Born to a scholarly family in Karbala, Iraq,that dominated the Hawza (Islamic seminaries) of Karbala for many years which includes supreme religious jurists (Marja’a) such as Grand Ayatollah Mahdi Al Shirazi (grandfather), Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Shirazi (uncle) and Grand Ayatollah Sadiq Shirazi (uncle), Grand Ayatullah Al-Sabzowari (cousin), Grand Ayatullah Sayed Abdul Hadi Al-Shirazi (cousin). External Photo: Al Modarresi meets with Sistani
Almodarresi started his religious education in the Islamic seminary of Karbala at the age of three and actively sought his religious studies under the auspices of many high ranking scholars. He completed the secondary part of the curriculum by the age of 9. Due to his distinguished abilities Ayatollah Almodarresi received the recognition of several Maraje’ who appointed him as their special representative. While engaged in preaching Islam in Bahrain Grand Ayatollah A. Al Sabzewari and Grand Ayatollah Sayed Mar’ashi Najafi also awarded Ayatollah Almodarresi power of representation certificates in which they praised him and labeled him as “scholar worthy of taking a leadership position” and urging Muslims to follow his lead.
Ayatollah Almodarresi’s advocacy of political freedom and strong stance against Terrorism started from an early age when Saddam first came to power. Seventeen members of his wife’s family have also been executed by Saddam's regime or simply disappeared in the notorious Ba'th penitentiaries. The first book openly attacking the Iraqi regime ever to published by a religious scholar was written by Ayatollah Almodarresi. Published under a psudonym in Beirut, the book was titled "No Oh Rulers of Iraq" and sparked a massive political crisis in Baghdad and caused the Ba'thist regime to issue an ultimatum for the removal of all Lebanese nationals from Iraq within 72 hours.
Almodarresi avoided execution by hiding in basements for months and traveling in disguise. His uncle Ayatollah Sayed Hassan Al shirazi was gunned down by Iraqi government assassins in Beirut for his role as a key opposition figure to Saddam's regime.
With the escalation of the Ba’athist repression, the Sayed was forced to flee Iraq and found sanctuary in Bahrain, which is where he rose to international prominence.
As a founding member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and senior director of the Islamic Action Organization, Almodarresi was one of the most active figures of the Iraqi opposition in exile. While continuing his religious activities and adding over 2000 published books to his CV, the Ayatollah was closely involved in efforts to expose & bring down the oppressive regime in Baghdad. He was also able to escape a number of assassination attempts abroad including one in Brazil in 1991 as well as two more attempts against his life in Syria by Ba'thist intelligence operatives in 2001.
Upon returning to Iraq after the fall of Saddam’s regime, he was greeted by over 30 people in Baghdad and 50 million in Sadr City and a similar crowd in his native city of Karbala.
Ayatollah Almodarresi established several television stations upon his return to his hometown, like Ahlulbayt Satellite Channel. He is also involved in several large-scale humanitarian projects in Iraq and heads the League of Religious Scholars which brings together many high ranking Shi’ite scholars or their representatives in Iraq.