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Chapter 7: Exemplary Pilgrimage

It is time now to study another brilliant page of Ayatullah Al-Khonsari's Life. That is to say his performing the pilgrimage to Holy House of God, that pilgrimage which aims to establish the unity between the Muslims and his nation, since unity and monotheism are the real essence of Ibraheemi Pilgrimage.

Abraham's pilgrimage was an exemplary one filled with activity, and that which has been related about his pilgrimage, clarifies obviously it’s being beautiful as a spiritual journey into the kingdom of Allah.

The Pilgrimage of 'Ulama

Until 1939 A.D., Iran suffered deprivation of pilgrimage which lasted seven years. The Second World War got a fair share in the proportion of the Iranian pilgrims. Anyhow, seven years were enough to urge the thirsty souls to go rushing to the Ancient House. That year was distinguished by the great number of pilgrims who most of them were 'Ulama from various Iranian cities, villages and town. For that reason, the same pilgrimage called as “The Pilgrimage of “Ulama”.

Ayatullah Feydh and Ayatullah Sabzewari were also among the 'Ulama, while Ayatullah Al-Khonsari agreed to participate in this pilgrimage responding to the request of Hajj Baqir Bake (by) – a prominent Bazaar merchant -.

Binding him adieu, Al-Khonsari went ahead towards the Land of Revolution by the onset of Dhul Qi'dah l368 A.H. accompanied by some of his relatives, and his elder son “Muhammad Baqir”.

Customarily, the Iranian pilgrimage caravans were passing through Iraq to pilgrim the holy shrines there in Karbala, Najaf, Kadhimayyah and Samarrah.

So, Al-Khonsari began to remember the by-gone days here, on this land, his struggle against the British, his comrades who fell in the jihad fields, and the critical days inside the jails.

On the 18th of Dhul Qi'dah, Al-Khonsari left Kadhimiyyah towards Syria, and pilgrimed the holy shrine of Sayyidah Zeynab (may God be pleased with her). Then he travelled to Beirut, and arrived there on 20th of Dhul Qi’dah. He was warmly welcomed by ‘Ulama and other people.

So, he remained there waiting a ship which was about to sail from there for Saudi Arabia. During his stay, Al-Khonsari performed the Congregational Prayer, and great multitudes have shared him the same prayer.

In the Way to Ihram

The ship that curried Al-Khonsari and other believers sailed from the Mediterranean coasts on the first of Dhul Hijjah Al-Haram, and he whole were murmuring : “In God's Name shall its berthing”.1

When the ship arrive a place called "Jahfah" the trysting place for the Syrian during pilgrimage season, Al-Khonsari then cried:"Here am I at Thy service O my Lord! Thy will be done".

So, the whole ship turned white for Ihram garbs...and it looked like a cloud flowing through the blue of the sea.

On deck, Al-Khonsari sent a message by telegraph to Hajj Sadrul Ashraf, the one in charge of pilgrimage caravan, requesting him present aids and easier facilities for the pilgrims.

On the 6th of Dhul Hijjah, the caravan arrived Jeddah...a deep sense of longing for Bekka “The first House established for the people” prevailed everyone.

The Outcry of Unity

When Al-Khonsari arrived Mecca, he accomplished the pilgrimage rites. Then he was invited by the Saudi King Saood king of Hijaz but the general sight of Baqee’ cemetery, the holy Sepulchres of Imams of Ahlul Bait (a.s.) caused pangs of passion inside Al-Khonsari's heart which made him disappointed with the Saudi rules, so he refused to meet the King.

Occasionally, Al-Khonsari arrived Hijaz during the time when a disagreement occurred between Shia and the Sunnis regarding seeing the new moon of Dhul Hijjah, so he could put an end for that conflict by bearing witness that he himself has seen the new moon, and it was the first and last time, when both Shia and Sunni can perform pilgrimage simultaneously.

Al-Khonsari perpetually tried to consolidate the relation between the Shia and Sunni brothers, and spread the spirit of unity among them. So he refused for example to perform the Congregational prayer which was suggested by the Shia, by his leadership, thereto, and he preferred to perform it with the Sunni brothers.

For the second time Al-Khonsari wore Ihram’s garb and went out to the wilderness of Arafat, where Adam’s sin was forgiven by his Lord, “and He turned towards him”. Then from there he directed towards Mish'arul Haram to stone the Satan in Mina, and then he started to give the offering. Then the feast followed that when man can obviously express his happiness after performing the divine rites for Allah the Exalted.

