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Sayyid Ḥassan Modarres

Place of birth: Ardestan – Iran
Place of Martyrdom: Tehran, Kashmar – Iran
Ayatollah Seyyed Hassan Modarres was born in 1870, in Ardestan, Isfahan, Iran
He accomplished his studies in Isfahan, Samarra and Najaf at the presence of such grand teachers as Ayatollah Mirzai-e Shirazi, leader of tobacco ban movement, till he achieved the level of ijtihad. Then, he returned to Isfahan and began teaching Fiqh and Usol.
His Martyrdom
Reza Khan ordered the head of Kashmar police to murder Modarres, but he refused and so Jahansozi, Motevafian and Khalaj were appointed for the mission. They martyred Modarres on the eve of November 30, 1937 and secretly buried his body. In August 1941 and after the fall of Reza Khan, Modarres’ tomb was identified and located by the locals.
He was not in search of position and power
I was witness to an episode when somebody had written something. This story goes back to the time when Rida Khan was not yet a king but a brutish bully. Somebody came to Mudarres and said: I have written something for department of justice. May I beg you to give it to somebody to take to His Eminence Rida Khan to attend to my problem! Mudarris replied: Rida Khan does not know how justice department is written. You want me to give the letter to him who does not know A from Z?” He did not say so behind his back; in his presence he said it. He was this sort of man.
Why so? Because he was righteous; he was not attached to carnal passions.” Hast thou seen him who chooseth for his god his own lust?” »1« He had not taken his carnal passions as his God. He did not act for name or fame but for God. One who acts for God, his living condition is what you are aware of. No worse condition is conceivable for him. Why should he then fawn over the king or so and so? He feared none. When Rida Shah invaded the Majlis, the bullies accompanying him cried viva Rida Khan! Mudarres stood up and shouted:” Down with Rida Khan! Viva me!” You don’t understand what it meant to stand against Rida Khan. But Mudarres stood. It was because he was freed from carnal passions; he was righteous not dependent.
He had suppressed his Carnal desires
All dependencies emanate from the dependency one has on oneself. When one’s soul is dependent, all dependencies outside of the soul are traceable to the soul. Hence, if something is imposed on the soul, one will accept. If one finds that something counters one’s aspirations, one will be humble. If man is delivered from this dependency on the self, he will become free. Such a soul does not fear anyone; if all powers of the world come together to frighten him, he will not fear, because one believes that at most he will be killed. Nothing is worse than this, something that our people seek. They ask me to pray for them to be martyred. They ask me several times in a day to pray for them to achieve martyrdom. I tell them I pray for them to emerge victorious, God willing.
May God grant you all success! I hope you will be sanctioned. May God give peace and blessing to all the martyrs, who served the nation such as Martyr Raja’i, whose martyrdom anniversary is approaching, the late Bahonar and others whom we have lost! Of course, we suffered a lot, yet the system remained intact. It was because people supported them and the nation succeeded them, not the grandees and the nobles. In those days if a prime minister got killed, confusion would erupt. If a king died the entire country would be disrupted. Today if the president achieves martyrdom, another will succeed. The entire Iran is full of Beheshti. »1« Well! People believe that Beheshtis was from them. This is not something we have imported from abroad. People cry that Beheshti is from them and one of them has departed, being substituted by another. When Raja’i died, another one succeeded him. If any one of us is killed, someone else will take his place. This is the situation of Iran. If we preserve this state, each of us has a substitute who will fill our empty place. If the situation changes and the condition prevailing in former time is restored, again with the death of a prime minister, for instance, the country will be chaotic. May God protect all of you and grant us success in acting according to Islamic laws and in Islamizing our ministries. If, God forbid, there are devious persons, you should advise them, and if it is not useful remove them, as we do not need such people in a ministry. He can go and do a different job. God willing, you will be successful and sanctioned.
