Sep. 9, 2021

Exclusive: Demise of top Iraqi cleric opens path for potential successor of Sistani

Iraq/Religion

With the passing of Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Saeed Al-Hakim (1936-2021), the quadrant of top Shiite clerics making up Iraq’s Marjaiya has lost one of its pillars.

85-year-old Hakim was notably the only Arab among the four top maraji in Najaf (plural of marja, literally meaning “reference”, as in a source of religious jurisprudence to follow). Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, the cleric at the helm of the Marjaiya, was born in Iran. The other two maraji, Grand Ayatollahs Bashir Al-Najafi and Muhammad Al-Fayadh, were born in British India and Afghanistan respectively. After the partition of India, Bashir Najafi’s family migrated to Pakistan; he later left for Iraq.

Hakim hailed from a long lineage of top Shiite clerics. His father, Muhammad Ali Al-Hakim, was an ayatollah. The elder Hakim was in turn a nephew of Grand Ayatollah Muhsin Al-Hakim (1889-1970), once the head of the Marjaiya in Najaf....

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Mustafa Saadoon
Mustafa Saadoon
Mustafa Saadoon is an Iraqi journalist as well as the founder and director of the Iraqi ... Full Bio
فارسیPersian
فارسیPersian
عربيArabic
عربيArabic