The power of spiritual figures, especially of the followers of Ahlul Bayt AS manifests itself in one form or another. Recently a frail, simple man recovering from a heart malady single-handedly put an end to killing and destruction that went on for weeks in Najaf Al-Ashraf. At 74, “the Shi’a spiritual leader Ayatullah Sistani, is widely acknowledged as the conscience of the nation, armed with a unique moral authority to arbitrate Iraq’s future (TIME Magazine). And why not, we ask? He is the representative of The Living Imam of Our Time, Hadhrat Hujjah AFS, after all. His reach, continues TIME, reaches as far as Washington and the reclusive Ayatullah inserts himself into the political fray whenever he feels it is necessary. “The power that be in Iraq ignore him at their peril.”
“Ayatullah Sistani proved his authority in August, when Najaf had sunk into chaos. As the fighting began, he abruptly quit the city to seek medical treatment abroad. The rumors started: Sistani was dying; Sistani was afraid; Sistani was losing influence to Muqtada al-Sadr. But on August 26, as the Americans were on the verge of assaulting one of Iraq’s most sacred Shia shrines, Sistani showed he was still the Man. Straight from medical treatment for a heart condition in London, he was driven into Najaf at the head of thousands of unarmed loyalists who had answered his call to march on the city. Within hours, he had brought to an end Iraq’s bloodiest battle. Even al-Sadr bowed his head when he came to sit on a threadbare carpet across from Sistani and acceded to the cleric’s demands”.
Ayatullah Sistani’s moral stature and unyielding push for a new democratic order with the Shi’a enjoying their rightful status and position q have made him the best hope for preventing Iraq from spinning into anarchy.
Ayatullah Sistani arrived in Qum as a 19-year old prodigy and three years later left for Najaf to study at the 1,000-year-old home to some of the most prominent Shi’a teachers of jurisprudence. He excelled in Najaf and became a disciple of the renowned Grand Ayatullah Seyyid Abul Qassim Al-Khoei (R.A.). At the unusually young age of 31 Ayatullah Sistani reached the senior level of accomplishment called Ijtehad, which entitled him to pass his own judgments on religious questions. Ayatullah Sistani has devoted his waking hours to solitary prayers, reading and teaching. He has acquired legions of students, attracted by his charisma, sound logic, prodigious research and quick wit. He possesses a keen appetite for modern science, history, political philosophy, biography, comparative religions, current events, besides, of course, his expertise in Theology. “He merges Islamic principles and modern life.His rules are not frozen in time.” Ayatullah Sistani was groomed by The Late Ayatullah Al-Khoei. May Allah SWT grant him a long life so that he can serve the cause of The Master of The Age, Imam Al-Hujjah AFS without fear or favor.