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Martyr Ayatullah Syed Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr

By: Hujjat al-Islam Syed Jawad Naqvi, Lahore, Pakistan
Traditions state that when a Faqih (Jurist) passes away, a very big gap forms between the religion and the Muslim society for which nothing can be compensated. The space taken by a scholar is the space left unheeded when he passes away. Few personalities cover a huge segment of the society and have their contributions extended in every area. Amongst such few personalities is Martyr Ayatullah Syed Muhammad Baqir ul Sadr who has not been fully recognized till date. This martyr was not recognized before or even after his martyrdom.
A big obstacle in recognizing personalities is the Coincidence of being in the same era. When we live along with big personalities, we normally fail to pay any heed to them. The value of such precious gems is unveiled only after we get deprived of them.
Martyr Sadr was a unique personality bestowed as one of the greatest blessings of Allah (S.W.T) to test the humanity of his era. If we thank Allah (S.W.T) for His endless blessings not just by the tongue, but through our actions too, Allah (S.W.T) continues to send His blessings over such people.

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[Shakir 14:7] And when your Lord made it known: If you are grateful, I would certainly give to you more, and if you are ungrateful, My chastisement is truly severe
Such blessed personalities are not gifted to us for ages again once they are taken away by Allah (SWT). Unfortunately we fail to value our precious blessings. It is truly a tragedy with this martyr that people do not even remember him on his martyrdom anniversary. Few people with ideological backgrounds arrange a program to acknowledge him on his contributions.
Unfortunately, people still commend the excellence of people like Aristotle, Socrates and Plato who passed away 3000 years ago but for some reason they have forgotten the biggest of Assets, Martyr Sadr who departed this world only 25 years ago. The difference is in the perspectives of nations, not personalities. We as a nation do not know how to value great personalities while other nations applaud and welcome big personalities amongst them. Everything today depends on the temperament of nations. At times when they are to accept something, they accept animals to be God and when they are to deny something, they do not even accept Nooh (A.S) to be the Prophet of God! Hence there is a reflection of extremism in our way of thinking.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the current condition of Pakistan is a result of forgetting Allama Iqbal! We need to remove those obstacles that obstruct our vision to recognize such people. Martyr Sadr was amongst the very few who understood the pure religion from all its dimensions in such an atmosphere of the Seminary of Najaf which did not have the caliber to have such extra ordinary personalities there. In such kind of an environment, he did not enjoy fruitful opportunities to attain a high status. His guides were not like him, nor did his teachers, trainers or students match to his level and this is the reason why we are so obliged to comprehend his ideology.

Classifications of Role Models
There are a few personalities who do not receive any guidance by any trainer or teacher. They are a result of the intention and will of Allah and this leads them to heights of perfection! It is a universal fact that the most ignorant category of people are the Shiites as they have never learned how to value precious assets. In order to escape the current crisis, we need to introduce ourselves with such kinds of great people. There are three types of role models:

1. Good and Ideal Role Models
These Role Models must be followed. They include Infallibles and all those Non Infallibles too who have worked hard to reach heights of perfection and have become a practical role model for us in the current era such as Imam Khomeni (R.A), Martyr Sadr (R.A), Martyr Mutahhari (R.A) and the list goes on.

2. Bad and Corrupt Role Models
These Role Models should never be kept in front of us otherwise they will lead us towards destruction. They are clearly corrupt and wrong-proven to the society hence people have a sense of hatred towards them. They include people like Yazid and his sort.

3. Ambiguous and Confusing Role Models
These role models are the most dangerous and destructive as they are ambiguous in their identity itself. People get confused when they look at them and do not know whether to follow them or not. They look all right by their outlook but they dont take us anywhere. Imam Khomeini (R.A) has said that the most damage caused to Islam is from these kinds of role models.
Just by establishing faith on Allah (S.W.T), one doesnt necessarily escape the influence of Taghoot (Satan) but certainly, if one forgoes the influence of Satan, he automatically steps on the path of Allah (S.W.T). The reason for this is that it is difficult to reject all powers and surrender to one sublime power of Allah (S.W.T). The only solution to save ourselves from the ambiguous and corrupt role models is to introduce ourselves with the ideal role models of the society which will help us to draw a clear line between truth and falsehood.
If we undertake our responsibilities, such bounties of Allah are revised and resent towards nations. We should also remember that if we fail to recognize our Imams (leaders), this will have no effect on their leadership, it is our deprivation if such personalities are not given their respected status. The Ummah does not form the personality of an Imam, instead the Ummah follows the Imam in order to shape its own personality. It is not the public that makes one a scholar, it is the Grant of Allah that elevates man.

Martyr Sadrs Excellences
It has become a trend that you will find experts only in Jurisprudence (Fiqh) and the Principles of Jurisprudence (Usool e Fiqh) in the Hawzas (Seminaries) today. This only covers a twelfth portion of religion. Martyr Sadr was not only a Faqih (expert) in Jurisdiction, but he was an expert in the complete comprehensive religion. He used to say that Our Islamic System and Seminaries have turned into a Jurisdiction Institute! He comprehended religion as an ideology which is quite rare today. (Ideology is an organized constitution of life which covers all aspects of life.) It has rules, regulations and laws which are all presented as a system.
None before him took the step which he initiated and this proves his excellence. He studied religion with innovativeness in such a way that he had no role models to follow.
The System of Religion was buried at the time of Martyr Sadr. He was the one who excavated it from deep inside the ground and blew life to it by reviving its values and rejuvenating the constitution. He was the person who had the most Organized System of Insight. Just like the Solar System, all the planets circulate around the Sun with discipline considering the sun to be their Axis, in the same way, for thoughts, visions and insights; Martyr Sadr was like the Sun around whom all intellectuals circulate. Information about knowledge is held by many, but there are only a very few who become such that they could be regarded as the Centre of Visions! He first understood the world with all its minute exegesis, he completely knew the System of Existence. He totally understood the Reality of Man and was aware of the role of man appointed by his religion. He had a totally organized system in which he could guide people how to think and ponder in order to understand all the realities of this world. He did not have a bundle of information related to knowledge; in fact he was the Origin of Thoughts and Wisdom. What makes him extremely valuable is that his background which was the city of Najaf, Iraq did not have the potential to shape such valuable assets.

Misrepresentations of Martyr Sadrs Ideologies
One big problem which has turned us away from his true recognition is due to those people who carried efforts to present them in front of the society as they were extremely short sighted and narrow minded. They considered the exegesis of religion presented by him to be his personal opinion and in support to their claim, they gave references of senior scholars having a different prospective from what martyr Sadr had. This was a very big attack and painful strike on the ideology of Religion presented by him. These kind of statements do the work of a sharp knife. This results in cutting people from such personalities and diverting their attention elsewhere. It is the same case that today, people consider the concept of Wilayat e Faqeeh to be something controversial and hence they regard those promoting this concept to be people enforcing their personal views on the public. This concept of Wilayate Faqeeh was considered the personal view of Imam Khomeini (R.A) and hence no one paid any heed to it.
Martyr Sadr is an extremely oppressed personality. His life resembles so much to the life of the Imams (A.S). He was born in Kadhmain (Iraq). It seems that probably he considered Imam Musa Al Kadhim his role model and there is a lot of resemblance found in his life. The last moments of martyr Sadr were extremely painful just like Imam Al Kadhim (A.S) especially the way he was tortured. Martyr Sadrs body was burnt by iron rods. His face and beard was burnt. Driller machines were squeezed into his body. Then after many other mental and physical tortures, he was buried in a place where none was aware of. His assassinators later informed others of his burial place. Not only Saddam was this great martyrs enemy but anti groups within the Seminary of Najaf hurt him even more. The biggest of pains which he had to endure was that the Islamic Ideology which he presented was considered his personal opinion whereas on the other hand, Imam Khomeini (R.A) used to say about Martyr Sadr and Martyr Mutahhari that: Whatever they have said, whatever exegesis they have done is the exact and complete reality of Islam
A jurist in religion cannot impose his personal opinions as he has no rights. A scholar is ordained to present the views of Islam. Martyr Mutahhari was very lucky as compared to martyr Sadr because he was blessed with teachers like Allama Taba Tabai and Imam Khomeini (R.A) but martyr Sadr was deprived of such blessings. Scholars, preachers, philosophers and personalities are not born in every corner of the world. Personalities are formed by nations and not in the laps of mothers! Nations who know how to value knowledge and scholars are bestowed with such blessings.

Martyr Sadr and Martyr Mutahhari the Yardstick of Islam
The first and foremost thing is that the thoughts and visions of Martyr Sadr and Mutahhari (R.A) should be ranked as the reality of Islam whereas on the other hand, all other thoughts should be considered doubtful till the time they are aligned with the ideology of the Islam. These two personalities should be considered the yardstick on which all thoughts and visions should be measured. Today, if you undertake a research, you will see that all the great scholars and philosophers - be it of amongst the Shiites or the Sunnis, are all Iranians. The reason for this is that the temperament of the Iranian nation is such that intellectuals are given the standard respect and deserving status in the country. But unfortunately, the Pakistani nation has never valued people of high caliber and this is the reason we do not see the greatest of personalities emerging from this nation. We have an example of Qadeer Khan in front of us. He was a scientist but just because he was not getting the deserving respect, he became a politician so that he becomes the center of attraction. In Iran the public along with the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Syed Ali Khamenei value all the qualified people be it in the field of sciences or religion. The Supreme Leader visits the graves of big scientists in the same way he visits the graveyard of the Martyrs. This shows how knowledge-oriented this nation is that it does not let any of its assets go unrecognized.
On the Martyrdom of Martyr Mutahhari, Imam Khomeini (RA) said with tears flowing from his eyes: Mutahhari was a part of my body, I brought him up. Imam instructed the youth to study him deeply and regarded him the manifestation of the reality of Islam!
Though Martyr Sadr had an exceptional caliber, his case was totally the opposite as compared to Martyr Mutahhari. When he reached the rank of Ijtehad (Jurist), many scholars dedicated efforts in order to stop people from attending his classes and lectures and they tried their level best that no one would consider this great Scholar a Mujtahid. If you analyze Imam Khomeini (R.A), though he was giving Dars e Kharij in the Seminary of Qum, he used to attend the classes of Ayatollah Burujardi (R.A) along with his students. People asked him as to why he was attending extra classes which were not required by him? In reply to this he used to say, If people like me attend the classes of Agha Burujardi, it will increase the strength of Marjaiyyat in the Muslim world as it is extremely important to value this pillar of religion.

How unfortunate was Martyr Sadr?
All those who would support Martyr Sadr would have to get their Shahriya (amount given by the seminary) canceled. The situation of Iraq was such that simply reading newspapers was not allowed, and in this environment, Martyr Sadr used to order magazines and wrote articles for a few of them. He was totally updated with the current affairs of the world at his time. He never stayed outdated nor was he ignorant of the current crisis in every corner of the world. He was the most aware and cautious scholar of Najaf. He analyzed all problems and then he presented his uniformed system of thoughts as the solution to these problems. He was totally displeased with the situation around him. There were many big issues and areas of concern for him. One thing which was extremely dangerous but was prevalent at his time and even today was that Unlawful things were given an Islamic Outlook. There were many tricks being used in order to portray Haram (Unlawful) as Halal (Lawful). A picturesque was made as such that Forbidden things within Religion were presented as Allowed with an Islamic coating. Just by changing a few titles, doing some paper work, changing a few formalities and making some amendments, they used to present unlawful as lawful in religion.
We have the most vibrant of examples to prove this. The concept of Islamic banking introduced to us by the world is not at all on the basis of Islam! Just by making some changes to the titles does not make the system Islamic! All efforts dedicated by the scholars of that era and even today were to present tricks to the public, so that they have a justification for every unlawful act they do.

Religion at Our Convenience
There are strange laws given by Wahabi scholars in order to allow their followers to work alongside with improperly dressed women in Europe! People of Europe say that in all circumstances, they need to work in such an environment and by no means can they leave such a polluted environment. They demand their scholars to give them lawful justifications in order to stay there. They consider the knowledge of the scholars as a waste if they fail to accommodate them there!
There are books practically written by different scholars on the tricks of justifying unlawful as lawful which is referred to as ی which means Book of tricks.
At the time of Martyr Sadr, the scholars provided justifications in order to prove that living under the system of tyranny is allowed in Islam under a few circumstances! They presented tricks in order to prove life as lawful under the governance of Saddam. There were many people who approached scholars at that time only for this cause. When their Islamic tax (Khums) date would approach, they would be seen around different scholars trying their level best to avoid giving their obligation. Those scholars by the name would tell them the tricks on how to save themselves from donating one fifth of their wealth in the way of Allah and for presenting this trick; they would themselves take a little share as their commission! The Scholars of Tricks can never preach Islam but they can easily open the doors to destruction. Martyr Sadr used to say, The rules of Islam have been forgotten because of this very act!

Comparison to his Seniors
Another big tragedy with him was that His Thoughts were always compared to his seniors!
As the seniors are always respected in every society, people never pay heed to what the juniors say and especially when there is a conflict of visions, they totally disregard the opinion of juniors. At his time, whenever he presented a vision, people used to say that What is Baqir saying (with disrespect)? This has never been said by Ayatollah Mohsin al Hakim (The Marja of the time)! We know that the Fatawa (laws) of Marjas differ and there is no big deal with it if not made an issue. The problem was that these little differences were raised and popped up in order to assassinate the character of Martyr Sadr! This was the satanic strategy being used against this personality. Nevertheless he had to bear all this oppression but he always defended himself with bravery.
He was a man of bravery. He never left his work or mission. He used to check and balance everything on the yardstick of Islam and if he would see anything going against it, he used to raise his voice and speak against. He was a man of revolution. He wanted to establish a revolution in all aspects of life. For this very cause, he even worked so hard in order to change the traditional syllabus of the Hawza so that it can meet the requirements of the current era. He totally revised the syllabus of the seminary as he was not happy with it. He personally wrote books which could be taught as a syllabus but till date, you will not find his books introduced in the seminary just because of jealousy and personal grudges with the martyr. This martyr was the only one who raised this slogan that The Oppressive Governance of the Abbasi should vanish! Many other scholars considered this slogan to be of no use and kept it aside regarding it as a political matter. But he kept his struggle ongoing and he always opposed oppression in which ever form it was! He invested efforts to bring a revolution of knowledge, syllabus, ideology, politics, intellect and every single aspect of life!

