Browsing Honors Scholar Projects by Subject "Shīʻah--Iran--History"
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Shi'a Political Thought: The History and Evolution of Wilayat-al-FaqihThe standard teaching of the doctrine of Wilayat-al-Faqih (guardianship of the jurist) emphasizes Ayatollah Khomeini’s innovations as a jurist rather than the underlying theological or ideological applications of Shi’a political thought. In this paper, I ask what the historical roots are of this doctrine in Safavid Persia. I argue that this doctrine was practiced during the Safavids (1502-1736), the last and only Shi’a empire by incorporating the position of Shaykh-al-Islams, jurists who would exercise political power, into their political apparatus. This finding shows that the doctrine of Wilayat-al-Faqih is not new, but rather is updated and expanded to include Khomeini’s mystical and philosophical teachings.