Famous Iranian Spiritual & Religious Leaders

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 1 Zoroaster

Zoroaster
5
Famous As: Founder of Zoroastrianism
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, was an Iranian spiritual leader who founded the religion Zoroastrianism, which challenged the traditional religious ideas of Ancient Persia. There is no record that states the exact period of his existence with certainty. He is said to have authored the Gathas and the Yasna Haptanghaiti.

 2 Esther

Esther
8
Famous As: Queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Birthplace: Achaemenid Empire
Esther from the Book of Esther was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus. While the king’s advisor, Haman, angered by Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, planned to kill all Jews, Esther reversed the plan with the king’s permission. The Jewish festival Purim marks the day the Jews murdered their enemies.

 3 Hassan-i Sabbah

Hassan-i Sabbah
4
Famous As: Islamic religious leader
Birthdate: 1050 AD
Birthplace: Qom, Iran
Died: June 12, 1124

Hassan-i Sabbah was an Islamic religious leader best remembered for founding the Nizari Isma'ili state and its infamous military group, the Order of Assassins. In the West, he came to be known as the Old Man of the Mountain and his life has inspired several works of art, including novels.

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 4 Abdul Qadir Gilani

Abdul Qadir Gilani
4
Famous As: Preacher
Birthdate: March 23, 1078
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gilan Province, Iran
Died: February 14, 1166

Abdul Qadir Gilani was a Sunni Muslim ascetic, mystic, preacher, theologian, and jurist. He is best remembered for founding the Qadiriyya tariqa of Sufism, which is named after him. Abdul Qadir Gilani was famous for his preaching and is credited with converting numerous Christians and Jews.

 5 Ayatollah Khomeini

Ayatollah Khomeini
10
Famous As: 1st Supreme Leader of Iran (1979-89)
Birthdate: September 24, 1902
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Khomein, Iran
Died: June 3, 1989
Ayatollah Khomeini, or the Imam Khomeini, became Iran’s first Supreme Leader, after leading the 1979 Iranian Revolution against Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. He founded the Islamic Republic of Iran. He also issued a “fatwa” against novelist Salman Rushdie and supported the hostage takers during the Iran hostage crisis. 

 6 Ali Khamenei

Ali Khamenei
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Famous As: Supreme Leader of Iran
Birthdate: July 17, 1939
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mashhad
Ali Khamenei has been serving as the supreme leader of Iran since 1989 and has previously been its president. He is one of the co-founders of the Islamic Republic Party and led his country during the Iran–Iraq War. His reign has also seen extreme treatment of journalists and protestors.

 7 Mani

Mani
3
Famous As: Prophet
Birthdate: April 14, 0216
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ctesiphon, Iraq
Died: March 2, 0274

Mani was a Parthian prophet best remembered for founding a major religion called Manichaeism which was once widespread. Mani is believed to have performed several miracles including teleporting, levitation, and healing, which gained him many followers. He was martyred in 274 and his death drew comparisons to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

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 8 Harun al-Rashid

Harun al-Rashid
4
Famous As: Caliph
Birthdate: March 17, 0763
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Jibal
Died: March 24, 0809
Son of Abbasid caliph al-Mahdi and former Yemeni slave girl al-Khayzuran, Harun al-Rashid reigned as the fifth Abbasid caliph. Many of the Middle-Eastern folk tales, known as the Arabian Nights, have him as the main character. He ruled over a prosperous Baghdad, spelling the beginning of the Islamic Golden Age.

 9 Al-Tabari

Al-Tabari
3
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: 0839 AD
Birthplace: Āmol, Iran
Died: February 17, 0923

Al-Tabari was a historian, scholar, and commentator on the Quran. He is best remembered for his expertise in historiography and Qur'anic exegesis. A polymath, Al-Tabari wrote on a variety of topics like world history, poetry, mathematics, grammar, ethics, lexicography, and medicine. He is credited with founding a school of thought called madhhab which flourished among Sunni Muslims for two centuries.

 10 Baháʼu'lláh

Baháʼu'lláh
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Famous As: Religion Founder
Birthdate: November 12, 1817
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tehrān, Iran
Died: May 29, 1892

Baháʼu'lláh was an Iranian religious leader. He is credited with founding a world religion called Baháʼí Faith, which emphasizes the spiritual unity of mankind. It is the only independent world religion of the modern age. Some of his works, such as The Book of Certitude and The Hidden Words, have been translated into more than 800 languages!

