Ayatollah Khomeini: Islamic Government: Governance of the Jurist

(1970)

Ayatollah Ruhollah Musawi Khomeini's Islamic Government: Governance of the Jurist (in Persian, Hokumat-e Islami: Velayat-e faqih, which is sometimes translated as “Islamic Government: Guardianship of the Jurist”) is a book arguing for the establishment of Islamic law in the ayatollah's native Iran and elsewhere. The essence of Khomeini's belief is that because the laws of God govern society, all government leaders should be knowledgeable in Islamic law. And since Islamic jurists, called faqih have studied Islamic law, any ruler should also be a faqih and thus able to counter anti-Islamic influences emanating from non-Muslim sources, a role that Khomeini calls “guardianship.”

Islamic Government: Governance of the Jurist had its origins in a series of speeches given by Khomeini in January and February 1970 to students in An Najaf, Iraq. An Najaf remains an important center of Islamic scholarship and the spiritual center of Shia Islam, the second-largest branch of the...

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Iranian hostage crisis student demonstration in Washington, D.C. (Library of Congress)

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