A Glance at the Biography of Allama Abdul Husayn Sharafuddin al-Musawi
Written by Allama Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq as-Sadr
The previous head of the Legal Ja’fari Cassation Counsel, Lebanon
The Islamic world today highly appreciates the personality of the late great mujtahid1 Sayyid Abdul Husayn Sharafuddeen, who has made himself as an entail for the sake of the public Islamic benefit.
This beloved personality, with its greatness and fame, has filled the sights and hearings when the life has been flourished with the useful existence of this great man.
The time has folded this bright page but its fragrance is still spreading with its abundant knowledge, great effects, benevolent works and august services for the sake of Allah, the religion and the nation.
This great man strove and endeavored as much as he could along his life inviting the Muslims to unite, to agree with each other and to avoid the bad sectarianism through his eloquent speeches, crowded meetings and valuable eternal books.
The first work of him was before half a century. It was his book “Al-Fusool al-Muhimma fee Ta’leef al-Umma”, which he had written in 1327 A.H.
He thought of the solidarity of the Ummah, in a time when no one thought of it except a very few learned persons of that age. He discussed then in his “al-Fusool al-Muhimma” the obstacles that acted as stumbling blocks in the way of the unity of the Ummah. He uncovered those obstacles with clear eloquence and decisive proofs, which did not let any way to suspicion and doubt.
Al-Fusool al-Muhimma was a book of clear scientific facts, which the imam of the knowledge and eloquence had formed in his bright Alawite literary style in order to unite the umma under the banner of monotheism and solidarity. Those discussions were accurate in thinking and eloquent in expressing that they were as something new for the Islamic studies before that date.
Those studies, in their noble Islamic aim, are to be in every house to guide the straying, to lead the confused and to direct people to the way of Ahlul Bayt,2 whom Allah has purified from uncleanness and who have been the equivalents of the Book and the leaders of the Ummah to the truth and to the straight path.
Two years after his book had been published, Sayyid Sharafuddeen traveled to Egypt to invite for the Islamic unity through his speeches and moving sayings. His hopes had been refreshed by the Egyptians discussions and the Azharite “muraja’at”, 3 which had happened between him and the Allama of Egypt Sheikh Saleem al-Bishri, the head of al-Azhar University. Those friendly meetings had solved many problems and questions.
They both had exchanged their passions to each other and each of them had found in his friend abundant knowledge, magnanimity and determination to invite for unity that had to be among the fair ulama. As a result of those discussions and reviews was the book of “al-Muraja’at” by Sayyid Sharafuddeen that had spread all over the Islamic world in several editions.
A very fine saying was said by Sayyid Sharafuddeen in the beginning of his book al-Muraja’at about these meetings. He said: “How well it is when the ulama meet with pure spirits, pleasing sayings and prophetic morals! Whenever an aalim4 is in this neat garment, he will be in goodness and blessing and people will be in safe and mercy. No one of people will refrain from telling such an aalim of his real opinion or what there is inside him.
Such was the aalim and imam of Egypt and such were our meetings, which we thanked infinitely. I complained to him my passion and he complained to me the same thing. It was a lucky hour that inspired to us to think of something, by which Allah might reunite the Ummah.
Among what we had agreed upon was that the two sects, the Shia and the Sunni, were Muslims believing in pure Islam. They are equal in what the Prophet (S) has brought and there is no difference between them concerning a basic origin of the religion that may spoil their belief in pure Islam and there is no dispute between them except for the differences between the mujtahids concerning some verdicts due to their different points of views in interpreting those verdicts out of the Qur’an, the Sunna, the consensus and the fourth evidence (reason) and all these differences do not lead to separation (between the Muslims) nor to serious disputes. There is no any reason for this dispute, whose sparks have scattered since the existence of these two names, Sunni and Shia.”
In such a high Islamic spirit our master Sayyid Sharafuddeen acted throughout his life, whose long years did not add to him save determination and insistence on this path.
It was for this continuous Islamic jihad that we found the different Islamic sects had agreed on loving and appreciating him and on looking at him with admiration and respect.
And now his name is praised by every tongue and his eternal books are in every house and are read by all people, who compete to have them and to present them to anyone looking forward to the high Islamic culture.
Libraries and presses here and there make reading these books easy and offer them to the readers in the best way that fits their importance. May Allah make the all succeed in the way of goodness and righteousness.
Here we show in summary the biography of this great man, whose life has been filled with glory, lessons and examples, so that to make this bright page as lessons teaching the Ummah jihad, unity, sincerity, cordiality and devoutness for the sake of the general Islamic welfare, to which Sayyid Sharafuddeen has devoted his long life. We pray Allah to help us in serving Him and achieving His rights.
What we mention here is a drop from an ocean of what we have known about this man. May Allah benefit His people with this man’s knowledge and pen and make the Ummah walk in his guidance and act according to his sayings, maxims and instructions.
His birth and upbringing
Sayyid Sharafuddeen was born in Kadhimiyya5 in 1290 A.H. from Alawite parents. His father was the great Allama Sayyid Yousuf Sharafuddeen and his mother was Az-Zahra’ the daughter of Ayatollah Sayyid Al-Hadi As-Sadr the father of the great religious authority Sayyid al-Hasan as-Sadr (may Allah have mercy upon them all).
The lineage of Sayyid Sharafuddeen6 from his two parents reaches to Imam Musa al-Kadhim7 (S). Muhammad al-Awwal (the first) is the son of the great mujtahid Sayyid Ibraheem (surnamed as Sharafuddeen), who is the common grandfather of the two families; Aal8 as-Sadr and Aal Sharafuddeen. These two families were together in Baghdad known at that time as Aal al-Husayn al-Qat’iy, from which was the family of the two great scholars Sharif al-Murtadha and Sharif ar-Radhiy.
In his honorable grandfather Sayyid al-Hadi’s house, Sayyid Sharafuddeen was born under the care of his grandfather. He was beloved and preferred by his grandfather and by all.
His uncle (my father) Sayyid Muhammad al-Husayn as-Sadr9 was his mate and friend. They learned together because they were near in age, aim and thinking.
Besides them (in the school of the house) was his (Sayyid Sharafuddeen’s) youngest aunt10 participating them their learning, studying and discussing. Sayyid Sharafuddeen often mention that with too much pride.
In the eighth year of his old his father Yousuf returned to Aamila11 after he had finished his studies and got a certificate of absolute ijtihad12 from the ulama of Iraq. His mother wished to stay near her family (in Iraq) to educate her only son (Sayyid Sharafuddeen) and to prepare for him the suitable sphere beside his grandfather and his uncle but his father did not agree to this wish because of his great love to him (to his son). He promised her that he himself would educate him and then he would send him back to Iraq in the proper time. She accepted this condition.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen kept to his father and learned from him what he needed of sciences of the Arabic language, logic, eloquence, Fiqh and Usool.13 His name shone among his fellow boys and his superiority was known while he was too young yet.
When Sayyid Sharafuddeen became seventeen years old, his father married him to his uncle’s daughter (the mother of Allama Sayyid Muhammad Ali14) and then sent him to Iraq to complete his studies.
In a few years Sayyid Sharafuddeen became very well-known in ijtihad and in accuracy and firmness of evidencing in arguments and deliberations. He became famous in deciding lessons of Fiqh and Usool profoundly, quick-wittedly and quick-derivationally. He solved difficult questions in a shortest way leading to the intended aim.
He wrote many researches on fiqh while he was in holy Najaf in a style like the style of the book Madarikul Ahkam fee Sharh Shara’i’ul Islam, which had been written by his uncle Sayyid Muhammad bin Ali bin al-Husayn,15 who was known for his great knowledge, his high ability in deriving verdicts and discussing the problems of fiqh in a scientific way showing his accuracy and discernment in dealing with difficult problems and vague matters.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen had learned from other than the ulama of Iraq such as Aakhund Mulla Muhammad Kadhim al-Khurasani, Sheikh ash-Sharee’a al-Isfahani, Sayyid Kadhim al-Yazdi and the two great authorities Sayyid Isma’eel as-Sadr16 and his uncle Sayyid Hasan as-Sadr and their likes of the ulama and leaders of the Ummah.
He asked his grandfather Ayatollah Sayyid al-Hadi17 many questions about everything. Sayyid Sharafuddeen said in his book Bughyatur Raghibeen about his grandfather: “…as for the sciences of Arabic language, he was unequalled especially in meanings and rhetoric. I always made use of his knowledge about what I could not understand from the problems of (al-Mutawwal) by at-Taftazani. He guided me to them with the light of his eloquence and the brightness of his evidences and then those problems became to me as bright as the sun. How often I referred to him about the difficult matters in logic and sciences of the Arabic language and he pleased me and drove my doubts away. He, though lofty and old, came to argue with me pleasantly, went on debating with me delightfully and forced me to argue with him. I swear by his high morals and his sacredness that I have never asked him about a problem or a question, unless I found the answer ready with him without needing to refer to any book as if he has prepared before and got ready to the answer.”
