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Imam Musa al-Sadr: An Analysis of His Life, Accomplishments and Literary Output

This dissertation will discuss and analyze the life of Imam Musa, as he was known by his followers; his numerous writings, speeches, and manifestos; the contributions he made to the advancement of the Shi’i community in Lebanon.

Imam Musa al-Sadr (1347 AH, 1928 CE), is an Iranian Shi’i Imam with Lebanese ancestry. He became the leader of the Shi’i community in Lebanon in 1959 after the death of the local leader. He lived in Lebanon for about nineteen years before his sudden disappearance during an official visit to Libya in 1978. His stay in Lebanon marked a major transformation in the political, social, religious, and economic life of the Shi’i community. It also marked a major change in the history of Lebanon and the Lebanese as a whole. His work and accomplishments touched all the Lebanese no matter what religion, region, or political affiliation they belonged to. This dissertation will discuss and analyze the life of Imam Musa, as he was known by his followers; his numerous writings, speeches, and manifestos; the contributions he made to the advancement of the Shi’i community in Lebanon. It will also analyze his appeal for Muslim unity around the world and religious tolerance between the various religious communities in Lebanon. Finally this dissertation will look at the legacy he left and the future of the Shi’ah in Lebanon. This study is divided into four chapters. The first chapter is about the Shi’i community in Lebanon, its history, numbers and political and socio-economic status at the time of Imam Musa’s arrival to Lebanon. The second chapter looks at the life of Imam Musa al-Sadr, his accomplishments, the changes he was able to affect for and within the Shi’i community, and his untimely disappearance in 1978. Chapter two also discusses the Imam by looking at him from three different points of view: the man, his political thought and his role as a religious reformer. “Imam Musa: The man” is a personal look at the Imam and views of people who lived and dealt with him throughout the nineteen years he spent in Lebanon. “Imam Musa: His Political Thought” discusses his dealings with the Lebanese government, the Christian parties, the Leftist Muslim parties and the Palestinians. “Imam Musa: Religious Reformer” analyzes his views on religion and relations between religions. As a reformer Imam Musa advocated unity between Muslims around the world, a more active role for women in Islamic society, and tolerance for other religions. The third chapter analyzes Imam Musa’s literary output (books, speeches, and manifestos) during his tenure in Lebanon. These will be analyzed in their relation to Imam Musa’s life and accomplishments in Lebanon. The fourth chapter looks at the legacy of the Imam, the fate of the Shi’i community since his disappearance, and the future of the community in Lebanon.

Bibliographic Information

Title: Imam Musa al-Sadr: An Analysis of His Life, Accomplishments and Literary Output

Author(s): Ibrahim Ali, Naim

Degree Grantor: University of Arizona

Publisher: The University of Arizona

Degree Level: Doctoral

 Language: English

Length: 263 pages

Imam Musa al-Sadr An Analysis of His Life, Accomplishments and Literary Output

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