Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ayatollah Montazeri Decrees Baha'is Rightful Citizens of Iran

A decree was just issued by Grand Ayatollah Montazeri declaring Iranian Baha'is as rightful citizens.

As background information:
Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri (Persian: حسین علی منتظری), styled His Honourable Eminence, (born in 1922), was one of the leaders of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. He is best known as the one-time designated successor to the revolution's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini who fell out with Khomeini in 1989 over government policies that Montazeri claimed infringed on freedom and denied people's rights. He currently lives in the holy city of Qom, and remains politically influential in Iran, especially upon reformist politics. Montazeri is a senior Islamic scholar and a grand marja (religious authority) of Islam.
Translation of the decree:

In the Name of God

With greetings,

The congregation of Baha'ism not having the heavenly book like those of Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians in the constitution [of Islamic republic of Iran], are not considered one of the religious minorities. However, since they are the citizens of this country, they have the rights of a citizen and to live in this country. Furthermore, they must benefit from the Islamic compassion which is stressed in Quran and by the religious authorities.

God-willing you will be successful,
(Wal Salam–u Alaykum Warahmatullah)
[Peace and Mercy of God be upon you]

25 Urdibehesht 1387 [14 May 2008]

Signature: Montazeri [Seal]

In view of the current crisis facing the Baha'is of Iran, with the recent arrests of the leaders of that community, this development can be seen to be of great significance.


  1. The Ayatollah does a lot more than granting the Baha’is their citizenship. He grants them compassion. A compassion that they MUST have, he says. Not just his own compassion but everyone’s compassion because it is ordered by God in the Moslem holy book. The Ayatollah might not understand the beliefs of the Baha’is but he certainly understands very well the teachings of his own religion. For all its simplicity and clarity, this statement is not an easy one to make and this man’s altruism is to be greatly commended.

  2. Phillipe,
    Yes indeed!

    Thank you for your insight.

  3. nice words...

    but is this more lip service without action...

    "I'm from Missouri show me"

    Even as thou dost witness how the people of the Qur'án, like unto the people of old, have allowed the words "Seal of the Prophets" to veil their eyes. And yet, they themselves testify to this verse: "None knoweth the interpretation thereof but God and they that are well-grounded in knowledge."[1 ]And when He Who is well-grounded in all knowledge, He Who is the Mother, the Soul, the Secret, and the Essence thereof, revealeth that which is the least contrary to their desire, they bitterly oppose Him and shamelessly deny Him. These thou hast already heard and witnessed. Such deeds and words have been solely instigated by leaders of religion, they that worship no God but their own desire, who bear allegiance to naught but gold, who are wrapt in the densest veils of learning, and who, enmeshed by its obscurities, are lost in the wilds of error. Even as the Lord of being hath explicitly declared: "What thinkest thou? He who hath made a God of his passions, and whom God causeth to err through a knowledge, and whose ears and whose heart He hath sealed up, and over whose sight He hath cast a veil -- who, after his rejection by God, shall guide such a one? Will ye not then be warned?"[2]

    (Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 213-214)

  4. "Ayatollah does a lot more than granting the Baha’is their citizenship"

    --- Why does it need to be granted? Why is it not given AUTOMATICALLY to these people at their birth as it is given to ALL the Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians in the constitution of Islamic republic of Iran???

    "He grants them compassion." Compassion. Well, leave compassion to God, the Most Compassionate. Just give them justice and equality, only these two, that's enough.

    "this man’s altruism is to be greatly commended"

    Is that a joke? What altruism? "Granting" the Baha'is the right not to be killed innocently? Is that the altruism you mean?

    This ayatollah is just a politician like all the others. And believe me, altruism is not among the driving forces of ANY politician...

  5. This is excellent news and though not a Baha'i myself I stand together as an Iranian with my brother and sister Baha'i compatriots...Just one question, where did you find this out?, I've been to Montazeri's site to find external verification but haven't been able to find a thing on his site...Could you perhaps provide me with a link or something...I have also written a response to the decree on my own website and sincerely thank you for bringing this development to our attention...I found your website via a link on and would very much appreciate it if you could direct me to other sources which verify this important event...Kind regards, Sadegh Kabeer...

  6. The translation here is inaccurate.

    correct translation is: "rights of a citizen (or citizenship)"

    not "right of citizenship".

    Plural is used for "Right" not singular.

    Basically he is stating that Bahai's in Iran shoudl have ALL the rights that an Iranian citizen has.

  7. To "honestly": I wish we lived in a perfect world (where everyone was automatically given their rights), but unfortunately we do not. Other than that, you seem to get technical with words and miss the whole point. If the authenticity of this fatwa is confirmed, it is the first time a senior Muslim clergy ( and the most senior Shi'ite clergy in Iran), for all practical purposes, accepts the rights of the people with Bahai faith. This is unprecedented. You seem to whine nonstop, but Montazeri does deserve credit for his bravery.

  8. Sadegh,
    Thank you for your comment and for your understanding. The document came from this site and its authenticity was confirmed directly.

    Thank you for correcting the translation. It has been changed.

  9. very interesting.. do you think it will result in real change in the rest of the society? how long will that take?

    also, i think the correct spelling is Zoroastrians.

  10. The change needs to come primarily from the leadership. Then the whole environment can change. CHANGE is one thing we can be sure of, regardless of our human capacities and inclinations.


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