Imam Sadr: The Imam of the Nation and the Resistance- Episode 1
Identity and a Profile
Imam Sayed Moussaa Sadr is a godly savant, a vocational intellectual, a role-model leader, and a faithful struggler who has devoted his age and life to serve the faith and Islam. Sayed Moussa Sadr is also a dialogue preacher and a messenger of love and peace. He has established the Higher Islamic Shiite Council in Lebanon and has been its president. Being the chief of the Islamic Shiite confession in Lebanon, its most prominent leader, and its most famous savant, he has established the "Movement of the Deprived" and has been the primary defender of the oppressed. The Imam has laid the foundations to the resistance and struggle against the "Israeli" Occupation and has pioneered its long jihad path.
Furthermore, the Imam, who is open-minded to the different conceptions and a genuineness reviver, belongs to a noble family of a long historicity regarding religiousness, commitment, piety, and sobriety. The family, in turn, is a descendent of Sayed Saleh Sharaf Ed-deen, who belongs to the southern village of Shoor in Jabal Amel in Lebanon (South Lebanon).
The Sadr Family's faithful, vocational historicity has borne brilliant, gallant references and religionists who have been aware, loyal, and devoted to the service of the Islam and the doctrine. This has been obvious at the levels of work and jihad in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran. Particularly Ismael Sadr, Muhammed Baquer Sadr, Moussa Sadr, and Muhammed Muhammed Sadek Sadr are high symbols and struggling leaders among that pure succession of savants- the one which has served Islam and the Muslims and continues the immortal path of Imam Hussein (Peace be upon him). Such a fact seemed inconvenient for a lot of parties and forces counteracting against Islam and Muslims; therefore, it was convenient for them to conceal the savant, struggler, and leader, Sayed Moussa Sadr to eliminate his influence on the nation and his revolutionary impetus- as the forces had done to his ancestors, the grand Ayatollah Martyr Muhammed Baquer Sadr and the grand Ayatollah Muhammed Sadek Sadr.
Sayed Moussa Sadr was born in April 15, 1928 in the city of "Qom" in Iran, where he received his modern elementary and secondary education before moving on to his religious studies in the faculty of "Qom", which taught Islamic sciences. He was then the first religionist to be a scholar of the Law Faculty in the University of Tehran, whereupon he received a degree in economy. He mastered the Arabic and Persian languages and acquired the English and French ones. Afterwards, he became a lecturer of Islamic sciences. In 1954, he moved to Iraq to spend four years in An-Najjaf AlAshraf, attending the Islamic-science lessons of the great religious references: Sayed Mohsen Al Hakeem, Sheikh Muhammed Rida Al Yasseen, and Sayed Abdul Kassem Alkhui. In 1955, he married "Terween Khalili", who gave birth to two boys, Sadr Eddeen and Hameed, and two girls, Hawraa and Maleeha.
Highlighting some of the stages of this pious savant's brilliant, blessed path, "Alintiqad" newspaper had a talk with Sayyed Hussein Sharaf Eddeen, a relative of Imam Sadr (the husband of Lady Rabab, the Imam's sister). The talk allowed us to recall the days of that insurmountable Imam.
After the death of His Eminence, the Religious Reference Sayyed Abdul Hussein Sharaf Eddeen (Blessed is his secret), on December 30, 1957, a new full moon had to be born, and a new dawn had to begin; the gap left after the departure of a savant isn't filled until another savant sustains the path...
Although a number of imams were present at the Mosque of Tyre after the death of Sayyed Sharaf Eddeen, harmony still lacked the believers and the new imams, for the believers had only been familiar with the gone Sayyed's acquaintance for a half-century; particularly they had been familiar with his way of speech, preaching, and direction, and they had been used to praying with him, reviving their religious occasions at his presence, and getting their religious issues run by him.
Imam Sadr had come to Lebanon- his ancestors' land- to meet his relatives in Tyre and Shoor. That was in 1955, and he was received by Sayyed Sharaf Ed-deen, who recognized Sayyed Sadr's personality, traits, and skills and showed admiration of him during their sessions together, making apparent, thus, his satisfaction with Sayyed Sadr and his belief that he should be the imam to sustain the path after his ancestor's death.
