Allamah Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Balaghi Najafi
By: Muhammad Reza Hakimi
Translation by Zahra Shuja Khani
He lived a life the Masih [Prophet Jesus (A.S.)] - pious, simple, humble and thoughtful; and with a deep concern for others and for saving them from deviation.
His thoughts and zeal were like Socrates - always enthusiastic about spreading awareness and shedding the light of truth upon dark hearts.
He spent time working away from the futile distractions of name and fame. He led a life with no support from anyone; and neither did he surround himself with servants and helpers. He performed his own chores and shopped personally for his frugal need and needs of his family. No one ever heard of what he possessed and what he lacked and of how he handled his material problems and of how he managed his life.
This great soul, a lover of spirituality and service, kept himself isolated but with an isolation that was filled with awareness, insight, perception, a sense of social service and a deep sense of commitment!
He was a scholar who held aloft the torch of social guidance - a scholar who had dedicated his knowledge to light the hearts of mankind and to illuminate the social path and not just to gain personal name and fame. He was a great man with great thoughts and was a faithful believer (mu'min) in the truest sense of the term.
How auspicious and fruitful are such lives! Such was the life of Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Balaghi Najafi.
Before elucidating upon the works, the thoughts, and the social and human values of Shaykh Balaghi, let us take a brief look at his life.
His Life and Teachers
Shaykh Aqa Buzurg Tehrani has narrated the life account of Shaykh Balaghi in his biographical work, Tabaqat A'lam al-Shiah, and presented below is a concise translation of the same:
Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Balaghi Najafi Rabai - from the famous Rabi'ah tribe - was one of the most famous Shi'ite scholars of his times and was a grand allamah, a great mujahid, and a bright and diligent writer.
The Balaghi family is one of the oldest as well as one of the most scholarly, cultured, and literary families of Najaf. It has presented many a famous scholarly and religious personality to the world. Jawad Balaghi was one of the most renowned personalities of this family and was the pride of his in the fields of both, knowledge and action. According to the information provided by him to me, he was born in Najaf in the year 1282 AH. He grew up there and gained his initial learning from the learned teachers of Najaf. He left for Kazimayn in the year 1306 AH and returned to Najaf in the year 1312 AH and studied under the following teachers:
Shaykh Muhammad Taha Najaf (d. 1323 AH); Haj Aqa Reza Hamadani (d.1322 AH); Akhund Mulla Muhammad Kazim Khurasani (d. 1329 AH); and Sayyid Muhammad Hindi.
He later migrated to Samarra in the year 1326 AH and attended the classes of Mirza Muhammad Taqi Shirazi along with us and continued these lessons for ten years. He wrote many of his books in Samarra. He then returned to Kazimayn and stayed there for a period of two years. In these two years, he joined hands with the other religious scholars in inviting people to rise up and revolt against (British) imperialism and persuaded the people of Iraq to seek freedom and independence.
He then returned to Najaf and dedicated his life to writing.
Balaghi was a rare and unique person who had a dedicated all his time and in fact entire life to the service of religion (din) and truth (haqiqah).
He stood in opposition to Christian propaganda and rose up against the Western onslaught. He proved the grandeur of Islam and its superiority over all other religions. Balaghi's sincerity in his extensive service to the research and correct understanding of Christianity earned him a great status among fair and unbiased Christian scholars and men of learning.
He had reached such great heights in purity of intention and sincerity in action that he even declined from having his name appear on the cover of his published books. He said: I have no other intention but to defend the Truth. Thus, it makes no difference under whose name the book is published. In spite of his own humbleness and self-restraint, it should be said that Balaghi shone like the beautiful flames that are lit by shepherds on the mountain tops in the dark desert nights and are visible from all sides and attract attention. His fame soon reached far and wide. The scholarly status that he came to gain and the international fame that he carved were due to the intelligent solutions provided by him for many intricate religious issues and problems. His expertise in solving complex religious problems had even left the European centres of learning awe of him and many of their researchers corresponded with him and sought his advice in solving their own problems. Some of Balaghi's significant works have also been translated into the English language because of their academic importance.
Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Balaghi was a very humble and modest man. He was very independent and chose to do all his own work by himself. [He never burdened others with his work and never allowed himself the arrogance and pride to expect others to serve him.] He went to the bazaar himself to shop for his daily needs. He led the prayers in a small mosque close to his home in Najaf and many reputed scholars and goodly persons joined him in prayer in that mosque. He left this worldly abode on the eve of Monday, 22 Sha'ban, 1352 AH.
Najaf was left in great sorrow at his passing away and gave him a grand funeral. His remains were buried in the third southern cubicle of the auspicious western wing of the sacred shrine of Imam Ali (A.S.)... the world of Islam was plunged into grief at the demise of such a great scholar and the religion of Islam suffered a great loss with his passing away.
Alas! It is most unfortunate that the void left by the demise of such sincere scholars is felt most deeply even though we should remember that writers like Shaykh Balaghi, who have left invaluable works behind, are immortal – works that provide guidance to coming generations and serve as sources of knowledge for champions of research and learning. Shaykh Balaghi left behind him a rich and deep culture for the seekers of knowledge and Truth. He had mastered the Hebrew language besides being fluent in Persian and English - in addition to his native tongue, Arabic. Moreover, besides commanding a high position in religious and divine sciences, jurisprudence, and theology, he was also a man of literature to reckon with and an innovative poet. To sum it up, Balaghi was a perfect example of the early Islamic scholars, rare to be found in our times. May Allah's infinite blessings be upon him!(1)
In his account of Shaykh Balaghi, the author of the book, Rayhanah al-Adab, describes him in the following words:
This skilled jurisprudent, a wise orator, a perfect scholar, a grand narrator of Traditions (muhaddith), the backbone of the Imamiyyah scholars, the invincible guardian of the Islamic hawzah, the patron of Qur'anic sciences, the discoverer of religious truths, the guardian of religious secrets, one of the prides of Tashayyu, a student of the likes of Mirza Muhammad Taqi Shirazi, Haj Aqa Reza Hamadani, Akhund Khurasani and Shaykh Muhammad Taha Najaf, wrote a number of innovative books on different subjects, each of which is a matter of pride for the Easterners and a blow to the Westerners.
Similarly, Khayr al-Din Zirikli, pays him tribute in his book, al-Alam, in these words:
Al-Balaghi, Muhammad Jawad bin Hasan bin Talib bin Abbas al-Balaghial-Najafi al-Rabai was a great Shiite researcher, and one of the great scholars of Najaf belonging to the Balaghi family which was a reputed family from Najaf. He has written a number of books including al-Huda ila Din al-Mustafa, Anwar al-Huda, Nahayah al-Huda, al-Tawhid wa al-Tathith, and Ala al-Rahman fi Tafsir al-Qur'an. Balaghi was also well-versed in Persian and English, and participated in the independence movement (from the Britishers) of the people of lraq in the year 1338 AH (1920 CE).(2)
A great deal has said about the virtues and the ethical merits of this great Islamic scholar as well his sublime efforts in the way of spreading Truth and uncovering falsehood and superstition, and his biography has appeared in more than twenty books.(3) We suffice here with narrating from two writers who have written about him.
Mirza Muhammad Ali Urdubadi
Mirza Muhammad Ali Urdubadi was one of the students of the students of Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Balaghi who was himself a great scholar, a man of literature, an author, and a poet of his times and was one of the honorable examples of the Shi'ite culture of Najaf. He was a pious, ascetical, well-mannered, and pure soul.
Urdubadi praises his teacher in the following words:
The unique exemplar, the revolutionary Allamah, the sign of Allah, the brilliant visage of the philosophers of the East, the outstanding example of Islamic scholars, a jurisprudent (faqih), a theologian, a theosophist, a narrator of hadith (muhaddith), a research scholar, a philosopher, and an unparalleled one! The books written by him were an adornment for the East and thunderbolts for the (anti-religious culture of the) West, thereby strengthening the foundation of the din al-hanif (the pure Religion). He was indeed the supporter of Islam and the voice of the Qur'an. He was a man of deep curiosity and research and was a revolutionary champion - wise and learned! For his outstanding virtues, no orator can describe those and not even the most skilled of speakers can do justice to them and would need to suffice by simply saying that he was gentle, pleasant, well-mannered, appealing and praiseworthy. But he was much more than this.(4)
Urdubadi has also composed the following three vewses of poetry in praise of his teacher:
As long as the religion of salvation stands erect;
This man is its lifeline!
