Imam Musa al-Sadr, a prominent Iranian-Lebanese Shia scholar, disappeared with two companions on August 31, 1978, during an official visit to the Libyan capital Tripoli. 

Iran PressMiddle East: He was accompanied by Sheikh Mohammad Yaqoub and journalist Abbas Badreddine.

Imam Musa al-Sadr: A fighter for rights and freedom

According to Al-Ahed News, Musa al-Sadr was born in the Holy Iranian City of Qom in the year 1928 to the Sadr family, which was known to be a family of theologians. His father was Ayatollah Sadreddine Al Sadr, and Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir Al Sadr was his cousin.

Al-Sadr attended his primary school in Qom and later moved to the Iranian Capital, Tehran. In 1956, he received a degree in Islamic Jurisprudence and Political Sciences from Tehran University.

After that, he moved back to Qom to study theology before leaving to Najaf in Iraq in the year 1954 to continue his theology studies under Ayatollah Sayyed Mohsen Al-Hakim, and Ayatollah Sayyed Abdul Qassem Al Kouei.

In the year 1955, Imam Musa al-Sadr came to his home country, Lebanon, for the first time, where he met his cousins and extended family members in Tyr and Shuhoor and was the guest of honor at Ayatollah Sayyed Abed Al Hussein Sharafeddine's house.

Ayatollah Sharafeddine saw the talents and skills of Imam Musa al-Sadr and started talking about them in all his meetings and seminars, which gave a glimpse that Imam Musa al-Sadr would be his successor.

In this context, and at the end of the year 1957, after Sayyed Sharafeddine's death, the city of Tyre sent for Imam Musa al-Sadr from Qom, and by the end of the year 1959, al-Sadr came back to Lebanon and settled in the city of Tyre.

As he started to appear widely in social affairs, Sayyed Musa started with religious and general activities, spreading their range through seminars, meetings, and visits, where he was able to relate religion to the social affairs.

He did not only step into his work in the city of Tyre, but he also went from and to most of the Lebanese areas, among different social ranks, or even religions or sects.

His major concern was the unity of all Lebanese, regardless of their religion or sect, for he believed that religion's role is ethical stability, where Sayyed Musa was the first to conduct the Muslim-Christian dialogue later during the Lebanese civil war.

Sayyed Musa worked on achieving a better society for the people of his city Tyre and other people, leading them to a better-civilized way of living, helping them establish social and charitable associations to direct basic instructions.

Orphans and less fortunate people had a chance to know the generosity of Sayyed Musa Sadr, and how much he worked on helping to develop the society.

Sayyed Musa was a prominent active figure in the Islamic and Arab world, where he participated in several international and regional conferences, in which he used to contribute and address people with his knowledge, checking on all Lebanese immigrant people to the world.

When he came to think about his own Muslim, Shiite, sect, Sayyed Musa Sadr sought to organize his sect's affairs, as the law allows each sect to have the right to form its own institutions.

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Facing "Israel"

Sayyed Musa, of course, did have an interest in the Palestinian issue, where he called upon supporting the Palestinians and strictly cooperate with Arab countries in order to liberate the occupied territories.

And so it happened that as Imam Musa Sadr started his way as a prominent Lebanese figure, the "Israeli" brutal aggressions and assaults in south Lebanon had have been taking place.

In this context, he started urging Lebanese authorities to help and protect southern villages and arming southerners and train them to defend their country.

Sayyed Musa's demands developed to become a campaign, which as a result, the Lebanese government approved on enhancing the situation on the southern Lebanese borders in the year 1970.

The year 1970 was a rich year in the accomplishments Sayyed Musa achieved for the benefit of the Lebanese people, especially in light of the "Israeli" aggressions.

While the South was the most, or by the only damaged area as a result of the enemy aggression, Sayyed Musa sought to establish the "South Council", which mainly dealt with making up for all damage caused by "Israeli" assaults, in addition to agreeing upon some projects that aim at enhancing the social situation in the south.

