SAYAD SHIRAZI; A MAN OF ACTION
When the teacher told me that my father had called from the war zone and asked how I was doing in my studies I felt really proud.
At the anniversary of the day that Mr. Sayad Shirazi received martyrdom Mehrkhaneh interviewed his daughter and asked her to talk about her father.
Mrs. Sayad, please tell us about yourself.
My name is Maryam. I have been doing a Ph.D in Psychology for about a year now. I am married with three children. My oldest son is studying at a pre-University center. My daughter is at high school and my youngest child is a year and a half old.
How old were you when your father received martyrdom?
I was 24.
I think because your father was very busy during the first years of your life he was not around much, right?
My sister and I were born before the revolution but my two brothers were born after the revolution. When I was born my father was in the U.S taking some training classes and my mother was living with my grandparents. And when my brothers were born they gave him the news of their birth by phone because he was in the war area. But before the revolution he was around and he knew how to put babies into sleep. Every time he hugged a baby the baby would fall asleep soon. After the war finished I was at high school and he was still busy but we were together on weekends and for trips.
You mentioned that you were at high school when the war finished and he came back home. So you were going through puberty. What did he do to compensate for all the years that he was not around and how was his relationship with you?
Well actually we were not close because all the 7,8 years of war he was not around and we were mostly spending time with our mum. We would go on trips with our mum and when the war finished I used to feel shy around him, and it was hard for me to talk to my father. He was a familiar stranger for me, I knew him but I could not have a relationship with him. To break the ice after his morning prayers once or twice a week he sat and talked to me about events of the day or the memories he had of the war. When I grew older he insisted that I learn driving. He did all that so that if I wanted to get married he could talk to me about marriage, and I feel comfortable with him.
How old were you when you got married?
So your father set the stage for your marriage. What role did he play in your marriage?
He was a military man. I really loved my father and respected him. Sometimes when he said something I did not dare to disagree with him. In fact I loved him so much that I did not want to do anything that was against his will. I always thought that if a suitor comes and my father likes him but I don’t he will make me marry him.
But in fact his reaction to my marriage was really nice. As I was his first daughter and he had no experience in this regard, he consulted with a consultant. He closely scrutinized my suitor’s life so much so that my husband told me if he wanted to get employed in a ministry it would be easier. Of course before my father’s research about my husband finished he did not tell me anything about him because I was going to take the entrance exam of university at that time and he wanted me to concentrate on my studies. After he finished his research he wrote a note for me it was 4, 5 pages long about my suitor. He mentioned in the note that he did whatever he could to help me with my marriage. He even went to the university my husband had studied at and got his transcripts. All in all he did whatever he could to make sure that he would make a good husband for me. My husband was my first and last suitor and I am really happy with my life. And believe that he is the best legacy that God gave me through my father.
When your father was assessing your suitor what was important for him?
One thing that religious families right now pay too much attention to but is not important in the religion is money. My father acted according to religious rules. He said that my suitor was a student and had no money but could provide for me and earn a good income in the future.
Another important thing for my father was being in the war zones and fighting for the country. He said the person who fights for the country at the time of war and crisis can easily manage a family. My father wanted my husband to be someone who had fought for the country and believes in the ruling system of our country too. And fortunately my husband had these two characteristics too.
The other important thing for my father was that he wanted my husband to be someone who could stand on his own feet and not a man who receives help from his parents.
As his oldest child how do you describe his relationship with your mother?
He respected my mother very much. My sister is mentally retarded and my mother has always been taking care of her that is why he always tried to help. My mother said that once after they got married she wanted to wash his cloths but he got upset and said let me do my own personal affairs. When he came home and was very tired he would not wait for us to pour him a glass of tea. He would do it himself. He would not order us to do things for him. My grandmother was one of those traditional women who respect men a lot, she would get angry and tell my mother: “your husband is tired. Go pour him a glass of tea” and my mother replied: “this is what he wants” Or “he sees that I’m busy that’s why he is doing it himself”.
I really wanted him to order something so that I could do something for him. He used to iron his cloths. When I got older I did the ironing for him but he did not let my mother do it. When we had guests he helped my mother a lot and if he could not he went out and bought food so that my mum did not have to make food for the guests. If he was home on weekends he would clean the kitchen and the stairs. He did whatever that he thought was his responsibility. When we were students he was an active member of parents and teachers’ association.
When your parents had a fight or an argument, what was your father’s reaction?
He never talked at the time of a fight. He’d go to his room and after one day he would talk to the person he had an argument with. He believed that children should not know what their parents are arguing about and we never knew.
How did your mother try to make a balance between her own authority at home and that of your father?
My parents were always cooperating with each other. If my mother said something my father supported her stand. We always knew what to do because our parents did not disagree on the way they brought us up. And this had a great effect.
How did your father try to institutionalize religious rules like Hijab in you?
My father would not meddle into our religious affairs directly. He did not force me to choose a special kind of cover for Hijab, I chose Chador on my own. And even when he saw that I don’t take saying my prayers seriously he only reminded me of the consequences. I loved my father very much and so when I saw he was upset I would do whatever I could to make him happy again.
Please describe the character of your father in one sentence.
My father was a man of action. If he said that he was religious, spirituality was really dominant in his life.
Thank you for your time and may your father rest in peace.