Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Middle Eastern Studies


Samira Haj

Subject Categories



Iraq; Iraqi Communist Party; Yusuf Salman Yusuf; Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr


Through a look at the writings of Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and Yusuf Salman Yusuf, I argue that Iraq’s communists and Islamists during the middle of the twentieth century could not escape a common language, common circumstances and conditions which framed their conceptions of the relationship between their pasts, presents, and futures. Their political visions did not come from their disparate traditions, although couched in those terms, but from their common circumstances and struggles towards the establishment of a sovereign, independent Iraqi nation. Despite their disagreements or variously framed answers, they were guided by similar questions. Yusuf Salman Yusuf, also known as Fahd, presented his vision of the future within the communist tradition, which subscribed to the view that a progressive future is premised on a complete break with the past. Sadr posited a better future that would be undetached from the past and previous experiences, including the Shiite tradition. Both of their visions, as I will argue here, were shaped by the conditions of possibility and shared language of their present. While both Fahd and Sadr espoused a teleological view of history, the former secular and the latter theological, their political decisions and actions remained grounded in the circumstances of their time and place, both of them primarily concerned with the fight against colonialism, the establishment of political sovereignty, and a developed future for their nation-state. Those actions were not fueled by their respective Marxist and Shiite traditions but from their shared conditions and overlapping questions and concerns.

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