Allamah Sayed Mahdi Bahrul Uloom(r.a.)
He expired in 1212 A.H. he was buried next to the shrine of Shaikh Tusi (r.a.).
source http://almuntazar. com/
Allah has always been more merciful to His servants. After their creation, they were not left on their own; rather He sent several guides for their guidance. Even today, despite the occultation of Hazrat Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.), He has ensured that the course of guidance is not disrupted. He has made a provision to the effect that some select persons are associated with the Holy Imam (a..s.) who then provide the essential guidance to the people at large. It will not be an exaggeration to state that these select personalities can easily be regarded as Hazrat Salman (r.a.) and Hazrat Abuzar (r.a.) of the modern world. In this period it is through these chosen men that Allah has conveyed the knowledge of the Holy Imams (a.s.) to the people.
Birth and early life
He was named Mahdi and his father was Sayed Murtuza Tabatabai Burujardi (r.a.). His lineage can be traced to Ibrahim (who was known as Tabataba), a descendant of Hasan Mussanna who was from the progeny of Hazrat Imam Hasan Mujtaba (a.s.).
(Aa'yaanush Shia by Sayed Mohsin Ameen, Vol. 48, pg. 164)
Allamah Sayed Bahrul Uloom was born in
Allamah received his training and education from his father and other veteran scholars and jurists of the era. The formative four years were spent in learning Arabic grammar Sarf-Nahv, literature, logic, fiqh and Usool. Subsequently, Allamah attended the discourses of Ayatullah Waheed Bahbahaani (r.a.) and Shaikh Yusuf Bahrani (r.a.). In the next five years, Allamah managed to make the grade for Ijtehaad.
Books and Compilations
Allamah has written innumerable books which are replete with the gems of knowledge and wisdom. We mention some of them here:
(Foqaha-e-Naader Shia, pg. 1295 by Abdur Rahim Aqiqi Bakshaishi pub. by Kitab Khanae Ayatullah Mar'ashi)
The title of 'Bahrul Uloom' was a gift of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.)
Allamah Sayed Bahrul Uloom was a Shia scholar of prominent repute. Allamah's contribution and service to the religion is accepted by all. Shiaism became synonymous with his eminent personality and spread wherever he went. All these evident and hidden excellencies were undoubtedly due to the benign endowment of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) on him.
Mirza Abul Qasim Qummi (r.a.) writes that he used to
accompany Allamah to the lectures of Agha Baqir Bahbahaani (r.a.).
They both used to intensively debate and discuss the discourses of
Aghae Bahbahaani. At the time, Allamah used to be benefited by
Mirza's knowledge and perspective. Then Mirza writes that he had to
stay back in
Mirza writes,"I was stunned because I thought that Allamah was not capable of such an indepth knowledge and understanding. How did he manage to achieve this?"
Later, Mirza traveled to Najaf and happened to meet Allamah. Mirza observed that the number of students who attended the lectures of Allamah was easily over 100. During the question and answer sessions, Mirza was further surprised to see Allamah's command over theology and concepts, it was then that he conceded that Allamah truly deserves the title of 'the pillar of knowledge' and 'Bahrul Uloom' (the ocean of knowledge).
Once when Mirza got an opportunity to meet Allamah in private, Mirza got straight to the point and told Allamah in as many words that when they both used to attend the lectures Allamah was not so well versed with the knowledge and he rather learnt lot of concepts from the discussions with Mirza. Then how come he managed to attain such prestigious position despite he being not such a brilliant student, Mirza asked.
Allamah replied to this in an enigmatic manner, "Mirza Abul Qasim the answer to your question is actually a secret. And I will let you in on this secret only on one condition that you will not disclose it to anyone in my lifetime."
When Mirza promised that he would be steadfast in keeping the secret, then Allamah began his narration. "It happened one fine evening in Masjid Kufa when Hazrat Wali Asr (a.t.f.s.) embraced me."
Mirza was taken aback at the revelation. Not able to hold back his curiosity, he asked "How come?"
"One evening I saw my Master Hazrat Wali Asr (a.t.f.s.) busy in prayers in Masjid-e- Kufa. I approached him and saluted him. He replied to my salutations and asked me to come closer. I went closer. He said come further close to me. I went closer to him. I managed to inch nearer to him. He said come close." Allamah continued, "I went so close to him that he embraced me and hugged me tightly. After that whatever Allah wished it got transferred to my heart."
