Ruhollah Khomeini

Ruhollah Khomeini

Overview
Grand Ayatollah Sayyed
Sayyid
Sayyid is an honorific title, it denotes males accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through his grandsons, Hasan ibn Ali and Husain ibn Ali, sons of the prophet's daughter Fatima Zahra and his son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib.Daughters of sayyids are given the titles Sayyida,...

 Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini was an Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian religious leader and politician, and leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the...

 which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

, the Shah
Pahlavi dynasty
The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi (reg. 1925–1941) and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty ...

 of Iran. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader
Supreme Leader of Iran
The Supreme Leader of Iran is the highest ranking political and religious authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The post was established by the constitution in accordance with the concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists...

 — a position created in the constitution
Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran was adopted by referendum on October 24, 1979, and went into force on December 3 of that year, replacing the Constitution of 1906. It was amended on July 28, 1989. The constitution has been called a "hybrid" of "authoritarian, theocratic and...

 as the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation — until his death.

Khomeini was a marja
Marja
Marja , also known as a marja-i taqlid or marja dini , literally means "Source to Imitate/Follow" or "Religious Reference"...

("source of emulation", also known as a Grand Ayatollah) in Twelver Shi'a Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, author of more than 40 books, but is most famous for his political role.
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Quotations

If the ulema|religious leaders have influence, they will not permit girls and boys to wrestle together, as recently happened in Shiraz|Shiraz.

Denouncing the situation that sex segregation in Islam|sex segregation was not being imposed by the government.

The people will not rest until the Pahlavi rule has been swept away and all traces of tyranny have disappeared. As long as the Shah's satanic power prevails, not a single true representative of the people can possibly be elected.

Response to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's announcement of elections (August 1978); quoted in "The Shah's Divided Land" (18 September 1978) Time

Women are free in the Islamic Republic in the selection of their activities and their future and their clothing.

Interview for The Guardian in Paris (6 November 1978)

Personal desire, age, and my health do not allow me to personally have a role in running the country after the fall of the current system.

Associated Press interview in Paris (7 November 1978); repeated on several occasions before Khomeini returned to Iran

In Iran's future Islamic system everyone can express their opinion, and the Islamic government will respond to logic with logic.

Speech (9 November 1978), as quoted in The Most Truthful Individual in Recent History" in Iranshenasi, Vol. XIV, No. 4 (Winter 2003), as translated by Farhad Mafie

In the Islamic government all people have complete freedom to have any kind of opinion.

Interview with Human Rights Watch, Paris (10 November 1978)

After the Shah's departure from Iran, I will not become a president nor accept any other leadership role. Just like before, I limit my activities only to guiding and directing the people.

Le Monde interview in Paris (9 January 1979)

Ayatollah, would you be so kind as to tell us how you feel about being back in Iran?Nothing. I don't feel anything. (Hichi. Hich ehsasi nadaram)

Exchange between American reporter Peter Jennings and Khomeini (1 February 1979), during Khomeini's return flight to Iran; quoted in Elaine Sciolino (2001) Persian Mirrors. Khomeini's translator did not translate his response, but said only that he had no comment.
Encyclopedia
Grand Ayatollah Sayyed
Sayyid
Sayyid is an honorific title, it denotes males accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through his grandsons, Hasan ibn Ali and Husain ibn Ali, sons of the prophet's daughter Fatima Zahra and his son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib.Daughters of sayyids are given the titles Sayyida,...

 Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini was an Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian religious leader and politician, and leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the...

 which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

, the Shah
Pahlavi dynasty
The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty consisted of two Iranian/Persian monarchs, father and son Reza Shah Pahlavi (reg. 1925–1941) and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi The Pahlavi dynasty ...

 of Iran. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader
Supreme Leader of Iran
The Supreme Leader of Iran is the highest ranking political and religious authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The post was established by the constitution in accordance with the concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists...

 — a position created in the constitution
Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran was adopted by referendum on October 24, 1979, and went into force on December 3 of that year, replacing the Constitution of 1906. It was amended on July 28, 1989. The constitution has been called a "hybrid" of "authoritarian, theocratic and...

 as the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation — until his death.

Khomeini was a marja
Marja
Marja , also known as a marja-i taqlid or marja dini , literally means "Source to Imitate/Follow" or "Religious Reference"...

("source of emulation", also known as a Grand Ayatollah) in Twelver Shi'a Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, author of more than 40 books, but is most famous for his political role. He spent more than 15 years in exile for his opposition to the shah. In his writings and preachings he expanded the Shi'a Usuli theory of velayat-e faqih, the "guardianship of the jurisconsult (clerical authority)" to include theocratic
Theocracy
Theocracy is a form of organization in which the official policy is to be governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided, or simply pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religious sect or religion....

 political rule by the Islamic jurists. This principle (though not known to the wider public before the revolution) was installed in the new Iranian constitution after being put to a referendum.

