What is explained in the description of thelife of His Holiness Sheikh Ansari is derived from what has been passed on through word of mouth by knowledgeable professors who were his students for many years and carried the Sheikh’s inside light. Also we have made use of the book ‘Description of the Life of Sheikh Ansari’.
Listen! We are talking of a character, greatness and magnificence whose thoughts on jurisprudence and principles have for over hundred years attracted all Imamieh (those who believe in the Imams) theology schools in Najaf of Iraq and in Qom of Iran and other scientific and theological schools.
Any great scholar who wants to become a Mojtahed (reach the supreme stage of being qualified for religious guidance) which is the highest degree of science and religion and on the other hand is connected to our master, the son of Imam Hassan Askari, the 12th Imam (may our souls be sacrificed for him), and a great number of the supporters of the Imamieh religion who follow this great person in religious commands should make best use of the scientific capacities of this honourable person in principles and jurisprudence; i.e. enjoy the supreme principles in jurisprudence from his book, Farayed ul-Osool and the supreme basics of scientific jurisprudence from his book, Makaseb.
(Apparently, the completion of the science of principles in the schools of theology and science are considered to be the two volumes of Mulla Muhammad Kazem Khorasani’s book, Kefayat ul-Osool, we have no objection as Mulla Muhammad Kazem was one of the prominent students of Sheikh Ansari.)
This great person is no one else but Sheikh Murteza Ansari (May Allah grant him higher degrees).He is the shining sun who has carried the brilliant scientific rays - which he has achieved from the holy presence of Imam Jaffar Sadegh (Peace Be upon Him), the sixth Imam of the Shiites– to the theology schools.
Oh viewer, keep your eyes and thought clean! Mulla Morteza entitled Sheikh Ansari was himself a great scholar in jurisprudence and the science of principles and other sciences in the school of theology of Najaf. He went to Najaf at the time of Sheikh Muhammad Hassan, author of the book Javaher (which is regarding religious commands through reasoning) and the great Mirza Shirazi (He was the great person who announced the ban on using tobacco and caused uproar in Islamic countries).
Sheikh Ansari took abode in Najaf at the beginning of the 13th century Hijri (Moslem era).The first day of his lessons although he had few students, he started teaching in the sanctuary of the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali (PBUH).
To clarify this issue for you, we will have to reveal this secret to you which was received by the heart of a new comer from a prominent jurisprudent: As mentioned, His Holiness Mirza Hassan Shirazi was considered as one of the greatest Shiite jurisprudents and taught in the school of theology in Najaf and around 400 scholars, scientists, jurisprudents and theologians of that time made use of the lessons he taught. One day while he was teaching, he noticed that a number of clergies had gathered in a corner of the courtyard of the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali (PBUH) and were being taught by a professor, but the number of the students was just a few. Mirza started thinking who this person was.
As Mirza was busy preaching, he announced that he had to leave his students for a few minutes.
Mirza somehow, not revealing who he was, joined Sheikh Ansari’s class and sat in a corner. He listened for a few minutes to what Sheikh Ansari was teaching. Mirza realized Sheikh Ansari was speaking scientifically.
He got up and returned to the place where he was preaching and announced, at the presence of all his students that he would not teach from the next day.Everyone asked: Why. His Holiness replied: I want to be a student, not a professor!
"I have decided not to confine myself to my own self only. Yes, I am a Mojtahed (qualified for religious guidance), but the person I found over there (he points out with his hand) is more learned and has more perfection than me. I want to be his student. You my students, can decide yourselves whether you want to be with me or not".
(If you pay attention, you will see that this event means surrendering all one’s titles in one place to Sheikh Ansari. He bestowed upon that unknown companion whatever title, perfection and supreme scientific position he had, and this is the greatest sacrifice any person can make in the path of Allah.)
Therefore, the next day, Mirza joined Sheikh’s class. A few people accompanied him. Soon after joining the class, Mirza brought up some philosophical questions relating to one of the secondary issues in Sheikh’s lesson. Sheikh said: Your question is incomplete. Sheikh completed Mirza’s question and gave three responses from three aspects to Mirza Shirazi’s philosophical questions. Mirza was convinced that Sheikh was one of the most prominent scholars of his time, but saw that his clothes were worn out and very old!
That day’s class got over. Mirza got up to clean the dust on Sheikh’s shoes with the fold of his turban which was round his neck. He saw that Mirza’s shoes had a top part but no bottom!
(This was a sign of Sheikh Ansari’s piety and chastity.)
The next day the lessons became more heated and the Sheikh started becoming more and more famous.
But as for the issue of leadership of the schools of theology: Skeikh Muhammad Hassan, author of the book Javaher (which is regarding religious commands through reasoning) before his death, while many scholars who were at the level of religious guidance of people had gathered around his bed and everyone was waiting to see to whom he will assign the leadership of the schools of theology, turned his eyes to Sheikh Murteza Ansari and said: Sheikh Murteza, I ask you to take over the leadership.
However, Sheikh, after some explanations, said: While I was studying with one of my professors, there was a gentleman in my class who read the lessons better than I did. If someone has to lead the schools of theology, it has to be him, not me!(This shows the highest degree of Sheikh Ansari’s generous disposition and sanctity.) He continued: His name is Saeed ul-Ulama Mazandarani who lives in Iran.
After Sheikh Muhammad Hassan, the author of the book Javaher insisted that Sheikh Ansari himself and no other person should take over the leadership, Sheikh Ansari wrote a letter to Saeed ul-Ulama Mazandarani.
He wrote in his letter: Oh my professor, my master, supreme jurisprudent, I was asked to lead the schools of theology including mainly the Najaf school of theology which is filled with scholars. But I find you more learned than me since when our professor would throw upon you and us his scientific insight, your understanding was stronger than mine.
But he wrote in response to Sheikh’s letter: Oh my master, my lord, my holiness, it is true that when we were studying in the school of theology, I understood better and read the lessons better, but I have come to a spring and you have joined the sea. My spring is this small place and people who do not benefit from knowledge and science, to whom I have not been able to reveal my knowledge well, but you have joined the sea (gone to Najaf), you have entered the sea of knowledge of Imam Ali (PBUH). I am certain that you are more learned and more superior compared to me. Therefore, you deserve more to take over the leadership of the schools of theology. And you deserve more to have the position of leadership for others to follow you in their religious customs.
I request you to take on the leadership of the schools of theology and the 12th Imam will support you.
Second Part of the Life of Shiite Religious Leader, Sheikh Morteza Ansari in the 12th and 13th Centuries AH
As mentioned in the previous article, the Shiites in Iran and neighbouring countries and other Shiites of those days followed Sheikh Ansari (May Allah grant him higher degrees). The scientific magnificence and greatness, i.e. the magnificence of ilm-ul usul (science of
principles) and the greatness of figh (jurisprudence) and other sciences which were necessary, were fully under the control of his holiness. And now that we are in the first decades of the 15th century AH, all Imamieh (Shiite) theology schools in their highest level, i.e. the stages of figh and usul, which a person who is at the level of a religious leader should possess, benefit from his books Makaseb which is regarding figh and Farayed ul-Osool which is about the science of usul. And usul and figh of this great person have been and are still being taught firmly and strongly in the best possible method. And it is necessary for everyone to benefit from the enlightenments of any person who completely acquires these two sciences (figh and usul) and has achieved the highest degrees in figh and usul.
To clarify these issues to some extent, attention should be paid to the beginning of Sheikh Ansari’s leadership of the schools of theology:
Before his holiness, Sheikh Ansari the leadership of the schools of theology was undertaken by Skeikh Muhammad Hassan, author of the book Javaher up to the year 1266 AH. In the previous article, we described part of this for you. We will now explain another part of this subject:
Sheikh Muhammad Hassan in the last days of his life ordered a meeting to be held at his bedside. All scientists who had reached the holy level of a Mojtahed (a person who is qualified for religious guidance) were told to be present for the leadership of the schools of theology to be transferred and assigned to the person who was most competent, pious and learned. Everyone was there, but Sheikh Ansari was not present.
The author of the book Javaher took a look around while he was unwell and near the time of his demise and asked: Where is Sheikh Morteza? They replied: We do not know. His holiness said: Search for him and see where he is.After searching they found him in the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali (PBUH) standing towards the Kiblah (facing Mecca) and praying for the healing of the author of the book Javaher. According to some reports, the contents of his prayer were as follows: Oh Allah, if Your Wisdom allows, reduce years from my life and add to professor, Sheikh Muhammad Hassan’s life.
After his prayer was over, they told him: Professor has asked for you, rush to him. He rushed as fast as possible to his professor who was dying. He was seated at the bedside of the author of the book Javaher.
The author of the book Javaher took Sheikh Morteza’s hand and placed it on his heart and said:Now I can die peacefully.
Oh Viewer! Do you know what this sentence means or don’t you?
It is as though words are printed on the heart of this page and you will probably pass by this sentence with hardly noticing it… No, it is not like this. Because this statement reveals that the load of the leadership of the school of theology was so heavy and precious that it had taken away peace and calmness from the author of book Javaher at the time of his death and forced him to take action in this regard.
The author of the book Javaher said: I do not know what will happen to the school of theology after my death. Will the conduct of the school of theology please our master, Imam Mahdi (May our souls be sacrificed for him)?
He continued: God willing this will happen, but I am anxious. I said "Now I can die peacefully". I meant I will transfer all the precious load which was placed on my shoulders to you (Sheikh Morteza) as I find you worthy from all aspects in this area. Then he told those present: He is your leader from now onwards.
He then turned to Sheikh and said: There is no requirement for you to be so cautious. Because the holy religion of Islam is the true religion and is simple. In other words, hardship should be removed from this religion.
(It should be stated that the above statement was made by the author of the book Javaher because of Sheikh Morteza’s extreme caution since if you recall (Please refer to the previous article on Sheikh Ansari), Sheikh Ansari before accepting the leadership of the schools of theology following the insistence of the author of the book Javaher and Mirza Shirazi, wrote a letter to Saeed ul-Ulama asking him to undertake the position of leadership.)
After Sheikh Ansari was convinced that he was scientifically competent for the position of leadership of the schools of theology, he decided to undertake this important position. He first decided to visit Imam Ali (PBUH) and said:Oh my God, I request you in the presence of this precious Imam; Imam Ali (PBUH), to protect me from sinning and going astray during my leadership of the schools of theology.
And this was how his leadership started.
After the demise of the author of the book Javaher, Sheikh Ansari undertook the leadership of Najaf School of Theology for 15 years from 1266 to 1281 AH. During this period he underwent monetary hardship in his personal life.
It is said one day one of his young daughters had fever. The girl’s mother sent Sheikh’s secretary whose name was Mulla Rahmatollah to Sheikh asking for a few dirhams to buy a pomegranate and give the juice to her daughter for her fever to reduce (this method was popular at that time).
Sheikh did not pay the amount and once again the request was made. He did not pay this time either since the money he kept was from the share of Imam (PBUH) and he was very cautious about personal use of the money.
The request for a few dirhams was made three times. The third time he sent a message to his wife which was full of anger saying: Instead of having her drink pomegranate juice wash her feet with water so that her fever reduces.
How was Sheikh cautious?We will state a few examples.
Spiritual Insights Shining from the World of Science and Shiism in a Stage of the Life of Sheikh Ansari
It should be said that there are sparkles of piety, honesty and scientific disposition evident in the life of Sheikh Ansari which attracted the world to him. This pious disposition of Shiite scientists should illuminate the world and persist until the day of resurrection.
Some instances are mentioned below:
Sheikh’s mother came to him one day and explained the hard life Sheikh’s brother was leading. She asked him to do something for his brother.
Since his mother’s order was important for Sheikh and he had to obey it, he asked his mother to tell his brother to go to him. When his brother came, he gave the key of the room in which the money of the share of the Imam (PBUH) was kept and he told him he could take whatever amount he wanted!
Sheikh’s brother entered the room and saw that jewels and gold coins of that time were piled on top of each other in bags. He stretched his hand and took some. Sheikh shouted in his local accent:O brother! Take whatever amount you wish to, but I will not be with you on the day of resurrection!
As Sheikh’s words came from his heart and not from his tongue, they had great effect on his brother.
Note: The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: Al-moezato idha kharajat min-ul qalbe dakhalat il-ul qalb: Advice which comes from the heart, will be placed in the heart (will be effective). And words which come out of the tongue will not go further than the ear. Since Sheikh’s words came from his heart, they immediately had effect on his brother and he threw the coins out of his hand.
Sheikh’s brother threw the coins back in their place. He picked one of them and took a quarter of it which was sufficient for his living expenses.(This proves Sheikh’s honesty and piety and observance of other people’s rights)Because the money had to get to its real owners not to his brother only because of the blood relation they had.
