Grand Ayatullah Mohamed Taqi Behjat (R.A.)    The Godly Scholar – Alim-e-Rabbani of our times

Prepared & Translated by Shaikh Abbas Jaffer  abbas@jaffer.org

 

A tribute to him by way of a film is here

Uswat al-Aarifeen - A Look at the Life of Ayatullah Bahjat  by Yasin Jibouri  

Biography & Studies 

Grand Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Behjat Fumani was born into a religious and pious family in the year 1334AH (1915CE) in Fuman in North Iran. & returned back to his lord on 17 May 09 in Qom

Picture of his Janaza

 

 He lost his mother before he was 2 years old.  About his father, Mahmood Behjat, family members relate an interesting event. 

When his father was around 16-17 years of age, he fell seriously ill and they thought he would not survive.  When the relatives gathered around this young man, one of the family members heard a voice saying, “Do not worry, he will be fine, because he is going to be the father of Muhammad Taqi.”   After this event, the youth soon recovered from his illness, got married a few years later and had several sons.  He named his third son Muhammad Taqi in memory of the event of his childhood.  However, in infancy, this child fell into a pond and was drowned. He had one more son after him, and he also named him Muhammad Taqi.  This last son grew up to be the great scholar and ‘arif, Ayatullah Behjat.

His father was a reciter of marsiyas and he would often take the young Agha Behjat with him to his recitals, thus inculcating in him a deep and abiding love for Sayyid al-Shuhada (A.S.). 

 

From a young age he showed signs of genius and a great thirst for acquiring knowledge.  After his primary studies, he went straight into religious studies, and at the age of 14, he moved to Kerbala.  Four years later he came to the famous seminary of Najaf, where he had an opportunity to study under some of the best teachers and scholars in the Muslim world.  He studied Usul under Grand Ayatullahs Abu’l Hasan Isfahani, Mirza Na’ini and Shaykh Muhammad Hasan Gharawi Isfahani (known as Kumpani), and Fiqh under Ayatullah Mirza Muhammad Taqi Shirazi. He studied the philosophical texts of Ibn Sina and Mulla  Sadra under Ayt. S.  Hasan Badkubeyi.

At the same time as attending the intermediate and higher levels of religious studies, he was very meticulous in his pursuit of spiritual and mystical instruction.  In this regard, his teachers were Ayatullah Muhammad Hasan Isfahani and Ayatullah Sayyid Abdu’l Ghaffar, and finally, the Godly scholar, the matchless instructor, the giant amongst spiritual masters, Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Qadhi Tabataba’i.  He remained with his last teacher for many years, learning from him the secrets of the higher paths of Akhlaq and ‘Irfan.

 

15 years later, he returned to Iran and settled in Qum.  Here, in the company of Ayatullah Khomeini, Ayatullah Gulpaygani and other great future figures, he continued his studies under Grand Ayatullah Burujerdi.

 

His Character and Qualities

 

1. Piety and Self-Building

From his youth, Agha Behjat was constantly engaged in self-purification and self-building.  In his ethical instructions, he always insists that one should work hard at this task and forego and abandon many luxuries in order to make headway against the endless demands of the soul. 

 

He is of the opinion that in order to succeed in this jihad al-akbar, ethical purity (akhlaq) and knowledge (‘ilm) go hand in hand.  In fact he considers knowledge without self-purification, to be the more damaging than anything else.   His famous advice to youths is ‘to read and practise one hadith daily from the Chapter of Jihad al-nafs in Wasail al-Shi’a of Shaykh Hurr al-Amili.[1]

 

By his deeds and words, this great scholar has always directed himself to God alone.  A great mujtahid has said about Agha Behjat, “It cannot be just said about him that he is a man of piety; in fact he is the true essence and manifestation of taqwa.”

 

Ayatullah Shaykh Javad Kerbalayi says about him, “One of his close students (in Najaf) reports that every night, or in fact at most times, Agha Behjat sits alone, deep in thought and contemplation.  He never wastes a moment of his time, and does not participate in vain gatherings. When the time comes for his class, or his ziyarat of Amirul Mu’mineen (A), he gets up abruptly, puts on his cloak and leaves the house without interfering in the activities of others. He is extremely reserved and does not like to reveal anything about himself, especially about the special favours and extraordinary spiritual powers that God has granted him.”

 

2. His Asceticism (Zuhd) and Simple Lifestyle

The close servants of God always look at the reality of this world, contrary to other human beings whose eyes are fixed on its pleasures and luxuries. By foregoing material comforts, they attain spiritual strength, and while the rest of the people stumble in this dark world, these awliya soar in the illuminated heights in proximity to God.

 

Agha Behjat is one of the most glowing examples of these awliya in our times.  He is a mystic and scholar who has always lived a simple life, without the remotest material attachments.  He has understood more completely than others the reality of this world and the worthlessness of its pleasures.

 

He lives in a simple, small and old house and has resisted the many offers from relatives and well-wishers to move to more comfortable accommodation. Ayatullah Misbah says, “For many years, he has lived in a rented house with two rooms. One of the rooms has a curtain, which he would draw when we would visit him. On the other side of the curtain his family would carry on with their household chores. We would sit on one side of this curtain and benefit greatly from his wisdom. Although simple, the atmosphere was always full of a special nur and spirituality…”

 

Ayatullah Mas’udi says, “Many times people would sincerely offer to purchase a better house for him, but he would not agree.  I myself told him, “Agha! This house is damaged, I doubt if even the sharia allows for a man to live in this sort of accommodation!”, but he would not pay any attention.”.

 

3. His Worship

Agha Behjat’s students report that he has a special closeness to God, that is immediately evident in his manner of worship.  Those who have prayed behind him have described it ‘as a spiritually uplifting and unique experience’. In fact, the Fatimiyyah mosque at the end of the Guzarkhan market, where he has led prayers three times a day for the last 40 years, is always full at prayer time.  High ranking scholars make a special effort to come and pray behind him.  Allamah Tabataba’i would come here to pray.  Almost as soon as Agha Behjat begins his prayer, tears flow from his eyes - frequently he has to pause because his voice is choked with emotion - such is his awe in God’s presence.

 

One of the scholars remarks, “In the early days, Agha Behjat would go to the undeveloped part of Qum, past some farms, and recite his evening prayers with some companions in that remote location.  One day, after the maghribain prayers, he commented, “If only the kings of this world realised how much pleasure a servant experiences in worship, they would never even glance at the worldly delights…”

Ayatullah Shaykh Javad Kerbalayi says, “Agha Behjat never misses his late night prayers (namaze-shab) and spends a long time weeping in the middle of the night, especially on the night preceding Friday.”

 

A scholar reports, “I came upon him one Thurday night in Madressay-e-Sayyid in Najaf. I saw him weeping and crying in prostration. He was repeating in a broken voice over and over, “Ilahi! Man li ghayruk, asaluhu kashfa dhurri, wan-nazara fi amri?! (My Lord! Who have I got besides You, Who I can ask for relief and support?)”.

 

4. His Ziyarat and Tawassul (Saluting the Ahlul Bayt (A.S.)

Despite his advanced years, the daily routine of Agha Behjat has remained unchanged.  Early every morning (exactly at 7.00am), he presents himself at the shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A.S.) to pay his respects and send salutations.  With the greatest of humility, he stands near her Zarih, and recites the Ziyarate Ashura of Imam Husain (A.S.).

 

Sayyid Muhammad Husein Tehrani, in his book, Anwar al-Malakut, quotes Ayatullah Shaykh Abbas Quchani, the great scholar and spiritual successor of the famous Mirza Ali Qadhi Tabataba’i, as narrating: “While he was in Najaf, Agha Behjat would often go to Masjid-e Sahlah and spend whole nights alone there in worship and contemplation.  On one very dark night, when the lights in the mosque were not lit either, he needed to go out to refresh his wudhu. 

