In Iran, Mosques Close Where Nobody Goes


Population: 81,824,000
Christian percentage: .8 percent
Dominant Religion: Shia Islam
Persecution Ranking: 8

1979, Iran experienced a revolution that ushered in an Islamic theocracy. Iranians believed this would spiritually purify their nation. The 1979 Iranian Revolution was blended with nationalism. They hoped for Iran to become the powerful nation it had been many times during the past 3,000 years. This was not a surprise since the Shia Islamic religion is closely tied to military and political power.

But their revolution carried a deep level of spiritual poison that has caused Iran much harm, then and now. They founded their theocracy on pride, resentment, self-righteousness, and revenge. Iran’s new leaders believed they could do no wrong since they acted in Allah’s name. Their image as a civilized nation was soon tarnished by taking hostages, building weapons of mass destruction, and funding terrorism. A prime example of this is their recent support of Hamas, which has taken unarmed civilians as hostages in Gaza.

The same attitude of spiritual self-righteousness on the part of Iran’s leaders affects the country’s domestic policies. For example, women have endured the wrath of the so-called “morality police,” who arrest and even abuse them for not keeping their heads covered with the Islamic hijab. A year ago, a Kurdish woman who was arrested for a hijab violation was killed by Iranian police. The Iranian police murdered her in the name of morality.

Nearly 45 years later, the Iranian theocracy is paying the price. People know the Iranian theocracy is about hypocrisy, not holiness. The result: To date, 50,000 out of 75,000 mosques in Iran closed in 2023. Mohammad Abolghassem Doulabi, a senior cleric for the current Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, disclosed this fact.

Iranians are trying to understand why. Doulabi believes a lack of government funding for mosques is causing the shutdowns. He also cited the devaluation of Iran’s currency as a reason for a shortage of funding.

Not all Iranian clerics agree. Mohammad Taghi Fazel, a cleric and member of the Assembly of Scholars and Teachers of the Seminary of Qom, cites other reasons. These reasons all point to a lack of righteousness in Iran’s forced spirituality. He says that government funding for mosques turns them into a voice for the government rather than a place to grow spiritually.

Both clerics agree on a couple of matters. In a sermon during Ramadan, Doulabi said that when people mistrust the government, they do not trust what happens in the mosques since the two are inseparable. Funds for the mosques have been misused, so he admits there is monetary corruption. The Islamic religious system has been used to humiliate people. Religious teachings are distorted to make the government look good. Clerics often use sermons to rant about personal political beliefs. This is a turnoff for attendees who are reluctant to return the following Friday.

In summary, even Shia Muslim clerics now admit that there is a lack of holiness and righteousness in their religious system. Most Iranians have been aware of that for many years. As a result, Iran has some of the fastest Christian church growth in the world. Could there be a hunger for true righteousness, the kind that only comes from the work of the Holy Spirit? Let us pray that Iranians develop a hunger and thirst for righteousness, which leads them to seek and find Christ Jesus!

Let us pray fervently for:

  • Muslim clerics will crave holiness and find it by receiving Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and submitting to Him (The Bible, 2 Corinthians 1:12).
  • A spiritual revival in Iran. The people will become seekers of the True and Living God (The Bible, Colossians 3:3-5).
  • Iranians to know that holiness comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ, not by works (The Bible, Revelation 14:6 ).