Imam al-Fuqaha (TV series)

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From wikishia

Imām al-Fuqahāʾ (literally: the leader of jurists) is a TV series about the life of Imam al-Sadiq (a) directed by the Syrian director Samy Janadi and written by the Kuwaiti screenwriter Hamid al-Ali. The series was produced in thirty episodes in Arabic with the support of the Kuwaiti company al-Khair. It was cast in 2012 in Iraq on Al Iraqiya television network.

The series was criticized by some Shiite authorities because it showed the faces of Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a). It was also cast in 2021 on Al-Kawthar TV affiliated with Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, but the faces of actors who played the Imams (a) were masked. Another critique of the series is due to its ignorance of the Imamate of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and his relegation to the status of a mere jurist.


Imam al-Fuqaha' TV series is about the life of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a) among Sunni Muslims, his school in Masjid al-Nabi, and his training of students there.[1] The first episode of the series concerns Zayd b. 'Ali, and then it shows how the Four Imams of Sunni jurisprudence were educated by Imam al-Sadiq (a).[2] The series also points to parts of the history of the Islamic world, the fight between Banu Umayya and Banu 'Abbas over caliphate, and the economic, social, and political profiles of the society at the time.[3]

Production and Casting

Imam al-Fuqaha' TV series was produced by the Kuwaiti company al-Khair and its costs were funded by Shias in Kuwait. Samy Janadi, the Syrian director, directed the series, and Hamid al-Ali, the Kuwaiti screenwriter, wrote the screenplay.[4] The series was recorded in al-Faisal Town in Kuwait. Khalid al-Amir, a Kuwaiti actor, played the role of Imam al-Baqir (a), and Ali Shaqir, a Lebanese actor, played the role of Imam al-Sadiq (a).[5] Ayman Zeidan, a Syrian actor, played the role of Hisham b. 'Abd al-Malik (the Umayyad Caliph).[6] The series was produced in Arabic in thirty forty-five-minute episodes.[7]

According to some news sources, the screenplay of the series was endorsed by Sayyid Ja'far Murtada al-'Amili, a Shiite scholar, and al-Shaykh Mu'tasim al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Ruhani, a Sudanese convert to Shiism.[8]

Imam al-Fuqaha TV series was cast in Iraq since the early summer 2012 on Al Iraqiya television network.[9] Later, it was cast on al-Kawthar TV affiliated with Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) since May 24, 2021[10], although the faces of actors who played the roles of Shiite Imams (a) were masked.[11]

Reactions of Shiite Scholars and Authorities to the Display of the Faces of Imams

The casting of Imam al-Fuqaha TV series on Al Iraqiya television network was followed by mixed reactions from Shiite scholars and authorities, as follows:

  • Al-Sayyid Ali a-Husayni al-Sistani, a Shiite authority in Najaf, declared that it is not right to display the faces of Imams of the Shia. Moreover, he criticized the content of Imam al-Fuqaha TV series. He clarified that he never issued a permission for the display of the faces of the Infallibles (a).[13] This was a rebuttal of rumors to the effect that Ayatollah al-Sistani and other Shiite authorities had issued a permission for the display of the faces of Imams of the Shia.[14]
  • Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Muhri, the representative of Shiite authorities in Kuwait at the time, announced that there was no religious problem with casting Imam al-Fuqaha TV series, clarifying that the actor who played the role of Imam al-Sadiq (a) was a noble virtuous man. He said that oppositions to the series came from sectarian disputes.[15]

Another objection to the series was that it portrayed Imam al-Sadiq (a) merely as a jurist and a great grandson of Imam 'Ali (a), without pointing to his position as an Imam.[16]