Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammad Saeed al-Hakeem, one of Iraq’s most prominent and influential Shia clerics, has passed away in the southern holy city of Najaf after a sudden cardiac arrest aged 87.
Ayatollah al-Hakim “underwent surgery three days ago in a hospital in Najaf and succumbed today to a heart attack”, AFP quoted a source within his office as saying on Friday.
He passed away at the al-Hayat hospital in Najaf, where he was taken after suffering a sudden heart attack.
What follows is a biography of his eminence late Aytollah al-Hakim:
He is Sayyid Mohamed Saeed, the son of Ayatollah Sayyid Mohamed Ali, the son of Sayyid Ahmed, the son of Sayyid Mohsin, the son of Sayyid Ahmed, the son of Sayyid Mahmood, the son of Sayyid Ibrahim (the Doctor), the son of prince Sayyid Ali Alhakeem, the son of prince Morad al tabatabaie. His noble linage reaches Ibrahim tabataba, the son of Ismaeel aldibaj, the son of Ibrahim al ghamr, the son of Hassan al mothenna, the son of Imam Hassan (peace be upon him).
He is the oldest grandson of the master of Shisom and their religious authority, the Grand ayatollah Alsayyid Mohsin al hakeem and He (may Allah have mercy on his soul) is His father’s uncle from the mother side.
He was born in the Holy city of Najaf in the eighth day of thirqida al harram year 1354 which corresponds to 1934.
His father (May Allah prolong his life) raised and took a special care of him as he found out the special capability of his oldest son to learn the religious knowledge in depth and derivation. He directed him to this field before the end of his first decade of age At the same time, he taught him various moral and noble values that became obvious characters in his personality.
From this standpoint, we can list the main teachers in the following sequence:
1. His great father, his eminence Ayatollah Sayyid Mohamed Ali al Tabatabaie Alhakeem (May Allah prolong his life). He started teaching him from the introductory subjects like The Arabic language, grammar, logic, eloquence, jurisprudence and its fundamentals till he finished most of his intermediate studies – Sutooh.
2. His grandfather, the shia religious authority, the grand ayatollah, the late Sayyid Mohsin Altabatabaie Alhakeem (May Allah have mercy on his soul), where he attended a great deal of his Jurisprudence teachings and wrote what we will mention in his list of books that he authored.
3. The teacher of jurists and Mujtahids, the grand Ayatollah Shaeikh Hussein al Hilli (May Allah have mercy on his soul) where he attended his teachings in the science of religious jurisprudence and the fundamentals of Jurisprudence.
4. The late Shiite religious authority, the grand Ayatollah, AsSayyid Al khoie (May Allah have mercy on his soul), where he attended two years of his jurisprudence fundamental’s teachings and wrote what we will mention in the books section.
His teachings and students:
After he finished teaching several sessions in the sotooh level of teaching in the hawza, he started in year 1388 teaching behthul kharij (the external) – the highest level of hawza classes – till he finished his first course in the fundaments of the jurisprudence in year 1399 and started another one while he is continuing his teachings and writing despite the harsh conditions of detention that took place from 1403 till 1411.
In the jurisprudence, he started teaching behthul kahrij based on the books of mekashib – written by sheikh Al-Ansari – in 1390 and he is still teaching despite the difficult circumstances for years. He graduated many respected scholars in the hawza and they are main teachers in the hawzas of Najaf and Qom and others hawzas.
In addition to the characteristics of some of his writings during his study at the level of Sutooh where they included investigative views and scientific points, a group of books have emerged, including:
1. Almohkem in the fundamentals of the jurisprudence, it a detailed full course in the fundamentals of the jurisprudence in six volumes.
2. Misbahul minhag, in the jurisprudence laws derivation, based in details on the book of Minhag al saliheen. So far he finished 15 volumes.
3. Minhag al saliheen, his Risala – practical laws of his verdicts in three volumes.
4. Menasik – Pilgrimage and Omra Rituals.
5. A message to the people in the west.
6. A message to the religions promoters and the hawza students, translated into Persian and Urdu.
7. A dialogue with his eminence about the religious authority – merjeyya in two episodes.
8. Morshid al Moghtarib, instructions and verdicts related to the people in the west.
9. Fi rihab al aqeeda, detailed dialogue with a Jordanian personality in the issues of beliefs, in 3 volumes
10. Religious laws of computer and internet, translated into English.
11. Human cloning. Translated into English
12. Religious dialogues.
13. A message to the devotees in Azerbaijan, translated into the Azeri language.
14. A message to the pilgrims of the holy house of God.
And many more.
