ABWA Official Website – During the last two weeks, Ayatollah Ramazani, Secretary General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly traveled to three important Pakistani cities of Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi to meet with the ulama and scientific and religious figures of Pakistan, visit Islamic centers, and sign memorandums of understanding on scientific and cultural cooperation. These meetings and sessions are important because the Muslim country of Pakistan, neighboring the Islamic Republic of Iran, has people who are enthusiasts of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) and love the Islamic Revolution of Iran, and deepening the relations between the scientific and cultural institutions of the two friendly and brotherly countries can be effective in promoting cooperation and synergy.
In this regard, AhlulBayt (a.s.) News Agency - ABNA - has discussed the objectives and achievements of this important visit in a detailed interview with the Secretary General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly.
ABNA - Thank you very much for your time. First of all, please tell us about the trips you have taken since accepting the responsibility as the Secretary General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly and tell us what the general goals of these trips are.
Ayatollah Ramazani - I also appreciate your efforts and hard work. The trips made for the designated purposes have been to various countries, including Turkey, Germany, Russia, Netherlands, France, India, Georgia, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, and the recent trip to Pakistan. A visit to Pakistan was planned in previous years, but due to some reasons, it was not possible. Until recently, we could provide the conditions for a trip to this country with various programs and suitable achievements. After all, Pakistan is a large and Islamic country, with nearly 250 million Muslims and nearly 40 million Shiites, and this is considered a great capacity to disseminate Islamic knowledge and the AhlulBayt (a.s.) teachings.
The general goals that are followed in these visits are getting to know and meet the influential ulama of the regions, as well as identifying and getting to know the great Shiite institutions. So that we can introduce the AhlulBayt (a.s.) school with the set of tools and facilities we have and create a capacity in the world so that these teachings are properly introduced to all members of society. One of the goals of these visits is to study the situation of Shiites in different regions in order to identify their weaknesses and strengths and to study the convergence and cooperation of Shiite centers in one center and the establishment of a local Assembly. Visiting mosques and Islamic and Shiite centers, as well as meeting ulama are other goals of these trips. In our activities and travels, we do not have political goals and activities. Our programs are purely cultural and religious, whose general goals are to introduce and promote the literature and school of AhlulBayt (a.s.) to the world and use opportunities and create contexts in this path.
ABNA - Please tell us about the reasons and objectives of your trip to Pakistan.
Ayatollah Ramazani - The first purpose of the trip to Pakistan was to take advantage of the unique opportunity of Ghadir to attend the Eid celebrations, which are extensively held in Pakistan. So that in those meetings we can emphasize the unity and role of Ghadir’s message in Islamic society. We have very important teachings from Ghadir, among them is to appoint the best people for the work. By hiring the best people for each position, society will undoubtedly grow. Another teaching of Ghadir is that Muslims should participate in their destiny and play a role in it. In general, Ghadir specially addresses the social sphere of religion. That is, one of the important teachings of Ghadeer is that we Muslims do not only have individual responsibility, but our social responsibility is no less than our individual responsibility, if not more. We should use Ghadir to introduce the noble literature of religion (Islam) to human society, that is, to introduce Islam comprehensively, deeply, and accurately. These issues were emphasized in the series of discussions and meetings we had with Sunni and Shiite ulama.
Considering the very high capacity of Pakistan, providing preparations for the revival of the local Assembly was one of the other goals of this trip. Pakistan is one of the big Islamic countries with about 250 million Muslims and about 40 million followers of AhlulBayt (a.s.) i.e., Shiites. This population of 250 million is a large capacity. On the other hand, studying the situation of Shiites in the region to know their strengths and weaknesses is also one of the most important goals. Visiting Islamic and Quranic mosques and centers, Shiite seminaries, and collecting their information in each region were also important actions that were taken into consideration during this trip. Although due to the wide range of capacities, it was not possible to check all of them, considering the travel time, several centers were visited.
Expanding religious and educational interactions with Sunni centers was one of the important goals of this trip, which by the Grace of God provided a good basis for a memorandum of cooperation with Minhaj Al-Quran University and other centers. Meeting with the Shiite and Sunni ulama and influential figures and participating in sessions on the topic of unity were on the agenda, which in my opinion were all useful and effective.
ABNA - Which cities of Pakistan did you travel to, which centers did you visit, and which figures did you meet?
Ayatollah Ramazani - The destinations of this visit were three important cities of Pakistan namely Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore. In Karachi, we participated in various programs, among which was a magnificent program on the occasion of Ghadir with the presence of the ulama of the region at the Iran Culture House in the city. Also, as part of the plans for the trip, we visited some brothers’ and sisters’ seminaries, each of which really had a capacity for extensive activities.
In Lahore, in addition to attending some Islamic centers, we met with the respected director of Urwa al-Wuthgha, which is a large complex with a high capacity. The other program in Lahore was to attend the Jamia al-Muntazar complex and meet with Ayatollah Syed Niaz Naqvi, the director of this seminary who is one of Pakistan’s leading ulama and graduated from Najaf Seminary.
In Islamabad, we had many sessions and meetings with influential figures, including Allamah Syed Sajid Naqvi, the representative of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution and the head of the Shia Ulema Council in Pakistan, and Ayatollah Sheikh Mohsen Najafi, the head of Jamia al-Kowsar seminary, who is also one of the ulama of the country, and a graduate of Najaf seminary. In Islamabad, we also had a fruitful meeting with Allameh Raja Nasir Abbas Jafri. He heads a seminary in Islamabad. All these figures educate the clergy who usually come to Qom for graduate studies, and some go to Najaf. There are prosperous seminaries in some cities of Pakistan. Of course, they need their strengths to be increased, and their weaknesses to be identified, repaired, and compensated.
We also had meetings with the Sunni ulama, including the head of the Pakistan Religious Council. This council is like Iran’s Guardian Council. That is the laws passed in Pakistan must be approved by this Council and their compliance with Islamic rules must be clarified and confirmed. This council consists of 22 Sunni and Shiite ulama and dignitaries. At one time, two Shiite ulama were present in this council, but now there is only one. In this session, we were asked to help the Council in adapting the set of laws to Sharia and Islamic laws. Also, discussions were held regarding the cooperation of the jurisprudential working group of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly on the adaptation of laws to jurisprudential issues. In this field, some books have been published that have been well received by ulama, students, and people.
ABNA - How were you received in Pakistan, especially by students and people?
Ayatollah Ramazani - Anywhere we entered, we were welcomed with love and in a magnificent way, whether by scholars, students, or other people. The speeches were also held magnificently and welcomed. For example, the speech at Minhaj University, one of the important and large universities in the region with more than 16 thousand students, was very well received by professors and students. Also, people welcomed us with enthusiasm everywhere we went. They used all their facilities to welcome us and showed us a lot of love by holding various programs, including poetry readings. Love for the people and the Islamic Republic of Iran were among the features of this expression of love. This reception was very impressive and could be seen in all meetings. Although all the meetings were held in Farsi, they were widely welcomed. This indicates the friendship between these two nations. We hope that the governments can also have appropriate cooperation in the development of political, commercial, economic, scientific, etc. sectors, and follow them up.
ABNA - How do you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the Shiites of Pakistan? What do you consider to be the challenges of Shiites in promoting the AhlulBayt (a.s.) school in Pakistan? And what role can the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly play in this regard?
Ayatollah Ramazani - One of the prominent features of Pakistani Shiites, and even the country’s Sunnis, is their affection for AhlulBayt (a.s.) and indescribable love and devotion for the Family of Revelation. In terms of affection and love, you can give them the highest score. Of course, this love must be preserved, directed, and accompanied by knowledge, although it is so in many cases. However, in some cases, there is no deep knowledge in some places, the fact that is considered one of the weak points. Attaching knowledge to the emotional aspect, affection, love, and devotion to Infallible and Immaculate AhlulBayt (a.s.), can create a profound capacity. Some may abuse these emotional aspects. Therefore, we and the ulama of the region must be very vigilant. Sometimes the enemies take advantage of these cases and want to create discords between Shiites and followers of the other denomination, or between Shiites and Sunnis. But, by the Grace of God, due to the tact of great Shiite and Sunni leaders and ulama, the seditions and mischief of the enemies have usually been thwarted.
I think the issues that need more attention are the expansion of rational knowledge and seeking justice. Enemies should not be allowed to abuse the positive features of Muslims. It is quite evident that those who provoke others are doing mischief on behalf of Britain or others, and with these malice actions, they are trying to create differences and divisions among the AhlulBayt (a.s.) followers, as well as between Shiites and Sunnis. This requires the intelligence of the ulama of the region and their effectiveness against the sinister plots of the enemies. In many cases, these conspiracies have been foiled by unity, and even huge marches have been organized against them. In general, the aggravation of the dispute has been prevented by the plan adopted by the region’s ulama and influential figures and Shiite and Sunni leaders.
In the issue of differences, especially in Pakistan, the enemies are doing serious activities and investing. We need to be vigilant, and all the ulama and figures of that region also need to be vigilant. The AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly also aims to deepen the knowledge about AhlulBayt (a.s.) and create a comprehensive view of AhlulBayt (a.s.) among their followers and enthusiasts.
Considering that the days of mourning for the Lord of the Martyrs are approaching, among the topics that were raised in some meetings of this trip was that Imam Hussain (a.s.) is a universal personality and a role model for all humanity. Imam Hussain (a.s.) is a role model not only for Shiites and Muslims, and even not only for the followers of Abrahamic religions but for the whole of humanity. In the meetings of this trip, this saying of Imam Hussain (a.s.) was emphasized many times: “If you do not have religion, and you do not fear the Day of Judgment, be free in your worldly affairs.” Therefore, Imam Hussain (a.s.) is a role model for the entire human society, and we must use and benefit from this role model. Imam Hussain (a.s.) is a universal capacity. In describing the event of Ashura, not only the emotional aspects of the case should be mentioned, but Imam Hussain (a.s.) and the event of Ashura should be correctly and accurately introduced and explained.
Presenting a correct analysis of the reason for the occurrence of Ashura, why it happened in this way, as well as adapting it to today’s issues, was one of the things we mentioned in some meetings. Adaptation is a very important issue. Who are trying to harm religion today? We must identify and introduce these people. Therefore, we need to present the narrative correctly and comprehensively, present a correct analysis, and adapt it correctly to the events of the day. Those who are on the path of the Wilayat of Allah and those who are on the path of the Wilayat of Satan must be completely separated from each other. Today (as in the past) some people are on the path of the Wilayat of Allah, and some are on the path of the Wilayat of Taghut. Adaptation is a crucial task. The Assembly is trying to introduce AhlulBayt (a.s.) comprehensively and deeply as much as it can. The Assembly should also reach scientific and spiritual authority and take steps in this direction. Therefore, whether in the managerial activities, or activities such as WikiShia, research work, or media activities of ABNA News Agency, a rational, spiritual, and justice-seeking approach should be fully evident. In this way, by having good command of data, we can inform the human society in the world with the profound teachings of AhlulBayt (a.s.), and with the appropriate and new situation of Muslims and Shiites.
ABNA - Does the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly have representatives in Pakistan? If yes, how active are they?
Ayatollah Ramazani - In the past, some of ulama worked as representatives of the Assembly in Pakistan, and some of them have died. In the recent trip, we studied about this, and by the grace of God, it will be taken into consideration in the future. Of course, there are about 40 to 50 members of the General Assembly in Pakistan, who have not had the desired activity due to some issues. One of the goals of the recent trip was to review and redefine the connections with the activities of the Assembly in Pakistan.
ABNA - In your opinion, what are the things and strategies that strengthen the Shiite movements and AhlulBayt (a.s.) enthusiasts in the subcontinent, especially in Pakistan?
Ayatollah Ramazani - One of the most important strategies is unity among all Muslims. Against our common enemy, we must have practical unity, which requires a common understanding, which needs to be created. The unity between Shiite ulama and seminaries means that they can train clerics on the path of AhlulBayt (a.s.). Education must be done according to the requirements of today’s society.
Another point is to strengthen rationality, spirituality, and justice. By the grace of God, there is a desire for justice in the nation of Pakistan. We hope that along with rationality and spirituality, they can reach a spiritual, economic, social, and political power in the region. We should try to emphasize the rationality that exists in the teachings of the Quran and AhlulBayt (a.s.) and educate people accordingly. Since nowadays in the West, they seek to create and promote fake versions of spirituality, we should use the AhlulBayt (a.s.) capacities to place spirituality at the top of affairs in the true sense of the word, at the head of which is the Almighty God, and the relationship between man and God to reach peace. Relying on AhlulBayt (a.s.) is the key to achieving this spirituality, and those nobles are the standard bearers of spirituality. AhlulBayt (a.s.) are unique figures who are the leaders of Muslims in terms of science and spirituality, and all Muslims acknowledge their scientific and spiritual authority. We must introduce the spirituality that is in the teachings of AhlulBayt (a.s.). Like the teachings that are mentioned in al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, in the Arafah supplication, and in the supplications that were narrated from Imam Hussain (a.s.) and other Infallibles (a.s.). Along with the Quran, we should properly study and introduce the supplications of the Prophet (p.b.u.h), Imam Ali (a.s.) such as Dua Kumail and the prayers that are in the book of Mafatih al-Jinan.