Celebrate in joy, O the Religion of Mustafa;
A lion of this caliber is guarding your entrance!
If they turn their backs on the religion of Islam.
And if they take it for a jest;
This one who has risen in battle,
Armed with knowledge, steadfastness, and logic,
Will surely overpower them!(5)
Dr. Tawfiq al-Fukayki
The literary research scholar and learned Iraqi writer, Dr.
Tawfiq al-Fukayki, who has himself authored several books describes Balaghi in his scholarly preface to the Shaykh's famous book, al-Huda ila Dinal-Mustafa, in the following words:
Balaghi was brought up on the esteemed foundations of Islamic upbringing and earnestly practiced Islamic teachings and ethics in his life. He, therefore, became an example of a Qur'anic Muslim of pure faith and true belief and came to shine out as the model of al-Insan al-Kamil (The Perfected Man). The best thing he loved was works of kindness and striving towards goodly acts. According to him, the worst and the ugliest of thing was the dominance of evil forces (the forces of Satan) and evil people on human society. Thus, Balaghi was one of the callers to virtue and was the founder of a mobile school for religious guidance and for raising the level of thinking through teaching the principle of knowledge and theosophy and the philosophy of existence... As a result of his vast knowledge and pure wisdom, Balaghi was a haven for confused souls from going astray due to the misleading arguments of the materialists. He was a reliable source for the Orientalists who were sincere seekers of Truth and were in search of the secrets of Eastern wisdom and the teachings of Muhammad (S.A.W.), since they had discovered that he was a rare intellectual genius with an elevated soul and that a deep intellectual power sprung from his large heart and flowed from his tongue and his pen.(6)
His Books and his Thoughts
Allamah Balaghi has written more than forty-eight books which manifest his writing genius, his vast knowledge, his intellectual meticulousness, his powerful logic, his skills in literature, and his expertise in clear expression and reasoning.
Another feature of his writings is their correlation with issues concerning life and living and their powerful stand against elements that are insidious to society and history.
At this point, let us briefly reviews there of Shaykh Balaghi's books:
This book is a concise and rich exegesis of the Glorious Qur'an containing clear and perceptible explanations.
Unfortunately, this book remained incomplete. What managed to come on paper is one volume comprising two parts. The first part comprises a preface and the exegesis of the Surah al-Hamd, the Surah al-Baqarah, and the Surah Al-I Imran. The second part contains the exegesis of the Surah al-Nisa upto verse 58and the verse 6 of Surah al-Ma'idah.
This book covers the exegesis of four juz' and one hizb of the glorious Qur'an. Despite its brevity the preface consists of a wide range of valuable discussions including a discussion on the uniqueness of the Qur'an and its significance from the viewpoint of guidance and leading towards the right path.
The Uniqueness of the Glorious Qur'an
In the preface to his exegesis, Shaykh Balaghi has discussed a number of subjects and has explained them proficiently. These subjects include:
What is a miracle?
Why is a miracle a proof?
What is the cause of difference in the miracles of the Prophets (A.S.)?
What makes the Qur'an a unique miracle?
The Qur'an is the most superior of all the miracles.
The matchlessness of the Qur'an on the basis of historical evidences.
The matchlessness of the Qur'an from the rational viewpoint.
The matchlessness of the Qur'an as regards its lack of contradiction and inconsistency.
The matchlessness of the Qur'an in its imparting of rules for a just system.
The matchlessness of the Qur'an from the ethical viewpoint and a comparative study of ethics in the Qur'an, the Torah, and the Evangel (Injil).
