chapter  4
42 Pages

Leader and Movement

WithMajed Halawi

Sayyid ‘Abd al-Husayn was equally committed to education and to social amelioration in all Shi’a areas within the boundaries of an independent Lebanon. He constantly petitioned Lebanese leaders in pursuit of these commitments, presenting them with lists of demands that prefigured the demands of Sayyid Musa al-Sadr on behalf of his community more than a quarter of a century later. The Shi’a cause was a just cause, Sayyid Musa declared, and a cause long forgotten by the country and its leadership. In Arabic, “imam” generally signifies a leader and may be used to refer to any man leading an organized activity, especially congregational prayers. Sayyid Musa responded first by forming Hay’t Nasrat al-Janub in cooperation with religious leaders representing a number of different southern communities. The Movement of the Disinherited had been bom as an expression of the aspirations of the Shi’a community at large, and indeed those of the Lebanese underclass in general.