 

He went out of the mosque towards the wudhu area to the east of the mosque.  Suddenly he experienced some anxiety and fear, perhaps due to the total darkness.  Immediately, a light appeared next to him, by which he could clearly see his way.  This light accompanied him while he went out, made wudhu and returned to his place in the mosque. Then it disappeared.”.

 

5. His humbleness

One of his noticeable traits is his humbleness and simplicity, despite his fame and status as a leading contemporary scholar and jurist.  For many years he had refused to print his religious edicts (tawdhih al-masail) and he only agreed after much pressure. When he is scheduled to lecture he requests that his name not be mentioned as the lecturer.

 

A scholar reports, “Once I went with my guest, Shaykh Nasrullah Lahuthi, to visit Agha Behjat. Agha Lahuthi said to his teacher, “Agha! I was in Mashhad and someone was criticising you, and I became very annoyed.”  Agha Behjat responded, “We have reports in the ahadith, that if a scholar pays too much attention to worldly matters, then he will be criticized by others.”  I remember thinking, “If the way Agha Behjat lives is called “paying too much attention to worldly matters”, then what about us!”

 

6. His Mystical Wayfaring (sayr wa suluk) and his Spiritual Station

Ayatullah Behjat has many decades of experience in mystical wayfaring, the special journey through established stations that the soul undertakes to attain proximity to God.  He is one of the outstanding pupils of the great master, Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Qadhi Tabataba’i and had received special instructions from his teacher.  Even as a youth, he had passed many stations of the spiritual path.

 

His elevated rank in these matters is well known by others who travel this path; immediately after the revolution, one of the first scholars that Ayatullah Khomeini visited was Ayatullah Behjat in Qum. Similarly, when Ayatullah Khamene’i assumed the position of Rahbar, he first came to Agha Behjat in Qum for spiritual instructions.

 

7. His Awareness of the Unseen (Ghayb) and his Wondrous Acts (Karamat)

Unlike the majority of men, who have no idea of the existence or happenings of the unseen world, Ayatullah Behjat has reached a station, by the grace of God, where he frequently witnesses the events that occur in that world.

In fact, a reminder of this ability is his constant repetition of the Divine name “al-Sattaar” - the Concealer. This dhikr and tasbih is constantly on Agha Behjat’s lips, whether he is walking or sitting.  Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi says in this regard, “It seems that he is at the level where he witnesses many things from ghayb. Often he is aware of the real nature and inner secrets of those who sit around him, and he invokes God, who is the Concealer of defects - al-Sattaar al-‘Uyub, so that the secrets of the people around him may be concealed from him.”

 

This is usually the way of these close servants of God. Their humbleness is such that they would not like to display anything, or do anything, that will bring about even a trace of pride in themselves. And in return for their utter humility, God grants them even greater insight and status.

 

 There is no doubt in the minds of those who know Agha Behjat well, that he is one of those for whom many secrets are revealed.  Ayatullah Misbah says in this regard, “Those who have been around him for many years have seen things that he has done or said that are truly extraordinary. He sometimes says something that seems quite normal, but on later contemplation, one realises that it was due to some special knowledge that he possessed.

 

For example, when Imam Khomeini was in exile in Turkey, many of his students would make statements in his defence and get into trouble with the government.  They would be imprisoned and frequently tortured.  I remember distinctly when Agha Jannati was captured and no one knew where he had been taken.  I mentioned it to Agha Behjat, who said, “Inshallah, you will soon inform me of his release.” Of course, some might say this was just a prayer, but in fact, he did not make such statements about every prisoner. Many times we would say, “pray for so and so,” but he would remain silent. Just as he had promised, Agha Jannati was released soon without having been hurt.”

 

One of his students says, “My wife was expecting a child. It was the month of Ramadhan, and I wanted to go on a journey, so I came to Agha Behjat to say goodbye.   He turned to me and said, “In this month, you will be blessed with a baby boy, name him Muhammad Hasan.”  This is exactly what transpired.”  There are many such episodes that people have related about their encounters with Agha Behjat.

 

Agha Behjat himself dislikes a lot of fuss made about these episodes but his students occasionally narrate them so the mu’mineen may realise that there exist in our times certain individuals, to whom God has granted special favours. 

 

Certainly, for the one who sincerely strives in God’s way, then He Himself becomes their guide, “And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways. (Ankabut, 29/69)”

 

Drinking from the Fountain of the Wisdom of Ayatullah Behjat

 

In this section we will examine several examples of the advice and replies of Agha Behjat to questions about different matters.

 

1. How to counter and cure riya (showing off or trying to impress others while engaged in acts of worship)

 

A student in the Hawza of Qum relates that Agha Behjat was once asked, “Sometimes a person decides to perform a virtuous act sincerely for God, but Shaytan converts his intention and the person starts to think instead about how people will be impressed, how he will become popular, etc., when he performs the act. Are these thoughts counted as riya, and do they nullify his virtuous act and make it worthless?”

 

Agha Behjat stated in reply, “Riya is only relevant in acts of worship (‘ibadat). And any act of worship that has riya associated with it is a sin, and it makes the act null and void.

However, riya itself can become a counter and cure for riya, by simply changing the focus of who one is trying to impress! If a man can approach a president to sort out his problem directly, would he waste time in trying to convince the president’s servants? In the same manner, if a man has sense, he would raise his sights from the people, and attempt to impress and perfect his actions for God, who is the Creator of man - this attitude would itself become the cure for his riya.”

 

At another time, he said, “About riya, there is a hadith that says, “Whoever tries to impress the people by his manner of prayers (salat), will be resurrected in the form of a donkey.”  And this is quite true because what can be more donkey-like than a man trying to impress the slaves of God instead of directing his attention to God Himself?! Now, if someone calls us a donkey, we feel insulted, but why should we feel insulted, if night and day our acts resemble those of a donkey?”

 

2. The conditions necessary to obtain presence of heart and pleasure from acts of worship, especially salat.

 

One of his students says that Agha Behjat was asked, “Our lives have passed away and we still have not experienced pleasure (halaawa, lazzat) from our worship, especially salat. What is your advice so that we can taste some of the pleasures that our infallible leaders (A) have described?”

 

The esteemed master replied, “This is something that we would all like to experience!” The student replied, “Please, Agha, you have a high status in these matters, while we are empty-handed. What should we do?” Agha Behjat again gave a modest reply, saying, “Perhaps your own status is one that I envy…”.

However, the student was insistent, and so Agha Behjat replied, “This pleasure that you seek in worship has two prerequisites; one outside salat, and one within salat itself. What is necessary before salat and outside of it is that a person abstains totally from sin, and does not blacken his heart with the disgrace of disobedience, because sin will rob his heart of light. As for the second requirement, within the salat itself a man must create a barrier around himself so that no thought other than the remembrance of God can enter. He must not allow his thoughts to stray away from God even for an instant. [In this manner, you will achieve what you seek.]”

 

To another scholar who asked a similar question, he responded, “In order to achieve absolute control of one’s thoughts in salat, and to acquire presence of heart, the groundwork must begin outside and prior to salat. One must control one’s fives senses during the day and be careful about what he allows himself to observe, hear, eat etc. This will enable him to achieve presence of mind and heart in salat.”

 

To a young student, he said in reply to the same question, “Never knowingly let you thoughts drift away from God in salat.”

 

3  Sincere intention and harmony between knowledge and action

 

He was asked by a scholar:

“Agha, what should we bear in mind so that our intention in wearing the amamah (turban) is sincere?”

 

He replied:

“Your criterion in your acts must be Allah swt’s religion. Always ask yourself whether your words and deeds conform with the shari’a or not.  You should make the niyyat that the knowledge (‘ilm) that you possess and will gain in the future, will always be translated into actions.  In other words, there should be perfect harmony between what you know and what you do.  The greatest misfortune is when scholars act without proper knowledge or possess knowledge but do not act upon it. So make a firm resolve that your knowledge and actions will be harmonious.”

 

Another student reports that Agha said to him about the same matter:

“An ‘alim who does not act on his knowledge is like the candle that illuminates the path for others but itself burns away.”

