Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Bahjat in Holy Shrine

Date of birth: Islamic date: 25th of Shawwal 1334 A.H  English date:  August 23, 1916

Father Name: Karbalai Mahmood

Birth Place: Fuman in Gilan Iran.

Places of Education: Fuman, Karbala, Najaf and Qom

Place of Burial: Holy Shrine of Hazrat Masoumeh(PBUH) in city of Qom on 17th May 2009.

Early life:

From his childhood, Mohammad Taqi had been in his father’s loving company and seen how the enthusiasm for Ahl al-Bayt (Prophet Mohammad and the Infallible Imams) had emitted from his father’s heart, put to paper and used as eulogies which the bereaved mourners of Imam Husain (a) would recite.

The mourning ceremonies of Imam Hussain, peace be upon him, from every corner of the city turned his attention towards the traditional school of Mullah Hussain Ko’kabi Fumani and placed him amongst the reciters of the holy verses of the noble Quran.

However, his thirsty soul could not be quenched, and he made his way to the Islamic seminary of Fuman so that the verses of the noble Quran, and the teachings of the pure Imams, peace be upon them, could further soothe the ears of his soul.

In Fuman’s lively Islamic seminary where  varieties of religious sciences were discussed, he met Ayatollah Hajj Sheikh Ahmad Sa’idi Fumani, self-purified, a great man of piety and knowledge, a person he greatly benefited from and with an ineffable seriousness and insatiable spirit, he quickly learned Islamic sciences along with a few Persian texts such as Bustan (The Orchard), Golestan (The Rosery) and Kelileh va Demneh and after seven years of continues efforts he was ranked among the top students of his master. Blissful moments during the congregational prayers led by Ayatollah Fumani was remembered by both, him and his student.

Setting off to Iraq

Mohammad Taqi decided to migrate to Iraq wanting to calm his restless soul at the shrine of the infallible Imams and quench his thirst for truth in the presence of great scholars of the Islamic seminary of Iraq.

Having seen his enthusiasm, his father sent him to Karbala with one of his well-to-do friends. On his first trip, Mohammad Taqi failed in leaving the country. Border police did not allow him to enter Iraq because of the absence of his parents. Although disappointed, reminded of an incident in his childhood made him certain that he would go to Karbala. He later did so… kissing the shrine of Imam Hussain and smelling the blessed soil of Karbala.

At that time, Mohammad Taqi was around fourteen years of age and had gained an abundance of knowledge even before having reached the religious age of puberty.

Mohammad Taqi stayed with his uncle who was living in Iraq at the time and after about one year, he moved to the seminary dorm and attended school. The Islamic seminary of Karbala was filled with great scholars. During that year, Mohammad Taqi studied parts of Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh) and basic principles of jurisprudence (Usul) and in his second year, he put on the sacred clerical robe in the presence of Ayatollah Hajj Sheikh Jafar Ha’eri Fumani and his father who joined  him in Karbala.

He spent four years in Karbala and with continuous effort acquired knowledge, insight along with self-purification and achieved excellence in ethics under the blessed shrine of the Master of Martyrs.

Migrating to Najaf:

It was time to leave the Islamic seminary of Karbala for the Islamic seminary of Najaf, home and the holy shrine of the Commander of the Faithful.

Najaf’s renowned seminary with a history of one thousand years was home to many theosophist, men of knowledge and piety. A place of mystics for those in search.

Sheikh Mohammad Taqi strived with determination and courage, seeking the knowledge entrusted by the Ahl al-Bayt in the Islamic seminary of Najaf. He completed the advanced Islamic sciences with Hajj Sheikh Morteza Taleqani, Sayyid Hadi Milani, Hajji Sayyid Abolqasim Khu’i, Sheikh Ali Mohammad Burujerdi and Sayyid Mahmood Shahrudi. He then began to study the advanced Principles of Jurisprudence (Kharej-e Usul) and advanced Islamic Jurisprudence (kharej –e Fiqh).

To study these advanced lessons he sat on the footstool of teachers of Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh), Principles of Jurisprudence (Usul) and Insight of Ahl al-Bayt.

His favorite teachers included Ayatollah Ziya Iraqi, Ayatollah Mirzaye Mo’ini and Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammad Kazem Shirazi.

He also greatly benefited from the distinguished scholar, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Abolhassan Isfahani in Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh).

