The Seal of Prophets

From the arid deserts and mountains of the Arabian Peninsula rose a new civilization, challenging the entrenched forces of the past. Idols and civilizations were shaken by the meteoric rise of this new Muslim empire.
The herald of this change was a new prophet, Muhammad ibn ʿAbd Allah (s). His mission was to confirm the messages of past prophets and seal their prophecies with a final message. How was he able to achieve this transformative change in Arab society? What cultural and literary heritage did he leave behind? What ethical principles did he embody and imbed in his followers?
In short, what did Prophet Muhammad (s) achieve, and how was he able to achieve it? These are the central questions of The Seal of Prophets (s). The author, the Late Grand Ayatollah Sayyid M. S. al-Hakeem, answers these questions with the scholastic depth of a contemporary titan of the Islamic Seminary. Through an examination of the prophetic sīrah (biography) and ḥadīth (oral tradition), Sayyid al-Hakeem provides detailed answers backed by ample evidence of the Prophet’s historic and moral achievements.

Sayyid Muhammad Saeed Al-Hakeem

His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Saeed Al-Hakeem was born in the Holy City of Najaf in 1934. His father, Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Al-Hakeem, was a prominent scholar of his time. He grew under the tutelage of his father who began to teach him the basic courses of Islamic sciences before the age of ten.
Since his youth, His Eminence was known for his knowledge, ethics, and piety. He was respected amongst his peers and teachers for his keen understanding of the religious sciences and critical approach in discussion. He was always alongside his father in the gatherings of scholarly learning and intellectual discourse.
Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Saeed Al-Hakeem was given special attention by his maternal grandfather Grand Ayatollah Muhsen Al-Hakeem, who assigned his grandson the task of reviewing the manuscripts of his well renowned jurisprudential encyclopedia Mustamsak Al-‘Urwa Al-Wuthqa. In the course of reviewing the manuscripts, His Eminence would discuss the text with his grandfather. Through those sessions he gained a great wealth of knowledge and showcased his understanding and skill in the Islamic sciences.
During his time at the Islamic Seminary of Najaf, His Eminence studied under some of the most prominent scholars. Those scholars included his father, his maternal grandfather, Grand Ayatollah Hussain Al-Hilli, and Grand Ayatollah Abulqasim Al-Khoei.
At the age of thirty-four, after having spent more than two decades of his life in the pursuit of religious learning, he began offering bahth kharij (advanced seminars) in the principles of jurisprudence. Two years later, he began offering advanced seminars in jurisprudence based on the books of Al-Shaykh Al-A’dham Murtadha Al-Ansari and his grand-father Grand Ayatollah Muhsen Al-Hakeem. Since then, His Eminence would continue to teach advanced seminars despite the challenges and obstacles he would face.
Along with his teachers and peers, His Eminence was active in public affairs ever since he joined the seminary. He was amongst the group of scholars that supported Grand Ayatollah Muhsen Al-Hakeem in his movement against Communist influence in Iraq. In 1963, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Saeed Al-Hakeem signed the notable petition from the seminary that denounced President Abdul Salam Arif’s attempt to impose Communism in Iraq.
When the Baathist regime overthrew its predecessor and took control of Iraq, His Eminence continued his activism against the state’s dictatorial policies. Most notably, he would defy Baathist threats to execute anyone who would fulfill the ritual of walking toward the city of Karbala as a commemoration of the sacrifices made there fourteen centuries ago. Because of this defiance, the Grand Ayatollah became a pursued target of the Baathist regime and was forced into hiding until the regime finally closed the case. Yet despite all the harassment and persecution, His Eminence would remain in Najaf and refuse to join the exodus away from Baathist tyranny. He saw the exodus as a threat to the existence of Najaf’s seminary, and so decided to stay in the city to ensure its continuity.
On May 9th, 1983, after the Hakeem family’s refusal to support the Baathist regime during the Iran-Iraq war, many of the family’s members were arrested, including the Grand Ayatollah himself. There, they faced constant interrogation and all kinds of torture. They were beaten with nightsticks and subjected to electric shocks, to name a couple of the most used torture methods. Diseases began to spread, with no access to any medical assistance. Still, the family’s fortitude was not broken and they persevered.
Shortly after the mass imprisonment of the family, the Grand Ayatollah began offering classes in Quranic exegesis. He found no other books or sources for study in the Baathist prison system other than an old and worn copy of the Holy Quran. The wardens soon found out about this course and forced him to stop teaching. Nonetheless, religious discussions and commemorations continued in secrecy throughout their years of imprisonment. During those years, a total of sixteen members of the Hakeem family were executed by the regime.
In 1985, the remainder of the imprisoned members of the Hakeem family was moved to Abu Ghraib prison, which was a lower security prison at the time. There, the Grand Ayatollah found an opportunity to continue teaching the advanced seminars he had offered before imprisonment. Since most of the inmates with him were highly educated seminarians and students of his, he quickly seized the opportunity.
Finally, on June 7, 1991, His Eminence and the remainder of the Hakeem family were released from prison. That, however, did not mean an end to Baathist harassment. Baathist authorities badgered him in an attempt to name him an official state designated religious authority. He definitively refused such offers, asserting that religious authority is and must always be independent. Because of his firm position, the state imposed a great deal of restrictions on the Grand Ayatollah. Amongst those restraints included a ban on publishing any of his books and scholarly work and broad restrictions on his travel.
After the passing of Grand Ayatollah Abulqasim Al-Khoei the following year, many scholars and seminarians petitioned His Eminence to assume the obligations and duties of Marja’ – the religious authority to whom the believers refer to in issues of law. In compliance with the incessant petitions of students and peers, he put forward his views on Islamic law and practice and became one of the most prominent religious authorities of the time. He continued his scholarly work, writing and teaching across the fields of Islamic sciences. Currently based in the Holy City of Najaf, Grand Ayatollah Al-Hakeem is one of the leading contemporary religious authorities for Shia Muslims worldwide.

