Shams al-Din and the Islamic Scene of Lebanon in the Turmoil of the 1970s and 1980s

  • Farah W. Kawtharani
Part of the Middle East Today book series (MIET)


This chapter focuses on the establishment of the Islamic Shi’i Supreme Council, ISSC, under the leadership of Sayyid Musa al-Sadr, and the consequent divergence of opinions around it within the Shi‘i clerical body during the 1970s and 1980s. It also addresses the divergent opinions between Shams al-Din and Sayyid Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, while explaining and situating the differences that marked the careers of these two scholars. Then it traces the beginnings of the ideological and political disagreements between Shams al-Din at the head of ISSC with Hezbollah’s leadership. The chapter contextualizes these disagreements within the political diversity that characterized the Shi‘i movement in Lebanon in that period: On the one hand, there were the militant Islamists who refuted the legitimacy of the Lebanese state represented by the Lebanese ‘ulama who were affiliated with the Iraqi Da‘wā Party and who were soon to found and join Hezbollah. This ideological current also included Sayyid Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah who was ideologically associated with them in his early career. On the other hand stood Shams al-Din and earlier Musa al-Sadr, with their political legacy that emphasized the importance of Shi‘i integration into the Lebanese state.

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Farah W. Kawtharani
    • 1
  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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