Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr is among the great thinkers, religious scholars, and philosophers in the last century, who focused the beacon on the right path of religious critic and intellect.
Martyr al-Sadr was born in Kadhimiya, Baghdad, on March 1, 1935. His father, the scholar Haider Al-Sadr, passed away when he was just two years old. After completing primary school in Kadhimiya, Al-Sadr and his family moved to Najaf in 1945, where he spent the rest of his life. He joined the Hawza, a seminary of Islamic studies, at the early age of 13, quickly emerging as an exceptionally gifted student, who rose to the level of a mujtahid or profound scholar at the extraordinary age of 20.
His writings and his leadership inspired generations of Iraqis to resist oppression and fight for freedom. Not only did he challenge those who suppress religion, but also those who suppress critical thought and development.
Ayatollah al-Sadr published various works during his lifetime; "Our philosophy" and "Our Economy" are a couple of his celebrated works which remain influential in many circles, including foreign governments.
In 1957, Al-Sadr and a number of other scholars established the Islamic Dawa Party (IDP). Sayyed al-Sadr's writings remain among the main sources for the Party's inspiration, in particular the Party's political ideology based on Wilayat Al-Umma (Governance of the people) to-date. Al-Sadr continued his educational work at a time of increasing communist activity, organizing lectures and social events for the public.
In the early seventies, al-Sadr realized the dangers posed by the Baath regime on Iraq. He remained fearless and steadfast, continuing his educational programs and activities. On the other hand, the Baath regime also realized the importance of al-Sadr and his effect on the Iraqi people, therefore using all possible means to halt his activities. His arrests were inevitable. He was arrested in 1971, 1974, 1977 and 1979. They also arrested and executed many of his students and colleagues as Saddam Hussein himself ordered the immediate arrest and execution of all IDP members.
One morning in 1979, Baath Party officials arrested Sayyed Baqir al-Sadr.
An emotional yet resolute woman ran to Imam Ali (AS) mosque in Najaf and called out, "Oh people! Why are you silent while your leader has been arrested? Why are you silent while your leader is in prison being tortured? Come out and demonstrate..."
That woman was Amina al-Sadr, the sister of Muhammed Baqir al-Sadr. Her powerful words influenced hundreds to join a mass demonstration protesting against the arrest of al-Sadr and demanding his immediate release.
That day, al-Sadr was consequently released from prison. This demonstration sent a clear message of opposition to the Baath regime, motivating and encouraging people to stand firm and united, men and women, against Saddam's tyranny.
The 1979 arrest brought about many demonstrations and anger from the Iraqi people, forcing the regime to release al-Sadr from prison and placing him under house arrest.
After spending a few months under house arrest, he was finally arrested on the April 5, 1980, when he and his sister, Amina, were taken and never seen alive thereafter.
After days of torture, they were both executed on April 9, 1980. Al-Sadr's graveyard now stands in holy city of Najaf.
During the months nearing his execution, al-Sadr famously delivered three important Calls or sermons to the Iraqi people. Whilst being short in length, they covered many aspects; they dealt with the need for all Iraqi religious sects and ethnicities to unite in the battle for freedom, his attempts to cause splits within the Baath party ranks and to win the support of moderate members from the lower echelons.
Five key themes can be extracted from his Calls: 1. His outspokenness against the oppressive and dictatorial rule of Saddam 2. His calls for establishing democracy, and granting freedom and human rights to the Iraqi people 3. His calls for a united opposition from all segments of the Iraqi population 4. His appeal to low-ranking Baath party members 5. His pledge to continue his emphatic opposition despite the death threats he received from Saddam.
Speaking against oppression and dictatorship, Imam Mohammed Baqir Al-Sadr's and Dawa's struggle against the Baathist regime centered on the oppressive and totalitarian nature of Saddam's rule. Al-Sadr continuously called for an end to the ruthless tools of oppression utilized by Al-Mukhabart - the Iraqi intelligence unit - and to the dictatorial rule imposed on the Iraqi people.
His opposition to the regime culminated in his advocacy of such a vision and his direct calls to that effect.
Rare are those worthy to speak of al-Sadr among them is the Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, who has summed up the life of the great martyr scholar, "We have many intellectuals who specialize in Islamic and ideological areas-in jurisprudence and other areas; nevertheless, the genius are rare: he was one of the rare ingenious intellectuals. His thoughts were beyond the works of others."
The late Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was truly ingenious.
Source: Al-Ahed News