

one of a class of Iranian Shiite religious leaders
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
But what exactly is the Ayatollah? How did it originate and how is it performed?
U Thant's singer had been inspired by footage of attendants at the funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini, which was broadcast live on British TV, doing the movement to express their grief at his death.
Huw Owen added: "In June 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini died.
In both cases, Ayatollah Khamenei successfully undermined and subverted their reform efforts.
Hard-line clerics like Ayatollah Khamenei still believe that Iranians must purify themselves and adhere uncritically to their leaders' ideological exhortations.
Since 1989, when he succeeded Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei has not hesitated to use violence against his own citizens.
The Islamic propagation chief, Ayatollah Ahmed Jannati, told Friday prayer worshippers in Tehran that to confront what he called "American-supported Islam", a term for non-political Islam, the new Marja should have more political awareness than previous holders of this position.
That qualification fitted Ayatollah Khamenei well since he was a loyal student of Ayatollah Khomeini and served for two terms as president of the Islamic Republic under him.
The grand ayatollahs made their remarks during a meeting with members of the clerical faction of the Majlis in Qom last Thursday.
Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi said, "The issues of rising prices and economic problems are putting more and more pressure on the people day-by-day."
For their part, it is clear the Supreme Leader does not plan to allow any other senior ayatollahs fill Montazeri's shoes, nor will he tolerate an independent clergy in Qom, Isfahan or Shiraz.
However, sustained pressure on independent-minded clerics in the main religious centers could prove counterproductive for the authorities, resulting in a backlash where ayatollahs critical of the government coalesce, mobilize support against the regime, and even question the legitimacy of Ali Khamenehi as Supreme Leader.