Al-Sayyid Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani (السيد علي الحسيني السيستاني), or Sayyed Ali Hosseini Sistani (سید علی حسینی سیستانی), commonly known as Ayatollah Sistani in the Western world (born August 4, 1930 in Mashhad), is an Iranian Shia marja in Iraq and the head of many of the seminaries (Hawzahs) in Najaf.
A Hawza (Arabic/Persian: حوزة) or ḥawza ʻilmiyya (Arabic/Persian: حوزة علمیة) is a seminary where Shi'a Muslim clerics are trained.
In Shia Islam, marjaʿ (مرجع; plural: marājiʿ), also known as a marjaʿ taqlīd or marjaʿ dīnī (مرجع تقليد / مرجع ديني), literally meaning "source to imitate/follow" or "religious reference", is a title given to the highest level Shia authority, a Grand Ayatollah with the authority to make legal decisions within the confines of Islamic law for followers and less-credentialed clerics.
Grand Ayatollah Allama Shaikh Muhammad Hussain Najafi Urdu/Punjabi:: born April 10, 1932) is a Twelver Shi'i alim from Pakistan and has been elevated to the status of marjiyyat. At present, there are two maraji of Pakistani descent, the other one Basheer Hussain Najafi. As Basheer Hussain Najafi has chosen to reside in Najaf, Iraq, Muhammad Hussain Najafi is the only marja' on Pakistani soil, running a Hawza in Sargodha. He has been included in the last 5 editions of "The Muslim 500: The World's Most Influential Muslims" since 2010. He is one of the 9 marja's mentioned in the most recent edition.
Najaf (اَلـنَّـجَـف; BGN: An-Najaf) or An Najaf Al Ashraf (النّجف الأشرف) is a city in central-south Iraq about 160 km (100 mi) south of Baghdad.
Shia (شيعة Shīʿah, from Shīʻatu ʻAlī, "followers of Ali") is a branch of Islam which holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor (Imam), most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm.
The Tabaghat Aa'lam Al-Shia (طبقات أعلام الشیعة) is a twenty-volume encyclopedia of Shia scholars from the tenth to the twentieth century, written by Aqa Bozorg Tehrani.
Tehran (تهران) is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province.