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Al-Mizan

 

Story n. 1

 
Narrated from ‘Allāmah himself:
 
When I cam to Qum, I studied the educational program at the Hawza, and I measured it with the needs of the Islamic society. I found deficiencies in it, and I felt it was my duty to try and eradicate them. The most important deficiencies in the Hawza program were in the area of Qur’anic exegesis (tafsīr) and intellectual sciences. As a result I began to study tafsīr and philosophy. Despite the fact that at the time tafsīr of the Qur’an, which is a science that requires research and scrutiny, was not being addressed, it was not considered worthy of study by those who had the ability to do research in the fields of jurisprudence (fiqh) and principles of jurisprudence (usūl). Rather teaching tafsīr was considered a sign of having weaker qualifications! However I knew I could not use this as an excuse in front of God [so as not to study tafsīr] and I continued my studies until I completed the writing of Tafsīr al-Mizān.
 
‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī 

Story n. 2

 
Narrated by ‘Allāmah himself:
 
Initially I carried out an exhaustive research of Bihārul-Anwār in order that I might publish a work on a specific subject. Following that I put in a great deal of effort in gathering verses and traditions until it came to my mind that I should write a tafsīr. However I felt that the Qur’ān was an endless ocean and therefore I separated those verses relating to the hereafter and I wrote on seven subjects, until I came up with a tafsīr of the Qur’ān that was finally completed, comprising of 20 Arabic volumes. In this tafsīr, verses are explained using the Qur’ān itself as opposed to the views of the commentator. And I learned this style [of tafsīr] from my teacher the late Qādhī.
 
‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī
 

Story n. 3

 
Tafsīr al-Mīzān is one of the best commentaries that has been written on the Holy Qur’an, and I can even claim that it is the very best commentary available among both the Shī’a and the Ahl-Sunna that has ever been written to this day.
 
Our people will only understand the worth of Tafsīr al-Mīzān after 60-100 years.
 
Shahīd Mutahharī 

Story n. 4

 
The best way to know what a great man he (‘Allāmah) was, is through his wayfaring towards God, and the intellectual effects of his teaching and writing. All the great individuals in the religious seminary (hawza ‘Ilmiyah) of Qum who have currently taken upon the task of teaching the principles of the Ja’farī school of thought were his students. His excellent Tafsīr Al-Mīzān that is the cause of pride in the intellectual world is one of his precious literary monuments and the mother of all his works.
 
Ayatullah Hasanzādeh Āmulī 

Story n. 5

 
From the time that I received Al-Mīzān, I no longer used the rest of my library, for this book was always on my studying table.
 
Imām Mūsa Sadr narrated from Shaykh Muhammad Jawād Mughniye
 

Story n. 6

 
‘Allāmah stayed up on the night of Qadr researching and studying the verses of the Qur’ān and finally completed his tafsīr on this auspicious night, which is the equivalent of 1000 months. At last at the end of Al-Mīzān he wrote:
 
“With the praise and grace of God the writing of this book has come to an end on this blessed night, the 23rd night of the Holy month of Ramadhan…”
 
Ayatullah Hasanzādeh Āmulī
 

Story n. 7

 
One day he (‘Allāmah) called for me and said, “I would like Al-Mīzān to be translated and I believe you should do this”.
 
I accepted the offer and translated the first volume which was in Arabic – and contained very precise and condensed information – into two volumes [of Farsi]. One day I visited him and said, “Agha! You are a learned scholar but I am someone who cannot resort to others (taqlīd) in certain matters. Therefore as I translate your discussions do I have your permission to write any difference of opinion I might have in the footnotes?”
 
He replied with one meaningful sentence, “Let us discuss and criticize between ourselves first, and not among the public.”
 
Accepting my point of view is an indication of his academic justice and noble spirit. From then on whenever I had an objection to make I would first discuss it with him, and if I was not satisfied then only would I write it in the footnotes.
 