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Husayn: The Saga of Hope

In 680 AD, the grandson of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, Husayn ibn Ali, was brutally slaughtered by an army of thirty-thousand at the order of the Umayyad caliph Yazid ibn Muawiya. History tells us that Husayn knew of his inevitable fate and embraced it – that he would be killed by an unjust lot and in a land that would forever be enshrined in the hearts of men and women across the ages, as Karbala.

While Husayn was killed at the whims of men’s greed and lust for power, what did Husayn actually die for? What was the purpose of his most tragic death? Even beyond the stance of justice against injustice and the notion of supporting the oppressed against oppression, all of which are noble pursuits of humanity, the foundational purpose for which Husayn died is very simple. Husayn died for the same thing that he lived for – Islam. His tragedy, his Saga of Hope, would be the catalyst to save the religion that billions of people around the world have come to follow over the past fourteen centuries.

This book is about his story. It tells the tale of Husayn’s amazing life and most heroic death. Husayn grew up in the lap of his grandfather the Prophet Muhammad, and was slain at the hands of the same people who claimed to follow his grandfather. Husayn was by far the greatest leader, most noble warrior, and highest scholar of his time. He is certainly one of the most inspiring and consequential figures in human history. His legacy of sacrifice, love, and hope, have moved even the coldest of hearts, perhaps even those who took part in killing him.

Hajj Jalal Moughania

Jalal Moughania is an American lawyer, lecturer, and researcher. He has authored and translated original works on Islamic history and thought, religious authority in Shi’ism, and Shia Muslim identity and society. He serves as Director at the Mainstay Foundation — an NGO working in the space of research, education, and development. Moughania holds a Juris Doctorate in Law.

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This My Love Isn’t Goodbye

In search of truth, little did I anticipate that my journey would take me from Georgia, across oceans, all the way to the Fertile Crescent. Working through my misconceptions of the region, Iraq was transformed in my heart to a place of longing. It transported me 1400 years back to a time when saints gave the ultimate sacrifice. They ensured that for as long as the sun rose and set, mankind would have the ability to know their Lord. It is a timeless gift and a breathing miracle.
From my roots in Christianity, to searching endlessly for answers to my souls’ longings, I found myself at the doorsteps of Islam. A decade after making my intent to go to Iraq, the invitation to go to Ziyarat and visit the shrines of the Imams finally arrived. Yet such a trip does not begin when you arrive. It begins when you connect with the heritage of Ahl al-Bayt, allowing their treasures to transcend you to the Beloved.

Paul McCoy

Paul McCoy is a mental and behavioral health specialist who is a licensed master social worker, chaplain and life coach. He currently works with veterans, prisoners, and families who have issues ranging from domestic violence to substance abuse. Mr. McCoy uses many modalities to help the individuals that he sees including the principles of Islam to help the individuals through the trying times. Mr. McCoy is also a lecturer and author who has written on many subjects including comparative religion.