The matchlessness of the Qur'an in informing about the unseen and the standing of the several Christian versions of the Gospel in this matter.
How the Qur'an was compiled?
As we have mentioned earlier, the exegesis of Shaykh Balaghi remained incomplete and only the exegeses of four parts (juz) qur'an were accomplished. A scholar has remorsefully written a few lines at the end of the book, Ala al-Rahman, about Balaghi's death that left his exegesis incomplete, the translation of which is given below:
Alas for us and all the Muslims that this great and invaluable piece of writing remained incomplete because of this pillar of the religion and the support of the Muslims, Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Balaghi departed from the world. He expressed scholarly matters in the exegesis of the glorious Qur'an like shining pearls of wisdom. He was unique and in our times it happens rarely that such a child is born. He engaged in an endless struggle and managed to rectify the problems of the Islamic Ummah to a great extent. He prepared himself for defending religion like a warrior and rose to protect the world of Islam. It was as if the pen was attached to him like one of his own fingers and the paper were his constant companion, day and night. He was always present at his place of work whether it was in the scorching summers of Najaf or its chilling winters and had no other ideal or preoccupation but helping religion with his words and his pen and being concerned about the welfare of the Muslims. A courageous leader, a champion of knowledge and action, a sign of Islam and the Muslims, the proof of religion and the Qur'an - this was Ayatullah Balaghi! He was always engaged in writing and was constantly involved in work, and strove until he began to weaken and gradually lose his eyesight. Despite his advanced years, his striving and determination were active to such an extent that even while he explained the concluding parts of his exegesis for his students, many of who took down notes, he was gravely ill and was very weak and was on his deathbed. May Allah give him the best rewards.(7)
Al-Huda ila Din al-Mustafa
This book is an invaluable sample comprising the principles of religious tenets and the methodology of research and evaluation. From the point of view of the interests of the East and Islam, it occupies an important place. In order to highlight the importance of this book we shall now quote from the writings of Dr.Tawfiq al-Fukayki so that the exigency of writing such a book and its importance are better known.
Yes, as rightly mentioned by the great Iraqi researcher, Dr.Tawfiq al-Fukayki, this divine mujahid, this wise sage (hakim), and this great Islamic scholar, scholar, Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Balagh, had realized his Islamic and human responsibility and had arisen with his heart and soul to fulfill on this great divine duty.
Balaghi had manifestly gauged how the treacherous elements of Christian colonialism were attacking the boundaries of Islamic beliefs and with what plots and tricks they were shaking up the belief system of the Muslim youth. Since they could clearly see that they would never succeed in even convincing a simple nomadic Muslim shepherd to accept the meaningless and baseless preaching of the Church and baseless preaching of the Church and the forged Christianity, let alone the educated youth, they gave up on their ideas of converting the Muslims to their faith and instead worked upon weakening their Islamic beliefs. They used all possible means to gain this objective like the establishing of hospitals and schools, high schools, colleges, libraries, etcetera, adding fuel to the sparks of internal differences, creating new faiths and strengthening those suspicious and colonial faiths with a view to crafting a rift among the Muslims.
The wise and well-prepared Balaghi was aware of these plots and since unlike some other sleepy heads, he was not ignorant about issues pertaining to society, politics, and colonialism and since he was committed to religion and his religious duties he began a continuous and widespread jihad. By writing a large number of books that were unique from the points of view of their matter and research, he engaged in a struggle against the ominous Christian colonialism.
As mentioned earlier, one of his best books was the great work, al-Huda ila Din al-Mustafa. In his introduction to this book, Dr Tawfiq al-Fukayki, has presented a brief analytical view about this work. Keeping in view his introduction we shall now introduce this book hereunder:
Al-Huda is the most outstanding of Shaykh Balaghi's books and works. It is an example of his innovative wisdom and expansive knowledge, and is the evident proof of his command over the history of religions and faiths. By writing this book, Balaghi exposed the fallacious Western writers and discarded their invalid objections. He took up this take with a spirit of selflessness and self-sacrifice. He has personally explained his reasons for writing this book in his preface and has explained his methodology and has exposed how those who criticized Islam and its laws and the Glorious Qur'an have not stuck to the principles of healthy debate and have instead resorted to lies, accusations, deceit, and sophistry. Balaghi has exposed them and their crimes. The book, al-Huda that comprise two volumes (412 pages and 324 pages), is the best document for the history of religions and the comparative study of religions and is a best guide to the techniques of debate and logical reasoning.
One of the important features of this book is that it throws light upon the intrigues of the Christian missionaries and their animosity towards the Qur'an and the noble Prophet (S.A.W.). This book shows how as a result of such intrigues, the Muslim youth were deceived and how the academicians were influenced. This book proves that the threat of the Christian missionaries was greater than that of the Orientalists who were the stooges of the colonial powers.
Tawfiq al-Fukayki then makes the reference of a Muslim who had been thrown into doubt about his religious beliefs by the propaganda of the Christian missionaries and how he returned to his original faith after reading the book al-Huda and was thereby freed from the vicious promptings of the vested interests. He also mentions having witnessed the same person kiss a copy of this book in gratitude.
This book, known popularly as al-Rahlah or al-Madrasah al-Sayyarah, is from among the invaluable and rich Islamic books. In this book, too, Balaghi has compiled the answers to many issues and has presented them in a new style. The second edition of this book in 592 pages and three pats was published in Najaf.(8) This edition contains an introduction by the great research scholar, Hujjat al-Islam Sayyid Ahmad Husayni Ishkiwari. This introduction describes the book in the following words:
This book has been written in the form of a discussion between some people who have gathered to do unbiased research on the Torah, the Evangel, the Psalms and the Qur'an and to make a comparative study of them with a view to discovering simple and undeniable truths. The participants have not neglected discussing other issues related to monotheism (tawhid) as well as the rejection of materialists. The book, notwithstanding its brevity and simplicity of style, is full o information and knowledge for those who seek religious truths and wish to research upon Divine Books and religions. The author has successfully managed to present the topics of discussion in such a manner that all sections of people can benefit from it.
In this book, the author has reviewed the religion of Islam and has presented its plus points over other faiths and has proved that Islam is the very everlasting religion that is suitable for every generation at all times and places. It is a religion that is not confined to any particular group or people and rather belongs to one and all and contains all that the human societies need such as economic, political, social, ethical, as well as belief issues and other aspects of human life. In this book, the author has discussed such principles of Islam as tawhid (monotheism), nabuwwah (prophethood), and maad (resurrection) and has discussed them in detail and has proved his points by presenting rational and related proofs from the Torah, the Evangel, and the Qur'an. The book also contains philosophical discussions on such issues as jabr (compulsion) and tafwiz (choice), husn wa qubh aqli, the haqiqah (reality) of the human soul, zarrih (the substance of man), wujub wa imkan wa imtina (necessity, possibility, and impossibility), huduth (accident) wa qidam maddi (the antiquity of matter),survival and natural selection, etcetera. Similarly, the book also contains discussions on the wisdom behind the creation of the different parts of the human body, the marvels of the creation of animals, the creation of the skies, the earth, the air, and the sea as well as the other wonders of the world, each of which is enough to prove the existence of the One God.(9)
As regards this book, Dr. Tawfiq al-Fukayki says:
The book Al-Rihlah al-Madrisiyyah is the product of Shaykh Balaghi's extensive and powerful imagination, deep thinking, enormous talent, and innovative style in the field of writing. The discussions and dialogues that are presented in this book have taken place between a group of learned and sincere people who desired to discover truths and to arrive at accurate religious beliefs through Divine teachings and their historical evolution, particularly from the period of the Torah through to the Psalms, the Evangel and the Qur'an which is the final Divine message for the guidance of mankind. The Qur'an invited mankind towards pure and complete monotheism after man had crossed such stages as the worshipping of rocks, trees, animals, stars, fathers, mothers, and various other forms of idolatry. Allamah Balaghi (God's mercy upon him) has dealt with all these philosophical and theological issue with the competent talent of a great intellectual and a highly knowledgeable scholar who remains distant from fanaticism and bias and who refrains from indulging in any kind of prejudice towards the followers of other faiths. He expresses his arguments in a simple and lucid language such that even ordinary people can grasp them easily.
