“it is my blood that will be my biography to the world; I want nothing more than to serve Islam, and today, Islam is in need of my blood, much more than in need of my biography.”
Thirty five years ago today (April 9, 1980), the great thinker, scholar, ascetic, philosopher, economist, logician, jurist and… human being, Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr, was executed by Saddam in Iraq.
His death was a birth for a generation of thinkers, believers and activists, and a personal victory over oppression, and the materialism of this life. His unshakeable convictions and unparalleled courage became a light for the hearts of those who needed that illumination in dark, dark times indeed. This is one of the refrains in human history: positions are in the grey zone, and open to compromise and negotiation during times of conflict, because all is relative. That is, until the blood of the innocent is spilled. Then the grey becomes black and white, good and evil, just and unjust, oppressor and oppressed. Sadr understood this, but he wanted to make it easier for those who may have had difficulty seeing to see clearly, and to decide with conviction on which side to stand…
Shahid means witness. This shahid was a witness of his time and his nation; and he will remain a witness.
Sadr, you were a phenomenon, one that today’s humanity must contemplate again and again, in your sincerity, in your humility, in your simplicity, in your wisdom, in your courage, in your selflessness, in your knowledge, in your genius, in your charisma, in your pen, in your perseverance, in your leadership, in your piety, in your humanity.
How lucky is he who is granted the privilege to sit as a humble student before you and the monumental works you left in your short 46 years of life; you the philosopher, the revolutionary, the thinker, the jurist… and the tender caring human being.
How many difficulties did you endure for the nation you cared about? How were you able to remain steadfast when even those around you, close to you, teachers, neighbors, “brothers in faith”, mistreated you, then ignored you, then left you alone in the face of calamity? How many acts of torture — from the broken chest bones, to the burnt face, to the nailed eye, to the shot skull – did you face to preserve this sacred faith of ours? And how did you endure seeing the torture of your inseparable companion, your pure sister, the great Amina, Bintul Huda, whom you nurtured and raised, and who stuck by you in life and in death? Did anything remain of her body, or was it all completely dissolved in the pool of acid?
Twenty three years later to the day, April 9, 2003, Saddam was executed… Divine laws that have been put in place, out of mercy for humankind, so that others may see the signs and pay heed…
You were a treasure for humanity in your life, and your memory shall remain one after your death. So are the divine laws of this world…
“Sayid as-Sadr is oppressed, because he was born in the East. Had he been born in the West, you would have known what the West would have said about him. This man is an exception to the rules. This man is amazing in what he can reach, and in the thoughts and theories that he puts forward.” Sayid al-Khoei