He was named Man of the Year in 1979 by American newsmagazine TIME and has been described as the "virtual face of Islam in Western popular culture," where he was known for his support of the hostage takers during the Iranian hostage crisis and his fatwa
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

 calling for the death of British citizen Salman Rushdie.

Khomeini has been criticized for these acts and for human rights violations of Iranians (including his ordering of execution of thousands of political prisoners;), but also lauded as a "charismatic leader of immense popularity", and a "champion of Islamic revival
Islamic revival
Islamic revival refers to a revival of the Islamic religion throughout the Islamic world, that began roughly sometime in 1970s and is manifested in greater religious piety, and community feeling, and in a growing adoption of Islamic culture, dress, terminology, separation of the sexes, and values...

" by Shia scholars.

He is officially known as Imam
Imamah (Shi'a doctrine)
Imāmah is the Shia doctrine of religious, spiritual and political leadership of the Ummah. The Shīa believe that the A'immah are the true Caliphs or rightful successors of Muḥammad, and further that Imams are possessed of divine knowledge and authority as well as being part of the Ahl al-Bayt,...

 Khomeini
inside Iran and by his supporters internationally, and generally referred to as Ayatollah
Ayatollah
Ayatollah is a high ranking title given to Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah clerics. Those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies such as jurisprudence, ethics, and philosophy and usually teach in Islamic seminaries. The next lower clerical rank is Hojatoleslam wal-muslemin...

 Khomeini
by others.

Early life


The Khomeini family originated from Nishapur
Nishapur
Nishapur or Nishabur , is a city in the Razavi Khorasan province in northeastern Iran, situated in a fertile plain at the foot of the Binalud Mountains, near the regional capital of Mashhad...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. Towards the end of the 18th century, the ancestors of Ruhollah Khomeini had migrated from their original home in Nishapur to the kingdom of Oudh in northern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 whose rulers were Twelver Shia Muslims of Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 origin; they settled in the small town of Kintoor
Kintoor
Kintoor or Kintur is a village distant 10 miles north-east of Badosarai in Barabanki district famous for battle of Kintoor of 1858 during Indian Mutiny.-History:...

, just outside of the capital
Lucknow
Lucknow is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh in India. Lucknow is the administrative headquarters of Lucknow District and Lucknow Division....

. Ayatollah Khomeini's paternal grandfather, Seyyed Ahmad Musavi Hindi
Seyyed Ahmad Musavi Hindi
Seyyed Ahmad Musavi Hindi , a Twelver Shia Muslim scholar. He was the paternal grandfather of the Supreme Leader of the Iranian Revolution, Ruhollah Khomeini....

, was born in Kintoor, he was a contemporary and relative of the famous scholar Ayatollah
Ayatollah
Ayatollah is a high ranking title given to Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah clerics. Those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies such as jurisprudence, ethics, and philosophy and usually teach in Islamic seminaries. The next lower clerical rank is Hojatoleslam wal-muslemin...

 Syed Mir Hamid Hussain Musavi. He left Lucknow in 1830 on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Imam Ali in Najaf
Najaf
Najaf is a city in Iraq about 160 km south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2008 is 560,000 people. It is the capital of Najaf Governorate...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and never returned. According to a statement attributed to Khomeini's elder brother, Seyed Morteza Pasandideh, Seyyed Ahmad Musavi Hindi's point of departure was Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

. Also in a letter to Ayatollah Yousuf Kashmiri, Ayatollah Khomeini confirms the Kashmiri
Kashmiri people
The Kashmiri people are a Dardic linguistic group living in Kashmir Valley in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and parts of the Pakistani territory of Azad Kashmir who speak the Kashmiri language...

 origins of his grandfather. According to Moin this movement was to escape colonial rule of British Raj
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 in India. He visited Iran in 1834 and settled down in Khomein
Khomein
Khomeyn is a city in and the capital of Khomeyn County, Markazi Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 64,031, in 17,399 families....

 in 1839. Although he stayed and settled in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, he continued to be known as Hindi, even Ruhollah Khomeini used Hindi as pen name in some of his ghazals.

Ruhollah began to study the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, Islam's holiest book, and elementary Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 at age six. The following year, he began to attend a local school, where he learned religion, "noheh khani" and other traditional subjects. Throughout his childhood, he would continue his religious education with the assistance of his relatives, including his mother's cousin, Ja'far, and his elder brother, Morteza Pasandideh.

