Featured in today's closing post for the 'Ashura 1431 Occasional Series is the late Iraqi Arab Ayatullah al-Sayyid al-Shahid (the Martyr) Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, who was assassinated on August 23, 2003 by a massive vehicle bomb, believed to have been set by the then-fledgling organization of Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi (then called Tawhid wa'l Jihad, or "[Absolute] Monotheism and Struggle," and later renamed al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Two Rivers. Baqir al-Hakim was leader of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), then named the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, an anti-Saddam Husayn and Iraqi Ba'th party composed primarily of Iraqi Shi'i exiles living in Iran.
In the video below, Ayatullah al-Hakim delivers a traditional Shi'i lamentation, in front of a large crowd while he was living in exile in Iran, for Husayn bin 'Ali, the third Shi'i Imam, who was martyred in 680 C.E. on the barren plain of Karbala in southern Iraq. For historical background on the 'Ashura events, see this previous POST. A short biographical sketch of al-Hakim follows the embedded video; it's based on an encyclopedia article I wrote.
"Maqtal Imam Husayn," Ayatullah al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim
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Baqir al-Hakim was an Iraqi Arab ayatullah (1944-2003; some sources say he was born in 1939) and founding leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, SCIRI, (since renamed and hereafter referred to as the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, SIIC), one of the two largest Iraqi Shi‘i political parties. His father was Grand Ayatullah al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim (1889-1970), the preeminent Shi‘i religious scholar and authority in
The al-Sadr family is one of
From top left, clockwise: Grand Ayatullah al-Sayyid 'Ali Husayni Sistani, Ayatullah al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, al-Sayyid 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Hakim, and al-Sayyid 'Ammar al-Hakim. Leadership of the SIIC has passed from Baqir al-Hakim through 'Abd al-'Aziz, who died of cancer in August, to the latter's son, 'Ammar, who is the current leader of the SIIC.
All three of the al-Hakim brothers were born in al-Najaf and studied under both their father and Ayatullah al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (1935-1980), one of their father’s premier students and an activist scholar who was one of the intellectual founders of the Islamic Da‘wa Party (Hizb al-Da‘wa al-Islamiyya), Iraq’s other large Shi‘i political party. Both Muhammad Baqir and his brother Mahdi were both involved in the formation of the Da‘wa Party and the latter was also active in the Jama‘at al-‘Ulama, a clerical association formed in Najaf during the 1950s to combat the rising popularity of communism among Iraqi Shi‘i youth.
Muhammad Baqir was a well-known Shi‘i activist throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and was arrested, tortured, and imprisoned in 1972 and again from February 1977 to July 1979. He left Iraq for Iran with his brother 'Abd al-'Aziz and thousands of other Iraqi Shi‘is, mainly political activists, in 1980 following the execution of Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and his sister, Amina bint Haydar al-Sadr (also known as Bint al-Huda), in April and the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) in September. In November 1982, he announced the formation of the SIIC, which initially was envisioned as an umbrella organization which brought together the various Iraqi exiled opposition movements. The SIIC eventually was transformed into its own political party, as other parties broke away over policy and ideological disputes. Grand Ayatullah al-Sayyid Ruhollah Khomeini,
Baqir al-Hakim delivers a speech in Iran at a podium lined with photographs of his family, including his father (large painting), the preeminent Arab Shi'i religious scholar in the 1960s and 1970s, Grand Ayatullah al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim.
During his 23 years in exile, Muhammad Baqir built up the SIIC’s networks among the tens of thousands of Iraqi exiles living in
In his public pronouncements and interviews, Muhammad Baqir was supportive of the role of the Marja‘iyya, the informal council of