 11 Baha'u'llah

Baha'u'llah
4
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: November 12, 1817
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
Died: May 29, 1892

Baháʼu'lláh was an Iranian religious leader. He is credited with founding a world religion called Baháʼí Faith, which emphasizes the spiritual unity of mankind. It is the only independent world religion of the modern age. Some of his works, such as The Book of Certitude and The Hidden Words, have been translated into more than 800 languages!

 12 Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj

Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj
3
Famous As: Islamic Scholar Known for His Hadith Collection, 'Sahih Muslim'
Birthdate: 0815 AD
Birthplace: Neyshabur, Iran
Died: April 30, 0875

Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj was an Islamic scholar best remembered for his hadith collection, which became known as Sahih Muslim. The collection is counted among the six most important hadith collections in Sunni Islam. Along with Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim is considered one of the most authentic hadith collections.

 13 The Bāb

The Bāb
3
Famous As: Religious Leaders
Birthdate: October 20, 1819
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shiraz, Iran
Died: July 9, 1850

The Bāb was an Iranian religious leader who is credited with founding a monotheistic religion called the Bábi Faith. He is also one of the most influential figures of the Baháʼí Faith; Baháʼu'lláh, who founded the Baháʼí Faith, was one of his ardent followers.

 14 Ali al-Rida

Ali al-Rida
3
Famous As: Imams
Birthdate: January 1, 0766
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Medina, Saudi Arabia
Died: June 6, 0818

Ali al-Rida was a descendant of Muhammad ibn Abdullah. He was the eighth Imam and is often viewed as a major religious figure by many Sunnis, particularly Sufis. He is credited with writing Al-Risalah al-Dhahabiah, a treatise on medical cures. This treatise is considered the most valuable Islamic literature in the field of medicine.

 15 Shoghi Effendi Rabbānī

Shoghi Effendi Rabbānī
3
Famous As: Leader
Birthdate: March 1, 1897
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: ʿAkko, Israel
Died: November 4, 1957

Shoghi Effendi Rabbānī served as the first Guardian of the Baháʼí Faith. He is credited with overseeing the expansion of the Baháʼí Faith to many new countries which he achieved by creating a series of teaching plans. By the end of his reign as the leader of the Baháʼí Faith, the number of followers had grown from 100,000 to 400,000.

 16 Hussein-Ali Montazeri

Hussein-Ali Montazeri
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 22, 1922
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Iran
Died: December 20, 2009

Hussein-Ali Montazeri was an Iranian Shia Islamic democracy advocate, theologian, human rights activist, and writer. An influential leader of the Iranian Revolution, Montazeri was expected to succeed the revolution's Supreme Leader Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini before having a fall out with the latter which cost him the position of the supreme leader. Hussein-Ali Montazeri is still revered in Iran.

 17 Aga Khan I

Aga Khan I
3
Famous As: Governor
Birthdate: 1804 AD
Birthplace: Kahak District, Iran
Died: March 31, 1881

Aga Khan I or Hasan Ali Shah was an important Muslim leader in Iran. The first Nizari Imam to be honored with the honorific title of Aga Khan, Hasan Ali Shah served as the governor of Kerman. As the governor, Aga Khan I managed to restore order in Kerman, which was held by rebellious groups at that time.

 18 Hassan Khomeini

Hassan Khomeini
3
Famous As: Iranian Cleric & Grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, the First Supreme Leader of Iran
Birthdate: July 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Qom, Iran

 19 Abolqasem al-Khoei

Abolqasem al-Khoei
3
Famous As: Spiritual leader
Birthdate: November 19, 1899
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Khoy, Iran
Died: August 8, 1992

Abolqasem al-Khoei was an Iranian-Iraqi spiritual leader of Shia Muslims. He spent much of his life trying to establish welfare, social, educational, and cultural institutions for Muslims worldwide. Abolqasem al-Khoei is credited with establishing many institutions such as The Al-Iman School and Imam al-Khoei Islamic Center in New York and Imam al-Khoei Islamic Center in London.

 20 Morteza Motahhari

Morteza Motahhari
2
Famous As: Philosopher, Writer, Akhoond, Theologian
Birthdate: January 31, 1919
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fariman
Died: May 1, 1979

Morteza Motahhari was an Iranian Twelver Shia philosopher, scholar, and lecturer. A co-founder of the Combatant Clergy Association and Hosseiniye Ershad, Motahhari had a prominent influence on the principles of the Islamic Republic. Morteza Motahhari wrote more than 50 books that dealt with philosophy and theology. In 1965, he was honored with the UNESCO Award.