After that, the multitude rove seven times round Ka'aba like butterflies which fly round the bulb and rove near the candle. Soon they ran between Safa and Marwa, and then the women circumambulation, and finally stoning Satan for the second time.

Roving with Tears

Sayyid Sherif Al-Razi his diaries about Mecca, relates:
Al-Khonsari seemed different at the night before Eidul Ghadeer. He remained roving round Ka’ba till morning. His roving was mixed with tears. The Holy House was nearly empty of pilgrims and silence prevailed everywhere, while those who were inside the Holy Mosque went to sleep2

In the Apostle's City

Pilgrimage would be meaningless without being honoured by pilgriming the Holy Prophet (S) and the Immaculate Imams in Baqee', and the sacred abode of Al-Betool (Hazrat Zahra) (a.s.).

By the end of Dhul Hijja, Ayatullah Al-Khonsari travelled to the city of the Holy Prophet (S) and was guest of one of the famous Shi'ite named Sayyid Husayn Al-Habboobi. First he pilgrimed the Holy Tomb of the Holy Prophet (S) and the Immaculate Imams in Baqee', then he turned left and right searching the place for the hidden abode of Hazrat Zahra (a.s.) which is still bringing up many questions. But he returned empty handed, crying for the loss of one of the two great Thaqlain.3

After the wandering about, Al-Khonsari initiated visiting the Sayyids in their homes, presenting all possible assistance.

Indeed, his abode in Medina was a landmark repaired to, by his lovers who come to visit the Holy Prophet’s (S) tomb. For instance, the intimate visit of the Egyptian delegate led by martyr Hasan Al-Banna, the supreme adviser of Ikhwanul Muslimeen Organization Islamic affairs were discussed in this meeting, and Ayatullah Al-Khonsari showed his cordial hopes that the whole Muslims to be united. In the same meeting Al-Khonsari has declared that the Holy Qur'an's enemies are too weak and infirm, thus all Muslims have to unify their efforts and neglect all disagreement between them 4

The: Egyptian delegate which also was comprising professors and 'Ulama from Al-Azhar Mosque, showed their great appreciation of Al-Khonsari's personality and his hearty struggle to find mutual understanding between the whole Islamic sects, especially his explaining the reason why the Shia are prostrating on dust (Turbot), when he said that the Shia, and as an appreciation of all what Imam Husayn (a.s.) has done in the way of Allah to elevate his word, are prostrating on the Husayni Turbat.

Regarding kissing the holy tombs, Al-Khonsari answered: “It is exactly similar to what our Sunni brothers are doing when they kiss the Holy Qur'an”.

Ayatullah Al-Khonsari did his best to avail the facilities for the pilgrims who pass through Kuwait.

Meeting Al-Husayn (a.s.)

Muhurramul Haram drew near...The month of passion and Al-Khonsari could not bear the travel inconvenience, so he flied to Iraq, eagerly to meet Imam Husayn (a.s.) the leader of the frees and the Master of Martyrs.

On 10th of Safar, Al-Khonsari directed towards Najaf to pilgrim the Unique Hero of Islam Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.), and there he met Ayatullah Golpaigani.

Now Al-Khonsari didn't disregard to call his religious sons, the Hawzah scholars, and he allotted money to them.

Then Al-Khonsari went to Kadhimiyyah, then Samarra, and inspected the religious scholars there, and granted them every possible aid.

Again be returned to Karbala. When he reached there it was the anniversary of Arba'een, so be renewed his covenant with his Holy Grandfather Al-Husayn (a.s.).

The Great Reception

On 27th Safar, Al-Khonsari returned to his homeland. It was Autumn which was about to depart, and the weather got colder. Al-Khonsari intended to arrive his home without the notice of his people, since he didn't like to be received by them in such disturbing weather. Nevertheless, everyone became aware of his arrival and was warmly received in Kermanshah, Nahawand, Malayir and Arak.

On the first of Rabi'ul Awwal, Ayatullah Al-Khonsari arrived in Qom which embraced him with hearty reception and a lot of offering were presented.

  • 1. The Holy Qur'an, 11:42.
  • 2. Atharul Hujjah, vol.I, p.153.
  • 3. Referring to the famous tradition related from the Holy Prophet "I am leaving you two great things, The Book of Allah, and My, Family".
  • 4. Majmoo'eyeh Hikmat Magazine, vol.I, no.12, p.44.