 

4. Trust and reliance on Allah swt

Ayatullah Misbah narrates that Agha Behjat once said to him:

“One day I was sitting in my room and could hear the voices in the street outside.  I went out and saw that my neighbour’s son was playing in the street when a beggar approached him saying, “I am a needy person.  Can you please go into your house and get something for me?”

The boy replied, “Why don’t you ask your mother if you want something?”  The beggar said, “I don’t have a mother.  You go and ask your mother to give me something.”

 

Agha Behjat remarked, “I was struck by this conversation and the innocence of the child who had so much trust and faith in his mother that he felt that she could solve any problem.  And then he said, ‘If only we could develop the same absolute trust and reliance on Allah swt that this child had in his mother. Indeed all our problems would be solved if only we sincerely turned to Him for all our needs!”

 

5. If we constantly think of Imam-eZamana (A.S.),would he not think of us?

 

Agha Quddus recalls that he once asked Agha Behjat:

“My presence in the village where I have gone for tableegh was very productive. The people have responded positively, treated me with respect and heeded my religious advice.

 

However, they are very poor and the money that they give me in the months of Muharram and Ramadhan is very little. In other places where I can go, the public is not so receptive, but they pay more.”

Agha Behjat replied, “If you make an intention to enter into the employment of Imam Mahdi (A.S.), do you imagine that he will not look after you?”

 

6. Care in narrating traditions

Agha Quddus narrates that once he was recounting his program and tableeghi activities performed during the month of Ramadhan to Agha Behjat and he said:

“I do not go on the pulpit in the day time in the month of Ramadhan and only deliver my talks and lectures at night.”

 

Agha Behjat asked him why, and he replied, “Because I have some doubts about certain ahadith that I recite and I am afraid that if they are incorrect [then my fasts will become invalid].”

 

Agha Behjat stated: “Then at night are you certain about these traditions that you feel confident in repeating them?”

 

Agha Quddus  says: “I realised that he disapproved of my actions and was advising me to be certain of the facts before I repeated them to others.”

 

7. Tabligh by Action (and not only words)

Hujjatu’l Islam Lutfi says: “One day, after the morning prayers I approached Ayat. Behjat and requested him to give me some advice”.

  He said, “kunu du’atan nasi ilallahi bighayri alsinatikum[2][1] “Call people to Allah swt with something other than your speech.”

 

I understood that although as a scholar, my responsibility was to engage in tabligh (propagating the faith), Agha wanted to draw my attention that the best tabligh was not that which was delivered from pulpits, but that which was demonstrated by conduct.

 

8. Staying away from Sin

Ayat. Shaykh Jawad Kerbalai, the great scholar of akhlaq remarks:

“I had a great benefit from the many years that I studied under Ayat. Behjat.  In that time I also witnessed first-hand many of the wondrous gifts that he has been granted. Among his words of wisdom I recall:

 

He always insisted that no progress could be made without abandoning sin.  He used to say, “The great and special bounties of Allah are available freely to all His true servants, the only requirement is that a person has to qualify for these gifts.  The only way to qualify for these special favours is by abandoning the disobedience of Allah swt.

 

Of course, there must be some commitment to attain proximity to Allah swt as well. The more a person knows the station of God (attains ma’rifat) and the more he loves Him, the more important it is to avoid every sin, even minor ones and even loss of concentration in His presence in worship.

It is because some servants reach this stage of proximity that it is said, “hasanaatu’l abrar, sayyiatu’l muqarrabeen”, or “the virtuous acts of the righteous people are (only) ordinary acts for the close servants”.”

 

Once a student who had only recently joined the hawza asked Ayat Behjat:

“I have come to the hawza to attain knowledge.  What should I do so that I can become a proper scholar?”

 

 Ayat. Behjat lowered his head and remained silent for a while, then he said, “There is no difference between a hawza student and anybody else.  What is important is that he does not commit a sin.”

 

On another occasion he was asked:“What is the best dhikr (invocation)?”  He replied, “In the opinion of this simple servant, the best dhikr is the dhikr of action!  What I mean is refraining from sinful beliefs (aqida) and sinful conduct (‘amal). Goodness and true success will only come from this way.”

 

In a letter, he was asked how one could attain proximity to God and also gain closeness to His khalifah, the Imam of our time (AF).   

He replied: “Bismihi ta’ala. Refrain from sin and pray the salat at the exact time.”

 


 

9. The Secret of Salaat

 

Ayat Behjat has said:

Namaz (Salaat) symbolizes the Ka’ba.  The Takbirarut’l Ihram stands for casting aside everything other than Allah swt and entering His haram (sanctuary).  The Qiyam represents a conversation between two friends.  The Ruku’ symbolizes the bowing of a slave in front of his master and the Sajdah is the ultimate display of lowliness, humility and helplessness in front of the Master.  And when the slave returns from such a Namaz, the souvenir he brings back is the greeting of peace (salaam) from his Lord…”

 

10. Staying Awake at Dawn (Sahr) and in the Night

 

Ayat. Ahmadi says:

“Ayat Behjat always advised us to stay awake in worship between dawn and sunrise and to rise in the night for prayer, (Namaz-e-Tahajjud/Salaatul Layl).  He even said, “I actually believe that it was through these very two acts that the Prophet (S) acquired his perfect gnosis (ma’rifat) of Allah swt.”

 

Once I asked him about the hadith of the Imams (A.S.) that “We eagerly await Thursday nights so that the gates of Allah’s mercy are opened. We, the family of the Prophet (SAWW), are blessed with an increase in our knowledge on every Thursday night and every night of Qadr.” 

 

Ayt. Behjat replied: “Indeed, these are special times when the mercy of Allah swt is especially available.  And one of the best of times is the sahr (dawn).  And he repeated these words “sahr, sahr” several times.”

 

Ayat. Behjat relates from his teachers that whenever they desired to receive greater favour and understanding from Allah swt, they would take advantage of the solitude, peace and abundant blessings that is available in the depths of the night and at dawn. At these times, one can form a connection with God that is not easily possible at other times.

 

11. The First Steps in the Journey to God (Sayr Ilallah)

 

Ayat Behjat has said:

“The first step in the journey towards God and in attaining His proximity is for a servant to realise that he has allowed a gulf to form between himself and his Master. He must ensure at all costs that he does not allow this gulf to widen and this must be his first goal. When he has put that control in place, then he may begin the practices that will gradually draw him closer and closer to his Lord.”

 

12. The Value of Contemplation and Thought

Agha Shahi remarks:

“Ayat Behjat is constantly stressing the importance of controlling one’s tongue and maintaining silence. He would say, “We must control our speech. We should spend 23 hours of the day in contemplation and thought, and only one hour in speech; in fact, often even that is too much.

13. Being in a State of Constant Dhikr

Ayt. Behjat often advises his students to inculcate the habit of being da’im al-dhikr, i.e. remaining in constant remembrance of Allah swt.  He has said, “Someone who is constantly in dhikr, will always perceive himself in the presence of Allah swt and will be continuously communicating with Him.”

 

For those who want to combat waswasa, (constant suspicion of the motives of others), he recommends highly to continually recite the “tahlil”, which is the dhikr, La Ilaha Illallah”.

 

Another great contemporary scholar, Ayt. Hasan Hasanzadeh Amuli has remarked that tahlil is al-dhikr-al-khafi (secret dhikr); i.e. it can be constantly repeated without anyone else being aware of what you are doing, because this dhikr can be pronounced without even moving the lips, unlike other dhikrs like “Subhanallah” or Alhamdulillah”!

 

14. Not Considering one’s own Virtuous Deeds as ‘Significant’

Ustad Khusrushahi relates: Ayt. Behjat always considers the virtuous deeds and the worship that he performs as insufficient.

 

He often says, “How good it would be that when a person performs virtuous deeds and acts of worship, he says to himself, “I have done nothing great”, but when he sees the virtuous acts of others, he admires them, thinking, “what a noble deed they have performed.”

