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  • 6/11/2013

Equality of Religious Leader with General Public unlike Despotic Ruler

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The Islamic jurisprudent or leader is himself obligated to observe theological laws and enforce them in the Islamic society. He is not included in Qur’anic exception of “He is not questioned about what He does, but they will be questioned.”‌ He is obligated to observe Islamic precepts even those he has enacted himself. Therefore, in Article 107 of the Constitutional Law we read: “The Leader is equal with the rest of the people of the country in the eyes of law.”‌ The author of Jawahir al-Kalam quotes Omar ibn Hanzaleh story to prove the equality of religious leader with others: “And we made him your ruler. Then when he made a verdict based on our rule and you did not accept, you have indeed disdained the rule of God and rejected us. Rejecting us is rejecting God and it is an instance of blaspheme.”‌[i]

Imam Ali (A.S) says: “O' people! By Allah, I do not impel you to any obedience unless I practice it before you and do not restrain you from any disobedience unless I desist from it before you.”‌[ii]

Also the Holy Qur’an quotes Shu'aib as saying: “I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you.”‌[iii] In despotic systems the despotic ruler or individual is beyond others while in Islamic jurisprudence system, vilayat or leadership is a duty not advantage.


· Constitutional Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran

[i] Jawahir al-Kalam, 97/40

[ii] Nahjul-Balagha, Sermon 175, Clause 6

[iii] Surah Hud: 88

Translated by: Sadroddin Musawi

Other links:

Differences between a Monarchic and Islamic System of Government

Legislations in Islamic Jurisprudence and Despotic Systems

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