After World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 arrangements were made for him to study at the Islamic seminary in Esfahan, but he was attracted instead to the seminary in Arak
Arak, Iran
-Industries:thumb|right|250px|wagon parsArak is one of the main industrial cities of Iran, possessing many plants for heavy industries especially for the metal and machinery industries, including:...

. He was placed under the leadership of Ayatollah
Ayatollah
Ayatollah is a high ranking title given to Usuli Twelver Shī‘ah clerics. Those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies such as jurisprudence, ethics, and philosophy and usually teach in Islamic seminaries. The next lower clerical rank is Hojatoleslam wal-muslemin...

 Abdul Karim Haeri Yazdi. In 1920, Khomeini moved to Arak and commenced his studies. The following year, Ayatollah Haeri Yazdi transferred to the Islamic seminary at the holy city of Qom
Qom
Qom is a city in Iran. It lies by road southwest of Tehran and is the capital of Qom Province. At the 2006 census, its population was 957,496, in 241,827 families. It is situated on the banks of the Qom River....

, southwest of Tehran, and invited his students to follow. Khomeini accepted the invitation, moved, and took up residence at the Dar al-Shafa school in Qom. Khomeini's studies included Islamic law (sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

) and jurisprudence (fiqh
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

), but by that time, Khomeini had also acquired an interest in poetry and philosophy (irfan
Irfan
‘Irfān literally means knowing/awareness. The term is often translated as gnosis, however it also refers to Islamic mysticism. Those with the name are sometimes referred to as having an insight into the unseen...

). So, upon arriving in Qom, Khomeini sought the guidance of Mirza
Mirza
Mirza , is of Persian origin, denoting the rank of a high nobleman or Prince. It is usually translated into English as a royal or imperial Prince of the Blood...

 Ali Akbar Yazdi, a scholar of philosophy and mysticism. Yazdi died in 1924, but Khomeini would continue to pursue his interest in philosophy with two other teachers, Javad Aqa Maleki Tabrizi and Rafi'i Qazvini. However, perhaps Khomeini's biggest influences were yet another teacher, Mirza Muhammad 'Ali Shahabadi, and a variety of historic Sufi
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 mystics
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

, including Mulla Sadra
Mulla Sadra
Ṣadr ad-Dīn Muḥammad Shīrāzī also called Mulla Sadrā was a Persian Shia Islamic philosopher, theologian and ‘Ālim who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century...

 and Ibn Arabi
Ibn Arabi
Ibn ʿArabī was an Andalusian Moorish Sufi mystic and philosopher. His full name was Abū 'Abdillāh Muḥammad ibn 'Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn `Arabī .-Biography:...

.

Literature, poetry and philosophy


Khomeini studied Greek Philosophy
Greek philosophy
Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BCE and continued through the Hellenistic period, at which point Ancient Greece was incorporated in the Roman Empire...

 and was influenced by both the philosophy of Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, whom he regarded as the founder of logic, and Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, whose views "in the field of divinity" he regarded as "grave and solid". Among Islamic philosophers, Khomeini was mainly influenced by Avicenna
Avicenna
Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā , commonly known as Ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath, who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived...

 and Mulla Sadra
Mulla Sadra
Ṣadr ad-Dīn Muḥammad Shīrāzī also called Mulla Sadrā was a Persian Shia Islamic philosopher, theologian and ‘Ālim who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century...

.

Apart from philosophy, Khomeini was also interested in literature and poetry. His poetry collection was released after his death. Beginning in his adolescent years, Khomeini composed mystic, political and social poetry. His poetry works were published in three collections The Confidant, The Decanter of Love and Turning Point and Divan. Some of his poems are seen as criticizing spirituality and religion, such as one firstly dedicated to a commander in the Iran-Iraq war
Iran-Iraq War
The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between the armed forces of Iraq and Iran, lasting from September 1980 to August 1988, making it the longest conventional war of the twentieth century...

 but later published by his son as a memorial to him. He claims the controversial "I am the Truth" of the Persian mystic Manṣūr al-Ḥallāj and uses the Ṣūfī terminology of wine.

Ruhollah Khomeini was a lecturer at Najaf
Najaf
Najaf is a city in Iraq about 160 km south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2008 is 560,000 people. It is the capital of Najaf Governorate...

 and Qum seminaries for decades before he was known in the political scene. He soon became a leading scholar of Shia Islam. He taught political philosophy, Islamic history and ethics. Several of his students (e.g. Morteza Motahhari) later became leading Islamic philosophers and also marja. As a scholar and teacher, Khomeini produced numerous writings on Islamic philosophy, law, and ethics. He showed an exceptional interest in subjects like philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 and gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

 that not only were usually absent from the curriculum of seminaries but were often an object of hostility and suspicion.

