Ayatullah Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Bahlool (R.A.)
Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Bahlool was an unusually gifted scholar and a famous orator of the present era. Behind his small stature, simple dress and modest manners, there was a talented, eloquent and pious individual, who never hesitated in speaking the truth as well as defending it. .
He was born in 1908 in Khurasan. His father was a mujtahid, and he ensured that his son received the best education and the correct training from his early years. Thus, Shaykh Bahlool memorised the Qur'an at the tender age of 8 years, and even at this young age, one would see him giving lectures from the pulpit.
He finished his preliminary Hawza studies under his father, and then came to Qum, where his teachers were the Grand Ayatullah Aakhund, Mulla Ali Ma'sumi and Grand Ayatullah Mar'ashi Najafi. Later he also studied in Najaf under Grand Ayatullah Abu'l Hasan Isfahani. This last illustrious teacher told him to use his talents to enter politics and participate in the resistance movement against the dangerous policies of Shah Razakhan, the Shah of Iran.
After completing his studies, Shaykh Bahlool returned to Iran where he became a powerful voice against anti-Islamic policies of the government of the day. The government was alarmed and worried at his popularity and as a result, put him in the prison. For defending the truth, he spent 13 long years of his youthful life in prison. He was released from the prison in a miraculous way.
After his release from the prison, he spent sometime in Egypt and Syria, familiarising himself with the current situation, before returning to Iran. He was very active in the run up to the Islamic Revolution.
He left this world just about 4 months ago, at a ripe age of over 100 years. Ulema and Islamic Scholars throughout the world, led by Ayatullah Khamenai paid a glowing tribute to his brilliant life and work. We pray to Allah swt to Grant the Marhum the choicest place in the proximity of Ma'sumeen (A.S.).
In the eyes of Shaykh Bahlool, Salatu'l Layl (i.e. Namaze Shab) had a special prestigious place. He often used to say that “in Salatu'l Layl, there lies the benefit of this world and the hereafter. When I urge you all never to miss its recital, I have a personal proof of its benefit”.
This is one of the incidents he has narrated regarding his habit of regularly praying Salatu'l Layl: He says, “In my student days when I was in Madressa-e- Faydhiyyah in Qum, it was a very difficult time and we had very little money, even for our basic necessities.
One year, in which the night of 15th Sha'ban coincided with the coldest days of winter, the weather in Qum was so cold that even water would turn into ice in a few moments. That night I had gone for a Majlis, which had been arranged in honour of our 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (A.S.).
When I returned, the doors of the Madressa were already locked. The doors of the Haram were also closed. The night was also bitterly cold. However, because of my unfailing habit of reciting Salatu'l Layl regularly, I stood next to the outside door of the Haram, and began to pray in the open.
No sooner had I finished my prayers, I saw that a pilgrim who was speaking in Turkish had come to the doors. He asked me when the Haram would open. I said, 'it would open in about one to two hours'. Hearing this, he said, “Because my friends are waiting for me, I cannot wait that long. But please do me a favour. Take these candles for me, and place them wherever it is dark in the Haram, and light them on my behalf.” Before I could say anything, he gave me those candles and a bag of money as a gift and then he quickly departed.
I took the candles and the money he gave me as a gift. When I counted the money, I saw that it was 500 Tumans, which was a considerable sum in those days.
I thought for a long time that why would a pilgrim give such a large gift to an unknown person like me. However, later on it dawned on me that this must be a divine plan by Allah swt and the barakat of regularly praying Salatu'l Layl.
That money helped me solve many of the difficulties I was facing at the time. And indeed, this is only one small example of the benefit of Salatu'l Layl, both in this world and Insha'Allah in the next.”
Source: “Karamat-e Ma'nawi” - “Spiritual Miracles” p. 33. Translated AJ/141205