This is part 3 of 3 of the series Safarnameh: A two week study tour of Iran.
We arrived back to Tehran early morning on Friday 22 April. As expected the power couple Mohsen and Somayyeh received us, settled us in our hotel and then took us to their business office for an elaborately organised lunch.
I and Mohsen attended the huge Juma prayer at Tehran University after going through strict but very friendly security arrangement. Although I could not fully understand the Khutbah, the Imam Juma mentioned the name of Iqbal Lahori, a number of times during his sermon. This refers to Allamah Dr Mohammad Iqbal, the famous South Asian poet whose main works are in Farsi and is loved in Iran as well for his revolutionary poetry.
On Friday afternoon we visited the modern iconic Tabiat Bridge designed by Leila Araghian at the age of 27 who won several international awards for her design.
On Saturday, my friend Hassan and his wife took us to Qom to visit the Tomb of Fatema Masume, sister of Imam Reza and the religious educational complex as well as the incredible Jamkaran mosque. On the way we also paid a visit to the huge Beheshte Zahra Cemetery compolex to read fateha on Hassan’s fathers grave who passed away earlier this year as well as visited the adjacent Mausoleum of Imam Khomaini and shed a few tears in the memory of this great man, who I had the honour of meeting in person 30 years ago.
The same night, back in Tehran, I attended a reunion with a dozen of former Iranian students and their families who completed their PhD’s from universities in Sydney during the mid nineties. Since we were running late, all of them had completed their Maghreb prayers but waited to pray Isha prayer behind me. This was really a moving experience for me of their respect and love. I had to excuse myself for being the Imam since I used a chair and a young man led the prayer.
Later we talked about the good old days and they recalled how they used to come to my house invited by my father for Iftars during Ramadan. Some of them also recalled attending the MEFF festival and reading the multilingual Australasian Muslim Times during the early nineties.
Mobinah was amazed at the love, respect and warmth amongst these far flung friends with differences of language, culture, nationality and school of though but united with Islamic brotherhood.
Finally we left Tehran on Sunday 24 April, after doing our final shopping saying goodbye to our loving Power Couple Mohsen and Somayyeh at the airport with tears in our eyes and sadness in our heart for departing from such a great country and its hospitable people.
Our two week trip to Iran was short but highly enriching and we made the most of it in terms of sightseeing, spiritual enrichment, education, enjoyment of food and forging of great friendships.