At the end of this book, Balaghi has concluded that Islam is the religion of humanity and of innate natural disposition. No matter how much man progresses and knowledge advances and new schools of philosophical thought emerge, Islam will remain Islam - the upright, eternal religion. None of the principles of materialism and dark atheist beliefs will be able to conceal the brilliant light of Islam and its congenital teaching. The felicity of man, desperate for truth and freedom is in turning towards Islam... This was the main topic of discussion in the book, al-Rahlah al-Madrassiyah. Considering its importance in discussing theological, philosophical, and Islamic topic and the explanation that it provides on the philosophy of the creation of the universe and the wonders of creation as well as its amazing creatures, this book has attracted the attention of a large number of research scholars and has been translated into several languages. In this way Shaykh Balaghi has discussed monotheist thought in his writings and has proved the belief in trinity as invalid. His great jihad is by the power of his pen and with a simple and humble style and without any harshness, in a literary manner with high and pure ethical principles. It appears that Balaghi has always kept this saying in mind as his operative principle: The one who argues with you is like you.(10)
The personality of this great Divine scholar can be studied from several aspects. All these aspects can serve as lessons for others and for the young students of theology, in particular. We shall refer to some of these here under.
A. Knowledge of Literature:
In my book, Adabiyyat wa Ta'ahhud dar Islam (Literature and Commitment in Islam), I have discussed the importance of literature and have explained why it is important for religious scholars and students to be well-versed in this field of learning. I have also mentioned that the flag bearers of Islamic culture who intended to protect this culture and pass it onto others must be well informed in the fields of literature, poetry, and literary thought and criticism.
I would now say that one of the important aspects of the personality of this religious scholar - like all other true renowned Islamic scholars - has been the literary of his personality. All those who have written his biography have verified this fact. Tawfiq al-Fukayki, too, has offered an explanatory note on the high position of Shaykh Balaghi in the field of literature and has quoted some of his poems, including his famous qasidah (panegyric) which comprises 109 couplets.
This qasidah was composed in response to a controversial qasidah, penned by a denizen of Baghdad on the Awaited Imam of the Age - al-Mahdi - (the 12th Imam who is currently in occultation - may Allah hasten his return), in which Balaghi proves the existence of the Awaited Imam (A.S.).
It has been said that Balaghi stayed on in Baghdad for a long time and learnt Arabic literature beyond of what is normally taught as part of the hawzah curricula.
B. Knowledge of Languages:
The biographers of the life of Shaykh Blaghi have mentioned that he was well-versed in the English and the Hebrew languages and that he had also written a book in English on wuzu (ablution),salat (formal prayers), and siyam (fasting) which has also been published. It is important to note that in those days it was rare to find anyone well-versed enough in these two languages to be able to teach them. The Shaykh managed to learn these two languages to the extent of being able to understand them fully and to be able to write books in the English language? It is not known how he learnt the English language but we do know that he learnt Hebrew from the Jews in Baghdad.
In those days, there were some groups of Jews living in the different cities of Iraq who carried goods like fabrics on their backs and sold them on the streets and in the bazaars. Balaghi made use of this opportunity and asked them questions about Hebrew grammar. He would sometimes be compelled to buy all the goods of the vendor before he could extract information about a single term or a phrase from him because the Jews are known to be very stingy in teaching their language to others.
C. Love for People:
As a committed Islamic scholar Balaghi tried to beam the light of the Qur'an into the hearts and souls of others and to acquaint them and their thoughts with the everlasting truths of Divine Revelation. He also endeavoured to bring about awareness regarding the poisonous propaganda of the foreign sources, the biased Orientalists, the Christian missionaries, and the treacherous elements, and to deliver the hearts and souls of people from the evil clutches of doubt, skepticism and irreligiousness in order to acquaint one and all with the light of faith and the shining rays of Truth (haqq) and to make them aware of their true spiritual identity.
