BEIRUT — Lebanon’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, 75, was hospitalised in Beirut for internal bleeding on Friday, hospital officials said.
“Doctors are monitoring him closely in the intensive care unit and they said he is stable, but they still cannot make a prognosis,” one official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The grand ayatollah rose in the ranks of Lebanon’s Shiite community decades ago and was considered the spiritual guide of militant group Hezbollah when it was founded in 1982 with the support of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard.
He gained political leverage during Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, but his ties to Hezbollah strained as the war progressed and he distanced himself from the party’s ideological ties to Iran.
He nonetheless remained an advocate of suicide attacks as a means of fighting Israel, last year issuing a fatwa, or religious decree, forbidding the normalisation of ties with the Jewish state.
Along with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, Fadlallah is blacklisted as a terrorist by the United States.
Revered by the Shiite faithful as a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, Fadlallah was born in 1935 in the Iraqi Shiite holy city of Najaf, where his parents emigrated from Lebanon to study theology.
He returned to Lebanon in 1966 and founded the Islamic Sharia Institute which has trained a number of prominent Shiite leaders.
Fadlallah is known for his relatively liberal views on women, issuing religious edicts forbidding female circumcision and allowing women to wear nail polish during prayers.
He is also firmly opposed to “honour killings,” the murder of women by male relatives on suspicion of pre- or extra-marital affairs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.