Sheikh Mohammad Taqi’s creativity, intellect and meticulous attention to his studies made him a renowned student who’s questions were seriously regarded by his professors.

Besides Usul and Fiqh, Sheikh Mohammad Taqi was interested in philosophy and rational sciences, in which he studied the books, al Esharat & Tanbihat and Asfar with Ayatollah Sayyid Hussain Badkubi.

Teaching advanced Islamic sciences at the seminary and assisting the great Hajj Sheikh Abbas Qomi (compiler of Mafati al-Jinnah) to compile the book,”Safinat al-Bahar” were of his other activities.

As Sheikh Mohammad Taqi entered Najaf at the age of 18, he found the teacher he was in search for in Ayatollah Mirza Qazi a mountain of Tohid (monotheism) in the words of Imam Khomeini.

The peaks and valleys of life in Najaf al-Ashraf provided him with a golden opportunity for self-purification and self-discipline, but the burden of his studies and his endeavor in purification and self-discipline was such that he became ill. He would treat himself by traveling to Samara, Kazemein and Karbala under different weather conditions.

After sixteen years of living near the shining dome of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali and the Master of the Martyrs Imam Hussain peace be upon them, Mohammad Taqi with an untiring determination to acquire knowledge and insight in the presence of the best Islamic scholars the seminary had to offer, reached the stage of Ijtihad and returned home to Fuman.

In Jamadi al Thani of the year 1364 coinciding with August 1985, after having reached the age of 30, he on his sister’s advice decided to get married.

The Holiest Shrine of Ahl al-Bayt:

In the month Shawwal 1364 A.H coinciding with September 1945, Ayatollah Bahjat set off for Qom. During his temporary stay in Qom, he received a series of heartbreaking news. On 28th of Safar 1325 A.H., a few months into his stay in Qom, he received the news of his father’s passing away. He did however take comfort in the knowledge that his father was happy and content with the path his son had chosen before he left this world. Also news came from Najaf, the demise of Ayatollah Abolhassan Isfahani and Ayatollah Mirza Ali Qazi. Both of whom were revered and dearly loved by him. They were two of his masters he had the fondest memories of in Najaf. This news was one of the reasons he lost his will to go back to Najaf and decided to stay permanently in Qom near the blessed shrine of the Ahl al-Bayt and the Islamic seminary.

Agha Bahjat’s presence in the holy city of Qom had an outstanding impact on his life and the lives of many others.

He attended the advanced classes of the Maraje (Great Scholars) in Qom. After 24 years of its revival by Grand Ayatollah Ha’eri, the Islamic seminary of Qom, had become a powerful seminary with the presence of distinguished scholars and mujtahids. Although Ayatollah Bahjat was a mujtahid of the highest standard, he along with Imam Khomeini, Grand Ayatollah Golpayegani and a few others attended the classes of  Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Hussain Borujerdi and Ayatollah Hojjat Kuh Kamere’i out of respect to the elders of the seminary. He was among the best students of his masters and became one of the most important critics of the class.

At the same time, he would also be teaching Usul and Fiqh that lasted for over 60 years right to the end of his blessed life.

In the morning, he used to teach advanced jurisprudence (Khareje Fiqh) and in the afternoon he used to teach advanced principles (Khareje Usul). To avoid publicity he first chose to teach in seminary rooms and then moved the lessons to his home. Later on in 1398 A.H (1978) he at the insistence of his students moved the lessons to the Fatemiyeh Mosque where he taught for the rest of his life.

His regular Friday morning ceremony of Imam Hussain was first held at his house and then was moved to the Fatemiyeh Mosque. Through heat and cold, health and sickness he continued to attend the Mourning sessions of Imam Hussain, peace be upon him until the end of his life. He would spend a part of the summer in Mashhad and these ceremonies would be held there during his stay. His insistence on having these weekly sessions was due to the will and recommendation of his beloved teacher of Ethics, Ayatollah Mirza Qazi, who said: “Do not forget about the weekly Friday ceremony of Imam Hussain, peace be upon him.”

He would lead all daily prayers in congregation which included the attendance of many great distinguished scholars who were prominent personalities in their own right. In the last years of his life, he would only lead the afternoon prayers due to sickness. The feeling one would have during these prayers could not be expressed in words and could only be understood by some of those who were among the crowded lines which stretched from the mosque to the alley outside the mosque, listening to his prayer recitation.

