More Points about the Allameh's Life
a) A major quality of the Allameh's character was the discipline and order in his life. His immense sense of responsibility and promise-keeping had made his life a domain of complete harmony. He considered following order as a vital element in logical life. Allameh Jafari believed that lack of order and discipline was one of the factors causing Eastern and Islamic countries to underdevelop, to he took it quite seriously. "When we take these societies into consideration," he said, 'although we face some factors out of people's control, like geographical-political limitations, dictatorship and atrocity from abroad, we must not forget that lack of faith in order and discipline is one of the strongest factors making people prone to exploitation from other countries. Alas, some countries have a comprehensive, intellectual ideology, but have no correct basis of life, for they ignore order and discipline!"
b) One of the outstanding figures of science who was quite close to Allameh Jafari was Professor Mahmoud Hesabi – a former student of Albert Einstein and the father of physics in Iran. The two Iranian thinkers held scientific discussions every Thursday and Friday for a period of 25 years. "I found parts of physics that were related to philosophy very interesting," the Allameh said about their meetings.
c) Allameh Jafari's greatest works are An Interpretation and Critic of Rumi's Mathnavi and A Translation and Interpretation of the Nahj-ol-balagheh. He had begun studying Rumi's Mathnavi ever since his days as a student in Najaf. When he returned to Tehran in 1965, he began teaching a course based on the book, and also taking notes on it. "The further I went," he later recalled, "the richer and more profound I saw the book. So I took the work more seriously and began taking notes, which led to the Interpretation." It took almost five years (1969 to 1974) for An Interpretation and Critic to Rumi's Mathnavi to be completed. The 15-volume result is a lasting legacy. The Allameh had long been interested in Rumi's thoughts, which he believed were quite worthy of studying. From the Allameh's point of view, Rumi is one Islam's greatest anthropologists, who was quite unique among other scholars and lecturers because of the fascination he found in meeting Shams Tabrizi, which helped him elevate mystically. The openness of Rumi's thought systems was what attracted Allameh Jafari; he found what Rumi said amazing and unprecedented.
There is another interesting point about the 15-volume study of the Mathnavi – Allameh Jafari sold its royalty to his publisher! Although the book was quite successful with other scholars, the Allameh was forced to do so in order to move house. He needed a bigger house if he was to pursue his research and his teaching. The new house was much more expensive than his old one in Khorasan Square in the south of Tehran, and asking for loans vexed him, so the only way for him to keep his financial independence was to sell the royalty to his greatest work.
d) It was about 1981 when a young man asked Allameh Jafari why he never joined social activities – he meant becoming an administrator of one of the state departments. "There are two kinds of social activities," the Allameh replied. "That's one, and the other is scientific and cultural activities. I can't do administration work. I can do cultural activities, and I'm doing just that. As the Iranian proverb goes, why should I try to fix the eyebrows when I might blind the eyes?" He was never a political figure, though the Savak records published after his decease proved that the Shah administration had kept a careful eye on him, and had compiled a thick file on his activities.
Always avoiding politics, Allameh Jafari devoted himself to scientific and social activities. An example is the lectures and speeches he delivered at universities and academic centers, or the ones that were recorded at his study in his house, to be later broadcasted on the radio or on television. The speeches included the lectures he had given previously on the humanities and pure scientific sciences in his classes. He never accepted any payment whatsoever for the speeches he was asked to deliver from all over the country. His only possession when he died was the house he was living in, which he used to hold his lectures, classes, meet foreign thinkers and people who came to visit him.
e) Bertrand Russell, the renowned English philosopher, was one of the great thinkers whose ideas were carefully studied by Allameh Jafari. The Allameh presented a fair, constructive criticism of two of Russell's works – Bertrand Russell Speaks His Mind and Bertrand Russell's Best. Jafari and Russell wrote to each other several times to exchange ideas and thoughts on philosophy and mathematics, which began in 1963.
f) In 1997, when the debates on the Human Genome project and its consequences, like cloning, heightened, the UNESCO asked Allameh Jafari to study the issue and comment on it. The Allameh's interesting remarks have been collected in a book. Although supporting scientific advances and the benefits the human genome technology can have in botanical improvements and removing human and animal deformities and diseases, he also seriously warns us about the disastrous dangers in unlimitedly allowing it to proceed.
