Sayyed Muḥammad Hādī Ḥussainī Mīlānī (b.1313- d.1395/ 1895-1975) was a Shiite authority (marja’) in the 14th century A.H. (20th century).
He spent most of his life in Iraq. He studied with scholars such as Sheikh al-Shari’a al-Isfahani, Diya’ al-Din al-‘Iraqi, and Muhammad Hussain al-Na’ini. He moved to Mashhad since 1332 S.h. (1953). Sayyed Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, studied with him for a while.
Milani wrote some books, such as Muhadarat fi l-fiqh al-Imamiyya (Lectures on the Imamiyya fiqh) and Qadatuna kayfa na’rifuhum (Our leaders, how to know them?).
Ayatollah Milani was also active in political and social affairs. He supported the Islamic Revolution of Iran and the Iraqi movement. He contributed to the establishment of Islamic seminary schools, including Haqqani Seminary School. When he moved to Mashhad, the Islamic seminary of Mashhad flourished.
Born and Family
Sayyed Muhammad Hadi Milani was born in Najaf in Muharram, 7, 1313 A.H. (June 30, 1895). His genealogy goes back to ‘Ali b. Hussain (a). His father, Sayyed Ja’far Hussaini, was a student of Sheikh Hassan Mamaqani. His father passed away when he was a child. His mother was Hasan Mamaqani’s daughter and his wife was the daughter of his uncle, ‘Abd Allah Mamaqani—the author of Tanqih al-maqal.
Milani began his studies in Najaf and then started teaching there. He frequently traveled to Iran. When he visited the holy shrine of Imam al-Rida (a) in Mashhad in 1332 S.h. (1953), he stayed there at the request of people and some scholars in Khurasan and started teaching fiqh and usul al-fiqh in Mashhad.
• Sheikh Abu l-Qasim Mamaqani
• Sheikh al-Shari’a Isfahani
• Diya’ al-Din ‘Iraqi
• Muhammad Hussain Na’ini
• Muhammad Hussain Gharawi Isfahani
• Muhammad Jawad Balaghi
• Ghulam Ali Qummi Samira’i
• Al-Sayyed Hasan al-Sadr
• Al-Sayyed ‘Abd al-Hussain Sharaf al-Din
• Sheikh ‘Abbas Qummi
• Aqa Buzurg Tihrani
• Sayyed ‘Ali Hussaini Khamenei
• ‘Aziz Allah ‘Atarudi
• Muhammad Taqi Ja’fari
• Kazim Mudir Shanihchi
• Sayyed Muhammad Hussaini Zanjani
• Muhammad Rida Shafi’i Kadkani
Change in the Islamic Seminary of Mashhad
The Islamic Seminary of Mashhad was revived and founded in 1320s S.h. (1940s), and it underwent remarkable changes and developments in 1330s S.h. (1950s). The main reason for such a remarkable change—promoting the scholarly and religious position of this seminary—was the migration of Sayyed Muhammad Hadi Milani to Mashhad and his stay there for more than two decades.
In 1332 S.h. (1953), prominent scholars in Mashhad signed a petition to ask Sayyed Muhammad Hadi Milani (who lived in Karbala at the time) to migrate to Mashhad and start teaching there in order to improve its Islamic seminaries and prevent its students from migrating to other cities such as Qom and Najaf. In 1333 S.h. (1954), Milani entered Mashhad and stayed there at the request of scholars there. He was practically in charge of the Islamic Seminary of Mashhad for 22 years. He was also a Shiite authority (marja’), especially after the death of Ayatollah Burujirdi, he founded schools with new structures and organized educational and training programs of the Shiite seminary there. Milani’s lectures in usul al-fiqh were based on the method of his teachers, such as Sheikh Muhammad Hussain Gharawi Isfahani and Mirza Muhammad Hussain Na’ini. Nearly 400 advanced students of the Shiite seminary attended his lectures.
Ayatollah Milani’s Social Activities
• In the last years of his life, Milani founded and supported Islamic schools, including Haqqani School and Imam al-Sadiq (a) Seminary School. He also founded other schools for students of Islamic seminaries with courses remarkably different from those of other seminaries.
• The propagation of Islamic teachings was very important for Milani. Thus many Shiite clergies were organized by him and sent to different areas of Iran. They tried to inform people in cities and villages of Islamic teachings.
• Ayatollah Milani sponsored Islamic institutes and organizations that did not belong to the Shiite seminaries, such as the Center for the Propagation of Islamic Truths (Kanun-i Nashr-i Haqa’iq-i Islami). The Center was founded by Muhammad Taqi Shari’ati and some well-known clergies in Mashhad. The Center considerably contributed to the propagation of modern Islamic thoughts and responses to objections made by anti-Islamic movements popular among educated people of Mashhad at the time from 1320s to 1350s S.h. (1940s to 1970s).
His Political Activities
Ayatollah Milani started his political activities in Iraq when he was young. Ayatollah Milani attended the rise of Muslim Iraqi people against the presence of UK in their country, led by Shiite authorities, together with Mirza Mahdi, Akhund Khurasani’s son, Sheikh Jawad Jawahiri, Sheikh Muhammad Hasan Najafi’s son, Sayyed ‘Ali Damad, and others.
Ayatollah Milani entered Mashhad after the Nationalization of the Iran Oil Industry Movement. Milani had close relations with the former organizers of this movement in Mashhad, and during the June 5, 1963 demonstrations in Qom, he was a pioneer of the cleric movement.
In the story of the Capitulation Treaty made in the government of Hasan ‘Ali Mansur in order to guarantee the security of US military advisors, Milani supported Imam Khomeini.
In Khurdad, 1346 (June, 1967), Milani published a statement regarding the 6-day war between Arab nations and Israel. In this statement, he sympathized with Muslim Arab people, and because of this, he was threatened by General Nasiri. In the same year, his passport was confiscated and he was ordered to leave Iran because he did not congratulate the Shah for his coronation, but the decision was not executed because of Milani’s spiritual influence among people and his place among Shiite clergies and authorities.
Two days after the martyrdom of Ayatollah Sa’idi in Khurdad 24, 1349 S.h. (June 14, 1970), Milani shut down his lectures, and in Tir 24 of the same year (July 15, 1970), Muhammad al-Faham, the head of Al-Azhar University who had come to Iran from Cairo by the invitation of Dar al-Taqrib bayn al-Madhahib al-Islamiyya (House of Proximity among Islamic Sects), visited Ayatollah Milani.
In 1370 A.H. (1951), Milani went to hajj. In 1359 A.H. (1940), he visited Syria and Lebanon where he met Sayyed ‘Abd al-Hussain Sharaf al-Din, Sayyed Muhsin Amin, Sheikh Habib Al Ibrahim, Mirza Hasan Lawasani and Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Sadiq in the cities of Sur, Damascus, Baalbek, Ghaziya, and Nabatieh. He travelled to Iran 6 times. In his sixth travel, he visited Imam al-Rida (a)’s holy shrine on the Day of ‘Arafa. In this travel, he went to the house of Sheikh ‘Ali Akbar Nughani, and at the request of people and scholars of Khurasan, he stayed in Mashhad.
• Muhadarat fi l-fiqh al-Imamiyya (lectures about the Imamiyya jurisprudence): this is a 10-volume collection investigating the rulings of Shiite fiqh, such as those concerning worships and transactions.
• Qadatuna kayfa na’rifuhum (Our leaders, how to know them?): this is a 9-volume collection concerning the biographies of the Fourteen Infallibles (a) and their virtues according to Shiite and Sunni sources.
• Tafsir Sura al-Taghabun wa l-Jumu’a (Exegesis of Sura al-Taghabun and Sura al-Jumu’a)
• Tawdih al-masa’il (essay of fatwas)
• Commentaries on al-Makasib by al-Sheikh al-Ansari
• Risala fi l-ta’min wa l-yanasib (an essay concerning insurance and lotteries).