Students recitation ...
Martyr Ayatullah al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (b. 1353/1935 – d. 1400/1980) was a Shi’a faqih (jurisprudent), exegete of the Qur’an, and thinker, and also he was a political activist in Iraq….
His most significant works include Falsafatuna (Our philosophy), Iqtisaduna (Our economics), and Durus fi ‘ilm al-usul (known as Halaqat).
Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was both a religious and a political authority of Shi’a in Iraq. Hizb Al-Da’wat al-Islamiyya, the political party he established with the help of ‘Abd al-Sahib al-Dakhil, boosted its activities among Iraqi Shi’a following the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.
The most important political activities of al-Sadr include his issuing a Fatwa forbidding the membership of Muslims in the Ba’th party of Iraq (a party affiliated with Saddam Hussein), holding demonstrations in Shi’a cities in southern Iraq and in Baghdad with the help of his sister, Bint al-Huda al-Sadr. He and his sister were arrested by the Ba’th government, and following their imprisonment they were martyred.
The political and social thoughts of Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr are very influential in present Iraq as seen in the leadership of former Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki who was also the head of the Al-Da’wa Party and a follower of al-Sadr.
Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was born in Dhu l-Qa’da 25, 1353AH/March 1, 1935 in Kazimiyya. His father was al-Sayyid Haydar al-Sadr al-‘Amili, and his mother was the daughter of al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Husayn Al-i Yasin. He was the second child in his family.
Pedigree and Family
Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir’s ancestors were all religious scholars. His grandfather Ayatullah al-Sayyid ‘Isma’il al-Sadr was a great Shi’a authority in the first half of 14th century AH and died in 1338/1920. His pedigree goes back to Imam al-Kazim (a), and his ancestors were Shi’a scholars in Iran, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir’s older brother and teacher, al-Sayyid ‘Isma’il, was also a studious scholar in Najaf who died in 1388/1969 at the age of 48.
His sister Amina Bint al-Huda al-Sadr (a scholar, poet, writer, teacher of fiqh and ethics) was martyred with her brother.
Al-Sadr lost his father when he was 14 and was raised by his mother and brother al-Sayyid ‘Isma’il al-Sadr.
Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr went to school when he was 5 and finished grade-level studies by the age of 11. He was enthusiastic to learn religious disciplines and continue the work of his father and his ancestors, and with the advice of his two uncles, al-Shaykh Muhamamd Rida Al-i Yasin and al-Shaykh Murtada Al-i Yasin, he began his studies in religious disciplines. He began to study Ma’alim al-‘usul with his brother, al-Sayyid ‘Isma’il, and finished other intermediary texts of the Islamic Seminary in a short time.
In 1365/1946 when he was 12 years old, al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir moved to Najaf with his brother, al-Sayyid ‘Isma’il, in order to study with the well-known scholars of the city. He studied fiqh and usul with Al-Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei and al-Shaykh Muhammad Rida Al-i Yasin. He studied Islamic philosophy (Mulla Sadra’s Al-asfar) with al-Shaykh Sadra Badkube’i, and he also studied Western philosophy. It has been reported that he studied Western philosophy with ‘Allama Ja’fari.
He also studied philosophy, economics, logic, ethics, exegesis of the Qur’an, and history. He counts as the founder of inductive logic in the Islamic seminary.
Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir studied and discussed different materials for about 16 hours a day over the course of his 17-18 years spent studying. He has been quoted as saying that, “I am studying as much as numerous studious students study.” It is reported that he was a mujtahid (expert in fiqh) when he was at his maturity, approximately about 15 years old.