g) The Allameh emphasized that a "global, comprehensive culture" be created. "By global culture, we do not mean all cultural phenomena, elements and activities of people around the world," he said, "for deep inside each society there are certain cases of cultural truths exclusive to that society, resulted in by its history, geography, religion, people and communications. What we mean is the general truths about culture, like basic moral values (love for one's peers, sacrifice for human ideals), accepting a proper life for all of mankind, accepting dignity and greatness for all of mankind, accepting responsible freedom for all, and accepting to undertake serious endeavor toward advancing man's highest ideals. It is obvious that by means of logical planning of the four basic issues – global economics, global power, global rights and global politics – global culture can be planned. We know that all divine religions originate from Abraham's religion, which is based on man's pure nature and disposition, and Islam, the most comprehensive of them all, strongly supports the propagation of such a culture."
h) One of Allameh Jafari's pioneer thoughts was his idea of Dialogs between Religions, in aim of creating mutual coexistence and understanding in the modern centuries. Speaking for the first time about it in 1984 in the presence of Islamic and also German thinkers such as Professor Hans Kung, Professor Van Ess, Professor Deiber, Professor Meyer and many others, the Allameh said:
"If we, as followers of divine religions, can create mutual understanding based on the nature of the divine religion Abraham brought us, it will definitely be accepted by all religions, and reasonable, peaceful coexistence will become possible."
In fact, Allameh Jafari was a true defender of discussion and dialog between religions aiming for an essential, constructive goal – "reasonable coexistence." At the International Conference of Islam and Christianity held in Switzerland in 1995, the Allameh presented his theory again – from a much more scientific point of view - under the title of Reconsidering Abraham's Religion to Harmonize the People Who Believe in Great Religions and Let Them Achieve Supreme Unity.
i) One of the issues the Allameh considered as highly important was "Actions and Reactions." He strongly believed that any "action" occurring in life would sooner or later have a "reaction." He had himself witnesses many times God's will make this happen in his own or other people's lives. Thus, he used the law of actions and reactions as – at least one – of the things that prove the existence of the supernatural. In many of his lectures, and even in his private meetings, he has presented a scientific theory on the issue, which he believed could be an important part of human development. As he said,
"The issue of actions and reactions is so vast that I really don't know which story to refer to. Once, someone came to me and said he wanted to see God. I said, "If I show you God, will you promise not to be cynical about it?" He said no. I told him to consider the law of actions and reactions. There must be something behind the curtain that answers your actions. Be sure about that. I once proposed that by a very simple act, we can create a cultural revolution all over the world. First, we would start a magazine, in which people from all over Iran would tell us about things that happened to them, and soon they saw its reaction. If they slapped someone, they soon got slapped back. Definitely, as one ages, he sees more examples and cases of this happen. After a while, when people learn about such a magazine, we could send students with tape recorders to villages during the summer. We think about a million of such cases can be seen in a generation of 40-50-year-old people. One million cases! If we consider each story to fill one page, the collection would make a 2000-volume encyclopedia of 500-page volumes, all saying that you should not hit, or you will be hit back. I would write the preface myself. O those who intend to sacrifice everything for science! We all love science, but how are we going to use it? You may call all this a coincidence, but I promise you that one million cases cannot be a coincidence. They hit, so they were hit. The law of actions and reactions is actually a warning that God's justice is always there. God never seeks revenge."e, but I promise you that one million cases cannot be a coincidence. page volumes! , and soon
j) As a part of the context of Allameh Jafari's attempts to keep himself up-to-date with modern issues abroad, he also did extensive study on the Human Rights. He made a comparison of the Western and Islamic viewpoints on the Human Rights, which was published, and he also mentioned his thoughts on the issue in his interviews with foreign scholars. All in all, the Allameh believed that the human rights were an interesting endeavor, but still needed much improvement and modifications.
k) Readers of the Allameh's works know quite well that the Allameh discussed various issues, jumping from one to another. Sometimes the reader lost the main topic, confusedly trying to relate all the material to each other. The more impatient reader may even abandon reading the book. There seems to be two reasons why the Allameh did this:
1) He always advised researchers and experts to have various points of view while discussing an issue, even if it did not help elaborate on it. He believed that one should change one's "glasses" while looking at a topic. If the "legal" glasses did not help, one should try the "artistic" ones. He himself followed his rule with the greatest audacity. He always treated an issue from various aspects. The readers would not always realize the change in glasses, and sometimes got mixed up, especially since each aspect needed some preliminary discussion, too.
2) Those of highly advanced knowledge express themselves in words quite differently from scientists of experimental sciences. Normally, the mind employs words to express the topics it thinks about. But in high levels of knowledge, it is quite another matter. Since the topic is so great that it blinds the mind, the mind cannot put it into suitable words that truly illustrate it.