SHEIKH ABD AL KARIM HAERI
Name : Sheikh Abd al karim Haeri ibn e
Born : On : 1274 H 1850 AD At : Yazd, Iran
Died : On : 17 Zilqad 1355 H 1936 AD At : Qum, Iran
Age :81 years
DAR AL IBADA YAZD
Dar al Ibada Yazd is a city that has long tradition of history. At some time in the past it was known as the prison of Sikander Zul Qarnain (Alexander the Great). After the advent of Islam Hazrat Ali (a.s) named the place as Dar al Ibada. The place has acquired fame with this name. When the armies of Yazd Jard III were defeated in 25 H, he fled towards Yazd via Isfahan to reassemble his armies and encourage his men to confront the Islamic forces. He, however, didn’t succeed in his plans and the Islamic army forced him out of the city. In the same year Yazd Jard embraced Islam. The people of Dar al Ibada abandoned the fire-temples and the Sasanid places of worship and went towards the mosques. In the year 35 H Muslim bin Ziyad was appointed the governor of Yazd by Amir al Momineen (a.s). He took the people’s oath of allegiance for Hazrat Ali (a.s) and undertook a series of reforms like establishing schools to provide better education and upbringing for the young inhabitants. From the very beginning the population of the city was attached to Hazrat Amir al Momineen (a.s) and his family. Naturally, the city turned into a cradle of Islamic thoughts and learning. Therefore, in every century, it produced eminent Ulema.
SHEIK ABD AL KARIM HAERI GOES TO SCHOOL
Abd al Karim spent six years in the care of his kind mother. Then arrived the time to go to the Madrasa. He was keenly interested in reading and writing from very early days. He sometimes expressed this wish to his father. Although his father was interested in giving good, formal education to his son, he was helpless because there wasn’t any school at Mehr Jard those days. Most of the children occupied themselves as farm hands, as shepherds or helping the parents in their trade. Abd al Karim too was in a similar situation. This went on till a relative of the family, Mohammed jafar, arrived there. He was himself a scholar and was dressed in the apparel of an Alim. At the first sight he fathomed the intelligence and worth of the child. He expressed his interest in becoming the guardian of the child. With the consent of the parents he took Abd al Karim to Ardkan. The place, those days, was called a miniature Greece. Although the Fiqhs and scholars from there had migrated to Qum, it still retained the status of a center of education. The instruction in elementary education and the Holy Quran was quite good in the place Abd al Karim spent some years commuting between Mehr Jard and Ardkan to pursue his education. He used to stay in his guardian’s home and visit his parents on the week-ends. These were difficult years for the youth. But when he reached the status of a Marja, he used to give credit to Mohammed Jafar, his guardian during the early years, for his achievements! He talked of his days at Ardkan with nostalgia.
Early years of great persons are generally replete with troubles and hardships.. The youth of Abd al Karim too was having its own share of hardships. Since his early childhood was spent with indigent parents, he had the courage to face and confront any amount of hardship. In early youth he lost his father. With a view to provide company, and help, to his mother Abd al Karim returned to Mehr Jard. For a long time he curbed his desire to pursue higher learning. After a few years he expressed his thoughts and desire for education to his mother. The mother was an ardent lover of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). She very willingly agreed to send her son to the Hauza e Ilmia at Yazd.
THE DESIRE FOR A VISION
Before the advent of Islam, the four holy places in Arabia—Najaf, Karbala, Kazimain and Samarra---were desolate streches of desert. Karbala was inhabited after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (a.s) in 61 H. The place was constantly attacked and plundered by the enemies of the Ahl al Bayt (a.s). But when Sheik Abd al Karim was receiving instruction with his eminent mentors in Karbala, there was comparative peace and tranquility. Like other students he too visited the Mausoleum of the Imam (a.s) to busy himself in the studies away from the din and noise of the town. In the beginning he became the disciple of the great scholar, Ayat Allah Fazil Ardkani. With his diligence and intelligence he won the heart of his mentor. Fazil Ardkani was the chief of the Hauza e Ilmia Karbala. With his recommendation Abd al Karim got admittance to the famous Madrasa Hassan Khan where he pursued his studies. Ayat Allah Ardkani took keen interest in the education of the brilliant disciple. Very soon he became an important member of the faculty of the Hauza e Ilmia Karbala. He spent two years under Fazil Ardkani. Then the mentor planned to send his disciple to Hauza e Ilmia Samarra. He wrote a letter to Marja Mirzai Bozurg Shirazi praising the character and the scholastic capabilities of Abd al Karim. With his blessing Fazil Ardkani sent Abd al Karim to Samarra.