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Divine Leadership: A Rational Approach

The topic of divine leadership (imamate) is integral to the Shia creed, exceeded in importance only by tawḥīd and nubuwwah. Its implications are so far reaching that entire schools of thought were built and distinguished based on their differing views on the subject. Part of its significance– as the reader will come to find – comes from its establishment of a divinely appointed and immaculate religious authority. We go back to these immaculate authorities (imams) for guidance not only on matters of religious practice, but to better understand the specifics of Islam’s foundational concepts and theology. It is therefore an essential doctrine in our attempt to understand our faith. How do Shia Muslims understand imamah? Why is it a foundational and integral part of the Shia creed? What does it mean for a Shia Muslim today?

Ayatollah Sayyid Jafar Al-Hakeem

His Eminence Ayatollah Sayyid Jafar al-Hakeem is a prominent professor and public intellectual at the Islamic Seminary (al-ḥawza al-ʿilmiyya) in the shrine city of Najaf in Iraq. Born in 1965 to a prominent scholarly family, Sayyid al-Hakeem began his seminary studies at the age of 12.
On May 10, 1983, Sayyid al-Hakeem was arrested and detained along with his father Ayatollah ʿAbdulṣāḥib al-Hakeem and over 60 other members of his family by the regime of Saddam Hussein. Less than two weeks after the arrest, the author’s father and other members of the family were executed without any criminal charges or trial. The remainder of the family would continue to suffer torture in the prisons of the Saddam regime.
Despite the circumstances, Sayyid al-Hakeem and the remainder of his family would continue their religious studies from within Saddam’s dark cells. No books were allowed in Saddam’s prisons, but being imprisoned alongside so many prominent religious scholars allowed for the continuation of classes and study circles.
After more than seven years of imprisonment, Sayyid al-Hakeem and a small group of cellmates were able to escape imprisonment and flee to Iran. There, Sayyid al-Hakeem joined the Islamic Seminary of Qum, where he studied under the tutelage of scholars such as Ayatollah Sayyid Taqī al-Qummī (d. 2016) and Ayatollah Shaykh Muḥammad al-Sanad.
After the fall of the Saddam regime in 2003, Sayyid al-Hakeem returned to the holy city of Najaf to rejoin its seminary. He currently teaches advanced seminars (baḥth khārij) in fiqh and uṣūl, as well as seminars in epistemology, philosophy, theosophy, and theology.
In addition to his scholarly work, Sayyid al-Hakeem is a prominent Iraqi public intellectual. He appeared as a witness in the trial of Saddam, testifying to the cruel sectarian persecution of Shia scholars and scholarly families. He often speaks on issues of religious identity, pluralism, civic engagement, and contemporary issues. Sayyid al-Hakeem has visited the United States and Europe, where he had the opportunity to address and discuss these topics with both Muslim and non-Muslim audiences.

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Ali: The Elixir of Love

This historical narrative of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, tells the tale of his timeless character that transcends history, religions, and nations. From before his birth to the final moments of his life, Ali’s story renews within us the hope we all need. The lessons of his life’s journey illuminate a deeper understanding of what it means to endure the darkest times, to persevere, and to rise to a purpose greater than ourselves. Embodying the definition of patience itself, Ali is the compass, the lighthouse, to guide us in navigating the world around us, and the universe within. The gateway to God’s beloved Muhammad, Ali is the answer to the wandering heart and the seeker of all that is true. Ali, is ‘the elixir of love’.

Hajj Jalal Moughania

Jalal Moughania is an American lawyer, lecturer, and researcher. He has authored and translated original works on Islamic history and thought, religious authority in Shi’ism, and Shia Muslim identity and society. He serves as Director at the Mainstay Foundation — an NGO working in the space of research, education, and development. Moughania holds a Juris Doctorate in Law.

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The Pope Meets the Ayatollah: An Introduction to Shi’a Islam

On March 5, 2021, Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church, enters Iraq for a historic visit. As he embarks on a pilgrimage to the ancient city of Ur in southern Iraq, the birthplace of Abraham, the Pope first stops in the holy city of Najaf to meet with Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani.In this timely and authoritative work, the authors (Hassan al-Hakeem and Jalal Moughania) provide insight into the significance of Shiʿa Islam’s Marjiʿiyyah, led today by Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani, as a voice of peace, tolerance, and moderation in today’s world. With a foreword by Ayatollah Sayyid Muneer al-Khabbaz, a leading professor in the Islamic Seminary and a student of Grand Ayatollah Sistani, this original work provides a comprehensive background to this historic visit and an insider’s introduction to Shiʿa Islam and its worldview.

Sayyid Hassan Al-Hakeem

Sayyid Hassan Al-Hakeem is a researcher, lecturer, and thought leader in the Shi’a Muslim community. He serves as the Executive Trustee at The Mainstay Foundation UK, a London-based NGO working in the space of faith, education, and development in Europe, North America, South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. In addition to studying the Islamic Sciences under scholars of the religious seminaries in Najaf and Qum, Al-Hakeem holds two Master’s in Computer Engineering and Public Administration with a certification in Nonprofit Leadership from one of the top American research universities.

Hajj Jalal Moughania

Jalal Moughania is an American lawyer, lecturer, and researcher. He has authored and translated original works on Islamic history and thought, religious authority in Shi’ism, and Shia Muslim identity and society. He serves as Director at the Mainstay Foundation — an NGO working in the space of research, education, and development. Moughania holds a Juris Doctorate in Law.

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Practical Advice

Practical Advice is a thought provoking and motiva-tional read about how to lead a good life within the framework of Islamic teachings. Throughout its ten chapters, the book weaves insights and life-lessons, along with stories and parables creating an engag-ing script for a reader of any age. Our community faces numerous challenges. These challenges are most profound for our youth. The youth are con-stantly met with both internal and external obsta-cles, trying to find themselves in a world of contra-dictions. Who am I? What am I? What am I meant to be?These are questions that young Muslims face every day. And even beyond the deep questions of intro-spection and identity, they face practical problems and obstacles. How do we balance our school or work life with our family life? How do we look at other people? How does pride and ambition play a role in our character? The authors are able to pro-vide insight and inspiration through this book for the youth that face these types of challenges.

Sayyid Abathar Tajaldeen

Sayyid Abathar Tajaldeen is a corporate attorney at the AT Law Group, based in Dearborn, MI. With a background in nonprofit executive leadership and management, he has worked with various nonprofit organizations in the United States. Tajaldeen is currently the Executive Director at the Mainstay Foundation where he focuses his efforts on strategic planning, coalition building, and expanding the organizations initiatives and outreach.

Hajj Jalal Moughania

Jalal Moughania is an American lawyer, lecturer, and researcher. He has authored and translated original works on Islamic history and thought, religious authority in Shi’ism, and Shia Muslim identity and society. He serves as Director at the Mainstay Foundation — an NGO working in the space of research, education, and development. Moughania holds a Juris Doctorate in Law.

Hajj Mohamed Ali Albodairi

Hajj Mohamed Ali Albodairi is a practicing attorney at the AT Law Group, based in Dearborn, MI. He is the Secretary of the Board of Directors at the Mainstay Foundation. Albodairi has served with a number of nonprofit organizations for over several years in various capacities, where he has been using his legal and analytical skills to advance his communities.

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Imam Hussain: Life and Legacy

When we study the history of the Holy Household of the Messenger of God (s) we find that they stood with absolute devotion and determination in protection of God’s message. They stood against any attempt to misrepresent the teachings of the Holy Quran and the tradition of the Holy Prophet (s).The members of this Holy Household devoted themselves to the protection of this divine message. They dedicated themselves to the promotion of its true teachings. They sacrificed everything they had, even their own lives, in pursuit of this mission. The stance of Imam Hussain (a) is the clearest example of the Holy Household’s great sacrifices. He gave everything he had, including his own life, for the sake of reforming the nation of his grandfather and correcting the path of the nation after its deviance. In this book, we will study some of the characteristics and achievements of this great man and his movement.We will look at Imam Hussain’s (a) life and death. We will study the stance that he took and how the remainder of the Holy Household (a) contributed to that stance. We will examine the great triumph that his stance achieved despite the tragedy.

Sayyid Ali Al-Hakeem

Sayyid Ali Al-Hakeem is an esteemed Muslim scholar, lecturer, and researcher residing in Dubai, UAE. Sayyid Al-Hakeem spent ten years studying at the Islamic seminaries of Qum, Iran. There, he completed his Advanced Seminars (a Ph.D. equivalent in Islamic seminaries) in Islamic Jurisprudence and Thought. He also received a Master’s degree in Islamic Thought from the Islamic University of Lebanon. Sayyid Al-Hakeem has dedicated the past twenty-two years of his life to service of the Muslim community in different capacities. He serves as a resident scholar in the Imam Hassan Mosque, Dubai. He is the Chair of the Religious Committee and the religious supervisor of the Charitable Deeds Committee of the Ja’afariya Endowment Charitable Council of Dubai.

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