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Sadr, Musa Al- (1928–1978?)

SADR, MUSA AL- (1928–1978?)

Musa al-Sadr, who was born in Qom, Iran, was a politically active and controversial cleric. Al-Sadr arrived in Lebanon in 1959, and by 1969 he was the chairman of the Higher Shi˓ite Council, which he had helped to create in that same year. Al-Sadr led and tried to transform the people of the historically quiescent Shi˓ite community of Lebanon, who needed courage to stake out a claim in their fractured country. He advanced the notion of ideological Islam, and proposed that the leader in Lebanon should be an imam, much like ˓Ali Shari˓ati, a religious intellectual, had advocated in Iran before the Islamic revolution.

Al-Sadr was a political moderate who was considered a reformer by his followers. The title of imam was applied to only twelve individuals in the Shi˓ite tradition: It was given to Musa al-Sadr and Ruhollah Khomeini, the Iranian leader, by their followers and subsequently accepted by the high-ranking clerics. Sadr disappeared in Libya while on a visit to Libya's ruler, Mu˓ammar al-Qadhdhafi, in 1978. He and two companions, a cleric and a journalist, were never heard from again.

See alsoImamate ; Lebanon ; Political Islam ; Revolution: Modern .


Ajami, Fouad. The Vanished Imam: Musa al Sadr and the Shia of Lebanon. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1986.

Majid Mohammadi

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