Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Bahlool was born in 1908 in Khorasan, Iran. His father was a mujtahid and ensured that he received the best education possible. Thus, Ayatullah Bahlool had memorized the whole Quran when he was only eight years old.
He began his hauza studies in Qom under scholars such as Ayatullah Aakhund, Mulla Ali Masumi and Ayatullah Mar’ashi Najafi. He later moved to Najaf and was a student of Ayatullah Abdul Hassan Isfahani.
Ayatullah Bahlool credits Ayatullah Isfahani for inspiring him to work against the oppressive regime of the time in Iran. After completing his studies, he became a vocal critic of the oppressive policies of the Shah’s government.
The government, as a result of his increasing popularity, imprisoned him for 13 long years during the Gawharshad riots in the mid 1950s. After his release from prison, he travelled to Egypt and Syria to learn more about the political situation in the Islamic world.
He is quoted to have said that his release from prison was a result of the intervention of Bibi Fatimah (s.a.) He said that one night he saw his mother in his dream who said, “My dear son! I have met Bibi Fatimah Zahra (s.a.) and she has guaranteed to me your release.” He said that when he woke up he began reciting poetry in praise of the Holy Lady. Ayatullah Bahlool saw this dream on Thursday night and was released that Saturday.
Although he had reached the stage of Ijtihad, he continued giving lectures to the general public in Qom. He used to address audiences of hundreds of people and his speeches were well received because of his eloquence and use of Hafez’s poems, many of which he had memorized. Agha also used to compose poetry himself.
Ayatullah Bahlool also had the honor of meeting the Master of our Time. He narrates, “Once I had gone to Mashad and was the guest of a Sayyid friend of mine. As it happened, his wife just had twins. One rainy night, my friend was away for some work and I noticed that his wife was unwell. I said to her, “You go to rest and I will look after the children.”
Being tired, she went to sleep. In the middle of the night both the children began to cry. I noticed that they had soiled themselves. I went out to the courtyard to bring out the old diapers from the clothesline, but the rain had made them completely wet. I came back inside the house, tore my abaa (cloak) into 4 pieces and used these to clean up and change the babies. I carried them around, resting them on my shoulders, until they were settled.
When the adhan for Fajr came, I went towards the Haram of Imam Ridha (a.s.) to pray and pay my respect to my Imam. However, on the way to Haram, I was horrified to see 4 dogs, which appeared in front of me, blocking my path. I was shocked and was wondering as what to do next, when I saw a Sayyid suddenly appeared from nowhere. He rescued me and drove off the dogs. Then, before I could say anything, he turned towards me and said, “Shaykh, should we not help, assist and drive away 4 dogs from that person who has spent the whole night tending to and looking after our children?” When I looked again, he had disappeared.
Ayatullah Bahlool repeatedly said that all Muslims needed to understand the value of Namaaz-e-Shab. He often used to say, “in the night prayers there lies a benefit of this world and the hereafter. When I urge you all to never miss a recital, I have a personal proof of its benefit.”