Mahmoud Taleghani

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Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleghani
Mahmoud Taleghani (2).JPG
Title Ayatollah
Born (1911-03-05)March 5, 1911
Galird, Iran
Died September 9, 1979(1979-09-09) (aged 68)
Tehran, Iran
Era Modern era
Region Shia Islam
Religion Islam
Main interest(s) Fiqh, Kalam, philosophy

Mahmoud Taleghani (alt. transliteration: Mahmud Taleqani, About this sound pronunciation ) (5 March 1911 – 9 September 1979) was an Iranian theologian, Muslim reformer, democracy advocate and a senior Shi'a cleric of Iran. Taleghani was a contemporary of the Iranian Revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and a leader in his own right of the movement against the secularist Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. A founding member of the Freedom Movement of Iran, he has been described as a representative of the tendency of many "Shia clerics to blend Shia with Marxist ideals in order to compete with leftist movements for youthful supporters" during the 1960s and 1970s.[1] His "greatest influence" has been said to have been in "his teaching of Quranic exegesis," as many later revolutionaries were his students.[2]

He was notably Tehran's first Friday Prayer Imam after the Iranian Revolution.

Biography and education[edit]

Taleghani was born to a religious family in the village of Galird of Taleqan County in Alborz Province on 5 March 1911.[3] His father,Abul Hasan Taleghani who published a magazine called Balagh in the protest of the Kashf-e hijab at the time of Reza Shah,[4] taught him Islamic sciences and he continued his studies in Qom, studying the same subject at the Razaviya and Feyziyeh schools. He obtained his Ijtihad Certification from his teachers, Abu l-Hasan al-Isfahani and Abdul-Karim Ha'eri Yazdi, there.[5][6]

Political activities[edit]

Before Islamic Revolution[edit]

In 1938 he went to Tehran to preach and lecture on Islam and was arrested and imprisoned the next year for opposing the regime of Reza Shah. From 1948 onwards he held classes at Hedayat Mosque in Tehran. The mosque of Hedayat built in 1327 solar and from very beginning there was many movements against regime shah at hedayat mosque in which peoples educated according to Islamic goals.Ayatollah Taleghani had the responsibility of educating revolutionary folks from very beginning.[7] He traveled abroad to Jordan and Egypt in 1951 and 52, to Shu'oob-al-Moslemin Congress in Karachi, and twice to Jerusalem as the head of an Iranian delegation to the annual Islamic Congress of Quds. He supported Mohammed Mosaddeq's nationalization of the oil industry. Following the 1953 Iranian coup d'état that overthrew Mossaedegh and restored the Shah he was arrested and — according to the Islamic Republic's IRIB website — "accused of hiding Navvab Safavi, the founder and leader of the Fadayan-e Islam" Islamist assassination group.[8]

Politically active from his student days, Taleghani was a veteran in the struggle against the Pahlavi regime. He was imprisoned on several occasions over the decades, "as a young preacher, as a mid-ranking cleric, and as a senior religious leader just before the revolution,"[9] and served a total of a dozen years in prison.[10] In his time in prison he met many leftist political prisoners and "was particularly fond of talking about his interactions with leftists." The influence of the left on his thinking was reflected in his famous book Islam and Ownership (Islam va Malekiyat) which argued in support of collective ownership "as if it were an article of faith in Islam."[9] He helped found the National Resistance Movement in 1957 and along with Mehdi Bazargan, Yadollah Sahabi and Ali Shariati he founded the Iran Freedom Movement in May 1961.[11][12][13] In 1971 he exiled to Zabol, a city in Sistan and Baluchestan Province and then to Baft a city of Kerman Province.[14] Between 1964 and 1978 he spent nearly a decade in jail. Altogether he spent nearly 15 years behind bars.[2] Finally, Taleghani after the rise of the Islamic Revolution in November 1978 was released.

In the Islamic Revolution[edit]

Although not as influential as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Taleghani was instrumental in "shaping the groundswell movement" that led to the Iranian Revolution and brought Khomeini to power. During the Islamic Revolution he became chairman of the "secretive" Revolutionary Council, Iran's chief ruling body — a fact not revealed until his death.[10] In order of Ayatollah Khomeini, he was the first Imam for Friday Prayer in Tehran after the fall of Iran's interim government, In the late July 1979.[14]

Taleghani was "known for his tolerance" and "served as Khomeini's mediator in disputes with the Kurds and other dissident groups."[10] He also had differences with Khomeini, which led to a clash between them in April 1979. "To popular acclaim, Taleghani warned then against a 'return to despotism.'" Two of Taleghani's sons were arrested[10] by revolutionary Guards, but thousands of his supporters marched in the streets chanting 'Taleghani, you are the soul of the revolution! Down with the reactionaries!' Khomeini summoned Taleghani to Qom where he was given a severe criticism after which the press was called and told by Khomeini: 'Mr. Taleghani is with us and he is sorry for what happened.' Khomeini pointedly did not refer to him as Ayatollah Taleghani.[15]


