The Unsaid narratives of Ayatollah Kashani’s daughter about his father

Imam Khomeini's recommendation to Shahid Motahhari about Ayatollah Kashani:
He was very kind and good-tempered, and we never saw that he disrespects anyone; but most of the time he was in exile or in prison, and we couldn’t visit him.
History group of Mashreq: What you are facing is a different interview with one of the daughters of Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani. Mrs. Ashraf Sadat Kashani, the wife of Dr. Seyyed Jalal al-Din Madani, beckons to interesting points of her memories about her father, which has not spoken yet or less expressed. We hope this different dialogue will be useful for researchers in the field of contemporary history and the National Movement.
• As a child of Ayatollah Kashani, what’s your overall analysis of the current trend of history writing about him? Do you see any negligence?
Fortunately the Islamic Revolution brightened the dark corners of contemporary history. Particularly, Imam Khomeini had a special effort for showing the true face of neglected characters like Ayatollah Kashani. Before that, many facts had been appeared vice versa, but Imam who had accompanied Ayatollah Kashani for many years, repeatedly talked about him after the Revolution. The late Modarres fought with Reza Shah and the nature of the enemy was completely well-known and obvious to everyone; but Ayatollah Kashani were fighting with British one side, and took sides with government in another side, and accompanied with ones in third front, who had had a place in people's hearts in the name of nationalist; as a result, diverse groups of people together lined against him.
Interestingly, the media still distorted the Ayatollah Kashani’s role, but fortunately after the Revolution, personalities like Imam spoke about Ayatollah Kashani and revealed many aspects of his character. I remember that Shahid Ayat liked Ayatollah Kashani very much and always would say: “There is no need for anyone to defend him, Imam said everything about Ayatollah Kashani.” even once I saw on TV that Mr. Ghara’ati said: “One of the benefits of Revolution was that we knew Ayatollah Kashani!”
Therefore, no one said anything when something was told about Modarres, because his enemies were known; but this is not the case about Ayatollah Kashani and from every side, everyone had a critic in their view of matter.
I remember when they named one of the west Tehran's streets after Ayatollah Kashani, Mr. Mashih Mohajeri wrote in “Islamic Republic” newspaper that when they divided everywhere well, finally this corner was remained which was named after Ayatollah Kashani! After referring to the streets which was ending to Valiasr Street, which was then called Mossadegh, the late Mr. Falsafi said in a speech after Revolution: “Have you named this long street Mossadegh?” And he suggested that they named a street after Ayatollah Kashani at least at the same level of importance. Shortly after that the name of that street was changed to Vali’asr. I mean that some people are trying to distort historical facts, while there is strong historical documentation about service and betrayal of political figures. For this reason, I appreciated you for trying to expose the truth.

• Tell us about his features as a father?
He was very kind and good-tempered, and we never saw that he disrespect anyone; but most of the time he was in exile or in prison, and we couldn’t visit him. Especially in childhood, when we needed him the most, our mother charged herself with the burden of responsibility of fostering children. I was almost 20 years old when he passed away and I could learn a lot of him. At those days, going to university was less possible for girls, but my father advised me to go to university on the condition of maintaining the Hijab and observing the religious laws.
• And you did go on?
Yes, later, in favorable conditions, I kept on my studying until I got BA in English. Grade and average grade were of little significance for my father and he focused more on our behavior and temper; and wanted us to be a person of noble character and familiar with the Quran and religious laws.
• Considering the specific circumstances of your father, were you living in an atmosphere of anxiety?
No, our mother did not convey concerns to children and always kept the environment cultural and educational. The burden of things was on her shoulders and nobody would understand her problems. Sometimes she would even sell our household goods, but didn’t let anyone to realize how much our family is under the financial pressure. My mother was a good manager and very patient.
• How was your father’s upbringing style when he was beside you?
We were studious and obedient children. When we were naughty, our father maybe would say: “Kiddy! Why do you do that?”
• Remaining written documents about Ayatollah Kashani were confirmed that he was extraordinary intelligent. Describe some manifestations of this feature in the language of memory?
He was hospitalized almost near his end of life. One would not to be in the mood when he/she is sick, but my father would notice to the whole social events and was aware of all of them; and because of his extreme intelligence, no point would remain hidden for him. He was very sharp and unique in understanding and analyzing problems and fast in decision making. Once, as I was saying: “Why people ...?”, He would immediately answer: “I am not better than my ancestors!” I was really amazed at how he answered accurately the question that I hadn’t asked. It was quoted from Amīr al-Mu'minin that there was no virtue which hadn’t been attributed to the enemy and there was no villainy which hadn’t been attributed to me! Sometimes I felt the same they did with Ayatollah Kashani. In this context, I have a memory about Imam. In the days when my father’s character was assassinated horribly, his condition had reached to the point where Imam would say that no one stood up when my father entered a circle, so I got up and offered my seat to him.
If the consequences of Imam Hussein’s valuable uprising are forgettable, the effects of purity and services of Ayatollah Kashani, who was the follower of Hazrat Ali (AS) and Imam Hussein (AS), could also be destructible. The name and remembrance of men of God will never forget.

• Do you have any memories about his witticism and repartee to tell us?
Sometimes he would put fork into a piece of food and held it in front of us and then he himself would eat it. He was very happy and good-tempered. In the last decade of his life, when he was ignored and even insulted, his good temper didn’t change. He was very cautious about others and never wanted anyone hurt in any way, while he was always selflessness. He was very gracious. I remember that there was a boy in our neighborhood that had no hair and children bullied him. My father always stroked him and was kind to him. We never heard an inappropriate word from him. He always spoke with respect to all. He always was neat and clean. He never minded the material things.
• He wouldn’t get even his salary as the speaker and member of the parliament. But at the same time you always had guests. How was your cost of living supplied?
My father personally was very economist. One day he saw a small onion in the corner of parterre in the courtyard. He gave it to the maid and said: “Do not waste!” Businessmen would supply the cost of gatherings in our house. We ourselves were not the ones for throwing money about at all.
• What was his usual prayer?
Oh God! Save us from concupiscence! Years later I realized that this is the best prayer. My father with all that power has never been contaminated by things pertaining to this world. No heritage left behind him when he passed away. While he could seat in a corner with good health and write a treatise and didn’t bear all those pressure, exile, imprisonment, accusation, and disrespect; but he didn’t think about these things even a moment. People’s pain was his main concern in lifetime. My grandfather had just one son and all admirable virtues could be seen in him.
• Do you have any memories about the relationship between Imam Khomeini and Ayatollah Kashani?
One of the Muslim theologians says that when Mr. Motahhari and he wanted to come to Tehran from Qom, Imam advised them to be taught by Ayatollah Kashani. Imam liked Ayatollah Kashani very much and often came to visit him. Many of Imam’s beliefs were influenced by Ayatollah Kashani’s ideas. Motahhari’s famous word addressing Dr. Mahmoud Kashani is also interesting: “On behalf of me, tell the elites and clergy that honoring the Ayatollah Kashani is the esteem of the clergy.”

Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian

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