Another similar event is as follows:
When Sheikh was traveling from the city of Kashan to Najaf and he came to Tehran, he was a clergy’s guest in a school of science which was called Sadr School (this school is presently located near the Grand Tehran Bazaar). It was decided that they would prepare some food for the night. Sheikh, through his spiritual insight, found out that his host did not have money to buy bread. His Holiness gave the clergy an amount with which he could buy two loaves of bread. The clergy left and returned with two loaves of bread and some halwa (a sweet dish). Sheikhsaid: The money I gave you was not enough for the bread and halwa. The clergy replied: I bought the halwa on credit.
Sheikh refused to eat what the clergy had bought!
That night passed and the next day Sheikh started off for Najaf where he attained the high degree of spirituality. This was the period when Sheikh’s greatness, magnificence, leadership, management of the school of theology, promotion of science and perfection and teaching and research spread around the world and the Shiite schools of theology.
Wherever there was a school of theology, people would be talking about Sheikh Ansari’s knowledge, piety and greatness and there were followers of Sheikh everywhere.
The clergy who hosted Sheikh one night in Sadr School in Tehran decided to go to Najaf to meet Sheikh and this happened.
He found the greatness and magnificence in Sheikh’s body, mind, thought and spirit. In particular, he noticed the students who had gathered around Sheikh consisting of researchers, scholars and many clergymen.
All the greatness in Sheikh’s management of the school of theology filled his eyes and he found an opportunity to talk to Sheikh privately.
He asked Sheikh: Are you not the same person in whose presence I was in that school in Tehran one night? Sheikh replied: Yes, I am the same person.
He asked: What happened that you have reached this stage? And I have remained as I was and have not reached anywhere in science?
Sheikh said one sentence which was: O’ friend! We were both traveling in the path of science, only you dared to eat the Halwa you bought on credit, but I did not dare to eat it.
Since my fear was whether you and I would still be alive until the next day when you were supposed to return that loan and debt! This is the difference between you and me.
(However, this is not a religiously prohibited act and Sheikh is not religiously prohibiting his host from doing it. This is a precaution taken by those who are very close to Allah and are chosen by Him. Any person who wanted (or wants) to reach the highest degree of divine spiritual magnificence followed (and follows) this method in the preliminary steps of his seir va soluk (moving forward from one stage of Gnosticism to the next stage) that he should only swallow what he has and what is his right and not what he finds and what is not his right.
O Viewer! Be thoughtful and think about yourself!
Fa-in-ul naqadah basir-un basir: A person who travels in a path should be clear-sighted and well aware as accidents lie in ambush.
The path is long, deep and narrow! You should both get to know yourself and rescue yourself!
The rest is left to you!
Prepared under the supervision of Professor Mosavi
25 May 2008
w present another instance depicting the piety of the honourable Shiite leader, Sheikh Morteza Ansari:
Sheikh Morteza highly respected Mirza Shirazi. The reason for this was that Mirza Shirazi had presented to Sheikh Ansari his own leadership like a small table cloth with his two hands. Consequently, in return for his greatness, a firm nest had been built in Sheikh Ansari’s heart.
After presenting this table cloth of leadership, Mirza Shirazi showed up at Sheikh Ansari’s classes and for some time was considered as one of the most prominent students of Sheikh!
It reached a place where Mirza, with all his greatness, magnificence and scientific and gnostic wealth, asked Sheikh Morteza to take the money for the bread which went down into his stomach, and that of his family members, from Sheikh. In other words, the bare necessary food which they ate would be with the permission of Sheikh Morteza.
Sheikh Morteza asked: Why do you not make use of your own wealth?
Mirza replied: You are my master. I have accepted you as a foundation.
“Since I have accepted you, I want the food which goes down into my stomach to be only under your order so that my flesh and blood are composed through your order! Obviously the flesh and blood formed in my body through your order will manifest itself in the form of spiritual and divine effects.”
(This was the main conclusion and cause of Mirza Shirazi’s statements)
Thereafter, whatever food Mirza wanted to prepare, he would ask for his professor’s permission and would say: Al-abdo va ma fi yadehi kanali-maulahe: whatever a servant has; his body, his spirit and his wealth belongs to his master, and you are indeed my master!
As mentioned, since Mirza was favoured a lot by Sheikh Ansari, one day Sheikh’s mother, who lived under a great deal of hardship and poverty, went to Mirza in order to have her problem with her son, Sheikh Morteza Ansari, solved through Mirza. What was her problem?
