The Eminent Marje'
The noble hadith states,
"Whoever amongst the Fuqaha' (scholars of Islamic sciences) guards himself against evil, protects (and upholds) his religion, counters his base desires, and obeys the commands of his Lord, then the general public should follow his example in religious matters (taqleed)."
On Monday 2nd Shawwal 1422, 17th December 2001 we lost the most eminent Marje' of recent history, the like of which Shi'a will not see for many generations to come, namely Ayatollah al-Udhma al-Imam al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Hussaini al-ShiraziRidhwaan Allah Alayh. He was one of those divine scholars who upheld the truthful knowledge, and correct vision who were renowned for their noble and gracious manners and righteous deeds, excelled in writing and composition, and spread the knowledge and the teachings of Ahl-ul-BaytAlayhim-us-salam. The late Imam has left behind for the Islamic library a magnificent heritage of more than one thousand books. He also trained hundreds of scholars, researchers, writers, and speakers, not to mention the thousands of believers. He also established hundreds of religious, educational and charity institutions and organisations around the world.
His loss is an irreplaceable loss not only to the Shi'a, or even the entire Muslim Ummah, but also to all of humanity, in more than one way.
We pray to Allah Almighty to bless him, and accommodate him with his pure ancestors Muhammad and his noble and impeccable progeny. We also pray to Allah Almighty to protect for us and for the Muslim Ummah, the brother of the late Imam, his eminence Ayatollah al-Udhma al-SayyidSadiqShirazi who succeeded his late brother as the Marje'. We pray and ask Allah Almighty to help and support him to make up for the great loss we have encountered and to help him to carry the banner of the institution of the Shi'a Marje', and to help him execute faultlessly the duties of the office of the Marje', for he is prime successor for a good predecessor. Truly Allah is all-hearing and readily answers.
A brief look at the life of
Ayatollah al-Udhma al-SayyidSadiqShirazi
- Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidSadiqShirazi was born in the holy city of Karbala on 20.12.1360 H. He started his studies at a young age and continued his advanced studies at the hands of the scholars and Maraje' in the Hawzahs until he attained a distinguished degree in Ijtihaad.
- He developed the reputation for expertise and excellence in Fiqh and Ijtihaad such that he became renowned in the elite circles of top scholar and Ulema in the holy city of Qum, and before that in the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, for his distinction and brilliance in various fields such as Usul, hadith, logic, righteousness, piety, etc.
- He grew up in family deeply rooted in knowledge and Islamic sciences, Fiqh and Ijtihaad, descendant of noble and honourable ancestry, a family with a history jihad and self-sacrifice . . . the family of al-Mujaddid al-KabirMirza Hassan al-Shirazi leader of the Constitutional Revolution in Iran - also known as the 'Tobacco Movement' – which fought off the take over of Iran by the British Empire, thereby creating another 'India' in Iran through economic deals with the then ruler of Iran. He grew in an environment of righteousness and piety, and embarked on his studies and research with all his means and abilities, seeking the knowledge of Islamic sciences until he attained a distinguished station in these fields.
- He vowed to totally dedicate himself to seeking knowledge, and adhere in all aspects of life to piety and good deed, serving the cause of Ahl-ul-Baytalayhum-as-salam and defending their holy teachings. His excellence in Fiqh, Usul and other Islamic science gave him particular prominence amongst the eminent scholars of today.
- In his pursuit of seeking knowledge and excellence in the Islamic sciences, he made a point of visiting and meeting with the top Ulema and Maraje' to engage in various debates concerning scholarly activities as well as addressing the affairs of the Muslims and the Shi'a during the occultation of Imam al-Mahdi alayhis-salam. In return the Ulema and Maraje' visited him in his modest house; raising various issues of concern and praising him for his dedication to the cause of Islam and for his distinction in the Islamic sciences.
- Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidSadiqShirazi has written a number of specialist books in the fields of Fiqh and Usul for the Fuqaha' and the Mujtahids, some of which are “Elucidation of Usul” – 10 volumes, “Commentaries on ‘Urwatul-Wothqa” – 20 volumes, as well various commentaries on “al-Rawdhah”, “al-Lum'ah”, “al-Shara'e”, “al-Tabsirah”, “al-Seyouti”, “al-Samadiyah”, etc.
