Al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah

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Al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah
Personal Information
BirthSha'ban 19 1354, 16 November, 1935
DeathRajab 22 1431, 4 July 2010(2010-07-04) (aged 74)
Burial PlaceLebanon, Haret Hreik
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsAl-Sayyid 'Abd al-Ra'uf Fadl Allah, al-Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei, al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim, al-Sayyid Mahmud Shahrudi, ...

Al-Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn Faḍl Allāh (b. 1354/1935 – d. 1431/2010) was a Lebanese Shi'a Marja' and author. He regularly performed religious and cultural activities in Lebanon. It is told that he had been the spiritual leader of Hezbollah for some time. He was kidnapped once and was the victim of failed assassinations for four times. His rulings on the unity of Muslims, mourning, and women are noteworthy. Al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah was one of the founders and an ex-member of the supreme council of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly. Al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah passed away on Rajab 22, 1431/ July 4, 2010 in Lebanon and was buried in Haret Hreik inside his mosque.

Life and Education

Al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah was born in 1354/1935 in Najaf. His father, al-Sayyid Abd al-Ra'uf Fadl Allah was among the Shia authorities of Iraq. He began his seminary education at the age of nine. He learned seminary courses including Arabic morphology, syntax, semantic analysis, logic and the principles of jurisprudence through his father. He read the second volume of Kifayat al-usul under the supervision of Shaykh Mujtaba Lankarani.

He took advanced level of classes and was present at classes of the authorities of his time such as al-Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei, al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim, al-Sayyid Mahmud Shahrudi and Husayn al-Hilli. He studied a part of al-Asfar al-arba'a under Sadra Badkubi'i and spent an additional five years by al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr to learn this philosophical work. In 1372/1952-3, at the age of 17, Fadl Allah went to Lebanon for the first time. In 1387/1967-8, some of the founders of the religious society of Usrat al-Takhi in Nab'a region of the eastern margin of Beirut invited Fadl Allah to go and reside in that neighborhood. He then accepted that invitation and returned to his original homeland, planning to live there forever.



He wrote more than 70 works in the various fields of Islamic sciences. His most important work is Min wahy al-Qur'an which is a commentary of Qur'an in 24 volumes.

Scientific and Cultural Achievements

Al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah loved poetry and literature from his youth. He composed poems which were published in three poetic collections. In 1381/1961-2, Jama'at al-'ulama of Najaf established an Islamic-cultural journal that al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah, al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and Muhammad Mahdi Shams al-Din were among its managers. Fadl Allah wrote the editorials of the second year of the magazine by the title of "Kalimatuna".

Fadl Allah together with al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr helped the establishment of Shia movement of Iraq. The result of the consultations between Fadl Allah and al-Sadr was the establishment of the first Shia movement in Iraq called Hizb al-Da'wat al-Islamiyya.

After he returned to Lebanon in 1386/1966-7, he expanded his scientific, cultural and social activities. He made influences in intellectual-religious changes of Lebanon by holding Tafsir (exegesis), religious-ethical and Q&A sessions. Another part of cultural and scientific activities of al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah was establishing a seminary for religious studies called al-Ma'had al-Shar'i al-Islami in which the students of religious studies could be trained. Fadl Alah himself taught Kharij classes in that seminary school. Many of the key figures of the Islamic resistance movement of Lebanon were educated at this school. The martyred Shaykh Raghib Harb was among the first students of this school. In addition to al-Ma'had al-Shar'i which is located in Beirut, Fadl Alah established the seminary for women in Beirut, a seminary in Tyre and also al-Murtada seminary in Damascus (Sayyida Zaynab).

Social Activities

Al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah together with benefactors from Arabic countries of Persian Gulf and Lebanon established Jam'iyyat al-Mabarrat al-Khayriyya, a charity foundation. It was built to serve for the children of martyrs and the poor who were inflicted social damages during civil wars and Zionist attacks. Later under the supervision of Fadl Allah, the charity advanced to establish modern centers for education of orphans. The charity also built hospitals, clinics and mosques in order for the underprivileged to be housed and educated. Some of these centers are:

  • Mabarrat al-Imam al-Khoei, Beirut (al-Dawha)
  • Mabarrat al-Imam Zayn al-'Abidin (a), Beqaa, Hermel
  • Mabarrat al-Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a), Jabal 'Amil
  • Mabarrat Sayyida Maryam (a), Jabal 'Amil, Jouaiya
  • Mabarrat Sayyida Khadija al-Kubra (a), Beirut (Bi'r Hasan)
  • Mabarrat al-Hawra Zaynab, western Beqaa, Sohmor
  • Charity centers for blind and deaf people
  • Madrasa al-Nur (for the blind), Beirut
  • Madrasa al-Raja' (for the deaf), Beirut
  • Mustashfi Bahman (Bahman Hospital), Beirut, Harra Harik
  • Mustashfi Sayyida al-Zahra (a), Jabal 'Amil, al-'Abbasiyya

Also, Fadl Allah was assigned as a member of of Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly Supreme council.

Political Activities

Al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah closely followed al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr in political and organizational principles. After returning to his homeland (Lebanon), Fadl Allah sought to propose a plan to progress an Islamic political move in the Muslim community of Lebanon. When Lebanon was attacked by the Zionists, youths mostly influenced by Fadl Allah, started an unorganized Islamic resistance movement. This movement has evolved nowadays both in form and organization and the most important branch of which is Hizb Allah. It has and has been intellectually fed by Fadl Allah himself. Fadl Allah's significant position in the Islamic resistance movement once led to his kidnapping and four times made him a victim of failed assassination attempts.