Some of his most important teachers are:
* Al-Sayyid Isma’il al-Sadr
* Al-Shaykh Muhammad Rida Al Yasin
* Al-Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei
* Murtada Al Yasin
* Sadra Badkuba’i
* ‘Abbas al-Rumaythi
* Muhammad Tahir Al Radi
* Al-Sayyid ‘Abd al-Karim ‘Ali Khan
* Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Shakhs
* ‘Abbas al-Shami
Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir began teaching when he was 20 years old. The first book he taught was Kifayat al-usul. When he was 25, he taught the advanced course of usul al-fiqh, and when he was 28, he taught advanced fiqh on the basis of al-‘Urwat al-wuthqa. He later taught philosophy and the exegesis of the Qur’an.
Sadr had many students during the 30 years of his teaching career. Many of those continued his intellectual, political and social path:
- Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim
- Sayyid Mahmud Hashimi Shahrudi (the former head of the Judicial System of the Islamic Republic of Iran)
- Al-Sayyid Kazim al-Husayni al-Ha’iri
- Sayyid ‘Abd al-Ghani Ardabili
- Muhsin Araki
- Sayyid Kamal Haydari
- Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Muhri
- Sayyid ‘Abd al-Hadi Husayni Shahrudi
- Sayyid Husayn Husayni Shahrudi
- Muhammad Ibrahim Ansari
- Sayyid ‘Ali Rida Ha’iri
- Ghulam Rida ‘Irfaniyan
- Sayyid ‘Ali ‘Ishkiwari
The works of al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr are scholarly and mostly innovative. They include:
* Fadak fi l-tarikh (Fadak in the history)
* Ghayat al-fikr fi ‘ilm al-‘usul
* Falsafatuna (Our philosophy)
* Iqtisaduna (Our economics)
* Al-Usas al-mantiqiyya li l-istiqra’ (The logical foundations of induction)
* Al-Ma’alim al-jadida li l-usul
* Durus fi ‘ilm al-usul (known as Halaqat)
* Al-Fatawa l-wadiha (Sadr’s essay of fatwas that has a peculiar style)
* Al-Bank al-la-rabawi fi l-Islam (Banks without usury [riba] in Islam)
* Al-Madrasat al-Islamiyya (social and economic issues)
* Bahth hawl al-Mahdi (aj)
* Bahth hawl al-wilaya
* Al-Islam yaqud al-haya (Islam is the guide for life)
* Al-madrasat al-Qur’aniyya (lectures in the topical exegesis of the Qur’an)
* Dawr al-a’imma fi l-hayat al-Islamiyya (the role of Imams (a) in the Islamic life)
* Nizam al-‘ibadat fi al-‘islam (the system of worships in Islam)
* Commentaries on al’Shaykh Murtada Al-i Yasin’s essay of fatwas, under Bulghat al-raghibin (unpublished)
* Commentaries on Ayatullah Hakim’s Minhaj al-salihin
* Commentaries on Ayatullah Khuyi’s Manasik al-Hajj
* Commentaries on the Friday Prayers (Salat al-jumu’a) part of Shara’i’ al-Islam
* Mujaz ahkam al-Hajj (a brief on the rules of Hajj)
Because of his brilliant career in fiqh, usul, and philosophy, and the support of Ayatullah Khoei, al-Sadr came to be well-respected by scholars and laymen, and some people followed him as a marja’. After his political activities and, in particular, the establishment of Hizb al-Da’wat al-‘Islamiyya, more people started following him. However, after the death of Ayatullah Hakim, Sadr asked people to follow his master, Ayatullah Khoei. Nevertheless many people from Iraq and Lebanon followed Shahid al-Sadr as their marja’.
Relations with al-Sayyid Musa al-Sadr
Al-Sayyid Musa al-Sadr went to Najaf in Rajab 1373/ April 1954. His scholarly relations with Shahid al-Sadr began at that time. During 1954-1958, they were together at day and night in Najaf; they went to same classes, discussed scholarly materials, had family relationships with one another, had many common friends and more importantly had consulted with one another in cultural, social and political affairs. Therefore, they were very familiar with one another and planned for more cooperations in the future.