The eminent scholars and researchers were pleasantly surprised by the divinely blessed knowledge of Bahrul Uloom which was directly bestowed on him by none other than Hazrat Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.). Allamah stayed in Mashad for seven years. Once he visited the martyred teacher Mirza Mahdi Isfahani (r.a.).
The eminent teacher was left speechless and astonished with Allamah's indepth knowledge and command over the subjects. It was then that he addressed him thus:
"Certainly thou art the ocean of knowledge".
The author of Rauzaatul Jannaat, Ayatullah al Uzma Meer Sayed Mohammad Baqir Khwansaari (r.a.), who is enumerated among the top scholars, writes about Allamah's title of Bahrul Uloom:
"It is sufficient for the prestige of Sayed that none before him or after him will be honored with the title of Bahrul Uloom."
The satisfaction of Hazrat Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.)
One of the basic responsibilities of the Shias is to
earn his satisfaction. Allamah's life was the perfect embodiment of
this responsibility. A glance at the life of Allamah shows that the
cause of his elevated status was actually his persistent endeavors
to please Hazrat Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) through various efforts
throughout his life which included spending money in the name of
Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.), organizing gatherings for discussions on
him, propagate his name, publishing and distribution of the books
which were written on Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.), also helping the
Sayeds and other believers. One of the ways of helping Imam-e-Zamana
(a.t.f.s.) is providing assistance and pleasant interaction with the
believers. As it is mentioned in Majmaul
"Equality of brothers is their participation and partnership in sustenance and livelihood."
Allamah remained involved in almost all the stages of lives of people, whether those were mundane issues or serious matters. So much so that he was invariably helpful to everyone which is a source of delight for Hazrat Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.). Allamah's generosity was not just limited to his friends and associates, in fact he was also extremely compassionate and magnanimous with the destitute and paupers. Following the example of Imam Zainul Abedin (a.s.), Allamah used to leave home in the dead of night with a heavy bag full of food packets and eatables on his shoulder. Allamah distributed the food among the needy and starving, with overwhelming grace and affection.
The stint at
As per the instructions from Hazrat Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.),
Allamah stayed in
According to scholars in these two years, Allamah also stipulated the essential tenets and precepts of Hajj.
The primary reason for being the main executive of Imam-e-Zamana's (a.t.f.s.) assignments and significant tasks was the spiritual purity of Allamah.
Allamah Sayed Mohsin Ameen (r.a.) writes:
"During Allamah's stint at
These signs have survived even after the death of Allamah and they immensely benefit the people. For instance Allamah promulgated the limit for Mawaqeet and Ehraam as also rituals for Muzdalfa. These spots were until then undiscovered, which were made public by Allamah.
(Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) and Allamah Sayed Mahdi Bahrul Uloom (r.a.), pg. 106 by Sayed Jaafar Rafi'ee)
Thus those Hajj rituals and obligations which we perform today were actually facilitated by Allamah. This also clearly indicates that in the era of the major Occultation, Imam (a.s.) guides us in the similar manner as other Imams (a.s.) had done during their tenure.
Some more anecdotes of meeting with Imam (a.s.)
Meeting in the Cellar
Janab Muhaddise Noori (r.a.) writes that the reliable
researcher and scholar, Sayed
"I and Allamah had left together for the Ziarat of Saamarra. Allamah used to sleep alone in his tent, while my tent was adjacent to his, which made it easier for me to spend days and nights in the company of Allamah. Those were the days when people used to gather around Allamah and spend hours with him. At times, the discussions continued until late night.
One night as usual, there was a crowd of people around Allamah. But it seemed that Allamah was weary of the crowd and desired privacy. He stopped talking and the gathering dispersed, I was the only person who remained with him.. Allamah then asked me to leave. Although I left, I remained concerned about Allamah's wellbeing. I could not sleep. After a while, I left my tent surreptitiously and looked at Allamah's tent. I saw the door was closed.. Then I peeped through ventilator, I saw the room was vacant and the lamp was burning. Then I realized that he is not on his bed. I entered his tent but did not find him. Then I stepped out of the tent barefoot and began searching for him discreetly. I reached the sacred portico of the shrine and saw that the doors of Hazrat Imam Askari (a.s.) and Hazrat Imam Naqi's (a.s.) shrines were closed.