 

The Ustad concludes, “In other words, his advice is to consider one’s own virtuous acts as insignificant, while regarding highly the good deeds of others.”

 

15. Getting the Seal of Approval of Imam al-Asr (AF)

Ayt Behjat once advised the students of hawza: “We students should constantly be thinking about how we can earn the seal of approval of our master, the Wali al-Asr (AF). 

 

All students, whether junior or graduates or preachers, should be concerned about how they learn their lessons, what should their attitude be and how they should conduct themselves.

 

They should continually ask themselves if their attitude, conduct, speech and actions would please their master when they are presented to him and would he approve of them. 

 

Ayt. Behjat says that: “If this thought is always at the back of our minds, we will never stray in our conduct, speech or deeds.”

 

16. The Purpose of Higher Islamic Studies

Ayt. Behjat greatly encourages students who are pursuing higher Islamic studies and frequently advises junior students also by saying, “Whenever you learn something new, immediately apply this knowledge to improve your wajib acts and to help you in staying away from sinful acts.  He would remind them of the hadith, “man ‘amila bima ‘alima, warrathahu’llahu ‘ilma ma la ya’lam”, whoever acts on what he knows, Allah swt will teach him what he does not know.[3]

 

17. It is the Proximity to Allah swt that matter in the end

To senior students, his words are more thought provoking.  One of his students recalls, “I remember once when I was accompanying him from his house to the mosque where he led the prayers.   Ayt Behjat turned to me and asked:  “A student starts with “muqaddamat” (introductory lessons) and then studies the “ma’alim” and “mughni” and then where does he go next?”  I said, “lum’ah”.  He asked, “then what?”  I said, “makasib”.  He asked, “then what?”  I said, “kifayah”.  He asked, “then what?”  I said, “Dars al-kharij”.  He asked, “then what?”  I said, “He attains ijtihad”.  Once again, he asked, “then what?”

 

The student continues, “This was a great lesson to me. I realised that knowledge itself was not the goal; it was only the means (to achieve the goal) i.e. to gain the proximity of Allah swt.  If at every one of these successive stages, the student did not achieve even a little more proximity to Allah swt, then he has not progressed much at all.”

 

18. How to Train one’s Soul (Tahdhib al-Nafs)

Once, some hawza students from Lebanon requested Ayt. Behjat for spiritual and akhlaqi (moral) advice. He replied:  “One of the most beneficial actions in these matters is to sit with your fellow students every day and study one hadith from the chapter jihad al-nafs of the book Wasail al-Shi’a of Shaykh Hurr al-Amili.[4] Of course, the hadith must be discussed properly, pondered over carefully and then transformed into action. This will be a spiritual tonic that within one year, will transform an individual in a way that he will himself see the change.”

 

19. The Status of Supplication (Du’a)

Ayt. Behjat believes that du’a has a very great status and insists that du’a governs the outcome of every stage of our lives.

 

Ustad Hadawi relates:  “My daughter was very ill and I came to Ayt. Behjat and asked him to pray for her.  He told me, “You yourself recite the following du’a three times every day: “Allahumma ishfiha bi shifaa-ika, wa daawiha bi dawaa-ika, wa ‘aafiha bi ‘aafiyatik” “O Allah, cure her with Your cure, and treat her with Your medicine, and restore her health with Your strength”.  Then, after the third time say: “Bi’l Imami’l-Kazim (A.S.), fa innaha amatuka wa bintu ‘abdik”. “By the sake of Imam al-Kazim (A.S.), for she is your servant, and the daughter of your servant.”

 

And this concludes the section on this great scholar and close servant of Allah swt (may Allah swt prolong his life, Ameen).

Condensed from “Bargi az Daftar-e Aftaab”, A Leaf from the Book of Radiance (About the Life of Ayatullah Behjat). AJ260106.



[1] This is now translated into English as Combat with the Self, available from ICAS Press.

[2][1] Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 77 - quoting imam al-Sadiq (A).

[3] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 78, p. 189.

[4] This chapter has been translated into English and is available from the Islamic College for Advanced Studies (ICAS) Press, London.

 

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Uswat al-Aarifeen - A Look at the Life of Ayatullah Bahjat  by Yasin Jibouri         Download entire 10 chapters Word zip file

A summary of what has been written about the great gnostic Ayatullah Bahjat. It includes anecdotes from his life, his teachings and the views of others.

http://al-islam.org/action.php?action=go&id=15448

 

INTRODUCTION

Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Praise to Allah Who sent, from the gardens of His Mercy, trustees: messengers to guide people to the straight path. Then He made Imamate and Wilayat a fountainhead from which thirsty souls drink. Then He granted, from the mountain of His generosity, abundance of fiqh after the absence of His greatest wali (as) so the righteous remnant from among the seekers of the truth may quench their thirst from it.

            Since that day, hundreds of years have passed. During them, many divine theologians came and went by; each one of them was like a torch that lit the path for those who tread it. Some of them earned fame, their name became prominent, whereas some of them remained unknown across these centuries.

            As regarding the creed's faqihs, they had another pull when they mixed biographies in the fiqh-related views with the conduct in the worlds of the unknown.

            Our contemporary faqih, Ayatollah Bahjat, is one of those described by Imam Ali (as) in these words: "Great is the Creator in their hearts, so everything besides Him is in their eyes small." He is a great wise man. The light of his presence glitters in the gathering of the Gnostics, and the souls in his revered audience shine. His student, mentor Rida Baqi Zadeh, author of Bergi az Daftar Aftab, says the following in the introduction to this book: "Since the day when breezes from the loved one blew upon me, when the flower of existence opened, and I was guided to the full truth in the self, where success is achieved through pulls of the Lord, I realized that reaching the real loved one cannot be achieved except through guidance from one who is familiar with the path. I, therefore, resorted to the Imams (as) so I could uphold them and plead to them. It is then that this sacred tradition met me on the road: 'Keep company with those whose company reminds you of Allah and whose logic increases your knowledge.' And thus it was. I upheld the fact that the adored One does not leave those who seek His path alone or lets them rely on themselves. The earth is never without divine guides. I was looking for a role model that guides me to the path of the loved One during the absence of the sun of the Household of Inspiration (as) so I could, through seeing him, polish the dust away from the heart and fuse myself through remembrance of the loved One into all existence. During this time, I saw all of that and more. I saw it manifesting itself in the personality of one who is unique in his time, a wise Gnostic, one who drowns his soul into the remembrance of the loved One, who is the light of the hearts of the seekers, the joy of the Gnostics, the perfect Gnostic, the Salman of the time, the one who is truly loyal to the greatest Ayatollah, the Commander of the Faithful Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) in his knowledge and practice, namely Ayatollah Muhammed Taqi Bahjat, may Allah prolong his wide shade. I knew that the truth Gnostic is not known except by Allah or by a Gnostic like him, so I kept earnestly looking for everyone who could have breathed a fragrance of his holy breath, and about any written text from which the fragrance of his holy soul emanates, hence this book that is in your hands, dear reader, my final merchandise, having braved many hardships. I present it to those who seek the role model in the pure branches of knowledge.

            "So, the study of biographies of such great men can instill hope for lighting the minds of men of virtue, scholars, students, professors of the hawza (religious seminary), universities and the sons of the nation. The book in your hands, dear reader, is the summary of what has been written and said about this great divine Gnostic. In it, I try to acquaint the Arab reader with this Islamic personality that mixed between the pursuit of knowledge and disseminating it as well as walking along the path of Allah. He is described by imam Khomeini as one "… who enjoys the ability for 'death by choice'; in other words, he can extract his soul from his body then returns it any time he wants. This is regarded as one of the lofty stations the Gnostics can reach along the trip to the path and the Gnostic conduct."

