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HUJJATIYAH. A conservative    religio-political school of thought within Shiism, the Hujjatiyah was founded in the early 1950s. The Hujjatl founder, Shaykh Mahmud Halabl, is rarely seen in public, and devotees of this tendency constitute the most conservative, ultratraditionalist clergy and laypersons. Originally founded as the Hujjatiyah Society inMashhad,Iran, the group is known for having organized several anti Baha’i campaigns.

Hujjatlyah derives from the word hujjah, meaning both proof and the presentation of proof. According to Marshall Hodgson, in Shiism, the term has had three meanings or applications. It has been used to refer to a person through whom the “inaccessible God becomes accessible” or to “a particular function within the process of revelation” (1960-, p. 544). The term has also been used to refer to “any figure in a religious hierarchy through whom an inaccessible higher figure became accessible to those below.” In this connection, Shi’i doctrine holds that the Imams are the proofs of Allah.

During the reign of Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1941-1979) the shah frequently gave the clergy autonomy to mount missionary campaigns against the Baha’Is, who are perceived by the religious hierarchy as heretics. Shaykh Halabi emerged as a figure whose fiery anti-Baha’i sermons sent throngs of clergymen to various cities to lecture on the dangers of Baha’ism. Characteristics of their missionary behavior include spreading the works of, or news about, those Baha’is who had repented their presumed sins.

These activities led to intimidation of Baha’is in the cities ofShiraz,Isfahan,Yazd, and Kashan. Moreover, Hujjatiyah supporters pressured the government to cut off work permits, licenses, documentations of property ownership, and so forth to the Baha’is. There is no evidence that Shaykh Halabi met Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989) during these campaigns or that the grand ayatollahs inQomsupported Halabi’s actions. Whatever the situation, Halabi had created a nationwide organization with a single objective: to seek out and eradicate all remnants of the Baha’i creed.

After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Hujjatiyah were accused by various fundamentalist clerics as oppositionists to the concept of vilayat-i faqih (rule of the jurisconsult), a constitutional power given to Khomeini. It was claimed that the Hujjatiyah took a passive stand on the return of the Hidden Imam (Mahdi) and hence are opposed to those who want to actively promote the necessary conditions for his return. In this fashion, Khomeini’s revolutionary stand, as well as demands for unquestioned loyalty to the fagih, as portrayed as anathema to Hujjatl ideology. Furthermore, the label of Hujjatlyah in the postrevolutionary factional struggle has been given to those who argue that the clergy must be less directly involved in the governing apparatus and who emphasize an islamization of all aspects of life. Also, those bazaari merchants who are keen to protect their trade from government taxes or other encroachments have been easily labeled Hujjati.

In the summer of 1983, the Islamic regime mounted a public campaign against Hujjatiyah sympathizers. Khomeini alluded to the existence of iqtishash (commotion), “internal rift,” and “the dangerous elements” that undermine the Islamic Revolution. He specifically alluded to the Hujjatiyah group when he said that some groups wanted “to force the return of the Hidden Imam,” meaning, to oppose the fagfh.

After Khomeini’s remarks, the two major dailies, Kayhan and Ittila’at, launched a series of attacks on the Hujjatiyah. Kayhdn published extracts from a Hujjati pamphlet in which the authors stated that they understood Khomeini’s remarks to be directed at them and, having failed to gain an appointment with him, they consulted with Shaykh Halabi. The pamphlet stated that because of the “current atmosphere,” the Hujjatiyah could no longer continue its activities. They announced a suspension of the society. However, in conclusion, they directed an implicit criticism at Khomeini by stating, “Allah and the Hidden Imam would appreciate what the movement [Hujjatiyah] had done for the Islamic cause.” This gave the impression that Khomeini lacked this appreciation and therefore was out of line with God and the Hidden Imam.

Since the summer of 1983, the regime has practically ignored the existence of the Hujjatiyah. No one knows the whereabouts of Halabi or the extent of support for his group inIrantoday. On 29 August 1983, the chief revolutionary prosecutor, Husayn Musavi Tabriz!, was asked about his views on the Hujjatiyah Society and whether they were still continuing their activities. He replied, “They have said they have renounced their activities, they should get permission from the Ministry of Interior.” Musavi Tabfzi ignored the fact that the charter of the Hujjatiyah Society states specifically that it will not dissolve itself or end its activities until the appearance of the Hidden Imam.


Gardet, Louis, and Marshall G. S. Hodgson. “Hudjdja.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., vol. 3, pp. 543-545.Leiden, 1960. Ittila’at (Tehran), 4, 6-9, 15 August 1983.

Kayhdn (Tehran), 4, 9, 13, 15 August 1983.

Vali, ‘Abbas, and Sami Zubaida. “Factionalism and Political Discourse in the IslamicRepublicofIran: The Case of the Hujjatiyah.” Economy and Society 14.2 (May 1985): 139-173. Discusses factionalism among clerical elites inIranin the context of Khomeini’s doctrine of wilayat al faqih and the policies of the Islamic Republic.


Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/hujjatiyah-a/

  • writerPosted On: June 23, 2013
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