Biography of Allameh Askari

Ayatollah allameh Sayyed Morteza Askari

Allame Askari علامه عسکری

Master Allameh Sayyid Morteza Askari was born on the 12th of Rabi-al-awal 1327 AH (1909 April 3) in the city of Samarra[1] and then studied in the seminary of the same city. then in Muharram 1345 AH he migrated to the holy city of Qom[2]. In this city he studied the level of Osul Al-Fiqh (Islamic principles of jurisprudence)[3] with Ayatollah Marashi Najafi (may God have mercy on him) and Ayatollah Haj Sheikh Mohammad Hossein Shariatmadari Savoji. Other masters that he had the honor to learn from them in that period are:

  • The late Grand Ayatollah Imam Khomeini in kalam[4] and beliefs,
  • Haj Mirza Khalil Komreei in the science of interpretation,
  • Ayatollah Haj Sheikh Mahdi Shahid Pa’in Shahri in the science of ethics and self-purification.

Steps towards social reform

During his seminary life in Qom, Allameh Askari realized the fact that the existing seminary courses need serious changes to fully answer the growing problems, questions and demands of society, so he accompanied a few of his like-minded students, and reviewed and revised the curricula of the seminary, including the late Ayatollah Sayyid Mahmoud Taleghani, with his friends in addition to the official lessons of the seminary, so that they could rely on it to fulfill more serious responsibilities in the future.

Among the courses offered in this new program were the courses of interpretation and hadith[5] studies and comparative study of Islamic beliefs, which, in addition to the usual courses of Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic principles (Osul), were used by competent masters.

In addition to the program, there was practice of oratory and lecturing, compilation and writing and practical presence in social work, and full attention to the study and understanding of the current situation and issues of Muslims and their needs in creating strong Islamic personalities to achieve the desired Islamic society.

Of course, this plan, with all the positive aspects that existed in it and could equip young and talented seekers of seminary sciences in practice with their religious and Islamic duties against the needs of the time and the new demands of the age, failed at the beginning for some reasons and Did not succeed.

After this process, which took place in the era of the authority of the Grand Ayatollah Hajj Sheikh Abd al-Karim Haeri (may God have mercy on him), the founder of the seminary of Qom, Master Askari returned to his original homeland, the city of Samarra, where he continued his education. He used the presence of Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Habibullah Eshtehardi and then studied Islamic jurisprudence and principles for six years.

Man of science and act

From the middle of the second decade of his scientific life, Master Askari tended to study biography, history, and travelogues, and due to the breadth of his studies and the variety of information, he distanced himself from what was common and familiar to his peers. This study, which began with access to the writings of Ayatollah Mirza Bozorg Shirazi’s students in the case of tobacco and the Talbot reggie company[6] in the library of his maternal grandfather (the late Ayatollah Mirza Mohammad Tehrani), made him familiar with the background of the Western colonial invasions of the Islamic world.

With his innate intelligence, he was able to identify the goals of cultural colonization. This form of colonization sometimes imposed itself openly (such as the establishment of evangelical schools in the Islamic world) and sometimes covertly (such as training and sending teachers to schools and universities in the Islamic world), even after the end of the period of direct and military colonization.

Allameh Askari seems to have been the first Islamic thinker in Iraq to realize the truth of the method of education that European advisers had designed for education centers in Eastern countries. His long-term and in-depth research and studies in this field led him to the considerable distance and difference that existed between these methods in Islamic countries and Western countries (such as: Germany, France and Japan, etc.).

And in this way, he reached one of the main causes of the backwardness of the East, which is the methods used in educating the youth. Therefore, he called such schools (employee training centers), because he believed that the product of these schools are people who are behind office desks and humble in the face of colonial invasion.

therefore, during his studies, he realized another important challenge in Islamic societies, and that was the separation of universities from seminaries. In fact, these two basic elements of the life of the Islamic Ummah(society), each walked in a different way and in a different direction. Relying on their heritage, the seminaries only trained teachers and preachers, and the universities had no Qibla aspirations (dream land) other than the West, and were alien to the Muslim people and their nation.

since there was no choice but to break the atmosphere and eliminate this stagnation, Master Askari began his work in Samarra as the second World War cast its heavy shadows over the people and land of Iraq. His first cultural work was the formation of study and teaching circles, as well as the establishment of a school with a new educational method, that he planned for it with special care and made it the beginning of the next wider plans. In this school, virtuous people such as Sheikh Mirza Najmuddin Sharif Askari, Sheikh Hassan Komeili, Sayyid Jafar Shahrestani and Sheikh Mahdi Hakim were the teachers. Of course, like other reformers of history, Master Askari could not escape the opposition of the old thinkers. After that, he considered it expedient to compile all the effects of the invasion of Western civilization that he had seen in Islamic societies, as well as how to fight and treat these ominous effects, and this was the beginning of writing his valuable books.

