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Muḥammad Bāqir al-Ṣadr
(محمد باقر الصدر)
Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr.jpg
Religion Usuli Twelver Shi`a Islam
Born (1935-03-01)March 1, 1935
al-Kazimiya, Iraq
Died April 9, 1980(1980-04-09)
Baghdad, Iraq
Senior posting
Based in Najaf, Iraq
Title Grand Ayatollah
Religious career
Post Grand Ayatollah

Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr (آية الله العظمى السيد محمد باقر الصدر) (March 1, 1935 – April 9, 1980) was an Iraqi Shia cleric, philosopher, and ideological founder of the Islamic Dawa Party, born in al-Kazimiya, Iraq. He is the father-in-law of Muqtada al-Sadr and cousin of both Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr and Imam Musa as-Sadr. His father Haydar al-Sadr was a well-respected high-ranking Shi'a cleric. His lineage goes back to Muhammad, through the seventh Shia Imam, Musa al-Kazim. (See Sadr family for more details.) Muhammad Baqir Al-Sadr was executed in 1980 during the Saddam Hussein regime.


He was born in al-Kazimiya, Iraq into the prominent Sadr family which originates from Jabal Amel in Lebanon. His father died in 1937, leaving the family penniless. In 1945 the family moved to the holy city of Najaf, where al-Sadr would spend the rest of his life. He was a child prodigy who, at ten, was delivering lectures on Islamic history, and at eleven, he studied logic. At 24 he wrote a book to refute materialistic philosophy.[1] Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr completed his religious studies at religious seminaries under al-Khoei and Muhsin al-Hakim at the age of 25 and began teaching.

While teaching he was introduced to the ideas and worked with the global Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir[citation needed]. He was already a prominent member of the Iraqi Shia community by this point. After which he was no longer with Hizb ut-Tahrir[citation needed] and formed his own political party working within the democratic process. This is where he started his many writings. His first works were detailed critiques of Marxism that presented early ideas of an alternative Islamic form of government. Perhaps his most important work was Iqtisaduna on Islamic economics and "Our Philosophy". These works were critiques of both socialism and capitalism. He was subsequently commissioned by the government of Kuwait to assess how that country's oil wealth could be managed in keeping with Islamic principles. This led to a major work on Islamic banking that still forms the basis for modern Islamic banks.

He also worked with Sayyid Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim in forming an Islamist movement in Iraq. This attracted the attention of the Baath Party, which resulted in numerous imprisonments for the Ayatollah. He was often subjugated to torture during his imprisonments, but continued his work after being released. One of the founders of modern Islamist thought he is credited[by whom?] with first developing the notion, later put in operation in Iran, of having western style democratic elections, but with a body of Muslim scholars to ensure all laws corresponded with Islamic teachings.[citation needed]

In 1977, he was sentenced to life in prison following uprisings in Najaf, but was released two years later due to his immense popularity. Upon his release however, he was put under house arrest. In 1980, after writing in the defence of the Islamic Revolution, Sadr was once again imprisoned, tortured, and executed by the regime of Saddam Hussein. He was forced to watch his sister's, Amina Sadr bint al-Huda, torture and murder.[2] It has been alleged that Sadr was killed by having an iron nail hammered into his head[3] and then being set on fire. Shaheed Imam Baqir as Sadr is buried in Wadi-us-Salaam Najaf Iraq

During the execution of Saddam Hussein, chants of "Long live Mohammed Baqir Sadr!" were heard being chanted by some of the Shi'a guards.[4]

Political philosophy: Wilayat Al-Umma[edit]

Mohammad Baqir Al-Sadr's political philosophy, known as Wilayat Al-Umma (Governance of the people), set out his view of a modern day Islamic state. Using his mastery of the Quran and his innovative subject-based approach to Quranic exegesis, Al-Sadr extracted two concepts from the Holy text in relation to governance: khilafat al-insan (Man as heir or trustee of God) and shahadat al-anbiya (Prophets as witnesses). Al-Sadr explained that throughout history there have been '…two lines. Man’s line and the Prophet’s line. The former is the khalifa (trustee) who inherits the earth from God; the latter is the shahid (witness).'.[5]

Al-Sadr demonstrated that khilafa (governance) is ‘a right given to the whole of humanity’ and explained it to be an obligation given from God to the human race to ‘tend the globe and administer human affairs’. This was a major advancement of Islamic political theory.

While Al-Sadr identified khilafa as the obligation and right of the people, he used a broad-based exegesis of a Quranic verse[6] to identify who held the responsibility of shahada in an Islamic state: First, the Prophets (anbiya’); second, the Imams, who are considered a divine (rabbani) continuation of the Prophets in this line; and lastly the marja’iyya (see Marja).[7]

While the two functions of khilafa (governance) and shahada (witness; supervision) were united during the times of the Prophets, the two diverged during the occultation so that khilafa returned to the people (umma) and shahada to the scholars.[8]

Al-Sadr also presented a practical application of khilafa, in the absence of the twelfth Imam. He argued the practical application of the khilafa (governance) required the establishment of a democratic system whereby the people regularly elect their representatives in government:

'Islamic theory rejects monarchy as well as the various forms of dictatorial government; it also rejects the aristocratic regimes and proposes a form of government, which contains all the positive aspects of the democratic system.' [9]

He continued to champion this point until his final days:

'Lastly, I demand, in the name of all of you and in the name of the values you uphold, to allow the people the opportunity truly to exercise their right in running the affairs of the country by holding elections in which a council representing the ummah (people) could truly emerge.' [10]

Al-Sadr was executed by Saddam Hussein in 1980 before he was able to provide any details of the mechanism for the practical application of the shahada (witness) concept in an Islamic state. A few elaborations of shahada can be found in Al-Sadr’s works.

In his text ‘Role of the Shiah Imams in the reconstruction of Islamic society’, Al-Sadr illustrates the scope and limitations of shahada by using the example of the third Shi’i Imam, Hussein ibn Ali (the grandson of the Prophet), who stood up to Yazid, the ruler at the time. Al-Sadr explains Yazid was not simply going against Islamic teachings, as many rulers before and after him had done, but he was distorting the teachings and traditions of Islam and presenting his deviated ideas as Islam itself. This, therefore, is what led Imam Hussein to intervene to challenge Yazid in order to restore the true teachings of Islam, and as a consequence laid down his own life. In Al-Sadr’s own words, the shahid’s (witness – person performing shahada or supervision) duties are ‘to protect the correct doctrines and to see that deviations do not grow to the extent of threatening the ideology itself'.

Al-Sadr has one son, Jaafar, who finished his Islamic studies in Qum but decided to serve his country Iraq as a politician. Jaafar does not believe in religious states, he believes that a "civil state" in Iraq should not contradict with religions but on the contrary "a fair and just regime should be able to earn the blessing of religions". He does not believe in taking revenge for his father's brutal assassination "Re-building a unified, democratic and stable Iraq is the only way for taking that revenge."

List of works[edit]

He engaged western philosophical ideas to challenge when it seems fit and incorporate them into his own system when appropriate. His ultimate goal was to show that religious knowledge was not the antithesis of scientific knowledge.[11] Following is the list of his work:[12]


  • Buhuth fi Sharh al- 'Urwah al' Wuthqa (Discourses on the Commentary of al- 'Urwah al-Wuthqa), 4 volumes.
  • Al-Ta'liqah 'ala Minhaj al-Salihin (Annotation of Ayatullah Hakim's Minhaj al-Salihin), 2 volumes.
  • Al-Fatawa al-Wadhihah (Clear Decrees).
  • Mujaz Ahkam al-Hajj (Summarized Rules of Hajj)
  • Al-Ta'liqah 'ala Manasik al-Hajj (Annotation of Ayatullah Khui's Hajj Rites).
  • Al-Ta'liqah 'ala Salah al-Jumu'ah (Annotation on Friday Prayer)

Fundamentals of the law[edit]

  • Durus fi Ilm al-Usul (Lessons in the Science of Jurisprudence), 3 Parts.[13]
  • Al-Ma'alim al-Jadidah lil-Usul (The New Signposts of Jurisprudence).
  • Ghayat al-Fikr (The Highest Degree of Thought)





  • Iqtisaduna (Our Economics).
  • Al-Bank al-la Ribawi fi al-Islam (Usury-free Banking in Islam).
  • Maqalat Iqtisadiyyah (Essays in Economy).

Qur'anic commentaries[edit]

  • Al-Tafair al-Mawzu'i lil-Qur'an al-Karim - al-Madrasah al-Qur'aniyyah (The Thematic exegesis of the Holy Qur'an).
  • 1Buhuth fi 'Ulum al-Qur'an (Discourses on Qur'anic Sciences).
  • Maqalat Qur'aniyyah (Essays on Qur'an).


  • Ahl al-Bayt Tanawwu' Ahdaf wa Wahdah Hadaf (Ahl al- Bayt, Variety of Objectives Towards a Single Goal).
  • Fadak fi al-Tarikh (Fadak in History).

Islamic Culture[edit]

  • Al-Islam Yaqud al-Hayah (Islam Directive to Life).
  • Al-Madrasah al-Islamiyyah (Islamic School)
  • Risalatuna (Our Mission).
  • Nazrah Ammah fi al-Ibadat (General View on Rites of Worship).
  • Maqalat wa Muhazrat (Essays and Lectures)


  • "Al-'Amal wa al-Ahdaf" (The Deeds and the Goals): Min Fikr al- Da'wah. no. 13. Islamic Da'wah Party, central propagation, place and date of publication unknown.
  • "Al-'Amal al-Salih fi al-Quran" (The Proper Deeds According to Qur'an): Ikhtrna Lak. Beirut: Dar al-Zahra', 1982.
  • Ahl al-Bayt: Tanawu' Adwar wa-Wihdat Hadaf (The House Hold of the Prophet: Diversity of roles but unified goal). Beirut: Dar al-Ta'ruf, 1985.
  • Bahth Hawla al-Mahdi (Thesis on Messiah). Beirut: Dar al- Ta'ruf, 1983.
  • Bahth Hawla al-Wilayah (Thesis on Rulership). Kuwait: Dar al- Tawhid, 1977.
  • "Da'watana il al-Islam Yajeb an Takun Enqilabiyah," (Our Call for Islam Must be a Revolutionary): Fikr al-Da'wah, no. 13. Islamic Da'wah Party, central propagation, place and date of publication unknown.
  • "Dawr al-A'imah fi al-Hayat al-Islamiyah" (The Role of Imams in Muslims' Life): Ikhtarna Lak. Beirut: Dar al-Zahra', 1982.
  • "al-Dawlah al-Islamiyah" (The Islamic State), al-Jihad (14 March 1983): 5.
  • "Hawla al-Marhala al-Ula min 'Amal al-Da'wah" (On the First Stage of Da'wah Political Program): Min Fikr al-Da'wah. no. 13. Islamic Da'wah Party, central propagation, place and date of publishing unknown.
  • "Hawla al-Ism wa-al-Shakl al-Tanzimi li-Hizb al-Da'wah al- Islamiyah" (On the Name and the Structural Organization of Islamic Da'wah Party): Min Fikr al-Da'wah. no. 13. Islamic Da'wah Party, central propagation, place and date of publication unknown.
  • "al-Huriyah fi al-Quran" (Freedom according to Quran): Ikhtarna Lak. Beirut: Dar al-Zahra', 1982.
  • "al-Itijahat al-Mustaqbaliyah li-Harakat al-Ijtihad" (The Future Trends of the Process of Ijtihad): Ikhtarna Lak. Beirut: Dar al-Zahra', 1980.
  • al-Insan al-Mu'asir wa-al-Mushkilah al-Ijtima'yah (The contemporary man and the Social Problem).
  • "al-Janib al-Iqtisadi Min al-Nizam al-Islami" (The Economic Perspective of Islamic System): Ikhtarna Lak. Beirut: Dar al-Zahra', 1982.
  • Khalafat al-Insan wa-Shahadat al-Anbia' (Victory role of man, and Witness role of Prophets): al-Islam Yaqwod al-Hayat. Iran: Islamic Ministry of Guidance, n.d.
  • Khatut Tafsiliyah 'An Iqtisad al-Mujtama' al-Islami (General Basis of Economics of Islamic Society): al-Islam Yaqud al-Hayah. Iran: Islamic Ministry of Guidance, n.d.
  • Lamha fiqhiyah Hawla Dustur al-Jumhuriyah al-Islamiyah (A preliminary jurisprudence basis of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic): al-Islam Yaqwod al-Hayat Iran: Islamic Ministry of Guidance, n.d.
  • Madha Ta'ruf 'an al-Iqtisad al-Islami (What do you know about Islamic Economics). al-Islam Yaqwod al-Hayat Iran: Islamic Ministry of Guidance, n.d.
  • Manabi' al-Qudra fi al-Dawlah al-Islamiyah (The Sources of Power in an Islamic State). al-Islam Yaqwod al-Hayat Iran: Islamic Ministry of Guidance, n.d.
  • "al-Mihna" (The Ordeal). Sawt al-Wihdah, no. 5, 6, 7. (n.d).
  • Minhaj al-Salihin (The Path of the Righteous). Beirut: Dar al- Ta'aruf, 1980.
  • Muqaddimat fi al-Tafsir al-Mawdu'i Lil-Quran (Introductions in Thematic Exegesis of Quran). Kuwait: Dar al- Tawjyyh al-Islami, 1980.
  • "Nazarah 'Amah fi al-'Ibadat" (General Outlook on Worship): al-Fatawa al-Wadhiha. Beirut: Dar al-Ta'aruf, 1981.
  • "al-Nazriyah al-Islamiyah li-Tawzi' al-Masadr al-Tabi'iyah" (Islamic Theory of Distribution of Natural Resources): Ikhtarna Lak. Beirut: Dar al-Zahra', 1982.
  • "al-Nizam al-Islami Muqaranan bil-Nizam al-Ra'smali wa-al- Markisi" (The Islamic System Compared with The Capitalist and The Marxist Systems). Ikhtarna Lak. Beirut: Dar-al Zahra', 1982.
  • "Risalatuna wa-al-Da'wah" (Our Message and Our Sermon). Risalatuna. Beirut: al-Dar al-Islamiyah, 1981.
  • "Al-Shakhsiyah al-Islamiyah" (Muslim Personality): Min Fikr al-Da'wah al-Islamiyah (Of the Thoughts of Islamic Da'wah). no. 13. Islamic Da'wah Party, central propagation, place and date of publication unknown.
  • Surah 'An Iqtisad al-Mujtama' al-Islami (A Perspective on the Economy of Muslim Society). al-Islam Yaqwod al-Hayat Iran: Islamic Ministry of Guidance, n.d.
  • "al-Usus al-Amah li-al-Bank fi al-Mujtam al-Islami" (The General Basis of Banks in Islamic Society). in al-Islam Yaqwod al-Hayat Iran: Islamic Ministry of Guidance, n.d.
  • "Utruhat al-Marja'iyah al-Salihah" (Thesis on Suitable Marja'iyah). In Kazim al-Ha'iri, Mabahith fi 'Ilm al-Usul.Qum, Iran: n.p., 1988.
  • "al-Yaqin al-Riyadi wa-al-Mantiq al-Waz'i" (The Mathematic Certainty and the Phenomenal Logic): Ikhtrna Lak. Beirut: Dar al-Zahra', 1982.
  • "Preface to al-Sahifah al-Sajadiyah" (of Imam Ali ibn Hussein al-Sajad) Tehran: al-Maktabah al-Islamiyah al-Kubra, n.d.

Notable colleagues and students[edit]


See also[edit]

at the Moscow State Institute on International relations MGIMO. This great event was initiated by the Iraqi Cultural Attaché in Moscow assist. Prof. Dr. Tumah Muteir whose efforts were crowned by such event. Moscow by such step acknowledges Shahid al-sadr as a humanitarian thinker, philosopher and ideologist who made invaluable contribution to world's thought in general and to Islamic and eastern thought in particular. Diplomats from Russia and world embassies Attended the ceremony in addition to university professors, scholars, students and journalists.


