Feminine narrations from characters and lives of great men of revolution and war – 2

Memories of Jilla Badihian from her husband Martyr Haj Ebrahim Hemmat

The 2nd book from the collection "The Hidden Half of Moon"

Jafar Golshan Roghani
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


It was midnight when I saw someone knocking on the window of our room. Among all, I got up. I came to the window and saw that the Haji was carrying a gun and was very worried. It was as if he was guarding all these hours around our building. He said, "Now a sister went down in the dark. You go and see if this person who left was one of our sisters or one of the two [two girls with suspicious behavior]. Now, down there that he said there was a bathroom and these things next to a garden, was a scary place. The area was basically scary. I had been embarrassed. I scared. With a great horror I went down and hit the heart of darkness. I came back for a moment. I guessed that the Haji must be following me so that I would not be afraid. I saw that there was no news about him at all, he had left me. I went alone and it turned out that she was one of our expeditionary forces. Shortly after this incident, he proposed to me, of course, through the wife of one of their friends. For me, all this was unexpected. At that time, I was more revolutionary than brother Hemmat. I thought it was an insult if someone told me to get married. My heart was somewhere else, martyrdom, etc. Apart from these, I was still upset with the Haji's first encounter. When it was talked about proposal, I said no out of anger for that meeting. Of course, He himself insisted that we at least talk to each other. I sent the message: when a person who does not want to buy something does not enter the shop. I do not want to get married. There is no reason for me to speak. Then I decided to return to Isfahan, but I got a serious illness. The area was infected. Most of the guys contracted typhus. I became very ill and was hospitalized. My friends and all my group came to meet me in groups. The Haji also came. Twice and alone. (PP 17 & 18)

These sentences are the first story of the quadruple proposals and the love of one of the most famous and popular commanders of the eight-year sacred defense about his husband. The commander, who was born on April 2, 1955, got married in January 1982, and after living together for two years and a month and having two children named Mehdi and Mustafa, was martyred on March 6, 1984 in the Khaibar Operation in Majnoon Island. He, who was the Commander of the 27th Division of Muhammad Rasoolullah at the time of his martyrdom, had a calm and self-effacing face. Decades after his martyrdom, his wife, Jilla Badihian, still remembers well how she first met and got familiar with him; a man who was not only unattractive to his future wife, but also cause her to be frightened and become anxious, and for the first time treated her harshly.

In the 2nd book from the collection "The Hidden Half of Moon", Mrs. Jilla Badihian has narrated valuable memories from her husband. With her memoirs, she first portrays a man who, although a calm and smiling face and attached to the upper world is seen in his appearance, but in commanding and managing the forces under his command, he has behaved firmly and sometimes sharply and far from consideration. He then introduces us a man who is deeply attached to his future wife and acts several times and in different ways to get to her, until he finally succeeds. Mrs. Badihian goes on to describe her husband's mental and even physical conditions during that two-year and one-month period, and reveals his great love for his sons and the Basijis under his command.

Mrs. Badihian was born in 1958 in Isfahan. As a child, she lived in the cities of Ahvaz, Tabriz and Tehran for some time due to her father's job as an army officer. She was supposed to go to university according to her family's upbringing and advice and build her life on it, but the Islamic Revolution took her to another world. Her father was very upset with her revolutionary activities. After the victory of the revolution, when Kurdistan became a place for counter-revolutionary activities and various grouplets turned to armed activities, she went to the university to be sent to the region through the recruitment unit. "A strange panic was in my heart. I have written in my notebook: I felt that this war would determine my destiny. I felt I had to tolerate many hardships in this war." (Page 15).

She who in those days only thought of martyrdom and boasting a lot, was the only person in the car who had the Qur'an in her hand all the way to the region. She thought this journey was a journey to the Hereafter; in a way that when the head of the dispatching team asked her, "Where do you want to be dispatched?" she thought that it was not in the dignity of a martyr to determine his own path. So she said: send me wherever no one went. She and four or five others were the only ones who wanted to go there. "When we got there, we saw it was a place where anyone could go. Sanandaj was still crowded in those days. Paveh had just been liberated by Dr. Chamran, and we actually arrived in the area and very hot and hard."

Upon arrival and before taking a rest, she was forced to attend a meeting that Haj Hemmat, the head of the IRGC's public relations in Paveh, was to address. In this session, the first meeting of Badihian with her future man happened in the worst possible way. She describes Haj Hemmat as follows: A man in Kurdish pants and a Chinese shirt with a picture of Imam Khomeini on the edge of the pocket. He was thin but laughed. His beard was above average. (p. 14) It was at the end of this meeting that Haj Hemmat treated with her harshly, so much so that "I came out of the meeting. I had choked with anger. At that moment, I wished I could return to Isfahan, but I did not dare” (p. 15) She, who had cried as a result of Hajj Hemmat's treatment, gradually became more acquainted with the situation and decided to stay; However, there were difficult days ahead. In her own words: "He treated with me harshly. Or it seemed to me like this. It seemed to me that he was very serious and even bad-tempered." (P. 16) But later, due to the incident that took place in the women's residence and Mrs. Badihian was at the center of the event, another manifestation of Haj Hemmat's behavior and feelings appeared and he proposed to her through a go-between but of course she rejected his proposal. This was the first of his quadruple proposals.

Due to her anger at Haj Hemmat's first encounter, she rejected his proposal and wanted to return to Isfahan, but became very ill and was hospitalized. At the hospital, Haj Hemmat, who had just received a rejection response, visited her twice alone so that he might be able to pave the way for further proposals.

After recovering from illness, she returned to Isfahan while she never imagined that one day, Haj Hemmat would become her husband. During her visit to the university, "the guys I was with in the front had asked about me. I thought it might be a bad thing. When I arrived, our greetings had not been over yet, when Haji came in. I realized that I was going to talk to him and they themselves had arranged this. Well, I got angry and treated harshly. The Haji said, "You always talk about jihad. Do you think I am a fanatic, and I will imprison you in the house? No, I like my wife to be a guerrilla. I do not want a housewife. It was the first time he had proposed to me face to face. I said no and God knows that in those days I had no intention of getting married at all and as a matter of fact, I was afraid of the Haji. When I heard his voice, my body was shivering. I did not have the face to say this to the Haji; to say that no girl marries someone who scares him." (p. 19) Thus, she rejected Haj Hemmat's proposal for the second time.

A year later, she decided to go to the front again. "Strange things joined together so that I go to Paveh and not anywhere else. Before leaving, I consulted the holy Quran, it was bad for everywhere, but it was very good for the Kurdistan region. I told my friend who was with me: The IRGC Commander of the Paveh is a brother whose name is Hemmat who had once proposed to me, I do not want to go there. We go to Saqqez." (P. 19) But the story happened in another way and they moved toward Paveh while she was crying all the way.  After arriving in Paveh, she engaged in education in a school. At that time, Haj Hemmat was on a Haj pilgrimage. But some time later, another meeting with Haj Hemmat inadvertently happened to her. One of the IRGC brothers was supposed to talk to the school children about a recent operation. The school principal insisted that Haj Hemmat should come to the school, and Badihian agreed with the presence of the governor of Paveh. Until "an hour before the start of the program, they called and said that the governor was not feeling well, and could not come." The school principal also informed the Haji, who had just returned from the Hajj pilgrimage and was the IRGC commander in the area. "I went to the school library, which was in the basement, so as not to encounter him." Upon the recommendation and order of the school principal, the old janitor came to her for the third time and said, "Mr. Principal wants you to come. Now that brother Hemmat wants to come, you should be in the office." She came to the office with anger on her face. She opened the door to say that she was busy and could not come that suddenly her eyes fell on Haj Hemmat.

Haj Hemmat, who had shaved his head and had become thin and sunburned, stood up in front of her feet and said: Welcome. You did well for coming to Paveh again. "It was the day after the same night that they sent the wife of one of their friends to propose again [for the third time]. Apparently it was hard for Haji to do this. Because that lady had originally come to deliver an ultimatum to me. He said: "Let me tell you only one thing: He will surely be martyred; many have sworn allegiance to their martyrdom." (P. 21)

After these words, Mrs. Badihian who had become desperate decided to fast for forty days and recite Doa Tavassol. "I said to myself that after these forty days, the first person who comes to propose to me, I will agree. It was the night of thirty ninth or fortieth that the Haji proposed to me again [for the fourth time] and I agreed. My consultation with the holy Quran was an ayah from Sura Kahf and its interpretation was something that matched my condition: it is very good. "You suffer a lot for what you want to do, but you achieve great success eventually." (P. 21) Accordingly, she said yes to Haj Hemmat, but also set two conditions: First, "I told Haji that my family has their own special type. They are not very religious and do not like the IRGC members. My parents will probably disagree. Talk about these with them. And the other is that I want to get married without dowry. When you go to satisfy my father, do not set any dowry. He said: I do not have time for these things. I said: Well, you who do not have time for these things, do not get married. Goodbye and I got up. "It is true that I do not have time, but I trust in God," the Haji said. 

In continuation of the proposition session, Haj Hemmat accepted the two conditions and said, "I just tell you that our marriage vows has already been run. When I was on Hajj pilgrimage, every time I circumambulated the House of God, I saw you by my side. At that time, I thought it was my selfhood that would not let me worship here either. But when I returned to the front and saw that you were here, I believed that it was my destiny that you had come with me during the circumambulation." Then, after a long pause, he said in a certain tone, "If I am captured or injured, you will be greatly harmed. Are you still ready to marry me? I said I see the logo of the IRGC in blood. I am ready for your martyrdom.” (pp. 21, 22)

Finally, in the same city of Isfahan, a marriage vows was recited between the two, without any special ceremony. The bride's family bought an agate ring for 150 tomans for Haj Hemmat and Haji Hemmat bought a ring for one thousand tomans for the bride. "When we went to marry, I had worn a pair of Melli shoes and a black headscarf that the wife the Haji's brother took it off and replaced with a cream scarf and said: It brings bad luck. The Haji also came in IRGC uniform. Of course, the uniform of his brother because it was not as old as his. However, it was a little long for him and the Haji had pulled gaiters on the hem of his pants to be the same size. If anyone saw him, he thought he was being sent to the front." (P. 23) Of course, the bride had already said, "I have just one request. Let's go to the Imam for marriage vows." Two days later, Haj Hemmat responded to the request in this way, "I will do whatever you ask, but don't ask me to dedicate event a moment of the life of a man who must be dedicated to all Muslims. I cannot answer this negligence over As-Sirat Bridge." (P. 23)

The night the wedding ceremony was held, "The Haji cried until morning. I do not know, maybe he felt guilty. Perhaps he remembered the young Basijis who had been martyred. He cried and recited the holy Quran. In particular, he recited Surah Yasin with a strange grief. After the morning prayer, he asked me: Where would you like to go with each other? I said: Golzar Shohada (the cemetery for martyrs). He turned his head to the sky in a state of thankfulness and said: I was afraid that you say anything other than this. We were there for a few hours. Haji did not like to return. He had memories from each of the martyrs there. He explained with details. He whispered and shed tears. I just listened and watched him. I envied him." (PP. 23 & 24)

A day after the marriage, both of us moved toward Paveh. There, Haj Hemmat accommodated his wife in a building belonged to IRGC and left to remove the problems of the combatants who in his absence their bulwarks had flooded as a result of the rainfalls of the last few days. There, she saw a new manifestation of Haj Hemmat closely. "I was really surprised. I considered Haji a harsh man. But there in Kurdistan, even though the time was short and we were not very close to each other, I realized how different this Haji was from that brother Hemmat that I knew and even from all those people. Affections were completely different. "Perhaps the marriage vows is one of the miracles of Islam. When it is delivered, many things change." (P. 25)

