Biography > An interview conducted by Al-Afaq Satellite Channel with Sayyed Ja’afar Fadlullah
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Features of the personality of the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Fadlullah (ra) and stages of his life

Date: 29/07/2010 A.D 17/08/1431 H

Al-Afaq Satellite Channel conducted an interview with His Eminence, Sayyed Ja’afar Fadlullah, in which he highlighted the features of the personality of his late father, His Eminence, the Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra), and recalled some memories and critical stages in his noble life.

A promising childhood

Q: What can you tell us about the early life of His Eminence (ra) and his early beginnings?

A: I remember that my grandmother from the paternal side – may Allah shower her with His Mercy – once told me that she [unintentionally] aborted two children before my father came, but before she got pregnant with my father, she visited the shrine of Imam Al-Hussein (a.s.) and she raised her invocations to Allah, the Most Exalted, asking for the intercession of Al-Hussein (a.s.), and prayed so that she could give birth to another baby, whom she would call Muhammad Hussein or any other combined name that has the name Al-Hussein in it. Indeed, she got pregnant and the entire family considered it as a glad tiding. Actually, the late Sayyed Muhammad Sai’d Fadlullah, my father’s uncle, who was considered one of the most prominent scholars at the time, used to say that this man was going to be important and he would raise his name and the name of his family up high.

The early days of the Sayyed were in the Holy Najaf where he was born. A month before his death, he told me that he used to go at noon to the shrine of Imam Ali (a,s,) and he would recite supplications for the visitors of the shrine, amongst of which were old people, for he loved to recite supplications to feel that he was offering something to the people, even at that early age, as he was only ten, and the family used to feel worried about him. The heat of the high noon made the family feel concerned for his health. In the early stages, when he started to acquire his religious studies, he used to go to deliver the Call and the Message to outlying regions that were overwhelmed with poverty. Portraying the situation, the Sayyed (ra) used to say: “The conditions were miserable, and we used to sit with the cows and buffalos beside us. We used to take with us the books that outline the rules of the Shariah, as well as aids and someone who would recite the Hussaini epic, and do whatever we could so as to create a spiritual, intellectual and worshipping ambience to these people, who, perhaps, were unable to reach the places in which religious lessons and lectures and guidance were taking place.

Early distinction in a traditional environment

Q: His Eminence, Sayyed Fadlullah, grew up in a traditional environment, yet his exceptional personality opened up to a wide horizon and led the movement of innovation in the nation. How did His Eminence manage in these circumstances and how did he contain this environment?

A: When you talk about such a state of genius and insight in how to regard future issues, especially when we are concerned with issues related to the major struggle; the struggle with the Zionist entity, and the efforts to expel the outsiders from Jerusalem and Palestine, as  a whole, or when you talk about the issues of Islamic unity in a Hawza (religious school) in which there is one prevalent sect, even if it was open in a way or another, as in the Iraqi model in general… when you talk about such issues, you can not rule out or neglect the Divine kindness, for we feel that Allah has chosen such a person and prepared him for this mission, arming him with certain kindnesses that drive him into that direction. At the same time, Sayyed Fadlullah (ra) read all disciplines of thought and literature and he had diverse cognitive skills, and I believe that this opened up a horizon for him wider than that he was living in, in his own society, which perhaps got used to many traditions and customs that impose on whosoever tries to step out of them to return to them.

His Eminence suffered, at the beginning of his studies, from some of these negativities, for when he used to verse poetry and participate in literary gatherings and forums, and even when he published a magazine with the collaboration of some of his colleagues, on topics related to conscious literature and the like, he encountered a problem or people complained about him that he is wasting his time versing poetry, which would have certain repercussions on his education and distract him.

Treated as such, he sought refuge at his late uncle, Sayyed Muhammad Sai’d Fadlullah (ra), who comforted him and told him: “On the contrary, versing poetry cultivates your talent and literary taste, and it is one of the most important things a Mujtahid and a student of religious studies should be distinguished with later on.” 

