Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Saeed Al-Hakim, a leading religious figure in the Najaf Seminary, passed away due to a heart attack at age 85.
Al-Hakim was one of the most revered religious figures in Iraq, one of four elite clerics of the Najaf Seminary. He was only outranked by the spiritual leader of Iraqi Shias, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Al-Hakim was among the top candidates to succeed Grand Ayatollah Sistani, according to many researchers.
According to a relative close to Al-Hakim, the prominent religious leader died at Al Hayat hospital in Najaf on Friday. It was reported that Al-Hakim was rushed to the hospital after unexpectedly suffering a heart attack. However, the Ayatollah’s office later announced his death was due to a sudden medical condition without providing further details.
Turkish Ambassador to Baghdad, Ali Rıza Güney, offered his condolences to the people of Iraq in a statement via Twitter. “We learned with sadness the news of the death of the Shiite religious leader, Ayatollah Muhammad Saeed Al-Hakim, may God have mercy on him. We extend our deepest condolences and sympathy to the Iraqi people and their relatives,” Ambassador Güney’s tweet read.
US Embassy in Baghdad also shared a statement regarding the Ayatollah’s passing: “Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Saeed al-Hakim (may God have mercy on him), was a symbol of peace, love, and harmony across the region. We ask God to bless him with His abundance of mercy. Please accept our sincere condolences and sympathy on this great loss.”
The government of Iraq announced three days of national mourning in honour of Al-Hakim’s passing.