By: Amin Dagher
“Islam is a holistic and complete concept,” it encompasses politics, law, sociology, and philosophy. They are all involved in the making of the bigger picture of the faith. Only few scholars were capable of mastering this knowledge. Muhammad Baqer Al-Sadr is a prominent figure among them.
Born in Kadhimiya, Baghdad, on 1st March 1935, Baqer Ben Haidar Ben Ismail As-Sadr became a Mujtahed at the age of 18. He became to be renowned as a major religious authority and was emu4lated in several of Islamic countries.
The theories and ideas he proposed set the foundation for a genuine Islamic school of thought which touched upon all sorts if issues, addressed a wide range of Islamic concerns, and investigated several domains of knowledge. He has enriched the Islamic library with volumes of geniosity and innovation. In addition to his superior academic and scholarly achievements, As-Sadr embodied characteristics of humility, asceticism, and piety.
His attempt to reconcile jurisprudence and the Islamic law with elements of modernity was a success. He made the Quran a priority in his researches and books, and called upon following a new school of Quranic interpretation which is endowed with motility, flexibility, and vibrancy.
As mentioned by JaafarAr-Rikabi in Voice of Unity, As-Sadr’s theories involved a critique of Capitalism for what he held was its elevation of the individual over everything else. At the same time, he rejected Marxism for its denial of human individuality altogether, both as agent in history, and as the driving force of social and economic life. For As-Sadr, both theories were flawed, not least because they neglected the spiritual aspect of man, which if nurtured properly, elevates him beyond his basis desires and mere material existence, ever closer to Allah.
A similar error was made by Western scholars and revolutionaries of liberty. As-Sadr praises the revolutionary moment when Europeans in the pre-Renaissance era broke away from the shackles imposed by the Church and by Feudalism which had left Europeans “downtrodden”. However, As-Sadr argued, Europeans then made the mistake of converting liberty, one important value amongst many and a means to the end of creating a prosperous and happy society, into the value upon which to construct the new world, that is, the end in itself: “It is not enough to break the chains. Freedom from them only provides a framework for the progress and development of humanity, whereas proper development of individuals requires an inner basis in the light of which progress may be made. Mere freedom to do whatever one wants and to go wherever one wishes is not enough. Man must know how and why he should take a particular step…”
During the times As-Sadr was studying and teaching in the Hawza in An-Najaf, he implemented several reforms by transforming the “individualistic Marjiyaa” into an “objective” one. He proposed the concept of “Marjiyaa Council” in which decisions and resolutions are arrived through consultation.
His political activism was another domain in which As-Sadr excelled. His revolution against the governing body was marked by his feats of courage and patience. In his struggle against the regime, he addressed all the Iraqis on the basis of equality and justice. Not once did he undermine or disregard any Iraqi sect which were numerous and diverse. He maintained a tone of peace and geniality in his speeches, as he used to refer to all the Iraqis as his brothers as a way to promote Islamic unity and affinity.
Ash-Shaheed As-Sadr had a peculiar relation with His Eminence, the late Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah who was described by As-Sadras a loss for An-Najaf as His Eminence left the city in 1966. Sayyed Fadlullah, on the other hand, described As-Sadr in a poem dedicated to him as following: “Because you are a power;Because you are a revolution;Because you are the secret to a nation’s awakening;You will remain for us,You are alive for us.”
On 1980, As-Sadr was martyred after being brutally persecuted in Baghdad and was buried in An-Najaf. With his departure, his soul will always remain with us in addition to the rich legacy he left.