I returned and began looking for him in the neighborhood of the shrine. But he was nowhere to be found. I came back to the portico and moved towards the Cellar, where to my relief I found that the doors were open. I began descending the stairs of the cellar quietly. As I entered the Cellar, I heard muffled sounds of conversation, though I could not figure out what the conversation was about.
Even as I descended a few more stairs, when Allamah suddenly raised his voice from the place where he was seated:
"O Sayyed Murtuza what are you doing here? Why did you leave home?"
I was terrified to hear the rebuke of Allamah and stood frozen where I was standing. I thought of returning before giving a reply. On second thoughts, I decided to stay put, as I knew that I could not hide myself when Allamah has already recognized me.
Subsequently, I apologized and came down from the stairs. I saw Allamah was standing alone facing Qibla. There was none else in the Cellar. It was evident that Allamah was in conversation with our Hidden Imam (a.s.)"
(Najmus Saqib, pg. 256; Jannatul Mawa, pg. 228; Darus Salaam of Noori, Vol. 2, pg. 211; Muntahal Aamaal, Vol. 2, pg. 475- 476)
When Allamah kissed the hands of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.)
The great scholar Akhund Mulla Zainul Abedin Salmaasi
(r.a.) who happened to be with Allamah in
"Despite being away from his city and separate from his family, Allamah was a large hearted man. Due to his unabated generosity and kindness, he had nothing left for himself. Incidentally, I went to him on that day as I had nothing for the expenses. I informed him of the situation. However, Allamah remained unresponsive.
Allamah had a habit of going for a circumambulation (tawaf) of Holy Kaaba every morning after which he went to his private chambers. In the meanwhile, I used to bring the smoking pipe for him and he partook it. Then he used to visit other rooms where students from other sects were waiting for the lessons. Allamah used to teach every group according to the tenets of their own sect.
The day after I sought financial help from Allamah as per the routine, I brought the smoking pipe for him after the tawaf. Suddenly someone knocked at the door. The knock made him extremely restless. Allamah handed the smoking pipe back to me and said you may leave and take this with you. After that Allamah rushed to answer the door.
As the door opened, I saw a dignified man dressed in Arabian attire entered and took seat in Allamah's room. While Allamah sat near the door with utmost reverence and humility. He also indicated to me that I should not bring the smoking pipe near him.
They both sat for a while and conversed. The dignified Arab rose to leave, Allamah too hurriedly stood up with him and opened the door for him. At the door, Allamah kissed the hands of the Arab and helped him mount his horse which was tied outside the door. The Arab departed. Allamah returned and came to me with a note in his hands. He instructed me to give it to the money exchanger near the mount of Safa and tell him that the amount is written in the note.
I carried the note to the money dealer at Safa. The dealer saw the note, kissed it and touched it to his eyes. Turning towards me, he asked me to get four workers. I got four porters. The dealer looked at the men and as per their physical strength filled French Francs (which was the local currency in those days) in the sacks and loaded on their shoulder. Each Franc was equivalent to five Iranian Qiraan (Qiraan was in currency before Riyal). The men carried the sacks to my house.
One day I decided to check out the dealer. As I
(Dar Intezaare Khurshide Vilayat, pg. 147)
The mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.)
A great scholar narrated an incident thus: "In 1333 A
H when I was studying in Najaf, I traveled to
I approached the Marja and inquired, 'Do you have any
religious sanction for this action of yours?' The Marja replied:
Late Allamah Bahrul Uloom (r.a.) along with some students was
passing through Taviraj for
The students tried their best to control Allamah's emotions but they failed in calming him down. Then they all made a protective circle around Allamah.
After the maatam some of Allamah's close friends asked him as to what happened that he plunged himself in uncontrolled mourning.
Allamah replied that, "When I went close to the group of mourners, I spotted Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) whose head was uncovered and he was profusely crying and doing Maatam. At this I lost control over myself and joined Imam-e-Zamana (a..t.f.s.) in mourning and maatam on Imam Husain (a.s.)."