Sayyid Sharafuddeen studied and researched too much and asked too much about the difficult problems whenever he met a great jurisprudent. It showed his care, accuracy and his love to debate.
When arguing about a subject, he did not like to dispute, to refute or to criticize uselessly but he offered a matter in order to get benefit and to make others benefit without priding before the others or trying to hurt the feelings of the others when a dispute flared-up.
He was known as abundant in knowledge and firm in evidence. He seldom participated in an argument, unless he was the winner. This had made a prestige for him among all people and a sanctum inside the hearts whenever scientific arguments flared-up.
Whenever he participated in arguments, he respected the others and listened to them carefully and he never made anyone feel that he was proud before him due to his knowledge or position but he treated him as an opponent to a rival even there was a great difference between them in all criteria.
When he was twenty-three years old, he became one of the notable mujtahids. He became well-known in the scientific milieu in a way that seldom a jurisprudent got such a position at this young age. His infinite ijtihad was one of the agreed-upon facts among all of his fellows and those, who had been acquainted with him.
At his age there was no one in holy Najaf from the personalities of Aamila that had equaled him in his virtue, fame and being loved and respected by all people.
His learning was not limited in Najaf, but he often moved between Najaf, Kadhimiyya, Samarra’ and Kerbala’18 and met with the ulama, mujtahids and brilliant students of those centers. This made his name be mentioned in every scientific forum or any meeting of literature.
Before he left Najaf, he had sent for his brother the great Allama Sayyid Shareef in order to take care of him and to instruct him before going back to Aamila. He loved him very much besides that he set great hopes on him because he had found that he was brilliant and too eager to learn more and more.
Sayyid Shareef did not disappoint his brother. He got ready seriously to study and learn. Only a few years passed when the Sayyid began to feel his favors and high position in his emigrant abode. He went back to Aamila and his absolute ijtihad was confessed by the great mujtahids.
Besides his abundant knowledge, he was a poet from the first class. His poetry was delicate, clear, firm, accurate in meaning, eloquent in wording and wonderful in style.
Sayyid Shareef went back to his father and brother and they all gathered together. The scientific debates were held again between the father and his two sons as if they were between brothers and friends. They reactivated with their debates their old times when once they were in their scientific place of emigration.
Dispute and disagreement about scientific matters might arise between them but their faces always appeared smiling and their hearts were full of indulgence. Some tears might fall down from the father’s eyes out of happiness and the two sons wiped them and bowed to kiss the father’s hands. The father seemed happy and contented. He began invoking Allah to benefit the Ummah with them and with their knowledge.
But alas! This happiness did not last long. Sayyid Sharafuddeen lost his father and soon after a short time he was afflicted by the loss of his brother Sayyid Shareef. This great loss took away his patience and endurance though he was a mountain that could not be shaken by violent storms.
He often recited his brother’s emotional poetry and tears fell down. He became distressed with pains and greifs but he turned to Allah thanking Him in any case and resorting to His power. Glory Be to Him.
His return to Mountain Aamil
Sayyid Yousuf Sharafuddeen contacted the ulama of Iraq, in whom he had trusted, asking them about his son to know their opinion about his knowledge and piety. They replied certifying his son’s abundant knowledge, high morals, wide information and unequalled piety that pleased the father’s heart, delighted his eyes and comforted his conscience.
The clear answers of the ulama which certified the absolute ijtihad of the son made the father ask the son to come back to his country because of the urgent need for his ijtihad, knowledge, teaching and reforming.
The son had not save to obey his father’s order although he was eager to stay longer or in fact forever in Iraq, the country of his uncles and cousins and the place of his birth, growing up and studying.
He returned to the country and the day of his return was a witnessed day in the history of Aamila. He was received by the ulama, the leaders and the public until the boundaries of the Mountain from the highway of Sham.19 The people of the villages of Aamila came from everywhere until the city of Soor became overcrowded with the welcomers and the groups that had come to receive Sayyid Sharafuddeen acclaiming with la ilaha illallah and allahu akbar 20 as if they were like the first Muslims when they had received the Prophet (S) when he arrived at Mecca.
The moon shone to us from Thaniyyatul Wada’ Thanking (Allah) became due as long as a caller would invite for Allah.
The coming of Sayyid Sharafuddeen to Soor was a cause for people to hold meetings and an incentive for Sayyid Sharafuddeen to visit his brothers of the great ulama, who recalled - by the return of the Sayyid - their previous days of learning and studying, and so they got ready again to debate and discuss the accurate useful matters. Those debates showed his great scientific ability, which appeared via his correct opinions through the discussions and exchange of views.
People took a clear and live impression about the scientific personality of Sayyid Sharafuddeen and so his name was mentioned by every tongue.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen found some freedom near his father. The father sometimes went to Shahoor and sometimes he was seen in Soor. The atmosphere of the meeting was a scientific atmosphere. They discussed the necessary matters together because people were in need to know how to deal with such matters.
At the first when returning to his country Sayyid Sharafuddeen stopped establishing legal verdicts (fatwa) and he just tried to end the disputes of people peacefully regarding the position of his father, who was so cautious in establishing verdicts although he was one of the great mujtahids. People were obliged to go to Shaqra’ to ask about their affairs the great religious authority at that time Sayyid Ali al-Ameen,21 who wrote to Sayyid Yousuf telling him that his son was just and absolute mujtahid and that he had not found his equal among the ulama of Aamila. Then people began to go to Sayyid Sharafuddeen for their affairs regarding his high position. His father himself asked disputers to go to his son whenever it was necessary.
In a few years his name spread everywhere and his fame filled the country and he became a great authority in issuing fatwas and answering different problems.
His travel to Egypt
Sayyid Sharafuddeen had traveled to Egypt twice. The first time was in 1329 A.H. and the second was in 1920 AD. after issuing his fatwa of jihad against the French and being sentenced to death by them.
In the first time he went to visit Egypt with his uncle (my father) Sayyid Muhammad Husayn as-Sadr. My uncle had told us about this visit when mentioning the biography of his uncle in his book Bughyatul Raghibeen. He said: “In 1329 A.H. he wished to tour. He began his tours with visiting the Kaaba to offer the hajj and to be honored by visiting good Medina. He was too eager to offer hajj and to visit the sacred places. Then he refreshed the old times and humored his loving fellows, who celebrated his being among them in an unequalled way. This made my mother so happy and glad that she found in him the delight of her eyes and the joy of her heart.
Then after sometime he sailed from Beirut to Egypt. I was with him to prepare all his affairs. Our travel got great results that served the religion and the belief of the Shia. It might be the best travel with best results and benefits.”
Sayyid Sharafuddeen had mentioned what had happened between him and the great professor Sheikh Saleem al-Bishri, the jurisprudent of Egypt and the sheikh of al-Azhar at that time.
As a result of those deliberations the book al-Muraja’at was written by Sayyid Sharafuddeen. It spread in seven editions throughout the Islamic world. It was one of the best works known in the present age in the field of the Islamic studies through its abundant knowledge, profundity of research, clarity of intention, firmness of style and eloquence of thinking and expressing.
The second time he resorted to Egypt after he had been sentenced to death by French authorities, who found his existence in Lebanon dangerous to their benefits and as an obstacle in the way of their imperial efforts and aims.
The ulama, the men of letters and the Islamic learned groups, who had known about him since before, welcomed him so warmly in Egypt.
He invited for Islamic unity and mutual understanding between all the sects. It was he, who had said his eternal word about the two sects; the Shia and the Sunni: “Politics has separated them, so let politics gather them.” Allama Sayyid Rasheed Redha had recorded this word in his magazine (al-Manar) at that time regarding highly this Islamic spirit of Sayyid Sharafuddeen.
His national jihad
The jihad of Sayyid Sharafuddeen at the time of the Ottomans was limited to religious jihad because the government in Lebanon was a Muslim government offering religious rituals as they had been established by Islam. But when the French came, they occupied the country, spread corruption, annulled the Islamic laws and controlled people against their own will where no one could be remain silent before such a status.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen began warning people of that oppression and injustice and began holding meeting with those, whom he had trusted and felt their support and national magnanimity inciting to what honorable situations the nation was in need of.
