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Bashir Husayn al-Najafi

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Shaykh Bashir al-Najafi (b. 1361/1942) is a Najaf-based Pakistani Shiite authority. His fatwas include the prohibition of drawing portraits of the Infallibles (a) and permissibility of tatbir (qamazani) in mourning for Imam al-Husayn (a) under particular circumstances.

He believes in the unity of Iraqi authorities when it comes to political matters, referring all political problems in Iraq to Ayatollah Sistani. Other political approaches of his include the call to Shiite-Sunni unity and neutrality about political movements in Iraq.

His works include Mirqat al-usul, al-Shaʿaʾir al-Husayniyya wa-marasim al-ʿazaʾ (The rituals pertaining to Imam al-Husayn and mourning ceremonies), and al-Ghadir itala wa-aʿmal.


Bashir Husayn al-Najafi, known as Shaykh Bashir al-Najafi, the son of Sadiq ʿAli, was born in 1361/1942 in Jalandhar (eastern Punjab, India). His grandfather Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim Pakistani (d. 1962) and his paternal uncle Mawla Khadim Husayn (d. 1402/1982) were religious scholars. After the separation of Pakistan and India, his family emigrated from India to Pakistan in 1947, staying in Batapur near Lahore. It is said that his household propagated and spread Shiism in that area.

Bashir al-Najafi moved to Najaf in 1965. He stayed in Iraq when non-Iraqi Shiite clergies and scholars (the so-called “Muʿawidin”) were deported from Iraq. The British newspaper Independent reported an attempted assassination of Bashir al-Najafi in 1419 AH (1999) as quoted from Ayatollah al-Khoei. The failed assassination was described by some people as a pressure to force him out of Iraq. According to Sibtayn Sabzawari, Bashir al-Najafi’s representative in Pakistan, he never returned to Pakistan after his immigration to Najaf.

Shaykh Bashir al-Najafi has four sons, of whom ʿAli Bashir al-Najafi is his representative.


Shyakh Bashir al-Najafi began his religious studies with his grandfather Muhammad Ibrahim and his paternal uncle Khadim Husayn. He memorized the whole Quran, which is why he is also called “Hafiz Bashir.” He studied in the Islamic seminary of Jamiʿat al-Muntazar (the present Jamiʿ al-Muntazar or Jamia Tul Muntazar) in Lahore, attending the lectures of Akhtar ʿAbbas Najafi. Other teachers of his in Pakistan were Sayyid Riyad Husayn Naqawi and Sayyid Safdar Husayn Najafi. He served as a teacher in this seminary as well.

Here are some of his teachers after his immigration to Najaf:

  • Muhammad Kazim Qarubi Tabrizi: Kifayat al-usul and parts of advanced courses
  • Sayyid Muhammad Ruhani: jurisprudence and principles of jurisprudence.

Bashir al-Najafi began to teach intermediary courses in Najaf since 1968, and then he began to teach advanced courses of jurisprudence and principles of jurisprudence.


Shaykh Bashir al-Najafi wrote works in Arabic concerning jurisprudence, principles of jurisprudence, philosophy, theology, Quranic exegesis, and hadith, twenty of which have so far been published. The book Mirqat al-usul is a work about the principles of jurisprudence. In this book, he deals with the initial issues of the principles of jurisprudence and its main problems, including commands (awamir) and prohibitions (nawahi), the general (ʿamm) and the specific (khass), practical principles, balance and preferences (al-taʿadul wa-tarajih).

Here are some of his published works:

  • Waqfa maʿ muqallidi l-mawta
  • Manasik al-hajj
  • Khayr al-sahaʾif fi ahkam al-ʿifaf
  • Satabqa al-Najaf raʾida hawzat al-ʿalam
  • Mustafa al-din al-qayyim
  • Buhuth fiqhiyya muʿasira
  • Al-Taʾib habib Allah
  • Al-Shaʿaʾir al-Husayniyya wa-Marasim al-ʿazaʾ
  • Wiladat al-Imam al-Mahdi
  • Al-Ghadir itala wa-aʿmal
  • Taʿliqa ʿala sharḥ al-tajrid li-l-ʿAllama


Bashir al-Najafi is one of the three prominent authorities in Najaf (alongside Sayyid Muhammad Sa'id al-Hakim (d. 2021) and Ishaq Fayyad), after Ayatollah Sistani. His essay of fatwas was published in Arabic under al-Din al-qayyim, and was translated into English, Urdu, and Gujarati (the official language in the State of Gujarat in India).

Well-Known Fatwas

According to Bashir al-Najafi’s fatwas, tatbir (qamazani) is legitimate and even recommended if three conditions are fulfilled: one is sure that this would not lead to his or her death or amputation of his limbs; it is not done in a place or at a time in which people would hate the religion as a result of this action, and it is intended to display the injustice done to Imam al-Husayn (a) and the crime committed by the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt (a).

Bashir al-Najafi believes that it is illegitimate to portray the Infallibles or other members of the Prophet's Household (a), such as Abu l-Fadl al-'Abbas (a), and it is a major sin if such portraits are attributed to the Infallibles (a).

On his fatwas, a Muslim is one who believes in monotheism, prophethood, and resurrection, as well as what is certainly part of Islam. It is illegitimate to excommunicate such a person, and Muslims have the obligation to defend the life, property, and reputation of such a person.

Political Views

Here are some of the political views and positions of Bashir Husayn al-Najafi:

  • Shiite-Sunni unity: the author of the book Sakhtar siyasi-ijtimaʿi Shiʿayan Iraq (The politico-social structure of Iraqi Shias) believes that a main position of Bashir al-Najafi is the call to Shiite-Sunni unity. He is opposed to the extremism of Wahhabis, warning Muslims against violent behaviors.
  • The unity of Shiite authorities in Iraq: according to Rasul Jafarian, a researcher of Shiite history, in his book Tashayyuʿ dar Iraq, marjaʿiyyat wa-Iran, Bashir al-Najafi, Sayyid Muhammad Sa'id al-Hakim, and Muhammad Ishaq Fayyad refer the political problems of Iraq to Ayatollah Sistani. According to the book Sakhtar siyasi-ijtimaʿi Shiʿayan Iraq (The politico-social structure of Iraqi Shias), after the fall of the Baath Party, Bashir al-Najafi’s involvement in the political problems of Iraq faded, which he attributes to his belief in the unity of Iraqi authorities on political matters and the referral of all such problems to Sayyid ʿAli Sistani.

He also insisted on foreign forces leaving Iraq, and stayed neutral with respect to political movements in the country.

Other Views

Bashir al-Najafi has criticized the replacement of classic Shiite seminary textbooks with new and more accessible books. In his view, there is no replacement for [[al-Shaykh al-Ansari’s Rasa'il and Akhund al-Khurasani’s Kifayat al-usul. He believes that Muhammad Rida Muzaffar’s Usul al-fiqh is not a proper replacement for Hasan b. Zayn al-Din al-'Amili’s Maʿalim al-usul.

He believes that the principles of jurisprudence should be stripped of philosophical contents, although he requires Islamic philosophy as a precondition for learning the principles of jurisprudence. Moreover, he agrees that parts of the principles of jurisprudence should be articulated in philosophical terms.