News / Middle East

Iran's Supreme Leader Says He Represents Prophet Muhammad on Earth

Iran's Supreme Leader has reportedly issued a fatwah, or Islamic edict, demanding that people obey him as the earthly "deputy" of both the Prophet Muhammad and Shi'ism's mysterious 12th Imam.  He also accused the U.S. and Britain of sowing division among Muslims and of fomenting the recent mosque bombing in Sistan-Baluchestan. 

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has created a stir after apparently issuing a religious edict Tuesday claiming ultimate spiritual powers on Earth.  Iranian media reported that he told followers that they must "obey him" as the "representative of the Prophet Muhammad and [Shi'ism's] 12th Imam on Earth."

Iranian television also broadcast a communiqué by the Ayatollah claiming the United States and Britain were behind last week's suicide bombings at a Shi'ite mosque in Sistan-Baluchestan province.  "All Muslims," he said, "must combat the evil and corrupt [powers] waging war on Earth."

Other top Iranian officials had previously accused Britain, the United States, Israel and al-Qaida of responsibility for the blasts that killed 28 people and wounded hundreds of others.  The Sunni Balluch rebel group Jundallah claimed on its website that it was behind the suicide attacks.

The names and photos of the two alleged suicide bombers were posted on its website.  Jundallah claimed the attacks were to avenge Iran's hanging of its leader Abdolmalek Rigi on June 20.

His controversial claim to represent the Prophet Muhammad and the 12th Imam on Earth, followed strong, recent criticism by several Iranian religious leaders, questioning his policies.  Mohsen Kadivar, an exiled Shi'ite cleric, went so far as to demand his "impeachment," recently.

University of Birmingham Professor Scott Lucas, who writes the popular Iran blog "Enduring America" says Ayatollah Khamenei's controversial fatwah could be a way of lashing out at those adversaries now attacking him.

"It is the first time that Khamenei has specifically gone so far as to claim that kind of authority, and there is a theological debate as to whether this constitutes heresy, in the sense that some interpretations of Shia Islam say that no one can claim to represent the Prophet and the Imams on Earth," he said. "Khamenei, feeling pressure on a number of fronts, regarding his clerical and political authority, feels the need to assert, effectively, 'You must obey me."

But Professor Hilal Khashan of the American University of Beirut says Ayatollah Khamenei rules Iran under the Wilayat al Faqih principle, which does give him broad powers to represent Shi'ism's Hidden or 12th Imam.

"It depends if you believe in Wilayet al Faqih concept," he said. "Now, Shi'ites who subscribe to Wilayat al Faqih concept would accept this, because, actually, this is the designation of the Supreme Leader of Iran.  He is the 'deputy of the hidden Imam until his return, to lead humanity', quote unquote, 'into redemption and salvation.'  So, for the believers, there is nothing unusual about the statement."

But Khashan notes many Shi'ites, who are not fundamentalists, do not believe in the Ayatollah Khamenei's extraordinary powers on Earth, and that they frown on anyone claiming to represent the Imam.  Lucas, says many top Iranian religious leaders are now questioning Supreme Leader Khamenei's authority, amid a growing political and religious ferment.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid