Ayatullah Sayyid Hussain Burujerdi
Ayatullah Sayyid Hussain Burujerdi was born in Burujerd in the Lorestan province of Iran in 1875. He revived the Qom hauza, which had waned after the death of its founder Ayatullah Haeri in 1937.
Ayatullah Burujerdi was amongst the first maraje to send representatives to countries outside the Shia-dominated Middle Eastern countries. He sent representatives to as far as Germany, Pakistan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
He also established relations with Shaykh Mahmud Shaltut, the grand sheikh of al-Azhar. The two were founders of the House For Brining Muslim Sects Nearer, which is based in Cairo. Shaltut was also responsible for issuing the famous fatwa that recognized the Shia faith as part of Islam.
It has been narrated that Ayatullah Burujerdi had made a vow that were he ever to utter inappropriate words out of anger, he would fast for a whole year. One day he was giving his classes and a student raised an objection to one of his statements. He answered the student’s query and wished to move on, but the student raised another objection that Agha also answered. However, the student raised an objection for the third time, at which point Agha said in an annoyed tone, “be quiet, young man.”
It is said that after finishing the class Agha, having realized what he had done, called the student forward and in front of the whole class kissed his hand and said, “forgive the mistake of Burujerdi! I do not understand how the reins of my soul slipped from my hands and why I asked you to be quiet in front of everyone.” From the very next day, Ayatullah Burujerdi began fasting and proceeded to do so for the next year, for something that was neither inappropriate nor uncalled for. Indeed he had a lofty status.
Allamah Nawahandi, who used to lead the congregational prayers in the Holy Shrine in Mashad, narrates that when Ayatullah Burujerdi went to visit the holy city, Ayatullah Nawahandi asked him to lead the prayers and prayed behind him out of respect.
Allamah Nawahandi later visited the holy city of Najaf in the same year. He says that when he went there, Ayatullah Isfahani – who used to lead congregational prayers at the Holy Shrine – asked him to lead the prayers and prayed behind him. Allamah Nawahandi narrates that he was surprised that a man of Ayatullah Isfahani’s status, someone who had received letters from the Imam of our time, was giving him so much respect.
Allamah narrates that as he prepared to start the prayers, he heard a voice from the tomb of Imam Ali saying, “you showed respect to my son Burujerdi, so we have also honored and respected you, by making Sayyid Abulhasan Isfahani pray behind you.”