The immensely vast world which has nowadays even been named the "global village," has long been a land full of flowing ideas and viewpoints. Theories and speculations have always been an important part of this world, and have dominated man's written history. Man has always had thoughts and ideas alongside his natural life. One of these viewpoints considers nothing but thoughts. Supported by religion and sound common sense, this point of view believes that one hour of thinking is equal to years of worship, emphasizing that nothings is equal to thoughts.

Indeed, thoughts are what humanity is defined by, and great thinkers of mankind are like the shades of the tree of human mentality throughout history, in which human beings can develop. On the other hand, thinkers have arisen with huge variety and diversity in ideas, fields and geography. 

Some have taken superficial looks at knowledge, whereas some others have profoundly excavated the worlds of the unknown. Some have worn materialistic glasses, while others have had a divine, supernatural viewpoint. The latter group, the religious-mystic, free minded thinkers, are quite rare, and Allameh Mohammad Taghi Jafari was one of them.

Allameh Jafari always had free-mindedness and religiousness together. His conquest was to the unknown fortresses of "being" and "changing," and it was this passion that helped him find his way to other lands, and invent the idea of reasonable life. As he saw it, reasonable life is:

"… a conscious form of life in which the fatalistic forces and activities of natural life are, by means of development, freedom and growth flourished by free will, are adjusted onto the path of relatively evolutionary goals, and the human character is gradually improved in this path until it reaches the supreme aim of life, which is participating in the general harmony of the universe, all of which depends upon divine perfection."

Allameh Jafari also presented other theories, based on "what there is" and "what there should be," "the four relationships" and "the six questions." His six basic questions – Who am I? Where have I come from? Where have I come to? Who am I with? Why am I here? And where do I go from here? – are answered by the eternal breeze of the four relationships – man-himself, man-God, man-the universe and man-other men. The Allameh would never leave mankind to drown in his "what there is;" he always called man to "what there should be."

"We can state, according to historic documents and man's spiritual qualities, that man can always start from square one again; he can always degrade to zero, and restart his development. He may even get to zero from subzero levels, and then determine his new path.

Dear God! Will there come a day when these beings who call themselves man and claim to have dominated the universe come to themselves, for they have not yet done even the slightest thing to solve their simplest problems?!"

We will now attempt to explain the roots and fundamentals of this vast range. Our deepest thanks be upon God, the master of all men who knew the divine path and were guiders to the supreme world, for granting us this chance to present you with a part of Allameh Jafari's life and works.


A Look at Allameh Mohammad Taghi Jafari's Ideas, Thoughts and Character

Allameh Mohammad Taghi Jafari was born in a religious family in Tabriz in 1923. His parents were honest, chaste people, quite respected by others. Mohammad Taghi had learned how to read and write from his mother even before he started school, so he began his education from fourth grade. Indeed, his academic progress was wonderful from the very beginning, but it was Ayatollah Shahidi who actually realized how talented he was years later. 

After elementary school, Mohammad Taghi began to study at the Talebieh seminary, and then moved to Tehran and Qom, where he studied under some of the outstanding religious scholars of his time. But when he heard about his mother's illness, he returned to tabriz, and attended Ayatollah Shahidi's classes. Soon, the

ayatollah insisted that he leave for Najaf so much that he decided to leave for the Najaf school of theology. 

Mohammad Taghi Jafari spent 11 years in Najaf and learned from great scholars. His progress was so spectacular that he was conferred on the greatest degree of jurisprudence – ijthad – when he was only 23. He was soon teaching at Najaf, too. 

His life was quite difficult at that time, for the only income he had was the allowance he received from the seminary. He had to work and study at the same time to manage his simple, austere life. As the Allameh's wife recalled from the early years of their life together:

"During the hot summers, we were forced to live in cellars several meters under the ground. There were even snakes there, but they ate our leftover food, and never harmed us."

Indeed, the late Jamila Farshbaf Entezar, never left the Allameh's side during all the years of hardship. Very few really know how critical her role was in his life. The Allameh himself, was quite appreciative in his speech after her death:

"This lady lived with me for over 40 years, tolerating every problem we had… she never stopped me, she always let me go on with what I did, neglecting the wishes she had in her life. She ought to be greatly appreciated, especially for those difficult Najaf years. And for all the forty years! I can indeed do nothing but thank her for all she did for me, and pray that her soul rest in piece."

Allameh Jafari had a close and long friendship with Mohammad Reza Muzaffar, the great philosopher, and Ahmad Amin, the renowned mathematician of Baghdad University and author of the book At-takamol fil-Islam (Evolution in Islam), which shows how vast his scientific dominance was. Indeed, he always followed up other fields like physics, aesthetics, history, psychology and several others, and continually tried to be up-to-date in Western and European literature and science. 