Ayatullah Makārim Shīrāzī
 

Story n. 8

 
One day I met ‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī and said to him,
 
“This great tafsīr [Tafsīr Al-Mīzān] has not yet been recognized in the religious seminary (hawza) as it should be, nor have people realized its true value. Only if this tafsīr is taught in the hawza and discussed, and its contents critiqued and analyzed, then perhaps after a period of 200 years will its value be truly recognized.”
 
Another time I said to him,
 
“When I become occupied with studying this tafsīr, and when I see how you relate verses to each other and verify one with the other and thereby extract a meaning from them, I cannot explain it except to say that at that time divine inspiration must have taken over your hand.”
 
He (‘Allāmah) shook his head and said, “This is just a positive outlook on your part, we haven’t done anything”!
 
‘Allāmah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tehrānī 
Perseverance and Hard Work  

Story n. 1

 
‘Allāmah’s nights like his days were spent in studying, researching and writing. Only on the day of Ashura [the 10th of Muharram] would he take a break.
 
He stayed away from useless discussions, futile night gatherings and fruitless visitations, and grieved deeply for lost time.
 
Sometimes when in the process of researching a topic he would lock himself in a room and not meet anyone unless it was necessary. He considered every moment in a man’s life to be his capital. As a result when ‘Allāmah was in Tabriz, he was away from nearly everyone, and spent one season of the year in a village near Tabriz by the name of Shādgān. Preparations for Tafsīr al-Mīzān, reading once through Bihārul Anwār of the late Majlisī (r), and many other research projects in the subject of hadīth and other intellectual problems were carried out during this time.
 
Ayatullah Ja’far Subhānī
 

Story n. 2

 
Occasionally Aghā Quddūsī [Allāmah Tabātabā’ī’s son-in-law] and I would discuss the cause of [my father’s] success, and the reason behind his progress. He would say, “Aptitude is a very important factor in the progress of an individual. However perseverance also plays a very important role”.
 
‘Allama had astounding perseverance. He spent many years working hard at his tafsīr, but he never got tired of it. [During this time] he wouldn’t differentiate night from day. From early morning until noon he was occupied with researching and writing. Then after his prayers, a meal, and a short rest, he would once again busy himself with work and activity. This was despite the difficult conditions life dealt him - the spiritual and mental blows one upon the other, the unremitting emotional bereavements, and the family tragedies and difficulties on top of all this. At five years of age his mother, and at nine his father both passed away, and the dust of grief of being an orphan settled deep into his spirit and soul … [not to mention] the difficulties he faced in Najaf and in Tabriz…
 
Yet when a path is chosen and perseverance is there to help, a man’s weighty duties become easy and simple.
 
‘Allāmah narrates:
 
When I was in Najaf I found a math teacher who was only free to teach at 1 in the afternoon. I would walk from one side of the city to the other side in the exhausting afternoons of Najaf. When I arrived at his location my clothes would be so drenched in sweat that I would enter the fountain [to shower], and after some time I would go near the teacher and study math.
 
Truly heat and cold, fatigue and distress had no meaning for him. This is because he took his work very seriously and had strong determination.
 
‘Allāmah’s daughter  
Spiritual Disclosures (Mukāshafāt) 

Story n. 1

 
‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī said to me one day “Āghā every day that my attentive regard (murāqabah) is stronger, my ability to receive direct witnessing (mushāhadah) at night is clearer. Every day that my concentration (tawajjuh) is greater, my spiritual disclosures (mukāshafāt) at night are clearer”.
 
Ayatullah Hasanzādeh Āmulī
 

Story n. 2

 
After the tragedy of Haftumetīr (the martyrdom of Ayatullah Beheshti and 72 top government officials), ‘Allāmah’s friends and family did not want to inform him of the martyrdom of Ayatullah Beheshtī, on account of ‘Allāmah’s illness. During this time one of ‘Allāmah’s neighbors went to his room and ‘Allāmah said to him, “whether you tell me or you don’t tell me about Aghā Beheshtī I see him in a state of heavenly ascension and flight”.  
Newspaper Jumhuriye Islāmi 

Story n. 3 

Narrated by ‘Allāmah himself:
 
My wife and I were among the close family members of the late Mirzā Alī Aghā Qādhī. In order to maintain family ties and inquire about our situation, he would visit us at home in Najaf. We [the two of us] had repeatedly had children, but all them of died in their childhood. One day the late Qādhī came to our home at a time when my wife was expecting but I was unaware of this. When it came time for him to bid us farewell, he said to my wife, “my cousin, this time this child of yours will live. The child is a boy, and no harm will reach him. His name is Abd ul-Bāqi”.
 
