The most distinguished jurisprudent and perfect mystic Late Hajj Mirza Javad Agha Malaki Tabrizi was born in Tabriz. After finishing early education at his home town, he left for Najaf al-Ashraf, which at that time was supposed to be the most reputable centre. At Najaf he attended the lectures of great learned jurisprudents such as Akhund Khorasani, writer of Kifayeh al-Usool, Hajj Agha Ridha Hamadani, writer of Misbah al-Faqiyeh, and Muhaddith Nouri, writer of Mustadrak al-Wasail.
Also during this period he came in contact with most celebrated mystic personality of that time Akhund Mulla Husayn Quli Hamadani who was unique in knowledge, ethics, and mystics. Hajj Agha Malaki spent 14 years with him and during this period acquired profound knowledge of moral ethics and mysticism from his learned teacher. Hajj Agha Malaki attained such higher spiritual positions in gnosticism that a great jurisprudent and scholar like Sheikh Muhammad Husayn Isfahani famous as Kampani - himself an outstanding authority of learning and deeds in a letter to Hajj Agha Malaki seeks his instructions regarding ethics and mysticism.
Hajj Agha Malaki returned to his native hometown Tabriz in the year 1320 or 21 A.H. and settled down there, but after few years due to constitutional revolution the condition in Tabriz deteriorated, forcing him to migrate to Qum, where he started teaching jurisprudence from Faiz Kashani's Book: Mafatih as well as taught ethics (Akhlaq). Also, he kept himself busy in writing and had left many precious works. Ultimately, after living a fruitful life full of learning, writing, refinement, and purification of self, he left this transient world to join his Beloved in the morning of 11th, Dhi'l-hijjah, 1343 A.H. His holy remains were buried in Mirzai-Qummi the Shaykhan-Qum Graveyard near the tomb of Mirzai-Qummi. The following verse written in Persian reflects about his precious existence and the year of his demise.
“The world lost its soul, and the nation lost its shelter.”
His virtues and mystical perfection are far too great to be confined in words. In order to satisfy the curiosity of our readers to know more about profundities of Islamic mysticism, the following reports narrated by authentic sources will throw some light about the spiritual perfection of this great man:
1. One of his close friend and pupil had reported:
“One night in the City of Shahrud in a dream I found myself in a plain where Imam al-Mahdi [a]1, the Lord and Master of the Age, together with a group of his companions, was leading the congregational prayer. With the intention of kissing his hand and salutations, when I approached him, I saw a Sheikh whose face was the manifestations of virtues and perfection sitting near the Imam. After awakening from this dream I kept thinking deeply about the dignified Sheikh who is so close to the Imam [a]. I was so much interested to identify and meet him.
“Searching for him, I went to Mashhad hoping to locate him over there but could not, came to Tehran but still there was no news from him, ultimately, when I came to Qum, I found him in a small room at Faizyeh School busy in teaching. Having inquired about him, they said: 'He is Mirza Javad Malaki Tabrizi.' When I visited him he welcomed me warm-heartedly and with kindness, treated me in a manner as though he knows me, and was aware of that dream. After that I remained in his company and found him exactly the way I had first perceived him in that dream.”
2. Another one of his intimate friend has reported the following story:
“One day after finishing the lecture Late Malaki went to the room of a religious student in at Dar al-Shafa School; he thanked and appreciated the inmate and after sitting over there for a while came out of the room. Since I was accompanying him, I asked the reason of visiting this student, Hajj Agha Maliki answered: 'Last night near the dawn, I was bestowed with special divine grace which I understood was not due to my own deeds. When, I thought deeply, I discovered that this student is busy in night-vigil and in his night prayer has prayed for me, and those blessing were the result of his prayer. Therefore, I visited him for offering my appreciation and thanks.”'
3. Late Malaki has a son who is the source of warmth and pleasure for his household. On the Day of Eid al-Ghadir2, when traditionally people visit the elderly personalities to offer greeting, his house is full of visitors. Suddenly, a female servant discovers the dead body of his son floating inside the yard's water pool.
She starts crying; the other women folk of Hajj Agha Malaki's household join her in loud crying; having heard the loud screams Hajj Agha Malaki comes to the backyard and sees the lifeless body of his dear one; he controls himself and asks the women folk to stop crying, the women stop lamentation and become silent, the dead body is placed in a corner and they return inside the house in order to treat the visiting guests.
