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Sayyid Muḥammad ʿAlī b. Ismaʿiī al-Ṣadr

Al-Sayyid Muḥammad ʿAlī b. Ismaʿiī al-Ṣadr known as al-Sayyid Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Ṣadr (b. 1299/1881-2 – d.1373/1953) was a Shi’ite marja’ and an expert of usul al-fiqh, rijal, poetry, and tafsir (exegesis) of the Holy Qur’an.

Born and Family

Sayyid Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Ṣadr, the father of Imam Musa al-Sadr, was Born in1881-2 in Kadhimiya, Iraq.

Al-Sayyid Muḥammad ʿAlī b. Ismaʿiī al-Ṣadr known as al-Sayyid Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Ṣadr (b. 1299/1881-2 – d.1373/1953) was a Shi’ite marja’ and an expert of usul al-fiqh, rijal, poetry, and tafsir (exegesis) of the Holy Qur’an. After the demise of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Karim Ha’iri Yazdi, the founder of Seminary of Qom, Al-Sadr along with Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Khwansari, and Sayyid Muhammad Hujjat Kuhkamara’i were in charge of Seminary of Qom. He made huge efforts to improve and expand the seminary. He was the father of al-Sayyid Musa al-Sadr and al-Sayyid Rida al-Sadr.

Muhammad ‘Ali was the first name of Al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din, Abul Rida was his kunya and al-Sadr al-Din was his title. He was generally known as “al-Sadr al-Din” which he used himself to express his name. Al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din was born in Kadhimiyya. Al-Sayyid Isma’il al-Sadr was the name of his father and Safiyya, the daughter of Al-Sayyid Hadi al-Sadr, was his mother’s name.

Al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din was first married to his maternal cousin who passed away in her young ages. When he came to Iran (in 1339/1920-1921), he married Bibi Safiya Qummi, the daughter of Sayyid Husayn Tabataba’i Qummi and they had 10 children (three sons and seven daughters): al-Sayyid Rida al-Sadr (teacher at the Seminary of Qom), al-Sayyid Musa al-Sadr, al-Sayyid ‘Ali al-Sadr, Siddiqa (wife of al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Sultani Tabataba’i), Tahira, Batul, Zahra, Mansura, Fatima (wife of al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr) and Rubab.

His Education

Al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din spent his childhood and adolescence in Samarra with his family. He learned mathematics, literature, logics and fiqh and Usul from his elder brother’s, al-Sayyid Mahdi, teachers. When his father, Al-Sayyid Isma’il migrated to Karbala in 1314/1896-1897, Al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din accompanied him and studied under great teachers of Karbala. Then his father advised him to study in Najaf where he later learned elementary and Kharij fiqh courses.

His Teachers

  • Muhammad Husayn Na’ini
  • Shaykh Hasan Karbala’i
  • Diya’ al-Din ‘Iraqi
  • Sayyid Isma’il al-Sadr
  • Mulla Muhammad Kazim al-Khurasani
  • Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Tabataba’i Yazdi
  • Mirza Fath Allah Shari’at Isfahani

His Students

Ayatollah al-Sadr was a prominent teacher of the Seminary and trained many students some of whom are as follow:

  • Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Sultani
  • Sayyid Musa Shubayri Zanjani
  • Sayyid Mahdi Ghadanfari Khurasani
  • ‘Ali Mishkini
  • Muhammad Saduqi
  • Sayyid Musa Sadr
  • Al-Sayyid Rida al-Sadr
  • Murtada Faqihi
  • Sayyid Hasan Mudarrisi Yazdi
  • Sayyid Husayn Musawi Kirmani
  • Ramadani Furduyi

Immigration to Mashhad

Al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din traveled to Iran and stayed in Mashhad for about six years where he taught religious lessons and delivered speeches. In those years Mashhad was hit with a drought and al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din managed to support and help the needy to save them from hunger. Later he went to Najaf and attended Muhammad Husayn Na’ini’s classes.

Immigration to Qom

When al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Karim al-Ha’iri al-Yazdi, the founder of the Seminary of Qom, became older he was worried about the future of the Seminary; therefore, he sent a group of representatives to ask al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din to come to the Seminary of Qom in order to strengthen and improve the situation of the Seminary. Subsequently he accepted the request and came to Qom.

Al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din was a teacher in seminary and consultant of al-Ha’iri al-Yazdi. Later al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din was appointed as the successor of al-Ha’iri al-Yazdi. He also proposed to have al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Hujjat as successor alongside himself.


After the demise of al-Ha’iri al-Yazdi, Ayatullah Hujjat, Ayatullah Khwansari and al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din took charge of the Seminary of Qom and Marja’iyya. When Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi came to Tehran for medical treatments, al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din asked him to come to Qom. After the arrival of Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi, he became the Imam of congregational prayers in the Holy Shrine of Lady Fatima al-Ma’suma (a). Later Sadr al-Din supported al-Brujirdi and gradually moved away from leading the Seminary of Qom. He mentioned the 83rd verse of Sura al-Qasas as the purpose of this action.

His Works

Al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din al-Sadr have written these works:

  • Al-Mahdi, which is a collection of narrations of Sunni narrators on Imam al-Mahdi (a) written in Arabic; it is translated into Farsi.
  • Summary of al-Fusul (written by al-Shaykh Muhammad al-Isfahani) which was taught in the Seminary of Qom. Since it was a lengthy book, students studied only parts of it. It was summarized in order be a replacement for Al-Qawanin and al-Fusul.
  • Madinat al-‘ilm


Al-Sayyid Sadr al-Din al-Sadr passed away on Rabi’ I 19 1373/November 26, 1953. Ayatollah Buroujirdi performed Funeral Prayer on his body. He is buried next to al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Karim al-Ha’iri in the Holy Shrine of Lady Fatima al-Ma’suma (a).

About Ali Teymoori

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