'Ata' Allah Ashrafi Isfahani
ʿAṭāʾ Allāh Ashrafī Iṣfahānī (Persian: عطاءالله اشرفی اصفهانی, b. 1902, d. 1982) was a Shi'ite clergymen and the representative of Imam Khomeini and the imam of Friday Prayer in Kermanshah. He was the manager of Seminary of Kermanshah and established the Seminary of Women in this city. He made huge efforts to unite the Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims. Ashrafi was martyred in Friday Prayer by People's Mujahidin Organization. He is among those who are regarded as one of the Mihrab Martyrs (ones who were martyred in mihrab) in Iran.
|Religious Affiliation||Twelver Shi'a|
|Place of Birth||Khomayni Shahr, Isfahan|
|Studied in||Isfahan, Qom|
|Death||Mehr 23, 1361/October 15, 1982|
|Burial Place||Takht-i Fulad Cemetery|
|Professors||Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Khwansari, Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri, Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi, Imam Khomeini, Sayyid Hasan Mudarris etc.|
|Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Khwansari|
|Works||al-Bayan, Tafsir-i Qur'an, Majma' al-shattat etc.|
|Friday Prayer Imam of Kermanshah, He made efforts to increase proximity among Shiite and Sunnis|
'Ata' Allah Ashrafi Isfahani was born in 1323/1902 in Khomeyni Shahr, Isfahan province in Iran. His father, Mirza Asad Allah was the Imam of congregational prayer and delivered religious speeches. His grandfather, Mirza Muhammad Ja'far, was a notable scholar of Jabal 'Amil. Ashrafi Isfahani learnt the elementary and preliminary levels in Nuriya School. At the age of nine, he memorized the book "Nisab al-Sibyan". At the age of twelve, he moved to Isfahan in order to continue his education. He learnt literature, Usul, fiqh and attended Kharij (advanced) level classes of Ayatullah Sayyid Mahdi Durchi'i, Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Najaf Abadi, Ayatullah Fisharaki and Ayatullah Sayyid Hasan Mudarris.
Immigration to Qom
Ayatullah Ashrafi moved to Qom at the age of twelve. He studied in Razavi School and Faydiyya School for Twenty three years and became a Mujtahid at the age of forty. Ashrafi attended the classes of Shaykh 'Abd al-Karim Ha'iri, Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Khwansari, Sayyid Sadr al-Din al-Sadr, Sayyid Muhammad Hujjat and Sayyid Husayn Burujirdi. Ha also learnt Philosophy from Imam Khomeini. Ashrafi Isfahani was granted the permission for Ijtihad by Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Khwansari. He was the Imam of prayers in Faydiyya School when Ayatullah Khwansari and Imam Khomeini were not present. Ayatullah Burujirdi was very fond of Ashrafi Isfahani, as when Ashrafi traveled to Isfahan, Burujirdi would come to visit him in his room in Faydiyya School when he returned. Ashrafi Isfahani was ordered by Ayatullah Burujirdi to administer examinations in Seminary of Qom so he would give tests of al-Makasib to clergymen.
Stay in Kermanshah
Ashrafi Isfahani moved to Kermanshah by the order of Ayatollah Burujirdi in 1335/1956 along with a number of other scholars. He became the manager of Seminary of Kermanshah, then founded the Seminary of Women and expanded its library.
- al-Bayan which is a book in quranic sciences in Farsi
- Tafsir-i Qur'an which is a summary of Shiite and Sunni exegeses
- Majma' al-shattat which is about pillars of religion, beliefs and theology, in Arabic in four volumes.
In the early days of Islamic Revolution of Iran, as Imam Khomeini knew Ashrafi well, and by the request of scholars of Kermanshah, Ashrafi Isfahani was appointed as the Imam of Friday Prayer in Kermanshah. When the war of Iran – Iraq began, Ashrafi encouraged people to attend the battle. Ashrafi himself visited Iranian soldiers in the battlefields and delivered speeches for them.
Other activities of Ashrafi Isfahani are:
- Expansion of Ayatullah Burujirdi Mosque in Kermanshah.
- Repairing the Mosque of Wali al-'Asr (a) and building the Mosque of Imam al-Husayn (a) in Khumayni Shahr.
- Founding the Seminary of Imam Khomeini in Kermanshah.
- Building Maktab al-Zahra for Islamic education of women and teaching Islamic theology to them.
- Making efforts to unite Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.
- Also by the order of Imam Khomeini Ashrafi Isfahani was in charge of preparing the situations for preaching and promoting activities of clergymen.
Ashrafi Isfahani had an austere lifestyle. His life did not change after accepting the responsibility of being the Imam of Friday Prayer in Kermanshah. He had a small and old house. Ashrafi responded to those who persist on repairing his house: "aircrafts of Iraqi regime destroyed the houses of people and they are living in tents, then why do you want to repair a house! The money you want to spend on repairing my house should be given to those affected by war; which brings far more rewards to you."
Ashrafi's son said: "For sixteen or seventeen years that I lived with my father, I never saw that he forgot Night Prayer." Also Imam Khomeini stated: "Whenever I met Mr. Ashrafi Isfahani, he reminded me of Allah."
During the time when Ashrafi Isfahani was the representative of Imam Khumayni in Kermanshah province, he was the target of two attempted assassinations. Ayatullah Ashrafi was martyred in the noon of 23rd of Mordad 1361/1982 in Friday Prayer in the Grand Mosque of Kermanshah by Mujahidin-i Khalq. After the funeral ceremony in Kermanshah, his body was moved and buried in Khumayni Shahr. According to his will, he was buried in the Takht-i Fulad Cemetery in Isfahan, next to the grave of Ayatullah Sayyid Abu l-Hasan Shams Abadi. Later when a part of his body was found, it was buried in the cemetery of Bagh Ferdows in Kermanshah.
After the martyrdom of Ashrafi Isfahani, Imam Khomeini made a statement in which he admired Ashrafi Isfahani. He added that Ashrafi had a peaceful soul and observed piety and purification of soul; he also admired his sacrifices.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from عطاءالله اشرفی اصفهانی in Farsi WikiShia.