Some of the guests remained for the lunch at his house. After the lunch, when the guests asked permission to leave, Hajj Agha Malaki says to some of his close friends: 'Please don't leave, I have to tell you something.' When all the guests leave the house, he informs them about the tragedy of his son's demise and seeks their help in making the necessary arrangements for the funeral.
4. Late Hujjatul Islam Sayyid Mahmud Yazdi one of very close and intimate friends has narrated the following :
“When the time of night-prayer arrived he used to perform all the etiquette recommended for awakening namely: prostration and special supplications, used to cry in his bed, then he would come outside in the yard and looking at the sky would recite the verse:
'Lo! In the creation of earth and sky there are signs ..., 3' and while placing his head against the wall shed tears. During ablutions sitting on the water pool continued crying, while standing upon the prayer rug used to become agitated and cried a lot during prayer, and especially in Qunoot.”
5. Late Hajj Agha Husayn Fatimi, a pious ascetic and an intimate friend of Late Malaki has narrated:
“When I returned from the Jamkaran Mosque, I was informed that Hajj Agha Malaki has inquired about me. Since, I knew that he was sick I rushed to see him. I presume it was Friday afternoon, I found him laying in a bed, neat and clean, bathed, perfumed, and hair dyed readied for Dhohr and Asr prayer. He recited Adhan and Iqamah upon his bed, recited supplications and as soon as raised his hands for Takbirat-al-Ahram and said: Allahu Akbar, Allah is Great, his sacred spirit ascended towards the Celestial Kingdom, thus, the meanings of the narration: the prayer is believer's heavenly journey become truly manifested for him. Also, the meanings of “get readied for the prayer” 'qad qamat as-salat,' which in accordance to traditions has been described as the time of meeting with the Beloved, too became materialised for him, because he rushed to meet his Beloved with prayer”.
This was the brief life history of a perfect mystic. For the detailed biography the readers may refer to the following books:
Rehanateh al-Adab, vol.5, p.397, Naqba al-Beshar, vol.1, p.330, Ganjinai-danishmandan, vol. 1, p.232 , preface to Resala Laqa-Allah and Simai-Farzangan pp. 60-70.
- 1. Imam al-Mahdi [a]: The son of Imam Hasan al-'Askari was born in Samarra on Friday, 15th. Sha'ban 255 A.H. The twelfth Imam lived in hiding under the protection and tutorship of his father until the latter's martyrdom, when by Allah's command he went into occultation, during a period known as Lesser-occultation (al-Ghaybat al-Sughra).
During this period, four special deputies in succession would answer the questions of the Shi'ah and resolve their problems. After that in the year 329 A.H., the Imam [a] went into the Greater-occultation (al-Ghaybat al-Kubra) until a day when by Allah's command he will reappear to fill the world with justice as it is now filled with oppression [Tr].
- 2. Eid al-Ghadir: In the tenth year of the Hijra, the Most Noble Messenger [s] set out from Mecca to perform his final, farewell Hajj. After carrying out the rituals of the pilgrimage and imparting necessary teachings to the people, he set out for Madina. When he was returning on 18th. Dhi'l-hijjah (10 March, 632), on the road at a locale known as Ghadir al-Khumm (Ghadir-Pond), he ordered the caravan to halt.
In the midst of one hundred and twenty thousand pilgrims from all over the Arabian peninsula, he took 'Ali's [a] hand, raised it aloft, and declared: “He of whom I am the mawla (the patron, master, and leader) of him 'Ali is also the mawla (man kuntu mawlahu fa 'Aliun-mawlahu). O' Allah! Be friend of him who is his friend, and be the enemy of him who is his enemy (Allahuma waali man waalaahu wa 'aadi man 'aadaahu).” With this act, the question of the successor, who was to govern the affairs of the Muslims, guard the Sunna (the body of customary behaviour based on the Prophet's precedent ), and uphold religious customs and laws, was settled for the Islamic society.
The intent of the noble verse: 'O Messenger! Promulgate what has been revealed to you by your Lord, for if you do not, you will not have conveyed His message' (5:67) was carried out. The Most Noble Messenger [s] died shortly after returning to Madina. The above traditions of al-Ghadir are so abundantly reported and so commonly attested by hundreds of different transmitters belonging to all school of thoughts that it would be futile to doubt their authenticity.
Ibn Kathir, a most staunch supporter of Sunni view point has devoted seven pages to this subject and has collected a great number of different isnads from which the tradition is narrated. Also, Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal has recorded this event in his Musnad
- 3. The Holy Qur'an (2:164) [Tr].