Ali Khamenei (Modern World Leaders) by John Murphy

By John Murphy

Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was once born right into a relations of strict piety and reasonable poverty. As a serious-minded non secular scholar, he quickly stuck the attention of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Upon Khomeini's demise, Khamenei was once named his successor and have become the Grand Ayatollah of Iran. This biography tells his tale.

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Its name means “place of martyrdom,” and it is sometimes described as Iran’s holiest city. It was the site of the martyrdom of Imam Reza, the eighth imam of Shiite Islam. He was believed to have been poisoned by a Sunni caliph named Al Ma’mun. The village was small at the time of Imam Reza’s death, but a shrine built in his honor soon attracted so many visitors and pilgrims that a city grew up around it. Today, Mashhad is the second largest city in Iran after the capital, Tehran, and is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for Shiite Muslims, 20 million of whom visit it every year.

After years of debilitating warfare with the Byzantines, the Persians had left themselves vulnerable to yet another invasion by a more powerful force relentlessly sweeping across the Iranian plateau. This invasion and conquest, however, would change the very nature, foundation, and fiber of Persian culture in a way that no other foreign occupier had been able to do in the past. d. 610, the Prophet Muhammad, a former camel driver sickened by the sin and corruption of society, wandered from the city of Mecca into the Arabian desert to meditate.

Indeed, Ali is believed by Shiites to be the single most just, brave, and virtuous human being ever to have lived, other than the Prophet Muhammad himself. Though a majority in Iran and Iraq, Shiites represent a minority of Muslims. The great majority of Muslims are Sunni, spiritual descendants of the Arab Mecca establishment who seized control of the caliphate. These two Islamic sects began to develop independently of each other. Very broadly, they can be said to divide along ethnic lines, with non-Arab Persians tending to be Shiite and Arab Muslims tending to be Sunni.

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