In May 1990, the 1st international conference of the followers of Ahlulbayt was held in Tehran with the presence of more than 300 intellectual figures and thinkers from all over the Islamic world.
At the end of the conference, the participants requested Ayatollah Khamenei to establish a center titled as the “Ahlulbayt World Assembly", which met the approval of His Eminence.
Those individuals were the first group to form the 1st General Assembly Meeting of the Ahlulbayt World Assembly in Tehran.
The “General Assembly” now is one of the pillars of the Ahlulbayt World Assembly, which is comprised of hundreds of influential Shiah figures who follow the Assembly’s projects and suggest new plans through various international and regional meetings.
THE SUPREME COUNCIL
All that is done by the Ahlulbayt World Assembly is based on the policies adopted by its Supreme Council.
The Supreme Council is comprised of high-ranking Shiah personalities from different countries where a considerable population of Shiite Muslims are living like Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bahrain, etc.
Supreme Council’s Sessions
Ordinary sessions of the Supreme Council is being held twice a year with the presence of a majority of its Iranian and non-Iranian members. Further to the annual sessions, there may also be extra-ordinary session for unexpected occurrences or allocating special budgets for particular cases.
Supreme Council’s Members
Since the establishment of the Ahlulbayt World Assembly in 1990, a number of distinguished Shiah clerics have been members of the Supreme Council, some of whom are no longer members of the council due to martyrdom, passing away, or being engaged in more important jobs; such as Ayatollah Javadi Amoli (Iran), Ayatollah Hashemi Sharoodi (Iran), Ayatollah Amini (Iran), the late Ayatollah Mohammad Hussein Fazlollah (Lebanon), Shahid Ayatollah Hakim (Iraq), and the late Ayatollah Abdul-Hadi al-Fazli (Saudi Arabia).
The present members of the Supreme Council are as follows:
- Mohsen Araki (Iran)
- Mohammad Ali Taskhiri (Iran)
- Mohammad Ali Mohsen Taqvi (India)
- Seyed Ammar al-Hakim (Iraq)
- Nabil al-Halbawi (Syria)
- Seyed Ahmad Khatami (Iran)
- Qorban-Ali Dorri Najafabadi (Iran)
- Seyed Hashim al-Shakhs (Saudi Arabia)
- Issa Ahmad Qassim (Bahrain)
-Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari (Iran)
- Mohammad Asef Mohseni (Afghanistan)
- Mahmood Mohammadi Araghi (Iran)
- Seyed Murtaza Murtaza al-Ameli (Kenya)
- Hussein al-Maatooq (Kuwait)
- Seyed Hasan Nasrallah (Lebanon)
- Seyed Sajid Ali Naqvi (Pakistan)
- Seyed Abolhasan Navab (Iran)
- Abbas Vaez Tabasi (Iran)
- Ali Akbar Velayati (Iran)
- Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani (Iran)
Other Members of the Supreme Council
There are also some other personalities who are members of the Supreme Council due to their legal status as follows:
- Secretary-General of the Ahlulbayt World Assembly
- Head of the Department of International Affairs at Supreme Leader’s Office
- Secretary-General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought
- Chairman of the World federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Ashari Muslim Communities
- Chairman of Al-Mustafa International University
- Chairman of Islamic Culture and Relations Organization
Chairman of the Supreme Council
Chairman of the Supreme Council shall be responsible for managing the council’s ordinary and extraordinary sessions.
Seeking assistance from the Vice-Chairman and Secretary of Supreme Council, he shall also monitor the good implementation of Council’s adopted policies.
Three outstanding Shiah figures have already been selected as the Chairman of the Supreme Council by direct votes of its members:
- Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini (1990 – 1997)
- Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi MesbahYazdi (1997 – 2012)
- Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari (2012 – up to the present time)
GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETINGS
After establishment of the Ahlulbayt World Assembly, according to its Articles of Association, it has arranged to hold its regular international meetings once in every four years with the attendance of GeneralAssembly members in order to discuss and make decisions for betterment of legal, economic, and socio-cultural conditions of Muslim communities. Proposals and pragmatic projects for achieving the Assembly’s objectives are also put forward in the meetings.