The establishment of new schools that introduced Islamic education in a new way was another stage of his activity. These schools were located next to centers that trained specialists in Islamic sciences and qualified people to transfer these sciences to society. plus the use of publications that were published regularly and continuously.

Master Askari called his program, which he had formulated accurately and completely, “social diseases and its treatments.”

After this stage, he came to Baghdad[7] to settle in the Kazimiyeh neighborhood, hoping that he would be able to cure some of the diseases of his community through more opportunities by spreading Islamic culture. In Baghdad, he met with the learned teacher, Professor Ahmad Amin, the author of the book “Development in Islam” and presented him with his book “Social Diseases and its treatments “. When professor Ahmad Amin read this book, a full understanding was reached between these two nobles and both decided to establish an elementary school in 1363 AH (1944 or 1945)

The late professor Ahmad Amin himself took charge of this project and Master Askari entrusted him with the implementation of the work and he supported him. He then established the Montada al-Nashr school in Kazimiyah, which was affiliated with the Montada al-Nashr community in Najaf[8] Ashraf (because he wanted to obtain the official license to establish the school more easily and quickly.) Allameh Askari was convinced of the establishment of this school and returned to Samarra again. It was not long before professor Ahmad Amin faced some difficulties while working and asked Master Askari for help to return to Baghdad and settle in Kazimiyah, where he personally ran the Montada al-Nashr school, and on religious occasions hold a ceremony to spread the Islamic culture.

After Allameh’s plan was completed in its first phase, the Master decided to carry out the second phase of the plan. Therefore, he received permission from the Ministry of Education that day to establish a place for teaching Islamic sciences, which was a prelude to the “Osul al-Din” College, which was later established.

The opposition of some Influential people of Kazimiyeh caused a noticeable delay of these plans, but this delay in the scientific life of Allameh Askari led to many of achievements and many results.

He returned to Samarra and studied (Islamic) Demonstrative jurisprudence for nearly two years under the title “Evidence of the Issues of Al-Urwa Al-Wothqa” with his Master Ayatollah Eshtehardi and at that time after He found the ability in himself to write the History of the Islamic Thought He turned to discussion and writing. Therefore, he divided his discussion into several sections that showed the stages of finding and forming the invitation with the blessings of Islam and the periods of Islamic history until the end of the Abbasi period. Of course, in order to achieve this great success, there were hard and uneven roads, and that was the hadiths that were accepted by the general Muslim community, but were not valid in terms of scientific status (such as the hadiths narrated by Umm Al-Mu’minin Aisha, Abu Huraira, Ibn Abbas, Anas ibn Malik and others like those). In the meantime, something happened that was perhaps unprecedented before, and that was that Master Askari discovered the truth of the hadiths of Saif ibn Umar al-Tamimi and others with a decisive and clear reason, which led to the authorship of two books ” Abdullah ibn Saba ” and ” one hundred and fifty fake companions “.

As a result of this discovery, the credibility of the content that was famous and popular among the people during the past centuries and was passed down from generation to generation was suddenly shaken and many of the lofty buildings that Tabari and other great historians built were destroyed. He wreaked them and it turned out that they were incidents and events that may seem great and big but has no proof.

The first book that was published by Master Allameh Askari in connection with the mentioned subject is the book ” Abdullah Ibn Saba ” which was published together with the book ” With Dr. Al-Wardi ” in 1375 AH (1955 or 1956).

Despite his full attention to scientific discussion and research, Master Askari did not neglect practical activity, so he tried again to establish schools and seminaries, and in this way, the difficulties that occurred could not disrupt his determination.

He came to Iran on the way to achieve this goal and agreed with the great religious authority of the late Ayatollah Sayyid Hossein Boroujerdi to establish a special seminary under the responsibility of Allameh Askari. However, the pressure caused by the events that took place in the Iranian political scene and the conflict between Ayatollah Kashani and his companions and Dr. Mossadegh and his companions forced Master Askari to return to Iraq to establish a seminary there in Kazimiyeh. However, it did not succeed due to the opposition of some people. So he started another project and that was the establishment of the school of Imam Kazim (AS) which continued until after the July 14, 1908 Islamic revolution of Iran.

