Influential Shia scholar Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on Thursday called on the Iraqi government to dismantle all miltias and said what many of us have been saying for months now:
Weapons must be in the hands of government security forces that should not be tied to political parties but to the nation .
I wonder what Sistani would say about Hizbullah.
Sistani belongs to the quietist school of Shia Islam. Although he was born in Iran, he lives in Najaf, a centre of Shia learning that has been eclipsed by Qum in Iran. Although many view him as a threat to a secular Iraq, it is worth noting that Sistani is opposed to Khomeini's Vilayet al Faqih, which gives scholars political power akin to that of the Imam. In fact, Sistani issued a fatwa a couple of years ago forbidding Shia clerics from getting involved in politics.
For those who choose the Shia religious way, Sistani is a model cleric. He’s a very knowledgeable Faqih who is against literal interpretations of the Tradition and the Qur’an. He is all for putting the reported sayings of the prophets in their political and historical contexts, and to study the biographies of the narrators, as well as compare the different versions of the texts. He has no problem consulting modern science, or even modern western law texts, on subjects he says the Qur’an does not mention. One such subjects is democracy:
...as he once told a Shia politician, "there is nothing written in the Qur'an about elections." For that, he said, he reads textbooks on democracy.
He also belives in revising and renewing Fiqh rules to go with the times, which is more than many Shia and Sunni scholars are willing to do. (you can visit his website at sistani.org to learn more).
I don't expect Hizbullah, which follows Khomeini's Vilayet al Faqih to be moved or influenced by Sistani's call. But perhaps The Shia council in Lebanon will. Or has it been hijacked by Hizbullah and Iran too?