He was born in the year 1942 in the city of Jalandhar, India and was raised in its spiritual environment where he picked up the love of Ahul-Bayt (as). He was raised with the highest morals and the most noble of virtues and both his mother and father strived to raise him according to Islamic teachings and principles. They directed him to the path of righteousness and helped him reach the highest peaks of knowledge and divine beliefs until the day he matured and his thirst for knowledge grew; he began to seek knowledge himself.
He first took lessons in the basics such as Grammar, Jurisprudence, Usool (Fundamentals of Jurisprudence), and eloquence (Balagha) in the city of Lahore. The lessons were conducted by his grandfather (from his father’s side) Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim and his uncle Sheikh Khadim Hussain, in addition to the founder of Al-Muntadhar School, the Pakistani Sheikh Akhtar Abbas. Al-Muntadhar School is one of the most active religious schools in Pakistan at the present time, from its credible teachers and its ambitious students. His other teachers included Allama’ Sayed Riyadh Al-Naqawi, and the late Allama’ Safdar Hussain Al-Najafi.
Sheikh Bashir Hussain (may Allah prolong his life) migrated to the holy city of Najaf, Iraq in the year 1965 to enrich his soul and mind with the divine sciences this city had to offer and to be blessed with the bounties of Imam Ali (as). He learned his studies from many of the eminent and religious scholars there such as:
-Sheikh Muhammad Khadim Tabrizi (may Allah bless him) who taught him Al-Kifaya and parts of Al-Kharij in Al-Shirbiyani School. Sheikh Bashir also studied the level of Sutooh under him and other elite teachers from the holy city of Najaf.
– The late Sayed Muhammad Al-Ruhani (may Allah bless him), one of the students of the His Eminence Grand Ayatullah Sheikh Muhammad Hussain Al-Asfahani. Sheikh Bashir studied Fiqh (Jurisprudence) and Usool (Fundamentals of Jurisprudence), for more than seven years.
He began to teach the level of Sutooh in the year of 1968 in Al-Mahdiya School, which is located behind Al-Tusi Mosque, Al-Shibriya School, and Al-Hindi Mosque, located in Souq Al-Hawaysh.
-His Eminence the Late Sayed Abu Qasim Al-Musawi Al-Khoe’i (may Allah accept his deeds), the leader of the Hawza of Najaf in his time, he died in the year 1413 Hijri. The most important lessons in Kharij level, both in jurisprudence and Usool, that Sheikh Bashir attended was given to him by Ayatullah Al-Khoe’i, in addition to a complete course in Usool. As for Jurisprudence, he began from the laws of the traveler until Ayatullah Al-Khoe’i could no longer continue teaching because of his health.
Of the things that distinguish Sheikh Bashir is his supreme religious authority and his deep intellectual capabilities. Furthermore, he has a strong love and passion for teaching, beginning in Al-Muntadhar Mosque in Pakistan to this day, in varying topics and scientific subjects. In fact, many of his students now lecture others in Jurisprudence, and Usool (Kharij level) in different places throughout the world and he insists not to mention their names out of humbleness.
His Eminence Sheikh Bashir has been teaching for 35 years since the year 1974 in the following places:
1. Dar Al-Hikma School , a Foundation founded by Grand Ayatullah Al-Uzema Sayed Muhsin Al-Tabatabai Al-Hakim (may Allah bless him).
2. Dar Al-Ilm School, founded by Grand Ayatullah Al-Uzema Sayed Al-Khoe’i (may Allah bless him).
3. The Shibriya School.
4. Al-Qawam School, which lies near Sheikh Al-Tusi Mosque.
5. Kashif Al-Ghataa’ Mosque
6. Al-Hindi Mosque.
In addition to teaching, His eminence is continuing his studies at his office in Jurisprudence and Usool, in addition to interpretation and Morals.
From what we have gathered from his eminence’s students, there are a few who equal Sheikh Bashir in his methods of teaching, the strength of his discussions, the exact order in which he portrays information leading to the most accurate results, and his concise, direct conclusions without the need of mentioning any irrelevant details.
Many reliable and experienced figures have also bore witness to his religious authority and that he is credible enough to be the only Marjea (religious authority).
Some of the characteristics that distinguish Sheikh Bashir from the rest of the scholars and Ayatollahs is his ability to recall complex sections in Sath level (the level before Kharij) and in Kharij level in grammar, logic, Jurisprudence, Usool (fundamentals of jurisprudence), and others as if he had just recently read them. Furthermore, he uses a variety of examples and practice exercises to penetrate into his students’ minds and fully engage them, which enables them to easily digest the most complex of subjects. Sheikh Bashir also avoids shallow mindedness, which is something dominant in many of the seminary’s students if not for his eminence Grand Ayatullah Sheikh Bashir’s (may Allah prolong his life) efforts in the Hawza’s curriculum. One of which was a letter directed to the students which sheds some light on his methods of teaching:Praise to Allah for guiding us to His religion, and praise to Him for blessing us with His guidance and protection. It is to Him we turn to and from Him we ask for help in carrying out His orders. Peace and blessings to the seal of the prophets, His messenger, Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and to the twelve Imams after him, and may the curse of Allah fall upon their enemies.
This letter is from the holy city of Najaf, for I find my heart and soul enjoined with the hearts that its schools and research centers hold, along with the hearts of our dedicated and ambitious students, who strive on learning the path of the Ahlul-Bait (as).
The bonds of religion are of the most powerful bonds that tie us, it is these bonds that allow us to forget all racial and tribal differences and cancel out all means that aim to classify mankind into different social classes. It is the bond of religion which has had the greatest and most active effect, and it is religion alone that is above all standards.
Another bond which we all share is the love of learning, and because we share these two bonds, we should turn our attention to the following:
Firstly, the Hawza suffers from a deficiency in its books, so we find that our students have a particular tendency towards easy books while avoiding in-depth learning, which is a serious matter, and if neglected, will lead to poor results.
Throughout my stay in Najaf, I have sensed profound interest on the student’s part in seminaries of different religious sects, including the Wahabi sect, which places a great risk on our students and societies. We should turn our attention to what our curriculum has become and strive to return our students to our previous methods, when accuracy, depth, and complexity were vital for producing better results.
Throughout my stay in Najaf, I have sensed a particular interest on the students’ part in Hawzas led by different religious sects, especially the Wahabi sect, which is a great risk to our students and societies. Therefore, we should realize what our books have turned to, and the need of returning to our previous system as well as the importance of accuracy and deepness.
I have come to know that many of our students confuse the seminary’s Islamic curriculum with that of governmental colleges and universities, for they find that the curriculum studied in universities were written in a simple style, to provide clarification and easiness to the reader. As for the books studied previously in the Hawza, they hold many complex phrases and theories, some of which are not easily digested by the average student. This has lead to the belief that the books of the Hawza should be more like the ones studied in colleges and universities; however, if we take a closer look, we come to realize that the objective of college textbooks is to help students understand the findings of past scholars in modern sciences and art, and to prepare them for continuing such research in the future to further develop humanity. As such, students have nothing to do with the exact phrases, languages, and texts these scholars used to reach such findings. Of course, considering that the phrases used in any language change drastically over time, that a phrase perfectly clear and concise in one time period would become absolutely incomprehensible to future generations without a dictionary or a book explaining the rules of that language, and that speeches recited centuries ago differ greatly from what we are used to, it only makes sense that governments are forced to update school textbooks once in awhile.
On the other hand, a student studying Islamic Sciences focuses on understanding Quranic texts and narrations from the holy prophet (p.b.u.h) and the Imams (a.s) in their exact wording, as stated centuries ago, while they were once clear and understandable to the public. In fact, these narrations were quite understandable to Arab people at the time, which is why they were dared to come up with verses similar to Quranic verses, despite the dominance of illiteracy between them.
