|Marja' (Shiite authority)
|Place of Birth
|Tabriz, Qom, and Najaf
|Tabriz, Najaf and Qom
|Shawwal 28, 1427/November 20, 2006
|Holy Shrine of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma (a), Qom
|Al-Sayyid Abd al-Hadi al-Shirazi • al-Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei • al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim • Sayyid Muhammad Hujjat Kuhkamara'i
Mīrzā Jawād Tabrīzī (Persian: میرزا جواد تبریزی; b. 1926-7 - d. 2006) was a Shiite authority (marja') and an influential teacher of the Seminary of Qom. During his education in Qom and Najaf, he attended the lectures of scholars such as Ayatollah Burujirdi, Ayatollah Hujjat, Sayyid Abd al-Hadi Shirazi, and Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khu'i. He later joined the Istifta'at Office (office of answering fatwas) of Ayatollah al-Khu'i in Iraq.
After Saddam's order to deport Iranians from Iraq, Mirza Jawad Tabrizi had to leave the country and go back to Iran after 23 years of stay in Iraq. He continued his scholarships in Qom. After the death of Ayatollah Araki, he was announced by Jami'a Mudarrisin as one of the 7 Shiite authorities.
Auatollah Jawad Tabrizi wrote a number of books in Shiite fiqh (jurisprudence), the most important of which is his Irshad al-talib (a four-volume commentary on al-Shaykh al-Ansari's al-Makasib al-muharrama).
Birth and Family
Jawad Tabrizi was born in 1305 sh/1926-7 in Tabriz. His father, Hajj Ali Kubar, was a well-known businessman in Azerbaijan and was known for his faith and fairness. His mother, Mirza Khanum Fatima Sultan, was from a well-known Sayyid family in the city.
He entered modern schools at the age of 7. He studied up to the second year of high school and then went to the Islamic seminary school. He said:
- Some of our friends in high school who wanted to improve their Arabic spent a few hours a day at the Islamic seminary of Talibiyya in the Bazar of Tabriz. They studied Arabic morphology (sarf) and Arabic grammar (nahw) with the teacher of Arabic literature. I accompanied them for a few days and attended the lectures on Arabic literature. But what happened to me was not so much the improvement of my Arabic as the passion for the Islamic seminary. It was an opening to my fate, and I chose to become a clergy.
When he made such a decision, he encountered opposition from his family, since in that period, the Islamic seminary and the clergy were under pressure and underwent a lot of troubles. Upon his insistence, his father was convinced and, thus, he chose to become clergy, though he had the opportunity to be a successful businessman. He left home and spent all his time in the seminary school of Talibiyya. He studied Arabic literature, eloquence (ma'ani), rhetoric (bayan), and parts of fiqh (jurisprudence), and usul al-fiqh (principles of jurisprudence).
In this period, he was friends with 'Allama Ja'fari. About this part of his life, he said:
- Since I went to the seminary school in spite of my family's objections, I did not want them to be aware of my problems and thus affect my will to continue the studies. Sometimes my economic problems were so dire that the late Muhammad Taqi Ja'fari and I had no food for two days.
In 1327 sh/1948-9, Ayatollah Tabrizi moved to Qom where he stayed for 7 years. In this period, the Islamic Seminary of Qom had just flourished. Ayatollah Burujirdi had made Qom the center of Islamic seminaries and the lectures there were remarkably thriving. Tabrizi stayed in Faydiyya School, and started teaching while attending the lectures of prominent figures. He was respected by Ayatollah Burujirdi. He said:
- I was teaching al-Lum'a and Qawanin al-usul in "Masjid Now" in Astana Square. I was an examiner on behalf of Ayatollah Burujirdi.
Ayatollah Tabrizi attended the lectures of Ayatollah Hujjat in Qom for 4 years and was spiritually and morally influenced by him. In that period, Ayatollah Hujjat was well-known for his asceticism and moral character. At the same time, Tabrizi attended the lectures of Ayatollah Burujirdi for 7 years. He moved to Najaf despite the teaching opportunities he had in Qom.