May 9th, 1983 – June 7th, 1991
After Saddam Hussein Al-tikriti seizure of power and the removal of his predecessor, Ahmed Hassan Albaker in June 17th, 1979, intensive pressure and hardship of the regime against Iraqis have been increased, especially against the hawza scholars in Najaf. His eminence decided to stay in the hawza and not leave the country and tolerate the mentioned pressures and dangers to contribute to the maintenance of this scientific and cultural entity and at the same time not to grant the government its wish in evacuating the hawza from its scholars in a step to control it.
The pressure reached its peak during the Iraq Iran war after the plot of saddam failed to bring down the young Islamic revolution in Iran by a quick war. When the Iranian military attacks were upsurge in the battlefields, Saddam, the criminal convened a conference of (Muslim Clergymen) in Baghdad with the hope that it will be attended by Muslim scholars from inside Iraq as well as from the outside and he named it as (Public Islamic conference) in a very clear act of propaganda.
It was natural that he pressured the scholars of the hawza to participate in this conference; he paid special attention to the Alhakeem family because of its respected scientific and public rank inside and outside Iraq. This intensive pressure has been in different ways of threats and intimidation. When the family refuses to participate, two weeks after the end of the mentioned conference, Saddam – the dictator ordered an arrest to the family as an act of revenge to their noble position which became a milestone in the history of modern Iraq especially when there was no clear religious scientific entity to the Arabic hawza in Iraq at that time.
It was his eminence and his father, Ayatollah Sayyid Mohamed Ali Alhakeem (may Allah prolong his life); his brothers and their children were among the detainees. The attention was centered in the interrogations that Alhakeem family faced in the general directorate of security on a group of them, one of them was his eminence himself but almighty Allah mercifully saved him from the evil of the oppressors.
Isolated sections in the prison of Abu Ghraib:
In March 1985, the regime transferred the detainees from Alhakeem family from the detention of the general directorate of security in Baghdad to the isolated sections to the department of special provisions in the prison of Abu ghraib after the executions of 16 martyrs in two sessions. Despite the harsh living conditions in these isolated section, it have opened a relatively big opportunity of scientific and educational activities for the prisoner from Alhakeem family because of the large number of prisoners and their religious and educational interests. All of this gave His eminence the chance for further scientific, educational and social activities inside the prison.
1. Scientific and cultural activities:
The activity of his eminence was distributed between teaching of his family members especially as many of the detainees from Alhakeem family were his students – in the level of kharij – before the detention, so his eminence started two classes at this level of studies one of them in the jurisprudence and the other in the fundamentals of the jurisprudence.
His eminence also paid attention to the revival of the religious events by giving general cultural lecture that have had significant impact at that harsh circumstance. He also was answering questions in various scientific issues.
2. Social and educational activities:
The poor conditions of the prison, the spread of deadly diseases and disconnection of the prisoners with their families – as they were not allowed to see their families and their families did not know their fate – called for the need to someone that can reflect parental care and attention, which was represented by his eminence (may Allah prolong his life) that undertook this responsibility and played this role for thousands of detainees who were staying in these cells.
He said, during the peak of hardship in the isolated sections in the prison of Abu Ghraib, to one of his sons: “If there were no benefit to our plight, the plight of Alhakeem family, just the mitigation to these prisoners, then it is sufficient”.
3. Withstanding in the interrogations:
Detainees and prisoners in Iraq usually face lots types of severe torture which makes it difficult to withstand and endurance. His eminence personally encountered various kinds of bloody and harsh torture like beating with batons and being shocked by electricity and other kinds of torture, but his eminence faced the tragedy with rare spirit and solid patience and he was urging the rest of the detainees to be patient and withstand the hardships and to depend on Almighty Allah.
After his release in the 5th of thul geida , 1411 along with the rest members of Alhakeem family after the execution of some of them, the regime pressured his eminence in many various ways to accept the official religious leadership – marjeyya but his eminence strongly refused that while insisted on the independency of the Shiite religious leadership away from the political regimes. Despite that, his eminence remained insisting on taking charge of supporting the scientific hawza in the holy city of Najaf and helping thousands of needy families in Iraq including many of the families of martyrs and detainees. He was also supporting religious propagation secretly away from the surveillance of the tyrant’s supporters.