No doubt that the spiritual class was the first to volunteer to undertake this duty where it had the public and absolute religious leadership.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen thought to begin with the ulama first, deliberating about a consolidated plan that should be regarded by the all. He invited them to a congress held in Wadi al-Hajeer. The ulama and leaders of the country had attended the congress. Sayyid Sharafuddeen issued a fatwa of announcing jihad. The all supported his fatwa and then they went back to their towns preparing their firm plans against the French as possible as the circumstances allowed to.
People began to come to Sayyid Sharafuddeen’s house signing protest notes confirming their objection to the French rule and requesting full independence. The French knew about the matter. They sent Ibnul Hallaj, who was a Christian from Soor, to break into Sayyid Sharafuddeen’s house, to assassinate him and to take whatever documents asking for independence he would find.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen knew that, so he gave all the documents he had to his mother. Ibnul Hallaj did not find anything he looked for. When he tried to attack Sayyid Sharafuddeen, Sayyid Sharafuddeen knocked him down to the ground so he went back disappointed and shameful.
People heard of breaking into Sayyid Sharafuddeen’s house. They gathered from all the villages of Aamila until the city of Soor became overcrowded with them. Sayyid Sharafuddeen thanked them for their high sentiment and national spirit. He asked them to go back to where they had come from. They came back waiting for his obeyed order.
When the crowd separated and the French knew the intents of Sayyid Sharafuddeen, they sent a great army toward the village of Shahoor, where Sayyid Sharafuddeen had gone. They burned his house there. Before that, they had occupied his house in Soor and plundered his big library, which had the most valuable printed and manuscript books especially his own manuscripts that had been written by himself, which we referred to previously.
When the army entered Shahoor, Sayyid Sharafuddeen was there but he hastened to leave putting his aba over his turban and Allah blinded the army not to see him. He reached a cave22 near the river and hid in it all the day and when he knew that the army had left he returned to Shahoor under the darkness. He spent the night there and then he left towards Sham in disguise and he reached there peacefully. King Faysal the First welcomed his guest warmly and honored him in a good way.
When Sayyid Sharafuddeen settled down in Damascus, he sent for his family and relatives, who joined him soon. The name of Sayyid Sharafuddeen became so famous and known until he became one of the leaders of intellect and thinking. He made speeches in many occasions that raised his position among all classes of people. These speeches showed his great knowledge and apposite thinking.
His house in as-Salihiyya quarter in his country was always open for people. People of different classes always went to him. People of Salihiyya found in this man benevolence and kindness as if he was their kind father, who carried out their affairs. He found them in need for money and knowledge so he aided the poor and taught the children in a school established in a simple house to educate the rising generation.
What drew attention were the visits of the high officials to him in his house where no one of them had ever visited any of the ulama before him. Yousuf al-Adhma (the martyr of Maysaloon) often visited Sayyid Sharafuddeen and admired him and admired his situations too much.
After the French had occupied Sham, Sayyid Sharafuddeen was obliged to leave to Palestine and then to Egypt after he had sent his family and relatives to Mountain Aamil spreading here and there.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen arrived at Egypt disguised in ordinary Arabic uniform with a kaffieh and a headband like the usual uniform of the people in Iraq.
He attended one of the celebrations that were crowded with people. He was still in his formal Arabic uniform when he ascended the minbar and said: “If I do not stop where the army of death crowds, then let my feet not take me to the way of highness!”
People began clapping so loudly. He felt that they thought it was him, who had said this verse. He followed up saying: “May Allah have mercy upon the poet of Ahlul Bayt, Sayyid Haydar al-Hilli when saying: ‘If I do not stop where the army of death crowds, then let my feet not take me to the way of highness!’”
Then clapping rose again louder than before. Admiration increased from everywhere. He began his speech with his orotund voice and his prophetic manners and Alawite utterance. He pleased the crowds with his high eloquence and bright evidences. He controlled words and meanings however he liked.
This led people to ask and to insist on asking about the great personality of this man, whom they felt his great virtue even though he had disguised behind a kaffieh and a headband.
Whispers and inquiries increased until one of them announced that he (Sayyid Sharafuddeen) was the man of knowledge, patriotism and devotion. He was the brave hero. He was the fighter, who had fought against the imperialists. He was the son of Haydar al-Karrar.23 He was Sayyid Abdul Husayn Sharafuddeen.
Among the attendants of the celebration there was the famous writer Mey Ziyada. Sayyid Sharafuddeen’s playing with his ring on his finger during making his speech drew her attention. She said: “I do not know whether the ring is more obedient to his finger or eloquence is more obedient to his tongue!”
Sayyid Sharafuddeen thought to be nearer to his country, so he left Egypt at the end of 1338 A.H. to a village in Palestine called Alma lying near the boundaries of Mountain Aamil and it was under the rule of the British.
His house there was as his house in Soor. It was always visited by people. It was the abode of guests and the destination of needy people. Meetings were held in it besides deliberations on knowledge, literature, politics and different affairs.
It was a strange chance that Sayyid Sharafuddeen was in Alma fleeing from the rule of the French while Sayyid Muhammad as-Sadr was in Lebanon fleeing from the rule of the British and both of these two leaders had fought against the imperialists and had been sentenced to death.
Sayyid Muhammad as-Sadr found that the nearness of Alma to Mountain Aamil would give him a good opportunity to meet with Sayyid Sharafuddeen at the boundaries of Palestine. He sent his messenger and companion in jihad Mawlood Mukhlis24 to Sayyid Sharafuddeen informing him of Sayyid Muhammad as-Sadr’s wish to visit him but Sayyid Sharafuddeen did not prefer this meeting for fear of the British and he put off this visit until a suitable time when the circumstances would permit that. You will see the details of this event later on inshallah.
His return to his country (Mountain Aamil)
Sayyid as-Sadr chose to live in Lebanon when he had been sentenced to death. The French knew his high position among the leaders and the public and knew the high position of his father Sayyid al-Hasan as-Sadr and his great religious authority, to which the Shia all over the Islamic world referred to. All that made them respect and regard Sayyid (Muhammad) as-Sadr so highly.
Sayyid Muhammad as-Sadr seized the opportunity and asked them (the French) to pardon Sayyid Sharafuddeen and to let him come back to his country, which was awaiting for him impatiently. Sayyid as-Sadr succeeded in his task.
Here we quote the saying of Sayyid Sharafuddeen in his book Bughyatur Raghibeen when talking about the history of that period. He said under the title of (as-Sadr in Damascus): “When he found that he could not stand longer against the power of the British, Sayyid as-Sadr retreated from his lair with some ulama and leaders of intellect in Iraq and began roving in the deserts with no provisions save the provision of a faithful soul and a firm determination. Days and nights passed with these men following after the guides of sons of deserts.
When he reached Sham, he had in Damascus a house, which became as a house of a generous leader, who came and went high respectedly. Between the celebration of the patriots and the welcome of the French, he kept on his peaceful jihad and his leadership turned into an intellectual front, via which he wrote bills and sent telegrams to the League of Nations and to everyone having anything to do with the Iraqi case, which had to be settled in the best way.
During that time he had visited Mountain Aamil, which had been still looking forward to meet him and so eager to see him. The people crowded around him getting from his guidance and celebrating to welcome and glorify him. Wonderful celebrations were held in Sayda (Sidon), Soor, Nabatiyya, Bint Jubayl and Shahhor. Speechers and poets did well in praising him and showing his virtues and aspects of his rising.
We then were like him. He had fled from Iraq and we had fled from Lebanon for the sake of Allah. He wished to meet with us when we were in Palestine but the caution for my self from the French and for him from the British prevented me from meeting him. He met the French leaders, who respected him, and interceded for me with them and so I could return to my country. The High Commissioner General Gorou regarded him highly. We returned to Lebanon after he had returned to Iraq.”
Thus Sayyid Sharafuddeen had recorded that period, which had preceded his return to his country with faithfulness and fidelity. It was not strange to the high morals of that great man.
The returns of the two Sayyids to their countries were celebrated by their peoples splendidly as if they were unequalled events. Poets competed to show their feelings in live poetry, which was of the best poetry of the present age.
A group of great men of literature, who had not participated in any celebration of literature before, participated in those celebrations, which were full of eternal Arabic literature, just because of their sentiments agitated with sincerity and allegiance that made them announce their sentiments before the public. That was because of the great patriotic sacrifices of these two men that had glorified the fame of their countries in the world of history.
Poetry in the two countries was the same in the aim and feelings towards these two leaders. Poets often congratulated with their poems the great religious authority Sayyid Hasan as-Sadr, who was the father of Sayyid Muhammad as-Sadr and the uncle of Sayyid Sharafuddeen.
When Sayyid Sharafuddeen returned to his country after his jihad, he became the absolute leader for people in their affairs of life and religion as one of the poets had said: Leadership came to him submissively It did not fit save him and he did not fit save it.
