There are two Iranian Grand Ayatollahs, Khomeini (former) and Khamenei (current), a title which Wikipedia describes as:

...a label provided to the highest level Shia authority...

See also: Are Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei authorities in Shia Islam?

I just visited Iran's neighbouring country Azerbaijan, also a majority-Shia country, whose culture and laws contrast greatly with Iran. Azerbaijan seems far more relaxed than Iran, e.g., if we do a Google Image search for baku azerbaijan women, we see women doing things that would not be legal in Iran. This leads me to the question:

Question: Do Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei have influence outside of Iran?

I may be misinterpreting things here. E.g., I might be that Iranian laws are deduced by some process I'm unfamiliar with (my impression is that many Iranian laws are deduced based on fatawa from the Grand Ayatollahs). Or the difference in laws between the two countries may be for other reasons. I'm not sure.

  • 1
    The difference is an artifact of history as far as I can tell, not one of interpretation of Islamic doctrine. Azerbaijan had the strongly secularizing influence of soviet rule for half a century, while Iranian history led to the Iranian revolution establishing a theocracy. You will find syncretic forms of Islam/Socialism/national myths similar to that of Azerbaijan in Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan, although the Islamic portion of their syncretism is mostly sunni. From a sharia point of view, a secular constitution like that of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, or Kyrgyzstan, under Muslim rule is a no-go.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 13:53
  • I am really sorry, but how is this related to Islam?
    – Casanova
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


enter image description here

To the best of my knowledge, yes.

Even many ones (outside of Iran) know Ayatollah Khomeini by his Islamic revolution (by people supporting), and not only that but it seems that his successful attempt to expelling the dictator could/can be considered as a pattern for many ones inside/outside of Iran (even for non-Muslims), and for them it is learned that by resistance you can reach your goal, and you ought not to be surrendered at all …

In regards to Ayatollah Khamenei, as the current supreme leader of Iran, he has his remarkable influence even outside Iran (on people/governments) even for example how often he writes specific letters to the youth of the western countries and specially speaks regarding insight for them … (and that’s due to his influence …). Not only that but it is said that he has many followers in many Islamic countries as well as Iran, e.g. in Bahrain, Pakistan, etc.

  • This looks like an unfounded opinion, maybe adding references to something concrete would help. Who considers them influential, how does this manifest, who references them as authorities in what regard?
    – G. Bach
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 20:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .