An Interview with Pegah Journal

Gaining knowledge and developing talent
The transcriptof the interview of grand Ayatollah Duzduzani with Pegah journal in the commencement ofthe academic year 82-83 S.H


Question-According to the commencement of the academic year 82-83 S.H, how do academic days differ from holidays for a Talibeh (a student of Islamic seminaries)?

Answer-As you know education means to transform what is unknown to something known, and there is to say that if someone is truly a Talibeh, they would not differ holidays from school days. It means that if someone is determined to gain knowledge and excel at top degrees and resolve issues and problems, they would not be concerned with the time when they endeavor, whether it is day or night, Thursday or Friday, holiday or school days, Muharram month or Ramadan month, being young or elderly, being busy or not busy. I assume if someone loves studying, nothing would stop them. Basically "Talibeh" literally means "a lover of studying", and I don’t think there could be something as a barrier and obstacle for him. I remember 55 years ago when I was a new Talibeh, I started Mughadamat (basic lessons), and I wasn’t having dinner many nights or I had only a little, so that I could stay up late at nights and I used to write down any problem that I had. On Thursdays and Fridays I was busy doing those works, and at other nights I was only studying. I remember about 52-53 years ago when I encountered a difficult issue, and I searched a lot until I finally found its answer in the notes of the margin of Jaami’s book. The very idea of mine was that to delay working on the problems until Thursdays and Fridays every week. Fifty years ago when I came here, I had studied Mughadamat very well. As soon as I entered here, I started to teach Suyuti to some students, but I had not mastered Mantigh (a course of logic).Basically I had to teach the commentary of Mulla Abdullah after teaching Suyuti and Jaami. I once said to one of my teachers: “I’m eagerly waiting for holidays to come.”–“why?” He replied.–“I would like to study Mantigh well” I said.
I intended to know things, for example what Shamsiyeh, Sharh-Matale' and others say, and I finally succeeded. I stayed at Qom during that year's summer and studied Mantigh and I also taught Mantigh during educational days. That is why I advise those who like knowledge and those who are learning it to taste the joy of learning and doing away with ignorance, and if one feels this joy they would start to work automatically.
How awful it is when one doesn’t understand ignorance to be such a dangerous disease and knowledge to be such a pinnacle. If one knows that ignorance is a disease, they would cure it themselves. There is no doubt that nowadays there are a lot of issues in many aspects which you are aware of, such as thought,politics, cultural information, material information and so on.
In the past people kept studying while they were eating only bread and they were satisfied with it, but today there are so many problems. I believe that man should make himself love gaining knowledge in order to solve the problems. He should know what he intends to do.
Considering there are a lot of obstacles nowadays, the academic days have been reduced so problems have increased. It means that we don’t have academic days! We have 6 or 7 months of holiday, and still during the academic days there are holidays because of for example the birth of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) or birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or the day of Mab’ath (Mission of Prophet Muhammad) or demise of Prophet Muhammad and so on.
The Hawza has also been extended, and one day we hear someone’s demise …
These are all obstacles. Talibeh need to do something to prevent these things from turning into obstacles. In other words such problems don’t impact on him. He should have an alternative argument, movement or education which allows him to overcome such obstacle as a wheel which turns over them. I assume a man should understand himself that what is it that he wants to do.
Since the year I came to Qom, I had two kinds of education, one for the holidays and the other for school days. I used to study books such as Manzumeh, Mantiq, Mutawal, the second half of laws, Sharh-Tajreed etc. on Thursdays and Fridays, and on those days when I was studying Sharh-Tajreed, I also taught Sharh-Baab-Hadi-Ashar.
The first year I entered, we had a group discussion on Thursdays and Fridays where we discussed exegesis of Quran (Tafseer). I have been following that exegesis for 50 years and there are also notes regarding those discussions. One of the notes includes the lessons of “Revelation of Quran” which has been published once and now it has become rare. Another note is about Purgatory, which has also been published and finished.
I have written them on Thursdays. I mean I did not have any spare time. Unfortunately the day when Hawza is closed for holidays, our Talibeh have nothing to do because they have not provided themselves with two phases, so that when one of them is turned off the other one is still ongoing.
I advise contemporary Talibeh-s to be careful about education like they did in the past. I used to teach Lam’eh in the first two years when I entered Hawza. When I entered the seminary of Feyziyeh, I was busy until the sunset.
The Talibeh used to make noise like bees. They used to raise questions and come to us to find the answers. I think today it is not like that anymore. I don’t find the opportunity to go to Feyziyeh quite often, but when sometimes I happen to go there, I see it is different.
For example I went to the seminary of Daarul-Shafaa to attend the conference of late Allameh-Tabatabaei. When I was passing through Feyziyeh, I noticed that there is no sign of such matters. That quality and those moods and such noisiness don't exist at all. That is why our Talibeh grow up superficially.
If Talibeh truly wants to become Talibeh, he should learn the right way of debating and discussing. He should not have solidity and inactivity. The man, who pours and drinks himself, does not understand his own faults. When he poured tea for someone else and gave it to them, then it would become clear where his problem lies.
When this argument is given to the person, then it can be understood what size and weight it has, or how true it is. That is why we demand gentlemen to have such a spirit.
There are so many works left to be done in this matter and we have to teach the Talibeh about it and encourage them. Although it has considerable effect on the progress of Hawzah, it is not right to only hold exams and want Talibeh to submit a piece of writing. Those who don’t study at all would have problems with exams and cannot take exams or receive funds or receive degrees, and they would be deprived of this source.

Question-The point you made was about loving education. Is the love for education an innate love or an acquisitive one? How can we direct its acquisitive aspect towards the right path?

Answer-An article had been written roughly forty years ago in Tabriz in which some people had argued whether the intelligence of the genius is innate or acquisitive. There were also some people who had written about the matter“the intelligence of the geniuses”.
I remember a woman who had written an article regarding this matter which was surprising. She had made a lot of effort. In that time I was only talking about it, and I said I believe that the source of genius isdual: it is not only innate and not only acquisitive. It means what has been put within the human’s existence should be activated.
It happens rarely for a human to not have the love for knowledge and understanding intrinsically, but due to some bad friends or some events which the person has not been able to overcome, we see that he loses interest. For example he has a friend who is interested in traveling and justifies going here and there when talking to him, therefore the motivation for studying is slowly lost in that person.
My opinion is that the Talibeh mostly like knowledge when they come to Hawzah, except for very rare cases. This is love itself, and interest, and motivation. It is the teacher who has to make this motivation seem sweeter in his eyes as well.
I sometimes leave the argument incomplete and tell the students: write this argument down. They imagine we don’t know about it. For example I say: “I did not find it” and then I say: “bring this argument for next class”. If they do so then I will encourage them and if they don’t I'll complain.
I say: “unfortunately I mentioned it last week but there was no one who would write it for me.” These have been put in human nature, and we need to teach lessons gradually so that they progress step by step. Unfortunately in some cases our Hawzah doesn’t have this motivation.
The one who studies and the one who doesn't are the same in their eyes. That is why I believe genius to be both innate and acquisitive. It is a motivation which has to be put in progress. I have to thank Hawzahfor announcing the best teacher, the best student, the best article etc. these days. This is very effective and makes the person to work harder and get rewarded.

Question-Should the love for education which exists in a Talibeh be exclusive to the plans of the Hawzah or the person should think of plans for himself?

Answer-Humans are of two kinds: some have to be educated, like most of the people soHawzah has to have appropriate plans for them, and some other people who are beyond any plans. We call them self-raised. They are important and as they are in need of encouragement, they have to possess some kind of self-raising ability.
If the man is self-raised, he would ignore such plans and start to think of plans himself. He himself writes and studies alternatively. He does side research by himself. You may find them taking in seven or eight arguments over just one year, whereas you have to help the average and ordinary people and have them going by plans.
There are some masters who did not have any teachers. They are self-raised people and they possess a great deal of genius. For example the late Mr. Naraqi has been of people who possess innate genius and he has been a self-raised man. A self-raised man would choose the teacher, the pupil, the path, the place, the time and also the lesson himself.
I don't forget studying Makasib at Qom, I found every teacher that I met incapable of teaching it properly. Once a friend of mine told me that there is Makasib class, and when I attended, the teacher was teaching “the authority of animals”. About forty years ago I attended that class for four or five months, but it was like I had studied a full course of Makasib. The teacher was also interested in me and he noticed that I understand. Therefore a self-raised human would go after the teacher by himself and makes him work all over the year.

Question-You mentioned that most of the people have to be directed. If such people would intend to be self-raised and also be educated, how is that possible?