His delving in traditions
The ulama were interested in studying the prophetic traditions throughout all the ages. They distinguished the true ones from the fabricated ones. They knew the reliable and the unreliable narrators as well with no difference in that between the Shia and the Sunni but the Shia added to the traditions of the Prophet (S) the traditions narrated from Ahlul Bayt (as) because they were from their grandfather’s traditions. In fact Ahlul Bayt (as) were as copies of their grandfather Muhammad (S).
Sayyid Sharafuddeen was not limited to the traditions of his Imams and their narrators only but also he studied thoroughly the traditions mentioned by our Sunni brothers. Whoever referred to any of his books or works would find this fact clearly.
The ones from among our Sunni brothers, whom he depended on in mentioning traditions, were many. He mentioned them in his thesis Thabtul Athbat fee Silsilatur Riwat.
I think that what he has written to confirm the principles of his doctrine is nonesuch and unequalled in our present age.
The last of what he had written was his book an-Nass wal-Ijtihad, which if you read, you will feel that when he has written it, he was at the top of intellect and at the utmost skill of expression and description. He delved so deeply into research and argument until he made one feel that his ideas, expressions and patience in researching and inquiring had not known any meaning of weakness or being aged. This is the aspect of the exalted intellectual ulama of the progeny of Ahlul Bayt (as), whose bodies become old whereas their minds still supply the life with power and activity throughout the ages.
His letters were distinguished by eloquence, honest aims and variety of subjects such as knowledge, literature, guidance, sociology, jurisprudence, history, sermons and maxims.
Sometimes he sent to his sons in their institute in Holy Najaf25 letters full of paternal and educational guidance and all what a student of religious studies needed of sermons, maxims and instructions to light his way and sometimes he sent letters to his followers in their countries of emigration, in which he sent to them paternal recommendations to unite on one aim and to be like a compact structure. His scientific institute (Ja’fari College) was the seed of these liberal emigrants.
Sometimes he sent letters to the kings, leaders, politicians and officials. He advised them as a responsible ‘alim who had to advise the officials to act with justice among the people, to help wronged people and to take lessons from the past and from the experiences of the others.
His letter to King Husayn after losing his rule was one of the most eloquent letters that had ever been written by the Arabs. It was a long letter having a historical record of what Ahlul Bayt (as) had faced of ordeals and disasters.
The reply of King Husayn was full of sentiments and appreciations. He began his letter with the following verse of one of the poets: “If the notables of my tribe were pleased with me, the mean would still be displeased”.
Many of his letters were spread here and there. Some of their copies were collected by his cousin and secretary Sayyid Ali Sharafuddeen, who was trusted and reliable in saving his letters and valuable works. We hope that he may permit to publish them so that the Arabic library may be enriched with bright Alawite literature.
His prose was too eloquent and bright and firm in style and each part confirmed the other that no writer whatever ability of eloquence he had could not omit even a word of it or replace it by another one because Sayyid Sharafuddeen thought and thought before he began to express his thoughts. He chose the best after he thought best.
He tried a sentence by his sharp sense before he dictated it to his clerk. His expressions always had a sense of good poetry.
His prose has a special nature that a reader will know whose prose it is before he sees the name of the writer.
His eloquence was clear in all what he had written and his style transmigrated into his accurate scientific meanings to make them brighter and more glamorous. We know no one in our present time that may be compared with him in eloquence, accuracy of meanings and clearance of intent in all what he has written whether scientific or Islamic subjects.
His speeches were distinguished by firm expression, accurate description and bright style. He always improvised his speeches and this did not prevent him from concentrating on his concept and showing his meanings in high eloquence.
His speeches were too far from affectation and mannerism. So were his books, works, lectures and daily talks.
Thus was his ordinary life. His pure soul wished goodness to all people whether friend or enemy, near or far. His big heart was full of love and sympathy toward everyone. He was a great example in his Alawite morals and his pure manners throughout his eternal life.
This high Alawite soul had its great effects on his sayings and doings. He rushed into actions to a degree that his likes were rare and rushed into his speeches like a flood until it had been said that no one equalled him among his likes.
Once I traveled to Lebanon in 1350 A.H. and I saw him making a speech in the big Mosque every afternoon of the first ten days of Muharram. The title of his speeches of every day was (Aal26 Muhammad and who Aal Muhammad is). Every day he talked about an hour showing people the greatness of Ahlul Bayt (as) in the Book, the Sunna and among people. He specified the tenth day for Imam Husayn (as). The meeting was in the morning in the house of one of the notables of Soor, who was a close relative of Sayyid Sharafuddeen. He talked about the rising of Imam Husayn (as), its reasons, aims and great results in supporting Islam and confirming the religion. He ended his speech with the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as). He mixed his speech with crying and made people cry bitterly until they were about to lose their consciousness.
His speech lasted for three continuous hours. If that subject (Aal Muhammad) was recorded and published, it would be a great book collecting the virtues of Ahlul Bayt (as) and their biographies that every Muslim had to know.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen had great speeches in Beirut, Damascus, Palestine and Egypt that could not be forgotten. The journalists had recorded many of them at that time. Some of them were published in the newspapers. They were available with his secretary, who had added them to the letters we mentioned previously.
His criticizing poetry
He was too sensitive, accurate in criticizing and understanding poetry and he had memorized too many verses of good poetry. Whenever he talked about a subject he evidenced his subject with chosen verses of poetry to confirm his opinion.
Once he noticed my astonishment about his acute memory of many subjects of literature that might slip away because of his old age and his many public affairs. He said to me: “This is from the age of youth but now I memorize something and after some hours I forget it.”
He had a good faculty to compose good poetry. He practiced this during his youth but then he gave it up to the scientific subjects, to which he devoted his mind and pen. He permitted no one to narrate any poetry of his.
It was said that he had a good poem, in which he had elegized the great Allama Skeikh Musa Sharara. It affected people too much. Sayyid Sharafuddeen was then in the first stage of his youth.
His sense in recognizing poetic meters was so sharp that he did not mistake any of the meters even they were too near and this was due to his acute sensitivity and not his knowing of metrics. I noticed that from him many times.
He was a high example of generosity of morals and hand (giving). His morals were morals of a generous Alawite man. He respected the old, pitied the young, sympathized with the poor and pardoned evildoers.
As for his liberality, he was an example of that throughout his life, which was full of great acts. This aspect was clear in him. It was well-known by his relatives and friends since he had been a student in Holy Najaf, the capital of knowledge and religion.
The examples on this matter were many but we mentioned here just a few of them:
1. Once he saw one of the students of the Hawza27 of Najaf in ragged clothes that did not fit a student of religious studies, who had to have a special dignity. He was in the yard of the shrine of Imam ‘Ali (as). Sayyid Sharafuddeen put off his own clothes and offered them to that student and came back home wrapped in his aba. He was then in the first month of his marriage.
2. One day he entered the house and found that his family had served good food for an occasion. He took all the food to his neighbor preferring his neighbor to himself. Those, who were familiar with him, said that his mother accepted that from him delightfully and always prayed Allah to make him succeed.
3. When he was in Najaf his expenditure came to him from his father and from his grandfather Ayatollah Sayyid al-Hadi as-Sadr. It was more than his need and so he always spent the further amount on some of his study-mates.
Sheikh Imran Hadeeda an-Najafi said that once he had been in Mecca in the year when Sayyid Sharafuddeen had gone to offer the hajj.28 He complained to Sayyid Sharafuddeen that he was in need of a jubba. Sayyid Sharafuddeen pointed to his own jubba hanging on the wall and said to him: “Take it with all that it has.” There were ten Ottoman liras in its pocket.
4. Sheikh Imran also said: “Sayyid Sharafuddeen had a big tent, in which he used to hold religious ceremonies. Many hajjis of ulama and high classes used to attend his meetings. Some merchants of Muscat saw how much money Sayyid Sharafuddeen had spent. They offered to him one hundred Ottoman liras, which Sayyid Sharafuddeen spread at once among the needy and for the public affairs. The next day they offered to him another hundred liras and said to him that they were not of the legal rights and they were as a gift and they insisted on him to spend them on his own affairs. He accepted the liras from them and spent them on the affairs of the meeting itself, which was as a forum that hajjis came to from everywhere.
All his life showed that he had a high dignity and a great personality.
I remember two events showing clearly this deep-rooted aspect in his high Alawite soul.
1. Sayyid Sharafuddeen was in Damascus during the reign of King Faysal the First when he had been exiled from his country and had been sentenced to death by the French. Among those, who had been included by this sentence was the leader of Mountain Aamil Kamil Beg al-As’ad, the sincere patriot.
