Who is the Shiite reference Kazem Al-Hairi? What is his relationship with Muqtada al-Sadr?

  • Sana Khoury
  • Religious Affairs Correspondent – BBC News Arabic

An Iraqi demonstrator holds a picture of Al-Haeri during the International Quds Day celebration in Baghdad in 2014

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An Iraqi demonstrator holds a picture of Al-Haeri during the International Quds Day celebration in Baghdad in 2014

The latest spark of violence in Iraq was sparked after the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, announced his retirement from political work, following a statement issued by the Shiite religious authority, Kazem al-Hairi, in which he, in turn, announced his retirement. Who is Haeri? What is its relationship to the chest?

It is not uncommon for a Shiite religious authority to announce its retirement or resignation, as recent history has not witnessed a similar step, says Iraqi researcher Sajjad Jiyad, a fellow at the American Century Foundation. “There are references who have reduced their movement or suspended the issuance of Sharia rulings, but during the past fifty or sixty years we have not heard of a reference publishing a statement announcing his or her resignation.”

Al-Haeri’s statement issued on August 28, this year, carried a number of distinguishing signs, as he attributed “the failure to continue to confront the reference to disease and progress in age,” and called on his followers to “obey the Wali, Sayyid Ali Khamenei,” and criticized Muqtada al-Sadr, describing him as “losing.” Ijtihad” and is not qualified for religious leadership.

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A poster showing the late Shiite cleric Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, the father of Muqtada al-Sadr, on a wall in Sadr City in 2008

Iraqi researcher Marcin Al-Shammari, a fellow at Harvard University – Middle East Initiative, says that it is unusual for a reference to retire because of his age. The position of ijtihad that allows him to gather followers, open offices, and support students.Usually the marja’ has an entourage of his children or students who take charge of his daily office affairs, so age does not prevent him from following through on his duties, for example, the supreme reference Sistani, who reached 93 years old, and is still performing turn”.