Falling in love with a heaven man

Review of a Book entitled "Homa"

Fereydoun Heydari Molkumian
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


Note: The book "Homa" includes the memoirs of Homa Shalbafzadeh (wife of General martyr Mohsen Omidi) co-written by Robabeh Jafari and Jamshid Talebi from the series of written works of Hamedan’s Art Centers that the first edition was published in 2020 by Surah Mehr Publications in 384 pages and 1250 copies.

This book begins with a preface to the Office of Culture and Resistance Studies entitled "Little Conservation". Then, we can see other parts respectively: Introduction to the diary writers, the four chapters of the text of the memoirs, which each chapter is divided into several sections, and indexes are presented at the end as well.

The story begins with the honest dream of a six or seven-year-old girl: "Everything was real. The neighbor's rooster had sung, and now my eyes were open; I was not asleep ... I did not want to believe that man with his hands that were as warm as the sun was no longer with me, but I could still feel his warmth... I got up on the mattress and pushed the sheet off my feet. My feet were in my eyes and the gentleman's words were in my head. I closed my eyes and pressed the toes of my feet. I felt them. I slowly opened my eyes. It did it with my sense and will. All ten toes were gathered; I opened them slowly. Everything was under my will. I moved my legs. The shrine "Sabzeqaba" had affected my feeling. (Pp. 19 and 20)

The little girl pulled her little hands on her legs. The feeling had returned to her feet. I mean, how could she walk, run and play like the other kids? She was wonder what happened there?! she told herself that after that sweet dream she was still having nightmares; maybe it was all just a disturbed sleep. But then everyone saw her walking: her father, her mother, her sister and ... all the neighbors and family and others. Now everyone was asking about the event:"Homa, Please tell everything from the beginning!" Surviving her feet was a question for all, and she told for several times. The news of her foot healing spread quickly among the weavers. Uncle Gholam had sent a message from the same distance that he had left their house and went from Ahvaz to Dezful, the shrine of Sabzeqaba- from where he could heal Homa and vow a green shawl. Uncle Gholam had already asked the shrine Sabzeqaba to heal his niece with the help of God. Her feet were treated now; It was not as if one day she had pain in her legs and he had not been able not to move at all. On the first day of October, Homa's mother took her daughter by the hand and went to school with her. It was the first day and he wanted to accompany her daughter. When the school’s bell rang, the children all ran into the middle of the yard and stood up in order. The mother put her hand on her head, and he walked through the children until he reached the first-grade students. Little by little, she was experiencing the feeling of the school. Finally, the principal of the school and a few other women appeared. They were all naked and Homa was a little upset in her heart. The principal stood behind the microphone and said, "Hello, my dears."

Homa, like all children, greeted loudly. Finally, Baba Ali (her grandfather) always said: "Saying hello is obligatory and whoever says hello to you, you must reply." Baba Ali had also said that: "God has commanded in his Qur'an to all women that they should observe their hijab[1] and cover their hair and body from the strangers." When the manager was talking, Homa thought was busy with these things. At school, she began to notice the differences between his own family and those of the women. A thousand questions had formed in my mind that he wanted to go and ask all of them to Baba Ali.

One or two days ago, when Baba Ali saw her school supplies, he said to her: "dear Homa, Study well to be a useful person for your country!" And he wanted to grow up as soon as possible so that he could serve the people of her country.

Once, the principal of the school handed Homa a piece of paper. It was a parental consent form to join the school scout group. she ran all the way home and handed the paper to her father. When Baba Mohammad realized what the paper is, he became angry. Then he folds it and put it on the ground, and put his hand on his daughter's head and said: "dear Homa, you are a wise girl! Remember the first day you came home from school, you said that the principal and the supervisor do not have a hijab and their heads are open for strangers! You were upset about this. Remember?! Now, do you know what a school scout group is? There is no hijab in this group either! Girls and boys participate in their programs together without hijab. Then, if you want to go, they will not let you go with a hijab. Their rule is that girls should all be naked! There can be no protest. Now, you are responsible for your attendance in there ... "(p. 53)

Anyway, nine months of education year was ended. Now she could read and write easily. She shows her evaluation card to her grandfather and said slowly: I was accepted with a grade point average of twenty!

