A Biography of Sayyid Mohammad Baqir Kashmiri, Vice Chairman of I.M.A.M. and Representative of Jurist
Sayyid Mohammad Baqir Kashmiri, the son of His Eminence Sayyid Ali Naqi and the grandson of Ayatullah Sayyid Murtadha al-Ridhawi al-Kashmiri, comes from a renowned family recognized for their high levels of education, piety, and dedicated service in supporting the Muslim community. The Kashmiri family is linked to the family of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through the lineage of Musa al-Mubarqa’, son of Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (p). The family became known socially by the last name of “Kashmiri” because their grandfather lived in Kashmir for an era as a preacher and resident religious scholar.
With religious service in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and India for nearly a thousand years, the Kashmiri family has established a reputation of integrity and honor, depicted by the family’s love of acquiring knowledge and their passion to serve the community in which they live. As such, Sayyid Mohammad Baqir Kashmiri completed most of his religious studies in Iran, beginning in the Holy City of Mashhad and later continuing in the Holy City of Qom. Sayyid studied under the guidance of the most prominent teachers in the Muslim world such as Shaykh Ibrahim Sibawayh, Sayyid Sahib Mashallah, Shaykh Muhammad Ridha al-Sadiq, Shaykh Muhammad Taqi al-Gharawi, Sayyid Jawad Shubbar, Ayatullah Shaykh Hassan al-Jawahiri, Ayatullah Shaykh Naser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatullah Sayyid Kamal al-Haydari, and Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Ridha al-Husseini al-Jalali.
Sayyid Kashmiri represents ten late and living jurists in Qom and Najaf seminaries. He received a wikala (representative proxy) from His Eminence Ayatullah Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani to deal with all matters pertaining to the jurist in North America. As the representative of the supreme religious authority, Sayyid al-Sistani, Sayyid Kashmiri moved to Los Angeles, California in the year 2000 where he later founded the Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (I.M.A.M.), an organization aimed to support the Shia community in North America by being the central point of communication between the Shia Muslims in North America and their spiritual religious leadership (marjaeya) in all matters pertaining to beliefs and religious duties. Later, he and his family relocated the I.M.A.M. headquarters to Dearborn, Michigan.
As the Vice Chairman and Religious Affairs Director of I.M.A.M, Sayyid is the primary person responsible for overseeing and coordinating all activities that require the endorsement of or adoption by a religious authority such as religious verdicts, education, and dues in North America. He is actively working to organize matters of the Shia Muslims in North America in relevant areas such as worship, marriage, divorce, wills, inheritance, and other religious legal matters while adhering to the laws of the land. In addition, he often travels to different states to develop connections between various Islamic centers to foster unity through networking.
As a writer, author, and lecturer, Sayyid Kashmiri has participated in numerous activities and projects throughout the years: he has supervised and published various Islamic magazines including Rasikhoon, Reflections, and Fiqhona; he has authored pieces of his own such as “Jurisprudence Manual for Youth,” and “Shia Muslims: Our Identity, Our Vision, and the Way Forward”; and he has established credibility for numerous religious authors by writing forewords for books such as God’s Emissaries, Islam and Christianity: Brothers at Odds, A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West, Fasting: A Haven from Hellfire, and Amicable Companionship. He has given numerous speeches and written research papers and articles on various subjects including history, Quran interpretation, Islamic principles, religion, and secularism, which have resulted in “The Washington Declaration: A Code of Honor for Sunni and Shia in North America against Violence and Extremism” as well as the development of “The Roadmap for the Advancement of Shia Muslims in North America.”
Sayyid is continuously active in public speaking during the month of Ramadhan, in the first ten days of Muharram, and at Islamic conferences. He teaches Islamic jurisprudence and is involved in preparing aspiring scholars to commence their religious studies at Shia seminaries. His years of service are based around his unwavering belief in the ability to develop a strong, cohesive Shia Muslim presence and community, and it is for this reason that he is continually consulted about the details of the North American community by a number of scholars and researchers at Islamic seminaries.
Translation of the Authorization letter from Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali al-Hussaini al-Sistani to H.I. Sayyid Mohammad Baqir al-Kashmiri.
Original Authorization letter from Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali al-Hussaini al-Sistani to H.I. Sayyid Mohammad Baqir al-Kashmiri in Arabic.