How can one eulogize that virtuous soul which not only made itself proximate to the source of light but enveloped its entire self within the shadow of that light. This light is not an ordinary illumination but the pure radiance of the Holy Prophet (sawa) around which that person would circumambulate until he became the possessor of the salutation of the Prophet (sawa) to his fifth vicegerent (as).
Yes! Indeed we refer to the exalted and illustrious companion of the Holy Prophet (sawa), Janab Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ansari (ra). His entire existence was in the service of the Pure Ahle Bait (as).
It is customary that when a person achieves evident success, he is referred to by his ancestral lineage that he is the son or the grandson of this eminent personality. Keeping in tune with this tradition, we have prefaced this discussion of Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra) with the mention of his ancestor Janab Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ansari (ra). In reality, it is the proof of the chastity of his blood that a person was born in his lineage, who strengthened Shiaism.
Shaykh Murtaza Ansari reached such an outstanding position in jurisprudence that he is recognized today as ‘Khaatamul Mujtahideen’ (The Seal of Jurisprudents). It is as though the servitude to Ahle Bait (as) has been handed to him in heritage. On studying the history of his life, we find that it is replete with the services to religion and to the Imam of the Age (as).
It is a matter of excellence that he was born of the day of Ghadeer in the city of Darfool in 1214 A.H. His father Allama Shaykh Muhammad Amin (ra) was considered among the great Scholars of that period. His mother was the daughter of a well-known scholar, herself being among the pious and knowledgeable women of the time.
Characteristics and Personality
It has been mentioned regarding the academic pursuits of Shaykh Ansari (ra) that he had learnt Quran by the age of five and had proceeded to the learning and mastery of various other sciences. These included Arabic grammar, syntax and language, logic and theology and other intellectual sciences. After this, he concentrated on Usul and Fiqh till he attained the position of Ijtehad (Jurisprudence) at the mere age of 16 years. His personality left an indelible mark on the scholarly community which is apparent even today. We find numerous recorded incidents that give us a glimpse into his illustrious personality. We briefly describe some of these.
His teacher Shaykh Ali (ra), the son of the renowned Shaykh Ja’far Kashiful Ghita (ra) says regarding him, The hearing of a thing is greater than it’s seeing except your Shaykh, Shaykh Murtaza, because seeing him is superior to what has been described regarding him. (Fuqaha-e-Namdar-e-Shia page 329; Shakshiyat-e-Shaykh Ansari page 4)
Marhoom Hajj Mirza Habibulah Rashti (ra) enjoyed a position of eminence among the numerous students of Shaykh Murtaza (ra) who had reached the level of Ijtehad. He used to explain the teachings of the Shaykh to others students after the completion of his lecture. His says regarding his teacher: He (Shaykh Murtaza) was close to the position of infallibility in his knowledge and actions. (Bidaeyul Afkaar page 457)
Several signs originating from him have been recorded in the books.
Contact with Imam Mahdi (as)
As has been described herein above, the life of Shaykh Murtaza Ansari has been a litany of perpetual service to Imam Mahdi (as) till it reached a position of such excellence that his character was a collection of virtuosity in body and soul.
He fulfilled the responsibilities of the age of occultation, garnered the satisfaction of Imam Mahdi (as). It was purity of his soul, sincerity of action, the fervor of his religious obligations and his earnest affection for the Imams (as) that he acquired the honorable stature of meeting Imam Mahdi (as). Marhoom Shaykh Mahmoud Iraqi (ra), his student, enumerates him among the list of eminent dignitaries who have presented themselves before Imam Mahdi (as). He has mentioned concerning Shiekh Ansari (ra):
“The seventh of them is our great Shaykh, honourable teacher and respected authority – As-Shaykh Murtaza al-Tustari al-Ansari the chaste soul.”
There have been many events documented concerning the meeting of Shaykh Murtaza (ra) with Imam Mahdi (as). We mention only two incidents herein.
Aga Mir Sayyed Muhammad Bahbahani narrates through a student of the Shaykh. It was midnight in Karbala and I came out for a bath (in the Hammam). I had a lamp in my hand to dispel the darkness. I saw a man in the distance and recognized him to be Shaykh Ansari (ra). As I drew closer. I was perplexed: Where was the Shaykh, who incidentally had a weak eyesight, going in such pitch darkness Carefully, I followed him. He stopped near a house and was reading the Ziyarat Jameah at the doorstep. He entered on completion of the Ziyarat. Though I could not observe anything more, but I heard the voice of the Shaykh conversing with somebody. Then, I went to the Hammam and later performed the Ziyarat.