CHAPTER ONE

 

Glimpses of the Life of Grand Ayatollah Bahjat

Grand Ayatollah Muhammed Taqi Bahjat Fomani was born in late 1334 A.H. to a God-fearing family well known for its piety in the conservative city of Foman in the Gailan governorate. He was not yet sixteen months old when fate claimed his mother so he would taste the bitterness of being an orphan while still a suckling baby. There is an interesting incident to narrate about why Ayatollah Bahjat was named "Muhammed Taqi" which was narrated by one of those close to him, and I think that narrating it here is not without a nicety:

            The father of Sheikh Bahjat passed away while his son was 16 – 17 of age after falling sick to an epidemic. He became bed-ridden, and his condition of his health deteriorated to the extent that his family lost hope for his recovery from the disease. The father of the sheikh narrates that he heard in this state a call as if it was saying, "Leave him! You have nothing to do with him. He is father of Muhammed Taqi".

            Then he lost consciousness as he was in that state, so much so that his mother thought he died. But after a short while, the father of the sheikh woke up and stood up and after that recovered his health fully.

            After the passage of a few years, the sheikh's father decided to get married after having completely forgotten the incident of his falling sick and the call which he then heard. When he was blessed with his first son, he called him "Mehdi" after his own father (grandfather of Sheikh Bahjat). After that he was blessed with a daughter then with a son whom he named "Muhammed Hussain". He did not remember this incident except after he had been blessed with his fourth son; so, he decided to call him "Muhammed Taqi". But this son fell in a water pool and drowned. The father of the sheikh again named his fifth son with whom Allah blessed him with this same name, "Muhammed Taqi", which later became Grand Ayatollah Bahjat.

          

 

Yes, indeed, Ayatollah Bahjat was reared in the laps of a man whose heart was filled with the warmth of loving Ahl al-Bayt (as) and grief for their tragedies, particularly the tragedies of Abu Abdullah (as). He grew up in the environments of the mourning majalis for Imam al-Hussain, drinking of their springs. Since his early life, he avoided playing and having fun like other children. The signs of genius showed on him, and his face was painted with the marks of conviction and uprightness. It was obvious this child would have a glorious future in the field of knowledge and attainment.

He finished his elementary studies at the city's traditional study circles (known as katatib), then he started his theological studies in the same city. Anyhow, his soul, that was thirsty for perfection, did not quench its thirst by what he had received of branches of knowledge in Foman; therefore, he left it after having finished the preparatory stage of religious sciences in it and left for Iraq where he was honored by residing in sacred Kerbala in 1348. He was then almost fourteen.

According to what was transmitted by one of his close students, His Holiness mentor Bahjat had told him that he had come of age and became a man of responsibility one year after his stay in Kerbala. Yes, the hand of the divine mercy remains caring for the righteous servants since their birth up to their youth, the lights of love and kindness being compassionate to them so they would become in the future torches emitting light along the path of those who seek the most Kind One, the most Exalted, the most Great.

            Thus, Ayatollah Bahjat spent four of his honorable lifespan in sacred Kerbala, inhaling the closeness to Abu Abdullah (as), the fragrance of the purity of his soul, cultivating himself thereby. During that period, he studied the largest portion of the books of fiqh and usool taught to him by the great scholars in that holy city.

            In 1352 A.H., he went to Najaf al-Ashraf to continue his studies and acquire the theological branches of knowledge. He attended the courses of the Sutooh stage [an equivalent to a study for a Master's degree] under the tutelage of a number of Ayatollahs including Ayatollah mentor Murtada Taleqani. Despite that, his determination was not confined to continuing his studies but he focused most of his attention on looking for the men of Allah, His righteous servants, so he could satisfy his thirst from their fountainhead, the thirst of his soul which was eager to turn the phases of perfection and reach the most sublime objective.

            One of the students of the mentor says the following: "During two years which I spent under the pulpit of his lessons, I never heard him talk about himself except on very rare occasions. One of those occasions is that he talked about the process of lauding the moral status of his mentor, Naeeni the critic. He said, 'I used to participate during my young days in the congregational prayer services led by our mentor, al-Naeeni, and I sometimes used to realize some of his spiritual conditions during the prayers.'"

 

IN THE COURTYARD OF THE GENIUSES OF FIQH AND USOOL

Having completed the Sutooh stage and realized the lessons of great professors, such as Sayyid Abul-Hassan al-Isfahani, Agha Mirza al-Naeeni, he entered in the courtyard of knowledge and virtue so he could complete his higher studies at the hands of the great `allama al-Hajj Sheikh Muhammad Hussain al-Gharawi al-Isfahani who is known as al-Kampani. Through his piercing intellect and sound judgment, he was able to follow the waves of deep intellectual waves and precise pursuits which `allama al-Kampani used to dictate to his students through his swift and roving intellect, seeking help from Allah, relying on Him, the most Great One, the most Sublime.

            Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Musbah says the following in this regard, "Ayatollah Bahjat studied most of his fiqh with the late Sheikh Muhammad Kazim al-Shirazi, student of the late Mirza Muhammad Taqi al-Shirazi, who is one of the prominent professors of al-Najaf al-Ashraf. He started studying the Usool at the hands of the late Naeeni and finished the greatest portion in the presence of the late Sheikh Muhammad Hussain al-Kampani al-Isfahani whether in the science of Usool or in other aspects and dimensions."

BIOGRAPHIES, CONDUCT AND GNOSTICISM

During his studies, and shortly before reaching adolescence, Ayatollah Bahjat paid attention to self-cultivation and moral perfection. He, therefore, kept since residing in Kerbala looking for a professor of manners to embrace and cultivate him. He heard about Ayatollah Sayyid al-Qadi being in Najaf al-Ashraf, so he felt honored to reside in this city so he could be inspired in manners by keeping company with his prominent mentor, the late al-Hajj Sheikh Muhammad Hussain al-Isfahani al-Kampani.

            Sheikh Musbah al-Yazdi says the following in this regard: "The impact of the late Sheikh Muhammad Hussain al-Isfahani was obvious on the conduct of the mentor, Ayatollah Bahjat. He used to quote some of his pursuits with admiration. We used to see samples of his conduct which reminded us of his citing the mentor. It was quite obvious that this mentor had a great impact on building his moral character."

            The mentor also attended lessons in manners by Sayyid Abd al-Ghaffar in al-Najaf al-Ashraf before being tutored by the spiritual scholar and famous Gnostic, His Holiness Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Qadi, may Allah Almighty be pleased with him. He started his studies with him and drank of the spring of his niceties and care when he was eighteen of age; therefore, the mentor took long strides in the stages of Gnosticism even when he was in the prime of his youth.

            Sheikh Musban al-Yazdi says the following: "The mentor benefited from his being in the presence of the late al-Hajj Mirza Ali al-Qadi in as far as manners and morals are concerned and directly, and he was tutored by him for long years. Ayatollah al-Qadi was specialist in cultivating persons morally. Each of the late `allama Tabatabai, the late Ayatollah Sheikh Muhammad Taqi al-Amuli and the late Ayatollah Sheikh Ali Muhammad Burujardi as well as a large number of other great men of knowledge and even some religious authorities from his lessons in manners and Gnosticism."

            Ayatollah Bahjat quotes some pursuits from other individuals such as Ayatollah Sheikh Murtada Taleqani. He says, "During those days, someone was trying to find out the number of those who were committed to reciting the supplication by Abu Hamzah al-Thumali during the qunoot of the witr prayer rite during the eves of the month of Ramadan and in the shrine of Imam Ali, peace be with him. When this person made a count of these individuals, he found out their number exceeding seventy men. The number of people who were committed to rituals and to spirituality at that time was a lot more than it is in our time, and this is regrettable. Of course, we do not know the unknown. Perhaps people undertake these forms of worship at their homes nowadays, but we can say for sure that the commitment for acts of adoration has seen a decline in our times. This is quite regrettable, indeed."

            In his memoirs, one of the students of Bahjat the mentor has written the following: "Someone heard that more than seventy men were reciting the supplication by Abu Hamzah al-Thumali in their witr prayer and in the shrine of Imam Ali, peace be with him, so he decided to verify the number of those who have committed themselves to so doing during his time. He found out that their number did not exceed fifty men, as I remember, and the person speaking was the Tehrani."

