‘Ayatollah’ Brujerdi’s Startling Admission: Shi’ism’s Decline in Iran

‘Ayatollah’ Javad Alavi Boroujerdi, the grandson of the ‘Grand Ayatollah’ Hossein Tabatabaei Boroujerdi, shares concerns about the future of the Shia clergy and Shi’ism. Likewise, individuals such as Abbas Abdi, who played a role in the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis before becoming a political dissenter, and Mohsen Hashemi, the son of the son of  ‘Ayatollah’ Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, express similar apprehensions. All three are troubled by the erosion of the foundations of the Shia faith in Iran.

The May 9 edition of the Iran News examines religious leaders’ frustration with the decline of Shi’iam in Iran.

On March 11, 2023, Shia News published excerpts from Boroujerdi’s theology class held at the Theological Seminary in Qom. In the class, he shared concerning revelations, stating:

“Recently, I had a visit from individuals belonging to the Bakhtiari tribe who have taken a different political path than us. Interestingly, the younger generation among them is showing a remarkable interest in converting to Zoroastrianism. Furthermore, there have been reports of the existence of house churches in Qom, along with a worrisome growth in the number of active Wahhabi followers who even organize Friday prayers. To complicate matters, there are also individuals who are opting to convert to Buddhism. These issues pose significant challenges for us.”

The youth have no relationship with us clerics. To them, we are aliens. They follow the lead of anyone but us! Why? What happened to our charisma? The Friday prayer leader used to be the pivot of the neighborhood. People were ready to die for his sake. Yes, we have witnessed such days. My father was a Friday prayer leader for 30 to 40 years, and we have also seen how devoted the people were to other clerics. Even girls who were not covered properly would come to the prayer leader and ask their questions.”

Alavi Brujerdi’s cautionary statement comes in response to a string of assaults targeting Shia clerics in Tehran, Qom, and other areas. In one occurrence, an individual purposefully rammed his car into two Shia clerics, while in another incident, a Shia cleric was stabbed by someone.

Another incident involved the fatal shooting of ‘Ayatollah’ Soleimani, a member of the Assembly of Experts. Additionally, a third incident occurred in Tehran, where a car ran over a cleric.

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