When his eminence traveled for medical treatment outside Iraq, many believers urged him not to go back to Iraq especially when the war was expected in the near future but his eminence refused and insisted on returning to the trench of the religious hawza in Najaf to be closer to the Iraqi believers in their long plight.
His religious leadership:
His eminence was known for his interest in teaching and writing since the early time of his youth, after the death of ayatollah Sayyid al-khoie (may Allah have mercy on his soul), many people started to follow him in imitation. Lots of believers and hawza clergymen from inside and outside Iraq including some leading scholars and religious authorities – Marji’s were insisting on his eminence to announce his religious leadership. So he assumed the responsibility in a critical and complex circumstances experienced by believers in various parts of the globe.
The concerns of his eminence are characterized within the following themes:
A) Within the boundaries of the religious hawza – this religious institute that is undergoing a heavy responsibility in facing various situations and diverse enemies’ plans – his eminence was concerned with upbringing a generation of students characterized by piety along with various Islamic sciences. His eminence addressed the students of the hawza with a message where he focused on a range of important points that students suppose to be committed to them.
B) In his attention to the Shiite communities, especially those who live away from the religious centers and suffer difficult circumstances, his directives come to the people in the west and his message to support them and urge them to face immigration.
C) The importance of the connection with the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet and his family (peace be upon them) was reflected in his personal lifestyle as he is committed to reading daily and repeatedly the Holy Qur’an and he – in an answer to a question addressed to His Eminence – stressed on the importance of considering the Qur’an, the authentic books of narrations, Nahj Ulbelagha and Sahifatul Sejjadiya as key references for scholars and preachers and speakers.
D) The deep link to the household of the prophet (peace be upon them) and the dedication of their love. This is clearly shown through his repeated guidance and in various occasions to pay enough attention to the rituals related to Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) and other Islamic events. And this is clearly shown by his yearly lectures in the month of Muharram and his interest in reciting the martyrdom story of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) personally.
E) The confirming of close relationship with the nation and the followers of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them). His eminence does not waste any chance to give the advice and the guidance through lectures or direct speech in the holy city of Najaf. During his treatment trip and despite his health condition at the time, he directed the faithful expatriates.
F) His extreme attention to support the needy families, this is clearly shown by his various support to them and by establishing monthly salaries to thousands of needy families in Iraq.
G) The reconstruction of various crumbled holy shrines or that which is oversaw the collapse because of the lack of necessary maintenance like the project of renovating and reconstructing the huge Sahla mosque and building lots of mosques in various cities of Iraq and Syria.
H) Support religious preaching. In this context it comes sending of religious preachers and supporting the preaching activities in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, newly independent republics in central Asia, Syrian cities, northern Iraq and Iraqi refugees camps in Iran, and some places in Iran. Also by supporting the establishment of educational and religious sessions in various places especially needy ones plus the spread of Ahlulbait culture in the Islamic countries especially the republics of central Asia after the dismantling of the soviet union where the office of his eminence take care of sending preachers amongst the students of these countries and supports various preaching programs their.
I) Link Islamic centers and institutes in the United States and Europe through direct contact and feeding the various Islamic books and answer the various questions which are of the believers there. The websites of his eminence’s office were fed with various real Islamic cultural materials in the Arabic, English and Urdu languages in an attempt to deliver the Islamic thought of the approach of Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) and their various knowledge across to different parts of the globe plus answer the questions raised by believers and others in various topics of jurisprudence and beliefs and other topics.
J) Follow-up the events of interest to the Islamic world and the followers of Ahlulbait (peace be upon him) and the challenges they face, and to take the appropriate situations and steps from the religious authority.
1. Support the withstanding of the Palestinian people in the face of the brutal Zionist aggression and rejection of the occupation of Jerusalem and the rest of the Palestinian territories.
2. Confirm the right of the Lebanese people in the liberation of southern Lebanon from the brutal occupation, and the blessing of a brilliant victory of the Islamic resistance in the liberation of the south.
3. Condemnation of mass murders committed by the gangs of Taliban against the followers of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them), especially unarmed civilians in Afghanistan.
4. Condemnation of the random killings against the followers of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) and the bombing of mosques and the husainiyats, committed by the gangs of the army of sahaba in Pakistan and the demand from the Pakistani PM to take responsibly in stopping these heinous crimes.