By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
The 14th of the Iranian month of Khordad, falling on Wednesday June 3 this years, is a doleful day is a doleful day. It is the day when the Islamic Republic of Iran was orphaned with the departure from the mortal world, of its Founder. It is the day when 31 years ago millions of mournful Iranians gave a fitting farewell to the person who rescued them from domestic hegemony and foreign hegemony.
The person, whose arrest in 1963 had triggered the Khordad 15th Uprising (Thursday June 4 this year), left for his heavenly abode on the eve of the 26th anniversary of this event that changed Iran’s destiny. He, however, did not leave Iran, Iranians, and the world’s oppressed in the dark. He bequeathed to them a rich and lasting legacy, and an able successor, who continue to be the hope and support of all aspirants to truth, social justice and independence.
This was the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), whose mausoleum though empty this year of the usual multitudinous gatherings because of the Coronavirus pandemic, continues to rule the hearts of not just the Iranian nation, but of conscientious masses throughout the world.
A magnetic personality, he needs no introduction. Born in 1902 in the town of Khomein to the local religious leader, Seyyed Mustafa Musavi al-Hindi, he was named Ruhollah in honour of Prophet Jesus (peace upon him), whom Muslims hail as the Spirit of God. He lost his father early in life, but like all great men, strove with faith in God and self-confidence to acquire knowledge, piety, patience, prudence, and skills in management that continue to contribute to his lasting charisma, although he is no longer in our midst physically. His uprising against tyranny; exile to Turkey and thence to Iraq; and return home in triumph in February 1979 as Leader of the Islamic Revolution are all vivid in our memory.
His determination defeated an armed-to-the-teeth regime although he did not carry any weapon with him. When circumstances made him assume charge of Iran, he was already an accomplished scholar, a leading jurisprudence, and Gnostic of the highest order, who with reliance upon God during the ten years he was at the helm of affairs until his departure from the mortal world in June 1989, completely transformed Iran into a strong, dignified and truly independent country, capable of resisting the plots and pressures of Global Arrogance.
This makes us recall a famous hadith mentioned in "Bihar al-Anwaar” the Hadith Encyclopedia, from Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS):
"A man from Qom will rise and invite people towards truth. Around him will gather people like slabs of iron (of iron-resolve), who will stand firm against strong winds and storms, and will never get tired of war. They know not fear and have trust in Allah. The outcome is for the pious.”
A study of this statement expressed over a millennium and two centuries ago by an Infallible Imam, shows that no such event had occurred in Qom throughout all these centuries until the year 1963, when Imam Khomeini raised his voice against the Godless Pahlavi regime that was installed by the British and backed to the hilt by the Americans in order to keep the Muslim nation of Iran in thrall.
True to the words of this hadith, if the despots and the hegemonic powers quaked at the uprising of this man of God, the seekers of truth responded to his call and rallied to his side with iron resolve to establish the model Islamic government of the modern era, and to heroically defend it for 8 years during the war the US had imposed upon Iran through Saddam of the Ba’th minority regime of Baghdad.
He was not a cult leader, nor did he aspire to become one and neither do those who keep alive his memory are trying to make a demigod out of him. In fact, as should be clear, this humble scholar of the School of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) put into practice the heritage of Islamic learning and strove to enlighten mankind with higher humanitarian ideals which are conspicuously absent in bodies and souls burdened with animal instincts and traits.
This was where the iconoclast came into open conflict with the materialistic West, especially the ‘Great Satan’ (the US) and its blinkered vision of life and culture. This was where godless capitalism floundered against Islamic resurgence.
The 19th century had seen the indefatigable Seyyed Jamal od-Din Asadabadi hounded across countries and continents by the British and their surrogates for his efforts to resuscitate Muslim societies with the spirit of pan-Islamism, but here was Imam Khomeini and his followers of iron-resolve frustrating every sinister plot to tarnish the image of Islam that devilish minds could conceive.
The man who foresaw the doom of communism and whose dynamic decree hangs like the Sword of Damocles on the head of apostasy, has also spoken of his views on economy, politics, arts, industry, culture, science and religion, all of which function as an integrated whole in human life.
Perhaps, Iran may not yet have reached the ideal stage of a truly Islamic state as desired by him, but the change he wrought has been positively profound, with the society cleansed of all the vestiges of acts and practices that are considered as open violation of the principles of Shari’ah.
Imam Khomeini took dynamic steps to uplift the status of women and restored to Iranian woman their dignity which the Pahlavi regime had brutally trampled upon by exposing their delicate feminine features to the plots and brazen attacks of depraved western culture.
He focused on solidarity by building the bridge of Islamic Unity Week to span the 12th and 17th of the month of Rabi al-Awwal – the two days regarded by the two main sects of Islam respectively as the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA).
He declared the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadhan as World Qods Day in order to garner support for Islam’s first Qiblah, that is, Bayt ol-Moqaddas which is under Zionist occupation. He issued the historic verdict against apostasy, when the India-born British apostate Salman Rushdie, with the backing of the West and the Zionists dared to deride the sacred tenets of Islam.
Perhaps, one of the most brilliant measures of Imam Khomeini was the concept of "Wilayat-e Faqíh” or Governance of the Supreme Jurisprudent in the physical absence of the Imam of the Age, the Prophet’s 12 and Last Successor, Imam Mahdi (may God hasten his reappearance for establishment of the global government of peace, prosperity, and justice).
What Muslim philosophers such as Abu Nasr Farabi had envisioned in their writings on the concept of the ‘Perfect State’ and the ‘Ideal Ruler’ for human societies, and what God-fearing ulema and the pious believers had yearned for in every age, Imam Khomeini proceeded to give perfection to these rudiments of the rule of the righteous, as the concept of Wilayat-e Faqih.
It was his conviction that authority in state matters was not the prerogative of the infirm in faith, the unprincipled, the immoral and the unjust, and on the basis of the hadith that "the fuqahà’ are the heirs of Prophets”.
Today, Seyyed Ruhollah Khomeini is no more with us, but his thoughts and ideas are alive, especially the blueprint of Islamic government which has all the characteristics of a catalyst for aspiring Muslim countries. It is this magnetism that gains new adherents every day around the globe and sends shivers down the spine of those masquerading as defenders of democracy and human rights.