Mirza Shirazi, after the demise of his mentor, Sheik Murtada Ansari, was the Marja of the world Shia community of the time. He was among the big scholarly personalities of those days. He had the capability of fathoming the intricate problems of the Fiqh. The proof of his capability is in the fact that Sheik Ansari, after writing his book “Faraid al Usool” entrusted the task of reviewing and revising it to Mirza Shirazi. The period of Sheik Ansari was of comparative peace. But when Mirza Shirazi assumed the responsibility as the Marja there was a state of turmoil in the Arab states.. On the one hand the European marauders were bent on looting the Arab resources and on the other there were pronounced rifts in the Muslim populace. Among the other mentors of Sheik Abd al Karim there was Ayatullah Mohammed Taqi Shirazi who was also called as Mirzai II. He is known for the famous edict that he issued in 1338 H calling the people to chase away the English forces.
Sheik Abd al Karim records about the spiritual status of Ayatullah Taqi Shirazi. There was an acute outbreak of bubonic plague in Samarra and tens of persons were dying every day. Mohammed Taqi Shirazi exhorted the people, at a meeting, to recite the Ziyarat e Ashura. He instructed them the full text of the Ziarat. He asked them to recite it for ten days and the Sawab (Reward) to be sent for the mother of the Imam e Zamana, Lady Nargis Khatoon. The people started reciting the Ziarat and from the very next day the deaths due to the plague stopped!
SHAHEED FADL ALLAH NOORI
Abd al Karim gained lot of advantage from Sheik Fadl Allah Noori. Sheik Shaheed was born in the hamlet, Noor, of Mazandaran in 1258 H. He had his early education with his father and in his youth he went to Najaf e Ashraf for further studies. He had a keen eye for scholastic details and was an adept at explaining intricate matters to his disciples. He always confronted the forces of colonialism. He also exhorted his disciples to oppose imperialism. Because of his philosophy of opposition to colonialism he returned to Iran and because of his awareness of the political scene he assumed the leadership of the movement. He exposed the conspiracy of the colonialists. Because of the traitrous behavior of some members of the movement he was arrested. He was produced in the military court of Bairam Khan Armani and was sent to the gallows in great hurry! On the day of the birth of Hazrat Ali (a.s), Rajab 13 he was hanged to death. The mausoleum of Shaheed Fadl Allah Noori in the complex of Masooma e Qum is visited by the admirers of the Shaheed even to this day.
Halqa e Khooban, previously Sultanabad, in Iraq is a city inhabited by the Shias of Iran. In the 13th Century H this city was re-established with new habitations. When Ayatullah Sheik Abd al Karim Haeri entered this city, there wasn’t any sign of a Houza e Ilmia or a library. The religious schools were all devoid of students. Ayatullah Haeri didn’t talk about teaching and debates. He was only leading the congregations at the Masjid e Buzurg Aga Zia and talked about the norms of Shariah after the prayers. But very soon his sweet style of communication attracted large gatherings. The congregations started giving an impression that they were thirsty for knowledge. The attendance swelled so much that Abd al Kareem moved his classes from the Masjid Aga Zia to Madrasa Ilmia Sipahdar. This city too was inhabited much after the advent of Islam like Karbala and Najaf. It is said that it was established by the Ashari Arabs. They were the followers of Hazrat Ali (a.s) and at loggerheads with the Ommayad caliphs. Because of the persecution by the rulers of the time, these people moved into the jungles in 83 H and after a peripatetic existence for a long time they settled down on the banks of a river. The area was called the region of Qum. These people first lived in tents. Slowly they started constructing their houses. The Imams (a.s) had praised this city and spoke about its felicity. Although the city was non-existent during the times of Hazrat Amir al Momineen (a.s), he had praised the people of the region and offered prayers for their welfare. Imam Jafar e Sadiq (a.s) too counted Qum along with Makka and Madina. Although Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s) wasn’t born till then, he talked that Masooma e Qum, Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s)’s daughter, would be interred in Qum. .
FATIMA MASOOMA: During the 2nd century H Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s) was martyred while incarcerated by Haroon al Rashid. The spiritual leadership was passed on to his son Imam Ali bin Moosa ar Reza (a.s). In 200 H Mamoon Abbasi forced him to migrate to Khorasan from Madina Munawwara, the seat of the realm those days. In the interim his sister, Fatima Masooma, couldn’t bear separation from the brother and started on a journey to peacefully live with him away from the atmosphere of Khorasan. When her retinue reached Iran facing much hardship on the way, she fell seriously ill in the city of Sawa and had no strength to travel further. Her companions gave her the best of medical attention. But there wasn’t any improvement in her health. In the same condition her retinue changed its route and proceeded towards the city of Qom. After some time they reached the rampartsa of Qom. Those days Qom was a small town. Most of the inhabitants were Shias from Ashari and Al e Saood tribes. It was quite some time since they had left the Arab lands and settled down in Qom. When they heard of the arrival of the scions of Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s) they rushed towards the gate of the town and received the Banu e Buzurgwar with due respect.and took her to the home of Moosa bin Khazraj Ashari. The people of Qom celebrated this event. They considered it a blessing from Allah that the Imam (a.s)’s daughter was in their midst. Masooma e Qom spent 17 days on the sick bed in Qom. Then she left for her eternal rest at the age of 22 years.
THE IMAMS (A.S) ‘S ATTENTION ON QOM: The city of Qom has a bright history particularly because of the Hauza e Ilmia there and also that it has been the habitation of many men of religion. The first persons who took up the idea of starting the Hauza were from the Ashari tribe who were noted as the friends of the Imams (a.s). Then the presence of Sheik Kulaini and Sheik Sadooq and the arrival of the Alawi Shias increased the importance of the city. The oppressive Abbasids forced the Shias to settle down in the cities of Iran---Qom and Kashan. They constructed Mosques and Madrasas in these cities to continue propagation of the word of the Infallibles (a.s). The Imams (a.s) gave particular attention to Qom and its inhabitants. It was the time when eminent persons like Mulla Sadr al Deen Shirazi and Faiz Kashani attracted more and more students to the Hauza. With the help from the Safavid Monarchs Faiz Kashani established more schools. The important among them are Madrasa e Faiziya, Madrasa Mehdi Quli and Madrasa Mominiya.
MIRZA E QUMMI: The great researcher Mirza Abul Qasim Qummi was one of the eminent scholars of the Shia School who completed his education from the Holy Places. He was one of the prominent disciples of Aghai Waheed Behbahani. After returning to Iran his respect among the noted scholars enhanced. Nearly after 100 years of the period of Ayatallah Faiz Kashani, Mirzai Qummi was associated with the Hauza e Ilmia Qum. It was the time when the Islamic Learning was under a cloud. The Safavid Dynasty had collapsed and the rule went into the hands of the Qachars. They didn’t give any attention to the spread of learning in the realm. There was a spate of famines, poverty and misrule in the country. In such conditions Mirzai Qummi took charge of the Hauza e Ilmia Qum and with his erudition and capable handling he managed the seminary. During his tenure in Qum he concentrated on the advancement of and reconstruction of the Madrasas and imparted learning to his capable disciples. He wrote very valuable books on Fiqh and the fundamental principles of the Faith. His book “Qawaneen al Usool” created a revolution in the discipline of Ilm al Usool e Fiqh. He revived the propagation of the Islamic Learning from the city of Qum.
TROUBLED CIRCUMSTANCES: Prior to settling down in Qum, Ayatullah Haeri made a visit there in 1332 H enroute to Mashad e Muqaddas for Ziarat. He had spent a few days in the environs of the mausoleum of Masooma e Qum and had also made a study of the Madrasas in Qum. He had also been to Madrasa e Faizia which used to be buzzing with the sounds made by the students, and was then quiet because it had very thin attendance. He noticed that the book shelves in the school were taking dust. It seemed as if there ever were any intellectuals in this great city nor the erudite scholars like Faiz Kashani and Sadr al Deen Shirazi ever delivered talks on the Islamic Learning! Sheik Haeri saw that the prominent Madrasa Dar al Shifa had turned into an inn for the beggars and the people visiting Qum for Ziarat. He also saw that some of the class rooms were being used by traders as ware house for their goods. The worst was the predicament of the students who were helpless for want of capable mentors. These students were spending their time in doing almost nothing or making unguided, superficial debates amongst themselves. It is said that Sheik Haeri went away from Qum in great disappointment. He was on record saying that he wished improvement in the affairs of the Hauza e Ilmia Qum.
AYATULLAH HAERI COMES TO QUM : In 1300 H (Shamsi-Solar) or 1340 H (Lunar), when the winter season was drawing to a close, Ayatullah Haeri accompanied by Ayatullah Murtada Haeri, his elder son, and Ayatullah Mohammed Taqi Khwansari arrived at Qum from Iraq on the invitation of the people. When they arrived at Qum it was the festival for commemoration of the Prophet (s.a)’s Annunciation (Mab-as) and the entire city was illuminated. The entire populace welcomed Ayatullah Haeri with great joy. As soon as the news of his arrival spread in the city, the people started moving to the gate of the city to extend their warm welcome to him. Ayatullah Haeri entered the city and took part in the Jashan (Festivity) at various centers in the city. Incidentally, the Idd e Mubas, Idd e Naoroz and Neem e Shaban coming in quick succession, there was a big gathering of people in Qum from Tehran and other places in Iran. The clerics and other persons who had the opportunity of seeing Ayatullah Haeri in Samarra and Najaf went to the pulpit in various places and talked about the achievements and felicity of the great Marja. They exhorted the people of Qum to give all their attention and care to him.
ESTABLISHING HAUZA E ILMIA QUM: Imam Jafar e Sadiq (a.s) had told to his companions in 2nd Century H about Qum and had predicted that the city would become a center for the Islamic learning in time to come.. He also said that soon the city of Koofa would be devoid of Momins and learning and erudition too would depart from there. This happy tiding was being communicated to people through the Imams (a.s).
THE HISTORY CREATING MEETING: In the beginning of the spring season of the year 1301 H, after a couple of months of his arrival at Qum, a meeting was arranged at the residence of Ayatullah Haeri sponsored by the scholars, traders and others from Tehran. In this meeting the senior Fiqhs from Qum --- Ayatullah Ba Faqi, Ayatullah Kabir, Ayatullah Faiz ---too participated. The meeting deliberated for several hours the topic of establishing a Hauza e Ilmia at Qum. Ultimately it was decided that the matter would be entrusted to the care of Ayatullah Haeri. All the clerics insisted on Ayatullah Haeri to accept to undertake the project and the traders offered donations for the purpose. In the beginning Ayatullah Haeri was of opinion that the senior residents of Qum themselves must take up the task. But when the other Ulema and others insisted, he accepted the responsibility. But he said that he would do the Istekhara whether he should stay at Qum and also whether he should write to the teachers in Iraq to call them to Qum. Generally Ayatullah Haeri didn’t do his Istakhara through the pages of the Holy Quran. But this time he did the Istekhara through the Holy Book and the Verse that came in his view was very appropriate for the situation and he decided to stay in Qum. He started the work on the establishment of the Hauza and asked his deputies from Iraq to join him.
THE REBELLION OF RAZA KHAN
Raza Khan rebelled in the year 1299 H and took the reins of the country in his hands. He was an ignorant person of excitable nature. In his early days he was doing the job of arranging steeds and camels for the officers. Because of his angry, cruel nature, the colonialists befriended him to use him against the freedom fighters. With the backing of the ruling classes he destroyed the movement for freedom. He handed over Meerza Kuchak, the leader of the movement, to the colonialists and thus became the ruler of Iran.
THE BEGINNING OF THE USE OF WESTERN APPAREL
The first step of Raza Khan towards change was the adoption of the Western apparel to change the cultural identity of Iran. In 1328 Solar or 1308 Lunar compulsory use of the western apparel became a law in Iran. Raza Khan presented this as a progressive reform! It didn’t take much time when people started feeling that they were forced to abandon the ways of their forbears. The showcases of the shops were full of Western apparels of all designs. The Pahlavi cap became a sign of honor and dignity. The Western manufactures flooded the markets. The youth started indulging in the nefarious habit of drinking the spirits. They started frequenting the gambling dens.
CONFRONTATION WITH SPIRITUALISM
Aqai Meerzai Shirazi, the Marja of the time, had to declare the use of tobacco as an Haram (Taboo) act.to counter the infamous Talbot Agreement for import of tobacco. Thus the scheme of the colonialists was negated. The Iranian populace, at the same time, proved its propensity for the spiritual life. The colonialists considered the movement as a grave danger for their interests. They joined hands with Raza Khan. They thus started confronting the movement. The newspapers that had the support of the colonialists raised their heads like the mushrooms. They started publishing canards and concoted stories against the Ulema. Thus people were moving away from the spiritual movement of the Ulema. Because of such stratagem the foreigners were gaining foothold in the country. The imperialists thought that the biggest hurdle in their way was the Houza e Ilmia. They reached Tabriz, Shiraz, Mashad and Isfahan and either arrested or deported the eminent Ulema making some excuse or other. The result of this conspiracy was that the centres of the Hauza e Ilmia became ineffective. The Hauza at Qum, that started functioning only a few years ago, became the center of political activity. Thus it was a thorn in the system of the establishment.
THE ENLIGHTENED LEADER
The main aim of the agents of imperialists was to dominate and control the Hauza e Ilmia..This was the greatest challenge for Ayatullah Haeri who was the founder and the controller of the great institution. He remained alert to the challenge all the time. Since he was aware of the faithlessness of Raza Khan, he was facing his adventurous nature with courage and carefulness. As was expected, Raza Khan attacked Qum making a false claim that his family was ridiculed at the Hauza. There is a custom in Qum, since the past, that on the Solar New Year Day (March 21) large numbers of people visit the holy places deeming it a good augury. When the New Year came in 1306 H it coincided with 27th Ramadan. People marched towards Qum in large numbers to celebrate the occasion.and be present in the mausoleum of the Masooma e Qum at the time of the sunrise! It was such a large crowd of people that there wasn’t any empty space in the complex. Among the visitors were also the members of the Pahalvi Family. The king’s spouse, mother of Raza Shah, too was there. She was seated in the Aaeena Khana (the Mirror Pavilion), on the upper floor of the complex, dressed in Western apparel not observing the mandatory Hijab (the Veil). People from all corners started protesting against her from all corners of the mausoleum. They felt that she was showing disrespect to the Masooma by coming there in in a shameless fashion. But none had courage to confront the royal entourage and tell them about their behavior face to face. At that time Sayed Nazim Waez, who was delivering a sermon in the mosque in the neighborhood of the Mausoleum exhorted the people that Amr bil Maroof Nahi an il Munkar required them to protest against the behavior of the royal entourage. When Haji Mohammed Taqi Bafaqi heard this, he sent word to the royal family that if they were Muslims, it wasn’t right for them to come to the Mausoleum in undesirable apparel. He said that if they weren’t Muslims, they had no right to be there. When this message had no effect on the Pahlavi Family, Haji Mohammed Taqi went personally and requested them to cover their faces and heads with scarves or leave the place. At that time there was a loud commotion and the Pahlavi Family went to the residence of the keeper of the complex. They telephoned to Raza Shah and informed him of the happenings. As soon as he got the message, he started for Qum and asked a contingent of men in arms to follow him. He went straight to the main enclosure of the Mausoleum and ill-treated some students of the Hauza who were there. He kicked some persons who were near the sarcophagus and hit them with his stick. Haji Mohammed Taqi was arrested and sent to jail in Tehran. After five months of incarceration Ayatullah Sheik Abd al Karim Haeri made a formal appeal for his release.
IDARA WAAZ WA KHITABAT: Establishing the institution of Idara Waaz wa Khitabat (the institution of controlling the contents of sermons and speeches) in emulation of the practice started by Ata Turk was a direct confrontation with the spiritual norms. When this retrograde step was taken in Turkey, the place of the religious entities was taken over by paid representatives who toed the line of the rulers. They commanded no respect in the populace. When Raza Khan traveled to Turkey and observed at close quarters the changes enforced in the religious norms, he decided to adopt the so called reforms in Iran. He enforced wearing of Western apparel on the people and also started the Idara Waaz wa Khitabat. According to the law enforced in 1313 H, no person was authorized to wear the Amama (Religious head-gear) without written permission from the concerned Ministry and the person must have a certificate from the department to the effect.
When Raza Khan ordered firng on innocent crowds at Masjid Gawhar Shad and martyred thousands of persons protesting against the indecent dress of women, Ayatullah Haeri decided that it was his duty to protect the Hauza e Ilmia Qum.
KASHF E HIJAB
One of the most tragic events of the times of Ayatullah Haeri was the opposition of the institution of Hijab. Three servants of imperialism had promoted the nefarious movement---Aman Allah Khan in Afghanistan, Kamal Ata Turk in Turkey and Raza Khan in Iran. Aman Allah Khan traveled to Europe in 1306 H and on his return he halted in Iran with his wife moving around without the veil. Raza Khan welcomed him with warmth. But when he reached Afghanistan, the people were furious on him. He couldn’t succeed with his plan of acting against the norms of the Faith. Kamal Ata Turk, on attaining power did everything against the Religion. He strictly enforced the ban on observation of Hijab by women. He stopped the use of Arabic for the Adaan to call the believers to prayers. He changed the Arabic alphabet for the writing of the Turkish language to the Latin alphabet. He also enforced the Gregorian Calender in place of the Solar Calender. He shifted the official holiday from Friday to Sunday. He closed down all the religious seminaries, numbering 479, that were having 18,000 students on their rolls.The result was that Turkey, that was once the center for Islamic learning and culture, turned into a satellite of the West. When the movements against the Faith in Turkey were at their peak, Raza Khan traveled to that country on 12 Khurdad 1313 H and studied Ata Turk’s activities for a full month. He attended many conventions in Turkey and profusely praised the reforms there. On returning to Iran he started emulating the so called reforms enforced in Turkey. He handed over the control of the religious institutions to the Ministry of Trusts and Learning. He enforced wearing of the Western apparel on the people that was a travesty of the Iranian culture. He banned the wearing of the Amama that was the head-gear of the great Iranians of the past viz: Bu Ali Sina, Abu Raihan Beruni, Khwarizmi, Saadi, Hafiz and hundreds of eminent Iranians. He said that the Amama was the sign of the backwardness of the Iranians.
AYATULLAH HAERI SENDS A TELEGRAM TO RAZA KHAN
Although Ayatullah Haeri was a person of indomitable patience, he was very unhappy over the misadventure of Raza Khan with regard to the Hauza e Ilmia and the interference with the practice of Hijab by the females, he abstained from leading the congregational prayers and handed over the duty to Ayatullah Sayed Sadr ud Deen. He also stopped giving lessons to his disciples. When a meeting of the people of Tehran was arranged at his place, he encouraged them to act against the irreligious acts of the establishment. When the people wanted to know from him their duty with regard to the banning of the women’s Hijab, his eyes went blood-shot and pointing towards the veins on his neck he said, “This is a problem of the Faith! One should even lay down his life to upohold the Hijab of the womenfolk!” Then he sent a telegram to Raza Khan strongly protesting against his gross contravention of the requirement of the Shariah. Raza Khan was a grossly inhuman person. He put the person who carried the message to him and sent a very terse and insulting reply to the telegram.
HIS CONTRIBUTION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE HAUZA
Ayatullah Haeri trained hundreds of bright disciples at the Hauza. He established four Madrasas Viz: Mominia, Mehdia, Shahabia and Madrasa Ayatullah Mar-ashi. An affluent Momin of Qum, Sayed Mohammed Fatmi, had lost his heir and successor and had therefore left his entire estate at the disposal of Ayatullah Haeri. He used the funds for the establishment of Bimaristan Fatmi. With the support of another Momin, Saham ud Dowla, Ayatullah Haeri took up the expansion of the hospital.
EDUCATION & TRAINING OF THE DISCIPLES
Often Ayatulla Haeri used to visit the Madrasas to assess and gauge the progress of the bright disciples. He also used to enquire about the financial needs of the students and arranged funds to help them. Many a time it happened that he visited the groceries in the vicinity of the Mausoleum and took provisions on loan to be distributed to the needy students. He used to conduct tests for the students at the Hauza e Ilmia and gave gifts to those who exelled in these tests.