The General Assembly’s first meeting was held in Tehran, the capital of Islamic Republic of Iran, in February 1994. Around 330 members of the General Assembly from 61 countries as well as a great number of authors, scholars, researchers, and experts in different fields from different Muslim countries participated in that meeting where various suggestions, proposals and decisions on different aspects were discussed.
The second meeting of the General Assembly was held in Tehran in February 1998. More than 350 people from 65 countries participated in the event.
The third meeting was held in Tehran in October 2003. Five hundred members from 80 countries attended the conference. Further to usual discussions, some committees were also set up to address economic affairs of Shiites worldwide and defend their rights according to the Human Rights charter.
The fourth General Assembly international session was held in August 2007 with the presence of 510 members from 110 countries.
The fifthmeeting ofthe General Assembly was held in Tehran in September 2011 where more than600members of theGeneral Assemblyfrom120 countries had attended.
And the sixthmeeting ofthe General Assembly was held in Tehran in August 2015.
LOCAL AHLULBAYT ASSEMBLIES & OFFICES
In order to boost up relations with the followers of Ahlulbayt worldwide, a number of branch offices have been established in more than 90 countries. This will help localize religious and cultural activities and to manage socio-cultural and religious affairs in a more effective way.
In some countries there is even more than one Ahlulbayt local center due to dispersed population of the followers of Ahlulbayt (a.s.). All local centers in a single country shall work under the central Ahlulbayt Local Center.
All Ahlulbayt local assemblies have independent legal entities and act according to their governmental laws and regulations.
The list of active local assemblies and centers (up to Summer 2015) is as follows:
ASIA – 39 Countries
Jordan – Uzbekistan – Afghanistan – United Arab Emirates – Indonesia – Iran – Bahrain – Brunei – Bangladesh – Pakistan – Tajikistan – Thailand – Taiwan - Turkmenistan – China – Japan – Sri Lanka – Singapore – Syria – Iraq – Saudi Arabia – Oman – Palestine – Philippines – Kyrgyzstan – Kazakhstan –Qatar – Cambodia - South Korea – India (Kashmir) – Kuwait – Laos – Lebanon – Malaysia – Mongolia – Myanmar – Vietnam – India – Yemen
AFRICA – 42 Countries
South Africa – Central Africa – Angola – Ethiopia – Algeria – Uganda– Burundi – Benin – Botswana - Burkina Faso – Tanzania – Togo – Tunisia – Zambia – Ivory Coast – Senegal – Swaziland – Sudan – Somalia – Sierra Leone – Ghana – Cameroon – Congo Brazzaville – Congo Kinshasa – Kenya – Comoros– Gabon – Gambia – Guinea Bissau – Guinea Conakry – Liberia – Libya – Madagascar – Malawi – Mali –Egypt – Mauritania – Mauritius – Mozambique – Namibia – Niger – Nigeria
AMERICA – 18 Countries
Argentina – Uruguay – El Salvador – United States – Brazil – Bolivia – Panama – Peru – Chile – Canada – Colombia – Cuba – Guatemala – Guyana – Mexico – Haiti – Honduras – Venezuela
Europe – 40 Countries
Azerbaijan – Albania – Germany – Austria – Armenia – Spain - Slovakia – Slovenia – Ukraine – England – Italy – Ireland – Belarus – Belgium – Bulgaria – Bosnia & Herzegovina – Portugal – Tatarstan (Autonomous Region) – Turkey – Czech – Dagestan (Autonomous Republic) – Denmark – Russia – Romania – Sweden – Switzerland – Serbia – France – Finland – Cyprus – Kosovo – Croatia – Georgia – Poland – Luxemburg – Hungary – Macedonia – Norway – The Netherlands – Greece
Pacific Area – 2 Countries
Australia – New Zealand
Religious Institutions and Cultural Centers
Religious institutions, cultural associations, centers of Muballeghin (preachers), mosques, and Islamic-social centers are normally comprised of intellectuals, cultural figures, clerics, and Muslim Muballighs (preachers) graduated from Islamic theological seminaries.
