This article reflects on what Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah represented during his lifetime and the significance of his death for Lebanese politics and society. I argue that Fadlallah’s death signals the passing of a generation of uniquely independent and authoritative Shi‘i cleric-intellectuals trained in Najaf. Fadlallah’s ability to think independently was not only revealed in the realm of politics (where his typically subtle stance on wilayat al-faqih was but one example), but also in his role as a modern mujtahid and the broader societal role he often played. Further, it is the second and third aspects – rather than any of the explicitly political stances Fadlallah took – that were so key in Fadlallah’s continuing relevance and significance for Shi‘i and Lebanese politics.


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pp. 25-46
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