Islamic Institutions

As a result of the expansion of the activities of non-religious groups such as nationalists and Ba’athists and the increase of regular evangelistic attacks that operated in the form of evangelical schools such as the Institute of Potted Nuns and Maryam Azra (the virgin mary) Nuns and they even sent their vehicles to transport students from Baghdad to Imam Kazim’s[9] (AS) shrine. Master Askari relied on God Almighty and with his friends from the community of scholars of Kazimiyeh and Baghdad and under the direct support of the religious authority that appeared in the presence of the late Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Mohsen Hakim, stood up to enter this political, intellectual and Inflammatory battle. At this stage, the Master’s activity focused more on political matters than purely religious matters. In line with this movement, he first went to Al-Bayaa[10] for religious authority and then from there to al-Karada al-Sharqiya[11], where he and his Mujahideen allies wanted to use it as the basis for the movement and transformation of all of Baghdad. The beginning of the Islamic movement was from the Husseiniyya. On the night of Ashura, groups of students moved with the late Dr. Sayyid Davood Attar to come to the Holy shrine of imam kezem (AS) from the school of Imam Kazim (AS) in Kazimiyeh. These groups expanded year by year until they reached an indescribable level in the following years. Due to the truth and history, it should be noted that at this time, the main responsibility of bearing the heavy burden of the Islamic movement was on Allameh Askari. The movement that spread to cover all corners of the land of Iraq, this land of the holy and the home of the prophets and imams, peace and blessings be upon them. In this movement, Allameh Askari’s view was based on the principle that Islamic brokerage should be carried out through Islamic institutions as institutions of Islamic civil society and should not have an individual and personal basis, in order to ensure its durability and survival against personal influences.Therefore, master Morteza Askari took over the presidency of the Islamic Charity Fund, which was established by the late Sayyid Hebat al-Din Shahrestani and he was its chairman in 1373 AH. After master Askari took over the administration of the Islamic Charity Fund, the Islamic Charity Fund began to implement various projects.

The most important goal that Master Askari achieved in the cultural field was to establish suitable places for Islamic education. Introducing a new generation of educated Muslims to society, a generation whose goal was to remove the ills and problems of the Islamic world and to participate in the blessed Islamic movement in Iraq. These training projects include the following examples:

Imam Javad (AS) schools in the eastern Karada of Baghdad, the new schools in Baghdad, which were run by Sayyid Abdul Rahim Shouki.

Imam Kazim (AS) schools in Kazimiyeh, Baghdad, which were run under the supervision of Professor Dawood Attar.

Al-Zahra kinder garden for children and Al-Zahra schools for girls in Kazimiya, Baghdad, which Master Askari placed under the supervision of Martyr Bent Al-Huda Sadr.

Imam Sadegh (AS) Schools in Basra, which was under the supervision of Basra scholars and under the management of Sayyid Mohammad Abd al-Hakim.

Imam Baqir (AS) High School in Hilla, which was under the supervision of Sheikh Ali Samaakeh.

Imam Hassan (AS) High School in Diwaniyah, which was established by master Mohammad Mahdi Shamsuddin and managed with the Islamic Charity Fund.

The girls’ education center in Nu’maniyah, located in the city (Kut), was established by Sayyid Qasim Shobbar and run by the Islamic Charity Fund.

Allameh Askari in the field of social activities

Inauguration of the “Islamic care” clinic in the eastern Karada of Baghdad in 1382 AH and the opening of the “Islamic care clinic” in Kazimiyeh, Baghdad, for the treatment of students of Islamic sciences and pilgrims to the holy shrines and other people in need in Baghdad was the beginning of the road. But the greatest success of Allameh Askari was the establishment of the osul_al_din Faculty (Faculty of Principles of Religion) in Baghdad in 1386 AH, where the core of the Islamic society with its full characteristics was to be created.

It was not long after the Ba’ath group domination of the Iraqi government that master Askari, following the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Mohsen Hakim, who stood against the struggle of the Ba’ath group, took part in the opposition and sought to oppose it. due to this opposition the Ba’ath group tried To arrest the master.

Inevitably, he left Iraq to Lebanon in 1389 AH, where he joined his friends, Imam Musa Sadr, Speaker of the Supreme shia Assembly, Sayyid Mohammad Hussein Fazlullah, and Sheikh Mohammad Mahdi Shamsuddin, to fight the Ba’athists regime in Iraq together.

When the Iraqi regime tried to kidnap the master from Beirut, he left Lebanon to Iran in 1389 AH.

Allameh Askari did his best in Iran to complete his writings and at the same time also provided cultural and social services, such as the establishment of the “Islamic Scientific Assembly” in 1398 AH and the compilation of Seminaries textbooks.

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[۱]– A city in Iraq.

[۲] A city in Iran.

[۳] -the human understanding and practices of the sharia as well as the human understanding of the divine Islamic law a revealed in the Quran.

[۴] Islamic scholastic theology_ the study of Islamic doctrine.

[۵] in Islam refers to what Muslims believe to be a record of the words, actions, and the silent approval of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

[۶] After the Shah’s return to Iran, Talbot came to Iran to found a tobacco company (Reggie company) to monopolize tobacco industry.

[۷] -a city in Iraq

[۸] -a city in Iraq

[۹] – the seventh Imam in Twelver Shia Islam

[۱۰] – a neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq

[۱۱] – a neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq