Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr showed me so much care and generosity to the extent that I forgot all about my family and tribe, and felt that if I stayed for one month with him, I would have become a Shii, because of his manners, modesty and generosity. Whenever I looked at him he smiled and asked me if I needed anything, and I did not leave his company during the four days, only when I wanted to go to sleep.
What follows is a narrative by Muhammad al-Tijani al Samawi of his meeting with Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr in Najaf:
I went with Abu Shubbar to al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr’s house, and on the way he honoured me and talked to me about the famous Ulama and about Taqlid (adoption of a legal decision by the Mujtahid) and so on until we entered the house where we found al Sayyid al Sadr surrounded by many young turbaned students.
Al-Sayyid stood up and greeted us, then I was introduced to him and he welcomed me warmly and sat me next to him. After that he started asking me about Tunisia and Algeria and about famous Ulama like al-Khidr Husayn and al-Thahir ibn Ashoor and others. I enjoyed his talk, and despite his high position and the great respect he commands from his students, I found myself at ease with him and felt as if I had known him before.
I benefitted so much from that meeting because I listened to the questions asked by the students and his answers to them; also I appreciated then the idea of adopting the decision of the living Ulama who could answer all sorts of questions directly and clearly. I became convinced that the Shi’a are Muslims worshipping Allah alone, who believe in the message of our Prophet Muhammad (saw).
At the beginning I suspected that what I saw was just acting, or perhaps as they call it Taqiyyah, i.e. they show what they do not believe; but these suspicions disappeared quickly since it was inconceivable that the hundreds of people that I saw or heard coordinated their acting, and why should there be acting anyway?
Besides who was I, and why should they be concerned about me to the extent that they used Taqiyyah with me? And all their books, whether they were old ones that had been written centuries ago or the newly published ones, all professed the unity of Allah and praise His Messenger Muhammad (saw). There I was, in the house of al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, the famous religious authority inside Iraq and outside it, and every time the name of Muhammad (saw) was mentioned, the entire audience shouted in one voice “May Allah’s blessings be upon Muhammad and his household.”
When the time for prayer was due, we left the house and went to the mosque, which was next door, and al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Sadr led the midday and afternoon prayers. I felt as if I was living among the Companions (of the Prophet), for there was a solemn invocation from one of the men who had a moving voice, and when he finished the invocation the whole audience shouted, “May Allah’s blessing be upon Muhammad and his household.” The invocation was basically to thank and glorify Allah, the Great Majesty, and then Muhammad (saw) and his good and purified posterity.
After the prayer, al-Sayyid sat in the Mihrab (the prayer niche) and people came to greet him, some asked him private questions, others asked him general questions, and he answered each one of them accordingly. When the person obtained an answer for his question, he kissed the hand of al- Sayyid then left, what lucky people to have such a dignified learned Imam who lives their experiences and solves their problems.
Al-Sayyid showed me so much care and generosity to the extent that I forgot all about my family and tribe, and felt that if I stayed for one month with him, I would have become a Shi’i, because of his manners, modesty and generosity. Whenever I looked at him he smiled and asked me if I needed anything, and I did not leave his company during the four days, only when I wanted to go to sleep.
There were many visitors who came to see him from all over the world; there were Saudi Shi’i from Hijaz, others came from Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey and Black Africa; and al-Sayyid spoke to each one of them and solved their problems, later they left him feeling happy and comforted.
Here I would like to mention a case which was brought to al-Sayyid when I was in his company, and I was very impressed by the way he dealt with it. I mention it because of its historical importance so that the Muslims know what they have lost by leaving the rule of Allah.
Four men, who were probably Iraqis, judging by their accents, came to see al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr. One of them had inherited a house from his grandfather, who had died a few years ago, and had sold that house to a second person (he was present then). One year after the completion of the sale, two brothers came and proved that they were also legal inheritors of the dead man (i.e. the father).
The four of them sat before al-Sayyid and each one of them produced a number of papers and deeds, which al-Sayyid read, and after he spoke for a few minutes with the men, he passed a fair judgment. He gave the purchaser the full right to his house, and asked the seller to pay to his two brothers their shares from the selling price, and after that they stood up and kissed al-Sayyid’s hand and embraced each other. I was astonished about what had happened and asked Abu Shubbar, “Has the case ended?”
He said, “Yes, everyone received his right. Praise be to Allah!” In such case, and in such a short time, only a few minutes, the problem was solved. A similar case in our country would have taken at least ten years to resolve, some of the plaintiffs would die and their sons resume the case; often the legal costs exceed the price of the house. The case would move from the Magistrate Court to the Appeal Court to the Court of Review, and at the end no one is satisfied, and hatred between People and Tribes are created.
Abu Shubbar commented, “we have the same thing if not worse.” I asked, “How?” He said, if people take their cases to the state courts, then they would go through the same troubles which you have just mentioned, but if they follow the Religious Authority and commit themselves to the Islamic Laws, then they would take their cases to him and the problem would be solved in a few minutes, as you saw. And what is better than the Law of Allah for people who could comprehend? Al-Sayyid al-Sadr did not charge them one Fils, but if they went to the state courts, then they would have paid a high price.”
I said, “Praise be to Allah! I still cannot believe what I have seen, and if I had not seen it with my eyes, I would not have believed it at all.”
Abu Shubbar said, “You do not have to deny it brother, this is a simple case in comparison with other more complicated ones which involve blood. Even so, the Religious Authorities do consider them, and it takes them a few hours to resolve.” I said with astonishment, “Therefore you have two governments in Iraq, a government of the state and a government of the clergy. He replied, “No, we have a government of the state only, but the Muslims of the Shi’i Madhhab who follow the Religious Authorities, have nothing to do with the government of the state, because it is not an Islamic government.
They are subjects of that government simply because of their citizenship, the taxes, civil laws and personal status; so if a committed Muslim had an argument with a non committed Muslim, then the case must be taken to the state courts, because the latter would not accept the judgment of the Religious Authorities. However, if two committed Muslims had an argument, then there is no problem, whatever the Religious Authorities decide is acceptable to all parties. Thus, all cases seen by the Religious Authorities are solved on a day-to-day basis, whereas other cases linger on for months and years.”
It was an incident that made me feel content with rule of Allah, praise be to Him the Exalted one, which helped me to comprehend the words of Allah in His Glorious Book:
“… And whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unbelievers.” (Holy Qur’an 5:44)
“… And whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unjust.” (Holy Qur’an 5:45)
“… And whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the transgressors.” (Holy Qur’an 5:47)
That incident aroused in me feelings of anger and resent