Salam Bar Ibrahim - Shaheed Ibrahim Hadi (Part-6) Pahlevani and Zoorkhaneh Rituals

Salam Bar Ibrahim  - Shaheed Ibrahim Hadi (Part-6) Pahlevani and Zoorkhaneh Rituals


The Champion Without a Tomb

Related by: A Group of Friends of the Martyr

It was during his early days in high school that Ibrahim became familiar with the Pahlevani and Zoorkhaneh Rituals. At nights he would go the Zoorkhaneh of Haj Hasan. Haj Hasan Tavakkol, known as Haj Hasan Najjar, was a pious mystic. He had a Zoorkhaneh close to the Abu Rayhan High School. Ibrahim became one of the athletes who came to this environment of sports and spirituality.
Haj Hasan used to start the exercise by reading one or a few verses of the Quran. Then he would relate a tradition and translate it. Most nights he would send Ibrahim into the middle. In a round of exercise, Ibrahim usually recited a chapter of the Quran, the Tawassol prayer, or poems about the Household of the Prophet (a). In this way, he was also helping the Shaykh who read the poems for the athletes to exercise.
One of the important things about this Zoorkhaneh was that whenever their exercise coincided with the sunset prayer, the athletes used to stop exercising and pray the group prayer in the middle of the ring behind Haj Hasan. During the time before the Islamic revolution, besides exercising he also taught the lessons of faith and ethics to the youth.
I won’t forget that one time after the exercise had finished, when the athletes were dressing up and saying goodbye, suddenly a man rushed in. He had a small child in his arms. He said with a pale face and shaking voice, “Haj Hasan! Help me! My child is ill. The doctors have said there is no hope. My child is dying. You are a good man. For God’s sake pray. For God’s sake…” then he started crying.
Ibrahim stood up and said, “Change your clothes and come to the middle.” He himself went in too. That night Ibrahim and the other athletes read the Tawassol prayer in a round of exercise. Then he prayed for that child from his heart. That man was sitting in a corner with his child and crying.
After two weeks, one-day Haj Hasan after exercise said, “You are all invited for lunch Friday.” We asked in surprise, “Where?!” He said, “The man who came with a sick child has invited us.” Then he continued, “Thanks to God his child’s problem has been solved. The doctor said that his baby is fine. That is why he invited us for lunch.”

I turned around and looked at Ibrahim. He was getting ready to leave as if he hadn’t heard anything. I had no doubt that the Tawassol prayer which Ibrahim read with that strange passion had been effective.
I witnessed many times that Ibrahim became friends with people who didn’t have the appearance of religion and who weren’t caring about religious issues. He attracted them to sports first, and then gradually pulled them to the Mosque and mourning gatherings. One of these people was worse than the others. He always talked about drinking alcohol and other misconducts. He didn’t know anything about religion such as praying and fasting. He didn’t care about anything either. He even said, “I have never been to a religious meeting or a mourning gathering.”
I asked Ibrahim, “Mr Ibram6! Who are these people that you bring with you?!” He asked in surprise, “Why? What’s happened?!” I said, “Last night this boy came into the mourning gathering after you. He came and sat next to me. The clergyman was talking. He was talking about the innocence of Imam Husayn (a) and the evil deeds of Yazid. This boy was staring and listening in anger. While the lights were turned off, instead of crying he started cursing Yazid with bad words!!”
Ibrahim was listening in surprise. Suddenly he started laughing. Then he said, “This is not a problem! This boy hasn’t been to a mourning gathering and hasn’t cried. Be sure that when he becomes friends with Imam Husayn (a) he will change. If we can help these people to become religious, we have done something worthwhile.”
Ibrahim’s friendship with this boy resulted in him quitting all of his bad deeds. He became one of the good athletes. A few months later on one holiday, I saw the same boy. After exercise, he bought a box of sweets and distributed them. Then he said, “Friends! I owe all of you. I owe Mr Ibram. I am so thankful to God. If I hadn’t met you guys, I don’t know where I would be now…” We were looking at him in surprise.
We came out with our friends. On the way, I was thinking about Ibrahim’s actions. How beautifully he attracted people to sports one by one; then he pulled them to the Mosque and mourning gatherings. In his own words, he would throw them into Imam Husayn’s (a) lap! I remembered the words of the Holy Prophet (s) to Imam Ali (a) when he said, “O Ali! If just one person is guided by you, it is more valuable than all that the sun shines on.”

One of the other things which were special in this sports club was that the athletes went to other Zoorkhanehs in a group and exercised there.
During one of the nights of the month of Ramadan, we went to a Zoorkhaneh in Karaj. I won’t forget that night. Ibrahim was reading poems and prayers while he was exercising. Ibrahim was doing pushups in the Zoorkhaneh fashion for some time. A few series of athletes inside the arena changed, but Ibrahim was still exercising. He wasn’t paying attention to anyone.
An old man was sitting in a corner and watching the athlete’s exercise. He came to me and pointed to Ibrahim. He sadly said, “Sir! Who is this young man?!” I asked him in surprise, “Why is that?!” He said, “When I entered he was doing pushups. I counted his moves with my rosary. He has done them for seven rounds of this rosary; that means seven hundred times till now! For God’s sake bring him up! He will pass out!”
When the exercise finished, Ibrahim wasn’t tired at all. It was as if he hadn’t exercised for four hours! Of course, Ibrahim did this to get strong. He always said, “We have to have a strong body so that we can serve God and his servants.” He always prayed, “O God! Make my body strong so that I can serve You.”
During this same period, Ibrahim bought a heavy pair of the special wood and stone used in the Zoorkhaneh. He became very famous and everyone was talking about him. After a while, he didn’t use these in front of others anymore. He said, “These things make a person proud.”
He used to say, “People are in pursuit of knowing who is stronger. If I do heavy exercise in front of other people, I will be putting down my friends. In actuality, I have shown myself off and this is wrong.”
After that whenever he was the leader of the exercises, if he saw that someone was tired and couldn’t continue anymore, he would change the exercise quickly.
But one time the strong body of Ibrahim showed its power. That was the time when Sayyed Husayn Tahami, the world wrestling champion and one of those who were devoted to Haj Hasan, came to the Zoorkhaneh and exercised with the athletes.

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Salam Bar Ibrahim  - Shaheed Ibrahim Hadi


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