Because he (the leader of Mountain Aamil) was away from his country, he became in financial straits. He became obliged to send his messenger to Bint Jubayl to borrow from one of the rich people three hundred Ottoman liras in order to pay for some of his needs. The rich man sent to him thirty liras and apologized for not sending the rest. The leader became very angry and sent the money back with the messenger at once.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen heard of this matter. He went to visit the leader and offered to him three hundred liras. He refused to accept them because he knew that Sayyid Sharafuddeen was also in a financial strait. Sayyid Sharafuddeen told him that he had enough money at that time. The leader accepted the amount and thanked him.
When the two leaders returned to their countries and the situation returned normal, Kamil Beg al-As’ad visited Sayyid Sharafuddeen in his house and with him there was the amount of money. He offered it to Sayyid Sharafuddeen gratefully but Sayyid Sharafuddeen refused to take it and told him that they were one self that could not be divided and they had spent the money on their united selves. The leader returned to his country after he had become certain that Sayyid Sharafuddeen would never accept the amount.
The leader Kamil Beg al-As’ad visited Sayyid Sharafuddeen again having with him a document of entailment showing that he had entailed a property to Sayyid Sharafuddeen’s elder son Sayyid Muhammad Ali Sharafuddeen, who was then in Holy Najaf. Kamil al-As’ad thought that matter had been concluded firmly and could not be revoked because an entail could not be changed or recanted. Sayyid Sharafuddeen smiled and said: “An entail does not become compulsive except by its conditions and among these conditions are delivering and receiving. Neither delivering by you nor receiving by my son have taken place and so this entailment is not compulsive”. And thus the leader came back for the second time after he had become certain that Sayyid Sharafuddeen was serious.
The second event was that one day Sayyid Sharafuddeen with a delegation of some ulama went to visit King Faysal the First in Damascus. When the visit finished and he wanted to go back to Mountain Aamil, the king sent to him with al-Jabiry an amount of five thousand Ottoman liras as a gift. Sayyid Sharafuddeen accepted the gift gratefully and then he gave it back to al-Jabiry to be offered to the Arabic army in Syria as a gift from him. Then he said: “I wish I was a dirham to put myself in the bursary of the Arabic army to defend Islam and the Arabs”.
Professor al-Jabiry often mentioned this event when he mentioned Sayyid Sharafuddeen with honor and glorification. He narrated this event in every occasion.
These two events showed Sayyid Sharafuddeen’s liberality and highness of soul at the same time.
His life always gave lessons of knowledge, morals, sincerity and generosity of manners and nature to the Ummah.
His assistance to people of knowledge and pen
He cared too much for the people of study and talented writers and poets and he helped them as much as he could. In fact many times he burdened himself with more than he could to help them. I remember that I have seen him, during one of my visits to Mountain Aamil, taking much care of an occasion of the coming back of one of the ulama of Mountain Aamil, who had finished his studies and was coming back to his country to begin his task in teaching and guiding people. I saw him (Sayyid Sharafuddeen) visiting village after village that neighbored the village of that coming back jurisprudent.
He made speeches before the people of those villages informing them of the high position of an ‘alim and inciting them to take much care of him and to prepare all suitable circumstances for him to step toward a good future.
His encouraging authors and poets, in whom he found the ability to serve the welfare of people, was a famous matter that all people talked about in every occasion.
Once it happened that a famous learned poet had composed a divan, in which he had praised Ahlul Bayt (as), and offered a copy to Sayyid Sharafuddeen, who accepted it from him gratefully and offered to the poet an amount of money that befitted his own position and the poet’s position. When the poet wanted to pay the costs of publishing his book, the publisher said to him that Sayyid Sharafuddeen had paid the entire amount and that the poet had not had to pay anything.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen in his works reminds us of the age of Alamul Huda Sayyid al-Murtadha. Their aims met together and their intents were the same. They both had the same aspect of insight, accurate thinking, firm evidence, right opinion, getting to conclusion in a shortest way, deep research, bright style, fidelity in quoting and avoiding all what was far from the scientific facts.
He also looked like him in the high religious authority and he was near to him even in age.
It was no wonder because they were from one lineage and one dynasty. They belonged to the same grandfather Musa Abu Sibha, who was one of Imam Musa al-Kadhim’s grandsons.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen followed the same way that had been followed by the teacher’s son and the first teacher Sheikh al-Mufeed, his disciple Sayyid al-Murtadha and the graduate of their school, the chief of the sect (the Shia) Sheikh at-Tusi (may Allah have mercy upon them).
This holy scientific trinity had offered to the religion of Islam and to the doctrine of the Shia great services, which history had perpetuated inside the souls of the generation throughout the ages.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen absorbed the souls of all these men inside his Alawite soul so he was from them and they were from him and then all these men together formed this flowing flood of knowledge that came out via this Alawite eloquent tongue and this firm pen that had formed these immortal books in eloquent expression, accurate depiction, deep meaning, clear aim and wonderful style, with which this pen had acted as it liked and as the truth and fact liked. It was this that had led people to regard and appreciate this man during his life and to keep his mention alive after his death.
He will remain alive and immortal in the people’s minds throughout the ages as long as his works are recited and his books are read and published.
Here are the titles of his immortal works:
1. Al-Muraja’at: it is a sign and a miracle with its high eloquence, irrefutable evidences and honorable aim. It has been published twice during the lifetime of Sayyid Sharafuddeen and six times after his death. It has been translated into Persian, English and Urdu.
2. Al-Fusool al-Muhimma fee Ta’leef al-Umma: it is a loud cry in the way of uniting the Ummah. It has been published twice in Sayda (Sidon-Lebanon) and twice in Najaf (Iraq).
3. The Answers of Musa Jarullah: it is as answers on twenty questions offered by Musa Jarullah to the ulama of the Shia in the Islamic countries. These answers show his abundant knowledge and great information that suffice everyone looking for the truth. It has been published in Sayda in 1355 A.H./1936 AD. And another time in Sayda too in 1373/1953.
Al-Kalima al-Gharra’ fee Tafdheel az-Zahra’: It has been published in Sayda attached with the second edition Al-Fusool al-Muhimma. It shows the high position of Lady Fatima az-Zahra’29 (s) and why she has been preferred to the all women of the world with irrefutable evidences.
4. Al-Majalis al-Fakhira fee Ma’atim al-Itra at-Tahira: it has been published in Sayda and Najaf. It shows the facts of the revolution of Imam Husayn (as) and the favors of this revolution on Islam and the Muslims. Also it has sayings quoted from great foreign personalities, who have discovered the greatness of Islam via Imam Husayn (as) in his eternal revolution against the arrogants and injustice.
5. Abu Hurayra: It has been published in Sayda and then in Najaf twice. It is a new gate for understanding the prophetic traditions and interpreting them in the right way. He followed, in this way, the virtuous Egyptian Allama Abu Riyya in his nonesuch book Sheikhul Madheera. How this Ummah is in need to approach to the truth and to be away from bad fanaticism!
7. An-Nass wal Ijtihad (this book): it is one of the profoundest Islamic studies in the present age. It has been published for the first time by the Society of Muntada an-Nashr in Najaf during the life of the author. Sayyid Sadruddeen Sharafuddeen (the author’s son) has published the second edition in Beirut with additions added by his father after leaving to the better world. It has been published by Darul Nahj Publications.
8. Falsafatul Meethaq wal Wilaya: published twice in Sayda. Although it is small in size, it is great in meaning and subject.
9. Masa’il Fiqhiyya (juristic questions): juristic subjects with profound research and accurate concepts showing the magnanimity and the abundant knowledge of the author. It has been published during the author’s life in Sayda and then in Egypt, Beirut and Kerbala.
10. Hawla ar-Ru’ya: a religious thesis discussing the matter of the impossibility of seeing Allah in a scientific way and by convincing evidences. It has been published in Sayda in 1370 A.H.
11. Ila al-Majma’ al-Ilmi (to the scientific convention): In this book he refutes the fabrications ascribed to the Shia and sends advices to the scientific convention inciting it towards agreement and to avoid disagreement and separation. It has been published in Sayda in 1369 A.H.
12. Bughyatur Raghibeen (manuscript): includes biographies of the famous personalities of the family of as-Sadr and Sharafuddeen with biographies of their teachers and students besides photos from those ages. It is one of the good books that is considered to be at the head of the books of biographies.
13. Thabtul Athbat fee Silsilatur Riwat: In this book he talks about his teachers and the great ulama of the Islamic sects in a wonderful style. It has been published in Sayda twice.