Political and Social Activities
The Establishment of Hizb al-Da’wat al-Islamiyya
Main article: Hizb al-Da’wat al-Islamiyya
After an examination of Iraq’s social and political affairs, some scholars of Iraq at that time, including al-Sayyid Muhammad Mahdi al-Hakim, al-Sayyid Talib al-Rufa’i, and al-Shaykh Mahdi al-Samawi, came to the conclusion that they should establish a political party on the basis of Islamic thought and ideology in order to organize Islamic campaigns and resistance. After a consultation with Shahid al-Sadr, they established Hizb al-Da’wat al-Islamiyya (the Party of Islamic Invitation) in 1377/1958.
Ayatullah al-Sadr set out an agenda for the party based on Islamic values and beliefs. For reasons not commonly known, five years after the establishment of the party, al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr resigned his position, but he asked the other members of the party to go on with their work and promised to support their efforts.
The political and social thoughts of Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr are very influential in today’s Iraq which is evidenced by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki position as head of Hizb al-Da’wa and a devout follower of Sadr.
Jama’at al-‘Ulama’ (The Society of Scholars)
Main article: Jama’at al-‘Ulama’
In 1958, the leftist politician, ‘Abd al-Karim Qassim, came to rule Iraq and opened the doors to communists. As a result, Iraq was dominated by a secular and atheistic atmosphere. Such events moved Shi’a scholars of Iraq to present the social, political, economic, and intellectual programs of Islam in accordance with the needs of the contemporary world. Thus Jama’at al-‘Ulama’ fi l-Najaf al-Ashraf (the Society of Scholars in Najaf) was established whose main members were great scholars including al-Shaykh Murtada Al-i Yasin, al-Shaykh Muhammad Rida Al-i Yasin, al-Shaykh Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar, and al-Sayyid Mahdi al-Hakim (Ayatullah al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim’s son).
At that time, al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was too young (about 30 years old) to be a member of the Society, but he worked closely with them; in fact, he wrote their first announcement. One of the most important cultural activities of the Society was the Journal of Al-Adwa’ in 1961; the editorials of the first 5 issues of the journal were written by al-Sadr under “Risalatuna” (Our Mission), and his sister, Bint al-Huda, published some of her articles there.
At the time, al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim, the Shi’a authority of the time, asked al-Sadr to write the book, Falsafatuna (Our Philosophy). The book consists of two parts:
Part one: The theory of knowledge according to modern Western philosophers and Islamic philosophy.
Part two: The Islamic philosophical insight regarding the world, and the rejection of materialist and atheistic worldviews.
Al-Sadr also studied the economic systems of Islam and the Eastern and Western schools of thought (socialism and capitalism, respectively) that resulted in the novel research in Iqtisaduna (Our Economy). This is the best work regarding the Islamic economic system consisting of two parts:
- the economical schools of the East and the West with Sadr’s objections to them.
- a detailed program of an Islamic economical system.
The book was published in 1381/1962.
Sadr’s Support of the Islamic Revolution of Iran
Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr considered Imam Khomeini’s movement as a window of hope for the Islamic Umma (nation). Thus from the very beginning in 1342/1964, al-Sadr was concerned with the Islamic Revolution of Iran and supported Imam Khomeini.
In Jumada II 9, 1385 AH (October 5, 1965), Imam Khomeini was exiled from Turkey to Najaf. Al-Sadr and other scholars welcomed Imam Khomeini. During the 14 years of Imam Khomeini’s stay in Najaf, al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr had close relationships with him. His famous slogan about Imam Khomeini was “devote yourselves to Khomeini as he has devoted himself to Islam”.
Al-Sadr further supported the Islamic Revolution of Iran by writing the series of Al-Islam yaqud al-haya (Islam is the guide for life) in six volumes, including issues such as the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the power sources of the Islamic government, and the economics of the Islamic society.