His first book, The Relationship between Man and the Universe, which he wrote when he was in his late twenties, also shows this. The book, which concerns physics and philosophy, implies how important learning about modern science and analyzing and criticizing it was to its writer. His style of criticism, however, was that of a young, Islamic academician who had been trained by the best Islamic scholars of his time. Of course, the fundamentals of Islamic civilization and development were also influential. 

"The true intellectual should always adjust his contact with the vast sea of facts in the flow of time, and make use of reasons, cause-and-effects and factors correctly to make reasonable life in his society a reality, feeling the duty inside him, and take any measures to fulfill it."

When the Allameh returned to Iran, he continued to study the new waves of thought that were rapidly spreading throughout intellectualism. He undoubtedly approved the basic idea of intellectualism, which was what had drawn him from decadent, traditional thoughts to study modern ones; the study that dominated his 60-year academic career.  Allameh Jafari strongly believed in originality and discussion. Those who knew him well and had witnessed his long years of study and research would admit that nothing was more important to him than asking and answering questions. He often shifted from one field of science to another in search of answers to questions, and spent most of his time reading books that contained new scientific material and ideas, which provided him with new questions. As he said:

"Questions are the eagerness to gain knowledge about something unknown. Questions actually mean that the questioner is saying that he has encountered a dark point on his path toward knowledge, and is eager to overcome it. Thus, passing the bridges and turns of doubt that are the necessity of the phenomenon we call asking, is quite natural. In fact, we can say that on the long road to knowledge, the more bridges and turns we pass with certainty, the better. That means facing many questions. There are very few people who do not know the importance of questions. In fact, if we accept that questions sometimes come in the form of movements and endeavors instead of words or written texts, we agree that no one can account for his life without using questions."

That is why he treated anyone who stepped into his world of asking and answering in a kind, fatherly manner. If one factor of his permanent legacy is his cooperation with men and women who presented questions – which arose out of his burning, innate interest in answering questions – another must be his affection and consideration toward human beings.  As an explorer of anthropological domains, Mohammad Taghi endeavored to discover mankind accurately, so he began by practically showing value for human beings, and presenting the highest of moral values and constructive patterns in his behavior.

Maybe it was his moral excellence that helped him accomplish so much in a rather short period of time – the Allameh wrote many books on a vast variety of fields, the most prominent of which are his 15-volume Interpretation and Criticism of Rumi's Mathnavi, and his 27-volume Translation and Interpretation of the Nahj-ol-balagheh. These two major works of the Allameh contain his most important thoughts and ideas in fields like anthropology, sociology, moral ethics, philosophy and mysticism.

Another point worth mentioning about Allameh Jafari's life is the austerity he always insisted on. "With the meager allowance we got from the seminary in Najaf," he recalled, "sometimes I had to choose whether to spend my money on food or books. I always bought the books." Having grown up and spent his years as a student in poverty, he continued to avoid luxury and wealth when his academic state allowed him some economic comfort. His character could not adapt to affairs other than scientific or academic; his main goal was to find a way to control the crisis of identity, and answer the logical, righteous questions students at universities and theological schools had correctly. This is the most important thing on the Allameh's mind. Jafari never withered from his ideals; no fashion or ideological trend could distract him. Despite all the philosophical issues on his mind, he always insisted on upholding ideals like duty, responsibility, and commitment. As a Jewish woman recalls:

"Some years ago, we had a legal problem, and there was nothing we could do about it. We needed help, but since we were Jewish, it was hard to find someone to trust. Then we thought of asking Allameh Jafari to help us. We went to his house. He welcomed us quite warmly. He put a lot of time into carefully studying our case. He felt we might be treated unjustly, so he wrote a letter to the judicial officials, which helped a great deal to solve our problem." 

Later on in this booklet, we will present more anecdotes about how righteous and right-defending the Allameh was. Another of his characteristics was his belief that fields like knowledge and thought are truly endless; that is the only thing that can account for the Allameh's amazingly vast set of works – aesthetics, philosophical analysis, knowledge, artistic analysis, cognition and mental reception. Indeed, Allameh Mohammad Taghi Jafari was one of the rare Islamic thinkers of the recent centuries who always attempted to update his viewpoints with his time. The reason was that he truly believed in adapting one's thoughts, which in turn lay in his ideas on "common human culture:"

"Beyond their appearance, all human cultures have a lot in common, and are inseparably associated."