Later on, Sayyed Abdullah Sharaf Ed-deen (the husband of Sayyed Sadr's
cousin and an acquaintance of the Sayyed's brother- Sayyed Rida) wrote
to Sayyed Sadr, asking him to spend his summer vacation in Lebanon since
Sayyed Sadr hadn't been in Lebanon in two years. Although the
correspondence was a mere invitation to a summer vacation in Lebanon
rather than a formal invitation to live there, there was an embedded
purpose; Sayyed Sharaf Eddeen wanted to convince Sayyed Sadr to come to
Lebanon and stay there.
This was not exclusively the will of the religious Reference Sayyed
Abdul Hussein and of Sayyed Sadr's children (who lived in Najjaf then); a
group of Sayyed Sadr's relatives and friends, including religionists,
was also advising him and insisting, encouragingly, that he live in
Indeed did the Imam make his arrival at Tyre in Lebanon to be a guest at Sayyed Abdul Hussein Sharaf Ed-deen's residence (where Sayyed Jaffar, Sayyed Sharaf Ed-deen's son, lived). Sayyed Sadr stayed there for a month, during which he made inquiries of people's reality, circumstances, and issues. He would also meet them during occasions of lamentation and other times. As for the Imam's host, Sayyed Jaffar, he would invite to his house some acquaintances, friends, noblemen, merchants, politicians, party men, and other social activists and elites. Sayyed Jaffar would do this so that they meet the Imam and discuss issues with him. At the end of the month, the Imam traveled back to Iran after having requested a chance to consider wisely his choice of residence and make up his mind. He also wanted to consult his family; specially that he knew how significant and affective that choice would be
By the end of 1959, Imam Sadr had decided to stay in Lebanon upon his recognition of the legitimate assignment and sacred duty he had to perform. Consequently, he and his family were welcomed at Sayyed Abdul Hussein Sharaf Ed-deen's house, where they were offered a room until the suitable family house was made ready.
The believers, who had missed Sayyed Abdul Hussein Sharaf Ed-deen and his path and had lacked harmony with the successive imams and savants (although it had been a short period), recognized that Imam Sadr was their quest and savior, for he could sustain the very same path of Sayyed Sharaf Eddeen. The Imam's attitudes, behaviors, and actions actually reiterated this path; the believers were satisfied with his guidance, and they loved him and were obedient and allegiant to him. The Imam, in turn, offered them affection, care, and dignity.
Imam Sadr clinged, since the beginning of his journey, to the path of Reference Sharaf Ed-deen, showing a great desire to reiterate the path through his actions and attitudes. Even though Sayyed Sadr's house was fully equipped and ready, he kept his family and his sisters at Sayyed Sharaf Ed-deen's residence after they had arrived in Lebanon. It seemed as if he wanted to say that there had been the beginning and that they should continue the path, starting with that place.
Sayyed Sadr delivered his speeches, preachment, and directions in the Mosque of Tyre, and he celebrated occasions at Imam As-Sadek's Club. Besides, he lectured and gave lessons at the Jaffariite School, and he continued the work at Albirr Wl Ihsan Association (Righteousness and Charity Association).
The Imam went even further, whereby he made special efforts at establishing institutions as Beit Alfatat (the Girl's house), the social institution, the technical school, and the nursing school. He would emphasize that they had been established upon blesses and inspiration from Sayyed Sharaf Ed-deen. He would point out that Sayyed Sharaf Eddeen had originated the ideas for work, but hadn't been able to execute them upon some circumstances. The Imam would also say that he held no credit for those achievements because he was sustaining the journey's works.
Imam Sadr has focused on making vocational believers and on caring for people rather than for appearances; the human being is the only creature capable of developing the earth and maintaining charity and righteousness. When God offered people his earth to develop and flourish and to use its treasures and riches, He ordered him to carry out good management and estimation and promised that Doomsday shall arrive and that humans will be questioned for their deeds; hence, every human will either be punished or rewarded upon the outcome of his work. The true believer is that who uses the riches of the earth and his fortune properly- neither wastefully nor miserly; these are principles the Imam has always clung to. He has adhered to reviving worship rituals and occasions spiritually- rather than the mere appearance and details.
Besides, the Imam has never accepted any squandering of any kind; instead, he has estimated the actual needs and real interests of the people in order to direct them to the best alternatives and to welfare. The Imam has laid a principle: No benefit lies in anything that one doesn't need.
For instance, the Imam has been well-known for his adherence to praying on time- regardless of the relative secondary details. He recognized that prayers relate a believer, wherever he is, to his God. What matters about prayers is the earnest intention of the prayer as to getting closer to God. Therefore, Imam Sadr hasn't been occupied with constructing luxurious mosques or worship centers. Instead, he made special efforts at building mosques, worship centers, and religious establishments. Whenever he knew of somebody's intention to construct a mosque or a worship center, he would visit his town to question the matter. When he learned that the mosque or center still offered the townspeople's needs, he would convince them to ignore their intentions, reiterating that the paths which believers and good-deed doers can take to God are many- rather than merely constructing a mosque or a religious center.
During one of his visits to Morocco, it was the time for Friday prayers, which the Imam adhered to- as he did to every prayer. A big mosque was being constructed in the place, but there was no close mosque to pray at. Nevertheless, it didn't trouble the Imam, who told the people that it didn't matter whether they prayed on sand or stones and that what mattered were the prayers. Indeed, the prayers were headed by the Imam after he had lectured, offering advice and direction. Afterwards, a Lebanese person (from Tyre) consulted the Imam concerning the construction of a mosque which would be as luxurious, great, and splendid as the one being built in Morocco. The man informed the Imam of his immigrant companions' readiness, in addition to his own, to provide the money for the construction. The Imam told him, hence, that there was no need for that since at that time, there were two little mosques in Tyre. The Imam stressed the need to fill the halls of the mosques with prayers before considering the construction of new-grander mosques since only few believers prayed at the little mosques at that time. The Imam mentioned that God provides for projects and that whatever belonged to God would flourish.
The Imam was interested in the welfare and became occupied with supplying the needs of the society and filling its gaps, whereupon he commenced a socio-economic study of the society in Tyre, depending on the local capabilities and capacities. Among a process of perfect, wide, social and economic change, Tyre would be the start point towards the other Lebanese regions. As a result, he established public institutions concerned with educational, professional, health, social, and religious affairs. He reorganized "Albirr Wl Ihsan Association", and he established a boarding school for girls- "Beit Al Fatat", a social institution, a high technical school- "Mount. Amel's Technical School", a high technical nursing school, and the "Islamic-Studies Institute".
In 1948, Sayyed Sharaf Ed-deen established "Albirr Wl Ihsan Association" which performed the task of helping the orphans, the poor, and the needy and spread the culture of righteousness and charity. As Sayyed Sharaf Ed-deen passed the age of eighty, his son, Sayyed Jaffar, was elected president of the association, who later resigned from the position upon his recognition that the Imam was in good charge of affairs. Sayyed Jaffar was actually giving space to the Imam to be the manager and the president of the association. However, the Imam refused the resignation of Sayyed Jaffar and refused holding his position; instead, he stipulated that he be a legitimate supervisor of the association.
When the Imam became supervisor of the association, he rearranged its managerial structure and adjusted its internal system, whereby he introduced the socio-associative work by allowing women into the association. The Imam censured the elimination of women from the field of charitable and righteous work and keeping them away from the deeds that bring them closer to God and satisfy Him. The Imam believed that women played a significant role in society and constituted one of its two foundations.
Before ratifying the amendments of the association's private law, Sayyed Sadr constituted a managerial board including as members learned and righteous male believers, in addition to a group of female believers, who were well-known within the social media- mainly among women. The ladies, whose ages ranged between 35 and 40, hadn't received high education degrees; some of them were even illiterate, but they were experienced. Lady Rabab Sadr (the Imam's sister) was the youngest member of the managerial board. In fact, the Imam had given the ladies the tasks of establishing an association center and planning feminine projects. Therefore, they decided to establish a school to fight illiteracy and teach tailoring and house-keeping. The Imam assigned this mission to Lady Rabab Sadr, who was an active, faithful, and young lady, and she was skilled at weaving and embroidery.
As soon as three girls were ready for the literacy session and twelve others for tailoring, Lady Rabab asked the Imam to permit her to commence the actual classes, and so he did, admiring her enthusiasm, sincerity, and faithfulness. Beit Al Fatat, which consisted of two rented rooms, began its activities. (Today it is an educational and extra-curricular complex.) At Beit Al Fatat, reading, writing, calculation, and few English words were taught. Having acquired the principles of reading and calculation through this year-long study, the girls would be given a tailoring session. As a matter of fact, being skilled at tailoring, weaving, and embroidery helped to improve the girls' socio-economic states; now while at home, each of them could be productive and could afford an extra income to the family, strengthening, thus, its coherence and unity and enhancing its capacities. Women, therefore, became social and developmental participants and gained the regard and respect among the social levels.
The principal of Beit Al Fatat was neither a licensed scholar nor a
learned lady! She was illiterate, but upon the belief, faith,
enthusiasm, and activity of Lady Rabab and the ladies working with her,
Lady Rabab was able to enhance the circumstances of many students of the
school. For example, three sisters, who had been born abroad, were late
to catch up with regular school classes. They had reached the ages of
8, 9, and 10 without even knowing the alphabet. Still, they were
determined and enthusiastic to acquire literacy at the "house", where
they found warmth, support, and faithfulness and commenced their
literacy class to move on to the elementary, intermediate, and secondary
classes! They even went further with their education, whereby the first
became a specialized turbine engineer, the second an architecture
engineer, and the third a sociologist who married a university lecturer!
Such is the case that God mentions in the holy Koran of the fruitful
results of good deeds that God blesses
During the sixties of the past century, the issue of caring for the orphans and the socially deprived southern people was neglected since charitable institutions required permanent funding sources as gifts and donations, but the Imam had a different point and path, in addition to special providence. He was quite interested in providing all needs for the orphans, the poor, and the needy, even though he knew that was really difficult and costly. Still, he believed that what is done for the love of God wins special providence; God never lets go of believers.
A citizen of Saida and another of Alborj Ashamali had a dispute regarding a piece of land in Alborj Ashamali Town. At that time, the members of Albirr Wl Ihsan Association were known for interference to resolve conflicts between citizens; thus, one of the disputants complained about his issue to the Imam, who, in turn, showed interest in buying the land for an immigrant committee member. Then, the Imam suggested that this immigrant buy the land. The latter didn't only agree to do so, but also he donated a piece of it to the Imam so that he builds the benevolent institution, Alholom (the Dream).
To construct the buildings and structures and provide the equipment, the Imam began his contact with the rich immigrants. This is why he went on a tour that included eight African states, during which the Imam had raised funds to finish the association buildings and constructions. The Imam still had to raise funds for the equipment (office furniture, electronic devices and computers, blacksmith and carpentry supplies, and electric car supplies). This required a value that surpassed the donations of the charitable donors.
While a conference on orientation and Islam in France was being held, Sayyed Sadr requested to meet the French President, Charles De Gaulle and asked him to support his benevolent institution with the necessary equipment. The President agreed to do so and wished that the lessons would be given in French since French teachers would be sent there. The Imam thanked De Gaulle for his assistance, and he did get what he had wished for. French technical experts came to supply the institution and its constructions with the required equipment. They also trained the Lebanese experts how to set the equipment to function.
Imam Sadr traveled to several Arabic, Islamic, African, and European countries to participate in conferences and check the Lebanese and Islamic communities. He also studied the appearances of the European life and the reality of the African continent, and he was in contact with activists, official sides, and public classes. Accordingly, he established the "Islamic Studies Institute" after he had watched closely the circumstances of Shiite communities and recognized their actual need for guidance and leadership.
Alongside of the Islamic Studies Institute, Sayyed Sadr established
dormitories, a sports club, and a swimming pool. Lebanese students and
foreigners were ascending through their religious studies. The primary
concern of the Imam was to make those scholars ready for their
directional and missionary roles.