  1. ^ Baqir Al-Sadr, Our Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, 1987, p. xiii
  2. ^ Augustus R. Norton (19 January 2009). Hezbollah: A Short History. Princeton University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-691-14107-7. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Anthony Shadid, Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War, (Holt, 2005), p.164
  4. ^ "More arrests expected from Hussein execution video". CNN (Baghdad). 3 January 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Mohammed Baqir Al-Sadr, Al-Islam yaqud al-hayat, Qum, 1979, p.132
  6. ^ Quran 5:44
  7. ^ Baqir Al-Sadr, Al-Islam yaqud al-hayat, Qum, 1979, p.24
  8. ^ Faleh A Jabar, The Shi’ite Movement in Iraq, London: Saqi Books, 2003, p.286
  9. ^ Mohammed Baqir Al-Sadr, Lamha fiqhiya, p.20
  10. ^ Mohammed Baqir Al-Sadr, Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, London: ICAS, 2003, p.15
  11. ^ Walbridge, Linda S. (2001). The Most Learned of the Shi`a: The Institution of the Marja Taqlid. USA: Oxford University Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-19-513799-6. Retrieved Jan 7, 2012. 
  12. ^ The Super Genius Personality of Islam
  13. ^ This has been translated into English twice: by Roy Mottahedeh as "Lessons in Islamic Jurisprudence" (2005) ISBN 978-1-85168-393-2 and anonymously as "The Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence according to Shi'i Law" (2003) ISBN 978-1-904063-12-4.
  • Mallat, Chibli. "Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr." Pioneers of Islamic Revival. ed. Ali Rahnema. London: Zed Books, 1994
  • Arabic Biography

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15 news items

Al Jazeera America
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 03:09:45 -0700

One of the reasons behind such a declaration is the close relations between Shahroudi and Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr, one of the most important former Dawa leaders, who was executed by Saddam in 1980. According to his biography, Shahroudi ...

Asharq Alawsat English

Asharq Alawsat English
Tue, 08 Apr 2014 04:48:45 -0700

... the backing of voters and politicians who have previously backed Maliki's State of Law Coalition, the other leading Shi'ite bloc, partly because the founder of Maliki's Al-Da'wah Party was Moqtada's uncle, the revered Shi'ite cleric Mohammad Baqir ...

Asharq Alawsat English

Asharq Alawsat English
Fri, 18 Oct 2013 08:29:47 -0700

They claim that they are a continuation of the original Islamic Da'wa Party which was founded by my uncle Mohammad Baqir Al-Sadr, and my father, Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq Al-Sadr. However, a lot of the rules and principles have changed. Many of the ...
Fri, 18 Oct 2013 15:49:32 -0700

In the Shiite world, Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr, inspired by the ideology of Maududi, presented and published a new version of the constitution of the Islamic government. Furthermore, when the Iranian constitution was being codified, he presented the ...
Tue, 12 Nov 2013 12:40:32 -0800

The first theoretical attempt in history came with the Shiite Jurist Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr, who considered that Islam can govern the community within democratic mechanisms, in an article titled “Khalafat al-Insan wa-Shahadat al-Anbia” (Victory the ...

Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor
Tue, 09 Apr 2013 13:01:46 -0700

“The Tragedy of al-Sadr” tells the story of Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr, a dissident Shiite cleric who was imprisoned, tortured, and executed, along with his sister Amina, in 1980. Sadr was the father-in-law of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, a leading ...
Electronic Intifada
Sat, 12 Dec 2009 07:51:28 -0800

... the common motivating questions that occupied Islamic revivalists like Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb, the intellectual icon of the Iranian Revolution Ali Shariati, and the figurehead of Islamic thought in Iraq Mohammad Baqir al ...
Wed, 22 Aug 2012 19:57:16 -0700

Furthermore some activists especially Dr. Ali Shari'ati politicized religion and make an ideology to revolt. In Iraq, Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr criticized Marxism and presented early ideas of an Islamic alternative to socialism and capitalism ...

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