The Exiled Shalash

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Sistani's Wisdom

I recently had a conversation with a fellow Iraqi man who happens by some historical fluke to have been born into a Shi'ified family, that is to say, his ancestors, like so many of Iraq's Shi'as today converted from Sunnis to Shi'as to avoid the Ottoman military service. The conversation went from sports to politics and finally to Najaf where grand Ayatolla Ali Sistani resides as one of the main leaders of the Shi'a sect. My friend began by telling me that Sistani is very well read and if it weren't for the fact that the old Persian man was so studious, he wouldn't be where he is today.

Now let's get to the fact that Sistani is well read. I am sure the old Persian cleric has read all about the history of Fiq'h and Shari'a, I am also certain that he knows the Quran inside out and he may have committed most of it to memory. The man is also likely to know more than enough about Hadith. He knows and cares a lot about the events that followed the death of Muhammad.

But has he ever read a book that preaches universal brotherhood? Has he ever read a book that teaches the origins of dictatorship? Has he ever read a book that has made him change his mind on women? Has he ever read a love poem by Nizar Qabbani? Has he ever read "Reading Lolita in Tehran" that paints an accurate picture of the Islamic Republic of Iran, his country of birth? Has Sistani ever read a book that would open his mind to the idea that men and women are of equal value?

Don't tell me that the cleric who, in the heart of his heart wants to bring Iraq back to the 7th century is a well-read man for I do not care about books that keep one ignorant. No, I do not care about books that enrich one's knowledge of Shi'a theology and ignore the rest of the world. I do not respect those who believe in polygamy, those whose books teach them that a woman's testimony value in a court of law is worth half of that of a man. I do not have any admiration for a well-read man who condones legislations that allow 9 year old Iranian girls to get married.


  • Thank you for creating this blog.

    Who needs to go back to the 7th century let him go alone. Why should they drag a whole nation with them back to the Dark Ages?

    I believe the matter is totally about ignorance. But how can we lift up and educate those people when they follow men like Sistani and Sadir without thinking even of their own good?

    By Blogger attawie, at 4:58 AM  

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