The Imam gave special care to the people of the African continent upon his observation that Christians and Muslims in most of the African countries didn't exceed 5% of the population- at the utmost level, whereas the rest were atheists who didn't worship God or even know Him! Consequently, Sayyed Sadr sent religionists to Africa and received, with special care, scholars from Africa at his institutions so that they become able to perform their missionary roles in guiding others
The Imam encouraged women to work and to enter the charitable, voluntary, and social domain so that they shift into effective and productive members of the society and make their own living. He also cared and provided for the orphans and the poor, making sure that they would learn a craft or a job to fight unemployment and achieve self-sufficiency. This was not enough for the Imam; he further fought beggarliness, trying to eliminate it since he knew that they constituted a burden for the society and that they disrupted its balance. The beggars' numbers were increasing every Thursday to "make a living". What annoyed the Imam and aggravated him was to see the beggars asking prayers for charity after every Friday's prayers.
The beggars' gathering at the door of the mosque proved that they had made the prayer rituals a source of income. Hence, the Imam announced that it was illegitimate to offer any money to beggars since beggarliness defiles the dignity of the believer, whom God wants to be strong and mighty. Afterwards, the Imam issued a decision to Albirr Wl Ihsan Association, requesting that it prevent the beggars' presence at the markets and doors of mosques. While an imam would be heading the crowds of prayers and lecturing, the beggars would be outside begging for money, disregarding the prayer and the lecture. Sayyed Sadr wondered how they could humiliate themselves instead of working and making a dignified living.
The Imam censured beggarliness and forbade it in Tyre and its suburbs. However, he handled the issue and set solutions and alternatives, whereby he planned for a perfect support project involving the charity case and social and health aid programs. Therefore, he made Albirr Wl Ihsan distribute charity cases to shops and markets, and he launched a monthly-fund project (of one Lebanese pound). The Imam assigned a deputy to gather the funds and charities, too. He asked the shopkeepers to offer whatever food samples to Albirr Wl Ihsan Association, which would distribute them to the poor and needy individuals and families at every end of a month. Sayyed Sadr would make a full survey of street and alley beggars, in addition to the dignified needy who would be too chaste to ask for help. He saw That God dignified them for their chasteness; hence, he knew it was essential that they be honored and supported without having to ask for it. The "Association Family" made a survey of the needy families to discover that there were more than 210 families. At the end of every month, those families would receive an income and some food provisions.
The aids exceeded this to cover the health issue, too. An agreement was made with a number of doctors, stating that they shouldn't make any "Association-Family" patient pay. Another agreement with pharmacies stated that there would be discounts on medicine bills.
Having performed all those arrangements, the Imam forbade offering charity to any member who didn't belong to the association. Besides, he asked all charity makers and donors to pay the money to the association, which would deliver the donations (carrying the donors' names) to the required recipients. The Imam's purpose beyond all this was to lay the foundations of associative and collaborative work- distantly from personal initiatives.
The Imam's project received people's admiration and satisfaction, so they supported it. The project even surpassed the neighborhoods of the Shiite confession, what made other parties attempt to copy the project in order to deal with the problem of beggarliness. The Imam's creed was that every believer needed to care for the others' matters and issues and support them.
The Admired, Lovable Imam Surpassed Limits
Sayyed Moussa Sadr wasn't a Shiite whose activity involved a limited geographical area; he was a sun whose rays reached vast regions. Sayyed Sadr didn't only address the Shiite confession, to which he belonged. He heartedly addressed all partners of the nation and all people.
Through his speech, path, and practice, Sayyed Sadr reinforced religion in the daily life and offered a new image of the religion, which is quite different from the old-fashioned one that some used to show. The Imam showed a new practical and cultural image of religion. He represented a role model, attracting supporters who believed in his choices.
Sayyed Sadr addressed the different
levels, confessions, doctrines, and ages.
The Christian students in one of the classes of the Jaffariite School insisted on attending the Imam's religious lessons although the school administration would assure them they didn't have to attend the class since they were "religiously different". Nevertheless, the students would reply that the Imam's words touched them deep inside and matched their requests, hopes, dreams, and reflections. Because they were committed to Christianity, they attended the class continuously and passionately.
Joseph Anteeba (of Greek origin) owned an ice-cream-shop in an alley in
Tyre. He was famous for his preparation of ice-cream according to the
old Arabian way. "The Christian" Joseph had a "Shiite" neighbor who was
in competition with him, but the latter wasn't as professional as
Joseph, nor did his ice-cream taste more delicious or have a better
quality. Now the Shiite competitor exploited his religion and elicited
the compassion of the Shiites; he started informing people that they
shouldn't buy the ice-cream of "Christian Anteeba" and that he was
impure, asking the people, thus, to be solely his customers. In
consequence, Joseph visited the Imam to complain about this, and the
Imam promised him to do something about it.
