Millions are attending the funeral procession of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US attack in Iraq.
After his death in Iran, his funeral in Tehran on Monday was offered by the country’s chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But did you know that the man who offered his funeral in Iraq on Saturday was a Pakistani?
The funeral of General Soleimani in Najaf, offered by 78-year-old Ayatollah Hafiz Bashir Hussain Najafi, one of Iraq’s most prominent religious figures and one of the most important Shi’ite followers in Najaf.
Ayatollah Hafiz Bashir Hussain Al-Najafi was born before the partition of the subcontinent and during his stay in Pakistan, his father moved from Jalandhar to Batapur near Lahore.
He received his early education in Arabic grammar and jurisprudence from his grandfather, Muhammad Ibrahim and uncle Khadim Hussein, and then studied under the aegis of Ayatollah Akhtar Abbas Quds and later he involved in teaching.
In the 1960s, Hafiz Bashir Najafi arrived in Iraq where he studied theory and jurisprudence with prominent scholars such as Ayatollah Muhammad Kazim Tabrizi, Ayatollah Syed Muhammad Rouhani, Ayatollah Syed Abu al-Qasim, in Najaf.
According to Bashir Najafi’s personal website, he started teaching in the field of theology in Najaf in 1966 and taught various literary, logical, philosophical, principled and jurisprudential sciences.
Ayatollah Bashir Najafi’s brother, older son and other family members are based in Pakistan, but according to his representative Allama Sabtein Sabzwari in Pakistan, Ayatollah Najafi has never returned to Pakistan since he left for Iraq.
Apart from religious importance, Ayatollah Bashir Najafi has been instrumental in consulting the politics of the region.
Last year, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also met him.
Ayatollah Bashir Najafi is the author of numerous books.