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A friendly letter to Ammar Nakhshawani

Assalamu Alaikum S. Ammar,

I hope you and your family are all fine, healthy and happy.

My name is Muhammad Darwish, a Bahraini-Persian student in the Islamic Seminary of Qom since 2013. I am a fan and I have listened to a lot of your lectures in the past and and the lectures of Hajj Hassanain Rajabali as well. However, I stopped listening to your lectures for some reasons that I will mention through this letter. 

I am writing this letter to you in response to a video podcast I watched on YouTube where you answered some of the accusations regarding you being a Shirazi and on. But before, I want to give you and perhaps your audience a brief history of the Shirazis line of thinking, in hope of enlightenment. 

I myself have been raised in a family where half are Shirazis (including scholars) and half follow Imam Khamenei. I have done Taqleed of Shirazi for a period in my life and been active religiously in their religious activities. However, since I am a very research kind of a guy, and observe a lot, I have observed a lot of things that worry me. I will give some examples:

Once, in the age of maybe 15-17, I sat with a Shirazi scholar where he started slowly bashing all other followers of other Religious Authorities (Marja’s) by saying none of their prayers (Salats) are approved by God, because they all follow misguided authorities. First he started with Fadhlullah, then Sistani, then Khamenei, then I left the gathering.

Another time, in the same age period, I sat with another Shirazi scholar, very famous in Bahrain for calling to respecting other Religious Authorities and for their followers to peacefully coexist. I asked him one time: What is the deal with Shirazi-Khameneis. He said: Let me tell you something. All those who you see on TV attending Khamenei speeches, holding their hands in a heart shape, writing affection words on boards raising them up among people; all those are Iranian agents in fact. They spread them between people and maneuver the camera above them, which seems like they are a lot and all in love with khamenei. In fact nobody loves Khamenei. This was acceptable to me since I was the one who asked him about the issue, but when he said: In fact, I believe Khamenei SHOULD BE EXECUTED. Here was when I knew these people are not in their right mind talking. They are not like other Marjas and scholars, they are not normal. They actually hold a great deal of grudge and enmity toward Imam Khamenei and the Islamic Republic. They don’t just hold different opinions, like the companions in the time of our Imams. This made me really reconsider my following of Shirazis. Later, at the age of 33, before few months, I sat with the same very famous scholar, and he unfortunately after years, still his claims was that Imam Khamenei is a very weak personality, trying to weaken him in front of his youth audience. 

In a period, I studied in my country in their Hawza as well, all they were saying between class breaks was bashing Iran and mocking Khamenei. Later when they knew I decided to complete my studies in the Holy City of Qom, they warned me of being dazzled by Iran, and gave me the address to Shirazi Seminary (Hawza) and told me to study only there. I traveled, sat with many people, researched, attended some thorough workshops, studied the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent (Wilayatul Faqih) a lot, raised my awareness of the Shirazis and their main suspicions and the great deal of misinformation they give to their audience.

I really have a lot to say regarding Shirazis. I have read most of their leaders books, but let’s keep that for now to not make this letter longer than what it is. What I want to say is this: I think all Shia are one family, and our main ship now is Iran, and all Religious Authorities in their books don’t approve of anything that digs a hole in this ship. I agree of differences of opinion when said with sincerity and having Iran’s best interest in mind, but disagree with planned and purposeful enmities toward this house of Shia. In my still continued journey, I differentiate between normal people who are Shirazi, and leaders of the Shirazis. Shirazi people are our friends and dears in faith. We set with them, go out with them, travel, have fun, laugh, talk about religion, but their leaders are far away from truth, honesty, and scholarly manners, with their own people let alone with the masses. They don’t project their different opinions in friendly manners like other Religious Authorities, who are doing that freely in Iran, even on the public television like Sh. Qeraati. He’s been giving sharp criticisms in his Tafseer program for over 30 years now, and nobody has taken his program down. Likewise Ayatullah Waheed or Ayatullah Makarim.

Sayyidna Ammar, That’s why this line of thinking (Shirazis) is different than any other line. That’s why our scholars think this line is very dangerous and people should be aware about them. That’s why channels like Islamic Pulse raise that awareness. and that’s why people take stances against you when they see your photos with their leaders and scholars.

Sayyidna, I think you agree with me, as a scholar we have to be extra cautious who we take pictures with, which page/group/channel we affiliate with. A believer should be very wise and smart, let alone a highly successful and respectful scholar as you. We expect more from the english speaking scholars specially you and specially in this sensitive time. It’s not only about knowing that you don’t agree with them 100%, it’s about strengthening their line of offense against the Islamic Republic. It’s about them using scholars like us very smartly to draw gradually to their side. It’s about our old loyal audience base that may get deluded easily. I always say Sayyid Ammar has guided many to the path of Ahlulbayt, but I also realize guidance needs continuation. Sometimes we raise people up, then we ourselves may take them down.

Sayyidna Al Aziz, you very well know that it’s not only about saying things that are there in our Shia literature, but what is more important is to always know which direction those spoken information will be poured into. It’s about the direction (Jeha); like you and I studied in Logic (Mantiq). Who will benefit from what I will say now? Which country? Which sect? Which line? That’s why there is an emphasis on a scholar that knows very well the exact conditions of his time (Aalimun Be zamaneh).

Sayyidna, What we mean with agents of the Taghut, we don’t mean Shirazis have an office therethere, duty time and salary. We mean these intelligence forces know very well whom to use against whom, and sometimes we without knowing are executing their agendas. Just read Jeffry R. Halverson of Arizona State University’s work named “A Counter-Narrative for Iranian Tyranny” to see how they plan in great actionable details to use Shirazis against the Islamic Republic. 

Our dear Sayyid, I very well acknowledge your love to Imam Khomeini and Imam Khamenei, and your firm belief that if Iran goes down we all go down, and that Imam Khamenei is a great wise leader rarely seen as stated by US Foreign Policy Magazine (Title: Who is Ali Khamenei). I also acknowledge that differences of opinions is a mean of improvement, but that does not apply to a line with all the attributes I mentioned. 

I wish you and your respected family a great prosperous life.

Sh. Muhammad Darwish

2nd August 2021 / 8:38 AM

Muhammad Darwish

A Bahraini national, a media graduate, has a long experience in the media development of cultural institutions; He also holds a degree in the Islamic Seminary, majoring in jurisprudence and principles, and has been continuing his studies in the holy city of Qom, Iran for 10 years.

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