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Akhlaq (Manner of character) of Allama Tabatabai at Home

By: Ahmad Luqmani

Story n. 1
His manner and behavior at home was truly like that of Prophet Muhammad (S) (Muhammadi). He never became angry, and we never heard him raise his voice while speaking. While he was gentle, he was also decisive and firm. He gave importance to praying on time, staying up during the nights of the month of Ramadhan, reading the Qur’an out loud, and maintaining organization in all things. As a result of his strong, kind sentiment and extremely kind heart, he would never refuse anyone. One day he said to me, “from morning until now I have answered the door 24 times in order to reply people’s queries”.

‘Allamah’s daughter

Story n. 2
Although he had very little time, ‘Allamah managed his schedule in such a manner that he would spend one hour every afternoon with his family. During this time he was so kind and affectionate that one could not believe that this was an individual occupied with so much work.

‘Allamah’s daughter

Story n. 3
At home ‘Allamah was strongly opposed to anyone else carrying out his personal tasks for him. There was always a competition in turning down the bed [at home]. My father would try to carry out this task before anyone else, and my mother would try to anticipate him. Even in the end when he was sick and I used to go to his home, he would get up from his place to pour his own tea despite his state of illness. And if I objected and said, “why didn’t you ask me to bring me some tea,” he would reply, “no, you are a guest, and you are also a descendant of the Prophet (S) (Sayyid), and I cannot give you any orders”.

At Home with his Wife

Story n. 1
‘Allamah’s family life was extremely warm and pleasant. When his wife passed away he shed so many tears and was so saddened and moved that one day we asked him, “we should be learning patience and endurance from you - why are you affected such?”
He replied: Death is inevitable. Everyone must die. I am not crying for the death of my wife. My tears are for the kindness, housekeeping abilities, and the love my wife had. I have had a life full of ups and downs. In the holy city of Najaf when we were faced with many difficulties, I was not even aware of the needs and the administration of our life [because she took care of them so well]. Managing our life was in the hands of my wife, and throughout our life not once did my wife do something that I said I wish she hadn’t done that, even just to myself. Nor did she ever not do something that I said I wish she had carried that out!
Throughout our life together never once did she say to me why did you carry out that particular act, or why didn’t you do something! For example, you know that I work at home and am continually occupied with writing and studying. As a result I get tired and occasionally I need to rest and to renew my energy. My wife was aware of this. She would always have the kettle on and tea ready. Although she was busy with housework, she would pour me one cup of tea every hour. She would place it in my study and would return to her work until the following hour…how can I ever forget such love and kindness?!

Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini

Story n. 2
His [‘Allamah’s] behavior with my mother was incredibly respectful and friendly. Through his actions it seemed as if he was always eager to see my mother. We never saw them order each other to do or not do anything, nor did we see any discord between the two of them. They were loving, loyal and forgiving to each other to such an extent that we thought they never disagreed. The two of them were truly like two friends with each other.
Prior to her death, my mother was ill and confined to bed for 27 days. During this period my father did not leave her bedside for a single moment. He left all his work to take care of her.
At the same time my mother was an exceptional woman. She was patient when faced with difficulties and a meager lifestyle. She managed all our household affairs. She took care of our academic and social life and handled all our concerns. She worked with such efficiency and wisdom that my father was able to pursue his academic work with complete ease of mind.

‘Allamah’s daughter

Story n. 3
“It was this woman who allowed me to reach this position. She has been my partner and whatever books I have written, half [of the credit] belongs to her.”
This one sentence from ‘Allamah Tabataba’i is sufficient as an indication of his enlightened view of women. At another time he said: If a woman did not have importance, God would not have placed the lineage of the 12 Imams in the progeny of Hazrat Zahra (as). Truly if a woman is noble and good she can make the entire world a rose-garden, and if she is bad she can make the world a hell…Women and men are partners, and after looking after the raising of her children, a woman must become aware and familiar with the affairs of her society.

At Home with his Children

Story n. 1
‘Allamah Tabataba’i was very affectionate with his children, as well as his grandchildren. Sometimes he would spend an hour of his valuable time listening to our chatting, or teaching us how to draw, or giving us exercises for our homework.

‘Allamah’s daughter

Story n. 2
‘Allamah valued his children, especially his daughters, a great deal. He considered daughters to be a blessing from God, and valuable precious gifts. He always encouraged his children to acquire the traits of honesty and tranquility, and liked that the sound and melody of the Qur’an should reach their ears. For this reason he used to read the Qur’an out loud. He gave importance to his children being well-mannered, and believed that the behavior of parents affects their children.
He was particularly respectful and loving towards his daughters, such that he would call them by adding the word ‘sadat’ to their name, and he used to say that the respect of a daughter, especially a descendant of the Prophet (S) (Sayyid), must be preserved. He believed that daughters are a trust from God. However much a person pays them respect, God and the Prophet (S) are pleased [with him].

‘Allamah’s daughter

Story n. 3
Our upbringing was not limited to our childhood. Even after I was married I used to always benefit from the guidance of my father. For example, in the early days of our marriage when I would visit my father’s home, he would advise me by saying “don’t let it be the case that your actions result in the displeasure of Khanum (that is my mother-in-law), for God will not let that pass. You must make sure to assist her".

‘Allamah’s daughter

Story n. 4
‘Allamah had a close relationship with his children. In his final years when I was living in Tehran, I would visit him two or three times each week, but it wasn’t determined exactly when I would go. Yet every time I would visit, his wife (his second wife) would say that it’s been three or four hours that he has been pacing waiting for you. When I would ask how he knew I was coming, he wouldn’t give me a clear response, and in the end I never understood how he was aware what time I would be arriving.

‘Allamah’s daughter

Story n. 5
After the death of my son ‘Hasan’, he [‘Allamah] came to Tehran. However, I didn’t know how to behave with him so that he wouldn’t become upset, and incidentally, he too, was thinking the same. When he arrived he asked, “Najma, what can I say to you?” I said, “Nothing. All thanks belong to God”. He replied “All thanks belong to God, who, when he gave you a child, he gave you a good child”.

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