Another point that should be considered as one of the strategies is the promotion of general education of Shiites in the world, and in Pakistan, a lot of effort should be done in this regard. Therefore, missionaries should be armed with being updated. They need to be familiar with international literature and properly inform the young generation about the kind of challenges we are facing in the world. They must be familiar with the language of the young generation to be able to work effectively in this field.
ABNA - What do you consider to be the most important achievements of your visit to Pakistan?
Ayatollah Ramazani - I present some of these achievements in a list. The first achievement is to achieve a good command of data with field presence. With a field presence, a good command of the data will be obtained more objectively and concretely. The second is to recognize the many capacities that exist in the friendly country of Pakistan, a nation that adheres to Islamic teachings and is a believer. It’s so important. Another achievement was underlining the unity between Sunni and Shiite ulama. Everyone believed that to encounter the common enemy, we should be united. Islam and Muslims are the power of the region today. In the international arena, pure Islam is the movement that can confront global arrogance. Today, we can introduce the best thinking in the world using the teachings of the Quran and AhlulBayt (a.s.). The winners of the future are those who introduce the best thought and ideas to the world.
Another point that I can point to as an achievement is emphasizing the unity of the ulama of the region and recognizing the capacity to provide more service to the AhlulBayt (a.s.) school. Another achievement of this trip was paving the way for signing a memorandum of understanding with Minhaj Al-Quran University to expand religious and cultural activities, as well as support and help seminaries. Intellectually, it is important to have textbooks to introduce the AhlulBayt (a.s.) school to the clergy. The ground has been prepared for these activities, and we hope that with God’s grace, these issues will be pursued seriously in the future, and will be fruitful.
During this 8- or 9-day visit, many lectures were given. Looking at the transcription of the lectures, I think a new literature and approach has been presented to the ulama of the region from the World Assembly, in a way that it is trying to reach scientific and spiritual authority. We in the Assembly believe that the elites of the society should identify the pure school of AhlulBayt (a.s.) and present accurate and deep understandings with unity.
At this University, I delivered a speech about the relationship between science and religion from the perspective of AhlulBayt (a.s.) for approximately 250 to 300 students. Among the issues raised in this speech was that Muslims were once the center of science and others learned science from us and our scientists, great figures such as Ibn Sina, whose Canon of Medicine book is in four fields of medicine, Khwarazmi and Zakaria Razi, etc. Among the students of AhlulBayt (a.s.) were people like Jabir ibn Hayyan and other exemplary figures of Islam. They saw science in a way that nature should be discovered by thinkers and scientists, science and religion are complementary, and religion encourages science and thought. Another topic was to express the relationship between science and power: science brings power and authority, and the more knowledgeable a society is, the stronger it will be. We also mentioned the Statement on the Second Phase of the Revolution by the Supreme Leader and his seven recommendations for the development and progress of science. Regarding 7 components from ethics, spirituality, justice, and the fight against corruption to the 7th item which is Islamic lifestyle as software of Islamic civilization, materials were presented to the professors and students present in this speech. After the speech, the university president said, “(As if) we were asleep, and you woke us up. This is the first time such a discussion has been presented to us.” These were the things that they exactly told us for providing this knowledge and materials. At the end of the speech, all the students cheered and chanted the slogan “Long Live Pakistan, Long Live Iran.” All this indicated that other nations love Iran and the Islamic Revolution.
While crossing different roads, even though it was raining, people came and shook hands with us closely. It was clear that they came forward with an emotional look and expressed affection. These indicate that Iran and the goals and ideals of the Islamic Republic of Iran are in the hearts of the world. But is important for us to preserve these ideals. The more we adhere to these ideals, the more popular the Motherland of the Islamic world will be in today’s human society, God willing.
ABNA - You mentioned the love of ulama and Shiites to you and the accompanying delegation. Please describe the view of the Sunni ulama towards the representative of the ulama of Iran and the Shiite world. How do they look at the representative of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution, the representative of the Shiite ulama, and towards Shiite Iran?
Ayatollah Ramazani - I do not exaggerate to say that the Sunni ulama had a special respect for us. Some elites respected us in a special way. They respected and enjoyed the thought and knowledge that was presented, and this was quite evident in their talks. In some places, they indescribably expressed affection. Expressing the desire to attend and hold more meetings and talks jointly and honoring the representative of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution, and the seminary in respectful ceremonies, are examples of the attention of the people and ulama of Pakistan. Wherever we went, we were welcomed and received in the best way. All this indicates interest in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and this fact was quite evident in several cases.
ABNA - Thank you very much for participating in this interview with AhlulBayt (a.s.) News Agency - ABNA.