Yes, he was a great man who, like a candle, burnt himself in order to shed light upon others; he chose to glow in order to enlighten hearts and with his writings spreading warmth to others. He had great respect for his fellow beings, and was at the service of religion and pure learning, besides being a committed guardian of the exalted boundaries of Truth and the spiritual teacher (murshid) to the masses.
D. Knowledge of Other Faiths and Beliefs:
One of the most significant features of the scholarly life of Balaghi was his extensive knowledge about the science of religions. He had striven patiently in order to gain knowledge of the other scriptures and the other false faiths and had then dedicated himself to proving their invalidity in the establishment of truths.
One of the most important duties of Islamic scholars is to have a precise knowledge of other scriptures and faiths in order to be able to pinpoint their defects. These scholars should primarily gain knowledge of the views, the thoughts, and the philosophies of the various schools of thought and should study their books and principles and then illuminate the minds of masses with their findings. Shaykh Balahi's vast knowledge, his literary way of thinking, and his skills in several languages had helped him in this great tasks.
His Ethical Values
True Islamic scholars are the living exemplars of adherence to Islamic laws and manners. The young students of theology, too, should follow in the footsteps of these scholars (past and present) and should mould themselves according to the sublime ethical teachings and manners of the Prophet (S.A.W.). One such great religious scholar who had equipped himself with the lofty Islamic ethical values was Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Balaghi, some of whose virtues we shall refer to here under:
A. Purity of Intention:
Shaykh Balaghi disliked his name from appearing on his books in the manner of ascetical sages who shy away from being in the limelight. His motto was service to the Truth and its defense. The following sentence clearly manifests his truthfulness and the sincerity of his ethical principles. He often said: My sole intention is to serve the cause of Truth and to defend it for the satisfaction of Allah, irrespective of whether the credit goes tome or someone else.(11)
B. Strength of Character:
Another feature of Shaykh Balaghi's personality was his humbleness in the face of criticism. He willingly examined criticism and if necessary accepted his faults or also gracefully and politely rejected the criticism. He did not dislike listening to his critics and opponents like all those great souls who love knowledge and learning and are in search of true understanding and Divine knowledge in order to purify their own souls and to guide others.(12)
Many references have been made to the humbleness of Shaykh Balaghi. It has been said that he performed all his own chores and never accepted help from others for his personal work. He would say: In the religious traditions all those who burden others with their tasks have been cursed.
Balaghi lived in a small and simple room which was devoid of any other furnishing except an ordinary straw mat on which he sat. He did not posses any heating or cooling equipment for the scorching summers and the freezing winters, despite his frailness of health. He never left his room except for necessities.(13)
The Shaykh was very labourious in reading, taking notes, and writing. He was always surrounded with open books and papers with a pen in his hand, either reading, writing, or researching.(14)
1 - Shaykh Aqa Bozorg Tehrani, Tabaqat Alam al-Shi ah.
2 - Mudarris Khiyabani Tabrizi, Muhammad Ali, Rayhanah al-Adab. vol. 1, p.179.
3 - Zirikli, Khayr al-Din, al-A law, vol. 6, p.302.
4 - Rayhanah al-Adab. vol.1,p. 128.
5 - Urdubadi, Muhammad Ali, Ulama Mu'asirin, pp. 162-3.
6 - The book al-Rai'wa al-Ra'iyyah is a commentary on Imam Ali's (A.S.) famous epistle to Malik Ashtar on his appointment as governor of Egypt; Siyasahal-Imam al-Sadiq; and al-Mut ah wa Atharuha fi al-Islah al-Ijtimai.
7 - Ala' al-Rahman, the end part.
8 - Najaf: Matba ah al-Numan, 1382 AH.
9 - Al-Rahlah al-Madrasiyyah, Introduction to 2 prints.
10 - Ibid.
11 - Al-Huda ila al-Mustafa, Introduction: pp. 27-28.
12 - Al-Rahlah al-Madrasiyyah, Introduction: p. 13.
13 - Ibid., p. 6, quoted from one of his disciples.
14 - Ibid.