Despite the "Israeli" constant attacks in the southern areas, Sayyed Musa wouldn't let the situation go unless he would fight or hold campaigns against the aggressions.

Although the Lebanese government cared less about Sayyed Musa's demands in protecting the people, the Lebanese Army Leadership was interested in demands, which led them to establish special joint committees in the year 1974, which would be set to study all demands. Many reports were published concerning demands and the importance of them to be conducted, yet there were no results, leading Sayyed Musa and his followers to continue all sorts of campaigns.

In the memory of Ashura, in the year 1975, Sayyed Musa Sadr called upon the Lebanese people to form a Lebanese resistance in order to confront all "Israeli" aggressions and conspiracies planned for Lebanon.

Sayyed Musa said: "Defending the country is not only the duty of the authorities, and if the authorities let us down, that doesn't exclude the people's duty in defending."

In a press conference His Eminence held on July 6, 1975, he announced the start of Lebanese resistance under the name of "Amal" (hope).
"The youth of Amal are the ones who were with me in my demands for defending the country and the dignity of the nation, in these days where the "Israeli" assaults reached their climax, and the Lebanese authorities did not do its duty in defending its country and people".

The Lebanese civil war was not any less important than the "Israeli" war against Lebanon, for all he cared for is the wellbeing of the people of his country.

For that, Sayyed Musa exerted too much effort for this cause, traveling from one Arab country to another, aiming at coming up with an Arab resolution and decision to stop the civil war in Lebanon.

He finally was capable of imposing a decision after an Arab Summit in Cairo on October 25, 1976, which agreed on sending Arab troops to Lebanon to stop all internal aggressions.

Although the civil war ended, the "Israeli" assaults continued in southern Lebanon, to the extent that the Arab troops sent for internal Lebanese peacekeeping were not able to enter the southern Lebanese territories.

From here and so, Sayyed Musa's main concern was to liberate south Lebanon and stop all forms of aggression against Lebanese civilians.


The Story of Sayyed Musa, or what is considered to be the most negotiable yet confusing, would be in Libya, linked with his disappearance.

On August 25, 1978, Sayyed Musa went on an official visit to the Arab country of Libya, accompanied with Sheikh Mohammad Yaakoub and journalist Abbas Badreldien. The visit aimed at meeting with Moammar Al Qadafi.

For the first time, Sayyed Musa Sadr did not conduct many phone calls, and surprisingly no one knew anything about him and his companions, where he didn't call his family nor the council as he usually did in previous travels.

Noon, August 31, 1978, was the last day he was seen in Libyan territories, where after no one knew what happened to him and his companions, the whole world started questioning the situation.

As international demands started to become louder, the Libyan authorities announced that His Eminence and his companions left Libyan on the evening of August 31, and headed towards Italy.

It is true that Sayyed Musa's luggage and his companions' were found in a hotel in Rome, yet the Italian intelligence and court conducted a major investigation, which proved that the abducted did not leave the Libyan territories and never passed through Rome in that time period.

The situation then was announced to be the abduction of Sayyed Musa Sadr and his companions, where the Lebanese intelligence as well left to Libya in order to investigate the incident, yet the Libyan authorities did not allow any Lebanese entry for that reason.

The Lebanese intelligence was then only able to go to Rome, where Lebanese investigations also proved that Sayyed Musa did not leave Libya as was claimed.

The Islamic Shiite Higher Council published many statements, in which, with the agreement of all Lebanese parties and most of international incites, they accused Moammar Al Qaddafi, Libyan President, of being the abductor of Sayyed Musa Sadr and his companions.

The story has not been forgotten or faded away, for Sayyed Musa is still awaited in Lebanon, Iran, and most of the areas and sects who believe in his achievements before, and what he could do and achieve if it was destined for him to return.

Imam Musa al-Sadr, a name of wisdom, faith, strength, nationalism, generosity, and most important, patriotism, would now and forever be a memory, a blessing on the whole world until the truth is revealed.

Alive or not, a pure soul remains as helpful as always in the presence of hope.


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