Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini (Persian: روح الله موسوی خمینی, pronounced ( listen); 24 September 1900 – 3 June 1989) was an Iranian religious leader and politician, and leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. Following the revolution and a national referendum, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader—a position created in the constitution as the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation—until his death.
Khomeini was a marja or marja al-taqlid ("source of emulation", also known as a Grand Ayatollah) in Twelver Shi'a Islam, but is most famous for his political role. In his writings and preachings he expanded the Shi'a Usuli theory of velayat-e faqih, the "guardianship of the jurisconsult (clerical authority)" to include theocratic political rule by Islamic jurists.
Beloved by most Iranians he was "the Imam, an ascetic spiritual leader whose teachings are unquestioned." Both his return from exile and his funeral were occasions of great emotional outpouring for millions.