Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, was born in 1939, is the son of the late Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim (who was the spiritual leader for the Shia world in the period 1955-1970).Family
The Al-Hakim family is a well known religious Iraqi family loved and respected by millions of Shia Muslims in Iraq and throughout the Muslim world.
Sayyid Al-Hakim, was born, brought up and studied religion in Najaf, Iraq (the holy city for Shia in the world). He was a distinguished scholar and the personal religious/political representative of the late Grand Ayatullah Muhsin al-Hakim in Iraq.
Sayyid al-Hakim was a co-founder of the Islamic political movement in Iraq established in the late fifties, along with the late distinguished leader Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and other scholars. Sayyid al-Hakim maintained a close association with Ayatullah al-Sadr up to the martyrdom of Ayatullah al-Sadr in 1980.
In 1972 Sayyid al-Hakim was arrested and tortured by the Saddam’s Baathist regime. He was released after a wide spread popular pressure on the regime. In 1977 he was re-arrested following the people’s uprising in February 1977 in Najaf, and immediately sentenced to life imprisonment by special court without any trial. He was released in July 1979 following huge public pressure on the regime.
Sayyid al-Hakim’s association with Ayatullah al-Sadr continued after his release in 1979 when Ayatullah al-Sadr was put under house arrest. At this point Sayyid al-Hakim assumed the responsibility of conducting clandestine contact with Ayatullah al-Sadr until April 1980 when Ayatullah al-Sadr was brutally murdered by Saddam’s regime.
Flee to Iran
The subsequent eruption of war between Iraq and (largely Shi’a) Iran led to an ever-increasing distrust of Iraq’s Shi’a population by the ruling Ba’ath party; combined with his previous arrests, this convinced Al-Hakim that it was impossible to continue his Shi’a advocacy in Iraq, and in 1980 he fled to Iran.
Safely in Iran, Al-Hakim became an open enemy of the Ba’athists, forming the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a revolutionary group dedicated to overthrowing Saddam Sadam’s regime. In 1983, Sadam responded by arresting 125 members of Al-Hakim’s family who had remained in Iraq, and executing 18 of them. This further embittered Al-Hakim towards the Ba’athists and towards Sadam in particular. With Iranian aid, SCIRI became an armed resistance group, periodically making cross-border attacks on Iraqi facilities, maintaining covert connections with resistance elements within the country, and generally being a perennial thorn in sadam’s side.
Return Back to Iraq
Al-Hakim returned to Iraq in May 2003 following the overthrow of Sadam’s regime by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. There he emerged as one of the most influential Iraqi leaders, with his longtime opposition to Sadam gaining him immense credibility, especially among the majority Shi’a population.
Initially he was very critical of the US-led occupation of Iraq, saying “we do not put confidence in the Americans, they have always acted against the interests of the Iraqi people” and urging Iraqis not to follow the US administration’s dictates. However, he did give the US credit for overthrowing the hated Ba’athist regime, and through the summer of 2003 indicated some willingness to work with the Americans in setting up a civilian government in Iraq. Al-Hakim’s brother and fellow Muslim leader, Ahmed al-Barak, was appointed to the Iraq interim governing council and the two worked closely together.
He was the author of many books on Islamic and political thoughts.