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Back To School

Muqtada al Sadr disappeared from public for a while and the American agitprop people did their best to convince everyone that he was in hiding in Iran, and attempt to implicate Iran and “blacken” al Sadr with Iraqis.

The Associated Press is now reporting that al Sadr is going to graduate school to increase his clerical credentials.

Dr. Cole has a more accurate assessment of what al Sadr is doing, and why it is important.

Officially and formally he is Hojatoleslam Sayyid Muqtada Al Sadir: the first title is the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, and the second indicates that he is a descendant of the Prophet and entitled to wear a black turban. He acquired his degree in Najaf, at the Hawsa, one of the most important Shi’ia universities, the equivalent of Oxford in the English speaking world.

He is working towards the title of Mujtahid, which is a doctorate in Shi’ia jurisprudence. This is essential for him in the Shi’ia system, as without it he is required to follow the rulings of a senior cleric, an Ayatollah or Grand Ayatollah. The process of becoming an Ayatollah is not as straight forward as going to a university. He will have to publish interpretations of the law that other Ayatollahs find worthy and to convince people to follow his interpretations. Becoming a Grand Ayatollah is even more difficult and time consuming, and usually involves remaining in a hawsa and teaching.

While al Sadr inherited an organization from his family, he lacks the credentials to effectively use it for his purposes. There have been incidents where people who were nominally under his leadership, refused to follow his orders. If he hopes to be a real leader in a Shi’ia state, the degree is absolutely necessary.


1 The Culture Ghost { 12.15.07 at 9:29 pm }

Absolutely fascinating. Thank you. I’ve come to depend upon you for such items of unusual curiosity.

2 Bryan { 12.15.07 at 10:11 pm }

Who have to know how other people think, even if it makes no sense to you, personally. People tend to act in a consistent fashion, and if you want to stay alive you need to understand the “pattern.”

The Hedgemony keeps digging themselves and us into a deeper pit from equal parts of ignorance and spite.

It’s a terrible thing, but this guy is probably the best person to lead anything approaching a unified Iraq. He seems to be the most senior player actually interested in keeping the nation together, and he’s an arrogant jerk.