Welayat Faqih in practice
Clerics in politics of Iran
Iran has become the first nation-state in history to apply absolute Welayat Faqih in government. "Guardianship" of the faqih in the Islamic Republic of Iran is represented not only in the Supreme Leader, who must be a cleric, but in other leading bodies, particularly the Assembly of Experts whose members must be clerics, the Council of Guardians, half of whom must be clerics, and the courts. Friday prayer leaders are appointed by the Supreme Leader as well.
Shia Muslims may follow, or emulate, one of several different marjas. in the personal matters. But they are required to follow the orders of Wali e Faqih in social matters or the matters that are concerned with the general well being of the Muslims. Other marjas are also required to follow this order. However some of the Ayatollahs who had a difference of opinion registered their opposition in some of the matters.
- Ayatollah Sadeq Rouhani who denounced Ayatollah Montazeri, and the appointment of Montazeri by the Assembly of Experts to succeed Khomeini. Sadeq Rouhani later wrote an open-letter denouncing former president Rafsanjani for the government policies that went against his (Sadeq Rouhani's) fatwas. These include permitting chess and halal and permissible music, which Sadeq Rouhani forbids but are allowed in Iran, and extreme mortification practices or the so called Qamazani (sword self flaggelation) or Zanjeerzani (self flagellation with chains) during ashura, which Sadeq Rouhani approves of but are banned in Iran.
- When Iraq invaded Iran, Ayatollah Mohammad Shirazi issued a fatwa forbidding any resistance against Saddam Hussein's forces, who had occupied a large part of Iran and wanted to destroy the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Imam Khomeini said that it is obligatory for all the Iranians to defend their land and ordered Shirazi to house-arrest for his statements. Another marja, Ayatollah Hassan Tabataba'i-Qomi was also put under house arrest for voicing his opposition to the war.
Other controversies that lead to a ayatollah being put under house arrest for their alleged role in anti Islamic Republic activities.
- Ayatollah Kazem Shariatmadari, for his alleged role in a coup to topple the government in 1982.
- Ayatollah Mohammad Taher Shubayr Khaghani, for his alleged support of Saddam Hussein in 1980.
- Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, for denouncing the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in 1997.
- Ayatollah Ya'sub al-Din Rastgari, for his anti-Sunni book, which resulted in riots in Iran's Sunni areas in 1994.