‘Allāmah was in a constant state of remembrance of the Almighty (dhikr). When we would walk together, and our conversation would end, he would busy himself with dhikr. He believed strongly in supererogatory prayers (nawāfil) and sometimes he would even recite them while on the road. He gave great importance to participating in gatherings of mourning for the Ahlul-bayt (a) and shed many tears in grief for Abā Abdillah [Imām Husayn] (a).
He spent many nights awake and in worship, and in the month of Ramadhān, he would be awake, praying and busy with remembrance of the Almighty (dhikr) between sunset and dawn. He was the personification of the verse Men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah (Sūra Nūr:38).
Ayatullah Ibrāhīm Amīnī
‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī was not overly concerned with worldly matters. He used to say God is the one who gives reputation. Human beings can never attain status with worldly objects. He had a very exalted and sensitive soul. Whenever God would be mentioned, his appearance would change. Occasionally he would tell me,
“It is possible that sometimes a person becomes so unaware of God, that God inflicts him with a severe and dangerous fever for forty days so that he might once say from the depth of his heart Ya Allah, and fall into the remembrance of God”.
In times of difficulty and pain he never displayed the smallest sign of distress. He confronted problems with serenity and patience.
We were witness to the personification of asceticism (zuhd) in all the time that we spent with ‘Allāmah. Occasionally he would speak about the difficult years; the years when he was in Tabriz and his life was in turmoil. It was a time of unrest in Azerbaijan, but despite this situation and the fact that there was no outward peace for ‘Allāmah, he had no fear; such a situation did not shake him the least, and he remained firm [throughout].
Ayatullah Jawādī Āmulī
In terms of spiritual perfection, ‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī had reached such a level of tajjarude barzakhi that he was able to see visions from the world of the unseen which other regular individuals could not.
Years of spiritual exertion and endeavors on the path of self-purification and practical Gnosis (‘Irfāne ‘Amalī) resulted in [his complete] knowledge of theoretical Gnosis (‘Irfāne ‘Ilmī). That is because the late ‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī united intellectual ‘Irfān with practical ‘Irfān, and thus was able to taste the reality of true ‘Irfān. That which other mystics had written about in their books, he realized. He had in reality traversed the many stages of ‘Irfān. In the end he wrote a timeless and lasting account of this. His book Muhākemat bain Mukātebat is a valuable text from whose valleys of knowledge many of those inclined towards ‘Irfān have benefited from.