Date of Birth: 1950

Place of Birth: Boudai, Baalbek District, Lebanon.

Position: Chairman of the Judicial Council 

Early Life

Mohammad Yazbek was born in the village of Boudai, in the northern Beqaa Valley, in 1950 to a middle-class family. He received his primary school education in Lebanon’s public schools in the Burj Hammoudneighborhood of east Beirut. He then went on to middle school in the public school in Baalbek, completing high school in Boudai. In 1965, he traveled to the Shiite holy city of Najaf in Iraq of his own accord to begin his religious studies. 

There, he spent the initial phases of his religious education learning under the Grand Marja Al-SayyedMohsin al-Hakim. He also spent eight years of his higher religious studies under the tutelage of Mohammad Baqer al-Sader. He spent a few months learning under Grand Ayatollah sayyed Abul-Qassem al-Khoei before beginning his jurisprudence studies under Sayyed Nasrallah al-Mustanbat and Grand Ayatollah sayyed Ali Alfani al-Esfahani.

Yazbek returned to Lebanon on April 16, 1980, to live in his native Boudai. After Ramadan of that year, sayyed Abbas al-Mousaoui, who would later become Hezbollah’s Secretary General, asked Yazbek to join him in teaching at the Imam al-Muntathar Hawza in Baalbek. The two were joined by other like-minded scholars, including Subhi al-Tufayli. In August 1982, Yazbek and the others traveled to Tehran to participate in the Islamic Movements Conference where they met Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who urged them to return home to mobilize the people to fight the Israeli invasion of Lebanon which began in June, and turn their mosques into bases for jihadist activity. Yazbek and his clan are dominant in the Bekaa Valley.

Career in Hezbollah

Yazbek, Tufayli, and Mousaoui all studied under Ayatollah Baqer al-Sadr in Najaf. They were committed to the Khomeini’s ideal of Wilayat al-Faqih, and sought to build an organization in Lebanon modeled on his teachings, and which would be Pan-Islamic. This nucleus became Hezbollah. 

Yazbek is a member of Hezbollah’s Shura Council. In 1995, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei personally appointed Yazbek as his personal religious deputy (wakil shari’i) in Lebanon, which earned him his place at the head of Hezbollah’s Judicial Council. The appointment was also significant because it granted Hezbollah special prerogatives and delegated responsibilities (taklif shari’i) that allowed it more independence in certain day-to-day affairs. It also allowed Hezbollah to begin directly collecting religious charity from Lebanese Shiites who considered Khamenei as their religious marja’, instead of having the funds funnel through Iran to the party, which enabled it to grow its vast social services apparatus.