RNA – Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Sistani, the greatest source of emulation of Shi’ah Islam, lives in an old and narrow alley with a small distance from the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) that is the religious centre of the Shi’ahs in the world, in the city of Najaf where its seminary has dealt with challenges and difficulties for centuries. There is no barrier and blockage for citizens and pilgrims intending to cross the alleys and streets around the al-Sistani’s house, the house from which the fatwa’s were issued and millions of Shi’ahs, both inside and outside of Iraq, follow them and would adhere to their messages and advices.
In the newly paved street which leads to a rental house, where he has lived for more than fifty years, dozens of young people are guarding him without weapons. It is contrary to the manner of the most of the Iraqi authorities of different ranks. They come out from their palaces and gardens accompanied by military convoy and modern vehicles as well as electronic equipment while the citizens who lost their trust in many of the politicians would curse them. They pass the streets of Baghdad, Basrah and other provinces while neither Ayatollah al-Sistani nor his family have any property for themselves.
The difference between these politicians and this Shi’ah authority (Ayatollah al-Sistani) is that not only he is not afraid of the Iraqi people, but also his home is a focal centre of jurisprudence, an open door for all Iraqi tribes, and a place to listen to the story of their suffering and misery. al-Sistani is the one who prefers to meet with the underprivileged and oppressed people of the Mesopotamian land rather than accepting celebrities and powerful people who have piled up treasures for themselves from money, gold and the remained heritage of that country.
These politicians do not differ much from the discharged Saddam Husayn and his relatives who were living in 70 palaces in Baghdad and other provinces. The palaces that Iraqi clerics and politicians today roaming at their halls, rooms and gardens; the palaces whose walls have stood on the flesh and blood of Iraqis and also on the sorrowful Tigris and Euphrates are in flood of tears for the lost civilization, the plundered resources and billions of dollars spent inappropriately. Besides, there is not any electricity, road, university, hospital, palm garden, or anyone who may plant a tree.
On the way to Ayatollah al-Sistani’s house you may face vendors. It is while when the capitalists offered Ayatollah al-Sistani to let them ruin the entire neighbourhood in order to build new houses and special residence for him. Ayatollah al-Sistani refused and told them to spend the budget on the poor people. Although his neighbours are ordinary and poor citizens, they adhere to every word he says, like most of the other classes of the society. They see him as a source of encouragement and aspiration for the future of a country that is plunged into the war, chaos, bloodbaths, religious strife, power of the nomads, the separatist murmurs and the call for the formation of autonomous regions
At the entrance to the house, few young people kindly ask the guests not to take their cell phones with themselves. Along with Nabih Berri, I get to Ayatollah al-Sistani’s room, a man who calmly stands and shakes his guest’s hand, a lot of kindness in his glittering eyes and tired face. He wore aba that is all his clothes for covering his lean body. Due to the doctors’ advice, he has accepted to sit on a simple wooden chair, but before that, he had spent many years working, writing and teaching on an ordinary straw mat on the ground and was welcoming his guests there. He does not accept lavish gifts and such things have no place in the house of a man who receives many funds daily to be spent as the cost of the food, education and health for the poor. He sends one of his companions to the nearby bazaar to provide him with his supplies including two tomatoes or cucumbers, a little olive and dates, and a loaf of bread, which forms a meal with a cup of tea.
He gets up before the adhan for morning prayers and says prayer and starts his day by studying and pursuing news, after that he accepts the seminarians who come to hear his religious and jurisprudential words and continues until the rest time. His son, who is more likely to be the manager of his office, helps him to stay connected with all his agents throughout the world, follow up on affairs, and answer questions of his followers. When you sit down in a very simple room, you do not believe that you are in the presence of Ayatollah al-Sistani who can move all Iraqis from here just in less than two lines fatwa.
According to ijtihadnet, Iraqi people say an anecdote about how he visit a Sunni doctor and, having paid $ 1 million, requested him to build a hospital in his own area. Without Considering religion and race, in his viewpoint, there is no difference among humans and as long as he receives these charities to give them to the poor, such things are not important for Ayatollah al-Sistani, the one who saved Iraq by issuing a fatwa about Jihad al-Kifa’i [jihad as collective obligation] in the war with Daesh. If that decree had not been issued, Iraq would have become an area for Takfiri congregations.
In the dark years that Daesh was ruling on a large portion of Iraq’s territory, Shi’ahs in Najaf, Karbala and other cities were opened their homes to sh\elter the Sunni refugees, Christians and Yazidis in order to provide them with house and food, so they show their faith and true nationalism to civil society without any claim and avoiding any sectarianism. That’s how Nabih Berri, in describing the reality of Ayatollah al-Sistani has not understood anything other than describing him as the “Guard for the Integrity of the Iraqi People.”
Anyone who travels to Najaf will returns with this feeling: At a time of the agitation of religiosity, and singing the songs of separation and rejection of others, new plans are mapped out to the region leading to changing several regimes; undoubtedly, it is Ayatollah al-Sistani that inspires the integrity of the Muslims and their correlation with other religions.