Upon hearing his words I became happy. God did grace us with a son, and unlike our previous children he survived and no harm reached him, and we did name him Abd ul-Bāqi.” 
‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī 

Story n. 4

 
Narrated by ‘Allāmah himself:
 
From among the amazing and strange incidents is this, that there was a time when a letter written by my brother arrived from Tabriz. In that letter the following was written:

One of my students was able to communicate with the soul of our father and we asked him questions and he replied. During the conversation our father said that he has a complaint about you because you did not include him in your intention and Divine reward (thawāb) of the tafsīr that your wrote.
 
No one was aware of this matter except God and I, and even our brother was unaware of this, as it was a matter related to an intention of the heart.
 
When my brother’s letter arrived I was extremely ashamed. I said,
“O my Lord, if this tafsīr of ours has been accepted by you and has any reward, I give the reward as a gift to the soul of my father and my mother.”
 
I had not yet written about this in reply to my brother’s letter, when a few days later a letter arrived from him saying that this time when we spoke to father he was happy and said, “May God extend Sayyid Muhammad Husayn’s life and aid him, as he has sent us a gift.”
 
‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī
 

Story n. 5

 
Narrated by ‘Allāmah himself:
 
When I was studying in Najaf, I used to earn my living by receiving a monthly wage from Tabriz. Once, as a result of a conflict between the two countries [Iran and Iraq], my monthly salary was stopped and my savings were dwindling. One day I was sitting at the table studying when suddenly my train of thought was disrupted by the worry that until when will the strained relations between Iraq and Iran continue as we don’t have any money, and we are strangers in this land. As soon as this though entered my mind I realized that someone was knocking loudly on the door. I went and opened the door and saw that there was a man at the door. He was tall, his beard was dyed with henna, his turban (amāma) was tied in a special manner on his head, and he was wearing a distinctive outfit. As soon as the door opened he said, “Salāmun Alaykum”.

I replied his salām, and he said,
“I am Shāh Husayn Walī! God says [to you] “in these 18 years when have I ever let you go hungry that you have now abandoned your studies and fallen into the thought that until when will the relations between Iraq and Iran remained strained and when will they send us money!” Farewell to you!” I also bid him farewell and closed the door.
 
I sat at the table. At that time I lifted my head from my hands, and then a number of questions arose for me – that did I actually walk to the door, or did I witness this scholar sitting here with my head in my hands?! Had I been asleep or awake?! Had the man called himself Shaykh Husayn Walī or Shāh Husayn Walī. His appearance was not appropriate with the title Shāh, nor was I sure that he was a Shaykh!
 
Some time passed and these questions remained unanswered, until a letter arrived from Tabriz that I should go there.
 
In the morning, according to my regular schedule, I went to Najaf’s Wādius Salām [graveyard] between dawn and sunrise, and walked between the graves reciting Sūra Fātiha. Suddenly I saw a grave that was obviously an important one. I read the gravestone and saw that after many inscriptions in praise of the deceased it was written: the late Shāh Husayn Walī! I realized that it was the same individual that had visited my home in Najaf. I looked at the date of his death and saw that it was nearly 300 years earlier.
 
I was surprised at his sentence “in 18 years when have we ever let you go hungry”, because I had spent 9 years in Najaf, and I was 35 years old. So why 18 years?! After some thought I understood that it was exactly 18 years that I had put on the turban (amāma) and the clothes of a soldier of Imām Zamān (aj)!”
 
‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī
 

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