Pre-revolution memoirs of Ayatollah Seyed Ali Asghar Dastgheib

Ahmad Sajedi
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


Ayatollah Seyed Ali Asghar Dastgheib is one of the figures of “Dastgheib Family” in the city of Shiraz. He is the nephew of martyr Ayatollah Abdolhossein Dastgheib. He was born in Shiraz on 4th of Azar 1324 AH (November 25, 1945) on the day of Eid al-Ghadir. Following completing preliminary course in the seminary, he went to Qom to complete his education and after attending the courses of Ayatollah Golpayegani and Mirza Hashem Amoli and other sources of emulation, was promoted to the degree of Ijtihad. With the beginning of Imam Khomeini's movement, he was arrested and imprisoned several times by SAVAK agents and tortured for publishing pictures of Imam Khomeini and distributing his leaflets. He was also deported to bad weather parts of the country many times.

After the victory of the Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Asghar Dastgheib Shirazi became a member of the Assembly of Experts. He, who is in charge of the Razaviyeh Seminary in Shiraz, in a decree by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution took charge of the shrine of Ahmad Ibn Mousa and Mohammad Ibn Mousa known as Shah Cheragh in Shiraz on 14th of Esfand 1392 (March 5, 2014), but due to a heart attack on 6th of Tir 1399 (June 26, 2020), the doctors advised him to resign from this position. Since Aban 1397 (November 2016), Ayatollah Seyed Ali Asghar Dastgheib has been the head of the Shiraz Clergy Society.

Recently, the memoirs of Ayatollah Dastgheib Shirazi have been published by the Center for Islamic Revolution Documents. In this book titled "Pre-Revolution Memoirs of Ayatollah Seyed Ali Asghar Dastgheib", he has written his manuscripts and memoirs from the beginning of his participation in Imam Khomeini's movement in the year 1342 (1963) until the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. These memories are very fascinating and readable. In one of his memoirs, Ayatollah Ali Asghar Dastgheib writes:

In 1356 (1977), martyr Ayatollah Abdolhossein Dastgheib was giving a speech at al-Reza Mosque in Shiraz against the so-called Shiraz Art Festival. During the speech, I noticed that someone was secretly recording his speech in front of him. Towards the end of the speech, I noticed that several Muslim students surrounded him and as soon as the speech was over, they attacked him and seized his tape recorder. He, who was a SAVAK agent, was forced to flee the mosque to save his life.

In one of other memoirs from his times in prison, he says: "In the cell in front of us, several mentally ill people were imprisoned by SAVAK. I told the prison authorities, “A mentally ill person is considered a criminal nowhere in the world. They are sick and need to be admitted to psychiatric centers." They were not even given blankets, and sometimes they even removed the gilims under their feet. As a result, they shivered from the cold. When I asked the prison guards the reason for this cruelty, they said, "They make the blanket dirty." I told them, "Your behavior is a crime. Fear divine punishment. They are sick and should be referred to medical centers." They replied, "It is none of your business." The guards even beat the mentally ill persons.

Another memory of Ayatollah Ali Asghar Dastgheib was that he changed his clothes during his exile in Saravan with the aim of going to Iranshahr secretly to meet with Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. He writes in his memoirs: "In a situation where leaving the exile was a crime, one night we went to Iranshahr in a Baluchi disguise by a taxi to meet with Ayatollah Khamenei, who was in exile in that city at the time. At that time, he had gone to one of the local mosques to practice congregational prayers. After returning from the mosque, he treated us very kindly. That night, the home of the exiles in Iranshahr had a special atmosphere. "We had spread carpets in the yard and Mr. Khamenei talked to us about the correct way to continue the fight against the Pahlavi regime."

The book "Pre-Revolution Memoirs of Ayatollah Seyed Ali Asghar Dastgheib" consists of sections of introduction, memoir, calendar, documents, pictures and index. The rewritten text of all the documents presented in this book is placed next to each document. The third edition of this book was released in 2019 in 301 pages and was given to the researchers and scholars who research about Imam Khomeini's movement.


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