Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr

Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr was an Iraqi Shi'a cleric, and one of the best and most famous philosophers, and also ideological founder of Islamic Dawa Party born in al-Kazimiya, Iraq. His father Haydar al-Sadr was a well-respected high-ranking Shi'a cleric. His lineage goes back to Muhammad, through the seventh Shia Imam, Musa al-Kazim.

One of the most prominent and famous religious figures in the Islamic world. Sadr was greatly influenced by his father’s conservative thoughts and ideas and by those of his father-in-law, Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Ṣadr, founder of the Islamic Daʿwah Party, who in 1980 was executed for his opposition to Iraqi strongman Ṣaddam Hussein.

His father died in 1937, leaving the family penniless. In 1945 the family moved to the holy city of Najaf, where al-Sadr would spend the rest of his life. He was a child prodigy who, at ten, was delivering lectures on Islamic history, and at eleven, he studied logic and wrote a book to refute philosophy. Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr completed his religious teachings at religious seminaries under al-Khoei and Muhsin al-Hakim at the age of 25 and began teaching.

Perhaps his most important work was "Iqtisaduna" on Islamic economics and "Falsafatuna". These works were critiques of both socialism and capitalism. He was subsequently commissioned by the government of Kuwait to assess how that country's oil wealth could be managed in keeping with Islamic principles. This led to a major work on Islamic banking that still forms the basis for modern Islamic banks.

He also worked with Sayyid Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim in forming an Islamist movement in Iraq. This attracted the attention of the Baath Party, which resulted in numerous imprisonments for the Ayatollah. He was often subjugated to torture during his imprisonments, but continued his work after being released. One of the founders of modern Islamist thought he is credited with first developing the notion, later put in operation in Iran, of having western style democratic elections, but with a body of Muslim scholars to ensure all laws corresponded with Islamic teachings.

In 1977, he was sentenced to life in prison following uprisings in Najaf, but was released two years later due to his immense popularity. Upon his release however, he was put under house arrest. In 1980, after writing in the defense of the Islamic Revolution, Sadr was once again imprisoned, tortured, and executed by the regime of Saddam Hussein. His sister, Amina Sadr bint al-Huda, was also imprisoned, tortured, and executed. It has been alleged that Sadr was killed by having an iron nail hammered into his head and then being set on fire.