An overview on the biography of the sir of freemen, Hojat-Ol-Eslam Haj Sayed Ali Akbar Abootorabi
He was born in 1318 (lunar solar) in the holy city of Qom. His great father is Ayatollah Sayed Abasss Abootorabi son of Ayatollah Sayed Abootorab and his honored mother is daughter of Ayatollah Sayed Mohammad Bagher Alavi. He spent high school educations successfully and got his math Diploma in 1336. He explains his life after diploma as follow.
After getting diploma, with a suggestion that my father gave me about entering Hoze encouraged me to engage in those lessons and discussions. In this respect, Hajj Agha Valed played an important role since I did not like entering Hoze and my uncle persisted to send me to abroad (Germany) to continue my educations there, he said that he pay all cost of my education. My uncle has a grand child that has gotten his Diploma a year after me. He said to me if you go to Germany and educate there, I will send my grand child with more assurance there.
Finally, my father convinced me to enter to Hoze and changed my mind to go to abroad. Although some of my families said that it had better for me to go to Germany but as I mentioned I did not accept.
I had great zeal to study at Hoze in Qom so I designed to go to Mashhad to neutralizing my uncle persistence then my father allowed me to do so.
Hojat-ol-islam Sayed Ali Akbar Abootorabi departures Mashhad in 1337 and stayed at school Navab. He passed successfully preliminary courses in Mashhad. Some teachers such as Adib Neyshābūri and the late Ayatollah Sheikh Mojtaba Qazvini thought him.
He continues as follow: my late uncle accompanied by his family came to Mashhad, took my certification card and insisted in preparing our trip to Germany. I remember vividly that I gave my certification card to him and I did not return to get it until five months later.
My uncle said, "I persist from my bottom of heart in your going to Germany to continue your studies there since I know you'll be in a hard condition and short of money if you study in Hoze so I suggest you to study there."
I respected his ideas. One day while praying at Imam Reza shrine he told; you aware of all secrets, my uncle who suggested me to go to Germany wanted I stand on my own feet. But today I swear by God I don?t borrow money even from my father and if I confront with money shortage I'll never beg someone so I beg you do this favor for me to being confront less with such problems.
He addressed his dressed in Rohaniat (the clergy) in holy Mashhad as follow; " the night I was going to be Imam Jama't (to say the prayer in front of the prayers row) I had consulted with the late Ayatollah Sheikh Mojtaba Qazvini about this. That night I dreamed my ancestor (Ayatollah Sayed Mohammad Bagher Alavi): his grave opened, clear water foamed out with red fishes jumping up and down, and his body was on water surface and as it coming up the body coming up too. At the bottom of the grave, he sat on the water surface, turned and told me "Ali, we are not dead but alive" then lied on the water surface and it decreased. I assured that I'm better to be Moamam as soon. Therefore, I was honored to be dressed in clergyman.
He expressed his hard times during studying in Hoze as a Talaba (student) as follow: I remember that in holy Mashhad I just bought Sangak bread and I dried it to eat. We were paid a little and could not buy more food so I had to borrow bread from a sangak bakery for 15 days. Although the bakery did not refuse to give me bread but I decided to avoid buying borrowed bread for not being faced with difficulties. I remember vividly that one of my classmates had brought us money order from Tehran. Since that time, I did not buy more borrowed something.
Hojat-ol-islam Abootorabi came back to Qom to continue his studies and favored from the great professors of Qom then departures to Najaf since he nominated at theology academy of Najaf under Al Azhar of Egypt. He was accepted there then came back to Qom.
Following Imam Khomeini's movement in 1342, he started his political activities and had an active role in Khordad 15th, (5th 1963) demonstrations in Qom. During Shah's agents attack to Fayzya, they bashed Abootorabi.
Following Imam Khomeini's exile to Najaf, Abootorabi also went there and engaged in study. He enjoyed of Khomeini's teachings, he also learned from martyr Ayatollah gorori whom recently was martyred by Ba'th regime. In addition, he took part in special discussions at home of Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani.
In Najaf, he printed Velayat-e Faqih Lessons of Imam Khomeini and sent them to Iran and other countries. He also printed Imam's notices and distributed them. Moreover, he played an important role in distributing messages of Imam in Iran.
After about 6 years of studying, while he hidden Imam's notices in his wallet to take them to Iran he arrested in Khosrovi. Savak moved him to Qasr-e Shirin prison then to Kermanshah finally to Evin prison and tortured him. After releasing from prison, a new window in political activities opened to him. Accompanying martyr Sayed Ali Andarzgou, he besides political activities tried to organize an armed movement. At that time, Savak several times pursued them. He once more was arrested by Savak but cunningly he could deceit Savak agents and after a month under persecution and enquiry released and resumed his political activities.
