Ayatullah Sayyid Kāẓim Ḥā’irī, one of the greatest students of Shahīd Bāqir al-Ṣadr and an esteemed Marja‘ of our time, resigned from the post of Marja‘īyyah on August 29th, 2022 – the 1st of Safar, 1444.
This is not a completely unprecedented move by a Marja’. In the past, scholars like Ayatullah Riḍā Hamadānī (d. 1322 AH) the author of Miṣbāḥ al-Faqīh deemed his taqlīd impermissible due to him suffering from dementia. Muḥaqqiq Isfahānī (d. 1361 AH) the author of Nihāyah al-Dirāyah – a 6-volume commentary on al-Kifāyah– and Ḥāshiyah al-Makāsib – an 8 volume commentary on al-Makāsib – gave the order to recycle all of his published Risālah in order to further strengthen the Marja‘īyyah of Sayyid Abū al-Ḥasan Isfahānī (d. 1355 AH).
Below is the full translation of Sayyid Kāẓim Ḥā’irī’s letter:
All praise be to God and peace and blessings be on Prophet Muhmmad and his holy progeny.
لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا
[2:286] Allah does not require of any soul more than what it can afford.
Without a doubt, one of the important responsibilities and trusts during the occultation of the Imam (a) is that a jurist who meets all the conditions takes on the affairs of the Muslims. After Allah gave me the opportunity to remain a student of Ayatullah al-‘Uẓma Sayyid Shahīd Bāqir al-Ṣadr (ra), I took on this responsibility and tried to carry on the objectives of that great martyr in the Iraq of Imam Ḥusayn (a), to help the cause of Islam, and to support the believers, especially the Iraqi community in the face of unwanted imperialists.
It is clear that in order to carry out this great responsibility, one needs an able body and strength to follow up with issues related to the Muslims, however as of now my health has deteriorated due to illness and age, and I feel this has prevented me from carrying out my responsibilities. For this reason, I announce that from here onwards, I am not carrying out this responsibility and all appointed agents (wakālat) and permissions on behalf of myself or my office, as well as any rights to obtaining religious funds by appointed agents and representatives on behalf of me, are now nullified.
In the end, I want to give the following advice to my believing children:
1) It is necessary upon all believers to obey the Walī Faqīh, the leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatullah al-‘Uẓma Sayyid ‘Alī Khāmenai. In these circumstances of combating the oppressive and imperialist oppressors, where the powers of disbelief and evil have strengthened their efforts against Islam, is the most deserving and appropriate candidate for leadership.
2) I advise my children in Iraq to fulfill the following matters:
a) Maintain unity and friendship amongst yourselves, and to not create discord and conflict between believers which merely opens opportunities for the imperialists, Zionists, and their agents. They should know that their common enemy is the USA, Zionism, and their agents – thus they should remain:
أَشِدَّآءُ عَلَى ٱلْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَيْنَهُمْ
[48:29] …forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves…
b) The liberation of Iraq from any foreign occupation and the presence of any security and military forces, especially the American forces, who are sitting on the chest of our wounded Iraq under various pretexts. You must not allow them to remain in Iraq, the nation of sacred sites. Allowing them to stay in Iraq is one of the greatest sins in the sight of Allah Almighty, as we have said before.
c) I ask those who are in charge of positions and responsibilities to fulfill the legitimate duties that they have pledged to the people and to avoid personal interests and smaller factions that have brought calamities to the oppressed people of Iraq. Under the shade of such an action, peace, dignity, and stability will be brought to them and the country.
d) Scholars and students of seminaries, the elites, and sincere educated writers should try to increase people’s awareness so that they can distinguish between friends and enemies and realize the reality of their interests and not be caught heedless and humiliated.
e) The children of the two Shahīd Ṣadrs should know that the love of those two martyrs is not enough unless one has faith in their conduct and have real adherence to the goals they sacrificed themselves for. Mere claim or affiliation is not enough, and whoever seeks separation between the Iraqi and Shia people in the name of the two Shahīd Ṣadrs, or has assumed the leadership of the nation in their name, while lacking the power of ijtihad or the rest of the necessary conditions for legitimate leadership, therefore – in fact – is not Sadri, regardless of what they claim or what affiliation they have.
f) I advise all believers about our Ḥash al-Sha‘bi, that they should be supported and assisted as an independent force that cannot be merged with other forces, because as we have stated many times, Ḥash al-Sha‘bi, along with other Iraqi armed forces, is a strong fortress, a striking hand, a power against those who are hiding under the safety and interests of the people.
g) The criminal and corrupt Baathists should be kept away from positions and responsibilities in the country, and facilities should not be given to them under any circumstance, because they do not want good for you, rather they only serve their party’s interests, their colonial masters, the Zionists, and their agents. They have no other interest.
رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذْنَآ إِن نَّسِينَآ أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَآ إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُۥ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِۦ ۖ وَٱعْفُ عَنَّا وَٱغْفِرْ لَنَا وَٱرْحَمْنَآ ۚ أَنتَ مَوْلَىٰنَا فَٱنصُرْنَا عَلَى ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ
[2:286] … Our Lord! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord! Do not place a burden on us like the one you placed on those before us. Our Lord! Do not burden us with what we cannot bear. Pardon us, forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our ˹only˺ Guardian. So grant us victory over the disbelieving people
1 Safar, 1444
Sayyid Ali studied in the seminary of Qom from 2012 to 2021, while also concurrently obtaining a M.A in Islamic Studies from the Islamic College of London in 2018. In the seminary he engaged in the study of legal theory, jurisprudence and philosophy, eventually attending the advanced kharij of Usul and Fiqh in 2018. He is currently completing his Masters of Education at the University of Toronto and is the head of a private faith-based school in Toronto, as well as an instructor at the Mizan Institute and Mufid Seminary.