Jafar Shahidi

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Seyed Jafar Shahidi
Jafar Shahidi, historian
Born 1919
Borujerd, Iran
Died January 13, 2008
Tehran, Iran
Nationality Iranian
Occupation Islamic Historian, Distinguished professor and scholar of Persian Literature, President and Editor-in-Chief of Dehkhoda Dictionary Institute, Founder of the International Center for Persian Studies
Children Dr. Hossein Shahidi (d. 2014), Dr. Hassan Shahidi, Dr. Mohsen Shahidi, Dr. Shokoufeh Shahidi, Ehsan Shahidi

Jafar Shahidi (Luri/Persian:جعفر شهیدی) was born on 13 January 1919. He was a distinguished scholar of the Persian language and literature and a renowned historian of Islam. Born in Boroujerd, Iran, Shahidi dedicated his life to Persian studies, acting as the director of the Dehkhoda Dictionary Institute and International Centre for Persian language, serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Literature and Humanities at the University of Tehran (UT) and mastering the fields of jurisprudence and Islamic history.

Shahidi was a prominent disciple of Ali Akbar Dehkhoda and Badiozzaman Forouzanfar at Tehran University. He served as a seminary in Qom and Najaf under notable figures such as Tabatabaei, Seyed Hossein Boroujerdi, S. Khoi A. under whom he attained his degree in ijtihad. He is most notable for his works on the Dehkhoda encyclopedic dictionary of the Persian language and his research in Islamic history and religion.

In his later years, he served as the President of the Dehkhoda Institute and founder of the International Center for Persian Studies.

Life and Legacy[edit]

Seyed Jafar Shahidi was born in the town of Boroujerd, Iran. His father, Mohammad Sajjadi was a leading Iranian scholar who died shortly after the birth of his son. Spending the first few years of his education in his hometown, Shahidi continued his academics in the capital city of Tehran.

In 1941, he moved to the town of Najaf, Iraq to pursue his studies in the field of Islamic jurisprudence and successfully surpassed the highest levels of education to receive the title of mujtahed. From there onward, Shahidi moved to Qom, Iran where he was mentored by the leading scholars, most notably Ayatollah Boroujerdi. Falling ill, Shahidi resorted to the translation of Arabic in Iran alongside Doctor Sanjabi (the then Minister of Culture). He later received an offer to teach at the Abu Muslem school.

Encounters with Muhammad Moein permitted his close relationship with Ali Akbar Dehkhoda who later entrusted Shahidi as the director of the Dehkhoda Institute. In a letter to the then Minister of Culture, Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda wrote, "Shahidi is rare in his abilities as a scholar," noting that he wished to limit his hours at the institute from twenty-two to eight in order for Shahidi to be able to continue his teachings as well.

In 1991, Dr. Shahidi donated his residential house to the Narmak Municipality of Tehran where it remains today as the Dr. Shahidi Public Library.


See also[edit]