If we follow Ahl al-Bayt, hardships will be easy.

Interview with Mehrzad Raisi

Please introduce yourself

I am Mehrzad Raisi, son of Rasoulbakhsh, born in 1993 in Sistan and Balouchestan Province [in Iran]. I have graduated from the first level of Hawzah[1]. I live in the holy city of Mashhad.

My family was not very religious. However, when I became a Shia (Shiite), they left me alone for seven years. After the death of my father, Alhamdulillah my relationship with my mother improved and our meetings increased.

Tell us about the time before you convert to Shiism, please.

In the eighth grade, when I went to the “Rahian-e Noor” camp[2], I met a man who was a member of IRGC[3] and was from Nikshahr. He introduced me to the representative of the supreme leader of Iran. I talked to him and he recommended some books to me.

When I was 15, my mother’s grandfather died. My uncle whispered in his ear, “Ali (A.S) is with truth and Ali’s Imamate is right.” This statement created a contradiction in my mind, and I wondered how my uncle said such a thing!

At the age of 17, I met a student of Hawzah who was a missionary. Then I read many books, which eventually led me to become a Shia. When I converted to Shiism, My family left me alone. Even when I got married and had children, no one knew about me.

Please tell us about the difficulties of conversion to Shiism.

The difficultiesthat Ahl al-Bayt -especially Hazrat Zaynab (AS)- experienced, are much harder than the difficultiesof our lives and cannot be compared to ours at all. If we follow Ahl al-Bayt, hardships will be easy.

I suffered a lot, but I did not lose hope at all because of the Ahl al-Bayt (AS). Because when a person pays attention to them and considers them as his role models, he can overcome difficulties.

What is your suggestion to the Sunni brothers and sisters?

 I ask them to follow the truth and not to be fanatic.

What is your best prayer or wish?

My best prayer is martyrdom in the footsteps of Imam Mahdi (AS).

What is the role of Ahl al-Bayt (AS) in guiding human beings?

The Ahl al-Bayt (AS) have an important role in the lives of all human beings. When Hākim al-Neyshaburi -who was one of the great Sunni scholars- became ill, rented a donkey to visit The holy Shrine of Imam Reza (AS) and then went to Mashhad. I myself traveled with an Indian [to Karbala] for Arbaeen Pilgrimage, He said, “I am a Hindu; But I came here because of the love of Imam Hussain.” Or a young Christian said to me there, “When you are with Imam Hussain (A.S.), your life will change and will be very different.”

Man really notices that Ahl al-Bayt have an impressive role [in the lives of  people] and they are the ones who attract all people with any religion. Ahl al-Bayt (AS) are present in this world; because The Qur’an says, “Never think that those who are killed in the way of Allah are dead. They are alive, getting succour from their Lord[4]“. So we can tell them our problems.

How do you feel when you visit the Shrines of Ahl al-bayt (AS)?

Alhamdulillah I went on a pilgrimage of Holy shrines of Ahl-Albait (AS) in Iraq and I also live in Mashhad and go on a pilgrimage of holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS). Going on the pilgrimage [of Ahl al-Bayt] gives man good feelings. Even when the first time I went to visit the shrine of eighth Imam, although I was a Sunni, I prayed like Shiites and performed Sajdah on soil. My comrades laughed at me, but I continued my doing. Surely, the first time a person goes on a pilgrimage, he has a wonderful sense of calm.

What books have you read about Shiism?

I have read precious books like Al-Ghadir and Peshawar nights; and a book about the hadith, “Whoever dies without knowing the Imam of his time, dies the death of Jahiliyyah (Ignorance)”[5]. I also read Sunni books about the excellence and rightfulness of the Ahl al-Bayt (AS) and listened to the speech of Professor Tawhidi and Mousavi. I also spoke in detail with Mawlawi Heshmati, Islam Baluchzehi and Rahimbakhsh Parvar.

What is the best way to preach the Shiism?

“Surely the religion in the Providence of Allah is Islam”[6], and true Islam means submission to the Wilayah (religious guardianship) of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS).

The best way to preach Shiism is to do good. Last year, when there was a flood in Balochistan province, I went for voluntary assistance and helped them. The Sunni people of Balochistan were very interested when they saw Shiite scholars who came to help them. When Shiite voluntary groups go to help the Sunnis, it encourages many people to become Shiites. Therefore, now the best and most effective way to preach Shiism is to do good, as Imams themselves used this method.

What is your opinion about Imam Mahdi (AS)?

We have twelve Imams. Unfortunately, we have not fulfilled their rights. Christians say, “If we had one Ali Asghar (AS), we would rise up.” The Shiite school is the most complete school and has instructions for all aspects of life.

The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Twelve successors will come after me, and all of them are from Quraysh.[7]

The Imam of time [Imam Mahdi (A.S)] is alive and present; Then why don’t we tell him our problems? Why don’t we beg him deeply? While he himself said, “Swear to God by my aunt and ask Him to hasten my reappearance”[8]. He also said, “If our Shiites were unanimous [in keeping their promise], the blessedness of meeting us would not fall into delay.[9]” Therefore, if we want Imam Mahdi (AS) because of himself, he will come.

What was the main reason for your conversion to Shiism?

When I was a child, [an accident happened so] my hand broke and l went into coma. In that situation I met the Ahl Al-bayt (AS) and this acquaintance sparked the idea of conversion in my mind.

Please tell us the defects of your previous religion.

Let me express the defects of my previous religion only with this narration. Imam Sadiq (AS) said, “Gabriel descended to the Messenger of God (PBUH) and said, “O Muhammad (PBUH), God sends greetings and says, “I created the seven heavens and the seven earths and what is between, below or above them, and I did not create anywhere greater than Rokn and Magham (special position in the Ka’bah)… If any of my servants worship me in that place, and his prayer lasts from the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth until its extinction, but he denies the Wilayah (religios guardianship) of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS), I will throw him into hell with his face…[10]”””

[1]seminary where Shi’a Muslim scholars are educated

[2] The group of Tourist-religious caravans which travel between visiting zones in south and southwestern in Iran to commemorate Iranian efforts and lives lost in the Iran–Iraq War.

[3] Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) (a standing army supplementing the regular armed forces in Iran formed after the culmination of the Islamic Revolution in March 1979)

[4] Holy Quran, Surah Ali ‘Imran, verse 169 [وَلاَ تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ أَمْوَاتًا بَلْ أَحْيَاء عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ ]

[5] A hadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) [مَنْ ماتَ وَ لَمْ يَعْرِفْ إمامَ زَمانِهِ مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّة]

[6] Holy Quran, Surah Ali ‘Imran, verse 19 [إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الْإِسْلَامُ]

[7] Sahih Muslim, vol 3, Hadith 1453

[8] This statement was narrated by Ayatollah Haj Mirza Ahmad Sibouyeh from Sheikh Hussein Samarai, who was one of the elders of Iraq.

[9] Ihtijaj Tabarsi, Vol. 2, pg 315; Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 53, pg 177, Hadith 8

[10] ‘Ain Al-Hayat- pg 109

October 29, 2021