PHILOSOPHY

Ayatollah Bahjat studied the signals of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and the travels of the most highly spiritual persons with professor Ayatollah Sayyid Hussain Baduba-Ay.

MIGRATION TO HOLY QUM

Ayatollah Bahjat return to his homeland, Foman, after having completed his studied in the lunar year 1363. He stayed in that city for few months then he decided to return to the theological seminary in al-Najaf al-Ashraf. But prior to his departure for al-Najaf, he decided to make a pilgrimage to the shrine of the Lady of Ahl al-Bayt, Fatima the infallible one, peace be with her, in the city of holy Qum and to familiarize himself with the conditions at the theological seminary in this city. He stayed there for few months. But those days coincided with the demise of senior professors of al-Najaf al-Ashraf who passed away one after the other, something that prompted him to decide to stay in the holy city of Qum .

            In this city, the mentor attended the classes of Grand Ayatollah the late Hujjat Kuwah-Kamrah-Ay and distinguished himself among his students. Then he attended the classes of the late Ayatollah Burujardi in the company of great ayatollah such as imam al-Khomeini, Gulpaygani and others.

            Sheikh Musbah says the following in this regard: "Ayatollah Bahjat was one of the distinguished students who maintained regular attendance of the classes offered by the late Ayatollah Burujardi. It is customary in reference to the Kharij researches that some students are more distinguished than others in fixing the pursuits and submitting confusing matters than others. These students are more precise than their fellows, and their confusing issues take sometimes a great scholarly shape, making answering them a matter that needs more precision and depth than other confusing issues. Ayatollah Bahjat had thus a status in the classes of the late Ayatollah Burujardi."

 

TEACHING

Ayatollah Bahjat used to teach the high Sutooh in Najaf al-Ashraf when he was attending classes of major ayatollah such al-Isfahani, alKampani and al-Shirazi. In other words, he used to teach and study at the same time, and this was his habit even after his migration to the holy city of Qum .

            As regarding teaching the Kharij research, we can say he started teaching Kharij al-Fiqh and the Usool for more than forty years, and he used to teach this subject at his house in order to avoid fame. Many men of virtue benefited from him during those long past years.

 

USWAT AL-AARIFEEN    CHAPTER TWO  

 

A QUICK LOOK AT SOME BIOGRAPHIES OF PROFESSORS OF HIS HOLINESS GRAND AYATOLLAH SHEIKH BAHJAT

In this Chapter, we will cast a quick look at the life of some great professors who played a major role in building the scholarly life of the sheikh, his manners and spirituality.  Ayatollah al-Mashkini says, "The professors of Sheikh Ayatollah Bahjat enjoy a lofty scholarly station and a great prominence which make us look at them as we look at the stars in the sky."

 

GRAND AYATOLLAH SAYYID ALI AGHA AL-QADI

Al-Hajj Mirza Sayyid Ali Agha al-Qadi was born in the city of Tabriz on the 13th of the month of Thil-Hijja of 1282 A.H. Having finished his preparatory study, he was tutored by his father, the late Hajj Sayyid Hussain al-Qadi. Then he attended the lectures of the late Mirza Mousa al-Tabrizi, author of the book titled Hashiyat al-Rasaail. He also attended the classes of Mirza Muhamamd Ali al-Qaraj Daghi and completed the classes in Arab and Persian literature of the famous poet Mirza Muhammad Taqi al-Tabrizi who is known as "Hujjatul Islam" and the one given the title "Nir". He quoted many poetic verses by him in both Arabic and Persian languages. Then he migrated to the city of al-Najaf al-Ashraf and was honored to reside in it in 1308 A.H. when he was then 26 years old. In the city of Najaf , he was taught by these ayatollahs: Fadil al-Sharabyani, Sheikh Muhammad Hassan al-Mamqani, Sheikh Shari'at, Akhund al-Khurasani and al-Hajj Mirza Hussain al-Khalili.

            Sayyid al-Qadi was one of the most respected of the students of al-Hajj Mirza al-Khalili. He also studied in his presence the cultivation of manners.

            Sayyid al-Qadi was a Gnostic, a faqih, and a man of a great stature. He also had some miracles and revelations. Allama Sheikh Agha Buzurg al-Tehran wrote the following lines in his book Tabaqat A'lam al-Shi'a in his biography: "Sayyid Ali Agha Tabatabai Tabrizi al-Qadi, son of Mirza Hussain son of Mirza Ahmad son of Mirza Raheem, is a scholar, a mujtahid, a man of piety and asceticism. I befriended him and kept him company for scores of years, and I found stability in his style, youth in his nature and attributes, generosity in his own self and in his nature. He wrote an exegesis of the Qur'an which starts from the beginning of the Qur'an and ends with the ninety-second verse of Surat al-An'am: 'Say: Allah, then leave them in their wading sporting'".

            As for his father, he, too, wrote an exegesis of the Holy Qur'an, and their household was since antiquity a house of knowledge, virtue and piety.

            `Allama Hassan Zadeh al-Amuli says the following in his regard: "Ayatollah Sayyid al-Qadi was one of the wonders of time." Then he says, "One of the powerful statements of the late al-Hajj Sayyid Ali al-Qadi is this: 'If one spends half his life looking for a perfect teacher, he does not make much of an achievement.'"

            `Allama Hassan Zadeh quotes `allama Tabatabai saying the following while detailing the biography of Sayyid Ali al-Qadi: "The Sayyid was an amazing man. He nurtured many students and was tutored by many professors. He had very strong revelations, let alone his testimonial and Gnostic perfections, conduct and moral behavior."

 

Grand Ayatollah al-Gharawi al-Isfahai

`Allama Sayyid Muhammad Hussain al-Isfahani, who is famous as al-Kampani, is one of the prominent mutjahids and great authorities of his time. Actually, he was a man of fiqh the like of whom is quite rare in all times.

            The Sayyid was born in the city of al-Kazimiyya on the second of Muharram of 1296 A.H. in the environments of a revered family known for its adherence to the creed and piety. His father, the late al-Hajj Muhammad Hassan, was a well known merchant in al-Kazimiyya. He was given the title "al-Isfahani" because his ancestors were affiliated with the city of Isfahan . His father died when he was still a child, leaving him a huge fortune which he spent on the study of branches of knowledge and Islamic teachings as well as on achieving good manners. Signs of intelligence and genius emanated from his face since his childhood. He completed his preparatory study in the city of al-Kazimiyya, then he left it to be honored by residing in the city of knowledge and ijtihad, al-Najaf al-Ashraf, when he was no more than twenty years old. He studied fiqh and usool at the hands of a band of prominent professors such as al-Hajj Agha Rida al-Hamadani, Sayyid al-Fisharki, and Akhund Mulla Kazim al-Khurasani, and he attended lessons in philosophy and Gnosticism in the presence of the famous man of wisdom, al-Hajj Mirza Muhammad al-Istihbanati. He sat on the teaching chair in the city of al-Najaf al-Ashraf shortly after having resided there due to his genius and general acquisition.

            He left behind precious works dealing with fiqh, usool and philosophy. We would like to point out to some of them:

 

n      his comment on Maq'ad Kifayat al-Usool fi `Ilm al-Usool

n      his comment on Al-Makasib fi `Ilm al-Fiqh

n      a poem titled "the wise man's precious jewel" which deals with philosophy

n      He also left a diwan in Arabic and Persian poetry.

 

He returned to the mercy of his Lord on the fifth of Dhul-Hijjah of 1361 A.H. at an age exceeding 65 and was buried in the city of al-Najaf al-Ashraf beside the shrine of Imam Ali, peace be with him.

