• Shi'a Political Thought: The History and Evolution of Wilayat-al-Faqih

      Blankinship, Khalid Yahya; Yom, Sean; Temple University. Honors Program (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      The 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.