Many things have been written and said about death. But I could not find anything more effective and convincing than what the Martyr of the Prayer niche, the God-loving hero, Ayatullah Sayyid Abdul Husain Dastghaib (q.s.) had once said 25 years ago1and it is well known that he had full knowledge of Qur’anic verses, traditions and religious books.
Once during the month of Ramadhan, he delivered a speech in which he had said that death was the door of life and the first step in attainment of God’s Mercy. He described Barzakh (Purgatory) and its comforts in such a way that the audience became captivated by it.
Thereafter he also described the tortures of Barzakh in such a manner that people began to tremble due to fear. Consequently after hearing the quotations from Qur’an and Tradition many people gave up sins and turned towards good deeds and righteousness.
May your soul remain ever-happy O’ teacher of morality and O’ leader and teacher of the faithful! You guided people towards the truth during your lifetime. You became the means of taking people away from falsehood. But much more than that, you fulfilled your duty of propagating the truth through your martyrdom. As this dear friend has written, the blood of Ayatullah Dastghaib has proved more effective than his sermons.
He constantly said in his speeches and also wrote and published that “Death is not Extinction; rather it is the beginning of an everlasting life.” He repeatedly gave good tidings to the family members of martyrs that the Holy Qur’an has adjudged that your (martyred) relatives are alive.
“And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead; nay, (they are) alive, but you do not perceive. “(2:154)
Certainly we are the dead in comparison with them because (our life is perishable and) they have attained the everlasting life after which there is no death.
O Martyr of the Prayer niche! May your soul remain ever happy. You have made this matter clear through your martyrdom. Even two months have not yet passed since you have left us. But so many of your miracles have been seen and heard that many people are feeling sorry and restless because they could not know you as you should have been known. They feel strongly and ask themselves why they did not take proper benefit of your graceful life among them?
Here, regarding the discussion about this book and about Hereafter as well as with reference to your oft-repeated statement that “The martyrs are forever immortal” we’d like to mention an event which took place on the seventh day of your martyrdom which has become known to most of the residents of Shiraz to such an extent that it has also been reported in the press.
On the day after the 40th day of martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) of the year 1402 A.H. in the morning when I went, according of the routine, to my father’s house. The office secretary came to me and, after Salaam and inquiries about health etc, and began to talk about the dream of a Sayyid lady as follows:
“A respectable Sayyid lady whom I know very well and who lives in our neighbourhood, says, “Last night I saw the late Martyr of the Prayer niche (q.s.) in my dream. He told me, ‘Some pieces of my flesh are stuck between bricks in the wall in this street (where the late Ayatullah was shot). Please recollect those pieces and join them with my body.’”
At first I did not give importance to this news. I heard the discussions of people in the office and this continued for about two hours. Thereafter I stepped out along with some of them with the intention of participating in a program of ‘Fatihakhaani’ (recitation of Qur’an for gifting the divine rewards to the departed soul).
Per chance, we had to pass through the aforesaid street where my father was martyred. So when we reached that fateful spot, I suddenly remembered the aforesaid dream and I told about it to my companions as it was related to me that morning and said that there was nothing wrong if we walked looking around. Then suddenly our eyes fell for the first time on that wall and all of us saw that some pieces of flesh were stuck in the gaps between bricks at a spot on that wall.
Two of our companions went forward to collect those pieces of the body of the Martyr of the Prayer Niche (so they collected them and placed in a plastic bag safely). The news of this event spread in the city like wild fire especially due to fact that the 40th day of Imam Husain’s martyrdom had just passed and there was a total holiday in Shiraz.
During Friday eve, in the Jame Masjid of Shiraz, as usual, and as per the tradition of the Martyr of the Prayer niche for the last several years, a Dua Kumail prayer meeting was held and a huge gathering of mourners heard the event. Then and there it was announced that: This night at ten o’clock the remaining parts of the martyred Ayatullah will be buried.
So it was done and several groups of mourners continued their mourning rituals till late night in the courtyard of the shrine of Ahmed bin Musa Kazim. Finally, on the day of Arbaeen, with the fresh remembrance of the burial of the remaining part of the Holy body of Imam Husain (a.s.) the aforesaid two plastic bags containing the remaining parts of the Ayatullah’s body were brought and the contents were placed in the foot side hole dug in the grave of the great martyr.
In fact, this event was very wonderful and strange. I forgot to mention that on that very day when the scattered pieces of the Holy body were retrieved from the bricks of the said wall, a gentleman, who is one of the sincere persons belonging to the clergy and commands respect and reliability, told me that last night two other persons including a relative of the martyr had also seen the same dream.
After hearing this narration, this event assumed much importance in my opinion. So finally I sent a messenger to the aforesaid Sayyid lady and requested her to write back to us her full description of the said dream and also to mention her full name and address along with the names of her husband and other family members.
So the lady conceded to my request and sent me the accurate and detailed account, which is presently before me. I seek the consent of the honourable readers to quote a few parts of the said report so that it may be preserved as a part of history and be a means of admonition and guidance for future generations.
The lady writes, “Some particles of my flesh have been left stuck up in the wall.”
The vision (dream) was, “I was in a big garden. Suddenly I saw Ayatullah Dastghaib walking ahead of me. I was walking behind him. This was the middle part of the garden and the Ayatullah had put on a coffee coloured cloak. He asked me, “Please go and tell the people that some particles of my flesh have been left in that wall. He repeated these words several times. So I was extremely astonished when I woke up.”
You yourself may decide what truth this true dream tells. Talking testimony of a truth, which is more convincing than a whole book of admonition. The Martyr of the Prayer Niche had mentioned, “Death is not destruction; rather it is the door for attainment of Divine Mercy.” ‘The martyrs in the path of God are alive and they are getting provision from their Lord.
This learned Scholar has, in this book, given detailed description of events in the world of Barzakh (Purgatory between Death and Resurrection). Then he has turned towards the return of the soul to body. All these things are true. The martyr has personally proved this and announced thus.
Despite the limitations of this book, looking towards the contents, we conclude how nicely the author has encompassed all the conditions of death and Hereafter. The martyr (r.a.) has, in a very attractive style, in very appealing and effective words, described the journey to the Hereafter, which begins, from the moment of death. Then he describes the kind of death for the righteous and the offender. He has described the last moments on deathbed in such a way that the reader feels he himself is on the deathbed.
Thereafter he describes the conditions in Barzakh and quotes at length verses picturing the pleasing comforts of Paradise in the grave and thereafter a number of verses and traditions throw ample light on what happens during the torturous punishments in the grave (Barzakh period). He also narrates many true events and visions in support of this and shows what the reader has to pass through.
Thereafter he has presented arguments, verses and traditions concerning the events preceding Resurrection and the Day of Judgement and has discussed all this in a very simple style. He has also talked at length about the bridge (Sirat) and the Balance (Mizan) and the Paradise (Behisht) and the Hell (Dozakh) and Reward (Sawaab) and Punishment (Azaab) through several sources.
In short, it can very well be claimed that hundreds of thought provoking and eye-catching events have been covered like an ocean in a nutshell in this brief book.
May your soul remain ever happy and pleased, O Ayatullah Martyr of the Prayer Niche! So also the souls of your eighteen- year-old grandson, Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Dastghaib and all of your faithful companions may remain in peace and comfort forever.
Sayyid Muhammad Hashim Dastghaib
4th February 1981