The same goes for the holy narrations, the speeches of Imam Ali (as), and the supplications of Imam Sajad and Imam Hussain (as) on the day of Arafat, all were read to common Arab people at the time, and they were able to not only understand them, but also to absorb their most intricate details and meanings. Now, however, we are unable to understand similar texts by merely knowing the Arabic language as in its present form, due to the major changes in the way we talk and the vast time span. This is why it has become absolutely necessary to train students’ minds with books that will enable them to understand and comprehend the deep meanings of old texts and passages instead of using the easy phrases we are so familiar with.
Attention must be given to the students’ outer appearance and the importance of them dressing in clothes suitable for religious figures. In many Islamic countries, we find that it has become quite normal to don European clothing, as well as adopting hairstyles, shoes, and eating habits, something which should not occur in the seminaries. In addition, leaving our traditional clothing in exchange of the Europeans’ reveals a low sense of self confidence in the student’s character, especially considering that Europeans do not abandon their traditions or behaviors easily, while our youth so willingly adopt western ways.
The fourth matter is a spiritual one, we should be quite aware that merely memorizing the rules of Arabic grammar, as well as the laws of philosophy and Usool alone does not strengthen the student’s relationship with Allah (swt) rather it only allows him to be at the forefront of his class. Those concerned with raising our students should pay attention to students’ behaviors and encourage dedication to Allah (swt) and obeying His orders.
The spiritual state of the soul and elevating one’s self must also be accompanied and backed up with intellectual progress; by this, religion becomes embodied in a student’s actions and character so deeply that he becomes a role model for the people as well.
The fifth matter:
Profound attention must be given to perfecting one’s soul, manners, and behavior. Treating people fairly and equally, according to: “love for your brother what you love for yourself”, is a common trait that should be found in any average believer. As for the students of Islam, who have devoted themselves to Allah (swt) in the hope of being worthy of attaining the status of the scholars and the prophets, and to be with the prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h), they should be of those who sacrifice themselves for the sake of others, despite circumstances such as poverty or lack of means.
Furthermore, showing respect to knowledge and to honorable scholars, as well as humbling and reminding oneself of his shortcomings is the first step in perfecting the soul-one of the most important obligations that scholars have called upon, especially since perfecting the manners and behaviors of individuals is an essential key to perfecting the nation.
A person’s actions are one of the best signs that reveal his status and character, it is our actions that earn us respect and it is by them that our names go down in history. Ayatollah Sheikh Bashir Hussain Al-Najafi (may Allah prolong his life) is one of those rare men who have proved themselves dedicated to serving the Islamic Ummah and the religion of Islam, and that is most clearly manifested by his various projects and his reform movement in the scientific Hawza of Najaf.
The following are some of the projects under his care, of which Al-Allamah Sheikh Sadiq Saleem Al-Muhsin has also mentioned in regards to Ayatollah Najafi’s merits and deeds:
1. Re-printing the major textbooks used in the seminary’s curriculum, these books ranged from subjects such as Grammar, Eloquence, and Logic to Jurisprudence and Usool.
2. Reforming the system of study and supervising the preparation of books, the assignment of teachers, and the placing of monthly salaries. Passing levels or courses, as well as avoiding taking monthly exams was also forbidden.
3. Distributing gifts, both of materialistic and sentimental value, to the students of the seminary on various religious holidays, to encourage them to continue their hard work and dedication.
4. Paying a great deal of interest to the affairs of the poor and the needy by assigning monthly salaries and providing healthcare as well as summer/winter clothes, medication, and wheat. He also gave out various items given to him by his followers, as well as personal gifts to the poor and needy.
5. Sending representatives to many regions, especially throughout the holy months of Ramadan and Muharram, to serve and guide people to the path of truth and righteousness. As for students and beginners, they are not allowed to leave the holy city of Najaf so that they will not be distracted from their studies.
6. Helping in the renovation and furnishing of mosques, Imam-Bargah’as, shelters, and other places of worship in addition to contributing to filling the shelves of Islamic libraries, and preparing dorms for the students of the seminary such as Dar Al-Abrar and Dar-Al-Mutaqeen.
7. Setting up electric generators as well as distributing power lines to families, public and religious schools, mosques, imam bargah’s, and to approximately 3 thousand homes.
8. Opening Dar-Al Zahra-a private school for the orphaned, the school offered modern caretaking, the most updated methods in teaching, and monthly and periodic financial help to the children.
9. Bringing Students from various countries, such as Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Emirates, and India to study in the holy city of Najaf.
10. Finally, Ayatullah Al-Najafi (may Allah prolong his life) has supervised and supported the founding of many foundations, the most prominent of which is Al-Anwar Foundation, this foundation has served many different social classes such as the families of the orphaned and the poor.
The foundation has also provided financial aid to more than 2,700 Hussaini tents and camp. It also works on many other projects, as well as future plans, one of which is building a campus for the students studying in Najaf and a medical facility to serve the students and the poor; a modern up-to-date multi-floored garage is also one of the planned projects.
We especially agree with Sadiq Salim, that it is up to the qualified, experienced, wise men of the community to join his eminence’s Ayatullah Al-Najafi (may Allah prolong his life) in his efforts to promote righteousness and virtues, for the sake of continuing these services and similar projects.
Manners are the standards by which civilizations are judged and graded, Prophet Muhammad (as) has said: “Attract people, not with your wealth, but with your manners.”
Those who have been honored with his eminence’s presence and acquaintance , even for a short while, all witness that he is the perfect model of Islamic morals and principles from his humbleness, polite manner, generosity, hospitality to believers, religious tolerance and respect to scholars and people of other faiths. He does not discriminate between different social classes, such as the rich and the poor, for he holds faith as the highest criteria.
As for honorable sayeds, he has great respect for them and addresses them with: ‘Your grandfather the Messenger of Allah said’, and ‘Allah has blessed us with the opportunity to preserve the teachings of your grandfather. Not once have I heard him say something if it was not in giving solid advice to Muslims, or in relating the characteristics of true believers-believers deserving to be called the Shia of the Ahlul-Bayt (as) and encouraging firm adherence to the rules of Islamic Sharia and the traditions of Islam.
Each and every one of his sayings is in praise of the noble Imams (as) and the importance of following their path, obeying their commands, and avoiding what they have forbidden. His time is spent on answering the religious questions that shower upon him, and his manner reflects the greatness of his abilities, his wisdom, and the extent in which he has applied “enjoining good and forbidding evil”.
He is a pleasant conversationalist, convincing and eloquent in his style of speaking, his words are backed up with proofs and evidence, and he has a good-natured, hospitable personality.
From all that has been mentioned above, an image is formed of this magnificent Islamic figure, who Allah has destined to be one of the supreme Marj’ae, and he has earned such a status because of his abilities and wisdom. Knowledgeable men have all witnessed the wisdom found in his books in Tadrees-Aali and Bahith Kharij as well as what his writings hold from depth, detail, and originality. In his works, he strives to deepen the intellect and rid Usool and Jurisprudence of irrelevant repetition. Each and every one of his writings has left us valuable information in Jurisprudence, Usool, and other topics of Islamic sciences. These writings hold qualities that reveal the unique, endowed, and divinely bestowed capabilities of the writer as well as his advanced level in Ijtihad.
The respectable Allama’, author of “A Glimpse” (Lumha’a), which is a summary of Ayatollah Al-Najafi’s life has also touched upon what we have mentioned above. He wrote:
Scholars and wise men have certified their Ijtihad with their actions and writing. From our perspective, such things are:
-Teaching the advanced stage of Sutooh in Fiqh (Jurisprudence), Usool, “Al-Makasib”, “Al-Kifaya”, and al-Rasail. Sheikh Bashir had plenty of students inside and outside of Iraq who attended his classes.
When one reaches the level of being able to teach Sutooh, particularly the advanced stage, he is considered to have passed the basic and most essential criteria of passing the level of Ijtihad, and becoming able to produce his own rulings and verdicts.
