Afghan Biographies

Ayatollah Fayaz

Name Ayatollah Fayaz
Ethnic backgr. Hazara
Date of birth 1930
Function/Grade Afghan religious Shia leader
History and Biodata

3. Biodata:
Ayatollah Fayaz Hazrat Ayatullah al-Azami Shaikh Mohammad Ishaq Fayaz was born in 1930 in in Suba, a village in Jaghori district of Ghazni province, to a farmer’s family. He went to the madrassa in his village and at the age of 17, when his mother died, he left for Mashhad in Iran. Mashhad is a centre of Shiite worship as the grave of Shia’s 8th Imam, Reza Sadiq, is located here. Fayaz started his religious studies in Mashhad, but after one year he went to Najaf in Iraq, one of the seven holy sites of the Shia faith. Here, one of the most well-known Shia madrassas of the world is located, the Hawza Elmiya-ye Najaf. Fayaz joined the madrassa classes of well-known Ayatollah Sayed Abu al-Qassem al-Khoi’i (1899–1992) who taught fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). Fayaz soon became one of his best students, and in 1962 al-Khoi’i allowed him to publish his first book, “al-Muhazerat” (The Lectures), a transcript of al-Khoi’i’s lessons on the principles of jurisprudence. In the preface to the book, Ayatollah Khoi’i praised Fayez the “apple of my eye.” Later, Fayaz himself started teaching jurisprudence in the madrassas of Najaf.

Eventually, in 1992, he was asked to join into the shura-je marje, the Shia world community’s highest ruling council, consisting of four Islamic jurists. The term marja hails from the term used for religious authority in the Shia faith (it literally means  “reference”). There are the highest of marjas, and ‘lower’ marjas, usually regionally important religious leaders. The highest marjaas head of the Najaf council is considered to be “the most influential jurist in the Shiite world” – is currently Ayatollah Ali Sistani, an Iranian.

Nevertheless: when Fayaz’ book on women’s positions in Islamic society was launched in Kabul in November 2011 – the first public introduction of the ayatollah’s works in Afghanistan – Second Vice President Danish (then acting minister of higher education) introduced him as the “the best of all marjas currently out there” – something than can well be understood as a challenge to not just the current Afghan religious leadership,but maybe even to the Iranian politico-religious leadership.


Last Modified 2014-11-02
Established 2014-11-02