Tabligh e Islam and the media (internet)

30866 Early Muslim scholars relied upon ‘word of mouth’ to spread the Final Message of Allah and many spent months traveling by horse or camel to share the glad tidings of Islam with others.

The endeavor was enormous, grueling, time-consuming and extremely difficult as extenuating circumstances often interfered with the cause.Tribal wars, unfavorable weather, and poor equipment were just a few of the kinks that often hampered the effort of traveling for the sake of da’wah.

Now fast forward a thousand or so years to our current ‘Internet Age,’ which makes communicating and spreading the message of Islam as fast as the speed of light.

The Internet is the most successful modern-day da’wah tool in the history of Islam. Authentic Islamic information is available with just a few strokes of the keyboard. Translations of the Holy Qur’an are available for download on Islamic Web sites in just about every language known to man.

And every action, word, and deed that Prophet Muhammad and ahlulbayt lived can easily by accessed on the Internet with just a couple of clicks on the mouse.

Boon for newly converted Muslims.

Prior to the Internet it was difficult for new Muslims, or even born Muslims seeking to refresh their Islamic knowledge base, to learn about their faith. They were wholly reliant upon finding Islamic knowledge from books in their native language. However, the pickings were quite scarce.

These days new Muslims, and even non-Muslims interested in learning more about Islam, need only to surf the World Wide Web to learn more about the world’s fastest growing religion. In fact, many new converts to Islam often reveal that the Internet was an integral part of their choice to embrace Islam, as they either met a Muslim online who helped answer their questions or found the information themselves on an Islamic Web site.

As equally as the Internet is a powerful tool for promulgating the message of Islam, so too is it a powerful force for damaging it. The enemies of Islam have constructed their own fake Web sites that are made to look ‘Islamic’ so as to lead Muslims astray. 

Some of these adversaries have created hate-monger Web sites that blatantly attack Islam and Muslims. Extreme caution and common sense must be exercised when relying on the Internet for Islamic knowledge.

Islamic webmasters face a great responsibility in ensuring that all the web content of their Web site adheres strictly to the teachings of the Qur’an and the Prophet.Muslim preachers, many of them volunteers, usually take two to three hours to reach a mosque within their own city to deliver a sermon. That’s why I encourage scholars to spread the word through broader masses through the Web,"

The Media and Its Affect on the Conduct of the Youths

The Media and Its Affect on the Conduct of the Youths.

DSCF1563 In our present world, the means of communication and conveying thoughts and information, has developed rapidly, seeming to travel at the speed of light and sound, and reaches every angle of the world within a few seconds.

There are a great number of institutions, equipment and special devices for mass enlightenment, establishing general opinions and individual resolutions.

In addition, the means of communication and information, like television, radio, internal waves, computers, newspapers, books, magazines...have become the dominant power upon the thoughts and a means of establishing a pattern for conduct.

Therefore, the media contributes in the establishment of political thoughts, as well as, individual positions and thoughts, and it contributes immensely, especially the pictorial type, like, television, cinema, Video, and pornographic magazines, in affecting the general thought and conduct of the people.

The youths - especially at the puberty stage - are active and ready, more than other people, to copy other personalities, and are influenced by the people who appear on the screen of television or cinema.

They are influenced by other people who play a vital role in the political, social and revolutionary arena, as well as, great historical heroes. This is because a youth - whether male or female - is in the stage of building his or her personality. Therefore, he or she needs someone to copy.

Since instinct and desires, especially the sexual instinct, are at their highest peak and putting pressure on the youths, so they are looking for a solution to it, therefore, the media have contributed, immensely, in stirring and arousing the sexual instinct by means of pornographic and seductive films, pictures, stories, as well as, cultures, like the use of guerilla warfare tactics and aggression in films which contribute, a lot, in deviating the youths and teaching them criminal acts. In view of this, some governments are prohibiting the showing of pornographic and guerilla warfare films, often prohibiting the youth from attending the theaters where these films are shown.

The result of the statistics on viewing videos conducted by Dr. Alexander Aldila in Lebanon shows that: "The viewing of social and emotional films wins the first position while detective films win the second position..."(The Role of Communication and Information in a Complete Personality, page 315.)

Another report states that: The studies conducted in the U.S on 110 people in a corrections institute show that 49% of them got the desire of carrying weapons from watching the cinema and 12-21 % of them found the audacity to steal and kill police from the same source.

While the studies conducted on 252 deviated young girls, between the ages of 14-18, shows that 25% of them had sexual relationships as a result of watching pornographic films in the cinema and 41 % of them were led to glamorous ceremonies, night theaters and 54% of them cut school in order to watch films, while 17% of them left their homes as a result of the conflict between them and their family on going to the cinema.

A W.H.O report and, also, a French Judge, about the factors of deviation, say: "I don't have any doubt that some films, especially detective films, play a great, harmful role in most of the cases."

A questionnaire and cross examination on 1344 personalities conducted in Britain on the relationship between the cinema and corruption of children under 16, found that 600 of them answered that there is a relationship between the cinema and children's deviation.

Other studies also show that most of the stealing and robbing, which happens in the West, has an effect from the cinema.(Ali Muhammad Ja'afar, Abdath al-Munharifun, page 81)

At last, it can be concluded that watching emotional films, pornographic and detective films is corrupting people, and furthermore, as scientific studies confirm, the youth at this stage, can be influenced by all this, because he is on the verge of his growth.

From all these statistics, we can deduce that the work of the mass media in the formation of emotions and conduct involving instinct, as well as, copying the role of the heroes, is important.


Youths and Friendship

hhhhhhh Whoever thinks and ponders on Islamic ideology, rules, worships, morals, values and teachings, will surely find it complete without any shortcoming, and it works towards the building of a condusive social atmosphere and joining relationships between the human race. In view of this, it calls to choose friends and companions and form brotherhoods and love relations between the members of the Islamic society.

Islam, after thorough considerations, has, also, enacted laws and fundamentals for arranging and organizing the friendship relationship.

The Holy Qur’an, in different places, talks about friends and friendship.

In this regard, Allah, the Most High, says:”The friends shall on that Day be enemies one to another, except those who guard (against evil).“Holy Qur’an (Adornments 43:67)

And the Day when the unjust one shall bite his hands, saying: O! would that I had taken a way with the Apostle. O woe is me! would that I had not taken such a one for a friend! Certainly he led me astray from the reminder after it had come to me; and Satan fails to aid man.“Holy Qur’an (The Criterion 25:27-29)

In these verses, the Holy Qur’an talks about two types of friends:

1. The good friends are those who benefit their friends and companions through their sincere friendship and call them towards goodness.

2. And the bad friends are those who direct their companions towards evil, corruption and crime, and will change to enemies and are a cause of harm and calamities.

The social facts confirm that bad friends and companions are secret enemies who carry evil and enmity towards their companions. And how many times does a thorough study of crime and experiences disclose aggressive crimes, such as, manslaughter, theft and assaults occurring from the bad friends toward their companions, whether both parties are evil doers or their victims who deceive their friendship.

Therefore, it is necessary for the youths to know the personality of that person and his social, and moral identity and the reasons for his friendship and his personal behavior. They should not choose anyone as a friend unless he is good and can help and lead him towards good, love and security.

The Holy Qur’an warns against such bad friends, as the Almighty’s saying:

Then shall some of them advance to others, questioning each other. A speaker from among them shall say: Surely I had a comrade of mine, who said: What! Are you indeed of those who accept (the truth?) What! When we are dead and have become dust and bones, shall we then be certainly brought to judgement? He shall say: Will you look on? Then He looked down and saw him in the midst of Hell. He shall say: By Allah! You had almost caused me to perish: And had it not been for the favour of my Lord, I would have certainly been among those brought up.

Holy Qur’an (Those Ranged in Ranks 37:50-57)

The Holy Qur’an has outlined how a bad friend will transgress over his companion, and does bad things to him. He will neither protect him nor sacrifice for his friends in times of difficulties, nor will he be faithful for his friendship and brotherhood.

By this explanation, the Holy Qur’an shows that good friends are few in number, and that most of the bad friends oppress their companions. Allah, the Almighty, says:

…and most surely most of the partners act wrongfully towards one another, save those who believe and do good and very few are they…“Holy Qur’an (Suad 38:24)

And surely we will understand Islamic concerns towards social friendship and brotherhood through the deeds of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), because he is the one who founded the system of brotherhood and friendship between the Muhajirin (emigrants) and the Ansar (helpers – People of Medina) and ordered them in his saying: “Make brotherhood for the sake of Allah: Two brothers two brothers; there upon he took the hand of Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) and said: `This is my brother’, then he made a brotherhood between the Muhajirin and Ansar: He made Hamzah a brother to Zaid bin Harith, Ja’afar al-Tayyar to Mu’az bin Jabal, Abu bakr to Kharijah bin Zuhair and…etc.'”(Sirat ibn Hisham, vol. 2, page. 150.)

And, thus, he established brotherhood among his companions. The religious scholars have outlined the social and ideological aims of this brotherhood. As-Sahili said:

“The Prophet (s.a.w.) had established brotherhood among his companions when they reached Medina, so as to wipe away the painfulness of being strangers and as a relief for them from the sorrow of separation from their families and relatives and to join the strength of each other…”(Footnote of sirat ibn Hisham, vol. 2 page 150)

In one of his sermons, Imam Ali (a.s) recommended the choosing of brothers, where he said:

“I am enjoining you (to choose) brothers, because they are the instruments of this world, as well as, the Hereafter; do you not hear the saying of the dwellers of hell: `We have no intercessor and, likewise, not a good companion.”(al-Tabari, Mishkat-ul Anwar, page 187. 1385 A.H. edition.)

Imam Ja’far bin Muhammad as-Sadiq (a.s.) also talks on the importance of brotherhood and friendship, when he says: “A servant will not be a brother for Allah’s sake except for that he has a place in Paradise.”(Ibid, page 188)

From these teachings and social guidelines, we can understand the value of friendship and brotherhood in its meaning and foundations.

Islam sees man as a social being in his nature, who has social instinct and harmony in his self, and hates isolation and loneliness.

Because the condition of isolation and introversion is harmful for the individual, his social and psychological conditions and human life in its nature, especially in our present era, witnesses continuous human activity.

Hence, man starts intermingling with others from the beginning of the stage of childhood. A child, in the beginning of his life, starts to intermingle with other small children in kindergarten and primary school and with the children in his neighborhood.

And in the youth and puberty stage, the social instinct grows and the social effects increase, and push a youth toward the formation of relationship and friendship with others, as well as, joining political and social groups and, likewise, sports and work clubs…etc. He also intermingles with others in schools, universities and districts, thereby he chooses friends and companions as an impulse of his social nature.

This friendship and companionship has its own psychological impulse and effect on the psychological condition and behavior, as well as, on the individual’s future and his thoughts in life. It may also possess negative effects which will direct the youth toward evil, deviation and calamity which has no solution, and it has its own positive results on the individual and his mode of life if such a social instinct and having relationship with friends, is directed in a good manner, like the intermingling of a young man with friends having good and right behavior or a young girl with other good and righteous girls.

A man gains from others, especially in this stage, and be influenced by them, as they also gain from him and are influenced by him even though the rate of the influence depends on the individual’s power and the capability of acceptance.

It can be said that the impulses of friendship, in the youth and puberty stage, can be seen in:

1. Occupying the psychological vacuum, and a cure for the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) outlined the role of friendship and companionship in solving this psychological problem, when he said: “If one lives in the state of distress, he should inform his brother, and should not depend on his self.”(Ibid, chapter for, part one – Choosing brothers, page 186, 1385 A.H. edition)

2. Exchanging the feelings of love and affection. Because a man, in this stage, has a great capability of sentiment, therefore, he is in need of such feelings of others’ love toward himself and his love toward others and disclosing what is in his mind and self. Disclosing secrets is a dangerous issue, and, although, it is necessary for him, whatever the stage of his confidence with others, he should hide his most important secrets. However, love in Islam depends on the basis of loyalty and allegiance, pure conduct and spritual relation.

In this regard, Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) summarises the greatness of love in Islam, when he says:

“Is there anything in religion other than love that Allah, the Most High, says: `If you love Allah, then follow Me, Allah will love you.'”(al-Majlisi, Bhar-ul Anwar, vol. 69, page 237.)

Hence, Islam regards love and mutual harmony as an introduction to good and righteousness in mankind.

3. Feeling of the neccessity of mutual cooperation with others, and living together with them. Indeed, the feeling for the need of others and cooperating with them in life’s problems, is a major issue in man’s life, and which will occupy himself, whether he feels it or not.

However, choosing friends and companions, is among the sources of satisfying this psychological need, therefore, man needs the help of others, materially and spiritually. The existence of brothers and friends plays a great role in solving the material and spiritual problems, because so often, friends return to their friends and companions in order to rescue themselves from their own calamities, as well as, solving their problems.

Surely, Islam has urged (mankind) toward solving others’ needs, helping them and cooperating with them. Allah, the Most High says:

…and help one another in goodness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and aggression;…“Holy Qur’an (The Table Spread 5:2)

This verse explains that bad friends are those who cooperate in the committing of crimes and wrongdoing and prohibits this, then, it calls for the cooperation in good things and righteousness. Indeed, satisfying others’ needs is among the greatest evidence and proof of good and righteousness. It is reported from Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) that: “Whoever strives toward satisfying his brother’s need is like the one who performs circumbulation around Safa and Marwa.”(Ibid, vol. 78, page 281)

All Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.



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10 useless matters

There are 10 useless matters:

1. Knowledge that is not acted on.

2. The deed that has neither sincerity nor is based on following the righteous examples of others.

3. Money that is hoarded, as the owner neither enjoys it during this life, nor obtains any reward for it in the hereafter.

4. The heart that is empty of love and longing for Allah Almighty, and of seeking closeness to Him.

5. A body that does not obey and serve Allah Almighty.

6. Loving Allah Almighty without following His orders or seeking His pleasure.

7. Time that is not spent in expiating sins or seizing opportunities to do good.

8. A mind that thinks about useless matters.

9. Serving those who do not bring you close to Allah, nor benefit you in your life.

10. Hoping and fearing whoever is under the authority of Allah and in His hand, while he cannot bring any benefit or harm to himself, neither death, nor life, nor can he resurrect himself.

However, the greater of these matters are wasting the heart and wasting time. Wasting the heart is done by preferring this worldly life over the hereafter, and wasting time is done by having incessant hope. Destruction occurs by following one’s desires and having incessant hope, while all goodness is found in following the true path and preparing oneself to meet Allah.

How strange it is that when a servant of Allah has a (worldly) problem, he seeks help of Allah, but he never asks Allah to cure his heart before it dies of ignorance, neglect, fulfilling one’s desires and being involved in innovations. Indeed, when the heart dies, he will never feel the significance or impact of his sins

Ayatullah Behjat and 3 Spiritual Advices

Ayatullah Behjat on ‘The Value of Contemplation and Thought

Agha Shahi remarks:
“Ayatullah Behjat is constantly stressing the importance of controlling one’s tongue and maintaining silence.
He would say, “We must control our speech. We should spend 23 hours of the day in contemplation and thought, and only one hour in speech; in fact, often even that is too much.’

Being in a State of Constant Dhikr


Ayatullah Behjat often advises his students to inculcate the habit of being da’im al-dhikr, i.e. remaining in constant remembrance of Allah swt.
He has said, “Someone who is constantly in dhikr, will always perceive himself in the presence of Allah swt and will be continuously communicating with Him.”

For those who want to combat waswasa, (constant suspicion of the motives of others), he recommends highly to continually recite the “tahlil”, which is the dhikr, “La Ilaha Illallah”.
Another great contemporary scholar, Ayt. Hasan Hasanzadeh Amuli has remarked that tahlil is al-dhikr-al-khafi (secret dhikr); i.e. it can be constantly repeated without anyone else being aware of what you are doing, because this dhikr can be pronounced without even moving the lips, unlike other dhikrs like “Subhanallah” or Alhamdulillah”!

Ayatullah Behjat on ‘The Secret of Salaat’

Ayat Behjat has said:
“Namaz (Salaat) symbolizes the Ka’ba.

The Takbirarut’l Ihram stands for casting aside everything other than Allah swt and entering His haram (sanctuary). 

The Qiyam represents a conversation between two friends

The Ruku’ symbolizes the bowing of a slave in front of his master and

the Sajdah is the ultimate display of lowliness, humility and helplessness in front of the Master. 

And when the slave returns from such a Namaz, the souvenir he brings back is the greeting of peace (salaam) from his Lord…”

Grand Ayatullah Mohamed Taqi Behjat (R.A.)

Grand Ayatullah Mohamed Taqi Behjat (R.A.)

The Godly Scholar – Alim-e-Rabbani of our times

Prepared & Translated by Shaikh Abbas Jaffer

A film on his leading prayer & weeping is


Biography & Studies 

Grand Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Behjat Fumani was born into a religious and pious family in the year 1334AH (1915CE) in Fuman in North Iran.  He lost his mother before he was 2 years old.  About his father, Mahmood Behjat, family members relate an interesting event. 

When his father was around 16-17 years of age, he fell seriously ill and they thought he would not survive.  When the relatives gathered around this young man, one of the family members heard a voice saying, “Do not worry, he will be fine, because he is going to be the father of Muhammad Taqi.”   After this event, the youth soon recovered from his illness, got married a few years later and had several sons.  He named his third son Muhammad Taqi in memory of the event of his childhood.  However, in infancy, this child fell into a pond and was drowned. He had one more son after him, and he also named him Muhammad Taqi.  This last son grew up to be the great scholar and ‘arif, Ayatullah Behjat.

His father was a reciter of marsiyas and he would often take the young Agha Behjat with him to his recitals, thus inculcating in him a deep and abiding love for Sayyid al-Shuhada (A.S.). 


From a young age he showed signs of genius and a great thirst for acquiring knowledge.  After his primary studies, he went straight into religious studies, and at the age of 14, he moved to Kerbala.  Four years later he came to the famous seminary of Najaf, where he had an opportunity to study under some of the best teachers and scholars in the Muslim world.  He studied Usul under Grand Ayatullahs Abu’l Hasan Isfahani, Mirza Na’ini and Shaykh Muhammad Hasan Gharawi Isfahani (known as Kumpani), and Fiqh under Ayatullah Mirza Muhammad Taqi Shirazi. He studied the philosophical texts of Ibn Sina and Mulla  Sadra under Ayt. S.  Hasan Badkubeyi.

At the same time as attending the intermediate and higher levels of religious studies, he was very meticulous in his pursuit of spiritual and mystical instruction.  In this regard, his teachers were Ayatullah Muhammad Hasan Isfahani and Ayatullah Sayyid Abdu’l Ghaffar, and finally, the Godly scholar, the matchless instructor, the giant amongst spiritual masters, Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Qadhi Tabataba’i.  He remained with his last teacher for many years, learning from him the secrets of the higher paths of Akhlaq and ‘Irfan.


15 years later, he returned to Iran and settled in Qum.  Here, in the company of Ayatullah Khomeini, Ayatullah Gulpaygani and other great future figures, he continued his studies under Grand Ayatullah Burujerdi.


His Character and Qualities


1. Piety and Self-Building

From his youth, Agha Behjat was constantly engaged in self-purification and self-building.  In his ethical instructions, he always insists that one should work hard at this task and forego and abandon many luxuries in order to make headway against the endless demands of the soul. 


He is of the opinion that in order to succeed in this jihad al-akbar, ethical purity (akhlaq) and knowledge (‘ilm) go hand in hand.  In fact he considers knowledge without self-purification, to be the more damaging than anything else.   His famous advice to youths is ‘to read and practise one hadith daily from the Chapter of Jihad al-nafs in Wasail al-Shi’a of Shaykh Hurr al-Amili.[1]


By his deeds and words, this great scholar has always directed himself to God alone.  A great mujtahid has said about Agha Behjat, “It cannot be just said about him that he is a man of piety; in fact he is the true essence and manifestation of taqwa.”


Ayatullah Shaykh Javad Kerbalayi says about him, “One of his close students (in Najaf) reports that every night, or in fact at most times, Agha Behjat sits alone, deep in thought and contemplation.  He never wastes a moment of his time, and does not participate in vain gatherings. When the time comes for his class, or his ziyarat of Amirul Mu’mineen (A), he gets up abruptly, puts on his cloak and leaves the house without interfering in the activities of others. He is extremely reserved and does not like to reveal anything about himself, especially about the special favours and extraordinary spiritual powers that God has granted him.”


2. His Asceticism (Zuhd) and Simple Lifestyle

The close servants of God always look at the reality of this world, contrary to other human beings whose eyes are fixed on its pleasures and luxuries. By foregoing material comforts, they attain spiritual strength, and while the rest of the people stumble in this dark world, these awliya soar in the illuminated heights in proximity to God.


Agha Behjat is one of the most glowing examples of these awliya in our times.  He is a mystic and scholar who has always lived a simple life, without the remotest material attachments.  He has understood more completely than others the reality of this world and the worthlessness of its pleasures.


He lives in a simple, small and old house and has resisted the many offers from relatives and well-wishers to move to more comfortable accommodation. Ayatullah Misbah says, “For many years, he has lived in a rented house with two rooms. One of the rooms has a curtain, which he would draw when we would visit him. On the other side of the curtain his family would carry on with their household chores. We would sit on one side of this curtain and benefit greatly from his wisdom. Although simple, the atmosphere was always full of a special nur and spirituality…”


Ayatullah Mas’udi says, “Many times people would sincerely offer to purchase a better house for him, but he would not agree.  I myself told him, “Agha! This house is damaged, I doubt if even the sharia allows for a man to live in this sort of accommodation!”, but he would not pay any attention.”.


3. His Worship

Agha Behjat’s students report that he has a special closeness to God, that is immediately evident in his manner of worship.  Those who have prayed behind him have described it ‘as a spiritually uplifting and unique experience’. In fact, the Fatimiyyah mosque at the end of the Guzarkhan market, where he has led prayers three times a day for the last 40 years, is always full at prayer time.  High ranking scholars make a special effort to come and pray behind him.  Allamah Tabataba’i would come here to pray.  Almost as soon as Agha Behjat begins his prayer, tears flow from his eyes – frequently he has to pause because his voice is choked with emotion – such is his awe in God’s presence.


One of the scholars remarks, “In the early days, Agha Behjat would go to the undeveloped part of Qum, past some farms, and recite his evening prayers with some companions in that remote location.  One day, after the maghribain prayers, he commented, “If only the kings of this world realised how much pleasure a servant experiences in worship, they would never even glance at the worldly delights…”

Ayatullah Shaykh Javad Kerbalayi says, “Agha Behjat never misses his late night prayers (namaze-shab) and spends a long time weeping in the middle of the night, especially on the night preceding Friday.”


A scholar reports, “I came upon him one Thurday night in Madressay-e-Sayyid in Najaf. I saw him weeping and crying in prostration. He was repeating in a broken voice over and over, “Ilahi! Man li ghayruk, asaluhu kashfa dhurri, wan-nazara fi amri?! (My Lord! Who have I got besides You, Who I can ask for relief and support?)”.


4. His Ziyarat and Tawassul (Saluting the Ahlul Bayt (A.S.)

Despite his advanced years, the daily routine of Agha Behjat has remained unchanged.  Early every morning (exactly at 7.00am), he presents himself at the shrine of Lady Fatima Masuma (A.S.) to pay his respects and send salutations.  With the greatest of humility, he stands near her Zarih, and recites the Ziyarate Ashura of Imam Husain (A.S.).


Sayyid Muhammad Husein Tehrani, in his book, Anwar al-Malakut, quotes Ayatullah Shaykh Abbas Quchani, the great scholar and spiritual successor of the famous Mirza Ali Qadhi Tabataba’i, as narrating: “While he was in Najaf, Agha Behjat would often go to Masjid-e Sahlah and spend whole nights alone there in worship and contemplation.  On one very dark night, when the lights in the mosque were not lit either, he needed to go out to refresh his wudhu. 


He went out of the mosque towards the wudhu area to the east of the mosque.  Suddenly he experienced some anxiety and fear, perhaps due to the total darkness.  Immediately, a light appeared next to him, by which he could clearly see his way.  This light accompanied him while he went out, made wudhu and returned to his place in the mosque. Then it disappeared.”.


5. His humbleness

One of his noticeable traits is his humbleness and simplicity, despite his fame and status as a leading contemporary scholar and jurist.  For many years he had refused to print his religious edicts (tawdhih al-masail) and he only agreed after much pressure. When he is scheduled to lecture he requests that his name not be mentioned as the lecturer.


A scholar reports, “Once I went with my guest, Shaykh Nasrullah Lahuthi, to visit Agha Behjat. Agha Lahuthi said to his teacher, “Agha! I was in Mashhad and someone was criticising you, and I became very annoyed.”  Agha Behjat responded, “We have reports in the ahadith, that if a scholar pays too much attention to worldly matters, then he will be criticized by others.”  I remember thinking, “If the way Agha Behjat lives is called “paying too much attention to worldly matters”, then what about us!”


6. His Mystical Wayfaring (sayr wa suluk) and his Spiritual Station

Ayatullah Behjat has many decades of experience in mystical wayfaring, the special journey through established stations that the soul undertakes to attain proximity to God.  He is one of the outstanding pupils of the great master, Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Qadhi Tabataba’i and had received special instructions from his teacher.  Even as a youth, he had passed many stations of the spiritual path.


His elevated rank in these matters is well known by others who travel this path; immediately after the revolution, one of the first scholars that Ayatullah Khomeini visited was Ayatullah Behjat in Qum. Similarly, when Ayatullah Khamene’i assumed the position of Rahbar, he first came to Agha Behjat in Qum for spiritual instructions.


7. His Awareness of the Unseen (Ghayb) and his Wondrous Acts (Karamat)

Unlike the majority of men, who have no idea of the existence or happenings of the unseen world, Ayatullah Behjat has reached a station, by the grace of God, where he frequently witnesses the events that occur in that world.

In fact, a reminder of this ability is his constant repetition of the Divine name “al-Sattaar” – the Concealer. This dhikr and tasbih is constantly on Agha Behjat’s lips, whether he is walking or sitting.  Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi says in this regard, “It seems that he is at the level where he witnesses many things from ghayb. Often he is aware of the real nature and inner secrets of those who sit around him, and he invokes God, who is the Concealer of defects – al-Sattaar al-‘Uyub, so that the secrets of the people around him may be concealed from him.”


This is usually the way of these close servants of God. Their humbleness is such that they would not like to display anything, or do anything, that will bring about even a trace of pride in themselves. And in return for their utter humility, God grants them even greater insight and status.


 There is no doubt in the minds of those who know Agha Behjat well, that he is one of those for whom many secrets are revealed.  Ayatullah Misbah says in this regard, “Those who have been around him for many years have seen things that he has done or said that are truly extraordinary. He sometimes says something that seems quite normal, but on later contemplation, one realises that it was due to some special knowledge that he possessed.


For example, when Imam Khomeini was in exile in Turkey, many of his students would make statements in his defence and get into trouble with the government.  They would be imprisoned and frequently tortured.  I remember distinctly when Agha Jannati was captured and no one knew where he had been taken.  I mentioned it to Agha Behjat, who said, “Inshallah, you will soon inform me of his release.” Of course, some might say this was just a prayer, but in fact, he did not make such statements about every prisoner. Many times we would say, “pray for so and so,” but he would remain silent. Just as he had promised, Agha Jannati was released soon without having been hurt.”


One of his students says, “My wife was expecting a child. It was the month of Ramadhan, and I wanted to go on a journey, so I came to Agha Behjat to say goodbye.   He turned to me and said, “In this month, you will be blessed with a baby boy, name him Muhammad Hasan.”  This is exactly what transpired.”  There are many such episodes that people have related about their encounters with Agha Behjat.


Agha Behjat himself dislikes a lot of fuss made about these episodes but his students occasionally narrate them so the mu’mineen may realise that there exist in our times certain individuals, to whom God has granted special favours. 


Certainly, for the one who sincerely strives in God’s way, then He Himself becomes their guide, “And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways. (Ankabut, 29/69)”


Drinking from the Fountain of the Wisdom of Ayatullah Behjat


In this section we will examine several examples of the advice and replies of Agha Behjat to questions about different matters.


1. How to counter and cure riya (showing off or trying to impress others while engaged in acts of worship)


A student in the Hawza of Qum relates that Agha Behjat was once asked, “Sometimes a person decides to perform a virtuous act sincerely for God, but Shaytan converts his intention and the person starts to think instead about how people will be impressed, how he will become popular, etc., when he performs the act. Are these thoughts counted as riya, and do they nullify his virtuous act and make it worthless?”


Agha Behjat stated in reply, “Riya is only relevant in acts of worship (‘ibadat). And any act of worship that has riya associated with it is a sin, and it makes the act null and void.

However, riya itself can become a counter and cure for riya, by simply changing the focus of who one is trying to impress! If a man can approach a president to sort out his problem directly, would he waste time in trying to convince the president’s servants? In the same manner, if a man has sense, he would raise his sights from the people, and attempt to impress and perfect his actions for God, who is the Creator of man – this attitude would itself become the cure for his riya.”


At another time, he said, “About riya, there is a hadith that says, “Whoever tries to impress the people by his manner of prayers (salat), will be resurrected in the form of a donkey.”  And this is quite true because what can be more donkey-like than a man trying to impress the slaves of God instead of directing his attention to God Himself?! Now, if someone calls us a donkey, we feel insulted, but why should we feel insulted, if night and day our acts resemble those of a donkey?”


2. The conditions necessary to obtain presence of heart and pleasure from acts of worship, especially salat.


One of his students says that Agha Behjat was asked, “Our lives have passed away and we still have not experienced pleasure (halaawa, lazzat) from our worship, especially salat. What is your advice so that we can taste some of the pleasures that our infallible leaders (A) have described?”


The esteemed master replied, “This is something that we would all like to experience!” The student replied, “Please, Agha, you have a high status in these matters, while we are empty-handed. What should we do?” Agha Behjat again gave a modest reply, saying, “Perhaps your own status is one that I envy…”.

However, the student was insistent, and so Agha Behjat replied, “This pleasure that you seek in worship has two prerequisites; one outside salat, and one within salat itself. What is necessary before salat and outside of it is that a person abstains totally from sin, and does not blacken his heart with the disgrace of disobedience, because sin will rob his heart of light. As for the second requirement, within the salat itself a man must create a barrier around himself so that no thought other than the remembrance of God can enter. He must not allow his thoughts to stray away from God even for an instant. [In this manner, you will achieve what you seek.]”


To another scholar who asked a similar question, he responded, “In order to achieve absolute control of one’s thoughts in salat, and to acquire presence of heart, the groundwork must begin outside and prior to salat. One must control one’s fives senses during the day and be careful about what he allows himself to observe, hear, eat etc. This will enable him to achieve presence of mind and heart in salat.”


To a young student, he said in reply to the same question, “Never knowingly let you thoughts drift away from God in salat.”


3  Sincere intention and harmony between knowledge and action


He was asked by a scholar:

“Agha, what should we bear in mind so that our intention in wearing the amamah (turban) is sincere?”


He replied:

“Your criterion in your acts must be Allah swt’s religion. Always ask yourself whether your words and deeds conform with the shari’a or not.  You should make the niyyat that the knowledge (‘ilm) that you possess and will gain in the future, will always be translated into actions.  In other words, there should be perfect harmony between what you know and what you do.  The greatest misfortune is when scholars act without proper knowledge or possess knowledge but do not act upon it. So make a firm resolve that your knowledge and actions will be harmonious.”


Another student reports that Agha said to him about the same matter:

“An ‘alim who does not act on his knowledge is like the candle that illuminates the path for others but itself burns away.”


4. Trust and reliance on Allah swt

Ayatullah Misbah narrates that Agha Behjat once said to him:

“One day I was sitting in my room and could hear the voices in the street outside.  I went out and saw that my neighbour’s son was playing in the street when a beggar approached him saying, “I am a needy person.  Can you please go into your house and get something for me?”

The boy replied, “Why don’t you ask your mother if you want something?”  The beggar said, “I don’t have a mother.  You go and ask your mother to give me something.”


Agha Behjat remarked, “I was struck by this conversation and the innocence of the child who had so much trust and faith in his mother that he felt that she could solve any problem.  And then he said, ‘If only we could develop the same absolute trust and reliance on Allah swt that this child had in his mother. Indeed all our problems would be solved if only we sincerely turned to Him for all our needs!”


5. If we constantly think of Imam-eZamana (A.S.),would he not think of us?


Agha Quddus recalls that he once asked Agha Behjat:

“My presence in the village where I have gone for tableegh was very productive. The people have responded positively, treated me with respect and heeded my religious advice.


However, they are very poor and the money that they give me in the months of Muharram and Ramadhan is very little. In other places where I can go, the public is not so receptive, but they pay more.”

Agha Behjat replied, “If you make an intention to enter into the employment of Imam Mahdi (A.S.), do you imagine that he will not look after you?”


6. Care in narrating traditions

Agha Quddus narrates that once he was recounting his program and tableeghi activities performed during the month of Ramadhan to Agha Behjat and he said:

“I do not go on the pulpit in the day time in the month of Ramadhan and only deliver my talks and lectures at night.”


Agha Behjat asked him why, and he replied, “Because I have some doubts about certain ahadith that I recite and I am afraid that if they are incorrect [then my fasts will become invalid].”


Agha Behjat stated: “Then at night are you certain about these traditions that you feel confident in repeating them?”


Agha Quddus  says: “I realised that he disapproved of my actions and was advising me to be certain of the facts before I repeated them to others.”


7. Tabligh by Action (and not only words)

Hujjatu’l Islam Lutfi says: “One day, after the morning prayers I approached Ayat. Behjat and requested him to give me some advice”.

  He said, “kunu du’atan nasi ilallahi bighayri alsinatikum[2][1] “Call people to Allah swt with something other than your speech.”


I understood that although as a scholar, my responsibility was to engage in tabligh (propagating the faith), Agha wanted to draw my attention that the best tabligh was not that which was delivered from pulpits, but that which was demonstrated by conduct.


8. Staying away from Sin

Ayat. Shaykh Jawad Kerbalai, the great scholar of akhlaq remarks:

“I had a great benefit from the many years that I studied under Ayat. Behjat.  In that time I also witnessed first-hand many of the wondrous gifts that he has been granted. Among his words of wisdom I recall:


He always insisted that no progress could be made without abandoning sin.  He used to say, “The great and special bounties of Allah are available freely to all His true servants, the only requirement is that a person has to qualify for these gifts.  The only way to qualify for these special favours is by abandoning the disobedience of Allah swt.


Of course, there must be some commitment to attain proximity to Allah swt as well. The more a person knows the station of God (attains ma’rifat) and the more he loves Him, the more important it is to avoid every sin, even minor ones and even loss of concentration in His presence in worship.

It is because some servants reach this stage of proximity that it is said, “hasanaatu’l abrar, sayyiatu’l muqarrabeen”, or “the virtuous acts of the righteous people are (only) ordinary acts for the close servants”.”


Once a student who had only recently joined the hawza asked Ayat Behjat:

“I have come to the hawza to attain knowledge.  What should I do so that I can become a proper scholar?”


 Ayat. Behjat lowered his head and remained silent for a while, then he said, “There is no difference between a hawza student and anybody else.  What is important is that he does not commit a sin.”


On another occasion he was asked:“What is the best dhikr (invocation)?”  He replied, “In the opinion of this simple servant, the best dhikr is the dhikr of action!  What I mean is refraining from sinful beliefs (aqida) and sinful conduct (‘amal). Goodness and true success will only come from this way.”


In a letter, he was asked how one could attain proximity to God and also gain closeness to His khalifah, the Imam of our time (AF).   

He replied: “Bismihi ta’ala. Refrain from sin and pray the salat at the exact time.”



9. The Secret of Salaat


Ayat Behjat has said:

Namaz (Salaat) symbolizes the Ka’ba.  The Takbirarut’l Ihram stands for casting aside everything other than Allah swt and entering His haram (sanctuary).  The Qiyam represents a conversation between two friends.  The Ruku’ symbolizes the bowing of a slave in front of his master and the Sajdah is the ultimate display of lowliness, humility and helplessness in front of the Master.  And when the slave returns from such a Namaz, the souvenir he brings back is the greeting of peace (salaam) from his Lord…”


10. Staying Awake at Dawn (Sahr) and in the Night


Ayat. Ahmadi says:

“Ayat Behjat always advised us to stay awake in worship between dawn and sunrise and to rise in the night for prayer, (Namaz-e-Tahajjud/Salaatul Layl).  He even said, “I actually believe that it was through these very two acts that the Prophet (S) acquired his perfect gnosis (ma’rifat) of Allah swt.”


Once I asked him about the hadith of the Imams (A.S.) that “We eagerly await Thursday nights so that the gates of Allah’s mercy are opened. We, the family of the Prophet (SAWW), are blessed with an increase in our knowledge on every Thursday night and every night of Qadr.” 


Ayt. Behjat replied: “Indeed, these are special times when the mercy of Allah swt is especially available.  And one of the best of times is the sahr (dawn).  And he repeated these words “sahr, sahr” several times.”


Ayat. Behjat relates from his teachers that whenever they desired to receive greater favour and understanding from Allah swt, they would take advantage of the solitude, peace and abundant blessings that is available in the depths of the night and at dawn. At these times, one can form a connection with God that is not easily possible at other times.


11. The First Steps in the Journey to God (Sayr Ilallah)


Ayat Behjat has said:

“The first step in the journey towards God and in attaining His proximity is for a servant to realise that he has allowed a gulf to form between himself and his Master. He must ensure at all costs that he does not allow this gulf to widen and this must be his first goal. When he has put that control in place, then he may begin the practices that will gradually draw him closer and closer to his Lord.”


12. The Value of Contemplation and Thought

Agha Shahi remarks:

“Ayat Behjat is constantly stressing the importance of controlling one’s tongue and maintaining silence. He would say, “We must control our speech. We should spend 23 hours of the day in contemplation and thought, and only one hour in speech; in fact, often even that is too much.

