Ayatullah Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Bahlool (R.A.)
Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Bahlool was gifted scholar and a famous orator of the present era. He was born in 1908 in Khurasan and left this world just about 4 to 5 months ago, at a ripe age of nearly 100 years. Ulema and Islamic Scholars throughout the world, led by Ayatullah Khamenai, paid a glowing tribute to his brilliant life and work.
His father was a mujtahid, and he ensured that his son received the best education and the correct training from his early age. Thus, Shaykh Bahlool memorised the Qur’an at the tender age of 8 years, and even at this young age, one would see him giving lectures from the pulpit.
Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Bahlool was a talented and gifted elderly scholar who lived in Qum. Although he had studied fiqh and usul to the level of ijtihad, he preferred to give public lectures to the masses. His lectures were popular because of his very eloquent, yet down-to-earth style of oratory. In addition to memorizing the complete Qur’an by heart, he had also memorized thousands of verses of the poetry of Hafez. He had also composed poetry himself.
After completing his studies, Shaykh Bahlool returned to Iran where he became a powerful voice against anti-Islamic policies of the government of the day. The government was alarmed and worried at his popularity. During the Gawharshad riots in the 1930s, he was targeted by the government of the time. Although he tried to avoid them by moving to Afghanistan, he was captured and imprisoned. He spent 13 long years of his youthful life in prison.
He finished his preliminary Hawza studies under his father, and then came to Qum, where his teachers were the Grand Ayatullah Aakhund, Mulla Ali Ma’sumiand Grand Ayatullah Mar’ashi Najafi. Later he also studied in Najaf under Grand Ayatullah Abu’l Hasan Isfahani.This last illustrious teacher told him to use his talents to enter politics and participate in the resistance movement against the dangerous policies of Shah Razakhan, the Shah of Iran.
After completing his studies, Shaykh Bahlool returned to Iran where he became a powerful voice against anti-Islamic policies of the government of the day.The government was alarmed and worried at his popularity and as a result, put him in the prison. For defending the truth, he spent 13 long years of his youthful life in prison.He was released from the prison in a miraculous way, which Insha’Allah we will look at next week.
After his release from the prison, he spent sometime in Egypt and Syria, familiarising himself with the current situation, before returning to Iran. He was very active in the run up to the Islamic Revolution.
In the eyes of Shaykh Bahlool, Salatu’l Layl (i.e. Namaze Shab) had a special prestigious place. He often used to say that “in Salatu’l Layl, there lies the benefit of this world and the hereafter.When I urge you all never to miss its recital, I have a personal proof of its benefit”.
This is one of the incidents he has narrated regarding his habit of regularly praying Salatu’l Layl: He says, “In my student days when I was in Madressa-e- Faydhiyyah in Qum,it was a very difficult time and we had very little money, even for our basic necessities.
One year, in which the night of 15thSha’ban coincided with the coldest days of winter, the weather in Qum was so cold that even water would turn into ice in a few moments. That night I had gone for a Majlis, which had been arranged in honour of our 12thImam, Imam al-Mahdi (A.S.). When I returned, the doors of the Madressa were already locked. The doors of the Haram were also closed. The night was also bitterly cold. However, because of my unfailing habit of reciting Salatu’l Layl regularly, I stood next to the outside door of the Haram, and began to pray in the open.
No sooner had I finished my prayers, I saw that a pilgrim who was speaking in Turkish had come to the doors. He asked me when the Haram would open. I said, ‘it would open in about one to two hours’. Hearing this, he said, “Because my friends are waiting for me, I cannot wait that long. But please do me a favour. Take these candles for me, and place them wherever it is dark in the Haram, and light them on my behalf.” Before I could say anything, he gave me those candles and a bag of money as a gift and then he quickly departed.
I took the candles and the money he gave me as a gift. When I counted the money, I saw that it was 500 Tumans, which was a considerable sum in those days. I thought for a long time that why would a pilgrim give such a large gift to an unknown person like me. However, later on it dawned on me that this must be a divine plan by Allah swt and the barakat of regularly praying Salatu’l Layl.
That money helped me solve many of the difficulties I was facing at the time. And indeed, this is only one small example of the benefit of Salatu’l Layl, both in this world and Insha’Allah in the next.”
How Janabe Fatemah (A.S.) guarantees his release from the prison
:An incident took place when he was in prison. Shaykh Bahlool narrates in his own worlds: “One night, during my 13 year term in prison (at the hands of the former Shah), I saw my mother in a dream. She told me, “My dear son! I have met Fatimah Zahra (A.S.) and she has guaranteed me that you will be released soon.” When I woke up, I began to recite poetry in praise of Lady Fatima (A.S.) and I also composed several verses about her. In any case, I saw this dream on Thursday, and on Saturday, after 13 years, I was released.”
How (possibly) 12th Imam (A.S.) helps him in time of need
Shaykh Bahlool narrates: “Once I had gone to Mashhad and was the guest of a Sayyid friend of mine. As it happened, his wife just had twins. One rainy night, my friend was away for some work and I noticed that his wife was unwell. I said to her, “You go to rest and I will look after the children.”
Being tired, she went to sleep. In the middle of the night both the children began to cry. I noticed that they had soiled themselves. I went out to the courtyard to bring out the old diapers from the clothesline, but the rain had made them completely wet. I came back inside the house, tore my abaa (cloak) into 4 pieces and used these to clean up and change the babies. I carried them around, resting them on my shoulders, until they were settled.
When the adhanfor Fajr came, I went towards the Haram of Imam Ridha (A.S.) to pray and pay my respect to my Imam (A.S.). However, on the way to Haram, I was horrified to see 4 dogs in the lane near my residence, which appeared in front of me, blocking my path. I was shocked and was wondering as what to do next, when I saw a Sayyid suddenly appeared from nowhere. He rescued me and drove off the dogs. Then, before I could say anything, he turned towards me and said, “Shaykh, should we not help, assist and drive away 4 dogs from that person who has spent the whole night tending to and looking after our children?” When I looked again, he had disappeared.