2022 Portfolios: Death Claims Sayed Haidar Al-Sitri, Prominent Figure of 1990s Uprising

2023-12-10 - 11:05 am

Bahrain Mirror (2022 Portfolios): On August 31, 2022, Sayed Haidar Al-Sitri, one of the prominent figures of the 1990s uprising and a distinguished religious and political personality in Bahrain, passed away at the age of 70.

Al-Sitri's life (1952 - 2022) was filled with events worth documenting. He left for the holy city of Qom in 1981, accompanied by his cousin, Mohammed Yousif Al-Maza'l (a Wefaq MP in the 2006 parliament). After a short period, barely exceeding a month, they decided to return to the country to bring their families.

Upon bringing his family, Sayed Haidar Al-Sitri began his Hawza studies, learning from scholars such as Sheikh Hameed Al-Mubarak, Sheikh Jaafar Al-Mubarak Al-Qatifi, Sayed Abdul Saheb Al-Shadkani, Sheikh Habeeb Al-Kadhemi, Sheikh Hadi Al Raadi, Sheikh Mohammed Baqir Al-Irawani, Sayed Mohammed Al-Azari Al-Bahrani, Sheikh Hassan Al-Jawaheri, Sheikh Noor Mohammadi, and Sayed Adel Al-Alawi. He also pursued studies with Sheikh Hussein Al-Mouayyad, Sayed Mahmoud Al-Hashemi Al-Shahrawi, Sayed Ahmed Al-Madadi, and Sheikh Al-Wahid Al-Khorasani.

As the Iran-Iraq war intensified, Sayed Haidar Al-Sitri, along with several Bahraini companions, left for Syria, settling in the Sayyida Zainab (pbuh) area. He continued his educational pursuits under the guidance of Sayed Mohammed Al-Nouri, participating in delivering religious lectures and lessons at the Imam Hawza. In the Sayyida Zainab neighborhood, Bahraini students of religious sciences made it a point to attend the sessions of Ayatollah Sayyid Abdullah Al-Ghuraifi, whom they referred to as "Al-Modarris" (the professor), and figures like Sheikh Ahmed Al-Wa'ili (may he rest in peace) participated in commemorating Ahlulbayt occasions. It was here that Sayed Al-Sitri emerged as a poet, reciting poems at religious events.

In 1992, Sayed Haidar Al-Sitri returned to Bahrain after authorities allowed several citizens, previously prohibited from entering, to return. Since his return, he actively engaged in religious activities and preaching by leading congregational prayers at various mosques, including the Al-Zahraa Mosque in Hamad Town, the Imam Al-Sadiq Mosque in Al-Gufool, and others. As events unfolded, Al-Sitri became a prominent advocate for the restoration of parliamentary life and the implementation of the 1973 constitution. Additionally, he openly supported the popular petition in 1994.

Bahraini authorities arrested him and deported him on January 5, 1995, on a flight to Dubai, where Al-Sitri discovered that his companions, Sheikh Ali Salman and Sheikh Hamza Al-Dairi, were on the same flight. From the UAE, the three decided to head to London, seeking political asylum in the UK and fulfilling their political roles through periodic statements as "exiled religious scholars."

Sayed Haidar Al-Sitri was known for talents beyond his political and religious activities, namely poetry and art. He authored a poetry collection titled "The Pride of Wounds," which encapsulated his pains and sorrows as an expatriate away from his homeland.

In addition to his poetic talent, Al-Sitri possessed a flair for art. His journey in the field of visual arts was witnessed by a few, running parallel to his involvement in fine arts. His paintings, some of which he included as illustrations in his only poetry collection "The Pride of Wounds," reflected a style brimming with emotions and sentiments.

In 2001, Al-Sitri returned to his homeland after a general amnesty and prison clearance. He participated with his colleagues in establishing the National Islamic Al-Wefaq Society, and he was one of Al-Wefaq's candidates in the first parliamentary elections contested by the opposition in 2006.

On that day, Al-Sitri won 6476 votes from the constituency, accounting for 91.87% of the total votes on Sitra Island, reflecting a near-consensus on his popularity and influence in the district. Despite holding moderate and centrist views, he remained committed to the decisions emerging from the democratic process within Al-Wefaq, staying true to its goals.

Al-Sitri departed his homeland, filled with a sense of estrangement, carrying the pains and hopes of those he defended and spoke for with dedication and devotion for decades. Thus, he deserved a dignified farewell to his final resting place on Sitra Island, which remained loyal to him.

Arabic Version