BIRTH & FAMILY BACKGROUND
Allama Sayed Safdar Hussain Najafi was born in 1933 AD at Alipur in Muzaffergadh District. The area is famous for its fertility and lush green environs. He is from a well known Naqvi Sayed family. He descended from Sayed jalal al Din Surqposh Bukhari who was from a branch of the scions of Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.). Safdar Hussain’s father was Sayed Ghulam Sarvar Naqvi who was a person of great piety and nobility.
At the time of his birth, his parents chose to name him Safdar Hussain. It is a pleasant coincidence that the very same day his uncle, Ustad al Ulema Sayed Mohammed Yar Naqvi, was declared passed in his matriculation examination. Those days it was deemed a very important and high qualification! The family therefore reveled in the two happy events! Very soon Ustad al Ulema proceeded to Najaf e Ashraf and returned from there in 1940. Sayed Safdar Hussain was seven years of age at that time and was ready to commence his studies.
His father’s wish was to groom him to become an erudite scholar in Islamic Shariah. Therefore he was totally committed to the tutelage of Ustad al Ulema. At that time the Ustad was teaching at the Madrasa of Ustad Sayed Mohammed Baqir Naqavi located at the village Chak 38. This is the same place where resides the well-known Zakir (sermonizer), Sayed Khadim Hussain Shah. Sayed Safdar Hussain spent about 6 months at the Madrasa and then proceeded with his mentor to Multan to pursue his studies at Madrasa Bab al Ilm there. After spending 2 months they moved to Madrasa Thut Sial in the environs of Muzaffargadh. There too he didn’t stay for more than 6 months. In 1941 the uncle and nephew moved to Jalalpur langiana where he pursued his studies for 4 years. He was at the Madrasa in Sitpur, Muzzafargadh District, for six months. In 1946 he went once again to Madrasa Bab al Ilm, Multan, and studied under Maulana Sayed Zain al Abedin and Maulana Sheik Mohammed Yar. Till that time he had completed the study of Mubadiyat.
Sayed Safdar Hussain has recounted an incident that took place during his second stint at Multan. The urge for acquiring knowledge took him to a Sunni Madrasa where a well known scholar used to give lessons. When Sayed Safdar entered the class a lesson on the events of Karbala was in progress. The teacher (who took pride in calling himself a Sayed!) said that it was a battle between two princes of whom one was victorious and the other got vanquished! After that day, Sayed Safdar Hussain didn’t ever enter the portals of that school where the accursed Yazid was equated with Imam Hussain (a.s)! In 1947 Sayed Safdar went to Madrasa Sadiqya Khanpur, District Rahimyar Khan and studied under Maulana Hussain Baksh who is known for his commentary of the Holy Quran. In 1948 he proceeded to Khangadh and studied Shara Jami Qutbi and Shara Bab Hadi Ashr under Maulana Ahmed Hussain Qibla. In 1949 Maulana Hussain Baksh went to his ancestral village and started giving lessons there. Safdar Hussain too went to the village Jada and completed the study of Dars e Nizami under him.
DURING HIS STUDENT DAYS
Two notable events took place during his student days. At one point he felt very home-sick and returned to the ancestral village saying that he wasn’t able to pursue the studies any further. He told his parents that he desired to do farming in the village. His father very firmly persuaded him to return back to his studies. This young truant turned out to be an eminent religious scholar in his later years!
The other event is that at one point he felt that there was nothing for him in his ancestral country and he must go to Najaf e Ashraf and pursue his studies in the precincts of the Mausoleum of Hazrat Amir al Momineen (a.s). He had neither money nor the means for travel. He made his plan with another young lad. They started walking on the railway track towards Quetta thinking that they would walk to Iran and then to Iraq. They walked about 125 miles and reached Checha Railway Station. There a good Samaritan took pity on them and arranged for their return home! The person told them that they must wait patiently when Maula would himself call them to Najaf e Ashraf!
