Top Iraqi Shiite wants 'yes' charter vote

BAGHDAD, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Leading Iraqi Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has called on the country's majority Shiite community to vote "yes" in Saturday's constitutional referendum.

Sectarian tensions rising in Iraq

BAGHDAD, May 20 (UPI) -- Despite local, Arab and foreign efforts to ease sectarian tensions in Iraq, the assassination of Sunni and Shiite clerics has sparked fears of civil strife.

Iran FM meets Iraq's Ayatollah Sistani

BAGHDAD, May 19 (UPI) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi visited Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq's highest Shiite religious authority, Thursday in the holy city of Najaf.

Jordan blasts Iraqi Shiite accusations

AMMAN, Jordan, March 13 (UPI) -- Jordan has strongly rejected accusations by Iraqi Shiite leaders that it is interfering in Iraq's affairs and trying to ignite sedition among Iraqis.

Shiites pushing for Islamic Iraq

BAGHDAD, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Results of Iraq's election are expected to bring to power Shiite clerics who make no secret of their desire to turn the nation into an Islamic republic.

Iraq election results expected by Thursday

BAGHDAD, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Iraq's Independent Electoral Commission said Saturday the final results of last week's general election will be announced before Thursday.

Iraq on eve of election: silent, tense

BAGHDAD, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Election workers laboring under heavy security Saturday readied polling places for Iraq's first nationwide election in nearly half a century.

Allawi rising in run-up to Iraqi election

BAGHDAD, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Iraq's interim prime minister appears to be gaining momentum in the run-up to the nation's election, the Los Angeles Times said Tuesday.

Sunni Muslim group owns killing of Shiite

BAGHDAD, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Iraqi officials searched Saturday for a political leader's teenage daughter, abducted as she walked home from a math tutoring session in Baghdad, CNN said. The abductors used the 16-year-old's cell phone Friday night to send a text message to Khadim Youse

Gunmen kill 5 in Baghdad hotel raid

BAGHDAD, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Gunmen raided a hotel in central Baghdad Thursday and killed five employees with a Turkish company supplying U.S. forces with concrete blocks.

Shiites urge Sunnis to vote

BAGHDAD, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Members of the Shia United Iraqi Alliance Sunday urged disaffected Iraqi Sunnis to participate in the Jan. 30 elections.

Blast in Karbala kills seven

KARBALA, Iraq, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- A bomb exploded in Iraq's holy Shiite city of Karbala Wednesday, killing at least seven people and injuring 30.

Iraqi Shiites submit electoral slate

BAGHDAD, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Iraq's leading Shiite political parties have unveiled an alliance under which they plan to stand together in the Jan. 30 election.

Expatriot Iraqis to vote in January

BAGHDAD, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Millions of Iraqis outside their homeland will be allowed to vote in the nation's upcoming January elections, the New York Times reported Friday.

Iraq elections bring both hope and fears

BAGHDAD, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- High-ranking Iraqis are expressing both hopes of peace and concerns of disunity leading up to the country's first free elections scheduled for January.
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Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani Arabic: السيد علي الحسيني السيستاني‎ Persian: سید علی حسینی سیستانی, born approximately August 4, 1930) is the current highest-ranking Shi'a religious scholar in Iraq who lead the Hawza of Najaf. He is a Grand Ayatollah and Twelver Shi'a marja born in Iran and residing in Iraq since 1951. He is currently the preeminent Shi'a cleric for Shia in Iraq and around the world as well as an important political figure in Post-invasion Iraq.

Sistani was born in Mashhad, Iran, to a family of religious scholars. His grandfather, for whom he was named, was a famous scholar who had studied in Najaf. Sistani's family originally comes from Isfahan. During the Safavid period, his forefather Sayyid Mohammad, was appointed as "Shaikhul Islam" (Leading Authority of Islam) by King Hussain in the Sistan province. He traveled to Sistan where he and his children settled the area of Iran known as Sistan, which accounts for the title "al-Sistani" in his great grandson's name today. Sistani began his religious education as a child, beginning in Mashhad, and moving on to study at the Shi'a holy city of Qom in central Iran in 1949. After spending a few years there, in 1951 he went to Iraq to study in Najaf under the late Grand Ayatollah Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei. Sistani rose in religious rank to be named a Marja in 1960 under the military dictatorship of Iraqi president Abd al-Karim Qasim. At the unusually young age of 31 (1961) Ayatullah Sistani reached the senior level of accomplishment called Ijtehad, which entitled him to pass his own judgments on religious questions.

When Khoei died in 1992, Sistani ascended to the rank of Grand Ayatollah by the traditional method - through peer recognition of his scholarship. His role as successor to Khoei was symbolically cemented when he lead the funeral prayers of his widely esteemed teacher and he would go on to inherit Khoei's network and following. With the death of other leading ayatollahs in Iraq including Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, Sistani emerged as the preeminent Shi'a cleric in Iraq. As the leading Ayatollah in Najaf, Sistani oversees sums amounting to millions of dollars. Sistani's followers offer him a fixed part of their earnings, which he spends for educational and charitable purposes. Sistani's office reports that he supports 35,000 students in Qom, 10,000 in Mashhad, and 4,000 in Isfahan. He also oversees a network of representatives (wakil) "who promote his view in large and small ways in neighborhoods, mosques, bazaars, and seminaries from Kirkuk" to Basra.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ali Sistani."
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