14. Zaynab al-Kubra (great Zaynab): a good thesis, in which he has talked about the high position of Lady Zaynab (Imam Ali’s daughter) (S) and her eternal situations in Islam. It was a speech he had made in the holy shrine of Lady Zaynab (S). It had been recorded and then published in Sayda.
His lost works
Sayyid Sharafuddeen had written many books other than these mentioned above, which would have enriched the Arabic library with great knowledge, but the storm of France willed to blow them away during the events of the twenties. The French burned them as they had burned the house before them. Whenever Sayyid Sharafuddeen remembered them, his soul was about to leave his body because of regretting.
In order to immortalize those books, we mention them here:
1. Sharh at-Tabsira: in jurisprudence and in three volumes about purity, judgment, witnesses and inheritance.
2. Ta’leeqa ala al-Istis~hab: from the theses of Sheikh al-Ansari in Usool, one volume.
3. A thesis about the will of a sick man (who is about to die).
4. Sabeel al-Mu’mineen: about imamate, three volumes. Sayyid Sharafuddeen told me once that this book was the best of what he had ever written at that time.
5. An-Nusoos al-Jaleela: about imamate too. It had forty traditions agreed upon by all the Muslims and forty traditions from the sources of the Shia.
6. Tanzeel al-Aayat al-Bahira: about imamate, one volume depending on one hundred verses from the Holy Qur’an revealed about the imams according to the Sunni Sihah of traditions.
7. Tuhfatul Muhaditheen feema kharaja feehi as-Sunna minal Mudha’afeen: a unique book that no book had ever been written like it.
8. Tuhfatul Ass~hab fee Hukm Ahlil Kitab.
9. Ath-Tharee’a fir-Radd ala al-Badee’a: Badee’a of an-Nabhani.
10. Al-Majalis al-Fakhira: four volumes; the first about the life of the Prophet (S), the second about the life of Imam Ali, az-Zahra’ and Imam Hasan (peace be upon them), the third one about Imam Husayn (as) and the fourth about the other nine imams (as).
11. The writers of the Shia in the first age of Islam: some of its chapters have been published in al-Irfan Magazine.
12. Bughyatul Fa’iz fee Naql al-Jana’iz: most of it has been published in al-Irfan Magazine. It refuted those, who thought of the prohibition of transferring dead bodies (from a tomb to another).
13. Sir Bughyatus Sa’il an Lathm al-Anamil: including eighty traditions from the Sunni and the Shia.
14. Zakatul Akhlaq: some of its chapters have been published in al-Irfan Magazine.
15. Al-Fawa’id wel Fara’id.
16. A comment on Sahih of al-Bukhari.
17. A comment on Sahih of Muslim: these two books show clearly the abundant knowledge of Sayyid Sharafuddeen about the traditions and his great ability in refuting and concluding.
18. Al-Asaleeb al-Badee’a fee Rijhan Ma’atim ash-Shia: depending on rational and traditional evidences that prove the permissibility of practicing the obsequies by the Shia on their occasions.
These are the books that have had different Islamic studies in jurisprudence, traditions, biographies and distinguishing the narrators of the prophetic traditions. The French have burned these books out of their grudge against them and against Sayyid Sharafuddeen, who has fought them with his heart, tongue and hand.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen regretted bitterly whenever he remembered his burnt books and often said: “The sorrow when losing a son may disappear but the sorrow of losing the product of intellect remains and continues until the last moment of one’s life.”
But Sayyid Sharafuddeen has recompensed this great loss with what he has written of great immortal books that will remain as long as there is life on the earth.
His projects and heritage
When Sayyid Sharafuddeen came to live in Soor, the Shia had not even one mosque to gather them and to offer their obligations in it. He possessed a house and entailed it as a (Husayniyya) mosque, in which he led the Shia in offering the prayers, taught the believers religious lessons and principles and met with them to settle their problems.
After that he established a mosque, which was one of the stateliest and most perfect and beautiful mosques. It had two big domes, a high minaret and a wide yard in front of a wonderful hall connected with the gates of the mosque. In the middle of the mosque there were two pillars from Phoenician ruins.
Every year on the twelfth of Rabee’ul Awwal30 Sayyid Sharafuddeen celebrated the blessed anniversary of the Prophet’s birth in this mosque and people gathered from everywhere of Mountain Aamil. When Sayyid Sharafuddeen finished his eloquent speech and scholars and poets finished their words and poems, the crowds went towards the house of Sayyid Sharafuddeen to have lunch, which consisted of various and delicious kinds of food due to his Hashemite and Alawite generosity.
Every year he stressed on the brotherly connections and relationships between the two great sects; the Shia and the Sunni. Choosing the twelfth of Rabee’ul Awwal31 as the day of the Prophet’s birth was a clear evidence showing his truthful Islamic spirit that he always invited to.
When finishing the celebration, he used to go to the mosque of his Sunni brothers to congratulate them and to participate them in the general Eid of the Muslims. In their turn they thanked him for his prophetic morals and paternal kindness towards all the people of Soor that he always did and with no differentiating between one sect or another.
The horizon of his thinking was so wide and his magnanimity was so great that he undertook all that might raise the society and did not object to the religion. He expressed his opinion through his wonderful saying “Guidance does not spread except from where deviation has spread”; therefore he determined to fight deviation by himself to spread guidance among people. He determined to walk in the way in order to make the Muslims safe from the barriers and obstacles that might block their way or puzzle their true Islamic culture. He established schools for them to learn the contemporary culture, with which the present age has armed, the culture that had to be mixed with the Islamic culture in order to be real Muslims as Islam willed for them.
He thought, in order to pave this way, to do the following:
First: He established a school called the Ja’fari32 School to educate the new generation. It was a primary school consisting of fifteen classrooms besides the halls and yards. It was built on the roof of six big stores, which were to be the source of revenue to run the affairs of the school in the future.
Second: He established a club and called it “Imam as-Sadiq Club” for religious celebrations and cultural lectures.
Third: He added to the school and the club a mosque in the first floor and made it especially for the school and its pupils to offer their daily obligations in it. By this he ensured for the rising generation a primary culture based on religion and science. Undoubtedly if the base of a child was good, it would have a great effect on fixing beliefs and religion in the future.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen (may Allah have mercy upon him) thought that those pupils had to keep on studying in the secondary stage so that their bases would be firm and fixed that no effects could change their beliefs in the university. But what was the way for that whereas the matter needed a great assistance from Allah and supports from the people, who had to carry out this task and undertake its burdens, because the governments would not carry out such special projects although they were public educational projects?
Then who would do that?
No one came to his mind save his followers in the African countries of emigrations, who were as sons for him and he was for them as a father and a higher religious authority.
He sent to them his two sons Sayyid Sadruddeen and Sayyid Ja’far. Each of these two sons was as an example of his father. Sayyid Sadruddeen made speeches with the knowledge and eloquence of his father and Sayyid Ja’far came to them with the morals, politeness and kindness of his father. The two seas mixed and the place of emigration took out pearls and corals and then the edifice arose and it was the eternal Ja’fari College.
Sayyid Sadruddeen when making speeches, his voice reminded the people of his father’s voice when talking with wisdom, knowledge and high politeness. He captivated the hearts and returned to the attendants the days of Sayyid Sharafuddeen, which had still been as a blaze on the front of time. People thanked this blessing with their tongues and hands.
The delegation came back to Sayyid Sharafuddeen successfully with two hundred and fifty thousand Lebanese Liras that had formed that great edifice with its three floors and each floor with two wings, the first of which was sixty-eight meters long and the second was forty-one meters whereas both were ten meters wide. In the middle of the building there was a big tower having a big clock. In front of the building there was a yard of ten thousand square meters connected with the old school. There was a fence that made the buildings of the college as one unit that might be called as “the town of knowledge in Soor”.
This Ja’fari College has become one of the best schools in Lebanon in the field of knowledge, culture and high morals. This was the hope of Sayyid Ja’far, who ran its affairs in the past and supervises it nowadays.
The Ja’fari College does not get fees from the poor but it gets fees just from the rich in order to carry out its duties towards the needy and their affairs.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen had established this school just to educate the rising generation of the rich and the poor equally.
Because of his too much care for the needy, Sayyid Sharafuddeen had established the Society of Charity to help the poor and to look after them and to carry out the procedures of burying their deads and because of this there was no beggar or needy in Soor.
His visiting the sacred places
In 1355 A.H. Sayyid Sharafuddeen visited the sacred places in Iraq and visited his uncles and relatives of Aal33 as-Sadr. A group of ulama, ministers, lords, deputies and chiefs had received him until the bridge of Fallouja. At the head was the chief of Iraq Sayyid Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr, who was the chief of the House of Lords at that time.
