A scholar has narrated: One summer, we went for ziyarat to Mashad with Imam and several other scholars. There we hired a house.
Our timetable was such that in the afternoons, after one or two hours rest, we would wake up and would head for the shrine together. After ziyarat, prayers and supplication, we would return to the house and in the pleasant setting of the veranda, we would sit and drink tea.
Imam’s timetable was that he would come with everyone to the shrine; however he would shorten his ziyarat and supplication and return to the house alone. He would sweep and wash the veranda, spread a rug, switch on the samovar (apparatus for making tea) and prepare the tea. When we returned from the shrine, he would serve everyone tea.
One day I asked him: ‘What is this? You shorten you ziyarat and supplications and return home in a hurry in order to make tea for your friends?’ Imam replied: ‘I don’t consider the reward of this act to be less than that of the ziyarat and supplications.’1
Hujjatul Islam Sayyid Hamid Ruhani
When we were in Najaf, I remember hearing from some people that Imam was not being very friendly with them. I relayed this to Marhum Hajj Agha Mustafa and asked him to tell Imam to be friendlier with these people. He said: “We have told him many times and Imam says:
‘This is from deceptions and plots of shaytan, i.e. in reality, it is my nafs that is inviting me to be friendlier to these people so that the number of people who like me increase. However, so that this command becomes likeable to me, shaytan says: ‘This is for Allah and Islam!’ Therefore I cannot do this.’’”2
Hujjatul Islam Muwahidi Kirmani
At the time Imam returned to Iran, the people were overtaken with fervour and joy. He himself also had an interesting interpretation of that moment. After the speech in Behesht-e-Zahra (as), Imam expressed a desire to go into the crowd. There is a picture of the Imam where he doesn’t have a turban, nor a robe, and is caught in the middle of the crowd. Imam had said:
“I felt that my soul was being seized.” The interpretation of the Imam was that: “My best moments were that very time that I was dying under the hands and feet of the people.” 3
Hujjatul Islam Imam Jamaaraani
On the occasion that Allah had given this slave (the narrator) the opportunity to kiss the hand of the Imam, he was sitting on an old chair on the small porch of his house, in the fierce cold. This troubling weather of Jamaaraan had almost changed the colour of his face and hands from red to dark blue.
I asked the reason for why something to make the Imam warm had not been placed near him in such fierce cold and open space? I heard the reply that Imam wanted to share in the pain of the people.
They indicated another example of this equality: When Imam’s clothes had been given to the house for a wash, but hadn’t been washed, they asked why. They got the reply that: “As yet, the turn to receive the washing powder coupon has not reached the house, and once it is received, the clothes will be washed.”4
Hujjatul Islam Sayyid Mohammed Baqir-e-Hujjat
During the war, there were many very threatening and dangerous incidents. Sometimes, Imam’s neighbourhood was also hit by missiles. At all these times, he did not demonstrate any reaction that indicated worry or agitation.
On one particularly threatening night during which the area was under attack, it was said to the Imam: “At least come to the area which has been secured.” Imam said: “I will not move from here.” They asked: “Why?” He said: “There is no difference between me and the sentry who is now at the top of the street guarding his post. He has a life, and I have a life. If his life is precious, my life is precious.” He then said: “By Allah, I don’t believe in any difference in my getting killed and the sentry at the top of the street getting killed.”5
Hujjatul Islam Imam Jamaaraani
One afternoon, at about 7 or 8pm, a missile hit the area of Jamaaraan. I went to the Imam and asked him: “If one time, one of our missiles hit Saddam’s palace once and Saddam was wounded or killed, how happy would we be? And if a missile hits near here and the ceiling falls down and you get wounded or killed, then what?”
Imam in his reply said: “By Allah, I don’t believe in any distinction or difference between myself and that sentry that is on the T-junction near the house. By Allah, if I get killed, or he gets killed, it makes no difference to me.” I said: “We know that you are this way; however, it makes a difference for the people.”
Imam said: “No, the people should know that if I go to a place where a bomb kills the sentries near the house and doesn’t kill me, then I will no longer be of any use to the people as their leader. I can only serve the people until that time that my life is like that of the life of the people. If the people, or the sentries, or any one who is in this area, are killed, allow this slave (of Allah) to also get killed so that the people understand that we are all with each other.”
I asked: “So until when will you sit here?” He pointed to his blessed forehead and said: “Until that time that a missile hits here.”6]]
Hajj Ahmad Agha Khomeini (Imam’s son)
One day I was with Hujjatul Islam Salimi. He had come from the Imam’s house to the Southern war front to strengthen the spirits and meet the soldiers of Islam. The topic of Imam’s characteristics came up. He said:
“A few days ago in the presence of the Imam, on the topic of the boldness and insolence of Shaikh Ali Tehrani aired on Baghdad radio, someone told the Imam that that malicious man has taken a lot of liberties with you. When our conversation ended, Imam said:
“As it so happens, a few days ago I remembered him and prayed for him.” Even with regards to the guidance of opponents and enemies, Imam used to feel so much pity (and affection).7