A smile appeared on Baba Ali's face and got up. He puts his hand on Homa's shoulder and kissed her forehead. Then he picked up a book from the shelf and puts it next to her ... He looked at it from the top of his glasses and opens the book, turned the page and handed it to Homa and said: "Now let me see if you can read this book to me?" In this book, the rules of religion and prayer and such things are explained. Hereafter, you should come and read this book to me!"

Homa took the book from Baba Ali and took it home. The evening when his father returned from work, he seemed to know everything. The father's happiness was clear in his eyes. Now he knew that Homa could read the book herself and found the reason for many of the things he had said to her.

Thus, the years of elementary school ended ... then middle school started ... and finally, she entered into high school.

Meanwhile, his grandfather was the interface with society and the secrets of the outside world. "I grew up and Baba Ali used to come and explain to me everything he had heard in the mosque. On the other hand, I had a kind of behavior that if I heard something, I would have to understand it myself to believe it. During secondary school time, there were lots of events and people who made me feel like it. I was no longer the same person who just wanted to play; but when I entered high school, it was as if this feeling was complete and I felt the feeling of being completed by those events and people. In general, my view had changed toward the events and the people around me. Reaching puberty was perhaps one of the reasons, and it was from that time that my view of these events became purposeful. When my mother talks to me about obeying women's religious rules." (Pp. 60 and 61)

But the school atmosphere was limited and suffocating. One could not talk to anyone at all about religious issues and beliefs. If someone wanted to talk about such things, it would not take long for the school principal to hear and that wrongdoer would be severely reprimanded and punished. Sometimes, if someone talked about such issues, he would step aside and be reprimanded and insulted in front of all the children. Homa, who was studying in the humanities, was more exposed to these issues. They had many lessons and each lesson had its teacher. Nevertheless, a great change was on the way. It seemed that the people's determination to overthrow the Shah [2] was serious, and the more the pressure increased, the stronger this determination became.

Thus, as time went on and Homa and her peers got older, they stepped more into the heart of the event.

"People were no longer similar to the people of a few years ago. Their views had all changed from before, and they reacted more strongly to the repressive policies of the Shah and his followers. "Protests had already come to the streets, and everyone who took part in the demonstrations had ignored their lives ... On the other hand, the number of students in the demonstrations was increasing day by day." (Pp. 67 and 68)

People's demonstrations and marches are becoming more widespread every day. During these marches, Homa met and collaborated with some revolutionary students. This collaboration makes her indirectly connected with some characters of the struggle and he became aware of the real news through them, but he never understands their names and symbols. The struggle at that time requires a kind of anonymity. They used to call each other: "Brothers and sisters!" for security reasons. These acquaintances make her work more serious; Reading more, seeing, and hearing more. Now nothing can make her incapacitated, and tears flow from his cheeks, making her will stronger. Sometimes the pressure of work causes her to distance himself a little from the atmosphere of the education. However, he vows not to let anything cause her to drop out of school.

After the 13th of Aban (4th November, 1978), schools were often closed and then they were closed completely; But Homa and her friends do not miss the opportunity to be together. They used to see each other in the demonstration.

When the Shah is finally forced to flee the country, people went to the streets and rejoice. Homa, along with her mother and sister, left the house and join the people with the hijab. The street is full of revolutionary people holding a newspaper with a big headline: Shah left.

On the twelfth day of Bahman, the newspapers headlined: Imam [Khomeini] came.

"The condition had been changed and the way we dressed at school had changed. I wanted the school to be opened as soon as possible and I would go to school in Islamic clothes. It was after the New Year holiday the schools reopened. After all this distance from school, I had the first passion for seals." (P. 99)

October is coming again and the third year of high school is ahead. The purpose of her studies has been determined ... she is not far from the university. she heartily wants to be accepted without delay and in the entrance exam. In the same year, she was invited to the ideological camp of the Islamic associations of the country.