- He has decorated the Hawzah – the university for Islamic Sciences – with his advanced level lecture programs, known as Dars al-Kharij, for the past twenty years and throughout this period many of the Ulema and even some of the Mujtahids attend his lectures regularly.
The Noble Family
Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidSadiqShirazi is the descendent of Imam Hussein alayis-salam, the grandson of Rasulollah, Prophet Muhammad, Salallahalayhiwa'alihi.
He grew up in a family renowned for its religious leadership over the past century and a half. Some famous members of his family are:
- The supreme Marje' Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyid Muhammad Hassan Shirazi, known as al-Mujaddid al-Shirazi, leader of the ‘Tobacco Movement' in
which resisted the take over of the country by the then colonial power the British Empire. [Died 1312 H – murdered by poisoning by British agents.]
- The supreme Marje' Ayatollah al-Udhma Muhammad TaqiShirazi, leader of the 1920 Revolution in
, which expelled the British Army from the country. [Died 1338 H – murdered by poisoning by British agents.]
- The Marje' Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyid Ali Shirazi, the cousin of al-Mujaddid al-Shirazi, who was one most prominent Maraje' in the holy city of Najaf. He was one of the favoured students of the renowned Sheikh al-Ansari. [Died 1355 H]
- The Marje' Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidIsma'ilShirazi. [Died 1305 H]
- The Marje' Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyid Abdel-HadiShirazi. [Died 1382]
- The supreme Marje' Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidMirza Mahdi Shirazi, the most eminent Maraje' in the holy city of Karbala, the father of SayyidSadiq. [Died 1380 H]
- The supreme Marje' Ayatollah al-Udhma al-Imam Sayyid Muhammad Shirazi, the brother of SayyidSadiq, who is mentioned briefly at the beginning of this document.
- The martyr Ayatollah al-Imam Sayyid Hassan Shirazi, elder brother of SayyidSadiq, who established the ZaynabeyyahHawzah in the vicinity of the shrine of Zaynabalayhas-salam. Sayyid Hassan developed a close relationship with the Alawi sect in the
and guided them their original roots, which were the teachings of Ahl-ul-Bayt, since they were originally followers of Ahl-ul-Baytalayhum-as-salam. Sayyid Hassan established many institutions in various countries such as
, and many African countries. He conducted several research programs and wrote more than eighty books. Agents of the Iraqi regime assassinated him on Beirut in 1400 H.
Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidSadiqShirazi received his training at the hands of eminent Ulema and Maraje' in the Hawzah of the holy city of Karbala, until he attained a distinguished degree in Ijtihaad. Some of his teachers were:
- His father Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidMirza Mahdi Shirazi,
- His elder brother Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyid Muhammad Shirazi,
- Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyid Muhammad HadiMilani,
- Ayatollah al-Udhma Sheikh Muhammad RidhaIsfahani.
A'lameyyah or Most Knowledgeable
On the basis of relevant hadith as well as rational reasoning, it is accepted amongst the Ulema and scholars that, as a mandatory precaution, the Marje' should be A'lam or most knowledgeable. Ayatollah Yazdi, author of ‘Urwatul-Wothqa, states that the A'lam is he who is:
best familiar with the principles,
best familiar with the evidence for each case,
best informed with similar cases, precedence, and issues,
best informed with various reports and other scholarly expert views,
best understanding of the reports and views,
and finally be best in reasoning and deduction.
Most Fuqaha and Maraje' have accepted and upheld these criteria.
The works of Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidSadiqShirazi, such as “Elucidation of Usul”, and “Commentaries on ‘Urwatul-Wothqa” as well as the standard, level, and quality of his advanced lectures, Dars al-Kharij, and his debates on various Fiqh issues with other Ulema provide ample evidence for him being A'lam, and able in deduction reasoning in Fiqh. His abilities and excellent qualities in these fields are best evident to the expert Ulema. His extensive knowledge and comprehensive awareness of the reports and hadith in the various fields, as well as his thorough reliance on the Qur'anicayat and Prophetic rewayat to arrive at the deductions required, place him in distinguished position in the eyes of the Ulema. Needless to say this ability has been developed over the past forty years of daily practice in Fiqh. As a result many of the experts who are Faqih and Mujtahid have pointed to his distinguished position, as well as his honesty, sincerity and his total unreserved dedication and devotion to adhere to the teachings of Ahl-ul-Baytalayhum-as-salam. Details will be published separately in the near future InSha'Allah.