Of all the traits of Ayatullah Haeri, his piety was the most prominent. His piety and simplicity was exemplary throughout his life. He always humbly expressed his gratefulness to Allah and whatever little he earned was distributed to the needy. Once a person presented an expensive cloak to his son.. When he heard about this, Ayatullah Haeri told to him, “This cloak is too expensive for you. Sell it, buy three less expensive cloaks, use one and gift two to some needy persons!
Imam Qumaini says about the piety of his mentor, Ayatullah Haeri in these words: “My revered mentor and Faqih, Haj Sheik Abd al Karim Haeri, who held the position of the Marja of the Shias from 1340 to 1355 H endowed radiance to the community. We had witnessed his exemplary humility and character. He always took his food with his servants from the same spread and he preferred to sit on the bare floor!”
AYATULLAH HAERI PASSES AWAY
In his last days, to prop his sickly body and his sad heart and to preserve the fruits of his hard work of many years, he selected a panel of three senior clerics---Ayatullah Sayed Mohammed Koh Kamri, Ayatullah Sayed Mohammed Taqi Khonsari and Ayatullah Sayed Sadr ud Deen Sadr--- to function as his successors and handed over the Hauza e Ilmia Qum to them. In the same year, on 17 Zilkhad 1355H he passed away plunging the people of Qum and the Shias the world over into deep sorrow. Since the oppressive regime was scared of huge public gatherings, they allowed only two hours for a memorial meeting! After two hours the agents of the establishment forced the people to disburse!
Source Urdu Lectures of Moulana Sadiq Hassan Book
Source iranziarat.com :-
Ayatullah Abdul Karim Haeri was born in a village called Mohrjarad in Yazd, to a pious family by the name of Muhammad Jaffer.
His introduction to the life in Hawza (Islamic Seminary):
When Abdul Karim reached the age of six years, it was time for him to join a school but there was none available in the village of Mohrjarad. Thus the children that used to grow up,
joined their father’s trade and spent their lives on this path. However, Abdul Karim Haeri was always destined to tread the path of education, and with Allah’s help the doors opened
up for him within no time.
One day, a family member by the name Mohammed Jaffer (famously known as Mir Abu Jaffer) who was an aalim (religious scholar), came to Mohrjarad and met the young
child Abdul Karim Haeri. Mir Abu Jaffer was taken aback by the potential and talent in this child; he saw a genius in the making and thus took the responsibility for his education.
With the permission of his parents, he took Abdul Haeri back to Urdakan and placed him in a traditional religious school (maktab) there. Abdul Karim stayed in Urdakan for a few
years and used to go and visit his parents on a Friday evening, when possible.
After the passing away of his father, Abdul Karim took a break from his studies; however, due to the love he had for the Qur’an, he returned back and joined the Hawza in Yazd
within no time. Towards the end of the 13th century (lunar), this Hawza was flourishing and the students of Ayatullah Mirza Shirazi and Shaykh Ansari were amongst the teachers
of the madressa there.
His migration to Iraq:
Abdul Karim had barely reached the age of 18 years when he had an intense yearning and love in his heart to go and visit the Holy Shrines of Iraq. He, together with his mother, joined
a caravan and left for the four holy cities of Kerbala, Najaf, Kadhmain and Samarra. When he reached Iraq, he immediately got in touch with the circle of Ulema and spent a
few of his early years in the Hawza in Kerbala. His teacher in Kerbala was Ayatullah Fadhil Urdakani and with his guidance, Abdul Karim moved to Samarra and became a
student of Ayatullah Mirza Shirazi. During that period, Mirza Shirazi was the Marja and the head of the Hawza of Samarra.
It is said that when Mirza Shirazi read the letter from Abdul Karim’s former teacher, Ayatullah Fadhil Urdakani, he turned to Abdul Karim and said that ‘I have found sincerity in you’;
on this basis, Mirza Shirazi accommodated this youthful hardworking student in his own house.
When Ayatullah Haeri reached the station of Ijtihad, he used to fondly remember his time in Samarra and used to narrate: ‘The cellar of the house of Mirza Shirazi was a place for my
studying and resting. In the Holy Month of Ramadhan, I used to eat my sehri in the same place, but for iftaar, instead of returning home, due to the draining heat I used to go to the
Euphrates and drink a lot of water and then go for a swim.’