 21 Mohammad Beheshti

Mohammad Beheshti
2
Famous As: Jurist
Birthdate: October 24, 1928
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Isfahan, Iran
Died: June 28, 1981

Mohammad Beheshti was an Iranian philosopher, jurist, politician, and cleric. He is credited with shaping Islamic republic's administrative structure as well as Iran's post-revolution constitution. Beheshti is also credited with training many politicians in the Islamic Republic, including Mohammad Khatami, Hassan Rouhani, and Ali Akbar Velayati. Mohammad Beheshti also served as the Chief Justice of Iran from 1980 to 1981. 

 22 Sadeq Khalkhali

Sadeq Khalkhali
4
Famous As: Justice
Birthdate: July 27, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kivi, Iran
Died: November 26, 2003

Sadeq Khalkhali was an Iranian Shia cleric who served as the Head of Islamic Revolutionary Court from 1979 to 1980. He gained notoriety as Iran's hanging judge during the Iranian Revolution and is remembered for ordering the executions of many former government officials, including Nematollah Nassiri and Amir Abbas Hoveida.

 23 Mehdi Karroubi

Mehdi Karroubi
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 26, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Aligudarz, Iran

Mehdi Karroubi is an Iranian Shia reformist politician and cleric who served as the Speaker of the Parliament of Iran between 1989 and 2004. He played an important role in the 2009–2010 Iranian election protests, following which he was put under house arrest.

 24 Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmad

Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmad
2
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: 0985 AD
Birthplace: Zuzan, Iran
Died: 1021 AD

Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmad was an Ismaili missionary who is credited with founding the Druze religion. He flourished during the reign of al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah in Cairo. However, his teachings and the Druze movement were wiped out after the disappearance of Al-Hakim and Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmad's death.

 25 Hashem Bathaie Golpayegani

Hashem Bathaie Golpayegani
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: 1941 AD
Birthplace: Googad, Iran
Died: March 16, 2020

Hashem Bathaie Golpayegani was an Iranian Shia Ayatollah who served as a Member of the Assembly of Experts for Tehran Province from 2016 to 2020. Hashem Bathaie Golpayegani died from COVID-19 on 16 March 2020, few days after claiming that he had defeated the virus using an Islamic remedy.

 26 Reza Mohammadi Langroudi

Reza Mohammadi Langroudi
2
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: August 3, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Gilan Province, Iran
Died: March 7, 2020

Reza Mohammadi Langroudi was an Iranian Twelver Shia cleric who served as a representative of Ali Khamenei in Langroud. He is best remembered for his influential role during the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Reza Mohammadi Langroudi also served as the Friday imam of Amlash and Langroud for a brief period of time. 

 27 Abd al-A'la al-Sabziwari

Abd al-A'la al-Sabziwari
2
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: December 21, 1910
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sabzevar, Iran
Died: August 13, 1993

Abd al-A'la al-Sabziwari was an Iranian-Iraqi Shia religious leader. Counted among the most influential religious authorities, al-Sabziwari briefly served as the head of the Najaf seminary. A prolific writer, Abd al-A'la al-Sabziwari wrote on various topics, such as philosophy and Islamic jurisprudence.

 28 Subh-i-Azal

Subh-i-Azal
1
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: 1831 AD
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
Died: April 29, 1912

Subh-i-Azal was an Iranian religious leader best remembered for his dispute with Baháʼu'lláh over headship of the Bábí community. He was also a prolific writer and a large collection of his works are preserved in several institutions like the British Museum Library Oriental Collection in London, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, and the Browne Collection at Cambridge University.

 29 Fakhr-al-Din Iraqi

Fakhr-al-Din Iraqi
1
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 10, 1213
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Arak, Iran
Died: 1289 AD

Fakhr-al-Din Iraqi was a Persian Sufi master, writer, and poet. He is best remembered for authoring a collection of lyric poetry. Fakhr-al-Din Iraqi’s best known work Lama’at or Divine Flashes has been translated into Swedish, French, and English. 

 30 Shaykh Junayd

Shaykh Junayd
1
Famous As: Religious Lleader
Birthdate: 1429 AD
Birthplace: Ardabil, Iran
Died: 1460 AD

Shaykh Junayd was an Iranian religious leader. The son of Shaykh Ibrahim, Junayd took over the headship of the Safaviyya and served as its religious head from 1447 to 1460. Shaykh Junayd was also the grandfather of Shah Ismail I, who founded the Safavid dynasty. 

 31 Al-Hamadānī

Al-Hamadānī
0
Famous As: Mystic
Birthdate: October 22, 1314
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hamadan, Iran
Died: January 18, 1385

Al-Hamadānī was an Iranian mystic and theologian responsible for teaching and mentoring several Sufis of the Kubrawiyah order in present-day Kashmir. He traveled extensively and documented his experiences of different places. Al-Hamadānī's best known work is titled Dhakhirat al-muluk.