One of the Maraji` of Iraq
He `Abdullah ibn Muhammad An-Nuri Al-`Iraqi Al-Basri Al-Kuwaiti.
Imam An-Nuri was born on 13 Rabi` ul-Awwal in the year 1323 AH in the famous hamlet of Az-Zubair (a subsection of Al-Basrah) in the land of Iraq. His father taught him reading and writing at four years of age and by eight years of age he had memorised the entire Qur’an.
Upbringing and early life
The Marja` was brought up in a family where his father and mother were both pious and they had a scholarly lineage that went back to the early scholars of Al-Basrah. Although not very wealthy from a worldly standpoint, he was rich in education, love from his parents and others around him dedicated to knowledge.
During his youth, the family decided to relocate and immigrate to another part of Iraq, the recently created state of Kuwait (which had initially been named Grange after the summer residence of the British man who drew it on a map).
His father, the Shaikh, the high ranking scholar, Muhammad An-Nuri (1285-1344 AH) was a celebrated figure and put his son in the best position possible for education and learning. He gave his son the best he could, which was knowledge of the Revealed Law.
The Imam began by learning from his father and upon completion of the Qur’an and some basic knowledge of the sciences and then in the year 1341AH he learned from the marja`, Imam `Abdullah Al-Khalaf Ad-Dahyan (1292-1349 AH) who was based in Kuwait.
This study included grammar, syntax and also creed and other areas that had not been touched upon in his formative years which was done with Imam `Abdul Wahhab Faris. As the onward march of secularism began, the Imam made it a personal mission to see that Muslim groups received help.
He therefore set about transporting monetary support to Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and other Muslims areas, many times delivering the cash in person. He was a proud advocate of all things to do with the religion and hated all forms of colonialism.
He was the first marja` to pass a categorical ruling about the permissibility of appearing on television and using television as long as one controlled the means of television. If one did not control the means of transmission, then it would not be permissible.
What this means is that if one can guarantee that no intrusion such as pornography and lewdness will enter into the transmission that has beneficial knowledge, then this is permissible; but if not, then it is not permissible.
Imam An-Nuri was also one of the pioneers in confronting secularism among Muslims, a task he took on aggressively and with much zeal. A prolific speaker, he was one of the examples of a marja` that did not leave behind a large corpus of works. Rather he focused on teaching, preaching and delivering rulings in his gatherings.
The Imam died on Saturday 11 Rabi` ul-Awwal 1401 AH at the old age of 78 years, a life that had been filled with teaching and preaching.
(Taken from `Ulama’ wa A`lam, vol.1, pp. 627-628)