SHAFAQNA | by Nasibeh Yazdani – Family members of Imam Musa Sadr, Iranian philosopher and Shia religious leader, including his sister Rabab Sadr last Friday met with Pope Francis in Vatican City, called for following up the 40-year long case of Imam Musa al-Sadr’s disappearance.
During the meeting which was held on the occasion of the anniversary of the day Imam Musa Sadr preached Christians in Capuchin Cathedral during the Lent, Rabab Sadr presented a letter to the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and asked him to look into the case of Imam Musa Sadr disappearance, IRNA reported.
“Imam Sadr dedicated every fiber of his being to empower the vulnerable and sacrificed his freedom for the sake of humanity”, Rabab Sadr wrote in the letter to Pope.
“Imam Sadr has been absent from the developments of the last forty years due to his tragic involuntary disappearance. His social views and the value system he sought to instill in society, however, are still bright beacons of hope amid the darkness that takfiri fundamentalism has cast over the Middle East and the world with its corruption and wickedness. Societies in the Middle East, the cradle of divine revelation and messages, the land of Prophets and Messengers, can do well to learn from the Imam’s relentless efforts to restore human value, dignity and rights”, Rabab Sadr added.
“If Imam Sadr were present with us today, he would no doubt second the voice of every brave soul like Your Holiness, raised for the benefit of humanity”.
“Only one word can describe those who have caused the involuntary disappearance of the Imam: Tyrants. They have punished him for his respect of the right to differ, for his tireless efforts to preserve human dignity and for his determination to stand out and to reach out. Only believers in freedom, dignity and justice can bring the Imam back to us”, Rabab Sadr said in letter.
“Our resolve to put an end to the involuntary disappearance of the Imam and his companions and to liberate them stems from our deep faith and our religious and human duty. From this holy place where the Imam stood 56 years ago, we ask for your prayers and support to resolve the case”.
Sadr’s sister Rabab, who headed the delegation at the meeting with Pope Francis, told LBCI news channel that the visit was “not just protocol, but a family visit.”, Dailystar told.
According to the NNA, The family aimed to show the Pope that the disappearance was not only relevant to them or the Shiite community, but a universal humanitarian crisis.
A conference on educational model of Imam Musa Sadr
On the occasion of the anniversary of Imam Musa Sadr’s attend in Capuchin Cathedral during the Lent, also a Conference on educational model of Imam Musa Sadr was held on Dar ul-Funun school in Tehran .
In August 25, 1978, Imam Musa Sadr and his two companions, Sheikh Mohammad Yaacoub and Mr. Abbas Badr El-Din, visited Libya upon an official invitation but they never returned from that country, and they were last heard from on August 31 of the same year, after meeting with Muammar Gaddafi.
It is widely believed by his fans, relatives, and supporters that Qaddafi ordered Imam Sadr’s kidnapping.
The former Libyan regime had consistently denied responsibility, claiming that Sadr and his companions left Libya for Italy, but Rome never confirmed their entry into that country, ifpnews mentioned.
Coexistence of Muslims and Christians
Imam Musa al-Sadr was born May 1928 in the city of Qom. Alongside Hawza education at the seminaries of Qom and Najaf under the prominent scholars of these two Islamic centers, he graduated in economics from Tehran University. Imam Musa Sadr never limited his life to scientific activities.
Traveling to different Islamic countries, he saw the dire conditions of those countries and was concerned about unity and solidarity of Muslims.
The same concern led him to Lebanon. Prior to his migration to Lebanon in 1959, Imam Musa Sadr had gone twice to this country and became aware of the disastrous situation of the Lebanese Shias, parstoday reported.
Imam Musa Sadr at the age of 31 on the recommendation of religious leaders such as Grand Ayatollah Borujerdi and at the invitation of Seyed Sharafuddin, leader of Lebanese Shiites departed to that country to hold the principal position of the Islamic Shia religious leader in the southern city of Tyre and took major steps related to the cultural, political and economic problem of Lebanese underclasses, IRANIAN ORALHISTORY told.
Imam Musa Sadr believed in a type of union and dialogue between the divine religions. For this reason, from the onset of his arrival in Lebanon, he began efforts to establish links and dialogue with the country’s Christian religious and political denominations, and with each day, he increased the depth and breadth of this relationship. In a short period, he became acquainted with all of the Christian minsters and personalities and established formal cordial relations with most of them, particularly with bishop Yusuf al-Khuri (Maronite archbishop) in March 1960.
However, Imam Musa Sadr never sufficed himself to just these relationships; he continued his relations with the rest of the Christian masses. In fact, he commissioned some prominent Christians as associates in his social works and charitable activities.
In the summer of 1961, one of the famous Christians by the name of Raflah Mansad endowed one-third of the shares of his ice-factory to the charitable society, Mu’assisah Birr wa Ihsan (Institute of Goodness and Benevolence)—an institute managed by Imam Musa Sadr with the aim of tending to the dispossessed in southern Lebanon. Moreover, he made two Christian physicians official members of the same institute.
In 1962 with the invitation of the archbishop Grégoire Haddad and other prominent members, Imam Musa Sadr became a member of the “Central Council of the Social Movement”. Subsequently, he was invited by Christian leaders to a number of Christian religious centres—such as churches and monasteries—in order to speak on various topics, particularly on “the coexistence of religions”, al-islam reported.
On June 21, 1963, Imam Musa Sadr had attend the Papal Coronation ceremony of His Holiness Pope Paul VI, making him the first Muslim scholar to be invited to such a ceremony.
40 years ago on February 19, 1975, fathers of the Saint Louis Capuchin Cathedral in Beirut invited Imam Musa al-Sadr to preach the Christians during Lent, which is the solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Sunday.
It was the first time in the history of Islam and Christianity that a Muslim cleric was carrying out a Christian religious rite.
In his sermon at Saint Louis Capuchin Cathedral, Imam Sadr both preached and practiced his doctrine, khabar online reported.
“We have gathered for the human being; the human being for whom religions came; the religious which were of the same origin, and each promised the emergence of the other, and acknowledged each other,” Imam Sadr said in his sermon.
One of the other important Christian gatherings that he would attend regularly and where he would speak to the Christian youth, university students, and academics was in the grand, historical church—St. Maroon Church—in the city of Tripoli. Another city which is the centre of Maronite Christians is Bsharri. In this city, thousands of youth and Christians from all walks of life would gather, with indescribable excitement and enthusiasm, to listen to the talk of Imam Musa Sadr. These youth were so enamoured by him that most of them would bring their marriage vows to him and he would solemnize their marriages.
On this issue, he took great strides and has said:
… I am for the establishment of one united Islamic front that can allow us, from a position of strength, to extend our hands of cooperation towards our fellow Christians and that can make way for the coexistence of Muslims and Christians. Israel insists on projecting this as a futile attempt in the world. They think that it is impossible to create an independent Palestine wherein Jews, Muslims, and Christians all live next to each other.
In his effort to strengthen the ties with well-known Christian personalities, Imam Musa Sadr—as a Shia Imam and scholar—did not suffice himself only to having official sessions with them; rather, during the days of Eid and various other occasions, he would pay them visits in their homes, attend their funerals, and participate in their joyous and sad ceremonies. It reached a point where Christians would respect and honour him in the same way they did their own leaders. In fact, at times, they would rely on him more than their own leaders.
He was of the belief that the coexistence of Muslims and Christians was an important asset that must be utilized in order to solve many social problems and issues. In this regard, he strove and made advances to such an extent that he was accepted by the Christian societies as an ethical role model.
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