Indefatigable zealot, Sayed Ali Akbar Abootorabi, had a warm relationship with individuals such as Mohammad Ali Rajaee. He took part in lessons of Martyr Beheshti and worked with him on engagement of active and educated people also he had close ties with other challengers and the Ulema (the religious authorities) such as Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran. Visiting the families of political prisoners and exiles in different cities are among other his then activities.
His concern and undertaking did not let him to be indifferent to Islam so he traveled to Lebanon and observed Jerusalem situation and challengers in Lebanon. He also had close ties with Sayed Ali Andarzgou on carrying of weapons from Lebanon to Iran and preparing forces that fight encouragingly against Pahlavi regime.
Beginning activities against Pahlavi, he was extremely happy. "At those critical days, our duty was very important, sometimes we slept only an hour during night and day," he said.
On the night of martyrdom of Ali Andarzgou (Ramadan 15th of 1356) he was going to participate in a meeting, that Ali Andarzgou also was going to join it, in order to organize rebellions against Pahlavi regime but he informed about martyrdom of Andarzgou by Shah agents so he and his companions run away from Savak. At the hazardous time, he could save from Savak mercenaries by helping God.
During the victory of Islamic Revolution, he commanded a group of people who captured the palace of Saad Abad, protected its equipments, and delivered them. In addition, he along with his brother, Sayed Mohhammad Hasan Abu Torabi, has played key role in capturing Qazvin garrison and prevented people from taking its armaments.
Following the victory of Islamic Revolution, he appointed as chief Committee of Islamic Revolution to serve to the oppressed then elected to city council of Qazvin and became its chief.
Just at the beginning of the Imposed war, he went to the front along with Dr. Chamran to organize the militia in army staff headquarters and personally made reconnaissance operations. One of his measures is liberation of risky and adventurous zone of Dab Hardan that commanded by him. His active and fruitful role can be inferred from Martyr Charman's addresses.
Finally, on Azar 26/1359, during a patrol to complete prior patrol to prepare the militia for a broad range operation due to negligence of one of his companions, they were recognized by enemy. Although he was able to escape from enemy's trap but since he intended to save his companions so, he was pursued and captured by enemy.
After being among POW, given his wise leadership, appeal to the Innocence, intellectuality, broad-mindedness, great meekness and forbearance, Abootorabi neutralized Ba'th ruse and trick, became a candle in Iranian prisoners circle and tried his best to encourage their resistance and belief. He defined the aim and way to them and like shines of sun gave them hope and faith. Anbar, Mosel, Ramadieh, and Takrit camps experienced efforts and endeavors of Abu Torabi, the indefatigable. The Gnostic Abootorabi after 10 years of being in captivity finally in 1369 along with a crowd of prisoners returned home honorably. He instead of taking rest after 30 years of struggle and campaign selected a more difficult way. To help Azadegan (released prisoners of war) and to pursue their problems he considered his duty and to this, he tried his best. On 1369/7/7 by the Grand Leader's verdict appointed to representative of Velayat-e Faqih concerning Azadegan matters and tried his best Azadegan to be honor and strength origin of Islamic Revolution Government.
In the forth and five terms of Majlis (Iran Parliament) selected in the second and third place. In his speeches, he addressed the government officials to observe justice, to investigate people affairs, and to protect the religious values. The late Abootorabi said that it is necessary for us to defense and strengthen Islamic government and Velayat-e Faqih. He also believed in the grand Leader and had a special devotion to him. He pointed out that all of us should submit to the grand Leader's authority. The indefatigable zealot, Abootorabi, at last, on the 1379/3/12 while accompany his father intended to go to Mashhad due to car crash departed this life and their soul had joined the Heaven. He was buried at 24 section of Imam Reza Shrine.
How was I captured?
On Azar 26, 1359, I was captured on Allaho Akbar Hills. It was around a year that enemy had made trench and was predominant on a vast area. About 7km in front of them was the Islamic Republic troops of Garrison 101 and the Guard Corps on another side. We also joined in accompanied a group operated under Dr. Chamran.
Despite of not being recognized the region or no chance to any action on the region for a year, we could attack enemy on their backside with a hundred troops to give chance to our troops to advance the 7km distance and to achieve Iraqi's forces.
God bless Dr. Chamran. "I'm worried about putting in many problems, I'd like you speak through Iraqi's transmitter after victory", He said.
I replied, "We have come here to be martyred, there will be more pious and worthy people, if God pleases, to speak in the transmitter.
So we went there accompanied this group, Dr. Chamran also coordinated with the battalion 101 and a special brigade stationed there that when attacked the enemy from behind they should begin their advance.
