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When the Satan Put the Rope around Sheikh Ansari’s Neck

One of the students of Sheikh Morteza Ansari (RA) says, “One night, when I was in holy Najaf and was a student of Sheikh Ansari, I saw Satan in a dream while he was holding many ropes.

I asked him, ‘what are these ropes for?’

He answered, ‘I entrap people by throwing these ropes around their necks and dragging them to my side. Yesterday, I threw one of the strong ropes around Sheikh Ansari’s neck and I dragged him from his room to the middle of the alley, but alas, despite my hard effort, Sheikh was released from the band and came back home’.

When I woke up, I began to think about the interpretation of my dream. I said to myself, ‘It is good to ask Sheikh himself about it’; therefore, I found the honor to visit him and I told him about my dream.

Sheikh said, ‘Satan has told the truth; the cursed devil wanted to deceive me but by the grace of Allah, I escaped from his trap. Yesterday, I did not have any money and incidentally, we needed something at home. I said to myself, ‘I have one Rial which belongs to Imam Mahdi (AS) and it is not time to spend it yet. I will take it as a loan and pay it back later’.

I took the money and got out of my house. As I decided to spend the money, I said to myself, ‘can I pay this loan back?’ After pondering and hesitating over whether to spend the money or not, I made my decision at last. I did not buy anything, returned home, and put the money in its place”

 

Familiarity with the eminent character of the Shiah’s world who has had a great role in expansion of the jurisprudence and methodologies of jurisprudence and has gotten into a lot of trouble for propagation of the Prophet Muhammad’s pure Islam, Sheikh Murtazā Ansari is the master of jurisprudence and one of the most inimitable Shiah scholar who is one of the descendants of Jāber Ibn Abdullah Ansāri (the reputable and well known companion of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) )

He was born at the 18th of Dua al-Hijjah 1214 at the day of Eid al- Ghadīr in Dezfūl. His parents named him Murtazā for the occasion of the day of Ghadīr. He learned the Quran and Islamic teachings since he was a child and he passed the Arabic literature and the preliminaries before his father and other teachers in Dezfūl. He learned the Jurisprudence and the methodology of jurisprudence and the course of level from Sheikh Hussein Ansāri (his cousin). He emigrated to Iraq with his father for the completion of the lessons in the year 1232. He had been the student of the two great jurists at his era – Sayyid Muhammad Mujāhid and Sharif al-Olamā – for four years. At the fourth year he returned to his hometown Dezfūl but after one year he went to Iraq again at the year 1237. He set out for Mashhad at the year 1240. On this journey he also visited the seminaries of Broujerd, Esfahān and Kāshān and he stayed in some of those seminaries for a while and he even learned some lessons from Mullah Ahmad Naraghi (the son of Mullah Mahdi Naraghi) in four years in Kazhān. Sheikh Murtazā went to Mashhad with his brother – Sheikh Mansoor – afer four years stay in Kashān. After few months stay in there, he went to Tehrān and stayed there for a while too. After six years  of traveling, he went back to Dezfūl and stayed there for a few years. After a while in the year 1249 he returned to Najaf and started teaching at seminary. His scientific status was famous among the jurists of Iran and Iraq and after Sāheb Jawāher’s demise, 400 top jurists approved that he is well-qualified. ( Olama Muāserin page 61 )

Eventually, afer 15 years of being the source of emulation for the entire shiah’s world and teaching so many great and eminent students, he passed away at the age of sixty seven at the 18th Jamādi al-Thāni 1281 Lunar Year in Najaf and he was buried in the holy shrine of Imām Ali (pbuh). But his departure was a beginning for effectiveness and training students for more than one century. Several generations of Shia scholars have reached the level of being the source of emulation by studying and discussing his books. For this very reason we can say that Sheikh Murtazā Ansāri is still an uncontested master in Jurisprudence and methodologies.

Method of the Deduction of Jurisprudential Laws

Cautiousness and strictness in Jurisprudential and religious opinions are of the features of Sheikh Murtazā Ansāri. His honorable teacher’s recommendation to him is interesting when he  recommends him emphatically, “O Sheikh!do not apply caution a lot! The Canon of Islam is so easy and simple”. ( Biography and character of Sheikh Ansāri by Hojjat al-Islam Murtazā Ansāri, page 96 ).

His argumentative and masterful method was challenging and instructive (for jurists). Wonderful creativity of this Iranian jurist could open up new methods in the science of jurisprudence and methodologies of jurisprudence. He could finish the hard work of Vahid Behbahāni in isolating the Akhbāries and bringing the meteorologists to the acme of authority. His decisive defense of rationality in the deduction of Islamic laws has isolated those who only believe in traditions and Hadith. He can be also known as the founder of a jurisprudential – methodological school of thoughts which is known as ‘Najaf school of thoughts’. A school of thoughts that is famous for methodological scrutiny and complications and has a lot of interests in creativity and ingenuity in the science of methodologies and jurisprudential maxims. The book ‘Farī’d al-Usūl’ by Sheikh Ansāri which is famous as ‘Rasā’l’ in seminaries could override all the previous works and it is more than one century that it has been established as the most important and the most specialized texts of the science of methodologies of Shiah with the ‘ Kefāyat al-Usūl’ by Ākhuond Khorāsāni. These two books with the jurisprudential book ‘Makāsīb’ that is the source of argumentative ideas of Sheikh Ansāri, as the scientific triangle of Shiah has been able to fulfill the need of several generations of famous scholars and jurists. The status of these three books is so well-established that all the attempts to replace other books as the texts of lessons of seminary, have been failed and it also has had a lot of disagreements.

Scientific Ingenuity

 The writing style and simple way of writing are of the characteristics and features of Sheikh Ansāri’s writings. He approaches the mind of the reader to each scientific issue simply as much as it becomes understandable for them. In his compilations very rarely difficult and unusual words can be seen. He has written the issues fluently and without ambiguity and this is the point that has made him a special character among the likenesses of him such as Saheb Jawāher and Saheb Riațh. Initiatives of Sheikh in jurisprudence and methodological matters are a lot that can be referred to the ‘principle of Sababī and Musabbebī’, ‘principle of Musbat’, ‘suspending presumption of continuity’, ‘Ishteghāl’, terminology of ‘Sovereignty’ and ‘worūd’ and jurisprudence of transactions by description of the current transactions in Bāzār by citing the conduct and mores.

One of the researchers about the ‘Sovereignty’ and ‘worūd’ says, “In my research I saw such these expressions from Saheb Jawāher and to prove my opinion I collected some evidence that Saheb Jawāher means the same idiomatic Sovereignty and world not other meaninmeaninii8gs. In a meeting that I had with Sheikh Ahmad Sebt al-Sheikh who is one of the descendants of Sheikh Ansāri, I mentioned this issue and he said, ” these discussions are of the mutual effects of Sheikh on Saheb Jawāher and for this reason Āghā Mirzā Hasan Shirāzi and Sheikh Habibullah Rashti who were teachers in seminary became the students of Sheikh”.

Sheikh Ansāri is the master of expansion of the discussion and producing scientific ancillaries and for this reason he rarely mentions his final opinion and frequently sets the discussion up and mentions the possibilities by citing the different ancillaries in the discussion. Sheikh tries to observe the scientific laws in the stages of reaching the deduction and make the way of reaching the result clear to the readers.

Sheikh Ansāri produces the science by scrutiny of the matters and making ancillaries and producing the scientific branches in one issue and he has shown the way of producing the science.

Political Approach

In the last years of the lifetime of Sheikh Mohammad Hassan Najafi, the author of the famous book, Jawāhir al-Kalām, Sheikh Ansari stayed in the Najaf and used the his lessons in person. Some people believe the similarity of the time of religious leadership of Sheikh Ansari and the owner of Jawāher, has affected on the weak political role of these two Shiite jurists, albeit it does not seem correct. The shining role of his students in social and political affairs in the future years shows the important role of scholars’ method in the intellectual training of their students, even in their political and social method of Shiite seminary. It was performed by the leadership of Ayatollah Borujerdi and finally caused the great Islamic revolution of Iran by the leadership of Imam Khomeini. Hence we can infer that not only they did not have a weak role in political affairs, but also their deep thought and foresight of political sense make them to bring up students in order for entering of Shiite seminary in political field and preparing the grounds for presence of jurisprudence in politics and government.

Therefor we cannot consider the lack of his clear and roaring presence in politics- especially in the era of political stagnation in Najaf- as his method of separating jurisprudence from politics. Thus, according to the historical evidence, one of the most important political influences of the Shi’a jurisprudence seminary has been performed by his prominent students; Mirza Shirazi and Akhund Khorasani.

The students whom were brought up by Sheikh Ansari, became the pioneers of the history-maker political struggles in the Middle East. Mirza Mohammad Hasan Shirazi, who became the Shiite religious leader after Sheikh Ansari, was able to set an important fatwa against the colonial treaty at the era of Nasir al-Din Shah and call the people to civil resistance. Mirza Shirazi’s victory could pave the way for further movements, and other students of Sheikh Ansari (Akhund Khorasani and Mirza Hossein Khalili Tehrani) in the first quarter of the 14th century were able to lead the first 100-year-old revolution in the Middle East region.

However, can Sheikh still be considered as a person who has nothing to say in political affairs? Or should his political sense, which is the result of his great proficiency with Islamic sources, be praised?

Compilations and Works

Sheikh A’ẓam [Sheikh Ansari] has written more than 32 books and scientific works that the core of the most of those works are Islamic laws and Jurisprudence. Some of his valuable works can be mentioned as: 1. Al-Makāsib (Islamic lows) including forbidden jobs, rights of withdrawal and common decrees of contracts. 2. Farā’id al-Usūl (jurisprudence) including terminology issues, amārah (reason) and practical principles. These two books present the greatest methods of Islamic laws and jurisprudence for the researchers of these two sciences. 3. A book about Taqiyyah (dissimilation) 4. A book about breast feeding and those who will be unmarriageable via it. 5. A book about Qaḍā’ Mayyah (making up the missed deeds of a dead person) 6. A book about Muwāsi’ah and Muḍā’iqah (limitation and extension of time) 7. A book about justice 8. A book about Muṣāharah (relationships by marriage) 9. A book about Mulk Iqrār (confession) 10. A book of explanation of the canon of Lā Ḍarar wa Lā Ḍirār (no harm and no reciprocating harm) 11. A book about Khums 12. A book about Zakāt (alms) 13. A book about impediments of prayer 14. A book about inheritance 15. A book about Tayammum (dry ablution) 16. A book about the canon of Tasāmuḥ (indulgence) 17. A book about the authenticity of reports 18. A book about lot 19. A book about Mut’ah (fixed term marriage) 20. A book about emulation 21. A book about Qaṭ’ and Jazm 22. A book about conjecture 23. A book about the principle of Barā’ah (acquittal) 24. A book about the pilgrimage rituals 25. A commentary of Istiṣḥāb (presumption of continuity) 26. A commentary of Najāh al-‘Ibād (a book of practical laws) 27. A book about the science of Rijāl (chain of narrations) 28. A compilation about jurisprudence 29. A commentary of the book ‘Awā’id by Narāqī 30. A commentary of the book Baghīyah al-Ṭālib 31. Ithbāt al-Tasāmuḥ fī Adillah al-Sunan 32. Al-Ta’ādul wa al-Tarjīḥ 33. A book about al-Tayammum al-Istidlālī 34. A book about khums.

So far, more than 200 scholars, elders, scientists, and famous Islamic persons have written commentary of his books, and his compilation books have been reprinted regularly in Iran, Iraq, and other Islamic countries. In a way that it forms the intellectual material of the scholars and the elders of the seminaries and some academic and legal societies. Such great scholars wrote commentaries on his books; Ākhūnd Mulla Muhammad Kāẓim Khurāsānī (the author of Kifāyah al-Usūl), Sayyid Muhammad Kāẓim Yazdī (the author of ‘Urwah), Ḥāj Mīrzā Ḥabībullah Rashtī, Mīrzā Ḥasan Āshtīyānī, Sheikh Muhhamad Ḥusayn Kāshif al-Ghiṭā’, Sayyed ‘Abd al-Ḥusayn Sharaf al-Dīn, Sheikh Muhhamad Jawād Balāghī, Sheikh Muhhamad Ḥusayn Māmaqānī and a lot of other famous scientists and Jurists, whom Mentioning them will take a long time. They put the Sheikh’s writings and compilations as their main source and added commentary and margin to it, and they analyzed and studied his views with a deep thought and foresight.

The Eminent Students:

The fifteen-year of Sheikh Ansari’s authority was spent to teach the eminent and great students who were able to keep up jurisprudence and Principles of Islamic jurisprudence and pave the way for the important social and cultural developments in their time. Having a brief overview of Sheikh’s scientific and practical achievments in his teaching field, one can find out the importance of his works.

 The name of more than 300 great Shiite mujtahids has been listed in the list of the Sheikh Ansari’s students (olama moaserin, 201- 424 pp.). In addition to training and teaching of the numerous well-known and influential mujtahids, the Shia’s authority system was also reformed basically fundementallyin the Sheikh Ansari’s era, and it became more organized and powerful. Sheikh Ansari can be reckoned as the founder of the modern system of the Shia’s authority. He could be the one who was popular among millions of Shiites due to his great scientific status and moral remarkable acceptability, and be known as the uniquereligious Shia’s leader.

Among his students we can see the names such as: Mirza Muhammad Hasan Shirazi (who issued Tobacco Protest verdict), Sheikh JafarShoshtari, Hajj Mirza Habibollah Rashti (the writer of the important book, Badaye-al-afkar), Sayyid Hussein Kohkamari Tbarizi, Sheikh Muhammadhasan Mamghani (the compiler of Zaraye-al-ahkam Fi Sharh Sharaye-al-islam), Akhund Mullah Muhammadkazem Khorasani (the writer of Kefayeh al-osul and one of the leader of Constitutional Revolution), Akhund Mullah Husseinquli Hamedani (one of the great mystics), Hajj Mirza Hussein Khalili Tehrani (one of the strict defender of Constitutional Revolution), Sharabyani ( the well-known Mujtahid of Azarbaijan), Mirza Hussein Nouri (the writer of Mustadrak al-wasa’il book), Akhund Mullah Qurbanali Zanjani ( one of the leaders of Constitutional Revolution and he was exiled to Iraq by constitutionalists), and so on.

Some Quotes from His Life:

  1. Art:

Martyr Professor Morteza Mottahari writes about Sheikh Ansari’s accuracy in spending Bayt-al-mal (Islamic treasury),”Sheikh Ansari is the man who is the unique Marja’ in Shia. Once he died, no change had occured in his life style from the time he entered Najaf as a poor talabe (religious and Islamic student) from Dezful. By taking a look at his house, one could see he was living like the poorest people. A person told him, “Sir, it is quite an art that you don’t possoss these Shari’a Payments recieved from people.” He replied, “what have I done?” He said, “What is more precious than this?” He answered, “My best effort is like the work of carriage drivers of Kashan who go and back to Isfahan. Have you seen that carriage drivers of Kashan betray the people who give them money to buy goods from Isfahan and bring it to Kashan? They are faithful and they aren’t allowed to do so.”

  1. The temptations of Satan:

One of Sheikh Ansari’s students states, “when I was studying in Najaf under Sheikh Ansari’s guidance, I dreamed a night that Satan held a number of ropes; I asked, “what are these ropes for?” he answered, “I put these ropes around people’s neck and pull them toward myself and I tempt them; yesterday I put one of these ropes around Sheikh Morteza Ansari’s neck and I pulled him from his room to the alley, but unfortunately, despite my hard efforts, he freed himself and returned.

When I woke up, I pondered about its interpretation. I said to myself that it’s better to ask Sheikh himself. Therefore, I visited him and I retold my dream.

Sheikh said, “Satan has told the truth, because the accuresed satan wanted to tempt me, but I could escape from his temptation by the help of God.

Yesterday, I had no money.Incidentally, we needed something for home; I said to myself that I have one riyal of Imam Mahdi’s wealth and the proper time for spending it has’nt come yet. I can take it as a loan, and I will repay it later.

I took one riyal and I left the house. As I wanted to spend it, I said to myself that how do I repay this money? While I was dubious, I made my decision. I did not buy anything, and I came back home and put the money back in its place.”

Miracles:

One of the students of Sheikh Ansari narrates, “As I completed basic science and levels[i], I went to Najaf al-Ashraf to complet my education and I ettended Seikh’s lesson, but I did not understand his teaching. I became dissapointed to an extent that I made some vows but they did not work. Finally, I resorted to Imam Ali (PUH).

A night I dreamed that I was at his holliness presence. He recited in my ear “In the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful.”

In the morning, when I attended the class, I realized that I can understand the lessons. Gradually, I improved. After some days, I was that much good that I could give lecture to the class. That day by the end of the class, I visited Sheikh, he uttred in my ear, “The one who recited [the verse] “In the Name of Allah, …” in your ear, had recieted whole Fatiha Chapter in my ear.

He said this and left. This incident surprised me, and I understood that Sheikh enjoyed some miracles, because, up to that time, no one knew it.

The Rope Satan Threw around Sheikh Ansari’s Neck

One of the students of Sheikh Morteza Ansari (RA) says, “One night, when I was in holy Najaf and was a student of Sheikh Ansari, I saw Satan in a dream while he was holding many ropes.

I asked him, ‘what are these ropes for?’

He answered, ‘I entrap people by throwing these ropes around their necks and dragging them to my side. Yesterday, I threw one of the strong ropes around Sheikh Ansari’s neck and I dragged him from his room to the middle of the alley, but alas, despite my hard effort, Sheikh was released from the band and came back home’.

When I woke up, I began to think about the interpretation of my dream. I said to myself, ‘It is good to ask Sheikh himself about it’; therefore, I found the honor to visit him and I told him about my dream.

Sheikh said, ‘Satan has told the truth; the cursed devil wanted to deceive me but by the grace of Allah, I escaped from his trap. Yesterday, I did not have any money and incidentally, we needed something at home. I said to myself, ‘I have one Rial which belongs to Imam Mahdi (AS) and it is not time to spend it yet. I will take it as a loan and pay it back later’.

I took the money and got out of my house. As I decided to spend the money, I said to myself, ‘can I pay this loan back?’ After pondering and hesitating over whether to spend the money or not, I made my decision at last. I did not buy anything, returned home, and put the money in its place”

———————————————–

Reference

[i] The different grades in Seminary education.

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