About the newest book of Islamic Revolution Literature Office

Memoirs for seventy years

Elham Saleh
Translated by Fazel Shirzad


The book "In the Way of Knowledge"* is a review of life and memoirs of Ayatollah Seyed Razi ‎Shirazi who told his memories for more than seven decades. The book is provided in the form ‎of a dialogue and it is an instance of the books in the field of oral history. ‎
The narrator of the book speaks about the life of Shirazi's family, fatwa for tobacco sanction, ‎studying in the seminary (religious school) of Najaf and Tehran, the high School of Sepahsalar, ‎legal science teaching, meeting with Imam Khomeini in Najaf and Paris, details of being ‎assassinated by Al-Furqan group on Tir 23th 1358 (July 1979), and hospitalization in the ‎hospitals of Iran and America, he have seen these events or other have told him. ‎


Loyalty to the words of Interviewee
The book "In the Way of Knowledge" is result of several interviews that Mohammad Rahimi, ‎who is the student of Ayatollah Seyed Razi Shirazi, is responsible for its initial preparation.  ‎Interviewee in the book, as mentioned in the introduction, quoted various subjects in stories and ‎there is not any left issue. But expression of different issue caused to edit the book by Morteza ‎Rasoulpour. For example, the full primacy and recency of contents in term of events are ‎arranged, and words frequently deleted or added to result a more coherent form for content. ‎The important point is that despite the revision, the language and the tune of the narrator is kept, ‎and the author adheres to the tune and the expression of interviewee. ‎
The book includes memoirs of seven decades that it generalizes memoirs inasmuch as there are ‎different topics; personal memoirs and also memoirs about the events of Iran. One of the ‎memoirs of Ayatollah Seyed Razi Shirazi is about the being occupied of Iran by the Allies:" I ‎remember, when Ayatollah Abu al-Hasan Isfahani was one of the religious authorities of Iran ‎and I was a student of religious school, he could only distribute breads. The coupons of bread ‎were available by bakeries for students of religious school to buy bread, but it was very difficult ‎to prepare the bread. Some scholars pawn dishes and furniture to prepare oil and meat.  ‎
In this book, there are some words about the influence of the late Ayatollah Boroujerdi and ‎political reactions of authorities of Pahlavi regime and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to him." As ‎contemporary politicians and government officials, his Influence was not hidden, and they try ‎to be careful about him and did not do something against him. As long as he was alive, the ‎government tried to tolerate seminaries and to reach an agreement with them. "(Page 87)  ‎
But this article is not one-sided words, but it is also explained about second aspect of the issue ‎i.e. the behavior of Ayatollah Boroujerdi against the government:" he used to keep his ‎reputation and personality and he never follow the government's authorities. I remember, and it ‎is also written in books, when Mr. Boroujerdi began to construct Azam Mosque in Qom, the ‎King Mohammad Reza Shah sent a cheque for one million dollars him to build the mosque. He ‎didn’t accept the cheque, and responded to the king that the mosque will be made by people ‎‎(Page 87).  ‎

Writings and personal memoirs
Some of the memoirs are more personal ones that "the description of the assassination of ‎Ayatollah Seyed Razi Shirazi in July 1358" is one of these memoirs:" he said:  Syed Razi ‎Shirazi? I do not know him at all, also I don't know about the possibility of assassination. I ‎stood there and said myself:  It is better to talk him, perhaps he made a mistake and wants ‎something. The time was passing quickly and he wanted to fire immediately. I raised my hands ‎and tried to stop the gun, and when I was going to say him Why he wanted to shoot, he fired ‎and my hand was injured, and I found my hands in pool of blood"(P. 156). ‎
This memoir is related to time when he was going to America to be cured, and in more memoirs, ‎issues such as praying in the mosque in the absence of Ayatollah Seyed Razi Shirazi, returning ‎to the mosque to pray and curriculum of the mosque are mentioned. Some of the final topics of ‎the book consist of a method for providing and writing philosophical book, especially a ‎description for the book Haji Mulla Hadi Sabzevari and the book Alasfar by Mulla Sadra that ‎are written by Ayatollah Seyed Razi Shirazi and his works in field of jurisprudence, principles ‎and interpretation of the Quran. ‎
In fact, the book "in the way of knowledge" is about both historical events of Iran and life and ‎career of Ayatollah Seyed Razi Shirazi. ‎
Footnotes, content list, photos ‎
The book also consists of notes that has more information for readers. For example, one of the ‎footnotes is dedicated to the story of Seyed Razi Shirazi in the assassination in 1358 when he ‎sought help from people. Although the notes can be usual and boring, but they are specific ‎practical tips for readers. ‎
The book "in the way of knowledge" also consists of content list that it is usually ignored in ‎some of books. But, by using this section, the book help the readers to find contents quickly. ‎
The Section of documents and photos also contains photos such as travel to Tajikistan and meet ‎with the Archbishop of the Orthodox Church, congregational prayer in the mosque Shafa, with ‎Shia people of India, teaching to students and a photo after assassinated at Pars Hospital of ‎Tehran. ‎
Some of the other documents of the book includes: the massage of Imam Khomeini for ‎assassination of Ayatollah Shirazi, to get permission from Ayatollah Seyed Hasan Rafie Qazvini ‎for ijtihad and report of third central organization of SAVAK section 316.‎
Questions of book
The first question of each interview open a way for reader. Accordingly, making questions, ‎especially first question, should be considered. The book "in the way of knowledge" is started ‎with this question:" as the first question, could you say please when is your birthday? And ‎could you speak about your family and relatives! "  ‎
Each interviewer should already have enough information about interviewee to have ‎compressive interview. The first question of the book that is provided in the form of questions ‎and answers (interview), make a mentality in the readers as if the interviewer didn't have such ‎information about interviewee to complete and correct information well. ‎
Besides this issue, the question is a general question; therefore it leads to a general answer. ‎Although the questions of the book "in the way of knowledge" is sometimes general questions, ‎but there is an appropriate process to make them. The interviewer participates in the interview ‎actively, that is, he should consider to answers of Ayatollah Shirazi carefully and find questions ‎from his answers. Such as: "you came to the point about Alavi Board. Where was its place and ‎what was your role in it?"(Page 105). ‎
Some questions are too general (talk, a little, about cultural and promotional activities of ‎mosque Shafa, according to climate of society in the years 1340 and 1350 (1961 and 1971) and ‎also the direction of your doctrinaire classes!). But the questions become detailed ones that it is ‎a good factor.(Making a library for the young students and students of university is one of the ‎actions in the mosque Shafa. In general, what are importance and role of the library and other ‎activities of the mosque, in those days? Page 127)‎

* The book "in the way of knowledge": A review of life and memoirs of Ayatollah Seyed Razi ‎Shirazi, interviewer and researcher: Mohammad Rahimi, writer and editor: Morteza ‎Rasoulpour, Tehran, office of Islamic Revolution Literature Art and publication Sureh Mehr, ‎‎1395 (2016), 232 pages‎

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