PROCEEDS TO NAJAF E ASHRAF
In the last quarter of 1951 Allama Najafi got a call from Hazrat Amir al Momineen (a.s). On 17 October 1951 he started his journey for Najaf e Ashraf. It is the practice of all the international centres of learning that they don’t accept the degrees awarded by Pakistani universities and expect the students to qualify in the entrance tests conducted by them for the same curriculum. When they satisfy themselves that the student has the required proficiency to pursue the higher studies, they give admittance to the candidate. Allama Najafi too took up the study of Kifaya Rasael and Makasib for 4 years in Najaf e Ashraf and then took Dars e kharij for one year. Dars e Kharij is equivalent to a doctorate in a university. His mentors in Najaf were Al Sayed Mohsin al Hakim, Ayatollah Abul Qasim Khoee, Allama Sheik Mohammed Ali Afghani, Allama Sayed Abul Qasim Rashti, Aqai Buzurg Tehrani (who gave him the certification for study of the Hadit), Sheik Mohammed Taqi Al e Razi and Sheik al Jameah Maulana Akhtar Abbas.
While Allama Sayed Safdar Hussain faced much hardship during his journey to Najaf e Ashraf, his stay there too wasn’t one of ease. He couldn’t get admittance to any of the hostels there. He used to spend his nights on the pavements. However he had the privilege of acquiring knowledge in the disciplines of the Ale Mohammed (s.a) in ample measure. At the beginning of the fourth year of his stay at Najaf e Ashraf he married into a respectable family of Najaf. The next two years he had a life of considerable ease. After spending 5 years in the Holy City Allama Sayed Safdar Hussain decided to return home to Pakistan.. In the year 1956 he arrived in his home country and served his community the rest of his life there. His scholastic and oratorical services have been highly commendable. He was instrumental in establishing many Madrasas where large numbers of students acquire learning.
As a fruit tree is recognized with the quality of fruits it puts forth, so is a mentor recognized by the quality of the disciples he trains. The culture of mentor-disciple in Islam is time tested! The disciples of Allama Najafi are there in every nook and corner of the country. They are there in other lands as well!
We are mentioning here only those disciples of the Allama who are recognized as scholars of high caliber:
Allama Hafiz Riyaz Hussain Najafi, He succeeded Allama Safdar Hussain as the principal of Hauza e Ilmia Jameh al Muntazar, Maulana Sheik Mohsin Ali Najafi Principal Madrasa Jameh Ahl al Bayt, Islamabad, Maulana Sayed Ashiq Hussain Najafi Principal Jameh al Ghadeer, Maulana Sheik Karamat Ali Principal Jameh Jafaria, Maulana Sheik Hassan Reza Ghadeeri Principal Jameh Muntazar London, Maulana Moosa Baig Najafi mentor Jameh al Muntazar, Maulana Baqir, Maulana Taj ud deen Haidari, Maulana Mohammed Aslam Sadiqi, Maulana Manzoor Hussain Abidi, Maulana Sayed Mohammed Hussain Akbar Principal Minhaj al Quran, Maulana Sayed Mohammed Abbas, Maulana Sayed Khadim Hussain Naqvi, Maulana Abul Hassan Naqvi, Maulana Sayed Mohammed Sibtain Naqvi.
Maulana Najafi was endowed with a short life by the Almighty. But he lived a full life of learning and erudition in that short period. Despite his multifarious activities he has left behind more than 70 books and chronicles. Most of them have been translations of the works of masters. But the columns and comments he penned on the contents have added quality to his efforts. The books that he translated, adding his learned comments, are:
Tafseer e Namoona: The original work is in Persian compiled by a board consisting of erudite scholars under Aqai Nasir Makarim. This commentary is so comprehensive that one wouldn’t need to refer to any other commentary. This work had been done under the instructions of Imam Khomeini. Allama Najafi translated the book into simple Urdu that runs into 27 hard bound volumes. He accomplished the monumental work in a period of 6 years.
Kitab al Saqifa: This book, in fact, was translated by someone else, but Allama Najafi reviewed and edited it. This book throws light on the politics of the infamous Saqifa.
Tazkirat al Khawaas: The original book was written by Sibt ibn e Jauzi, an eminent Sunni scholar. The book is based on the Sirat al Aimma—the lifes of the Imams (a.s).