The late Imam, Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyid Muhammad Shiraziridhwanullahalayh, used to refer to his brother SayyidSadiq for his precautionary Fatawa. When the late Imam was asked about who is the A'lam, the A'lam (i.e. the late Imam) praised his brother as the most knowledgeable. To the late Imam and his leadership, Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidSadiqShirazi was the right hand to his brother the supreme Marje', and he help his brother and provided all the support his brother needed in various fields, specially in the fields of scholarly research, the Hawzah affairs and the issuing of Fatawa, etc.
Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidSadiqShirazi gave considerable attention to establishing religious, humanitarian, and educational and charity institutions. As a direct result of his endeavour and encouragement many such institutions have been established in various countries, such institutions as mosques, hussainiyyahs, religious groups, schools, libraries, publishing houses, clinics providing free medical care, etc.
Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidSadiqShirazi gives scientific, and ethical education the utmost importance. He has therefore organised and delivered many courses – which still run – on moral and ethical sciences as well as other fields of Islamic sciences usually taught at the Hawzah. Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyid Muhammad Shirazi first started to deliver these courses in Iraq , then continued the delivering of these courses when he was forced to exile in Kuwait , and he continues to deliver these courses in the holy city of Qum today. Many of the Ulema, as well as authors and preachers have graduated from his courses over the years. Alongside the above specialised courses, Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyid Muhammad Shirazi delivers weekly public lectures on ethics and morality, the true and correct teachings of Islam, etc. from which thousands of the youth over the years have come to benefit immensely from these lectures to the extent that their lives were changed immeasurably.
His sublime moral and ethical values
The exemplary Islamic ethics that Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidSadiqShirazi adheres to distinguishes his personal life as well as his scholarly and scientific advance for half a century.
it is noticeable to everyone that he has renounced the pleasures of life, has always lead a simple life, and is content with that lifestyle. He leads a life of piety and righteousness, reliance on Allah Almighty and entrusting Him in all issues of life. He is humble before the people and respected the young and the old. When faced with the trials and tribulation of life, and the difficulties he comes across in conveying the message of Islam and upholding its banner, he displays immense patience and perseverance. He loves for the sake of Allah, and serves and cares for the people. He shows immense tolerance and turns a blind eye upon those who hurt him and cause him harm, and forgives when he is able to respond likewise.
Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidSadiqShirazi started writing at an early age and he still continues this task in the various fields of Islamic sciences today. He has written more than seventy books, some of which are written for the Ulema and the Mujtahids; the most important of which are
“Commentaries on ‘Urwatul-Wothqa”, 20 volumes.
Volume 1 “Ijtihaad and Taqleed” is published in 700 pages.
“Elucidation of Usul”, 10 volumes.
Volume 5 “The principle of No Harm” is published in 342 pages. This book is considered to be one of the finest in the field.
“Commentaries on Shara'e al-Islam”, 4 volumes.
The book was written in Karbala, and it was received with much appreciation by the Hawzah and it has become a principle reference for both lecturers and students.
“Commentaries on Tabsiratul-Mutallemeen”, 2 volumes.
Written in Karbala, the book covers various aspects of Fiqh. Volume 1 is 468 pages, and volume 2 is 534 pages.
“Commentaries on Soyuti”, 2 volumes.
Written in Karbala, the book is used by Hawzah students. Volume 1 is 454 pages, and volume 2 is 444 pages.
“Commentaries on Samadiyyah”,
written in Karbala, and has been published more than ten times.
“Commentaries on al-Awamil”,
this is one of the books studied by Hawzah students, and it is in 183 pages.
“Commentaries on al-Lum'ah al-Demishqiyyah”, 10 volumes
the book is regarded as one of the most important books for Hawzah studies.
it is an introductory book in field of logic that is studied by Hawzah studied.
Books on Islamic Belief
Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidSadiqShirazi also wrote a number of important books in the defence of beliefs of the school of the Ahl-ul-Baytalayhim-us-salam. Some of the books are as follows:
“Ali alayhis-salam in the Qur'an”, 2 volumes.
In this book the author has identified 711 Qur'anic ayah that have been revealed in the honour of Amir-ul-Mu'minin Ali ibnAbiTalibalayhim-us-salam, according to reports and commentaries recorded in the Sunni references and authentic books. The book was written in the holy city of Karbala, volume one is 404 pages, and volume two is in 528 pages.