Such ideas arose out of the events and developments that occurred through the course of time; there is no doubt that Allameh Jafari was a steadfast advocate of paying attention to time and the changes it brings about. To correctly describe him, we should point out those of his thoughts that associated him with his contemporaries who were teaching at European universities, like Bertrand Russell, Abdul-salam, Ahmad Amin and many others who paid attention to the Allameh's thoughts. His viewpoints were sought by leading researchers all around the world. It was most likely his free-mindedness that had given him such an important stature; it had taken him many years and a great deal of effort to skill himself in not defying things baselessly. It should not be surprising, therefore, when Greek thinkers remember him as a man who "never rejected anyone; Allameh Jafari was a teacher, not a judge!" The Allameh was also quite proficient in the Koran and interpreting its verses, which was the result of his training by the best of scholars in Najaf and also his immense studies and research. In all of his books, he has referred to Koranic verses, and always considered human knowledge as quite inconsiderable in comparison to the Koran. 

He was a teacher, but a teacher who avoided fame and credit; instead, he was concerned with the responsibilities that true teachers should think about – giving his students what they should be equipped with. He took great care when he spoke of education, for he believed that education and training is a divine act done on a being, created by God, on its way to God. Can one behave any differently in such a sensitive, crucial and demanding area? No, Allameh Jafari would definitely reply.

His mental resume shows him a man who produced a great deal of works, a man who devoted himself to knowledge; his aim was to reveal the unknown, in order to find a more logical description of man in the domain of reasonable life. He can be called the philosopher of life, for most of his endeavors concerned people's lives. The great deal of effort and research he put into studying life and its facts justifies this. "Life," he believed, "should always consist of originating and making originated, or it would be merely a burden on man's shoulders." Let us take a look at how the Allameh's analytical look on life was:

His mental resume shows him a man who produced a great deal of works, a man who devoted himself to knowledge; his aim was to reveal the unknown, in order to find a more logical description of man in the domain of reasonable life. He can be called the philosopher of life, for most of his endeavors concerned people's lives. The great deal of effort and research he put into studying life and its facts justifies this. "Life," he believed, "should always consist of originating and making originated, or it would be merely a burden on man's shoulders." Let us take a look at how the Allameh's analytical look on life was:

Is this all of what life is about?! That is the question man has been asking himself since the beginning of his scientific endeavors. In response, there are two groups of people – those who say yes and those who say no.

•The phenomenon of life is a generating truth, the will and use of which is determined by man's free will.

•There are two kinds of destroying life, which is in fact fighting against God's will – suicide and self-deterioration.

•A life molded by "selfish" emotions and actions is equivalent to death.

•For any conscious man, each day is like a book full of new lessons. Therefore, we can correctly say that there is a continuous factor called time that can change our ignorance into wisdom… but first, we need those who are really eager for wisdom!

•Most human beings live in a steel trap of their own uncalculated desires and wishes, simple-mindedly calling it "free life!"

•A life empty of prayers and divine attraction is like an empty cup we stick to our lips when we are born, and throw away at death.

Ideal life means watering and making flourish the ideals of our passing, mortal life from the spring of evolutionary life, finding man and the universe in ourselves, and fulfilling the human character on the path toward eternity. Ideal life is a conscious movement, and passing each stage makes us more eager for the next. The more the eagerness, the greater will be the harmony between the future and the past. This endeavor is led by the human character. A passer of infinity and seeker of eternal perfection by nature, the human character seeks the eternal truth, a gust of which has caused waves in the mortal facts of this world. That is ideal life. If a society can give its members a taste of it, it has indeed achieved a truly original civilization. 



At Last, the Secret of a Decease

Wise men have said that each reality is a warning, and what a reality greater than facing a man in his deathbed! Thus, meeting a man awaiting his death is the biggest warning one can ever receive. Allameh Jafari, however, had accepted the most original of truths when facing the dying man, who was the great scholar Sheikh Morteza Taleghani.


                    تا رسد دستت به خود شو کارگر          چون فتی از کار  خواهی زد به سر

(Work while you can, for when you become too old to work, all you can do is feel sorry and blame yourself.)





 The Allameh's Decease

 Three hours before he passed away, Allameh Jafari seemed to be asking his son, Dr. Qolamreza Jafari, for something, but the brain stroke had left the great scholar unable to speak, and his son could not understand what his father needed. Finally, after about an hour, he realized that his father wanted a plaque on which the names of Allah and the Imams had been engraved upon. The Allameh kept it in his bag, and had wrapped the plaque in a green cloth that had been blessed by the shrine of Imam Hussein (P.B.U.H.). 

Qolamreza quickly left to get the plaque. He was away over an hour, and when he returned, the nurse informed him that his father had passed away. He went into the room, very upset that he had failed to get it to his father on time. The Allameh's body was on the bed, covered with a white sheet. Qolamreza tearfully placed the green cloth on his father face when suddenly the Allameh opened his eyes for a few moments, smiled at his son knowingly, and then closed his eyes again. 

After a long, fruitful life of free-minded, intelligent research, Allameh Mohammad Taghi Jafari passed away on November 15, 1998, and was buried in Dar-ol-zohd, located inside the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (P.B.U.H.) in Mashad. 


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