Iraq and Gulf Analysis

The Death of Fadlallah and ISCI-Daawa Relations

Posted by Reidar Visser on Monday, 5 July 2010 17:38

In an interesting move, both the governorate councils of Maysan and Najaf have declared three days of mourning for the late Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, a Lebanon-based Shiite cleric of Iraqi origins.

Fadlallah was deeply respected among many Iraqis, not least among many Daawa members who looked to him as an alternative to other clerics that were considered more subservient to Iran. However, others were engaged in criticism to undermine his scholarly credentials, and entire websites devoted to repudiating him as a scholar exist. His enemies included not least his pro-Iranian competitor on the Iraqi scene, Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim. Below is an electronic fatwa from Hakim’s office dating from late 2002 in which it is suggested that Fadlallah has not reached the scholarly stage at which he can be emulated by other Shiites as an example and a point of reference for issuing fatwas.

Of course, Hakim was himself not considered a “source of emulation” until some SCIRI devotees posthumously elevated him to this status. But his attacks on Fadlallah serve as a reminder of the differences between different Iraqi Shiite factions when it comes to their degree of enthusiasm for the Islamic Republic of Iran and its system of government.

8 Responses to “The Death of Fadlallah and ISCI-Daawa Relations”

  1. Ali W said

    Reidar, Seyed Fathlala is of Lebanese origin not of Iraqi. I think he was born in Najaf, but I think to Lebanese Parents.

    Yes many dawa supported him, Jafari was in fact his waqeel in Dar Al Islam mosque which is very close to Dawah.

  2. Reidar Visser said

    OK “born in Iraq” is indeed more correct than “of Iraqi origins”. His father migrated from Lebanon to Najaf where Fadlallah was born in the 1930s and where he lived for the subsequent decades.

  3. Salah said

    عتبره خارج عن المذهب والدين.. جلال الصغير يعلن وفاة فضل الله ويجرده من لقب المرجع
    2010-07-02 8:14:32 PM

    الموقع الالكتروني (براثا) التابع لجلال الصغير

    اعلن عن وفاة المرجع الشيعي الكبير في لبنان محمد حسين فضل الله

    لكنه جرده من لقبه الديني وكفره باعتباره خارج عن الدين والمذهب …

    وجاء في الخبر الذي نشره موقع الصغير :

    مصادر مطلعة لوكالة انباء براثا ::: وفاة رجل الدين اللبناني محمد حسين فضل الله

    افادت مصادر مطلعة لوكالة انباء براثا ان رجل الدين اللبناني محمد حسين فضل الله قد توفي فجر اليوم في مستشفى بهمن في العاصمة اللبنانية بيروت على اثر توقف الكبد بشكل كامل نتيجة لمرض السرطان .

    واكدت المصادر ان الاجراءات العملية لاعلان خبر موته قد اتخذت بشكل فعلي من قبل اسرته وهو ما ذكرته قناة الـ LBC اللبنانية ويتوقع خلال الساعات القليلة المقبلة الاعلان الرسمي عن موته .

    يذكر ان السيد محمد حسين فضل الله كان قد اصدر موجة من الفتاوى والافكار التي اعتبرتها المرجعية الدينية في ايران والعراق خارجة عن الدين والمذهب

  4. Kariena Jameel said

    So what does really Fadlallah’s death mean for the developents in Iraq?

    ( I heard rumors that he was also Nuri al-Malikis and jaafari’s marj’a)

    what does this mean for the struggle for religious legitimacy in the shia world? I guess most of those who had Fadlallah as their source will now choose Sistani, but he is also growing older, who are next in line, and where do THEY stand on pluralism, tolerance and democracy?

    Thanks for any comments!

  5. Kariena Jameel said

    I mean, Iran is clearly supporting Muqtada as a future alternative, but is this really feasible given his assassed rather limited academic capacity? And what about others in his fathers group of diciples in the 90’s, are any of them aiming at religious marja-hood, or are they content being Muqtadas foot men?

    Cheers, Kairena

  6. Reidar Visser said

    Fadlallah was convenient to many in the Daawa because he enjoyed activist credentials while at the same time refrained from advocating close coordination with Iran. I am not sure whether something similar will be repeated anytime soon.

    The Sistani succession is a too big issue to discuss here. I have previously suggested that none of the three other “big ones” in Iraq at present (M Said Hakim, Fayad and Najafi) may be able to gain the same kind of pre-eminence that Sistani has and that there may be a more confused situation with several contenders struggling for primacy at the same time, perhaps this time also involving the younger generation of “engineer mujtahids” like Muhammad al-Yaqubi, and even one day maybe Muqtada al-Sadr…

  7. Salah said

    ( I heard rumors that he was also Nuri al-Malikis and jaafari’s marj’a)

    وكان المالكي الذي زار بيروت للتعزية في وفاة المرجع
    الشيعي السيد محمد حسين فضل الله التقى أمس الرئيس اللبناني ميشال سليمان

    لدكتور إبراهيم الجعفري يصل إلى بيروت لتقديم التعازي برحيل آية الله العظمى سماحة السيد محمد حسين فضل الله

  8. observer said

    The issue of Sistani’s succession is going to be even more important than who is going to be the next PM. I do not think that Muqtada stands a chance of being the next one, though there maybe attempts….. The curious thing to me is that Allawi was the first one to give his condolences even before Maliki did. That did not pass unnoticed by a couple of Iraqis that I have run into yesterday. Allawi maybe angling to the street to show that he shows more respect to the Marji3ia than his Islamist rivals. After al, secularism is equated with Kufur in speeches in southern Iraq Friday sermons.

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