Akhlaq (Manner of character)
‘Allamah was refined, kind, chaste, humble, sincere, lacking desire, patient, sweet and a great companion. For 30 years I was with ‘Allamah, attending his classes, participating in his private Thursday night and Friday sessions, and benefiting from his presence as much as I could. Not once during this time do I remember him ever becoming angry or yelling at one of his students or speaking harshly or insulting anyone.
He used to teach his classes calmly and quietly, never raising his voice. He became familiar and made friends with others very quickly. He was so friendly with everyone, even a new student, that one might have thought they were two dear friends. He listened to everyone and always displayed signs of love and friendship. He was incredibly humble…and did not give importance to the number of his students, sometimes agreeing to teach only two or three individuals.
In private sessions he would normally remain quiet and calm. If he was asked a question, he would answer, and if not, he would maintain his silence. Occasionally if someone would refer to him as a Professor (Ustad), he would say, “I do not like this title. We have gathered here as colleagues in thought so that we might discover the truths of Islam”.
‘Allamah was very well mannered, listening to every individual and never interrupting anyone. If he heard the truth he would acknowledge it. He would avoid argumentative discussions, but willingly answer any sincere questions asked of him.
Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini
‘Allamah Tabataba’i’s manner was one that conformed completely to the Qur’an. Perhaps it can be said that his behavior had become the Qur’an. Every verse that God has placed in the Qur’an describing a perfect human being (Insane Kamil), we found it in ‘Allamah’s behavior to the extent that it is possible to be seen in an individual. His gatherings were those of perfect Islamic etiquette and Godly character. It was rare for him to commit even an action which, without being a sin, was not the best course of action to take (tarke ula). He never mentioned someone’s name with ill-feeling, nor anyone’s bad characteristics, and tried to always pray for the well-being of others.
Ayatullah Jawadi Amuli
‘Allamah Tabataba’i was extremely kind and sentimental. He never forgot his friends and always kept in touch with them. He acted benevolently with his private students, and was attached to and familiar with them, and inquired about the situation of those who had moved to other cities.
Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini
One of the outstanding characteristics of my father was his close relationship with his students – especially Agha Mutahhari. He himself used to say: every time I sit with my friends, it is as if the entire world lights up in my view. Truly I take pleasure [from their company].
‘Allamah’s daughter, Najma As-Sadat Tabataba’i
‘Allamah used to speak very little, and he also used to advise others to speak less. He regarded speaking a lot as a sign of a weak intellect. He talked very simply and in such a manner that sometimes people used to believe he was a regular individual, and not a scholar and a philosopher.