“Fatima al-Zahra' in the Qur'an”
In this book too the author collects the Qur'anicayat that have been revealed, according to the Sunni references and authentic books, in the honour of Fatima al-Zahra' alayhas-salam. The book is in 360 pages.
“Al-Mahdialayhis-salamin the Sunnah”
In this book the author collects the Prophetic Traditions, which have been recorded in the Sunni references and authentic books, about al-Imam al-Mahdi alayhis-salam.
“Ahl-ul-Baytin the Qur'an”
In this book the author collects the Qur'anicayat that have been recorded in the Sunni references and authentic books as having been revealed in the honour of or about the Ahl-ul-Baytalayhim-us-salam. 407 pages.
“The Truth about the Shi'a”
In this book the author addresses the beliefs of the Shi'a an in a style of dialogue between two individuals proving the validity of the Shi'a beliefs which have been questioned by the Wahhabis.
“The Shi'a in the Qur'an”
In this book the author collects the Qur'anicayat that have been recorded in the Sunni references and authentic books as having been revealed in the honour of or about the Shi'a – followers – of Imam Ali ibnAbiTalibalayhim-us-salam.
His Excellency has written other books some of which are:
“Quiyas in the Islamic Shari'ah”
In this book the author address the validity of Quiyas or “Inferring” in the Islamic Shari'ah.
“Congregational Prayer and its status in Islam”
In this book the author cites noble hadith in favour of Jama'ah or Congregational prayer, and the philosophy behind the favour.
In this book the author discusses the philosophy of fasting and briefly presents the rulings concerning fasting.
“Basics of Islamic Economy”
“Usury - the standing economic problem”
The book addresses the harm of usury on the world economy, and proposes the measures that are needed to rectify the problem.
“Politics from the viewpoint of Islam”
The book reflects the Islamic view on politics, and presents examples of the conduct and policies of Rasulollah - the Prophet Muhammad sallallahualayhiwa'alihiwasallam and Amir-ul-Mu'minin and the other Ma'soum Imams alayhim-us-salam. 414 pages.
“Wine – the disease of society”
The book addresses the harm of alcoholic drinks on society.
“The harm of not wearing Hijaab”
a discussion on the necessity of Hijaab and the harm of not adhering to it.
“Punishments in Islam”
Discusses the philosophy of the Islamic punishments and presents some of the conditions and pre-requisites that must be met before any of the punishments can be executed.
“The means to Islamic banking”
The books presents a general outline of the Islamic bank, and addresses the questions that are raised about abandoning usury in the banking system. The book presents the main functions of the Islamic bank in the light of the latest banking systems and theories. The book was written in Karbala. Published 1972 CE, 1392 H. 104 pages.
“Agricultural reform in Islam”
The author discusses the colonial plan, which has been implemented in Muslim countries under the guise of “Agricultural Reform”, to destroy the agriculture of those countries. The book presents the clear and unambiguous rulings concerning agriculture in Islam. The book was written in 1380 H, and published in 1383 H in the holy city of Karbala. The book was confiscated by the authorities in Iraq , imprisoned the publisher and imposed a heavy penalty on him.
“Malik al-Ashtar al- Nukha'i”
A brief biography of the Malik al-Ashtar al- Nukha'iRidhwanullahAlayh.1387 H.
A brief biography about al-Shaheed al-Awwal – the First Martyr – Sheikh Shams-al-DeenAbiAbdillah Muhammad bin Jamal-al-Deen Muhammad al-Matlabi al-Dimishqi al-Aamili al-Jizini al-Hamdani. The book was written in Karbala, published in Najaf, and it is part of the “Renowned Shi'a” series.
A brief biography about al-Shaheed al-Thani – the Second Martyr – Sheikh Zayn-el-Deen Ali ibn Ahmad al-Ju'abi al-Aamili. The book was written in Karbala, published in Najaf, and it is part of the “Renowned Shi'a” series.
A brief biography about Ayatollah al-UdhmaSayyidMirza Mahdi Shirazi highlighting some of the notable aspects of his life. The book was written on the fortieth anniversary of the death of his father after requests from many of the Mu'minin.
Needless to say many of the books were translated in Farsi and Urdu.