Answer-Maybe this is not the right place for this question. I said the self-raised are rare. A self-raised man cannot be stopped or be directed. Long ago we used to say that "there are two kinds of children in playing games: some say: “I'll play with somebody” and some others say: “who will play with me?” A self-raised man is not waiting for others to invite him. Such genius is somewhat innate and cannot be captured.
He goes on his own way and does his work and he studies for himself. But there are also some people who cannot do this no matter how hard they try, and they always have to be guided, and receive specified lessons, teacher and time. You have to plan their summer and winter. Of course the self-raised are quite rare, maybe one out of a thousand people. This self-raised person does not need anything, but bad friends should not be around him and drag him here and there.


Question-Is it possible for someone to mendaciously findthemselves self-raising, and it makes them proud and causes them trouble?

Answer-The people who are self-raised have a talent who progress according to it. Those who are talented are always in danger of corruption. For example when we see someone who is excommunicated, this is the self-raising and strong self-confidence which allows one to go forward to an extent that loses his control and loses even those limitations.
Therefore they also need a teacher and advisor. For example the late Sheikh Hadi Tehrani was one of those geniuses. He was so self-raised and self-confident that would say every word strongly and intensely which would make people misunderstand. So they also need warnings and advices and they also have to be balanced. We may see someone who thinks very highly of himself and goes up to the speaking place and says whatever he pleases, and a friend tells him speaking as such is inappropriate for the place.
Therefore a self-raised man would not always go straight, because he is proud of himself, self-confident and he does not listen to others and would not end up as a good person. They also need a teacher and a compassionate friend and they have to be aware of the fact. If you look at the contemporary history, you would find people who don’t listen to anybody because they see themselves on top of others. It was a very subtle point which you mentioned.

Question-What is your eminence analysis of the officials' roles in Hawzah and those who are responsible for it, in controlling, supervising and helping the talented in Hawzah?

Answer-I don’t know about this matter, but I want to criticize the officials at the end of my speech and it is the lack of enough attention towards ethics and edification. I have said several times that Hawzah always grades students according to their knowledge and I do not like it. I say grade them according to piety too. Do not only regard knowledge but grade according to humanity, excellence, affability, creativity and having high morale too.
We have to entrust works to someone whose ethics score is 18, 19 or 20. I persistently demand that the work shouldn't be entrusted to those who don't have morality and piety. But unfortunately those who don’t have morality and have only studied a little would take posts. This is very harmful.
This person would play with the life, properties, dignity and honor of people and country. Justice is the first condition for the Talibeh who takes the lead of prayer. If he becomes a judge, he will be engaged with the life, wealth and dignity of the people. If a man is pious and have little knowledge, he would not issue a fatwa. If he is asked, he would say I don’t know, but if he is not pious he will be harmful.

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Pegah journal






1. The best religious practice

Question: What is the best religious practice, in your eminence opinion?

Answer: As it has been narrated in some Hadith-s, saying prayer is the best practice after gaining knowledge of God.


2. The Ibtidai Jihad

Question: Is the Ibtidai Jihad (A kind of Jihad to promulgate the religion of Islam through countries which are not enemies of Islamic countries) permissible?

Answer: Its not permissible, in our opinion.


3. The Mu'ataati marriage

Question: Is the Mu'ataati marriage (a kind of unofficial marriage that the Sigheh is not verbally approved by the parties) recognizable?

Answer: Marriage needs to be approved verbally and the Mu'ataati one is not recognizable.


4. Revealing a secret

Question: Please say about permissible cases for revealing secrets?

Answer: Revealing other's secret is Haraam unless something important involves. For example, if the secret is not revealed, the life of a believer will be put in danger.


5. Saying prayer in Karbala

Question: What is your opinion about whether saying daily prayers completely or incompletely in the holy city of Karbala, or around the holy shrine, or in Koufa Masjid?

Answer: The traveler needs to say prayer incomplete in the holy city of Karbala, but around the holy shrine of his holiness Imam Hussein (A) (within two and half meters from the holy enshrine) and the whole Koufa Masjid the traveler is at liberty to say prayer complete or incomplete.


6. Wozu (performing ablutions before saying prayer) with the remnant of pen on skin

Question: Do the remnants of pen on hands’ skin invalidate the Wozu?

Answer: No, it doesn’t unless they prevent the water from reaching to body's skin.