Thus, it is obvious that the conservative environment had a role in exerting pressures on him, but when one grows up enjoying a developing and moving mind and thought, he would feel free no matter what. I personally believe that a crucial point participated in making His Eminence, the Sayyed, step out of the state of indulging and sinking deep into the traditional situation back then, and at a later time, which was the advice of one of his teachers who told him: “Before you read the sayings of the scholars on any jurisprudential or intellectual issue, try to return to the primary texts and develop your own understanding and culture, and then compare what you understood to what the scholars have understood; if you found out that it stood strong in the face of problems that might rise, then this thought would actually be your thought, and if it did not, you can modify it or let go of it, in accordance with the movement of thought in this aspect.” Naturally, this would provide a step out of the framework of what was produced at the intellectual level and the ability to produce something different.

Therefore, returning to the basic sources, the Holy Quran, the noble Sunnah and the traditions of the Members of the Household (a.s.) endows one with an intellectual base for an intellectual methodology, that could have different or agreeing results, but how to reach it could also be different.

An ever-developing personality

Q: How can you explain the distinction and extension of His Eminence’s character at the Islamic and human level?

A: I believe that His Eminence did not dedicate his life except for what resulted in practical fruitful outcomes, and I suppose that all those who were contemporary to him, be they amongst those who attended his courses in Islamic law and jurisprudence, or those who listened to his words and lectures, have realized that he was not fond of any form of intellectual luxury. Therefore, we conclude that we are standing before a process of extensive and useful investment of time, in what nurtures the intellect, flourishes the movement and thrives the act of diving deep into horizons that might be different from the reality. Actually, most of man’s preoccupations in matters of intellectual extravagances did not nourish his soul and satiate his hunger, and were classified, just as the scholars in the religious schools do, as unfruitful, knowing that only that which has practical fruitful results deserves attention.

The Sayyed loved to contemplate about the developments the reality imposes, and the scientific research of jurisprudence methodology; thus, at certain times, he used to forsake some issues that were purely theoretical, for he did not want to waste his effort on them… I believe that all those who knew him are aware of this side of his personality; which is his quest to invest time extensively and usefully. Actually, one or two months ago, during the last period of his illness, I told His Eminence: “You exhausted your body three times, and not in the natural way of growing old.” I remember that, once, the cardiologist handling the case of His Eminence asked him, when he suffered from the first heart attack: “When was the last time you took a vacation?” His Eminence could not remember, for he had not actually taken a real vacation ever, even for a short time, for he used to return home as he finishes the Friday sermon and turn to the inquiries that he received on a daily basis, and that reached a hundred inquiry minimum, before he would head for Damascus to finish some work over there. We used to tell him: “If only you could rest for a while and delay your trip to Damascus to the following day,” but he always refused and said: “If I reach Damascus today, I would rest for the night and attend my work early in the morning, but if I go tomorrow I would waste time.” As we notice, his continuous never-ending work sought to benefit of every moment, even at the expense of his sleeping hours, as he used to say: “I would rest for a short while, so that I would feel refreshed and embark on work once again.”

The Sayyed’s relation with the Quran

Q: Would you tell us about the books the Sayyed used to read on a regular basis?

A: The Holy Quran had a special status in the Sayyed’s heart, and not only from the ordinary worshipping aspect, but rather it had a special advantage because he used to re-produce his understanding of the Quran. I remember that during the last stage, before his illness, he used to wake up late at night, almost 2 or more hours before dawn, and even when the time between dawn and the morning was limited, he continued to wake up at the same hour every night and I would tell him: “O our Sayyed, time is passing and maybe you will be late,” and he used to answer: “No problem.” He used to wake up to read the Quran and recite supplications and then perform Al-Fajr (dawn) prayer.

This was one of the most important things he persevered on reading, besides other diverse readings, for whenever he was given a book he would read it. Moreover, reading the daily newspapers was indispensable for him, so after having breakfast, he dedicated at least one hour for going through all the newspapers he used to receive, and then later in the afternoon, he would read what had been published in the Arab and international newspapers, or certain translated articles or texts; a thing which was crucial for him.

Moreover, he had a daily jurisprudential lesson, which he used to prepare himself for, along with all the jurisprudential and modern books he used to follow up.

During the last stage, he followed up the inquiries he used to receive, which used to vary in number, but it usually took not less than half an hour to one hour daily; he used to go through them, comment on them and answer them. Those were his daily routine stuff. As for his readings, they were diverse and extensive, for he used to read any book he received. He also read books related to political, social and economic issues, or the world of intelligence and security, or memoirs… etc.

The personality of His Eminence had a distinguished element of diversity, for his Quranic background was very broad and touched on many fields of knowledge, besides his preoccupation with his essential issues.

Q: Did he ever express his admiration to a certain book or writer?

A: I suppose that many of those who visited the Sayyed offered him their books as gifts, and they used to listen to his comments on them, even if they were some sort of evaluation, according to how much he read from the book. He also used to interact with many thinkers. During the last stage of his illness, the Sayyed was reading a book by Sayyed Murtada Al-Askari – may Allah shower him with His mercy – which he wrote on the issue of the doctrine in the Holy Quran, and the Sayyed finished it in a short time. As I recall, the Sayyed was keen on the necessity of establishing our doctrine on the basis of the Holy Quran in the first place, for he believed that the Quran is what sets the course of our doctrinal thinking, concerning the multitude of narrations in the noble Sunnah, and the traditions of the Members of the Household (a.s.), which necessitates having an accurate balance to choose one tradition over another, or understand a certain subject, or reject another if it was in contradiction with the Quran. During the recent phase, he felt worried for the multitude of books being published haphazardly without any solid scientific basis, and merely for making profit. He felt sorry for this prevailing phenomenon, and he always called for forsaking such a behavior that might indeed add a multitude of books to the library, yet they would not enrich and nourish it.

Q: How would you classify the personality of the Sayyed; did he enjoy a traditional or a modern personality, and to which one would you say he belonged?

A: He had always loved to be an Islamic personality, and Islam, according to the Sayyed, demands starting from the authenticity of the text, whilst moving in the reality and on the ground, and not in the horizon of abstraction that drives man away from this world, to the extent that he would not even see himself amidst the challenges. Therefore, he used to say, for example: only activists can understand the Quran, for he considered that the Quran chronicled in its Ayats and the occasions of their revelation, and in its commandments to the Muslims, in cases of strength and weakness, in the states of defeat and victory, and in the moral, behavioral, and worshipping guidance, and other issues that the Quran discusses… it chronicled this Islamic movement that started with the Messenger of Allah (p.). The Sayyed was a man of the Quran, for he was aware that this book that no falsehood can approach it from between its hands or from behind, is the primary resource and reference, even for comprehending the noble Sunnah.

He depended broadly on the Holy Quran, until he developed his jurisprudential view concerning the relation between the Holy Quran and the noble Sunnah, in which he rendered the Holy Quran the criterion, not only in terms of accepting or rejecting the narrations, but also in how much these narrations are general or specific. Then, through the Holy Quran, he would understand that the significance, even if it seems absolute in the narration, is restricted in the Quran, and thus, should be treated as such. We cannot tamper with the Quranic context to conform it with the suggested meaning in the noble Sunnah; thus, His Eminence was a man of the Quran in the first place, at the practical level.

He used to cite Quranic verses anywhere and at any time; I remember that even when we were in the car heading somewhere with complete silence prevailing, he would say: “And I do not declare myself free, most surely (man's) self is wont to command (him to do) evil.” (12:53). I would say to myself that, perhaps, he thought of something, so he mentioned Allah, the Most High, the Most Exalted.

When he wanted to guide us to something, he would cite either a Quranic verse or a prophetic tradition or a tradition of the Members of the Household (a.s.). He always confirmed that proper upbringing takes place by practice, yet he was always keen on giving the rule which he deemed as the basis on which behavior is founded. He did not want man to act aimlessly without awareness, even when he is practicing his morals; but rather, he wanted him to be educated so as to be able to show good morals under any circumstances and despite any changes, because he believed that if man was not nurtured on the rule on which he ought to base his morals, he would not be able to control his moral behavior when circumstances differ and situations change.

Special terms

Q: The Sayyed was renowned for having some special terms, how did he produce these terms?

A: I do not believe that he used to come up with his terms as a form of reaction; however, he loved to be attributed to Islam all the time, so he preferred to be called an “Islamic personality” or an “Islamic Religious Authority,” knowing that titles were of no importance whatsoever to him. Actually, he used to say that man does not walk on a carpet furnished with titles; thus, he used to sign his work without mentioning any title and only wrote Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah; however, the publishing houses that later published his books added certain titles to his name.

Once more, I do not believe that he did so as a form of reaction, for when he founded his act on an Islamic basis, he was actually using the term in the context of the framework of the way he understands Islam. And here lies his peculiarity; he used to re-express the symbolism of the thought and the term in a contemporary way, so he used to talk about opening up and about activism. Actually, there are many terms that might convey these expressions, but I do not think that you can not understand, nowadays, the notion of “activism” except according to the context that Sayyed Fadlullah has formulated.

The term “opening up” also meant that this man is not closed on himself; but rather, he opens up to others, knowing that opening up embraces the intellectual, spiritual and emotional aspects, and it is not only restricted to the relation with others. One can say coexistence with the other, but it would not give the human aspect of the term that “opening up” does, and this is another peculiarity in the personality of His Eminence, Sayyed Fadlullah, for his humanity and Islamism are the most crucial titles in his entire movement.

Dealing with titles

Q: Did he dislike associating titles to his name, whether from within the Shiite circle or outside it?

A: He did not like to impose himself on others, so he made the others feel free to express his name the way they like, that even if the title was of terms that have nothing to do with Islam, he had no problem in that in principle, for he felt that the other would actually be coming closer to the message he is calling for. He did not seek to be approached as a person; but rather as a message, so when the other expresses this message by expressions pertaining to his own culture, environment and surrounding, then he found no problem in that, as long as they are close to this Islamic notion. He used to say: "I have nothing to do with Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah; all I am concerned with is Islam, for I am entrusted with Islam and I follow it…" Once again, His Eminence acted on the basis of not imposing himself on anyone of us and whosever met him.

The open house

Q: The late Sayyed (ra) received in his house people of all groups, affiliations and sects, what can you tell us about these receptions?

A: His slogan was always: "The mind is open, the heart is open and the house is open," and he did exercise this slogan in practice, for he did not close his door in the face of anyone, except he who closes his door naturally speaking.

His Eminence used to say: "When you have the opportunity to call people to the message and make others hear the words of Allah, and you do not cease it, then you are considered to have sinned and you shall be held accountable." When the ambassadors visited him, he used to talk for a quarter of an hour before any ambassador would start to talk, and he would say my message is so-and-so, speaking out all what he wants to say on all issues, and he even tipped his political talk with a spiritual or emotional sense, or cite a prophetic tradition or traditions by the Members of the Household (a.s.) or Quranic verses, marking the session with a special sense concerning the authenticity of the intellect and the modernity of the reality. However, he never asked anyone to come and visit him, for he never liked to impose himself on anyone. He used to receive whoever wished to visit him upon his own request, and when certain people did not visit him, he used to ask about them, as an act of courtesy on which relations are based, but whenever he felt that asking about them would exert a kind of psychological pressure on them in a way that would drive them to come and visit him, he refrained from asking.

His humanity, in the first place, along with his missionary responsibility were what made him act as such.

The Marja'iyya (assuming the position of a religious authority)

Q: One of the most important stages in the late Sayyed's life is assuming the position of a religious authority, what can you tell us about this phase?

A: Assuming the position of a religious authority was never the ambition of His Eminence, for what he loved the most, as he told many people, was practicing his missionary, educational and didactic role in the daily life and worshipping acts, and the strategic planning for the movement and future of the nation. As for the issue of the Marja'iyya in the sense of issuing Fatwas and delivering jurisprudential opinions for the people to follow, it did not constitute an ambition for him in the form of the ambitions of others who indulge into the world of political leaderships or the like, which might bring him followers, admirers, and even money, but that was never his ambition. As I have previously said, His Eminence was an activist in terms of his destination, principles, innate nature and objectives.

Following the death of the Religious Authority, Sayyed Abu Al-Kassim Al-Khou'i, His Eminence, the Sayyed, was qualified to nominate himself for assuming the position of a religious authority, but he did not, and he never sought that, in the sense that it was not something he can make a choice about and decide to nominate himself; thus, he asked people to refer to several religious authorities in the religious schools of An-Najaf and Qum. However, many of those who coexisted with the Sayyed and his scientific and active role saw in his Marja'iyya a different exemplar, and forced him to go that way, for many of those who emulated him sent him messages: "we have emulated you, we want you to issue Fatwas, your religious and jurisprudential responsibility necessitates that you issue Fatwas."  At that time, he decided to nominate himself for two reasons: the first is his religious and jurisprudential responsibility towards the people who emulated him, which necessitated that he does so, and the second is that he felt that he is capable of providing a distinguished exemplar of the active Marja'iyya that establishes a bond between issuing Fatwas, the call and Jihad, and even at the level of practicing rites, such as holding congregational prayers or supplications. However, some people criticized him and said: "You are a religious authority, now, who issues Fatwas for people to follow, so you do not have to go the mosque everyday, hold congregational prayers, deliver sermons and lecture on people and call them, for this does not constitute a part of the "protocols" of the religious authority, so he used to answer: "The Messenger of Allah (p.) used to do so and I model after him (p.)." He always brought us back to the basics.

Therefore, it has become clear that he did not nominate himself or choose to be a religious authority; it is the people who chose him to be the religious authority they wish to emulate and he answered their wish and put his trust in Allah, for he knew that many dangers were awaiting him as he received many signs, and even statements, that confirmed to him that the world of the Marja'iyya is dangerous for someone like him and it will cause him a lot of trouble on several levels.

The jurisprudential and intellectual Marja'iyya

Q: Do you believe that assuming the position of jurisprudential Marja'iyya have had bad influences on the Sayyed's capacity as an intellectual Islamic reference?

A: On the contrary, both aspects strengthened each other. Let me give you an important example; something which I talk about for the first time: When His Eminence issued, or wanted to issue, a Fatwa that calls for boycotting the American merchandise – except when people are in a dire need for them – to confirm the Islamic stand that is founded on a firm solid intellectual base, and which is a form of a didactic message to the people that they cannot remain silent towards the American support to all the massacres being committed, and to the entire reality that holds more destructive elements to the Islamic reality at all levels, especially through its support to the usurping Zionist entity, at a time they go and buy from these merchandise, which strengthens the American economy, at a time they are aware that the economy is the pillar of unity of the United Sates of America… when he issued this Fatwa, one of the close ones, who happened to be working at a private business of a public utility, told him: "This will inflict damage upon us for we deal with an American company," so the Sayyed answered him: "This is not my problem, you have to set things right and find a solution, for this is a matter of principle."

I have taken this as an example to say that the jurisprudential aspect did not narrow down or tighten the active one; on the contrary, the former gave a support to the latter in terms of confirming the big issues by means of a Fatwa that constitutes, nowadays, one of the most important stimulators in the Islamic society, be it Shiite or Sunni. When a certain Fatwa is issued and imposes forbiddance or allowance, this would be efficient at least at the educational level, even though it might not be efficient at the level of applying it in a way or another.                           

In the face of distortion campaigns

Q: How did the Sayyed (ra) face all the offenses, accusations and falsification campaigns conducted against him after he proposed his Marja’iyya?

A: A short time before the Sayyed passed away, we asked him this question, and he said: “I have had multiple appearances in my movement; therefore, when a certain aspect closes on you, you should not imprison yourself within the framework of this aspect, so as not to be overwhelmed by its concerns; but rather, to search for the positions of light, happiness, and motivation for work, armed with loads of hope through other elements.” One of the most important of these elements is reciting supplications, for the relation of the Sayyed (ra) with supplications and Allah, the Most Exalted, was of a high importance, to the extent that he personally said: “I have reached a level where all these issues are not affecting me anymore, so let everyone say whatever he wants to the fullest extent, for that will not affect me in any way.” Shortly before the July war, he literally said to me, and I can still hear the echo of his words: “If this work is for the sake of Allah, then Allah shall handle it, and if it is not for the sake of Allah, I have nothing to do with it; I have no problem if it all went in vain.” He had actually reached this level of commission to Allah, as far as his missionary role is concerned, at a time that when he was totally convinced with a certain thought, huge mountains would perish and he would not change his stand, until he is convinced with what disagrees with it. In other words, if he was not convinced with what annuls the thought he supports, he would never concede, for he believed that he had a religious duty towards Allah, which was the basis on which he set his course.