Last year, as she prepared to go to school, on the last day of summer, Iraqi tanks are moving towards the Iranian border. Their planes bombed several parts of Ahwaz, including the airport.

"At first we thought the multi-day war would end, But there did not seem to be an improvement. Khorramshahr had fallen. Mehran had been captured by the Iraqis, like many other border cities. Abadan was also under siege by the Iraqi Ba'athists. It was a sad situation. The news of the fall of Khorramshahr marked the saddest day of that era. "I hoped she would be disappointed, and I was just beginning to believe that there was still a long way to go." (Pp. 113 - 114)

When she realized that the Ahwaz IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) needs volunteer sisters, she went with others to participate in support work. Urban bombing is intensifying day by day, in Ahvaz, Dezful, and other places. The red siren, the sound of the ambulance siren, the anti-aircraft gun, are getting louder and louder day by day, and none of them had the horror of the first days. From then on, he went to the sisters' headquarters. She was in charge of the IRGC archive. Every morning a soldier used to bring many newspapers and tried to separate the headlines, most of the important headlines. He used to also stick them on a board made of a piece of carpet. Sometimes he went to Abbasiyah and cooked jam with women and packs it for the fighters.

The situation is getting worse day by day. The Iraqis are still advancing. They have reached to Hamidiyeh. Homa's mother insisted that the girls' father (Homa and her sister) should be taken to a safe place, But Homa wanted to stay in Ahvaz and not go anywhere. "The city where you are born, you grow up, you learn to read and write, you revolutionize in its streets, it is no longer just a city; it becomes a part of existence, it becomes flesh and blood, and  can you separate this part of your existence, leave and go?" (P. 120)

Until finally everyone got on the train together to Boroujerd and then they reached Nahavand and stayed in the house of a relative. Everything was going well. Especially now that she could easily go to jihad, her mother was not worried about her going alone to a strange city.

Now, this new situation caused her hard work to flourish. He is relieved about the security and peace of her family and his only concern is not knowing about her father who has returned to Ahvaz.

She loves her new work environment. She was entertained with children of jihad from morning till evening. She was happy to spend her time helping people and activities behind the war front. "Much sooner than I thought, a friendship developed between me and the sisters of Jihad and Basij.[3]" In a deep friendship; we shared the pain of our hearts and were kind of patient toward each other. My relationship with Nahavand friends was a kind of relief from being away from the sisters of Ahvaz, but this did not make me forget Ahvaz and its Basij sisters' unit. I was still in touch with them. I kept calling them and, as far as I could, taking the news of the southern region by phone. I would like to hear the latest news from our friends and our fellow citizens." (P. 167)

Among Nahavand's friends, her relationship with Noushin Omidi is very intimate. Noushin is a Basij person, and her responsibilities in the Basij make her aware of most of the news of the war. Working with her reminded Homa of the mood of the friends of the Ahvaz headquarters. Noushin's brother is also responsible for mobilizing Nahavand city. She was a revolutionary person before the revolution and she was also very active after the revolution.

"I had heard about her a lot of words before I saw her. Later, when I saw her, I realized that these words were right. She used to come to Jihad and we used to have joint meetings. She used to speak calmly. She had a special passion for war and fighters, and it was very important to him. When he talked about the war and the resistance of the fighters on the war front, she became interested in Imam Hussein (PBHM) and it was beautiful and this state can recognizable from her excited face. In the very first sessions, I realized that he is one of those people whose soul travels to other places, that is, in the world of meaning, and this world and its appearances are not so important to him. His speeches were kind of fiery, and when you listen to his speeches, he took your heart behind the bulwarks. His kind and compassionate words and tone attract you until the end of the meeting, and the times we had a meeting with him, I did not understand how it goes. When Noushin's brother came to Jihad, it was as if he was not counted from the time of this world, and his length was as short as blinking and his width was as wide as the world." (P. 168)

Coincidently, Noushin proposed to Homa for his brother. Homa does not know why Noushin's brother chose her. He felt that he could not bear to stay in jihad. He had to go home and tell her mother everything. But as soon as her mother found who the suitors were, says, "If you think about it, I have nothing to say. I trust you. I tell my father to come from Ahvaz." one day, Homa heard the words of Noushin’s brother: he said: "I want to say everything explicitly to you so that you can think well and reply later. I want to say that you have these features, but I want to finish the argument about myself. My work is such that the possibility of three events should be always in your mind: Injury, captivity, martyrdom! .... "(p. 192)

While mastering his tone of voice, Homa felt that Mr. Mohsen Omidi has a special melody; sometimes, his words are slow and sometimes they are firm and serious. Homa is not an emotional girl but she recognizes honesty in his words. She raised her head and saw that Mr. Omidi had blushed ears and cheeks as he spoke. She thought to herself that even noblemen are ashamed when they were in such situations (marriage), no matter how fearless and militant they were. But, when Mr. Omidi wants to know her opinion about getting married together; despite seeing herself and him were mentally very close, Homa replied that: "Mr. Omidi! We do not have good conditions now ...You are a well-known family in Nahavand ... In the conditions of war and war, my family cannot provide dowry ... You have to think about these things and conditions as well." (P. 196) and first of all, their families were supposed to get to know each other.

But it was the time of starting some unexpected events. At that time, sister relief training courses are being held. In the last maneuver, when it was ordered to shoot, a bullet bows and injured Noushin from behind, and then she died.

However, sometime later, the wish of martyr Noushin Omidi came true through the mediation of the elders and those around her. That is, Homa and Mohsen held simple ceremonies and got married. The bride and groom spend some time together and Mohsen went to the war front from under the Quran that Homa was carrying over his head. Three or four days after Mohsen left, his first letter arrived from the region. Since then, two major operations had taken place in the western region. Some people brought martyrs. They read their names. Mohsen's name is not among them... Mohsen himself returned to Homa.

Homa and Mohsen went on a trip together. A four-day trip to the holy city of Mashhad.

When she returned to Nahavand, Mohsen stayed there for a few days. He rested. He tried to do the works of the IRGC and visits the families of the martyrs and went to the front again. But after a while, he returned from the area. He had a mission to coordinate cites.

After a year and a half, Homa's family returned to Ahvaz. Mohsen is transferred to Kermanshah. Homa went to him and they lived there.

The spring of 1983 in Kermanshah begins very suspiciously. Mohsen used to leave the house in the morning but come back, son. His motorcycle’s tire was punctured several times. Eventually, Mohsen was transferred from Kermanshah to Hamedan due to issues related to persecution and threats. Late in the fall, we packed up again and again and moved to Hamedan by the hope from God." (P. 262)

But once again they moved to Hamedan from Nahavand and lived in their new house. However, this residence didn't last long because they still collected the household items, brought them, and left them in Mohsen's father's house, and this time they went to the area together: the Sarpol-e-Zahab area.

But from now on, their presence and activities in the region would gradually become distant and even their contacts would be limited.

"Several operations took place in those months and the Ansar al-Hussein battalions were on standby. It was after Operation Badr that I rarely visited Mohsen anymore; He did not even call and sometimes sent me a letter that was a kind of lesson in resistance and self-sacrifice ... "(p. 281)

Before calming down on the hot earth of the Majnoon area and becoming a heaven man, Mohsen wrote to Homa in one of his letters: "But the deeper I think, the more I see that a man fall more in love in this separation because, in this way, the man knows God and discovers the values of God, which is the root of all loves and affections ..."



[1] It is a religious veil worn by Muslim women 

[2] The Iranian king "Mohammadreza Shah"

[3] Volunteer soldiers 

Number of Visits: 2011


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