13. Being in a State of Constant Dhikr

Ayt. Behjat often advises his students to inculcate the habit of being da’im al-dhikr, i.e. remaining in constant remembrance of Allah swt.  He has said, “Someone who is constantly in dhikr, will always perceive himself in the presence of Allah swt and will be continuously communicating with Him.”


For those who want to combat waswasa, (constant suspicion of the motives of others), he recommends highly to continually recite the “tahlil”, which is the dhikr, La Ilaha Illallah”.


Another great contemporary scholar, Ayt. Hasan Hasanzadeh Amuli has remarked that tahlil is al-dhikr-al-khafi (secret dhikr); i.e. it can be constantly repeated without anyone else being aware of what you are doing, because this dhikr can be pronounced without even moving the lips, unlike other dhikrs like “Subhanallah” or Alhamdulillah”!


14. Not Considering one’s own Virtuous Deeds as ‘Significant’

Ustad Khusrushahi relates: Ayt. Behjat always considers the virtuous deeds and the worship that he performs as insufficient.


He often says, “How good it would be that when a person performs virtuous deeds and acts of worship, he says to himself, “I have done nothing great”, but when he sees the virtuous acts of others, he admires them, thinking, “what a noble deed they have performed.”


The Ustad concludes, “In other words, his advice is to consider one’s own virtuous acts as insignificant, while regarding highly the good deeds of others.”


15. Getting the Seal of Approval of Imam al-Asr (AF)

Ayt Behjat once advised the students of hawza: “We students should constantly be thinking about how we can earn the seal of approval of our master, the Wali al-Asr (AF). 


All students, whether junior or graduates or preachers, should be concerned about how they learn their lessons, what should their attitude be and how they should conduct themselves.


They should continually ask themselves if their attitude, conduct, speech and actions would please their master when they are presented to him and would he approve of them. 


Ayt. Behjat says that: “If this thought is always at the back of our minds, we will never stray in our conduct, speech or deeds.”


16. The Purpose of Higher Islamic Studies

Ayt. Behjat greatly encourages students who are pursuing higher Islamic studies and frequently advises junior students also by saying, “Whenever you learn something new, immediately apply this knowledge to improve your wajib acts and to help you in staying away from sinful acts.  He would remind them of the hadith, “man ‘amila bima ‘alima, warrathahu’llahu ‘ilma ma la ya’lam”, whoever acts on what he knows, Allah swt will teach him what he does not know.[3]


17. It is the Proximity to Allah swt that matter in the end

To senior students, his words are more thought provoking.  One of his students recalls, “I remember once when I was accompanying him from his house to the mosque where he led the prayers.   Ayt Behjat turned to me and asked:  “A student starts with “muqaddamat” (introductory lessons) and then studies the “ma’alim” and “mughni” and then where does he go next?”  I said, “lum’ah”.  He asked, “then what?”  I said, “makasib”.  He asked, “then what?”  I said, “kifayah”.  He asked, “then what?”  I said, “Dars al-kharij”.  He asked, “then what?”  I said, “He attains ijtihad”.  Once again, he asked, “then what?”


The student continues, “This was a great lesson to me. I realised that knowledge itself was not the goal; it was only the means (to achieve the goal) i.e. to gain the proximity of Allah swt.  If at every one of these successive stages, the student did not achieve even a little more proximity to Allah swt, then he has not progressed much at all.”


18. How to Train one’s Soul (Tahdhib al-Nafs)

Once, some hawza students from Lebanon requested Ayt. Behjat for spiritual and akhlaqi (moral) advice. He replied:  “One of the most beneficial actions in these matters is to sit with your fellow students every day and study one hadith from the chapter jihad al-nafs of the book Wasail al-Shi’a of Shaykh Hurr al-Amili.[4] Of course, the hadith must be discussed properly, pondered over carefully and then transformed into action. This will be a spiritual tonic that within one year, will transform an individual in a way that he will himself see the change.”


19. The Status of Supplication (Du’a)

Ayt. Behjat believes that du’a has a very great status and insists that du’a governs the outcome of every stage of our lives.


Ustad Hadawi relates:  “My daughter was very ill and I came to Ayt. Behjat and asked him to pray for her.  He told me, “You yourself recite the following du’a three times every day: “Allahumma ishfiha bi shifaa-ika, wa daawiha bi dawaa-ika, wa ‘aafiha bi ‘aafiyatik” “O Allah, cure her with Your cure, and treat her with Your medicine, and restore her health with Your strength”.  Then, after the third time say: “Bi’l Imami’l-Kazim (A.S.), fa innaha amatuka wa bintu ‘abdik”. “By the sake of Imam al-Kazim (A.S.), for she is your servant, and the daughter of your servant.”


And this concludes the section on this great scholar and close servant of Allah swt (may Allah swt prolong his life, Ameen).

Condensed from “Bargi az Daftar-e Aftaab”, A Leaf from the Book of Radiance (About the Life of Ayatullah Behjat). AJ260106.

[1] This is now translated into English as Combat with the Self, available from ICAS Press.

[2][1] Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 77 – quoting imam al-Sadiq (A).

[3] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 78, p. 189.

[4] This chapter has been translated into English and is available from the Islamic College for Advanced Studies (ICAS) Press, London.



Uswat al-Aarifeen – A Look at the Life of Ayatullah Bahjat  by Yasin Jibouri         Download entire 10 chapters Word zip file

A summary of what has been written about the great gnostic Ayatullah Bahjat. It includes anecdotes from his life, his teachings and the views of others.