The Unchangeable Positions of Shiite Religious Leadership

23 January 2013 | 13:06 Code : 1911921 Review General category
An essay by Adil Abdul-Mahdi, Iraq’s former Vice-President
The Unchangeable Positions of Shiite Religious Leadership


Some criticize the Shiite religious leadership for not being involved in the country’s affairs. Some others criticize it for being too involved in the affairs of the country and everybody wishes to attract the religious leadership towards their opinion and some even try to misuse its positions to their benefit. The days pass and the demands change. What remains constant are the continued positions of the Shiite religious leadership which expressed its opposition to occupation from the first day and despite the oppression of the Ottoman government stood next to it because preserving Islam’s prestige has always been its constant priority.

When the independence revolutions of the 1920s began, when the children of the South and the Euphrates lost their rights, the religious leaders did not approve of the revolution and instead tried to use their influence and make recommendations. When the idea of a Republic was raised and radical actions were taken and became bloody and when Qasim wanted to occupy Kuwait and faced many obstacles, when political games, house arrests, imprisonments, torture and executions occurred following the 1963 revolution, the Shiite religious leadership condemned all those actions. When Arif came to power and initiated the military operations and killings that were supported by the preachers of the palaces, the religious leaders issued a fatwa prohibiting the killing of Kurds. Regardless of the religion and ethnicity, they stood against oppression. When Saddam Hussein came to power and wanted to impose his dominance through bloodshed and pressurized and forced the Shiite religious leaders and their families to leave their homes and when he executed those leaders or imprisoned them or severely suppressed them or silenced them through intimidation, the religious leaders tolerated the pain of their wounds and waited for the right moment to react when no one supported them, which resulted in the weakening of faiths.    

Therefore, whether the Shiite religious leader speaks out or remains silent, he will maintain his power and strength. He will continue his work all day long without any claim and controversy. It is our obligation to learn from him rather than teach him something. It is said that when one enters the sea; he forgets that the Shiite religious leader is the same calm and wavy sea. When millions of people pour into the streets with the intention of pledging allegiance to the Shiite religious leader and acknowledging his justice, his status is recognized. Despite all these problems and mass graves, the Shiite religious leader has rejected the idea of taking revenge and has always demanded just and fair treatment. He has always asked that methods which would be founded on new oppression based on old oppression be eradicated. Despite the massacres against the Shiites, especially by those who pursue terrorism with the priority of a Sunni government with the objective of tribalism, the Shiite religious leader has repeatedly reiterated that the Sunnis are your brothers and you should not take revenge from them. And when the Sunnis take oppressive measures in a government with a Shiite majority, the Shiite religious leader supports the freedom to hold demonstrations, emphasizes the necessity to respond to their legitimate demands, rejects prejudiced policies beyond the constitution, and reiterates the maintenance of balance and development of affairs. At the same time, he strongly rejects any incorrect interpretation.

This is the Shiite religious leader and the path he has always followed. He has always taught us not only to defend ourselves but defend others as well and asked us not to be afraid of others' attacks and always be resistant and resilient. This time, along with the Shiite religious leader, we will reject any tribal and ethnic sedition in all its forms and bury it.

tags: shiite shiite religious leader