Banisadr and Taleghani

Taleghani counted the colonization as a primary reason of totalitarism and Dictatorism in different countries. He has known the nationalism and ideology as means on which peoples could resist with colonizer countries. Of course he thought that nationalism is not an ultimate aim. Also he emphasized on the resistance against Zionist regime. Also He had great interest in Palestine and in this occasion he travelled many times to Palestine.[16] There is an important place for rationality and thinking for Taleghani. He thought that every judgments is Islam has a reason. In other words, orders of Islam lead to different causes on which explained their existence in the context of religion. Also he knew the Islam as the religion which ordained the progressive rules for the constitution of family in society. These rules are such a way that could transcend human beings and their life.[17] Taleghani believes that the Quran and the subject of its gathering is not such a way that some orientlists like Blasher and Noldeke said. According to him the event of gathering of Quran happened during the time of Imam Ali and household of prophet. Particularly Imam Ali when he was resigned of caliphate he dealtat the same time with the gathering of Quran.Taleghani Also emphasized on the continuous form of Quran , in other words there are strict relation between the verses of Quran.This fact shows the relation of verses at Quran according to Taleghani and its importance.[18] besides he had innovation in writing a commentary on of special characters of his commentary was his guiding and direct of people by clear and explained language.he called his commentary as "A glance of Quran" because it explain the meaning of the verse so evidently and clearlt even before didn't exist.he insists that we have to contemplate on the meaning of verses of Quran and known thinking on Quran very constructive.he used to apply of narrations and juridicial reports.he Also used to apply sayings of Imam Ali in Nahjol Balaghah in the commentary of Quran[19] while he try to traanslate and explained nahjol Balaghah,he want to analyse the sayings of Imam Ali according to social analyses and phenomena.He interpreted the sayings up to date and such a way that correspond to the requirements of people.[20]


Taleghani died on 9 September 1979.[3] Two sons of Taleghani cliamed that he was murdered but this claim was not proven.[21] His mysterious death and lifetime achievements were the occasion of huge crowds and much emotion before and during his funeral,[8] and was said to be "a blow to moderation and progressive thought" in the revolution.[22]

He has been described as a "chain smoker" and having a "gaunt face with a serious demeanor."[23]

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini described him Abu Dhar al-Ghifari in the time in the message on the occasion of his death: «He was for Islam, Abuzar of the time. His expressive tongue was as trenchant and pounding as the sword of Malik al-Ashtar»[14]


  • A shining ray from Quran, It was written while he was imprisoned by the Muhammad Reza Pahlavi.[14]
  • Introduction- explanation on Tanbih Al-Omah va Tanzih Al-Mellah,
  • Islam and Ownership,
  • Translation of the first volume of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib’s Book,
  • A light of Nahj-ul-Balaq,
  • Authority and Judicial Decree,
  • Freedom and Despotism,
  • Unity Lesson,
  • A Lesson from Quran,
  • Days and Lectures,
  • Sermons of Friday Prayers[8]


  1. ^ Nasr, Vali, The Shia Revival, Norton, (2006), pp. 126–7
  2. ^ a b Bakhash, Shaul, Reign of the Ayatollahs (1984), p. 168
  3. ^ a b Sahimi, Mohammad (30 October 2009). "The power behind the scene: Khoeiniha". PBS. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Mahmoud Taleghani. Society and Economics in Islam. Mizan Press. p. 10. 
  5. ^ Contemporary Islamic Economic Thought: A Selected Comparative Analysis. Alhoda UK. 1995. p. 93. 
  6. ^ Afrasiabi, Bahram. Taleghani and history. Tehran: Niloofar. p. 31. 
  7. ^ the Karizma of Hedayt Mosque,Mohsen Saeedi,Zamaneh Magazine,Tir 1383 solar,in persian,number 22
  8. ^ a b c Ayatollah Mahmood Taleqani Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (official government biography of Taleghani)
  9. ^ a b Nasr, Vali, The Shia Revival, Norton, (2006), p. 127
  10. ^ a b c d "Milestones, Sep. 24, 1979". 24 September 1979 – via 
  11. ^ M. Stephan. Civilian Jihad: Nonviolent Struggle, Democratization, and Governance in the Middle East. p. 188. 
  12. ^ Hamad Subani (2013). The secret history of Iran. p. 268. 
  13. ^ Ali Rahnema. An Islamic Utopian: A Political Biography of Ali Shariati. I.B.Tauris. p. 98. 
  14. ^ a b c d "Demise of Ayatollah Taleghani". Islamic Revolution Document Center. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  15. ^ Mackay, Iranians, (1998), p. 291
  16. ^ the ideas of Anti colonization of the late taleghani,Hosein Khamsehei,1389 solar,number 56,contemporary history of Iran
  17. ^
  18. ^ inquiry on the Gathering and consistency of verses from orientalists and Ayatollah Taleghani,Abolfazl khoshmanesh,Pajoheshnameh olum Quran karim,in persian,number 8,fall 1389 solar
  19. ^ the commentary of Ayatollah Taleghani,an sophisticated and topical one,the magazine of Quranic sciences and Hadith,fall and winter 1387 solar,number 3,p.55-94
  20. ^ خوش‌منش,ابو‌الفضل (4 January 1391). "التفات به نهج البلاغه در آثار برخی از رهبران نهضت های بیداری جهان اسلام معاصر". 1 (10). 
  21. ^ Mark Bowden. Guests of the Ayatollah: The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam. Grove/Atlantic. p. 26. 
  22. ^ Keddie, Modern Iran, (2006), p. 245
  23. ^ Nasr, Vali, The Shia Revival, Norton, (2006), p. 126

External links[edit]

Media related to Mahmoud Taleghani at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
Morteza Motahari
President of Council of Islamic Revolution
Succeeded by
Abolhassan Banisadr
Religious titles
Preceded by
Friday prayers Imam of Tehran
Succeeded by
Hussein-Ali Montazeri