 

Grand Ayatollah al-Hajj Sheikh Muhammad Kazim al-Shirazi

The mentor was born in 1290 A.H. in the city of Shiraz . He was honored by making the pilgrimage to the holy sites in Iraq in the company of his parents in 1300 A.H. and resided in the city of holy Kerbala where he started learning Arabic. His parents returned to Shiraz two years later, but he remained in Kerbala and kept himself busy with the elementary study. He returned to Shiraz fourteen years after his residence in Kerbala. He studied al-Mutawwal and al-Ma`alim in the presence of the perfect scholar, al-Hajj Sayyid Muhammad al-Kazruni who is well known for his skill in teaching al-Mutawwal. He returned to Kerbala two years since his residence in Shiraz , then he went to Samarra in 1310 A.H. in order to continue his studies. He studied the rasaail and makaasib in the presence of the perfect scholar, Sheikh Hassan Ali al-Tehrani, who is famous for his knowledge and piety, and he attended the classes of the late Ayatollah Mirza Muhammad Taqi al-Shirazi, and he regularly attended his classes till the day the mentor died.

            He left Samarra for al-Kazimiyya where he taught, then he migrated to the city of al-Najaf al-Ashraf in order to establish a theological seminary. It is worth mentioning that he used to oversee the answers to most religious edicts of Ayatollah al-Isfahani.

            In 1366, one year before his demise, he left the city of al-Najaf al-Ashraf with the intention to make the pilgrimage to the shrine of Imam al-Rida, peace be with him. The theological seminary in holy Qum and its dignitaries, such as Ayatollah Burujardi, Hujjat, al-Faydh, al-Khunsari and al-Sadr, welcomed him. In 1367 he died and was buried in one of the chambers of the shrine of Imam Ali, peace be with him.

 

 

Grand Ayatollah Mirza Muhammad Hussain al-Naeeni

Ayatollah al-Naeeni was one of the most famous religious authorities of his time, one of the greatest critics and verifiers in the sciences of fiqh and usool, so much so that he was known as the mujaddid in the science of usool and the one who excelled in it.

            The `allama was b orn in a family known for its knowledge and distinction on the 17th of Dhul-Qi'da of 1376 A.H. in the city of Naeen in the governorate of Isfahan. He completed his elementary study in his home town then migrated to the city of al-Najaf al-Ashraf in order to continue his higher study in fiqh and usool. He was taught by Grand Ayatollah al-Hajj Mirza Muhammad Hassan al-Shirazi the Senior and distinguished himself among his students. He also used to attend the classes of Ayatollah Akhund Muhammad Kazim al-Khurasani in order to show his humbleness and respect for his status.

            The `allama stood out among the scholars of al-Najaf al-Ashraf due to the abundance of his knowledge and to his acquisition of the sciences of mathematics, wisdom, philosophy, Gnosticism as well as skill in fiqh and usool. He cultivated the science of usool, coining anew in a new form distantly from difficulty and complexity, winning the admiration of those who were familiar with this art.

            He also wrote books many of which were published including the following:

 

n      a dissertation in what is doubtful to wear

n      Wasilat al-Najat

n      Reports in the science of usool (which was printed several times)

n      A dissertation in "there is no harm…"

 

Ayatollah Naeeni paid special attention particularly to cultivating himself, so he never abandoned the performance of the night prayer, nor was he ever heard articulating a bad word. He used to organize his precious time and not waste it at all. He used to spend his time in either a scientific research, or looking after the affairs of people, or in helping them with their needs. He was moderate with regard to what he ate or put on, and he was extremely cautious in faring with the public funds. He never took advantage of the blessed "Imam's share" and other rights stated in the Shari'a for his own personal benefit. Rather, he used to meet his life's expenses from his own income.

            As regarding his political and social services, he wrote a book titled Tanbeeh al-Umma wa Tanzeeh al-Milla [notifying the nation and clearing the name of the creed] during the black dictatorial epoch in Iran . In it, he explained through logic and wisdom the norms of despotism and dictatorship, reminding the scholars and jurists of their religious duty towards the situation then. He also explained in the book the limits of the powers of the ruler and the Islamic government, pointing out to the chapters of the admonishment by Imam Ali (AS) to Malik al-Ashtar.

            This book won the attention of the struggling authorities at the time; therefore, Ayatollah Akhund al-Khurasani and Ayatollah Sheikh Abdullah al-Mazandarani issued their authorization, supporting the revolution of the constitution and announcing its origins as being derived from the Islamic faith of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be with him and his progeny.

            Ayatollah Naeeni and a group of his distinguished students were banished together with Ayatollah al-Isfahani and Ayatollah al-Khalisi to Iran because of their struggle to change the government in Iraq .

            Ayatollah Naeeni entered the city of Qum after a short stay in the cities of Kermanshah and Hamadan , and he was busy teaching and performing the congregational prayer service. He returned to al-Najaf al-Ashraf one year after his stay in the holy city of Qum .

            He joined his Lord on the 26th of Jumada I of 1358 A.H. after a lifetime of service, struggle and perseverance for nurturing a united generation that carries a Qur'anic message.

 

Grand Ayatollah Agha Diya ad-Deen al-Iraqi

Grand Ayatollah Agha Diya ad-Deen al-Iraqi was born in the city of Sultan-Abad (Persian Iraq, Arak ) in the year 1278 A.H. He completed his preparatory study in his home town then migrated to the city of al-Najaf al-Ashraf in order to complete his study. He attended classes by great Ayatollahs such as Muhammad al-Fisharki, Akhund al-Khurasani, Sayyid Kazim al-Yazdi and the mentor of the Shari'a, al-Isfahani.

            Signs of his intelligence and genius were obvious during the first years of his study. He started teaching at an early age, and many students gathered round him because of his oratory and the ease of his explanation. He distinguished himself among great teachers following the demise of his professor, the late Akhund al-Khurasani. He studied fiqh and usool for more than thirty years and many students were nurtured by him. Some of them became later on sources for taqlid. Among his works, one can point out to a book containing articles about usool. Finally, this working scholar moved to the mercy of his Lord in the city of al-Najaf al-Ashraf in the year 1361 A.H.

 

Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Abu al-Hassan al-Isfahani

Ayatollah Sayyid Abu al-Hassan al-Isfahani was born in the Madisa village, one of the villages of Lanjan district of the city of Isfahan . He completed his elementary study in the Nimarud School in Isfahan where he was taught by Mirza Abu al-Ma'ali al-Kalbasi, benefiting greatly from him. He migrated to Najaf al-Ashraf in 1307 A.H. in order to complete his study and attended classes by its great professors. He earned the degree of ijtihad in the classes offered by Ayatollah Akhund al-Khurasani. He rose to distinction with Ayatollah Naeeni after the demise of the late Ayatollah Akhund al-Khurasani and Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi al-Shirazi. After the death of Ayatollah Naeeni, he became the only religious authority for most of Shiite lands.

            Imam al-Khomeini and another group of contemporary jurists commented on his scholarly dissertation (risala) due to its inclusion. This great scholar joined his Lord on a Monday, the 9th of the month of Dhul-Hijja of 1365 A.H. in the city of al-Kazimiyya. Addressing his holy body, Ayatollah Muhammad Hussain Kashifal-Ghita made these statements: "Congratulations to you the ascension to your Lord! How happy you have been alive and dead! Your life was joined with management and greatness, making people through it forget the past great ones, following the coming ones. You were also born twice: Once you earned experience and knowledge, and once you acted upon what you had earned!"

            He, may Allah have mercy on his soul, was characterized by good attributes and characteristics, and his pure soul inspired one to be firm and steadfast for the sake of the Adored One. He surpassed his peers in managing the affairs, in administration and knowledge, and he was generous, articulate, orator, making his classes the most busy and popular among those offered at Najaf al-Ashraf's theological seminary.

            He participated in the struggle of the Muslim Iraqi people against colonialism and was banished to Iran together with some struggling scholars. He had honorable stands towards the incidents at the Guharshad Mosque in the holy city of Mashhad .

 

Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Murtada al-Taleqani

Sheikh Murtada al-Taleqani was born in 1280 A.H. in the city of Taleqan . He learned the Qur'an and Persian literature in the katateeb of the city then migrated to Tehran and from there to Isfahan so he could attend classes by its great scholars such as Ayatollah Abu al-Ma'ali al-Kerbalai, the man of wisdom al-Qashqa'I Mulla Muhammad al-Kashi and others.

