Mohammad Yaqoobi

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Not to be confused with Mohammed Yaqoub or Muhammad al-Yaqoubi.
Grand Ayatollah Muhammad al-Yaqoobi
Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoobi 1434.jpg
Religion Usuli Twelver Shi`a Islam
Other names Arabic: محمد اليعقوبي
Born (1960-09-09) September 9, 1960 (age 54)
Najaf, Iraq
Senior posting
Based in Najaf, Iraq
Title Grand Ayatollah
Period in office 2003–present
Predecessor Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr
Religious career
Post Grand Ayatollah

Mohammad al-Yaqoobi (Arabic: محمد اليعقوبي‎; born 9 September 1960) is a prominent Iraqi Twelver Shi'a Marja' Ayatollah.[1][2] He established one of the largest women's Hawzas in Iraq, and has charitable organisations in his name within Iraq.[3][4] He is a cleric who is not recognised among the mainstream Shia clergy and is a recently self-proclaimed Ayatollah with a small following.

Early life[edit]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoobi was born in the holy city of Najaf. He grew up in the house of his grandfather until 1968 when his father moved to Baghdad, where he had religious and social responsibilities and relations with Sayyid Mahdi, the son of the supreme religious authority, Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim.

Since childhood, Sheikh Muhammad accompanied his father to his preaching sessions and to the mosques where he used to lead congregational prayers. He was less than ten years old when he used to recite supplications that he had retained on the participants in these congregational prayers after the accomplishment of prayers. In the summer, he studied under Sayyid `Ali al-`Alawi until the al-'Alwai's banishment to Iran.

In the second stage of the intermediate school, Sheikh Muhammad joined Imam al-Jawad Private School of Shi`ite Studies. In addition to the familiar academic classes, Sheikh Muhammad received lectures in Islamic edification under the late Martyr Sheikh `Abd al-Jabbar al-Basri.

Having finished his intermediate school successfully in 1975, Sheikh Muhammad joined the al-Sharqiyyah Preparatory School in al-Karradah that granted him a bigger opportunity to meet with the religious youths who then participated in the movement of Martyr Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr in the late seventies of the past century, despite political persecution and physical executions.

In 1978, he enrolled at Baghdad University and took an interest in the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the return of Imam Sayyid Ruhollah Khomeini to Iran in February 1979. Repressive measures of the Iraqi authorities followed with its campaign of detention that included many of the pro-Iranian religious and mindful youth, particularly with the ascension to power of Saddam Hussein and issuance of the doomed resolution of the Iraqi Revolution Council Command in March 1980 that decided sentencing to execution everyone who would have any relation to the movement of Martyr al-Sadr. This was followed by the Iraq-Iran War.

Yaqoobi attempted to postpone joining the obligatory Iraqi military service after graduation by skipping classes, but failed. He joined the military service as a civil engineer in the Ministry of Defense.


His primary education was at Imam Jawad Private Shia School. He graduated with a B.A. in Civil Engineering from Baghdad University in 1982, and joined the Najaf Hawza in 1992.[5]


A number of mujtahids have testified to Sheikh al-Yaqoobi’s having attained the degree of Ijtihad, which is a supreme rank of knowledgeability in issues appertained to Islamic laws and Muslim jurisprudence. One was handwritten by Ayatollah Sheikh Muhammad `Ali Garami al-Qummi, who is licensed for Ijtihad by Ayatollah Sheikh Hussein-Ali Montazeri. Based on the fact that some of the books intended in the previously mentioned license of Ayatollah Mohammad Sadeqi Tehrani were written in AH 1420, Sheikh al-Yaqoobi enjoyed the faculty of Ijtihad since that time.

The era that followed the martyrdom of Sayyid Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr and the holding of the leadership of the Islamic movement in Iraq by Sheikh al-Yaqoobi required intellectual, moral, and social enlightenment. Sheikh al-Yaqoobi made attempts to promote the Islamic thought through various methods and techniques, such as the issuance of books, booklets, brochures, and cassettes.[6]

He used to make use of some religious occasions as well as the beginning and the termination of study in the Seminary to deliver lectures on topics like social awakening and Islamic thought. As a result of these lectures, he could create a large popular vigilance, restore self-confidence in the mentalities of the masses, continue conveying the genuine mission of Islam after it was shaken in the mentalities of many faithful people due to the martyrdom of Martyr Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, and eradicate the state of frustration that crept into the hearts of people, especially when the ruling authorities worked towards annihilating all the features of the movement of al-Sadr.[7]

Thus, nothing of the practical traces of al-Sadr remained except the al-Sadr University of Religious Studies. Supported by the students and teachers of this religious university, Sheikh al-Yaqoobi made all possible efforts to save this scientific faculty despite the pressures they had to encounter. Consequently, this university took custody of the elite students and teachers who represented the movement of al-Sadr and who undertook the greatest part of the mission of maintaining the Islamic movement, helping the head of the university write works and interviews that have had echoes in the society and addressed the majority of the social classes, such as his books on the religious laws appertained to the students of universities, the labourers, the employees, the fishermen, and the tribes. He also wrote about the religious laws appertained to the traders of antiques, raising their social rank and making them feel that they had a share in the Seminary’s interest. Accordingly, a number of them returned to abiding by the religious laws.[8]

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