Political Thinking

Al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah stressed on the quality of popularity of the legitimacy the government had. Thus, he recognized the applying of power by rulers as legitimate only if it is based on Islamic principles and not on individual interests. He believed people's participation and their exercising of power provided the grounds for the criticism of the rulers the same way people used to in the government of the Prophet (s) and Imam Ali (a).

Stressing on institutionalism instead of individualism was another important point he mentioned regarding government. In his view, tribalism was another plaguing evil in the Muslim world born out of individualism that he regarded among the factors holding back the Islamic world. He insisted on democracy (with the meaning of: a feeling of equity among all citizens before law and regarding duties). He also insisted that in a political system the law should be laid down with a national look (a broad scope) and their value (within the context of law) is proportionate to their support of unity, protection of national sovereignty, securing equal opportunities, facilities and scientific needs of all citizens.

He did not accept the theory of Wilayah of faqih in government to appear as the political ruling of an individual over the society and believed that a council consisting of several faqihs should oversee the government; whether the leader be a faqih or not. He asserts that the establishment of a system based on Wilayah of faqih requires the votes of people. Besides moving in the path of Islamic laws, the faqih needs to care about the interests of people and that he should not leave the path of justice.

Relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran

When al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah passed away, some news outlets including BBC Persian claimed that his relationship with the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamene'i was not good. And that Fadl Allah had objected to the authority of Sayyid Ali Khamene'i as a qualified Mujtahid. However, BBC analysts believed that Fadl Allah was an advocate of the essence of the Islamic republic and also a supporter of Sayyid Ali Khamene'i, therefore the discussion have only been over his authority of being a Marja' al-Taqlid.

However, al-Sayyid Ali, son of Fadl Allah, after his father passed away, made clear the good relationship between his father and the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic in an interview with IRNA, he said: "In a meeting, my father said: 'if the situation goes on in a way that all stone me out and insult me, I would never stop supporting Islamic Republic of Iran, because Iran is now representing Islam and the path of Ahl al-Bayt (a) and it is on the frontline of struggling against arrogance'". Ayatollah Khamenei appointed him as a member of Ahl al-Bayt (a) World Assembly. He also delivered a message of condolence after Fadl Allah's demise.

Special Views


Al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah believed that women were subject to inequalities in history. In al-Shara' magazine he said, "I believe that women have been oppressed during history. While their intellect and abilities are like that of men, they have been refrained from getting the knowledge and experience they needed and regarded as toys and servants to men."

In different rulings, he considered different rights for women and believed that a mature woman is like a mature man and each of them has an independent legal character in financial issues of life. His jurisprudential ruling was that with regards to marriage, a mature woman is independent from her father, paternal forefather and brother like a mature man, and consulting the father is only a recommended act and not an obligatory one.

He believes that a woman has the rights to respond to the violations of her husband in her own defense. That is, if a husband made violations towards his wife and prevented her from some marital rights such as Nafaqa or sexual intercourse his wife automatically has the rights to keep the husband from doing what she had pledged at the marriage contract.

He also believes that it is not permissible for a man, knowing the weaknesses of his wife, to act violently towards her and thus urges women to learn power sports so that they can defend themselves.

Unity of Muslims

"The issue is not Sunni or Shia; but rather it is the world's imperialists and Israel." This is a quote from al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah in his interview with OTV channel in March-April 2008.

He told 'Okaz, (a Saudi gazette): "We do not believe in the apostasy of the Companions. In this particular issue, we follow the manner of Imam Ali (a) and the way he dealt with the Companions. In most occasions, He (a) even tried to give his advice to them because they were Muslims . He (a) even told the Caliph 'Umar, "Be the pole and turn around the mill of Arabs."

In October-September 2005, Fadl Allah informed the reporter of a Kuwaiti newspaper of his ruling on prohibition of questioning or profaning the Companions.


Many scholars believe that mourning sessions devoted for Ahl al-Bayt (a) (like sessions held in Muharram) should be held in accordance to its traditions. In his interview with al-Watan, a Kuwaiti newspaper, al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl said, "traditional chest-beating which harms the body has problems." He believed that "Qamezani" and "Zanjirzani" (as forms of self-injury) are forbidden.

Martyrdom of Lady Fatima (s)

One important controversy of his time was the issue of his rulings on the question of "martyrdom or demise" of Lady Fatima (s). Apparently, it all began from a tape in which he questions the reference of some hadiths on this issue. His questioning of the martyrdom of Lady Fatima (s) resulted in a series of adversaries against it. In this event Ayatollah Mirza Jawad Tabrizi issued a message calling for a procession on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Lady Fatima (s). From then on, it has been held every year. Ayatollah Vahid Khurasani and Ayatollah Safi Gulpayigani are the supporters of this procession. Ayatollah Fadil Lankarani, when alive, once took part in this procession in spite of his illness.


Al-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadl Allah passed away on Rajab 22, 1431/July 4, 2010 in Lebanon and was buried in Haret Hreik inside his mosque. Some scholars from Qom as well as Sayyid 'Ali Khamenei expressed their condolences for his demise. Ayatollah Khamene'i is quoted saying that Fadl Allah was an influential figure and a companion for the Islamic republic.


The material for this article is mainly taken from سید محمد حسین فضل الله in Farsi Wikishia.