In recounting her memories, Badihian recalls the hard and painful days of being in Dezful, which she still does not like to remember after many years. At that time, Haj Hemmat had gone to Dezful to prepare for the Fat'h al-Mubin Operation, and she arrived there some time later. "I hate those days and later we went through much harder days, but in my mind those two weeks are not beautiful. We had no place to stay and went to the house of one of the Basij brothers. Well, it was war time. Everyone was just trying to organize his or her life. I felt we were disturbing this family. One day I went upstairs and saw a room on the roof that the landlord had turned it into an aviculture because the area was constantly bombed and usually no one used the upper floor. I soaked the bottom of the aviculture and scraped the floor with a knife. The Haji also brought a white bedsheet, connecting it to the wall by tacks to make two rooms. Then, with the money in my pocket, I bought some junk. Two plates. Two spoons. Two bowls and a small tablecloth. We also brought a blanket from the IRGC blankets. I remember we didn't even have a cooking lamp. I mean we were not able to buy and did not eat cooked food at all during that time. This was the beginning of our lives and it was hard. I had lung problems because that room was polluted. I was constantly coughing. The landlord left as soon as the operation approached. I was left alone in that big building. "I did not know the city well, and the Haji sometimes did not come home for two or three days." (P. 26)

It was around this time that Haj Hemmat arrived home in a midnight after a few days, but since he was embarrassed to come inside, he went and hid behind the wall of the alley in the darkness after ringing the doorbell. He was embarrassed that he had come home like this: "He knocked down his boots filled with heavy mud several times and sinfully looked over himself. It was full of dirt." "I saw a lot of men," Badihian said of his presence at home that night. My friends' husbands who were also in comfort and well-being. But they had lots of claims over their wives and children. The Haji was a great man. He always came home ashamed. That night he went to take a cold shower because he did not want to sit like that. We did not have hot water. I saw that it took a long time. I was worried. The Haji had acute sinusitis. I thought he could not breathe from the cold. I came and knocked on the bathroom door. When there was no answer, I opened it a little and saw muddy water running. Then his voice came: Do you want to see this muddy water and embarrass me more? "He endured the hardships, but could not bear to see us suffering". (PP. 27 & 28)

With the start of Operation Fat'h al-Mubin in April 1982, she was forced to leave Dezful upon the insistence of Haj Hemmat while she did not agree. The Haji's numerous arguments did not convince her until Hajj Hemmat said, "For the sake of Islam, you must return. If you are here, I will no longer be in peace in the frontline." (P. 28) She shed tears from the time she boarded the bus to Isfahan.

How Mehdi, their first child was born is also one of the special parts of Mrs. Badihian's memoirs. She recalls: "In the morning, the day Mehdi wanted to be born, the Haji called from the front. He was very restless. He kept asking: Am I sure you're OK? No problem? I said: No. Everything is the same as before ... Mehdi was born that afternoon and it took three days for Haji to be informed.

On the fourth day, he arrived at three o'clock in the morning. It was Muharram and the Haji came with a black shawl around his neck. His face looked very beautiful to me. We had prepared a place for him to sleep, but he came and sat next to me and Mehdi. He said, "I want to be with you." And he was so tired that he fell asleep while sitting down. He hugged Mehdi around morning. He said: I have many things to tell my child. Maybe, there will be no opportunity later. It was weird. It seemed that Mehdi was an adult man. I often miss that moment." PP. 28 & 29)

While Mehdi was less than forty days old, they went with Haj Hemmat to a city in the south of the country and stayed at Haj Hemmat's uncle's house. After a few days, at the insistence of Badihian, when Haj Hemmat saw how much his wife was in pain and upset, "went out and returned two hours later with a van. We had a few small items that forcibly filled half of the van. We got on and went to Andimeshk to the houses of Shahid Kalantari Hospital. There, Haji said to me: Look, I have had the key to this house perhaps for close to a month, but I would have preferred that the children who need such places to come and live instead of you and me. You and I could still stay at my uncle's house. Your insistence made me do something that I did not like. I did not say anything. I mean, I had nothing to say. I already understood that his Islam is different from us. According to one of his friends, he did not want heaven alone. He used to tell me: If you want me to be satisfied with you, try to socialize more with those who have problems. In this way, I may become aware and be able to do something for them. Sometimes when I told him to come and see us more, he would say: be sure that our life is the best of all. As much as I visit you, others cannot. There are the guys who have not been able to visit their wives and children for 11 months." (PP. 29 & 30)

In recounting her memories of Haj Hemmat's very close relationship with the combatants, she expresses very beautiful memories. "He got dressed and left, leaving his notebook [his personal notes]. I had nothing to do until he returns. I opened the notebook. There were several letters in it that the guys of the division had written to him. One of them wrote: I will stop you at As-Sirat Bridge. It's been three months that I have sat in my bulwark in love to see your face. And other letters like this. When the Haji returned, I said: You must go right now. He said: No. I went and perchance, our own guys called. I told them I would not come tonight. I said: No, you must go now. Haji started making fun of me that we finally did not understand whether to stay or leave? what should I do? what do you want? I said: Honestly, I read these letters. Haji was upset. He said these are the secrets between me and the guys. I did not want you to understand these. Then, he shook his head and said: Do not think that I am such a worthy person. This is the greatness of the guys themselves. I have committed a sin against God that I must be punished with the love of them. He cried and said: "Otherwise, who am I that they write letters to me?" He had a tender heart and I think that was because of his great faith." (PP. 31 & 32)

In another part of her memoirs, Mrs. Badihian compares her husband to others who called themselves revolutionaries. She, who had been able to persuade Haj Hemmat to return to Isfahan from Andimeshk with his permission and continue her studies at the university, encountered with those guys at the university who were classmates before the Cultural Revolution. "The guys who claimed to be revolutionaries. They were religious. They were all in good spirits, dressed in class suits. Then, Haji would come in front of my eyes with red, dusty eyes. After each operation, I insisted him to weigh himself. I saw he lost 7-8 kilos. During the Khorramshahr operation, several people had taken under his arm due to the severity of his weakness and brought him home in the middle of the night. I became impatient when I was thinking about such things and saw those gentlemen. My heart was bleeding. I would skip most of my classes and come home. When the Haji called me, I was crying behind the phone. I was saying: you must come home right now ... The last time I took my exam and came out of the college, I recognized the Toyota Land Cruiser of the IRGC. The Haji was standing next to it and laughed when his eyes fell on me. Now I knew his value in a different way. When one is in front of the good, one thinks that everyone is good. One must see the bad in order to appreciate the good." (P. 33)

Regarding the birth of their second child, Mustafa, she recalls: "The Khaibar Operation was imminent. The Haji was crying. He said: God embarrassed me tonight ... I asked God for a few things in Mecca. One was that I don’t want to live in country in which the Imam’s breath does not exist even for a moment. Then I asked you from God as well as two sons. That's why every time I knew the gender of our children. Finally, I prayed that I would not be captured or become a janbaz (veteran)." (P. 34)

The martyrdom of Haj Hemmat is one of the issues that Badihian pays special attention to in expressing her memories. For example, once he stared into her eyes and said: "You will finally be martyred through your eyes ... because God has given both beauty and perfection to these eyes. These eyes have awakened a lot in the way of God. They have shed many tears." (pp. 30 & 31) Of course, he did not think that her husband would be martyred because she thought that her prayers would block the way. Accordingly, "Sometimes when he arrived, I would sit and cry for half an hour non-stop. It was out of my control. The Haji said what has happened? I said nothing has happened, I just miss you. He said if you are upset I will come back to the front. I said no, if I miss you, it’s because you're a combatant. If it were otherwise, I would not miss you. It's your goodness that makes me restless." (P. 31) Haj Hemmat also jokingly said to his wife: "You will not allow me to be martyred through your prayers and supplications. You blocked my way to martyrdom." Once, when he spoke of his unwillingness to be a captive and a janbaz, while shedding tears, he said, "Captivity and being a janbaz require a lot of faith, which I do not see in myself. I asked God that I am martyred on the spot only when I became one of the pious believers of God - he said the same word." (P. 35) Interestingly, this question had arisen for all why Haj Hemmat has not been injured at all despite his continuous presence in the fronts except one time when his nail harmed in Valfajr 4 Operation.  Apparently, the praying of his wife was very effective in preserving him. Once, she told Haj Hemmat, “It is impossible that you are martyred … because you are everyone for me, my father, my mother and my brother. God does not like to take away someone who is everyone for me all together.” (P. 35)

She still remembers well the last night of Haj Hemmat's presence at home after nearly two decades. That night she felt that he had become old by staring at the face of her husband. "Even though the Haji was 28 years old, everyone thought he was 23-22 years old. Even less. But that night I saw for the first time the corners of his eyes wrinkled. On his forehead too. I started crying there. I said: What has happened to you? Why do you look like that? The Haji laughed and said... come and sit here; I want to talk to you. I did. He said, do you know what I saw now. I said no. he said, “I saw our separation”. I said jokingly: You are talking like a spoiled child. He said: No. See the history. God never wanted the lovers, those who are so attached to each other to stay together. I did not like his words. I mocked him. I said: Now are we Leili and Majnoon? The Haji got angry and said, "Whenever I wanted to talk seriously, you joke. I want to talk to you tonight. During our common life, you have been either at your mother's home or my father home. I do not want you to stray like this after me. I'll tell my brother to prepare the house in Shahreza and to cover it with moquette so that you and the children do not have to set foot on the cold floor. I got upset and said: you told me to leave the university so that we could go to Lebanon together … Now [you are talking about leaving]" (P. 36)

The next morning, when he had to stay at home for two more hours due to a broken car, she found out that he had come to abandon and this meeting was their last one. "I saw that this Haji is different from the previous Haji. He always said: The only thing that prevents my martyrdom is my attachment to you. The day I solve your problem for myself, rest assured, then it is time to leave.” (p. 36) The last moments between the two spent this way. "When the driver came, for the first time, Haji sat quietly at the door and tied his boots. He always did it in the car. Then he hugged Mehdi. I hugged Mustafa and we left. He laughed on the way. He said to Mehdi: "Dad, you are becoming more and more rotund. Don't you think how your mother wants to raise you. He did not say me, he said your mother." Haj Hemmat got in the car and left, while his wife immediately felt homesick and her tears flowed. She consoled herself that "he is coming back. like always. I pray so much that he will return." (pp. 37 and 38) After this last meeting, Haj Hemmat once said to his wife during a telephone call, "I have told you many times that I will become your devotee. God does not let me to be bereaved of you. I do not see this in my life anymore." (P. 38)

Mrs. Badihian returned to Isfahan from Islamabad with her children after this last visit. After a short while, while Haj Hemmat had said in a phone contact: "If possible, I will come and see you in 24 hours and come back. "If not, I will send someone to bring you back", but there was no news of him for a week until she heard the news of his martyrdom while the minibus was driving. At that moment, she shouted and screamed and wanted to get out of the minibus right in the middle of the road, but the passengers did not let her. But she shouted again. Tears flowed this time too. She said, "Stop!  Didn't you hear? My husband has been martyred ... I couldn't believe it when we went to the morgue. I told everyone: I had sworn him not to leave without us. I always joked with him and said, 'If you go without us, I'll come and punish you.' Then they pull out the morgue's drawer and you see there is no head at all. Someone who loved him a lot. Someone who was everything for you. . . He never had the state of being a husband for me in my life. I always felt that he was my rival and finally he won … After all, Haji was still a servant of God. Part of this creation. However, the taste I experienced in life with him did not belong to this world. It belonged to sky, to heaven.” (p. 39)

Some of her last glances at the headless body of her husband, Haj Hemmat, in the morgue are described as follows: Her glance slid down and remained fixed on his legs. She had bought these socks for him the last time he wanted to go to the front. When the Haji looked at the bag and saw it, he liked it. She asked him with delight: Shall I go and buy another two or three pairs? Haji said: Now let these be torn. She hated this world, that body. She said, "You could not tolerate our illness, but how did you get ready that we come and see you like this. And she cried loudly. She did not take into account the Haji's reputation. She knew that everyone knows Hemmat. She knew she had to be strong. But she bent down and touched his knees. It was as if she was looking for something. She asked those who were with her: Where are my legs? Why can't I walk? "And she sat on the ground there." (pp. 39 & 40)

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