In Atabat al-Muqaddasa
It was a great dream for Ayatollah Tabrizi to go to al-'Atabat al-Muqaddasa and the Islamic Seminary of Najaf. He had the dream ever since he was in the Islamic seminary of Tabriz, but the dream seemed unachievable to him because of certain problems. One day he attended a scholarly meeting in which there was a religious businessman, who had relationships with scholars. The businessman offered his support for Tabrizi and thus, he provided the means of his immigration to Najaf. He says:
- I was sitting in the Faydiyya School and was thinking about the immigration to Najaf. At that time, a familiar man whom I had seen before came to me. He asked: "what are you thinking about?" and I said: "about moving to al-'Atabat". "What prevents you from going there?" he asked. "The circumstances", I replied, "have changed". In that period, Musaddiq had just fallen and the Iranian government was so strict on the clergy. "Do not worry", he said. He received some documents and photos from me, and after only a few days, he got me a passport. As soon as I received the passport, I did not wait. I went to Iraq with the first possible means. I did not even have time to let my students know about my decision.
Ayatollah Tabrizi arrived in Najaf while he was 27 years old. With the help of Mirza Ali Gharawi who had lived in Najaf for years, he resided in the School of Qawam al-Saltana Shirazi and began his lively, vivacious days in the Islamic Seminary of Najaf. Since he had entered the Islamic Seminary School at an older age than usual, he doubled his efforts and attended numerous lectures. He said:
- I did not have any vacations for 40 years. I ignored everything and avoided many pleasures to achieve my goals.
Ayatollah Tabrizi attended the lectures of prominent scholars, such as Sayyid 'Abd al-Hadi Shirazi and Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khu'i. He attracted the attention of his teachers in the early years. He was honored by Ayatollah al-Khu'i when he saw his talent and efforts. Thus, he turned into a close student of al-Khu'i.
Ayatollah al-Khu'i later appointed Tabrizi as a member of his fatwa Office. He was in the office, attended al-Khu'i's lectures, and taught intermediate and advanced courses in Najaf for about 20 years.
In addition to obtaining the degree of Ijtihad in fiqh and usul al-fiqh, Ayatollah Tabrizi worked hard on philosophy, the exegesis of the Qur'an, and rijal and mastered these disciplines. His classmates include Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Sadr, Shaykh Mujtaba Lankarani, Shaykh Sadra Badkubi'i, Ayatollah Wahid Khurasani, Ayatollah al-Sayyid 'Ali al-Sistani, and Shaykh 'Ali Asghar Shahrudi.
Return to Iran
In 1355 sh/1976-7, the Iraqi government increased its pressures against Iranians. The government identified and deported people like Ayatollah Tabrizi, who was a prominent figure. Thus, after 23 years, he and a number of other Iranians had to leave Iraq. Ayatollah al-Khoei was saddened by his compulsory return to Iran.
Teaching at the Islamic Seminary of Qom
When he returned to Iran and settled in Qom, he started to teach rijal, usul al-fiqh, and fiqh (jurisprudence). Because of his long-term companionship with prominent teachers of Najaf, his courses were similar to courses in Najaf.
As a Shiite Authority
When Ayatollah al-al-Khu'i passed away, a number of scholars asked Ayatollah Tabrizi to undertake the Shiite authority (or marja'iyya). However, he was reluctant to do so. Jami'a Mudarrisin's announcement of 7 people, including him, as Shiite authorities, as well as his followers outside Iran, such as Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, as well as some European countries, Australia, and Africa forced him to undertake the responsibility.
The social services of Ayatollah Tabrizi include the construction of mosques, helping people in need, and the building of a clinic in Qom. The clinic is medically very equipped. Some people were commissioned by Ayatollah Tabrizi to identify the poor and the orphans and provide food and clothes for them.
After a period of illness, Ayatollah Tabrizi died on Monday, November 20, 2006 (Shawwal 28, 1427). On Wednesday, November 22, he was buried in the Holy Shrine of Fatima al-Ma'suma (a) after a funeral and Funeral Prayer by Ayatollah Wahid Khurasani. Other Shiite authorities as well as figures from Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Emirates, Lebanon, Syria, and Saudi Arabia attended his funeral.
After Ayatollah Tabrizi's death, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, issued a message of condolences in which he characterized Ayatollah Tabrizi as one of the most prominent teachers of the Islamic Seminary of Qom whose piety and down-to-earth comportments made him popular among the youths.
- The material for writing this article has been mainly taken from میرزا جواد تبریزی in Farsi wikishia.