Sheikh’s mother monthly received a small amount of money from her son which was from the Imam’s share fund. This money was for her to manage her daily life and was half of her monthly expenses. For example, if her daily expenses were two dirhams, she earned one dirham through stitching a quilt and took one dirham from her son (Please note that her expenses were for a loaf of bread and a small amount of food and cheap clothing).
Many years passed in this way and her eyes could not see well anymore and her hand did not have the strength to move the needle in and out of quilts or mattresses. She did not know what to do.
She thought if she went directly to her son, since Sheikh was extremely pious, he would not give anything extra to her. Therefore, she decided to go to Mirza’s house. Sheikh’s mother walked to Mirza Shirazi’s house with full dignity (she was well-known for her dignity). <http://www.ostad-mosavi.com/english/paper/SheikhAnsari4_29_7_2008.htm# ftn2>
When Mirza Shirazi’s family realized that Sheikh’s mother had arrived at one of Mirza’s houses, people who were passing by were stopped so that she would not feel upset with their passing by or with their bad or impolite attitude which would be against her chastity and dignity.
Agha (Sheikh’s mother) herself would call the person’s name and say I have some work with you! Any person whom she would call had to go, not everyone!
These are sparkles of the dignity of Sheikh’s mother. The words she used were mature, dignified, concise and meaningful …
She called Mirza in this manner! As soon as the voice of Sheikh’s mother rose, Mirza with all his greatness got up like a slave hurrying towards his master!
Mirza came to Sheikh’s mother, but she was looking at the ground and Mirza did not dare to ask her why she was looking at the ground.
After a while, Sheikh’s mother looked towards Mirza and stood up as a sign of respect to Mirza and then she sat and explained her situation for Mirza, and Mirza was all ears!
Her situation was as follows: I could not discuss this with my son. I want you to act as a mediator and ask my son to come here so that I can talk to him in your presence.(Here too, the greatness and dignity of Sheikh’s mother is evident)
At that moment, Mirza himself rushed towards Sheikh Ansari (He did not send his servant but rather went himself). Sheikh’s class had got over and he was going to return home.
O Reader and O Viewer await the conversation between mother and son which is at the highest level of piety and righteousness and if you are eager to understand the meaning of piety in the religion of the Holy Prophet of Islam and the Innocent Imams and to understand the fundamentals of the Holy Quran, please await the next article on the life of the Honourable Shiite Leader, Sheikh Morteza Ansari.
 Please note that these statements are made by Mirza Mohammad Hassan Shirazi (known as ‘the Great Mirza’) through whose order tons of tobacco were set on fire and destroyed in Iran and hubble-bubbles belonging to the aristocratic families including the Qajar dynasty were broken down.
The Great Mirza on 19 Zihaja 1308 AH one year after the tobacco contract with the British company Talbot said in his first order: On this day the use of tobacco in any form constitutes war with Imam Zaman. This order was issued by the great Mirza which caused many businesses to collapse all at once through the order of their religious leader because their main business was tobacco. For instance a merchant from Isfahan set on fire 12,000 bags of tobacco. In fact he set on fire all his life through this action. And many businesses were ceased. This manifests thegreatness and penetration of the religious leadership in Shiism.
 It is known that whenever Sheikh’s mother passed by an area, she would walk with extreme dignity. Her dignity was such that it was as though angels close to God accompanied her! She walked with absolutely full dignity and whoever saw her from far, did not dare to near her boundary. It was such that people wanted to say salaam to her (greet
her) or ask her a question, but her dignity was so radiant that they did not have the power and did not dare to enter her boundary. A woman’s greatness has been defined like this in Islam. A woman should acquire such dignity for herself and should not be overly free and without dignity and fly or leap aimlessly from one place to another. Rather, she has to choose the dignity of the lion. The effect of this dignity will be the calm and peace of the lady’s husband and her family. The world should be aware of this! This is the greatness of a woman’s piety and dignity! This is the position of a woman! This is the value and true price of a woman! A woman’s value is not in games in which her chastity is ruined. That is a woman’s misery not her civilization.
Where does dignity come from?1. From piety, 2. from telling the truth (not telling lies), 3. from eating halal (lawful) food, and 4. From perfection and gnosticism.Sheikh’s mother possessed all the above.