At honor of Sayyid Sharafuddeen, Sayyid Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr34 invited the ulama, ministers, lords, deputies and famous personalities to three invitations. The house was crowded with ulama, leaders and ordinary people every day.
The learned Muslim class seized the opportunity of the availability of Sayyid Sharafuddeen in Iraq and began to put forth different religious questions and whatever ununderstandable traditions narrated from the infallible Imams (as) and he answered every question in clear eloquence and irrefutable evidences.
I still remember that splendid meeting, in which many questions about conflicting traditions that each of them contradicted the other were put before him. Sayyid as-Sadr asked Sayyid Sharafuddeen permission to answer the questions. He began to answer the questions one after the other explaining with clear eloquence and bright evidences and removing the clouds of that contradiction from those traditions that drew all the attentions towards him and made all the believers regard him highly and admire his accuracy, quick-wittedness and firm evidencing.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen confirmed the answers of Sayyid as-Sadr showing his admiration and high regards. The attendants admired Sayyid as-Sadr very much for they thought that he had been interested in politics totally and turned away from the religious subjects although they knew about his excellent scientific degree he had got when studying in Holy Najaf during his youth.
When the meeting ended, the people left and Sayyid Sharafuddeen was alone with us, he said: “If a tradition has two meanings; a primary meaning that comes to people’s minds and a secondary meaning that dose not come to mind except after long pondering, the second meaning will be as the first meaning in the mind of Sayyid as-Sadr.”
Sayyid Sharafuddeen visited the shrines of the infallible Imams in Kadhimiyya, Samarra’, Kerbala’ and Najaf. People received and welcomed him in all these sacred placed in a splendid way that befitted his high position.
Before receiving him in Holy Najaf, the capital of knowledge and religion, his book “al-Muraja’at” in its first edition had reached there. It occupied the highest position inside the selves of the ulama and scholars of Najaf. The all were waiting for the author of al-Muraja’at impatiently.
Sayyid Sharafuddeen became the guest of his aunt’s son, the great religious authority ayatollah Sheikh Muhammad Redha Aal Yaseen, whose house was full of the people of knowledge and virtue. The scientific talks prevailed over the meeting and Sayyid Sharafuddeen had witnessed rounds that showed his great rank in branches and basic principles (Usool) of religion. The ulama of Najaf said then: “The good ability of Sayyid Sharafuddeen in scientific evidencing, mentioning traditions and accuracy of conclusions make us feel that as if he is still among us and has not left the hawza.”
Sayyid Sharafuddeen recalled his memories in Najaf and Najaf began anew talking about his favors during his youth, about his virtues during his old age and his lofty services throughout the ages of his life.
The members of Literature League seized the opportunity of the existence of Sayyid Sharafuddeen in Najaf during the occasion of Eid al-Ghadeer and held a big celebration on this occasion, to which they invited him besides the ulama and notables of Najaf. The poets recited poems talking about the Eid and about the virtues and favors of Sayyid Sharafuddeen. The poem of Professor al-Habboobi was the best in its high literature and abundant feelings among the other poems, which were full of tender feelings and sentiments.
After visiting Iraq, Sayyid Sharafuddeen kept on his travel towards Iran to be honored by visiting the shrine of Imam ar-Redha (S) and the shrine of Fatima al-Ma’ssooma (S) in Qom.
He was the guest of his aunt’s son Ayatollah Sayyid Sadruddeen as-Sadr, who had emigrated from Iraq to Qom in order to run the Hawza there.
Many scientific meetings were held between Sayyid Sharafuddeen and the ulama of Qom, who regarded him highly and admired his great knowledge and his clear Arabic eloquence.
In every city in Iran he passed by, he was received and welcomed splendidly due to his high position among the faithful Iranian people.
Najaf was in need of him
The great religious authority Ayatollah Sayyid Abul Hasan al-Isfahani before his death had traveled to Lebanon for recreation. He settled down in Ba’albak. 35 The ulama and scholars of Lebanon competed to visit him. At the head was Sayyid Sharafuddeen. He was pleased very much to meet with him. Sayyid Abul Hasan found it a good opportunity to talk with Sayyid Sharafuddeen about the matter that Najaf was in need of him to be there and showed the utmost readiness to arrange his affairs and the affairs of everyone, who would be with him in a way that would befit his rank and position. Sayyid Sharafuddeen thanked him for his generous sentiment and apologized with convincing excuses that prevented him from leaving his country.
Those, who were close to Ayatollah Abul Hasan, said that he often said in the last week of his life: “Najaf is in need of Sayyid Sharafuddeen”.
We understand from his previous request and mentioning the name of Sayyid Sharafuddeen in the last days of his life that Sayyid Sharafuddeen have had all what a religious authority has to have of great knowledge, firm evidences and wide comprehension of everything about traditions, narrators and Islamic jurisprudence that may not be easy except to very few of the ulama especially that Sayyid Sharafuddeen has clear eloquence, fluency in his speeches and a great ability of composition, which are necessary for a religious authority in the present age.
It was no wonder that Sayyid Sharafuddeen got all this regard from Sayyid Abul Hasan because a virtue would not be known except by its people and who was worthier than Sayyid Abul Hasan of virtues and of appreciating them?
His death and burial
The man of that big heart that beat with life and was full of knowledge and faith became silent after passing eighty-seven years of old, which had been spent in continuous jihad for the sake of Allah in spreading the pure shari’ah, making the Ummah familiar with the two weighty things; the Book of Allah and pure progeny of the Prophet (S), guiding people towards their purity and welfare and leading them on the right path as Allah and His Messenger had ordered.
He wanted, some years before his death, to go back to Iraq, the place of his birth, of his growing up, of his study and the nation of his family and relatives to renew the age he had spent near them and to recall those happy days he had lived with them and to be, at the last moment of his life, beside the sanctum of his grandfather, the guardian (Imam ‘Ali (as)), whom he hoped to be buried in his pure soil and to be joined with him in his sanctum!
Became silent that voice, which sounded with the truth and spread the mention of Allah. Calmed down those eyes, which stayed up to achieve justice and to look after the general Islamic welfare.
Went out that burning torch inside that genius mind, which kept on thinking of anything that might bring goodness to the Ummah.
Sloped those hands that stood against the untruth and stretched with goodness to fulfill the needs of the needy. Stopped that continuous movement of that pure body, which was a source of goodness and mercy all the time.
He left to the better world on Monday, the thirtieth of December, 1957 AD. / the eighth of Jumada ath-Thaniyya,36 1377 A.H.
When the news of his death was announced, the people of the villages of Mountain Aamil gathered in Beirut to farewell their great religious leader. Beirut, with all its ulama, scholars, chiefs, politicians and the rest of people, went out. At the head were the ulama and the rulers.
The honored coffin was put in a special airplane to Baghdad. The crowds of the Muslims were waiting for him. Baghdad and Kadhimiyya escorted him and then we went on towards Kerbala. Every village on our way took its share of escorting. Kerbala did the best in carrying funeral rites in a way that befitted the high position of the deceased man.
When the coffin reached Najaf before the sunset, Najaf went out with all its people; ulama, scholars, poets, notables and all classes of people. It was a memorable day that Najaf had never seen its like before. All that was because of the high position of the man inside the selves of all the classes of people due to his valuable works, his nonesuch scientific fame and his great favors on Islam and the Muslims.
The funeral was distinguished with quality and quantity in comparison with the other deceased ulama, who had been escorted before this man, although among them were some ulama, who had resided in Najaf and had the general authority of taqlid. 37
He was buried in one of the rooms in the holy shrine of Imam ‘Ali (as) on Wednesday, the first of January, 1958/ the tenth of Jumada ath-Thaniyya, 1377 A.H. with crying and moaning.
The crowds of people cried and sighed bitterly over the great loss of this great man.
Najaf expressed its deep sorrow on the fortieth day of the great loss by holding two solemn celebrations by the two societies; Muntada an-Nashr and the Literature League. The poets and scholars praised the deceased man and his valuable works. In the first of their speeches they mentioned the sayings of the great ulama and religious authorities about the deceased man. Obsequies were held in Iraq, Lebanon and the rest of the Islamic countries continuously until the fortieth day after his death.
We pray Allah to have mercy upon this great deceased man and make the Ummah take advantage of his works and make us patient before this great loss. (The contentment of Allah is our contentment; Ahlul Bayt. We became patient before His affliction and He will reward us with the reward of the patient).
7-1-1964 AD. / 1383 A.H.