-The complexity that a student of Bahith Kharij faces in Jurisprudence and Usool only indicates the knowledge and abilities he possesses, since knowing the laws of Islam and its multiple branches, the procedure of calculating, proving, and discussing such laws as well as canceling out laws that do not agree with the overall manners and etiquette of a believing Muslim-are all fine indicators that a student has fully mastered Jurisprudence and Usool.
– The scientific works of an individual poses a question: are these works truly original and informative or are they merely repetition of past research?
He has also said:
“A true researcher needs only to take a look at a sample of his writing in Usool, such as his book “Improving Your Level in Usool” (‘Murqat Al-Usool’) to realize the value of the meanings and information it contains.”
The strokes of pen on paper reveal the wisdom and knowledge of its possessor; it is with this great tool the mind and soul release themselves revealing the essence and intricacy of the writer. Looking at the many works of Sheikh Bashir (may Allah prolong his life) in Jurisprudence, Usool, and the rest of the Islamic Sciences we find ourselves looking at an immense, extremely valuable treasure.
The content of his books and writings are mainly made up of his investigations along with substantial proofs and evidence as well as opinions- portrayed, classified, and proven according to scientific procedure.
He has written in many subjects, from Fiqh to Usool, in addition to Philosophy, Interpretation, Hadith, and modern issues. Below are some of Ayatullah Al-Najafi’s works:-Al-Deen Al-Qayim: Rules and Verdicts for worships and interactions; a total of three volumes, it has been translated to English, Urdo, and the Kijrati language.
-Following Late Clerics (multiple issues were published)
-Improving your level in Usool (Murqat al-Usool) (multiple issues were published
-Laws of Hajj (published)
-Rules of Modesty (a number of issues were printed)
-100 Questions Regarding Khums (published)
-Guidance for the Youth (published)
-The Laws and Rituals of the Holy Month of Ramadan (multiple issues were published)
-Najaf: the Pioneer for Hawzas around the World (multiple issues were published).
-The Laws of Taqleed (multiple issues were published
-Mustafi Al-Deen al-Qaim (multiple issues were published)
-A Friendly Guide to the Holy Kaa’ba (published)
-A Fresh Guide for Muslims in the West (published)
-Research in Modern Jurisprudence (published)
-Explaining the features of Usool (Handwritten)
-The Rules Surrounding Qiblah (Handwritten)
-Rules and Laws of I’tikaf (Handwritten)
-Laws of Backbiting (Handwritten)
– Explaining Kifayat Al-Usool (Handwritten)
-Classifying Narrators (Handwritten, unfinished)
-An Intensive Paper Regarding the Science of Intellect (Handwritten)
-Explaining Manthoomat Al-Sibzawari (Handwritten)
-Reviewing the theme of “Qawaneen (laws) of Usool” (he has reached Mabhath Al-Awamer, handwritten)
– The Indian Circle used for Defining Qiblah (Handwritten)
– Commentary on Sharh Al-Tajreed (Handwritten)
-Explaining Inheritance in “Luma’ah” (Handwritten)
-Rules of Radio, Television, and Acting (Handwritten)
– Khums (Handwritten)
-The Rules of Friday Prayers (Handwritten)
– Upholding Traditions for Imam Hussain (as) and the Mourning Ceremony
-Those Who Repent are the Beloved of Allah (multiple issues were published)
-Nasabi- a reply to misconceptions brought up by one of the Nasabis (handwritten)
-The Birth of Imam Mehdi (ajf) (multiple issues were published, translated to Urdu)
– A Summarized Edition of Rules & Verdicts, translated into Urdu. (Published)
-For the Youth (advice and instructions from Ayatollah Al-Najafi (may Allah prolong his life) to the youth. (multiple issues were published)
Ayatollah Al-Najafi (may Allah prolong his life) narrates the following four books: Al-Kafi, Al-Faqih, Al-Tahtheeb, Al-Astabsar, as well as all the publications of Sheikh Sadooq, Sheikh Tusi, and Allamah’ Al-Hilli.