4 May 1914 – 16 September 2007), known as Allamah‘Askari, was a Shiite scholar and a neo-religious thinker. He took a scholarly approach to the history of Islam. 150 So-Called Companions, Recourse to the Prophet and Consecration to his Relict, and Abdullah ibn Saba and Other Historical Legends are some of his more significant books.
Early life and education
‘Askari was born in Samarra, Iraq, on 14 May 1914. His ancestors were amongst the jurisprudence traditionalists of their era. In the 17th century, Allamah Majlisi invited his ancestors to Saveh (in today’s Iran) and gave them the title of Shaykh al-Islam (a position equivalent to the Imam of Friday prayers). A number of Sunni people converted to Shiism by his ancestors’ guidance in the city of Saveh, Allamah ‘Askari said. He lost his father when he was child and his maternal grandmother raised him.
‘Askari entered the seminary in Samarra at age 10. His education expenses were funded by his landed properties in Saveh. However, sending money from Iran to Iraq was banned by Reza Shah Pahlavi, who took power in 1925. Therefore, ‘Askari went to Iran and continued his education at the Qom Seminary under the guidance of Abdul-Karim Ha’eri Yazdi. He lived at the Fiyziyyih school, where his roommate was Ali Safi Golpaygani. 
‘Askari did not stay long at Qom. During that time, teaching of the exegesis of the Quran and Hadith was rare in the seminary of Qom; ‘Askari collaborated with some of the more well-educated men and requested the scholar Mirza Khalili Kumriyi teach this method to study the religious text. Most of the student body disagreed with such a class and closed it down, and a sorrowful ‘Askari returned to Samarra.
Founding the university
‘Askari believed that the educational system designed by the Orientalist for the eastern countries cannot respond to the increasing quandary and development of the Islamic society. Therefore, he and his like-minded colleagues decided to reform the educational system. He made innovations and conversions both in practical and theoretical field.
In Baghdad, ‘Allama ‘Askari founded a new and modern university named Usul al-Din (“Foundation of faith”). Exegesis of Quran, the science of knowing Hadith, theology and comparative theology were taught in the university. The university was shut down by the Ba’ath Party coup d’état.
Allama ‘Askari primarily focused on historical studies. He wrote more than 50 books. Two of them, Abdullah Ibn Saba’ and 150 (So-Called) Companions, surprised the researchers and the public alike, necessitating further research on the subjects over centuries. The latter book discussed 150 people who never existed, yet were believed by many to be the companions of Islamic prophet. As a result, multiple schools of thought which were built by Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari and many prominent historians were refuted. ‘Askari argued that these subject matters, which many had assumed were indisputable truths and fact, had no basis in fact. He continued his activities in several fields, especially in social affairs, and founded many schools and clinics.
In addition, he was concerned with the unity of Islamic Ummah and the relationships between the branches of Muslims. His believed his words would be admitted if the Shiites freed themselves from historical accusations by the Sunnis, and therefore devoted his efforts to disprove these accusations that caused hostility to the Shiites.