Unabated Activities at Seminaries
During all these years, while being engaged in a variety of activities, His Eminence Ayatollah-ul-Uzma Saanei reserved an earnest interest in, and devoted considerable time and effort to teaching at the Seminary.
In the course of eighteen years of regular preaching which took him from Qom to Tehran every week, he managed to hold three classes daily in Qom to teach the Book of Makasib at the Imam Hassan Askari (AS) Mosque, the Kifayet-ul-Ussul and the Kharij of jurisprudence at the Haghani School.
In his classes and lectures, Ayatollah Saanei gave instruction in most of the texts that constitute the preliminary and Sat’h (level of teaching at Seminary School based on some prescribed texts) curricula.
Moreover, his own personal interest and proficiency in teaching on the one hand, and persistent requests by seminary students on the other, resulted in his offering several courses in some of these books.
For instance, he taught fifteen different courses to instruct the lofty and incisive book of the Kifayat-ul-Ussual.
In the year 1352 Hegira (1973), when he was still teaching some of the texts at the Sat’h courses, he began lecturing in the Kharij course in the Principles at the Haghani Seminary School which he concluded after twenty two years, i.e. in the year 1373 Hegira (1994).
An intimate familiarity and full command of His Eminence Imam Khomeini’s principles of doctrine and views on jurisprudence - the result of years of regular and devotional participation in Imam’s seminary sessions- gave a special touch to the courses offered by Ayatollah Saanei.
The core of the content of his Kharij level classes in jurisprudence, taught for almost twenty-five years, is Imam Khomeini’s Tahrir-ul-Wassilah.
While describing and probing the depth of other principles of jurisprudence, he invariably paid a special attention to the ratiocination of the Imam’s Principles, a feature which is of immense value to the Seminary.
For hundreds of seminary students and researchers who attend his classes, the lucidity of the argument and the critical and incisive view, deep reverence for his righteous predecessors, respect for the canonical method of the seminaries accompanied by an exceptional profundity of views and principles bestowed on lessons given by this illustrious teacher all of which characterize his teaching approach, mean that he imparts to his students a wealth of invaluable and potent methods to be used in solving contemporary social problems and brings a clarity of elucidation to the main topics in the canon.
Furthermore, Ayatollah Saanei’s teaching sessions are characterized with his incisive, logical and applicable views on social questions and problems and awareness to social realities and norms.
It also encompasses his insight to an essential knowledge of the accepted doctrines in the canon, concern over the methodology of transmitting and using the tradition and special care in appraising the correctness or otherwise of narration reference documents as well as the meticulous attention paid to the opinions of the canonists among the companions of the Holy Prophet and the twelve Imams (PBUT) all of which characterize his teaching performance.
Apart from giving regular general courses at the seminary, a group of the leading seminary scholars also benefit from the Ayatollah’s presence there.
For the past few years, the focus of Ayatollah-ul-Uzma Saanei’s teaching has been placed on issues in canonical jurisprudence.
So far, he has completed courses on the books of Zakat (Charity tax on property or alms), Khoms (Quint Tax), Hajj, canonical judgment, Hodud (religious bounds or sanctions), Diyat (compensation according to Islamic laws), Matrimony, Divorce, Inheritance and Qissass (just retaliation or vengeance) and at present, he holds classes on Kitab-ul-Shahadat (evidence and testimonials).
Besides, some sections of the books of Waqf (endowment), the Travelers’ Salaat (prayers), Concessions for the Sick, Taqiyah (dissimulation), La Zarar (the Islamic principle of no injury or malicious damage), Incompetence, the Question of Innovation and Accession and a number of other topics have also been included in his lecture courses, and parts of these are being compiled for publication at present.
This eminent teacher’s special emphasis on the assumption of responsibility for the revolution and the affairs of the state by the seminary graduates and teachers, as well as his emphasis on the canonical, ethical and revolutionary qualities of the seminary have meant that, in different ways, his pupils are not only the recipients of the gift of knowledge in the fields of jurisprudence, fundamentals of religion and biographical studies, they also find themselves compelled to take on the heavy load of social and political responsibilities in the country.
The humility shown to the canon and the reverence reserved for former canonists in the course of his lessons on the one hand, and his scholarly appraisal of the decisive evidence specially from the Koranic verses and the traditions on the other, has intensified his students’ faith in the unrivaled canon of Shi’ism and its illustrious canonists just as it has instilled in them the courage to probe into the opinions of the past and the belief in the competence of the canon to offer contemporary solutions.
Familiarity with the ordinary people, close scrutiny of social relations and norms, awareness of the needs and realities of today’s society, a deep understanding of the comprehensive and firm principles of the departed Imam as regards his emphasis on the preservation of the canonical standards and frameworks and reliance on sound religious reasoning, alongside his valuable achievements in issuing Fatwas (decrees), open up fresh horizons before his pupils and strengthen their understanding of how the upright cannon of Shi’ism is placed on clear and unshakeable foundations to retain its vivacity at all times and offer solutions for all problems while his continued support of talented seminary students encourages their potentials to flourish to the full.