At first night, we approached around tow kilometers to the enemy. At the second day, it was required to do an exact reconnaissance to gather information for passage during the second night. By prays of Dr. Chamran and other comrades we could come near to Iraqi forces at 2 PM so as our distance was about 200 meters.
We told to one of our comrades who supported us from far away not to move at all if we were seen also suggested him not to leave his place unless I made signal with gun.
We slowly crawled on the ground and got the other side of hill that Iraqi forces occupied it. After moving crawly my comrade thought there is nobody behind the hill that we crossed so he moved and as he was seen, shot by 50 calibers. The comrade whom accompanied me thought the enemy was shooting us but I told him that he was wrong and let's jump in that hole. I did so but he escaped so I had to get out of shelter that finally we were seen.
After a moment we were shot, we tried to get away from them by three seconds jumping. They noticed that might not catch us and since our distance was 7km away from Iran, so they followed us by tank.
At last, my comrade wounded his hand and I bid farewell to him. I was almost get to "Ramli" hills, which the enemy could not get to me but they took a short cut way by tank, and closed the way to "Ramli".
It may be hard to imagine. At the time I had a special feel at the presence of sir Imam Mahdi so I went to help the wounded comrade fallen on the ground. After that enemy obstructed the way to "Ramli" by tank, I was going to go to another hill that there was no object for cheating the tank but after the feeling, I mentioned I turned back to my first place. The tank sank in the sand and stopped. So I could get to hills easily but I desired to help my comrade. I said to myself now that Imam Mahdi helped that the tank was sank so I had better to recognize place of my wounded comrade till at night we go there and save him.
Apparently, they immediately contacted with their headquarters and demanded a one-seated tank and it went toward Iranian front then came back from there toward us to make us to think it is an Iranian tank. I, who did not aware of matter, became happy and instead of going toward my wounded comrade, I went to the tank and told them we are tow people. Let's take my comrade, I turned and noticed he was calling me.
I told him angrily that we are tow. I, hastily, turned toward my comrade that suddenly I perceived the one-seated tank was getting near us. I found that it was an Iraqi tank so I jumped into a hole; they looked for me a lot until they found me and said to me to get up. I preferred to be killed than to be captured by them. Their kindness heightened, instead of shooting they took my hand and seated me in the tank.
In the prison, they sent me to gallows to confess me several times; they counted one and two then turned me back to the prison. During day, they did it at times. Finally they, nightly, took me to "Alamara school", an Iraqi brigadier told the guys there that "he has no right to sleep, at midnight we'll come to confess him, if he wont give us necessary information I'll make holes in his head with nail. At midnight, they came and made hole my head but couldn?t kill me. The brigadier came, submit me to Iraqi officer at that night, and said; "he shouldn?t sleep and must give us information". After his going, the officer told, "You look to say prayer, go wash and say your prayer". After saying prayer, he served me rice and fish then a glass of sweet tea.
Early in the morning, he woke me up and served me again. When the brigadier arrived, he saluted him and told, "From last night up to now I'm inspecting him but he just say I'm only a student and nothing more. They took me to Baghdad and delivered.
An Interview with Mr. Ahadi
Mr. Abootorabi with awareness of and believing in the true Islam had founded a leadership and direction and following him, this approach remained stabilized.
Q: How did you acquainted with him?
A: I acquainted with him at 8/11/1361 when we entered camp "Al Anbar". We were captured on operations "Fath Olmobin" and taken to camp "Al anbar" that our comrades called it "Anbar". At first, he came in to do initial talks and to receive the clothes. I noticed "Sayed Ali Akbar Abootorabi" on his chest. I heard his name at the beginning of 1360 in his funeral ceremony. I asked him whether he is that very martyr Abootorabi in 1360, which he answered "yes". I told him are Iraqis aware of this? He said, yes, the die is cast.
Since I was a "Talaba"(clergyman), I tried to do my duty best in captivity. So I told him, "it is necessary to talk more with you, Haji, than other prisoners. He said, some certain day come to our room. I spent an hour with and acquainted with him at that time. Khordad 12th (5th 1963) is the reminiscence of departure of the symbol of sacrifice and resistance, Excellency Hojatolislam hajj Sayed Ali Akbar Abootorabi and his great father namely the late Hajj Sayed Abasss Abootorabi in the way to made pilgrimage to Imam Reza.
Abootorabi was among the pioneers of Islamic revolutionaries, resistance pivot, being superior of Iranian freemen of Holy Defense, and a symbol of chastity, assistance, and public-spirited among managers and officials of Islamic community.
Q: It is said that Hajj Abootorabi did his best to support the Islamic Government and Imam Khomeini (peace be upon him). I'd like to know how he acted at such an improper atmosphere. On the other hand, how did he to plan his ideology?
A: He held a strategic aim about everything. For example, on discussion of goodness and benevolence to people, verse "the God loves the benevolent people" was always his basic belief. He told us to do best in service to other also he said; "be honest and in service to others" that his famous maxim. When behaving with Iraqis also he had such a position and advised us to do so that they never get to their goals by us, and we should not ever separate from our holy aims that are very goals of Islamic Republic Government. When Iraqis came to interview, he, if it was possible, at first consulted with other comrades and mentioned them the events happened at the beginning of Islam, during Islam history or in prison.
For example, when UN criticized Iraq they changed their way and they wanted to torture us no longer but they were going to take propaganda. Abootorabi's maxim, "behave so that Iraqis can't get their goals upon us", means that do not allow them to take advantage upon us, and Hajj Abootorabi wanted to hinder such movement.
Iraqis told us to play volleyball to take picture to show people that we behave properly with you. However, some of prisoners said why should we do play that may be misused by them. Mr. Abootorabi said, "If we refuse to play and they take the ball forever, what then?" So he said, go and play but since the whether is cold also you have no sport clothe so put your very overcoat and slippers on.
The interesting point was that some of those overcoats belonged to woman soldiers that some of our comrades said that it belongs to "Indira Gandhi" and it known as "Gandhi's overcoat". They played football while put on overcoats that they ironically said, they are belong to Gandhi and World War II.
Q: that is not only they played but also prevented the enemy's propaganda, is that so?
A: yes, the film that Iraqis had taken led to substitute camp officer by another person and claimed him for taking such a film. They could not prevent us from volleyball, football our comrades did not punished for this, and Iraqis did not get their goals.
Once more, they told us that they were going to give us pen and paper but they would like to know how we behave. In other words, they aimed to analyze us psychologically by a psychologist team. They selected eight people from every barrack then gave them pen and paper to draw paint of any kind. Hajj Abootorabi said us to do so again but he ordered us to draw only four paints of one type, for example, all draw broom or apple.
Finally, they collected our drawings and found all of them are of one type, for example, 200 drawing of broom or apple. They could not blame us no longer since they ordered us to draw picture and we do so we all seated separately.
In brief, given abide by and belief in Islamic Republic Government and adhere to Islam, Hajj Abootorabi through cleverness and insight guarded and protected the Islam rituals from being distorted and kept our comrades of being misused by Iraqis to achieve their aims. So you can see that during whole wars of the world from the beginning up to now, we can refer term "free" only to tow groups of war prisoners; One in Karbala namely Excellencies Zeinab and Sajad (peace be upon them) who while being in captivity but freely presented and defended their ideals, and the other is the Iranian prisoners of Imposed War who returned home freely. This related to knowledge, cleverness, smartness of Abootorabi in protection and preservation of spiritualities and proper manners of prisoners, i.e. he got some advantages and did not lose anything.
Q: Now my question is that this matter, that Mr. Abootorabi not only didn?t lose any point but also got some points from Iraqis, how much can be true?
A: yes, exactly it is so. Of course, Iraqis had several aims but those camps in which Hajj Abootorabi presented, did not lose any point.
Q: you are meaning that he did not lose any point to Iraqis that was harmful to Iran.
A: At all, he not only did not lose any point but also preserved the most important point i.e. preservation of servant prisoners that will serve in their country. And I think it is the most important service of Abootorabi to the country.
Q: Let us turn to his way of management and leadership in camps.
A: I said that Abootorabi (God bless him) method was not surface one. I mean he was not going to test the faults of his method and if it did not answer, so go to other method in another camp. It was not so at all. Mr. Abootorabi knowing the true Islam and adherent to it has founded a sound leadership and management that after him this method has remained stable and successful. He stabilized this method, in fact, in every camp he went as a good symbol. His symbol and method was based on the public participation.
Participated management or leadership based on public participation was eternal Abootorabi's method that it based on several prerequisites. He emphasized on such prerequisites that could be successful unless doing mere consultant leadership can not be successful, it need some prerequisites and that is a leader must accept his clear-sighted and knowledgeable ones of his society. And create a bilateral assurance. There was no one who had doubt to Mr. Abootorabi's word and this relation was from bottom of his heart. Mr. Abootorabi believed them otherwise he was certain that his addressee was wrong, his addressee also believed him. Mr. Abootorabi valued his addressees whom were a society of captives.
One more else of prerequisites of participated management is that one must affiliated himself or her self with the society whether the manager or employees and the late Abootorabi created this affiliation within all elite of the camp. Mr. Abootorabi talked with a Talaba (clergyman) that just captured so after that he felt that all comrades have to feel responsible against each other in camp. In other words, he felt that he also has to deal with good or evil happened in the camp and Mr. Abootorabi created the sense within all us. Anyway, there are a lot to be spoken concerning this subject.