On return I presented myself before Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra) and asked him about the said night. He refused initially and after much insistence answered – I got permission to present myself before Imam Mahdi (as) and recited Ziyarat Jameah at the corner of that house. I sought permission again and presented myself in his (as) esteemed presence. I asked him some important questions to which he (as) replied.
After this the Shaykh took a covenant from me that I shall not disclose this to anyone till he is alive. (Zindagaani wa Shaksiyat Shaykh Murtaza Ansari page 106, Inayat Hazrat Mahdi-e-Maood be Ulema wa Maraaje’ Taqleed page 87)
We can find another interesting incident in the life of Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra). When Ayatullah al Uzma Haaj Shaykh Muhammad Hasan Najafi, the author of Jawaharul Kalaam, left for his heavenly abode, people approached Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra), asking him to assume the responsibilities of the Marje’ Taqleed and sought Tauzeehul Masael from him. However, Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra) refused saying he will not accept Marjaiyyat when Sayyadul Ulema Mazandarani (ra) who is more knowledgeable than him is alive and stays in Babylon.
Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra) wrote a letter to Sayyadul Ulema and requested him to come to Najaf and assume the office of Hauz-e-Ilmiyyah. In reply Sayyadul Ulema wrote – It is true that during my days in Najaf I debated with you and was better versed in fiqh than you. However I have left Najaf for a long period during which I have been unable to continue teaching and learning. I have also left debating and discussing. On this basis I find you more knowledgeable than me and request you to accept Marjaiyyat.
Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra), however did not yet accept Marjaiyyat and said that he does not deem himself to be worthy of such a position. He said he will accept the Marjaiyyat only when Imam Mahdi (as) grants him the permission to do so.
One day as per the routine Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra) was with his students when an illustrious person entered. Nobility and dignity were reflecting from his face. He addressed Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra) asking: What is your opinion about a lady whose husband has been transformed (Maskh) (This problem has not been explained in any book because Maskh is not found in this nation).
Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra) replied, since this problem has not been discussed in the books of Jurisprudence I cannot answer this question.
The person inquired, let us assume that such an event takes place in this nation. What would be your opinion regarding this.
Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra) replied: My opinion (Fatwa) is that the lady should undergo Iddah-e-Talaaq (Iddah of Divorce) if her husband is transformed into a living being because he is still alive, after which she can remarry. However if her husband is transformed into a non-living thing then she must undergo Iddah-e-Wafaat (Iddah of death) after which she is free to remarry.
The person said the following sentence thrice – You are a Mujtahid .. You are a Mujtahid.. You are a Mujtahid.
Saying this the person left the place. Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra) knew that the person was none other than Imam Mahdi (as) who had granted him the permission to be a Jurisprudent. He immediately sent his students in search of that person. The students tried to find him but in vain. After this event Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra) accepted to be a jurist so that people can follow him. (Narrated from the book Ganjeena Danish Mandaaan volume 8)
These events clearly bring out the fact that during occultation Jurists receive special favours from Imam Mahdi (as).
His writings Among the books that Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra) authored, many are today the foundations of discussions and learning at the Hauz-e-Ilmiyyah. His books about Jurisprudence and Principles of Fiqh are frequently referred to by the students. We shall mention a few of them for the sake of brevity.
- Al Ijtehad wa Taqleed
- Usulul Fiqh
- Taqleed al Mayyit wa A’alam
- Al Taqayyah
- Al Hashiyah Ala Qawaneen al Usul
- Al Khums
- Salatul Jama’ah
- Al Ghasb
- Al Fawaid al Usuliyyah
- Al Muta’a
- Al Makaasib
- Al Nikaah
- Al Wasiyyah wa Ahkamoha
- Faraidul Usul (Rasaael)
After illuminating the horizon of Islamic Jurisprudence for several years Shaykh Murtaza Ansari (ra) answered the divine call and left for his heavenly abode on Sunday night 18th Jamadiul Aakhir at the age of 67 years.
He is definitely among those intended in the following tradition – The death of a scholar leaves Islam with such a vacuum which cannot be filled with any thing till the day of resurrection.
His friends and students buried his holy body in the courtyard of Ameerul Momeneen’s (as) shrine in Najaf.
In the end we beseech Allah to give us the good fortune to tread the footsteps of Ahle Bayt (as), O Allah! Hasten the reappearance of Hazrat Imam Mahdi (as) and include us among his helpers. Aameen!
Read More: Miscellaneous Topics on Imam Mahdi (as)