All in all, Ayatullah Haeri spent 12 years in total in the Hawza of Samarra. During this time he obtained his knowledge from Ayatullah Syed Muhammad Fisharky, Ayatullah Muhammad
Taqi Shirazi and Ayatullah Fadlullah Nuri.
After the passing away of Mirza Shirazi, Ayatullah Haeri made his way to Najaf. Although he had an intention to stay there, he realised that the Hawza in Kerbala needed his
services, and thus immediately made his way to the city of Imam Hussein Β. Once upon a time Kerbala had a renowned and well respected Hawza, but then lost this status. It was for
this reason that Ayatullah Haeri chose Kabala, in order to revive the hawza once again. Within no time after the arrival of Ayatullah Haeri, the haram of Imam Hussein Β was again buzzing with the hum of students engaged in religious discussions. Ayatullah Haeri during this time taught two subjects in Usul Fiqh at the Dars-e-Kharij level3, and was
referred to the same position as Ayatullah Mirza Muhammad Taqi Shirazi (Marja-e-Taqleed) and undertook the responsibility of giving verdicts to religious questions.
Towards the end of 1913, the riots and the problems relating to the British invasion had intensified all over Iraq including Kerbala, and hence, after receiving an invitation from the
people of Arak, Abdul Karim made his way there. He served in the Hawza of Arak for 8 years before leaving for Qom in the year 1921. He had trained and guided hundreds of students
towards Islam. It is said that during this period Imam Khomeini was 20 years old, and after hearing about the reputation of the Hawza in Arak, he abandoned his decision to
go to Isfahan and instead made his way there, where he used to attend and benefit from the lessons of Ayatullah Haeri.
In the year 1921, Ayatullah Haeri accepted the invitation of the people of Qom and came to Qom with his older son, Hajj The final stage of classes before one reaches the level of Ijtihad
The formation of the Hawza in Qom:
The formation of the Hawza in Qom was narrated in the hadith of Imam Jaffer Sadiq Β: ‘It will be soon that there will be a time in Kufa that it will be empty of Mu’minin and
learning there will disappear, …and it will appear in a place by the name of ‘Qom’ ...’ It was the arrival of Ayatullah Haeri to Qom that was going to bring this hadith into reality. Two months after his arrival, he attended a meeting with respect to the formation of a hawza at the house of Ayatullah Paeen Shahri. The meeting involved businessmen, learned scholars and jurists including Ayatullah Bafqi, Ayatullah Kabir and Ayatullah Faiz. This meeting lasted for hours and the final outcome was delegated to Ayatullah Haeri.
Ayatullah Haeri initially believed that the Hawza in Qom should be formed by the elders and residents of Qom.
However, due to the intense persistence of the learned scholars, he accepted the responsibility on the following condition - he said: ‘I will perform an Istikhara on the basis that is it feasible for me to stay in Qom and invite the students and teachers who are waiting for my return to come here or not?’
Early the next morning, before leading the salaat-e-Fajr,Ayatullah Haeri reached for a Qur’an and stood in the Haram of Bibi Ma’sooma ϑ engaging in dua before performing the Istikhara. It is narrated that Ayatullah never used to do Istikhara by use of the Qur’an and he used to say that I don’t fully understand if the verse is good or bad. However, when
he performed the Istikhara with relation to whether or not he should stay in Qom, he left everything in the hands of Allah,and when the verse of Qur’an was chosen: ‘Take this shirt of
mine, and cast it upon my father’s face; he will regain his sight, and bring me all your folks,’4 Yusuf [12:93]
it left him in no doubt as to where his future lay. He therefore immediately began the
task of setting up of a Hawza and in the process wrote to all his former students in Arak to invite them to Qom.
It is because of the efforts of Ayatollah Abdul Karim Haeri that Qom today has become the epicentre of Shia learning.
An anecdote from his life:
One of the most outstanding qualities of Ayatullah Haeri was his asceticism and simple life, both before and after he became a Marja-e-taqleed. He lived the life of a 'talabe' (Hawza student) until the end of his life, and always thanked Allah that he was able to help the poor with the little that he had. Once, somebody gave his son an expensive abaa (robe)
as a gift. When Ayatullah Haeri came to know about this, he told his son: ‘My son, this abaa is too much for you’ and urged him to sell it and buy three moderately priced ones
instead, one for himself and two for his fellow students, which he did.