In September 1990 in Qum I was privileged to attend the funeral of Ayatullah Syed Shahabuddin al-Mar’ashi. His death plunged the whole Shia world into grief. Ulema followed the coffin with tears streaming down their faces. In every street of Qum the sounds of mourning could be heard. Although the Ayatullah’s house was very near the Haram of Janabe Masuma Qum (A.S.), it still took one and a half hours for the procession to reach the courtyard of the Haram for the recitation of Namaze Mayyit. Thereafter the body of the Ayatullah was transported across the shoulders of the 1.5 million gathered there, and was finally laid to rest with great dignity near his famous library.
In the Syrian trimonthly magazine al-Mawsim, the Ayatullah’s will has been published. A translation of extracts which were addressed to his son Mahmood al-Mar’ashi has been reproduced below. Without doubt these words are not only those of a father for his son but serve for us as a reminder as well. Allah (S.W.T.) says “Inna zikra tanfaul mu’mineen”; Verily reminders are valuable for the believers.
I advise my son,
1. Always remain ready to serve the religion of Islam and strive in the defence of Truth. Today the religion of Islam is crying, “Hal min Nasirin Yansuruni, hal min Zaabbin Yazubbu ‘Anni?”; “Is there a helper who will come to my aid, is there a saviour who will come to my rescue?” O my son, in this age there are very few who answer this plea from Islam, and may Allah reward the few that there are.
2. Always ponder deeply over the verses of the Holy Qur’an and follow the advice and instructions contained therein. Visit the graves frequently and think, “where were these people yesterday, what were they, how were they and where have they come today.” Do not sit and indulge in vain and useless gatherings. There are few gatherings today where gossip, slander and lies are not present, rather they do not exist. Refrain from excessive attachment to this world.
3. Maintain good relations with your close relatives because by this act you will gain inspiration to do good and earn blessings and an increase in your means and life-span.
4. Always refrain from backbiting of the servants of Allah, and especially remain aloof from gossip about the Ulamae Deen, because that is like eating poisoned meat
5. Remain engrossed in the learning of religious knowledge. Continue to progress in it everyday and remain busy in spreading it all the time.
6. O my son, make a habit of reciting everyday, after Namaze Subh, Surae Yasin once. After Namaze Zuhr, recite Surae Naba, after Namaze Asr recite Surae Asr, after Namaze Maghrib Surae Waaqia and after Namaze Isha recite Surae Mulk. In this practice there are amazing gains. My teachers advised me to this and I have seen its blessing more than once.
7. In the Qunoot of Wajib Namaz always recite this du’a.
“Allahuma Inni Asaluka bi Hakki Fatimata wa Abiha wa Ba’liha wa Baniha wa Sirril Mustawdai Fiha an Tusaaali ala Muhammadin wa aali Muhammad. Wa an Taf’al bi Ma Anta Ahlu wa la Taf’al bu Ma Ana Ahlul.” This du’a was taught to me both by my father as well as my teacher Jamalus Salikeen Shaykh Muhammad Husein Shirazi. He has narrated this authentic hadith from Sayyid Murtadha Kashmiri Rizvi by Ibne Tawoos from The Holy Imams (A.S.)
8. O my son, in the Rukuu, especially of the last rakaat, after Zikr recite salawaat in this way: “Allahumma Sali Ala Muhammadin wa aali Muhammad wa Taraham ala Aajizna wa Aghisna Bihakkihim.”
9. Always recite the Tasbih of our wronged grandmother Fatima Zahra (A.S.). That Tasbih is not only for recitation after Namaz, but it should be recited all the time.
10. O son, there is a memorable speech by Sayyidae Tahira, Bibi Fatima (A.S.) which she gave in Masjide Nabawi in front of the Ummah. Even the Ulema and proficient linguists have failed to understand it fully. Think deeply about her words and try to understand them.
11. Study the famous sermon of Amirul Mu’mineen, Sayyidul Mazlumeen (A.S.) called Shikshikiyyah.
12. I stress to you to never abandon the Namaze Shab. Do Istighfaar in the early mornings.
13. Be gentle and merciful to the poor and needy, and especially take care of the Sadaat and students of Islam.
14. Avail yourself of the blessings of the Ziyarat of the Holy Ahlul Bayt (A.S.). Reach the places where they are buried and after reciting salutations, repent and ask du’a – in these actions there is untold benefits.
15. O my son, regard your life time as precious and do not waste it on useless talks. Allah (S.W.T.) is displeased with a young man who wastes his time.
16. I have gathered the earth from the graves of Ahlul Bayt (A.S.), the Holy Imams (A.S.), their children, their companions and Ulema in a small bag. Bury it in my grave with me, so that I am blessed.
17. Also put in my grave the black clothes I use to wear in the grief-ridden remembrance of the suffering of the children of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W.) during the months of Muharram and Safar.
18. After shrouding me, place on my chest the handkerchief with which I used to wipe my tears in mourning my grandfather Husein (A.S.)
19. O my son, always remain in a state of purity. By that act the soul of a person remains content and is free from grief.
20. After my death, perform the Haj and Ziyarat of the grave of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W.) on my behalf. All my life I longed to do this but due to hardship I could not go. Similarly, in Iraq visit the sacred places on my behalf. For both these good acts I do not have anything except a few books. I hope my children will pay from their own wealth and do this kindness to me. My Lord is a witness that I do not have an inch of land, nor any wealth of any sort.
21. O my son, if possible, use some of your wealth as Radde Mazaalim on my behalf, in case I have any dues outstanding.
22. O my son, every Thursday night, ask someone to come to the side of my grave and recite about the suffering of Imam Husein (A.S.)
23. When my bier is carried, announce to the people that if I owe anything to anyone he should forgive me before I am buried.
24. Every Thursday night my sons should come to my grave and recite the Holy Qur’an and listen to the remembrance of Imam Husein (A.S.)
25. The Tasbih, made from the earth of Kerbala, with which I used to recite my Istighfaar should be buried with me.
This will is by Allah’s worthless slave, servant of the knowledge of the Ahlul Bayt (A.S.), Abul Ma’ali Shahabuddin al Huseini al Mar’ashi an-Najafi, written today the 20th Rabiul Akhar 1398 A.H. in Mashade Hadhrat Masuma Fatema binte Musa ibne Ja’far (A.S.). I pray for Allah’s forgiveness.