Boycott on Joining the Ba’th Party
One project of the Ba’ath regime in Iraq was to Ba’athize the Iraqi education system. The regime ordered the schools and universities to join the Ba’th party. At this time, al-Sadr issued a fatwa forbidding any cooperation with the party. The fatwa clarified the situation for the people, causing them to avoid joining it. An official within the Ba’th party admitted that “al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir [al-Sadr]’s fatwa ruined our project, and nobody—except some coward people—joined the party and cooperated with it.” Thus the Ba’th party knew its major enemy.
Lectures on the Exegesis of the Qur’an
After Al-Sadr completed his courses in fiqh, he began conducting lectures on the exegesis of the Qur’an in order to awaken people in Iraq and prepare them for a revolution. It is not common for a Shi’a authority in Najaf to have lectures on the exegesis of the Qur’an.
The lectures were held two days a week from April 15, 1979 to June 1, 1979 for 14 sessions, but the Iraqi government did not allow the lectures to continue.
The government arrested and imprisoned all representatives of al-Sadr in all the cities of Iraq. Al-Sadr announced the Rajab 16, 1399 (June 12, 1979) as the Day of Objection, and expressed his opposition to the regime. People followed him and stopped working. That night Ayatullah al-Sadr was arrested and sent to Baghdad.
Al-Sadr was asked to stop his support of the Islamic Revolution, but he replied: “I am a Muslim, and I am responsible for the fate of all Muslims throughout the world—not just those in Iraq and Iran. I have to act on the basis of my religious duties that are not restricted to Iran and Iraq. It is a religious obligation to support the Islamic Revolution of Iran and its leader.”
On the same day, Bint al-Huda al-Sadr delivered a lecture in the Holy Shrine of Imam ‘Ali (a) and asked people to go to the streets and object to the imprisonment of Ayatullah al-Sadr. People went to streets, and the Ba’th regime had to release al-Sadr in order to prevent more unrest.
In order to cut people’s relations with Ayatullah al-Sadr, the Ba’th regime sent security forces around his house. The house was under siege for nine months.
During this time, the regime sent its representatives to Ayatullah al-Sadr in order to dissuade him from his path, but he continued to support Ayatullah Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution of Iran.
On Saturday, Jumada I 19, 1400 AH (April 5, 1980) the head of the Security Organization arrested al-Sadr and sent him to Baghdad.
The day after, Bint al-Huda al-Sadr was also arrested. Barzan Ibrahim—Saddam Hussain’s step-brother and the head of the Security Organization—asked Ayatullah al-Sadr to write some words against Imam Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution of Iran in exchange for his freedom. He warned al-Sadr that he would otherwise be killed. Al-Sadr refused the request and said: “I am ready for martyrdom (shahada) and I will never accept your anti-religious requests; my path is what I have chosen…”.
When the regime realized they could not dissuade al-Sadr and his sister from their path, they killed them on Tuesday, Jumada I 23, 1400 AH (April 8, 1980).
When al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was executed in 1980, his body was surreptitiously buried in Wadi l-Salam Cemetery. After the Sha’ban Revolution of Shi’a in Iraq in 1991, an assistant of Saddam asked him to revenge from Shi’a by destroying their respected cemetery. The regime constructed some roads on the cemetery and destroyed many graves, including al-Sadr’s (it was then located in the middle of a road).
Some people who knew Sadr’s grave marked the place, and with the permission of Shi’a authorities and al-Sadr’s widow, they secretly moved his corpse to the Holy Shrine of Imam ‘Ali (a). They moved the corpse around the Shrine three times and later returned it to Wadi l-Salam and buried it there.
However, when some people learned about al-Sadr’s grave, his companions got worried it would be disrupted by government officials. Again they secretly moved the corpse to a different place (about 1 meter further) in 1997. The corpse was still fresh after 17 years.
Finally in Ramadan of 1427 AH (October 2007), his corpse was moved to the Gate of Najaf in order to make some academic and social institutions around it. This time his whole grave was moved without exhumation.