In this context, I recall two crucial turning points: the first is when he declared the end of the month of Ramadan and the beginning of the month of Shawwal, before anyone else did, at a time most of the Islamic world, even the Shiite sect, have declared the Eid on a different day. His Eminence said: “The crescent could not be sighted today,” thus, only he fasted on this day, and afterwards, the reality has proven him right, which constituted a turning point that initiated establishing people’s trust in data provided by the science of astronomy. In another stage, he broke the fast alone on a day the entire Islamic world was still fasting, for his jurisprudential and Ijtihadi opinion was clear and it had no room for political concerns and it was not a matter of mood fluctuations; but rather, it is a matter of jurisprudence; thus, he used to say: “I am convinced with this opinion and with the data which led me to declare this day to be the first of the month of Shawwal; thus, I will break my fast and I am excused before Allah, the Most High, the Most Exalted.”

The Sayyed’s constants

Q: Based on your previous answer, how did His Eminence, the Sayyed (ra), deal with two fixed constants he enjoyed: his personal convictions and the issue of the Islamic unity?

A: When there is a jurisprudential basis for formal unity between Muslims, at the level of their Eids, occasions and history, this is actually recommended and is the goal and wish of every human being.

However, when one has a jurisprudential basis that has to with an act of worship, then he ought to commit to it. At the same time, the methodology of the Islamic unity necessitates that the Muslims cooperate in what they have agreed on, and conduct a dialogue on what they differed about, at least for the sake of containing and managing their differences, which does not force one to concede his convictions that differ with those of the other, as long as there is no binding evidence that necessitates so. Indeed, it is very important that Muslims fast together and break their fast likewise; however, it is equally important to look into the issue of the development of sciences. Therefore, man cannot withdraw into the fait accompli and what it imposes, especially when he is facing intellectual challenges related to the development of the jurisprudential scientific theory… Actually, the Sayyed’s persistence on his stand, as far as astronomy is concerned at the very least, had an influence on the Shiite and Sunni Islamic jurisprudential mentality at the same time, at a time others still considered this as some sort of astrology, fantasy, illusion, and imagination… Therefore, this persistence develops the jurisprudential and religious knowledge, and being always dependant on the fait accompli without any basis leads to freezing and paralysis in many instances… 

A sublime spirit

Q: His Eminence was subjected to several attacks, not only from the outside, but also from members of a generation he had brought up; how did he react and how did he deal with them?

A: His Eminence never stopped receiving anyone, and he never forsook any dialogue with anyone who wanted to conduct a dialogue with him. I personally witnessed some conversations with a few people who were amongst those who initiated these campaigns against the Sayyed and I always listened to what he said to them: “If there is a problem in understanding my viewpoint, I can clarify it for you and the problem would be over.” The Sayyed never held grudges against anyone, and he never allowed himself to hold such grudges, for he believed that grudge represents death, and he neither wanted to die nor cause the death of his heart; he believed that the heart which holds grudges cannot build an unblemished relation with Allah, the Most Exalted.

Once, we were discussing some of these points, and he literally said: “I was wronged like no one else has been wronged, but I love them because I brought them up.”

Q: Where did His Eminence get this spirituality from so as to be concerned even about those who railed at him?

A: His Eminence was the best example of this Ayah: “Certainly a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves; grievous to him is your falling into distress, excessively solicitous respecting you; to the believers (he is) compassionate.” (09:128). He actually applied it in his life, for he felt that he who is in the position of the Messenger of Allah (p.) cannot but embody these values that he (p.) confirmed, and feel hurt for what afflicts the others. I believe that the term “hatred” and other similar terms were far from being found in his terminology. He was compassionate, and compassion is an act of love and mercy, he felt a state of sorrow, which is also an act of love, as he used to say: “Because you do not see what I see, because you cannot move in the wide horizon I move in, because you allow the mischievous and deceptive people to tamper with your reality and future and distort your thought… etc. all that is an act of love. Actually, when you feel compassionate towards someone, you actually love him, when you feel sorry for what is happening with someone, or what he is afflicting himself with, or what others are afflicting him with, you actually love him. Therefore, the Sayyed enjoyed diversified acts of love, even within the framework of the distortion campaign that aimed to assassinate him morally, after all the physical assassination attempts by the enemies of Islam failed.

I believe that this is one of the most important things that the Sayyed succeeded in, establishing his inner peace at a time he remained in contact with the people… explaining and clarifying to them, for he did not want anyone to misunderstand him. Once, someone noticed a typing error and told the Sayyed about it, and the Sayyed said: “Thank you very much, you have pointed out an error for me and I will set it right,” and indeed that error was corrected in the next edition.

Memories of 2006 July war

Q: His Eminence was renowned for having a kind and compassionate heart, just as he was distinguished with perseverance and courage, knowing that, during the July war, he remained in the heart of the area targeted by the Israeli air force; what can you tell us about that?

A: His secret lies in his relation with Allah, the Most Exalted, and reliance on Him, as he cared for nothing but Allah, and he always cited what Imam Ali (a.s.) said: "[Time of] Death is sufficient as a guard." He also had a fixed rule, which is to stay with the people in all wars, for when the Lebanese internal war broke out in 1975, he was outside An-Naba'a, or he was in An-Naba'a and left and then came back; however, he only left when he suffered from an urgent health setback that made him lose 30 kg of his weight, so he had to leave, and rivers of blood were spilled.

During the Israeli 1982 invasion, he was participating in a conference in the Islamic Republic of Iran, so he returned to Lebanon, but all roads were closed; thus, he took the northern road and he was kidnapped for four hours by certain Lebanese parties… all because he wanted to be where the event was. In the Lebanese internal battles, he remained at his home and did not go to any other place.

In the July war 2006, two Israeli soldiers were captured on Wednesday, the 12th of July, and we told him on Thursday that the situation has become alarming and we have to leave the house, but he said: "I will not leave." On Friday, he headed for Al-Hassanain mosque to attend the Friday prayer, and there were only seven or eight people. Once the people heard the Sayyed's voice through the speakers, the mosque became crowded with people, at a time the Israeli reconnaissance planes were roaming in the sky. For a moment, I thought that the mosque will be bombed, but fortunately, it was not and the prayer ended safely. However, the Sayyed remained in the mosque – something which many people do not know – and he stayed in its basement floor, next to where his tomb lies now. There was a small room in which the Sayyed stayed, at Saturday night, while many surrounding buildings were being destroyed, and he did not leave until Sunday morning, as it became impossible to stay in that place, since a nearby building was destroyed and the dust emanating from the bombs filled the air and found its way into the heart of the place. He left for a nearby region in the mountains, and then he returned, after a while, to a certain place in Beirut, and started to ask about the religious inquiries (istiftaa) and held the Friday prayer from his place and delivered sermons that were broadcasted, and he even issued calls and statements in a close follow-up for events, for there were many conspiracies being plotted in an accelerating pace to impose them on our reality.

The last moments of his noble life

Q: What can you tell us about the last moments of his life?

A: His Eminence, the Sayyed (ra), was supposed to check out of the hospital on Friday, the 20th of Rajab, 1431 H., corresponding to July 02, 2010 A.D.; i.e. two days before his demise, for everything was normal and the doctors gave him the permission to leave. However, later that night we received a phone call to rush to the hospital; the Sayyed was suffering from an internal bleeding, yet he remained conscious, and they were transfusing blood into his circulatory system. He asked me: "Is it dawn yet?" and his face – which I will never forget how it appeared – was extremely yellowish - whitish, due to the massive bleeding he suffered from. He asked: "Is it dawn yet?" and I told him: "No, not yet, there are still two or more hours for the break of dawn." He, then, said: "Get me ready for sleep," and his condition was stabilized, but later there were complications, so he summoned my brother and told him, in a weak wavering voice, to take care of the issue of the mosque; we understood from that that he wanted to be buried in the mosque. My brother remembers him saying Takbir "Allahu Akbar" three times, and stuttering between each Takbir, and then he drew an extraordinary smile on his face, and said: "I want to sleep." That was the last thing His Eminence said.

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