from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Islam A high-ranking Shiite religious authority regarded as worthy of imitation in matters of religious law and interpretation.
- n. Islam Used as a title for such a leader.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A religious leader in Iranian Shi’ite Islam; a member of the ’ulama.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a high-ranking Shiite religious leader who is regarded as an authority on religious law and its interpretation and who has political power as well
His successor, Ali Khamenei, also a fighter against the shah rather than a religious authority, was hastily "promoted" to the title ayatollah in order to become supreme leader.
And a prime example of this would be Iran … The ayatollah is both the religious leader and the political leader.
And to call the ayatollah's words lame propaganda ignores the fact that it is so effective in rallying our enemies.
He said we were doing business with the government of Iran—in other words, the ayatollah himself—and that we were trading arms for hostages.
"Thanks to fiction I can, for example, kill an ayatollah, which is something you cannot do in real life," Nahapetian said at the "Semana Negra" crime-writing festival, attended by a million people every year in Gijon, northern Spain.
The ayatollah was a strong critic of US policy in the Middle East
According to Middle East "experts" the ayatollah is a pragmatic man (at least as pragmatic as an islamist can be).
Clinton called the ayatollah's comments "disappointing" and said that al-Qaida in Iraq and other extremists were clearly responsible for the deaths.
We all knew before their election that in the end, the ayatollah is the one who's really in charge.
AggieJAG: there ya go ... the ayatollah is the one who rules, not ackmenicjad