Tauzeeh al Masail: This is the Urdu translation of Imam Khomeini’s “Tauzeeh al Masail”.
Hukumat e Islami: This is an Urdu translation of the talks given by Imam Khomeini on the subject of governance under Islamic Norms. The theme of these talks, delivered in Najaf e Ashraf, Iraq, was Wilayat e Faqeeh.
Tafseer e Mauzooee: This is an Urdu translation of the commentary of the Holy Quran done by Aqaee Jafar Subhani. This is a commentary dealing with the topics (Mauzooaat) in the Holy Quran separately. This was one of the last significant works of Allama Najafi.
Ahsan al Miqaal: This is a translation of Sheik Qummi’s “Muntahi al Damaal” which highlights the lives and works of the Infallibles (a.s).
Inteqaab Tarikh Tabari: This is an Urdu translation of the chapters dealing with the lives and times of the First Three Imams (a.s) from the monumental book of history written by Allama ibn e Jarir Tabari.
Serat e Aimma: Allama Najafi translated 12 small booklets on the lives of the Infallible Imams (a.s).
Huqooq aur Islam: This is the first book authored by Allama Najafi. It encompasses a Muslim’s daily rights and duties.
The other works credited to Allama Najafi are: Irfan al Majalis, Sa-aada al Abadia, Maadan al Jawahir, Irshad Inqilab, Aqaed Imamia, Barah Imami Shia and Ahl al Bayt (a.s), Aitraaf Haqiqat Irshad al Quloob, Risala al Mawaiz etc.
THE DIFFICULT TIMES
When the Iranian Revolution succeeded, everyone seemed to be eulogizing it. Whoever had any animosity against any other person he would blame him of being an antagonist of the Revolution. People had started spreading such canard against some eminent Ulema. They started printing and distributing pamphlets against such Ulema and even they mailed copies to their subjects of the insinuation. Allama Najafi experienced all this and his heart cried.
Sometimes they spread the falsehood that the Allama was against the Kalima e Wilaya. This despite the fact that Allama Najafi was the member of the team that represented to the High Court that the Kalima e wilaya—Ali an Wali Allah— is an important pillar of the Shia Creed and it was officially endorsed in Rahnuma e Asataza, an important guide book issued by the Government to the teachers. The Allama’s antagonists also ridiculed him in the presence of his own next of kin. His son is on record saying that if the words were repeated in front of a Court the persons would be given sixty flogs in punishment. They recited lampooning verses against the Allama in the gatherings of the community. Notwithstanding all these attacks, Allama Safdar Hussain’s only reaction was patience and equanimity. He proved a true practitioner of Kazimain al Ghaiz—Patience in anger!
The Allama’s friends received the sad message of his demise. He was now free of the worldly trials and tribulations. His life was like a diamond that has many facets. In every facet of this diamond we have lessons to learn. He was an exemplary brther, a son-in-law and a spouse. His spouse’s assessment of him is weightier than a thousand praises. She said, “I am not proud of my husband’s achievement, I am only thankful to Allah!” He was an affectionate father and a considerate mentor. In his 33 years of teaching he never once reprimanded a disciple. The only time he used his rod to beat his disciple Sayed Ata al Rehman Naqvi. The disciple cried. The Allama’s mother asked him to refrain from using the rod! From that day he was very soft and considerate with his disciples. When his disciples visited him to pay their last homage to him he said, “My sons! If I had ever been unreasonable to you; please do forgive me!” The disciples cried inconsolably over this. The Allama was also a very effective reformer. He not only pointed out the social ills in his talks, but he advised the steps to overcome them. Although he wasn’t financially independent, he always strived to help the needy. He was less a Maulvi and more a Dervish. His food, dress and living style reflected the life of a mendicant. He never took home the Khums fund. Once a person gifted to him a drugget and two shawls and said that they were from his Khums money. He immediately gave hundred rupees to the person. The person took fifty rupees from that being the cost of the gifted articles and returned the remaining fifty rupees to Allama.