The Shi’i population that has been rooted in the southern region of Jabal ‘Amil shares definitive lineage with the greater Shi’i population, particularly from Iran, and southern Iraq. “…The existence of cultural, religious, historical and sentimental ties between Iran and the Shi’i of Lebanon date back to the sixteenth century. At that time, the newly established Shi’i Safivid dynasty had to ‘import’ ulammas from Jabal Amil (southern Lebanon) to teach and preach the Ithna ‘Ishriya (Twelver) Shi’ism in Iran,” found in the book Iran and the Arab World.
The Shi’i in Lebanon have maintained a certain degree of relations with the greater Islamic community since its existence. As it was believed then, by the early believers, it is maintained today by the Islamic Movement in Lebanon. The Shi’i Islamic Movement believes that just rule will only prevail if society is assembled on a steady line of Islamic principle. Hizballah parallels this belief.
Just as the medieval Shi’i community contested Umayyad political power and framed it as corrupt compared to that of Mohammad, Ali, and Hossien, the modern Islamic Movement would deem governments and individuals as “neo Umayyads” and adversaries to Shi’i doctrine. One modern outcome of the relationships between Lebanon and the greater community is Imam Musa al Sadr.
Having been born of Lebanese decent in Iran, Musa al Sadr pursued a track to elevate Shi’i spirituality in Lebanon during the late 60s, and throughout the 70s. Musa al-Sadr used social groups as the basis for Shi’i transformation.
The principal organization he created was the Harakat al-Mahrumin (the Movement of the Deprived), which was complemented in 1975 by Amal, (Lebanese Resistance Detachments), a populist reform, and militant movement. The combination of Musa al Sadr’s heritage, and religious message gave Hizballah the strength it needed to solidify its presence in Lebanon.