Saturday, February 04, 2006

More on Muharram in Qom

Salaam/Hello Everyone

Last night we were invited to a majlis (the daily event of mourning for Hussein and his companions at Karbala held each day in the first ten days of the month of Muharram) at Grand Ayatollah Ardebili's house here in Qom.

While the t.v. shows the major gatherings with famous speakers, most people attend much smaller gatherings to listen to the stories of Karbala and to see how those lessons tie in to problems today or to general points about Islam. Thus, the gathering at Ayatollah Ardebili's house (where he also gives lessons to his students) was more subdued and thoughtful. About halfway through, Ayatollah Sharastani and his entourage came in and filled out the numbers a bit (Ayatollah Sharastani is Grand Ayatollah Sistani's representative in Qom, and is his son in law; Sharastani's daughter is married to Grand Ayatollah Ardebili's son, thus relating the two figures through marriage).

Grand Ayatollah Ardebili, besides being one of the few Marja Taqlids ("point of emulation", or scholar that each Shi'a must refer religious questions to--each believer picks one scholar to follow), is also known for his role in reworking the judiciary to be in line with Islamic law after the Iranian Revolution, and for founding the open-minded Mofid University, where traditional religious scholars and scholarship engage with Western schoarlship, particularly in the humanities (and hence the reason we were invited, though anybody can attend any majjlis).

He also turned the desert of Qom into a veritable forest, at least at Mofid University and its satellite properties. I think he wanted it all to look a little bit more like the lush forests of his hometown Ardebil, near the Caspian sea in NW Iran.

I didn't want to interrupt the majlis, so I waited until it was over to snap a picture of the room and its Muharram decorations. This is also where the Ayatollah holds classes for his students:

For more on Grand Ayatollah Ardebili:


Blogger huma said...

i think i'm all caughts up on your postings -- what's the time difference?

3:27 AM  
Anonymous Mev said...

Salaams guys,
It's Mev. Huma just showed me your blog. Glad to see (read) that you are doing well in Iran.
Have you guys seen paintings of Prophet Mohammad (as) and the Imams there? I've heard about them and seen them on websites. Do the Ayatollahs speak out against this practice? Do you guys know anything about it?

9:43 PM  

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