            He migrated to the city of al-Najaf al-Ashraf and was tutored at the hands of its great scholars such as Akhund al-Khurasani, Sayyid Kazim al-Yazdi, the mentor of the Shari'a al-Isfahani, Mirza Muhammad Taqi al-Shirazi and others.

            He paid attention to nurturing himself and purifying his soul so he could fold the stages of perfection and reach the ultimate objective. The mentor, may Allah have mercy on him, abandoned the world and spent most of his time teaching the students and cultivating them. Many of them later on rose to distinction, becoming authorities and great scholars in our time.

            The mentor, may Allah have mercy on him, lived single all his life, and he was residing in the school of Sayyid al-Yazdi of the reliable niche in the city of al-Najaf al-Ashraf till he died there in 1364 A.H.

 

The wise `allama Sayyid Hussain Badkubah-Ay

The `allama was born in 1293 A.H in the village of Dalan in the city of Badkubah . He was tutored at the hands of his father and completed the preparatory study and that of literature in his presence. He migrated to Tehran after the death of his father and resided at the Sadr School in that city. He studied mathematics and philosophy at the hands of the late Sayyid Abu al-Hassan Jalwah and the late Mirza Hashim al-Ashkuri. He also studied logic for seven years of continuous effort in the presence of his professors teaching this science.

            He migrated to al-Najaf al-Ashraf and attended the classes of Grand Ayatollah Akhund al-Khurasani. This coincided with the first days of writing the Kifaya book. He also studied fiqh at the hands of Ayatollah Sheikh Muhammad Hassan al-Mamqani. Soon many virtuous scholars gathered round him to benefit from his views and theories. Finally, he moved to the mercy of his Lord in the eve of the 28th of the holy month of Shawwal of 1358 A.H. in the bath house of the sacred shrine and was buried in the neighborhood of his holy grandfather, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib, peace be with him.

 

Grand Ayatollah the authority Kuwah-Kamrah-Ay

The authority Ayatollah was a scholar who acted upon his knowledge, a perfect jurist, a virtuous traditionist, a skilled wise man, a precise man of usool, a verifier of narrators of hadith, a man who acquired knowledge of what is rational and what is transmitted. He was born in the month of Sha'ban of 1310 A.H. in the city of Tabriz in a religious family known for its piety.

            His revered lineage goes back to the most respected Sayyid Muhammad al-Masri who is nicknamed al-Hijazi, one of the offspring of Ali al-Asghar son of Imam Ali ibn al-Hussain Zain al-Abidin, peace be with him. The authority ayatollah enjoyed an exceptional intelligence and a swift roving intellect whereby he was able to complete his preparatory study at an astounding pace so he could study after it fiqh, usool, mathematics, rationale, ancient and modern medicine as well as a generous amount of modern sciences such as physics and chemistry.

            He completed the Sutooh stage in fiqh and usool at the hands of his father, the late Sayyid Ali Kuwah-Kamrah-Ay. He migrated to al-Najaf al-Ashraf in 1330 when he was twenty years old. He attended classes of great professors such as the `allama al-Yazdi of Al-Urwah al-Wuthqa (the reliable niche), the mentor of the Shari'a al-Isfahani, Mirza Naeeni and Agha Diya ad-Deen al-Iraqi.

 

            In 1349 A.H., he returned to the holy city of Qum and was one of the greatest of its scholars and senior professors of its seminary.

            He won the attention of Grand Ayatollah al-Haeri, founder of the theological seminary in Qum , who asked him to lead the congregational prayer service in his place during the late years of his holy life. He also taught in his place after his demise and continued to teach and answer requests for edicts. He looked after people's affairs till the last moment of his life despite his weakness and deteriorating health.

            The Sayyid, may Allah have mercy on him, was a distinctive testimonial for the tradition transmitted from the Infallible Imams, peace be with them, which says [in describing a true believer], "He disobeys his desires, obedient to the command of his Lord, protecting himself, safeguarding his creed." He kept the secrets to himself, so much so that even the closest people to him did not know him as he should have. He, may Allah have mercy on him, was among those who won the honor of meeting the Imam of the Time, may Allah hasten his reappearance. And he was precise in utilizing his time, an avid reader of scholarly and juristic books, not abandoning research or study even on his wedding night.

            He left several books in various fields. We would like here to point to some of them:

 

  1. Kitab al-Biya' [a book about real estate]
  2. a collection of traditions and usool
  3. his commentary about the book titled Al-Kifaya
  4. Lawami' al-Anwar al-Gharawiyya fi Mursalat al-Athar al-Nabawiyya
  5. Mustadrak al-Mustadrak

 

The Sayyid predicted the hour of his death; so, he gathered some scholars of the seminary and requested some pure soil from the shrine of Imam al-Hussain which he put on his tongue and said, "The last of my ration from the world is the soil of al-Hussain." He consulted the Qur'an regarding his destiny, so the 14th verse of Chapter al-Ra'd [thunder] came up: "To Him belongs the call of the truth". He, therefore, said in an audible voice: "We belong to Allah, and to Him do we return," then his sacred soul left his body.

            Having come to know about his demise, Ayatollah Burujardi said, "Now my spine has been broken. The chamber may become a school of a mosque (after the example of the mosque and school of the Hujjatis)," and he instructed the chamber located beside the mosque to be a cemetery for himself and the members of his family. This will was inspired to him in a vision.

 

Grand Ayatollah Burujardi

Grand Ayatollah Burujardi belongs to a respectable family known for its knowledge and piety. He is one of the Sayyids who belong to the Infallible Imams, peace be with them. His lineage reaches Imam al-Hassan, the chosen one.

            The Sayyid was born in 1292 A.H. in the city of Burujard . He was taught by scholars of this city and finished a good deal of his preparatory study at the hand of his father. He migrated to Isfahan in 1310 A.H. in order to continue his studies and acquire religious studies, and he was then eighteen years old. He was tutored by senior scholars of Isfahan such as the grand ayatollahs and those bearing the title "Hujjatul-Islam" such as Abu al-Ma'ali al-Kalbasi, Sayyid Mir Muhammad Taqi al-Mudarrisi and Akhund Mulla Muhammad al-Kashi, Mirza Jehangir al-Qashqai. He also taught jurisprudence and usool in his study in this city.

            He migrated to al-Najaf al-Ashraf in 1318 A.H. eight years after having resided in Isfahan and his earning the degree of ijtihad in it, and he was then twenty-six years old. He benefited from attending classes by great ayatollahs such as the Akhund al-Khurasani, author of Al-Kifaya, and `allama al-Yazdi, author of Al-Urwat al-Wuthqa. He distinguished himself among the students of the late Akhund for he wrote commentaries about his book titled Kifayat al-Usool.

            He returned to the city of Burujard in 1328 A.H. after a residence that lasted for ten years in the city of al-Najaf al-Ashraf during which he earned the ijtihad degree which was awarded to him by the most distinguished of its scholars. During his stay in Burujard, which lasted more than 36 yers, he founded a theological seminary to teach the researches of Kharij al-Fiqh and Usool in this city. During this period, he was emulated as an authority for taqleed by most residents of the western and southern parts of Iran and some districts in the Khurasan governorates and other areas.

            He resided in the city of Qum for few months after returning from making a pilgrimage to the shrine of Imam al-Rida, peace be with him, as insisted by Grand Ayatollah al-Haeri and a group of other men of virtue in the theological seminary. During that period, he studied the Kharij al-Fiqh and Usool researches then returned to his birthplace, the city of Burujard . He returned to holy Qum in the holy month of Muharram of 1364 A.H. after having become the greatest authority for the Shiites in the world.

            More than 1,200 men of virtue and prominent mujtahids used to attend his classes in the seminary.

 

Dr Murtuza Alidinia on his life  Some Moral Advice