Sistani and Aylán. Figures of an old man and a child have marked Pope Francis’ historic trip to Iraq in two exciting encounters. Very early on Saturday morning, Bergoglio walked barefoot into Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani’s house in Najaf. A historical meeting that connected the two souls of Islam through the Bishop of Rome. The elderly Shiite leader, who never receives visitors, came forward to shake hands with the pontiff, who two years ago embraced the great imam of Al-Azhar, the dad of Sunni Muslims.