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Baqir al-Sadr and the Islamic State: A Theory for Islamic Democracy

This article critiques the current literature, arguing that Sadr’s thought is neither authoritarian nor liberal-democratic, but rather it is a type of constitutional democracy meriting the description ‘Islamic democracy’.

Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, one the most innovative Islamic thinkers of the last century, is renowned for his academic contributions to Islamic economics, jurisprudence, philosophy, politics, and theology, and for his activism against Saddam’s tyrannical Ba‘athist regime which ultimately cost him his life on 8 April 1980. Despite his pre-eminence, Sadr’s political thought has been understudied and his conception of the ‘Islamic state’ is widely misunderstood. This article seeks to help fill this gap by analysing the key texts in which Sadr expounds his views on the Islamic state, placing each text in its politico-historical context.

Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, the ‘prize’ of the hawzat al‘ilmiyyah (Islamic seminary) of Najaf, is amongst the leading Islamic thinkers of the last century. Sadr was born on 25 Dhu al-Qa‘dah 1353 / 28 February 1935, in Kazimiyyah, Iraq. In the forty-five years of his life, which ultimately ended tragically in execution on 8 April 1980, Sadr made noteworthy contributions to Islamic theology, philosophy, politics, economics, and jurisprudence, many of which are renowned for their originality. Sadr was also an avid reformer and activist, advocating innovative institutional reforms in the hawzah, and pioneering the creation and establishment of the Islamic Da‘wah Party (IDP), the first Shi‘a Islamic political party in Iraq, in 1957.

Bibliographic Information

Title: Baqir al-Sadr and the Islamic State: A Theory for Islamic Democracy

Author: Jaffar al_rikabi

Published in: Journal of Shi‘a Islamic Studies, Summer 2012 · Vol. V · No. 3

 Language: English

Length: 27 pages

aqir al-Sadr and the Islamic State: A Theory for Islamic Democracy

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