He continued his daily morning Ziarah (pilgrimage) to the Holy shrine of Lady Masumah, Imam Reza’s sister, after morning prayers and duas till the end of his blessed life around the age of 90. He would sit in a corner of the Holy shrine and recite Ziarah and dua.

His Work:

Ayatollah Bahjat also wrote books on Usul and Fiqh but did not have them published. He did not permit others to publish them even with their own money, saying: “There are still many manuscripts of great scholars that need to be published first.”

Some of his books include, “Mabaheth Al-Usul”, “Commentary and Review of Sheikh Ansari’s Makaseb”, and completion of the book till the chapter of business, “Bahjat al-Faqihiyeh”, Book review of Zakhirat al-Ebad, Book review of Sheikh Ansari’s Manasek, along with books of couplets and poems.

Major books that have been published by the insistence of his students include, Risalay Tozih al Masa’il in Persian and Arabic, Haj Rites. These two books were published by a group of scholars who compiled his Fatawas after his approval. His commentary on the book Vasilat al-Nejat written by his master Ayatollah Sayyid Abolhassan Isfahani, may God bless his soul. The first volume of this book had been published after his approval. The book Jam’e al-Masael, a course on Fatawas in Islamic Jurisprudence which was the result of 25 years of expertise in the field. This invaluable book came out in 1992 in five volumes.

Ayatollah Bahjat characteristics:

Undoubtedly one of the outstanding characteristics of Ayatollah Bahjat was his tendency to shun publicity and insistently attempt to remain anonymous. In his younger days when he realized that his insightful questions in classes of the great Maraji’ were giving him publicity he stopped asking them. He did not insist on teaching either. That is why he never chose a fixed suitable place to teach. His attendance in the classes of Grand Ayatollah Borujurdi and other scholars at a time when he was well capable of teaching the same courses was another proof of his humility and anonymity.

Although he was one of the best students of Ayatollah Mirza Qazi and acquired spiritual blessings in his childhood, he never promoted himself and always refused to talk about the mystical experiences he gained in the company of his masters.

When he would speak of his masters, he had to reveal some of his own secrets, but he never used the word “I” while speaking.

He also never had any ambitions to become a Marja Taqlid (religious authority). Even with 45 years of experience teaching advanced Principles and Islamic Jurisprudence, he refused to accept this position.

But after the demise of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ahmad Khansari and Sayyid Abolqasim Khu’i, a large number of believers, including many scholars insisted on him to publish his Resalah. He accepted their request, but with the condition the book should not have his name on the cover.

It is obvious that this great man who devoted his entire life to Allah, in return for his sincerity in worship and servitude to his creator, he earned a lofty position in the eyes of his Lord and by the will of Allah he won the hearts of millions of believers around the world without intending to do so. How can words describe this special servant of God who won the hearts by the heart, not by words!

He Wished to Unite With the Eternal

The midst of May 2009 were the latest days of his waiting. During his entire blessed life and now with a fatigued fragile body and thirst filled soul, he wished to unite with the eternal. Someone who was a righteous servant of Allah and thought of nothing other than being a good servant of his creator all his life, the moment of leaving for his beloved was the height of all joys for this true Arif (theosophist). The ninety years of spiritual and physical struggle culminated with a secure and loving embrace by his Lord. However, his peace and tranquility was for his followers, lovers and students an endless sorrow and grief. Devastated they came in masses to one last time see his blessed luminous face busy in the remembrance of Allah.

The Sunday evening of the 17th of May 2009 was a sad evening for Qom. When the news of the demise of this great religious scholar broke out, it quickly spread everywhere. At first, all were in shock, and then the whole city was in mourning. Once the news was announced by the news agencies devoted followers from all over the country rushed to Qom. On that day, Qom was covered in black. Since Ayatollah Bourujerdi’s funeral, Qom had never witnessed such enormous crowds of people for a funeral ceremony.

The body of this old sage and mystic was put to rest in the Holy Shrine of Lady Fatimah Masoumah. Now the silence of the Fatemiyeh Mosque is the cry of separation.

The body of this old sage and mystic was put to rest in the Holy Shrine of Lady Fatimah Masoumah.

Now the silence of the Fatemiyeh Mosque is the cry of separation. Now the small wooden door near the window besides the altar, his lovers and followers’ hearts can only imagine an old man walking through the door with his face turned down, his lip’s fragrance with the remembrance of Allah, whose eyes were wet with tears and whose forehead illuminated by the effects of prostration.