|Spouse(s)||Ayatollah Mohammad Hassan Ahmadi Faqih|
|Religion||Islam (Shi'a - Twelver)|
Zohreh Sefati is a female Ayatollah (Mujtahideh). She was born in Abadan, Iran in 1948. Sefati is a member of the Women's Socio-Cultural Council and a representative to the Supreme Council of Cultural Reforms. Sefati was raised in a religious family. She studied her high school level subjects at home before attending theology school in 1966. Sefati took preliminary lessons of jurisprudence, literature and Islamic sciences in Abadan. In 1970, she left to attend Qom Theology School to continue her studies. She was a student of renowned scholars such as Ayatollah Shahidi, Ayatollah Haqqi, Ayatollah Ali Meshkini and Ayatollah Mohammad Hassan Ahmadi Faqih (who was her husband).
Sefati achieved the highest jurisprudence degree (Ijtihad), an accomplishment made only by a small number of women. Her Ijtihad degree was approved by several ayatollahs, including Ayatollahs Ali Yari Gharavi-Tabrizi (a student of Ayatollah Naeini), Safi Gulpaygani, Fazel Lankarani, and Mohammad Hassan Ahmadi Faqih.
Sefati has also co-founded a theology school for women in Qom, which later became known as Maktab-e Tawhid. Sefati was one of the 3,000 exemplary women commended by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and received (and accepted) a plaque of honor from the president in October 2006.
Sefati has two brothers. One is Gholāmḥusayn Ṣefātī-Dezfūlī (1952-1977) who was a member of the radical anti-capitalist group “Manṣūrān.” Her other brother, Īraj Ṣefātī-Dezfūlī (b. 1940), represented the city of Abadan in the first and fifth Majlis (Iranian parliament) and was a member of the Majlis’ Supreme Audit Court.
Sefati and some male jurists, such as Yousef Saanei, believe a female mujtahid can become a source of emulation (a marja), i.e. that both men and women can perform taqlid (emulation) of a woman mujtahid. Most Shiite mujtahids, however, believe that women cannot become marjas.
- Zindagīnāmah (biography), http://www.sefaty.net/Index.asp?HoorRobot=Biography.asp.
- Muḥammad Badīʿī, “Guftugū bā Faqīh Pizhūhandah Bānū Zuhrah Ṣifātī (Interview with the Researcher Jurist, Lady Zuhrah Ṣifātī)”, Keyhan Farhangī, No. 199, April 2003, 6. Available online at http://www.noormags.com/View/Magazine/ViewPages.aspx?numberId=1131&ViewType=1&PageNo=8.
- See Mirjam Künkler and Roja Fazaeli, ‘The Life of Two Mujtahidas: Female Religious Authority in 20th Century Iran’, in Women, Leadership and Mosques: Changes in Contemporary Islamic Authority, ed. Masooda Bano and Hilary Kalmbach (Brill Publishers, 2012), 127-160.http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Delivery.cfm/SSRN_ID1884209_code1321417.pdf?abstractid=1884209&mirid=1
- ""El islam no hace diferencias entre mujeres y hombres"" EL PAIS, 12.6.2006. http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2006/06/12/actualidad/1150063201_850215.html