Muhammad Sadiq as-Sadr
1. Mujtahid is a person accepted in Shiism as an authority on the interpretation of Islamic law.
2. Ahlul Bayt: the Prophet’s progeny (S).
3. Al-Azhar is a centre of Islamic and Arabic learning centered on the mosque of that name in Cairo, Egypt. Muraja’at means reviews.
4. Aalim is the singular form of ulama. Aalim is a jurisprudent or a scholar.
5. In Iraq.
6. He is Sayyid Sharafuddeen bin (the son of) Sayyid Yousuf bin Sayyid Jawad bin Sayyid Isma’eel bin Muhammad the grandfather of the two families Aal (the family of) as-Sadr and Aal Sharafuddeen bin Sayyid Ibraheem (surnamed as Sharafuddeen) bin Sayyid Zaynul Aabideen bin Sayyid Ali Nooruddeen bin Sayyid Nooruddeen Ali bin Sayyid Izzuddeen al-Husayn bin Sayyid Muhammad bin Sayyid al-Husayn bin Sayyid Ali bin Sayyid Muhammad bin Sayyid Tajuddeen (known as Abul Hasan) bin Sayyid Muhammad (surnamed as Shamsuddeen) bin Sayyid Abdullah (surnamed as Jalaluddeen) bin Sayyid Ahmad bin Sayyid Hamza bin Sayyid Sa’dullah bin Sayyid Hamza bin Abul Sa’adat Muhammad bin Abu Abdullah (the chief of the chiefs of the Talibites in Baghdad) bin Abul Harth Muhammad bin Abul Hasan Ali (known as Ibnul Daylamiyya) bin Abu Tahir bin al-Husayn al-Qat’iy bin Musa Abu Sibha bin Ibraheem al-Murtadha bin Imam al-Kadhim bin Imam as-Sadiq bin Imam al-Baqir bin Imam Zaynul Aabideen (as-Sajjad) bin Imam Abu Abdullah al-Husayn bin Imam Ali bin Abu Talib (peace be upon them all).
7. He is the Seventh Imam of the Shia.
8. Aal means “the family of”.
9. He was born in Kadhimiyya in 1288 A.H. and died in it in 1330 A.H.
10. She (may Allah have mercy upon her) was an example of virtue, intelligence, good memory, quick-witted, honesty and piety. She composed poetry in standard and colloquial Arabic. She was interested in holding meeting of consolation in Ashura (the tenth day of Muharram when Imam al-Husayn had been martyred) and the anniversaries of the deaths of the infallible imams in her house. The reciters (women) used to recite her poetry, which she composed for those occasions, in those meetings. Women often referred to her about the legal questions. On every event, she quoted for the women the fatwa of her brother Imam al-Hasan as-Sadr, whom she followed in her taqlid.
She was buried in the private graveyard of Aal as-Sadr beside her father and relatives’ tombs. Her death caused wide sorrow in Baghdad and Kadhimiyya and for Sayyid Sharafuddeen, who was in Aamila in Lebanon. He held a meeting of consolation there and many famous personalities of the country had attended the meeting, at the head of whom was the great mujtahid Sheikh Abdul Husayn aal Sadiq, who had recited his wonderful poem, in which he had mentioned the dead woman’s brother Imam al-Hasan as-Sadr. He recited: An imam but if no “No” was there We could say he was a prophet getting wisdom from the Best of the wise
11. In Lebanon.
12. In Islamic law, the independent or original interpretation of problems not precisely covered by the Qur’an, Hadith (traditions concerning the Prophet's life and utterances), and scholarly consensus; therefore the mujtahids (qualified jurists) had the right to give their personal judgments on the problems, after trying their best in researching, depending on firm evidences and proofs derived from the legal sources of the Shari’ah.
13. Fiqh: jurisprudence, Usool: basic principles of religion.
14. He was one of the prominent scholars. He was born in Najaf (in Iraq) in 1318 A.H. and died in Mountain Aamil (in Lebanon) after a long disease. He wrote an important book called Sheikhul Abtah about the biography of Abu Talib (Imam Ali’s father) and the evidences that proved his faith and high position in Islam. It was one of the profoundest Islamic studies showing the great intelligence of its author and his high culture and wide knowledge. The book was published in Baghdad when the author was still in Iraq.
15. Sayyid Muhammad, the author of Madarikul Ahkam, died in 1206 A.H. when he was eighty-eight years old. He was the brother of our grandfather Sayyid Nooruddeen Ali from his father and our grandfather was the brother of Sheikh Hasan, the author of al-Ma’alim, from his mother.
16. Sayyid Isma’eel as-Sadr died in 1338 A.H. Sayyid Hasan as-Sadr was born in Kadhimiyya in 1272 A.H. and died in 1354 A.H. Each of them was a general imam and authority for the Shia all over the Islamic world.
17. He was born in 1235 A.H. and died in 1316. He was buried in his private graveyard in the yard of the holy shrine of Imam Kadhim (S) in Kadhimiyya-Baghdad. His biography had been mentioned in al-Bughya in details and also had been mentioned in Takmilatul Amal written by his son Imam al-Hasan as-Sadr. A’lam ash-Shia and Takmilatul Amal is a book including biographies of thousands of the Shia ulama of the different ages. This book shows the greatness of the Shia and their high position in knowledge and the eternity of their ulama in history. It is one of the best books of biographies.
18. Najaf, Kadhimiyya, Samarra’ and Kerbala’ are religious centers in Iraq.
19. Nowadays Damascus. But then, Sham encompassed the present Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.
20. ‘There is no God but Allah’ and ‘Allah is great’.
21. Sayyid Ali al-Ameen had gone to great mujtahid and highest authority at that time Sayyid Muhammad Hasan ash-Shirazi to get permission (in ijtihad) but Sayyid ash-Shirazi referred him to his disciple, who was entrusted with such tasks, Ayatollah Sayyid Hasan as-Sadr. After some deliberations he was permitted to be as absolute mujtahid. The permission was offered to al-Mirza, who signed it. Sayyid al-Ameen was the only one among the ulama of Aamila, who had got certificate, which paved the way to him to have the absolute scientific and public leadership in Aamila after his return to it from Iraq.
22. It is said that this is the same cave, in which one of Sayyid Sharafuddeen’s grandfathers had hidden when fleeing from al-Haza’ir, the famous tyrant, and Allah had saved him from the injustice of the arrogant when he set out towards Iraq resorting to his infallible grandfathers.
23. It was one of Imam Ali's surnames.
24. Mawlood Basha came to Alma wearing ordinary Arabic clothes pretending as if he was a merchant of sheep. He went to Sayyid Sharafuddeen’s house as a guest. No one of the people of the village felt anything about this guest because they had accustomed to see guests from different classes in the house of Sayyid Sharafuddeen.
25. In Holy Najaf there were Sayyid Sharafuddeen’s sons; the great allama Sayyid Muhammad Ali and his two brothers the genius poet Sayyid Muhammad Redha and the famous writer of the Arabs Sayyid Sadruddeen and their cousin allama Sayyid Nooruddeen Sharafuddeen, who was the prime chancellor of the High Legal Ja’fari court of appeal in Beirut.
26. Aal means the family or progeny.
27. Hawza is a theological college, where students can specialize in Islamic law, philosophy, theology, and logic.
28. It was in 1340 A.H. He went by sea to offer the hajj. With him there were a great number of people from his country Aamila. He led those people crowded in al-Masjid al-Haram in offering the prayer. He might be the first Shia imam who could lead the great masses of people in Mecca in offering the prayer. This made him as a famous religious authority, about whom people began to talk here and there. King Husayn welcomed him warmly and they both washed the Kaaba. He met with him many times. In honor of him, King Husayn invited famous ulama and leaders from different countries in a big invitation.
29. The Prophet’s daughter (s).
30. It is the third month of the Islamic calendar.
31. Some Shia ulama thought that the birth of the Prophet (S) was on the twelfth of Rabee’ul Awwal whereas most of them believed that the birth was on the seventeenth of the same month. Sayyid Sharafuddeen preferred the first opinion, which most of the Sunni ulama believed in. Sayyid Sharafuddeen celebrated on this day in order to unite between the different sects of the Muslims.
32. Referring to the Shia and the name “Ja’fari” is derived from the Name of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (as), the founder of the Shiite school.
33. Aal means the family of.
34. He was born in Kadhimiyya in 1300 A.H. and died in 1375. He was buried in the graveyard of Aal as-Sadr beside the tomb of his father Ayatollah Sayyid Hasan as-Sadr, the patriot leader, who was well-known of his bright situations towards his country and people. He was really a religion in politics and good politics in religion.
35. A city in Lebanon.
36. The sixth month of the Islamic calendar.
37. Taqlid: accepting and following the opinions of a mujtahid or a religious authority concerning the religious affairs.