Creation and Discontinuation of Hizb al-Dawa al-Islamiya
He led a movement by the name "Hizb al-Da'wa al-Islamiya" which was and is still Iraq's ruling Shiite party even today, headed by Nur al Maliki. Al Dawa began as a revivalist Shiite movement in Najaf, Iraq, in 1957, as the political vessel of Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr's Islamic Ideology. It was a very strong party of Shias. After heading it for five years, the respected Martyr ordered to discontinue this party and announced his disassociation towards this party. He also issued an Islamic decree saying it was unlawful to register as a member of this party! We should think and ponder over this. He was the one who formed this party and he himself tried to demolish it from its roots. This was all the result of his association with Imam Khomeini (R.A) as when Imam Khomeni came to Najaf, he had all his sittings with Imam and this influenced the martyr to have a second look towards forming a party in religion. But the temperament of political parties is such that once they are formed, they never finish and this is what happened! That party which Martyr Sadr formed is still active in Iraq today. Today you will find many scholars against him in Qum and Najaf. One writer wrote about this Martyr that: He was living under all forms of dictatorship. There was religious, political, social and every kind of dictatorship on him but he remained steadfast alongside with his determination!
That Hizb al-Da'wa al-Islamiya party was so strong and disciplined that only four people would know that they are a member of this party and the fifth person would not be known to anybody. Their network was so strong that Saddam finished all other parties but Hizb al-Dawa al-Islamiya. Though Martyr Sadr ordered the party to be finished, there was no effect. It is also the temperament of parties that they accept a scholar till the time he is in service to that party and once he leaves, they stand against him as an opposition party. Hence the Hizb al Dawa party started opposing him but he kept going with the insight of revolution. In the last time of his age, when he knew that his opponents have doubled, he left all activities and started working on the foundational subjects. He studied the Holy Quran a lot in his last few days as he considered the Holy Quran to be the Book of Revolution. He used to tell his students that he will not do anything except giving the world The Principles of Islamic Movement as his timespan was extremely short. He had a fixed tight schedule and he planned how much to cover in the limited time he had. But unfortunately he was unable to finish even one topic and he was martyred. This reality is confirmed and authenticated that it was Martyr Sadr who provided the skeleton for the constitution of the Islamic Governance of Iran and presented this to Imam Khomeini (R.A) which was later worked upon by Martyr Bahishti for implementation. This shows the talent present in him. Martyr Sadr was a great person regardless of the environment in which he was, where even speaking a word was difficult. People used to accuse him by saying that He is a Communist! He is the agent of Russia! and these accusations were not made by some lay man, they were made by the scholars of his time.

Conclusion
He was mentally martyred several times prior to his physical martyrdom at the age of 45. The most important pillar of Islam was killed who kept the potential to become a motivational force in order to run an Islamic movement all over the World.
DO REMEMBER: Till the time you dont eradicate corrupt and ambiguous role models and introduce good and ideal ones, you can never walk on the right path!
A summary of his contributions:
He wrote books on banking without interest.
He wrote about the economic system of Islam.
He introduced the political system of Islam.
He presented religion in its most comprehensive manner.
If we want to get saved from destruction, we need to turn Martyr Sadr into our practical role model. We need to think like him! We need to be aware like him! We need to study religion like him! We need to learn how to be steadfast like him! We need to study him as a syllabus! We need to look at him as a constitution. He is the practical exegesis of the Holy Quran through his personality. He is the biggest of capitals any religion can have! We need to live like him! We need to die like him!
Let us pray to Allah (S.W.T) to grant us the opportunity to recognize such personalities and value them in our lives before it gets too late where we need to bear the pain of deprivation!

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[Shakir 89:27] O soul that art at rest!
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[Shakir 89:28] Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him),
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[Shakir 89:29] So enter among My servants,
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[Shakir 89:30] And enter into My garden.
With the Spirit of Martyrdom,

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