The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought

By Gerhard Bowering | Go to book overview

F

Fadlallah, Muhammad Husayn (1935– 2010)

Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah, a leading Twelver Shi’i religious authority in Lebanon, combined the training of a traditional Shi’i jurist with the analysis and concerted activity of a political ideologue. He exerted a strong influence on the political aspirations and military activism of the Shi’is of Lebanon, including Hizbullah (Hizb Allah) in particular; of Lebanese Sunnis; and of Shi’is and Sunnis outside Lebanon. He was born in 1935 in Najaf, Iraq, the foremost center for Shi’i legal education in the world, while his Lebanese father, ‘Abd al- Ra’uf Fadlallah (1907– 84), was studying and teaching there. The Sayyids claimed descent from the Prophet’s grandson Hasan through his son Hasan al- Muthanna. Fadlallah’s grandfather, Sayyid Najib (1863– 1917), had been a scholar of some renown in Bint Jubayl, his hometown in southern Lebanon, where he taught at his personal madrasa (Muslim school). Fadlallah grew up in Najaf, studying first with his father and then under a number of other teachers, including Abu al- Qasim al- Kho’i (1899– 1992), Muhsin al- Hakim (1889– 1970), and Mahmud Shahrudi (1882– 1974). He completed his education under Kho’i in 1965 and received from him a certificate recognizing him as a mujtahid or fully qualified jurist.

While in Najaf, Fadlallah showed a profound interest in literature, particularly Arabic poetry, and edited a journal titled Majallat al- Adab (Journal of literature). He also became involved in Iraqi politics, and his early debates with Marxists and secularists and his experience with the organization of leftist movements influenced his views concerning political action. He was inspired by the teachings and example of the prominent Iraqi Shi’i authority Muhammad Baqir al- Sadr, who advocated the involvement of jurists in political and social spheres and, before being executed by Saddam Hussein’s regime in 1980, played an important role in the Islamist political mobilization of Shi’i youth through Iraq’s Da’wa Party.

In 1966, having completed his studies, Fadlallah moved back to Lebanon and settled in al- Nab’a quarter, an eastern suburb of Beirut populated by poor Shi’is, immediately establishing himself as an effective community leader and an excellent teacher. He founded the Islamic Legal Institute, a center where students could study teaching the traditional curriculum of Najaf, and also built mosques and centers for Shi’i religious ceremonies. In 1976, in the course of the Lebanese Civil War, the Nab’a quarter was bombarded and eventually occupied by the Maronite Christian Phalangists. The experience of bombardment and being driven out of his home in a Beirut suburb along with thousands of other Shi’i residents radicalized Fadlallah. During this time, he wrote the book al- Islam wa- Mantiq al- Quwwa (Islam and the logic of power) under heavy shelling and working by candlelight. It shared with other modern Arabic works on political theory an emphasis on resistance and the right to resist drawn ultimately from French anticolonialist writings, but it had an innovative aspect aimed at critiquing the traditional quietist position adopted by Shi’i jurists. He drew on Friedrich Nietzche’s (1844– 1900) 1887 work On the Genealogy of Morality, which critiqued the passive posture historically adopted by Christians, characterizing it as slave morality, and suggested that they should adopt noble morality instead, seeking to attain redress for grievances by taking revenge through action rather than through the imagined revenge traditionally adopted in Christian thought. Fadlallah applied this same argument to Shi’i tradition, urging their jurists to adopt an activist stance and to become directly involved in social, economic, political, and military issues. The work describes two opposing groups, the mustaḍ’afūn (the downtrodden), referring primarily to Shi’is but also to Muslims in general, and the mustakbirūn (the arrogant), referring primarily to the United States and Israel, whom he held responsible for the crimes of the Phalangists. According to Fadlallah, following the examples of ‘Ali and Husayn, Muslims must oppose force with force; they have a duty to gain economic, political, and military power in order to resist these oppressive forces in an effective manner.

At this juncture, Fadlallah, newly ensconced in the Bi’r al-’Abd quarter in southern Beirut, was named by Abu al- Qasim al- Kho’i, the leading jurist and religious authority in Najaf after the death of Hakim in 1970, as his representative in Lebanon. This gave Fadlallah access to khums funds— the 20 percent income tax collected from Shi’i believers for religious purposes— which allowed him to undertake large charity projects such as the building of schools and hospitals. He, somewhat more than his quietist and learned rival Muhammad Mahdi Shams al- Din (d. 2001), filled the void left by the mysterious disappearance of Musa al- Sadr in Libya in 1978. Islam and the Logic of Power, published in 1976, had established him as a leading Islamist ideologue, and he continued to decry foreign influence in Lebanon and encroachments on Lebanese sovereignty, particularly in the journal of the Lebanese Muslim Students Organization, al- Muntalaq (The outbreak). Establishing himself in the role of mentor and guide to Islamist cadres throughout Lebanon,

-164-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Alphabetical List of Entries xxi
  • Topical List of Entries xxv
  • Contributors xxix
  • A 1
  • B 60
  • C 80
  • D 125
  • E 141
  • F 164
  • G 189
  • H 211
  • I 230
  • J 268
  • K 292
  • L 313
  • M 320
  • N 385
  • O 401
  • P 404
  • Q 440
  • R 457
  • S 480
  • T 539
  • U 573
  • V 587
  • W 592
  • Y 600
  • Z 603
  • Index 607
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 656

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.