These societies and centers are active in the following fields:
- Revival of sacred Islamic traditions and organizing religious functions as well as ceremonies for the commemoration of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him).
- Teaching and memorizing the Holy Quran and promoting the teachings of pure Mohammedan Islam.
3- Fostering peace, friendship, and cooperation among all citizens and followers of different religions as well as promoting Islamic unity and solidarity among people.
- Evaluation of cultural needs of target areas in various cultural programs.
- Organizational management of cultural and Tabligh programs abroad.
- Sponsoring cultural activities in the fields of cyberspace, printed products, multimedia productions, and conferences.
- Tracking down the most important news and discussions concerning the Ahlulbayt in the relevant countries.
- Setting up religious, cultural, and training classes as well as educational courses for women, children, and the youth.
- Organizing summer camps (cultural, educational, recreational and pilgrimage tours).
Activities Related to Women and the Family
Efforts aimed at upgrading the cultural, religious, social, political and academic status of Muslim women, defending their religious & legal rights, supporting their cultural movements, securing social, academic and educational assistance for children and the youth as well as fostering pleasant relations within the families of the followers of Ahlulbayt are considered to be among the important activities of the Ahlulbayt World Assembly.
In line with this objective, the Assembly has taken certain effective steps by using all legitimate and effective cultural, scientific and artistic tools to the extent of its ability and capacity as well as by drawing inspiration from the prolific culture of the Holy Quran and Itrat (Ahlulbayt of the Holy Prophet). One of the significant measures taken by the Assembly was the establishment of the World Association of Women, Followers of the Ahlulbayt.
With a membership of around 2000 women from 84 countries, the World Association of Women, Followers of the Ahlulbayt tries hard to promote the cultural & religious situation of Shiah women, defending their rights, and eliminating gender discrimination and cruelty against them.
TheAssociationis also regarded as a center for identifying Shiah women, organizing their affairs, and exchanging views among them.
Activities of the World Association of Women, Followers of the Ahlulbayt may be summarized as follows:
- Establishment of branches for the Association in various countries; including Azerbaijan, Pakistan, India, Russia, Australia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Mongolia, Turkey, Kirgizstan, Bahrain, Iraq, Guinea Conakry, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Argentina, Afghanistan, the United States of America, Indonesia, India (Kashmir), Sri Lanka, and Chile;
- Organizing academic & specialized meetings, conferences, and seminars in various countries;
- Organizing educational, cultural and Tabligh camps;
- Organizing special educational courses for women, girls and children;
- Organizing cultural and arts exhibitions and competitions as well as Question & Answer Sessions for women;
- Producing cultural products & publications on the subject of ‘Status of Women in the Order of Existence’ and dispatching them to different countries;
- Establishing relations between women followers of the Ahlulbayt and other active women’s associations of different religions and sects in various countries;
- Cooperation in boosting up the academic level of Shiite women by granting scholarships or helping them for admission in universities;
- Holding religious and cultural ceremonies on the occasion of Islamic celebrations and the martyrdom anniversaries of holy Imams (peace be upon them);
- Participation in international meetings worldwide and inviting other thinkers for attendance in such events;
- Seizing opportunities for introducing the great personalities of Ahlulbayt’s school of thought to the people all around the world;
- Writing academic papers on the subjects related to women and presenting them in the relevant academic gatherings.
Social Activities and Cultural Support
The Ahlulbayt World Assembly supports and encourages cultural and social activities of the followers of Ahlulbayt. Sponsorship of activities related to research, publications, journals, distribution of books, dispatch of cultural packs and multimedia products, and supporting academic products, etc. all over the world are among the activities of the Assembly.
Committee for Construction of Mosques
Building & Supporting Religious Centers of Public Utility
The Ahlulbayt World Assembly pays particular attention to development of infrastructures and building lasting edifices. Providing assistance for building mosques, Husseiniyyas, religious centers, schools, libraries, clinics and orphanages are among the most important tasks of this section. The Assembly undertakes these activities with the assistance offered by benevolent individuals.
The Ahlulbayt World Assembly’s Committee for Construction of Mosques is responsible for construction, restoration, and equipping Shiite mosques worldwide.
Statistics (up to summer 2015) as follows:
- Construction: 44 mosques
- Completion: 58 mosques
- Purchase: 12 mosques
- Restoration: 27 mosques
- Equipping: 7 mosques
Statistics of Sponsored Mosques in Each Area
- Asia: 62 mosques
- Africa: 61 mosques
- Europe: 23 mosques
- Pacific Area: 2 mosques
Organizing / Participating in Conferences and Seminars
In order to spread and promote the Ahlulbayt’s culture and attract the participation of thinkers from Islamic World in intellectual and ideological discussions, various national, regional and global conferences and meetings are organized either by or in collaboration with the Ahlulbayt World Assembly.
The Ahlulbayt World Assembly has so far organized numerous regional and global conferences, the most important of which are highlighted below:
“The Holy Prophet (s.a.) Grand Prize”, “International Conference on Knowing Holy Fatima (a.s.)”, “Sebt-ul-Nabi (Imam Hassan a.s.) International Congress”, series of “Conference on Imam Hussein (a.s.)” in several countries, “Preliminary Conference on Imam Sajjad (a.s.)”, “Conference on Imam Sadiq (a.s.)”, “Conferences on Mahdism”, “International Conference of the Youth and Women Followers of Ahlulbayt”, “Conference on the Lifestyle of Ahlulbayt (a.s.)”, “International Conference on Islamic Family”, series of conferences in relation to the “Palestine issue and International Quds Day”, “International Conference on Chastity and Ethics”, series of conferences”in support of the oppressed people of Bahrain”, series of meetings on the “Third Wave of Shiah Prosperity”, and series of “regional conferences” for members of the Ahlulbayt World Assembly’s General Assembly.
The Ahlulbayt World Assembly also cooperates with parallel organizations of similar charters to organize cultural seminars. Some examples are: Conferences related to holy Shiah Imams (a.s.), Conference on Love for the Ahlulbayt (a.s.) in the holy Quran and Tradition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.), Conference on the Doctrine of Mahdism, Conference on Commemoration of the Late Allamah Murtaza Askari, Conference on Commemoration of the Late Allamah Muhammad Hussein Fazlullah, Festival of the Daughters of the Sun,Festival of Islamic Resistance, and various meetings on the occasion of the auspicious Feast of Ghadeer.
Defending the Rights of the Followers of AhlulBayt(a.s)
The Ahlulbayt World Assembly has taken effective steps to make the followers of Ahlulbayt and Muslims all over the world acquainted with legal methods for claiming their rights and using international institutions, tools and methods for eliminating religious or racial discriminations.
The Assembly has managed to convey the cry of the oppressed to the international organizations and has either reduced some of the pressures and violations of human rights or placed them under the control of monitoring organizations.
International Foundation of the Youth, Followers of AhlulBayt(a.s.)
This foundation was founded in the year 2000.
Efforts towards Islamic unity, exchange of opinions and ideas among younger followers of the Ahlulbayt, increasing their capabilities, raising their scientific and religious knowledge, encouraging the youth towards innovation and making use of modern sciences and techniques, strengthening the role of the youth in their confrontation with identity crisis, and development of communications for realizing the potentials of the youth are among the most important objectives of this foundation.
Identifying common intellectual and cultural grounds among the Shiah youth, organizing various camps and meetings, establishing close relations and widespread exchange of information in the field of science and technology, development of communications among scientific and research centers within the Islamic World with the aim of prosperity of younger generation’s talents, and encouraging local assemblies and offices to establish educational, research and training centers for the youth are among the activities of the foundation.
Sponsorship of Indigenous Shiah Preachers (Muballeghin)
In order to indigenize Tabligh (propagation) activities in various parts of the world, and to benefit from the services of graduated students of universities and Shiite theological seminaries upon return to their homeland, also to uplift the academic and cultural levels of the followers of Ahlulbayt, the Ahlulbayt World Assembly endeavors to place the Shiah preachers under its Muballeghin umbrella network.
Organizing educational courses, cooperation in holding ceremonies on religious occasions, publishing books and journals, holding academic and cultural meetings, dispatch of cultural packs, and conducting media-based tabligh activities are examples of the Assembly’s programs for sponsoring the network of local Shiah preachers.
Most Important Job descriptions for Indigenous Preachers:
- Teaching the Holy Quran (Tafseer), narrated Traditions (Hadith), Shiah tenets, ethics (Akhlaq) , Islamic laws (Ahkam), history of Islam (Tarikh), etc.
- Leading Friday and congregational prayers
- Holding educational / training courses
- Organizing religious ceremonies
- Commemorating the birthday or martyrdom anniversaries of the Infallible Imams
- Research, translation and compilation
- Media-related activities
- Administration of centers and institutions
- Administration of cultural & educational camps
During past years approximately 3500 indigenous preachers have been identified and supported in more than 70 countries as indicated in the table below:
ASIA – 12 Countries
Indonesia – Iran – Bangladesh – Pakistan – Tajikistan –Turkmenistan –Sri Lanka – Singapore –Iraq –Philippines –Malaysia– Myanmar
AFRICA – 31 Countries
Ethiopia – Algeria – Uganda – Burundi – Benin –BurkinaFaso – Togo – Tunisia – Rwanda – Zimbabwe – IvoryCoast – Senegal – Sudan – Sierra Leone – Ghana – Cameroon – Congo Kinshasa – Kenya – Comoros–Gambia – Guinea Bissau – Guinea Conakry – Liberia – Madagascar – Mali – Egypt – Mauritania – Mauritius – Namibia – Niger – Nigeria
AMERICA – 4 Countries
Argentina – Brazil –Colombia – Cuba
Europe – 20 Countries
Azerbaijan – Germany – Austria – Spain – Ukraine–Italy – Belgium – Bulgaria – Portugal – Tatarstan (Autonomous Region) – Turkey – Denmark – Russia – Sweden – France – Finland – Kosovo – Norway – The Netherlands – Greece
The International Ashura Foundation
All of the people in the world who follow the Household of the Prophet (the Ahlulbayt), many of the Muslims, and even some of those who follow other religions love Imam Hussein (s.a.) and are dedicated to holding mourning ceremonies for him. Organizing these ceremonies, supporting these gatherings, and protecting this holy concept from deviations and superstitions requires that a central organization take the responsibility of researching and supporting these activities.
The International Ashura Foundation was established in order to carry out the said goals. It works under the auspices of the Ahlul Bayt World Assembly.
Professional Associations and Organizations
The followers of Ahlulbayt have many capabilities. In many countries of the world they have a special status or are elite figures in society. The Ahlulbayt World Assembly encourages these Shiite elite figures to establish professional associations in order to use this capacity to help the other Muslims and the rest of the Shiites
* Some of the Professional Associations which have been established so far are as listed below:
-The International Shiite Organization of Physicians
-The Professional Association of Lawyers who Follow the Ahlulbayt
-The Professional Association of Authors and Newspaper Reporters
-The Professional Association of Businessmen who Follow the Ahlulbayt
-The Federation of Athletes who follow the Ahlulbayt
-The Women’s Association of Scholars who follow the Ahlulbayt
* Associations which are currently in the process of being established:
- The Women’s Association of Artists who follow the Ahlulbayt
- The Women’s Association of Preachers who follow the Ahlulbayt
- The Women’s Association of Eulogists (Maddah) who follow the Ahlulbayt
Assisting Other Shiite Schools
Even though most of the followers of the Household of the Prophet (s.a.) throughout the world are ‘Ithna Ashari’ and follow the 12 Imams (a.s.), there also exist millions of people who are followers of other Shiite schools of jurisprudence and beliefs.
Being far from the authentic teachings of all of the pure Imams (a.s.) causes the followers of these religious schools to come under the influence of the insinuations of the enemies of the truth, especially the Wahhabis. The Ahlulbayt World Assembly tries to give intellectual and cultural support to the followers of these schools - the Alavids, the Zaidis, the Ismaelis, the Sufis in Africa, and others - by forming various committees.
Taking Stances and Issuing Statements
It is very important and useful for the key international centers to bring enlightenment and take a stance considering the current situation where the Islamic society is faced with numerous threats and the sanctities, beliefs, and wealth of the Muslims is being attacked by the enemies of truth.
That is why the Ahlulbayt World Assembly raises the sensitivity of these centers by issuing statements and messages in defense of the Holy Prophet (s.a.) and his Ahlulbayt (a.s.) in response to various events. In addition, the Secretary-General and the members of the Supreme Council of the Assembly inform them of the situation of the innocent followers of the Ahlulbayt and demand that they take a stance by sending letters to the political and religious leaders throughout the world.
Special Activities on Islamic Occasions
In addition to its regular activities, the Ahlulbayt World Assembly tries to provide religious and cultural propagation particular to special religious occasions at those times.
An example of this activity is the compilation, translation, and distribution of 16 different brochures of guidance in the five languages of Arabic, Farsi, English, Istanbul Turkish, and Urdu. These brochures covered subjects which were necessary for the pilgrims. Over 1000 brochures were printed and distributed during Arbaeen 1436 A.H. (2014).
This great endeavor was made in order to take advantage of the vast opportunity of millions of pilgrims coming to Imam Hussein (a.s.) for Arbaeen. The Assembly delivered these cultural, religious brochures into the hands of the pilgrims in numerous Arbaeen stations established inside of Iran and Iraq.
These brochures covered topics such as: etiquettes for the pilgrims, guidance for the pilgrims who are on foot, eulogies for Imam Hussein (a.s.), the importance of the Holy Quran, the ritual prayers and the consequences of neglecting them, Islamic dress (Hijab), the messages of Imam Khomeini and the Supreme Leader to the Islamic nation, cleanliness and ritual purity, the dangers of the Takfiri movement, etc.
On other important occasions - such as Ghadir, the birthday of Hazrat Fatimah (s.a.), Ashura, Birth Anniversary of Imam Mahdi (a.s.), and the International Quds Day, the Ahlulbayt World Assembly also plans or supports special programs in the form of conferences, celebrations, mourning ceremonies, rallies, and assemblies throughout the world.
Cooperation and Collaboration with Parallel Institutions
There are also other institutions and organizations besides the Ahlulbayt World Assembly which work internationally to propagate Islam and to promote understanding of the Quran and the Holy Prophet’s f infallible progeny (a.s.). Therefore, cooperation with these institutions helps for their potential to be more available to the followers of the Ahlulbayt. It also helps both our organizations to flourish.
Some of the institutions and organizations which the Ahlulbayt World Assembly cooperates and collaborates with include: Al-Mustafa International University, the Holy Shrines, the shrines of the pure Imams (a.s.) and descendants of the Imams (a.s.), the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, Cultural Offices of the Islamic Republic in various countries, the Supreme Leader’s Representative Office in Hajj and Pilgrimage Affairs, the Islamic Culture and Relations Oorganization, the Islamic Development Organization, the Islamic Propagation Office of the Qom Seminary, the Computer Research Center of Islamic Sciences, the International Committee of the Women’s Social Cultural Council (affiliated with the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution), and Women’s scientific centers (such as: Jamiatu al-Zahra (s.a.), Hawzah (Islamic Seminary) of Bintul-Huda in Qom, and Maktab Narjes in Mashhad).
Legal NGOs (Nongovernmental Organizations)
Due to the fact that most of the Shiite population and many of the Muslims in the world are in the minority in their countries, they are faced with much oppression and violation of their rights. The Ahlulbayt World Assembly has formed and supported various legal organizations and legal nongovernmental organizations in order to legally defend these oppressed people.