Ayatollah Seyyed Hassan Modarres during the Constitutional Movement turned to politics. He said in this regard, “After return from the Holy Shrines of Iraq, I was only engaged, among all social sciences, in discourse and teaching in Isfahan, but with the change of despotism into constitutionalism a different state of affairs perforce happened.” His political activities began with membership in state association of Isfahan and then his character became more known thanks to his being elected one of the five clerics for the second term of the Majlis (Legislative Assembly) in 1910. He played his role well in the Majlis. He also was elected Tehran representative to the 3rd term of Majlis, but due to foreign pressures and outbreak of the World War I it did not prolong more than a year. Modarres was a prominent figure of the National Defense Committee whose members migrated to Qom to obstruct advance of Tsarist forces towards Tehran. Then he departed for Isfahan, Kermanshah, Iraq, Turkey and Syria and then returned to Iran after two years. He strongly objected Agreement of 1919 favored by Vosoq Al-Dowleh and did not allow Iran to be divided between the foreigners. Subsequent to coup of 21 February 1921 by Reza Khan and Seyyed Zia’eddin Tabatabaee, Modarres was comprehended, accompanied by many other nationalists and combatants, and spent his time in Qazvin Jail throughout the disgraceful cabinet of Seyyed Zia’. After release, he was elected Tehran representative of the 4th term of Majlis and served as Deputy Speaker as well as the head of the Majlis majority faction. The 5th term of Majlis, an important era in the history of Constitutionalism with fall of Qajar dynasty and rise to power of Reza Khan, was inaugurated in 1923 in which Modarres was the head of the minority faction. Reza Khan who was seeking to remove Qajar and take office introduced republic plan, but Modarres and his minority comrades in Majlis thwarted him. A significant event in the 5th Majlis was interpellation of Reza Khan by Modarres. However, Reza Khan could pave the way for overthrow of Qajar dynasty through deceit and fraud and eventually became the king of Iran on November 1, 1925. Reza Khan prevented Modarres to be elected the representative in the 7th Majlis. After a period of being stay-at-home, Modarres was comprehended on October 8, 1928 and sent into exile to Damghan, Mashhad and then Khaf. After 7 years of exile in Khaf, he was transferred to Kashmar on October 14, 1937.
Imam Khomeini Appreciated Modarres-style Politics
The great Imam frequently used to repeat famous motto by the Martyr Ayatullah Modarres (1870-1937) that he had chanted in the Iranian Parliament during the era of Reza Shah regime.
“Our religion is our politics and our politics is our religion.”
It is noteworthy to mention that Modarres was elected in the parliamentary elections to represent the Tehran’s people for several consecutive terms.
At very sensitive juncture of history, he also confronted conspiracies and plots which were being hatched by the colonial powers to gain dominance in the strategic important region. He also became staunch supporter of the constitutional movement which was being led by several prominent religious and intellectuals at the time.
Modarress was an open critic of Reza Shah’s rule and was sent into exile towards remote areas and at later stages placed under imprisonment in retaliation for his criticisms against the dictatorial monarchy.
Modarres was finally killed in a prison by the Pahlavi regime’s elements in December 1937. His death is regarded as martyrdom and the day is marked in Iran as “day of the parliament”.
Imam Khomeini became familiar with Modarres’ revolutionary ideas during early stages of his life. During his youth, Imam attended the certain session of parliament where Modarres used to deliver speeches on various social and political issues. He used to debate very serious regional and international issues in a very open and frank style.
Imam made vast use of Modarres’ ideas during his struggle against the Shah regime which was later led to the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. This happened as a result of decades-long struggle by the great Imam and countless sacrifices by the Iranian nation.
Imam used to appreciate the religious figures who had taken an interdisciplinary approach towards social and political issues as well.
The Islamic Revolution in Iran strongly strengthened the Islamic nations and oppressed people around the globe. Several analysts and pundits believe that the ongoing Islamic Awakening and awareness among the oppressed nations has been inspired by Imam’s dynamic thought and his genuine Islamic teachings.

About Alireza Mosaddeq

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