After the Friday prayers, the Imam asked a group of prayers to accompany him for a tour at the market. There the Imam sat on one of the chairs at Anteeba's shop and ordered ice-cream for everyone. He paid the total check, too. His companions were actually astonished. Afterwards, the Imam left without uttering a word!
Embedded with this "silent" behavior were more than a speech and more than a message that the Sayyed wanted to communicate with the people concerned. His message didn't only state that one could eat at a Christian's shop, but also it put an end to a possible quarrel that could have taken a place between the two men. The Imam prevented, therefore, the disruption of the quiet relationship among the Christians and Muslims; he left no room for the ill-spirited people to exploit the event and evoke riot.
He believed that Christians were brothers of Muslims; they were believers, too, and they were Arabians who lived on the same country- just like Muslims did.
He adhered to their brotherhood and sincere citizenship, and he regarded that Lebanon was unique since it had such a combination of religions.
This uniquely different citizen of Tyre was also different when it came to his visits abroad. He pioneered handling the matters of the fellow-citizens wherever they were. He was a glorious, open-minded, educated, and struggling role model of a savant. While visiting the African countries, he identified the situations of the Lebanese-Shiite-confession communities and made a close observation of their lifestyles. He noticed how the foreigners' lives had been affected by their immigration and discovered the inconvenient standards some lived; some appearances were deceitful, and it wasn't easy for whatever immigrant to become rich; hence, immigration wasn't always the right and successful choice.
Upon these facts, the Imam gave special care to the foreigners' religious state and social interrelations. He compared the religious influence of the Christian establishments upon Christians to that of Muslim Shiites. Christians had constructed establishments and churches where they lived and assigned clergymen and preachers. Likewise, Al Azhar reference assigned Sheikhs and religionists to maintain communication with their Sunnite fellows. Yet, Shiites didn't have private worship centers or religionists!
Having regarded all this, the Imam recognized what he had to do. He taught foreigners the matters beneficial to their lives and religion, whereby he explained worship issues such as ethics, prayers, fasting, charity making, legitimate rights, in addition to legitimate matters. He also established the best relations possible among the Africans and the Lebanese foreigners, and he requested that they share social and religious occasions to develop unity and coherence. People commenced visiting each other and praying together. The African citizens admired and loved Imam Sadr. Hundreds of thousands would head towards the Imam where he was. So great were the numbers of prayers headed by him that there wouldn't be enough room for the Imam's admirers and supporters, who wanted to meet him, greet him, and shake hands with him so that they get blessed. Even security forces could not discipline the passionate, zealous crowds.
The Moroccans in Liberia asked the Imam to head the prayer of Al Adha Eid. Because there was no mosque in the area, the Imam asked if there was a wide area where they were permitted to pray. The Imam, the Africans, and the immigrants prayed together in the open air of the sea shore. Furthermore, the policemen in Abidjan were unable to control the ardent crowds that had come from everywhere to meet the Imam and that carried his car!
The people of Conakry and Dakar were very touched by the commemorational ceremonies of Ashura, which were carried out by the Imam. It didn't matter whether they were ministers, sheikhs, and religionists; all of them had a special passionate relationship with the Imam.
During his six-month stay in Africa, the Imam wished for a night without crowds or luxurious feasts. One night, a man from Tyre invited him to a private family dinner since he wanted to celebrate his moving into a new house, and he needed the Imam's presence and blessing. The Imam agreed to do so, asking for a simple family dinner that would remind him of the dinners in Tyre. As soon as the Imam arrived, he discovered a table with a lot of different foods and more than 40 chairs. The Imam was angry with the man since he broke his promise; however, the latter assured the Imam that they were sons, grandchildren, and relatives of the same family and that they wished to meet the Imam; the Imam smiled and blessed them all.
Those six continuous months always included daily invitations to a meal, a lecture, a preachment, or flexible arguments. All of this proved unique love and appreciation of the Imam, whose kind-heartedness reached all hearts. Those six months proved that that man's character was exceptional.
The Imam's presence at those countries was an unforgettable, influential event with respect to the people there.