Allamah spent his entire life awaiting Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) and searching for him. He expired in 1212 A.H. As per the will of Allamah, Mirza Mahdi Shahrastani led his funeral prayers and he was buried next to the shrine of Shaikh Tusi (r.a.).
It is mentioned in the book Fawaaedur Rejaliyah: "When this great scholar and jurist was being buried, those present heard a call,
"Your grave is among those graves which carries the knowledge of the prophets from Nuh (a.s.) till the end."
Your life was spent in the revival of Islam and with your death, knowledge and honor too died."
Sayyid Jawad Ameli was about to sit down to dinner, when a messenger arrived from his teacher's house and told him to follow him. Sayyid Jawad immediately got up and followed the messenger to his teacher's house, where he saw his teacher sitting with a disapproving look on his face. "Sayyid Jawad!" the teacher said to him. "Have you no fear of Allah?!" Sayyid Jawad was shocked. He tried hard to remember if he had done something recently to incurred his teacher's displeasure. "It is now a week," said the teacher, "and your neighbor and his family are without any wheat or rice." "By God I had no knowledge of this," replied Sayyid Jawad. "That is even worse," his teacher said. "How can seven days pass by, and you know nothing of your neighbor's plight? Indeed, if you had known of this and purposely ignored it, you would not even be a Muslim!" Sayyid Jawad hung his head in shame, but his teacher continued, "Take this food here to your neighbor's house. Eat with him, so he does not feel shame. And place this sum of money under his pillow or carpet for his future expenses. Inform me when this task is done, for unless you do so, I refuse to eat myself!"
A shining beacon of virtue and piety, he was born Sayyid Muhammad Mahdi ibn Sayyid Murtadha Tabatabai in Karbala, Iraq, in 1155 AH. His father was himself a well-known scholar renowned for his piety, and traditions talk about his father having a vision of Imam Ali Ridha (peace be upon him) in his dream giving him a brightly-lit candle, which was supposed to represent the light of knowledge and guidance his son would bring to the world.
He studied in Karbala under his father and several local scholars. In 1186, he traveled to Isfehan, where he studied philosophy under Sayyid Muhammad Mahdi Isfehani, a well-known scholar and philosopher. One day, his teacher was so impressed by his knowledge and intelligence that he remarked, "Truly you are Bahrul Uloom (a sea of knowledge)!" After that occasion, he continued to be known by that title.
Upon returning to Karbala, Sayyid Mahdi continued studying under Shaikh Yusuf Bahrani, a well-known Akhbari scholar. However, like many of his colleagues, he was soon influenced by the lectures of Waheed Behbahani, who spoke in favor of Usuli methodology and the use of reason and intellect rather than the blatant literalism of the Akhbaris. Along with Muhaqqiq al-Naraqi and Shaikh Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita, Sayyid Mahdi soon renounced his former Akhbari ideas and joined Allama Behbahani in his struggle to reestablish Usuli thought.
Upon the demise of his mentor, Sayyid Mahdi was recognized as one of the Religious Authories in the Shia world. He wrote extensively on matters of Ijtihad and jurisprudence, and his Fawaid Rijaliya and Fawaid Usuliya are considered extremely important works on jurisprudence. His students included among the top scholars of the time, including Muhaqqiq al-Naraqi and Shaikh Ja'far Kashif al-Ghita, who, despite being his contemporaries, attended his lectures in recognition of his extensive knowledge. In fact, Shaikh Ja'far showed his respect and admiration for Sayyid Mahdi by wiping his shoes with the end of his turban!
In addition to his knowledge, Sayyid Mahdi was well-known for his piety and his high spiritual status. In fact, due to his great devoutness, scholars have placed him in a rank right after the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them). He was known to have met the Twelfth Imam (may Allah hasten his reappearance) several times, often spending hours at end discussing complex issues of jurisprudence with him and seeking his advice. Several eyewitnesses testify that whenever he approached the shrine of Amirul Momineen (peace be upon him) in Najaf at the time of Fajr, the shrine doors would miraculously open for him. In the hot summers of Karbala, whenever he walked through the streets, a cloud was seen to always provide shade to him. His students attribute his high spiritual status to his piety, devoutness, and strong adherence to the laws of the Sharia.
In 1212 AH, this fountainhead of wisdom, knowledge, and piety passed away from this world. He was laid to rest in Masjid Tusi in Najaf.