The late Allamah Mohammd Hossein Tabatabaei was born on 16 March, 1904 (29 Dhu al-hijja, 1321 AH), in the Masjed-e-Kaboud Street, Tabriz. His family was renowned for virtue, grandeur, and achievements. His ancestry goes back to such renowned characters as the late Serajeddin Abdulvahab Hasani Hosseini, born in Samarqand, and Sheikh al-Islam of Azerbaijan before the Safavid dynasty.
Allameh Tabataba’i’s mother, Robabeh Khanom, from the Yahyavi Clan of Tabriz, was Gholamali Yahyavi’s daughter and from the aristocrats of Tabriz.
What Follows is 3 stories of late Allamah Tabatabaei at home with his wife:
Story Number 1
‘Allamah’s family life was extremely warm and pleasant. When his wife passed away he shed so many tears and was so saddened and moved that one day we asked him, “we should be learning patience and endurance from you – why are you affected such?”
Death is inevitable. Everyone must die. I am not crying for the death of my wife. My tears are for the kindness, housekeeping abilities, and the love my wife had. I have had a life full of ups and downs. In the holy city of Najaf when we were faced with many difficulties, I was not even aware of the needs and the administration of our life [because she took care of them so well]. Managing our life was in the hands of my wife, and throughout our life not once did my wife do something that I said I wish she hadn’t done that, even just to myself. Nor did she ever not do something that I said I wish she had carried that out!
Throughout our life together never once did she say to me why did you carry out that particular act, or why didn’t you do something! For example, you know that I work at home and am continually occupied with writing and studying. As a result I get tired and occasionally I need to rest and to renew my energy. My wife was aware of this. She would always have the kettle on and tea ready. Although she was busy with housework, she would pour me one cup of tea every hour. She would place it in my study and would return to her work until the following hour…how can I ever forget such love and kindness?!
Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini
Story Number 2
His [‘Allamah’s] behavior with my mother was incredibly respectful and friendly. Through his actions it seemed as if he was always eager to see my mother. We never saw them order each other to do or not do anything, nor did we see any discord between the two of them. They were loving, loyal and forgiving to each other to such an extent that we thought they never disagreed. The two of them were truly like two friends with each other.
Prior to her death, my mother was ill and confined to bed for 27 days. During this period my father did not leave her bedside for a single moment. He left all his work to take care of her.
At the same time my mother was an exceptional woman. She was patient when faced with difficulties and a meager lifestyle. She managed all our household affairs. She took care of our academic and social life and handled all our concerns. She worked with such efficiency and wisdom that my father was able to pursue his academic work with complete ease of mind.
Story Number 3
“It was this woman who allowed me to reach this position. She has been my partner and whatever books I have written, half [of the credit] belongs to her.”
This one sentence from ‘Allamah Tabataba’i is sufficient as an indication of his enlightened view of women. At another time he said:
If a woman did not have importance, God would not have placed the lineage of the 12 Imams in the progeny of Hazrat Zahra (as). Truly if a woman is noble and good she can make the entire world a rose-garden, and if she is bad she can make the world a hell…Women and men are partners, and after looking after the raising of her children, a woman must become aware and familiar with the affairs of her society.
The selection taken from “Eternal Manifestations: 80 Stories from the Life of Allamah Tabatabae” by Ahmad Luqmani.