Political aspects


His seminal teaching often focused on the importance of religion to practical social and political issues of the day, and he worked against the outspoken advocacy of secularism in the 1940s. His first book, Kashf al-Asrar (Uncovering of Secrets) published in 1942, was a point-by-point refutation of Asrar-e hazar salih (Secrets of a Thousand Years), a tract written by a disciple of Iran's leading anti-clerical historian, Ahmad Kasravi
Ahmad Kasravi
Ahmad Kasravi , was a notable Iranian linguist, historian, and reformer.Born in Hokmabad , Tabriz, Iran, Kasravi was an Iranian Azeri Initially, Kasravi enrolled in a seminary. Later, he joined the Iranian Constitutional Revolution...

. In addition, he went from Qom to Tehran to listen to Ayatullah Hasan Mudarris- the leader of the opposition majority in Iran's parliament
Majlis of Iran
The National Consultative Assembly of Iran , also called The Iranian Parliament or People's House, is the national legislative body of Iran...

 during 1920s. Khomeini became a marja in 1963, following the death of Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Husayn Borujerdi.

Background



Most Iranians had a deep respect for the Shi'a clergy or Ulema
Ulema
Ulama , also spelt ulema, refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars engaged in the several fields of Islamic studies. They are best known as the arbiters of shari‘a law...

, and tended to be religious, traditional, and alienated from the process of Westernization
Westernization
Westernization or Westernisation , also occidentalization or occidentalisation , is a process whereby societies come under or adopt Western culture in such matters as industry, technology, law, politics, economics, lifestyle, diet, language, alphabet,...

 pursued by the Shah. In the late 19th century the clergy had shown themselves to be a powerful political force in Iran initiating the Tobacco Protests against a concession to a foreign (British) interest.

At the age of 61, Khomeini found the arena of leadership open following the deaths of Ayatollah Sayyed Husayn Borujerdi (1961), the leading, although quiescent, Shi'ah religious leader; and Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani
Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani
Ayatollah Seyyed Abol-Ghasem Mostafavi Kashani was a prominent Twelver Shi'a Muslim cleric and former Parliament Speaker of Iran.-Early life:...

 (1962), an activist cleric. The clerical class had been on the defensive ever since the 1920s when the secular, anti-clerical modernizer Reza Shah
Reza Shah
Rezā Shāh, also known as Rezā Shāh Pahlavi and Rezā Shāh Kabir , , was the Shah of the Imperial State of Iran from December 15, 1925, until he was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran on September 16, 1941.In 1925, Reza Shah overthrew Ahmad Shah Qajar, the last Shah of the Qajar...

 Pahlavi rose to power. Reza's son Muhammad Reza Shah, instituted a "White Revolution
White Revolution
The White Revolution was a far-reaching series of reforms in Iran launched in 1963 by the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah’s reform program was built especially to strengthen those classes that supported the traditional system...

", which was a further challenge to the ulama.

Opposition to the White Revolution



In January 1963, the Shah announced the "White Revolution
White Revolution
The White Revolution was a far-reaching series of reforms in Iran launched in 1963 by the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah’s reform program was built especially to strengthen those classes that supported the traditional system...

", a six-point programme of reform calling for land reform
Land reform
[Image:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution,...

, nationalization
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 of the forests, the sale of state-owned enterprises to private interests, electoral changes to enfranchise women and allow non-Muslims to hold office, profit-sharing in industry, and a literacy campaign in the nation's schools. Some of these initiatives were regarded as dangerous, Westernizing trends by traditionalists, especially by the powerful and privileged Shi'a ulama
Ulema
Ulama , also spelt ulema, refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars engaged in the several fields of Islamic studies. They are best known as the arbiters of shari‘a law...

 (religious scholars).
Ayatollah Khomeini summoned a meeting of the other senior marjas of Qom and persuaded them to decree a boycott of the referendum on the White Revolution. On 22 January 1963 Khomeini issued a strongly worded declaration denouncing the Shah and his plans. Two days later the Shah took an armored column to Qom, and delivered a speech harshly attacking the ulama
Ulema
Ulama , also spelt ulema, refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars engaged in the several fields of Islamic studies. They are best known as the arbiters of shari‘a law...

 as a class.

Khomeini continued his denunciation of the Shah's programmes, issuing a manifesto that bore the signatures of eight other senior Iranian Shia religious scholars. In it he listed the various ways in which the Shah had allegedly violated the constitution, condemned the spread of moral corruption in the country, and accused the Shah of submission to America and Israel. He also decreed that the Nowruz
Nowruz
Nowrūz is the name of the Iranian New Year in Iranian calendars and the corresponding traditional celebrations. Nowruz is also widely referred to as the Persian New Year....

 celebrations for the Iranian year 1342 (which fell on 21 March 1963) be canceled as a sign of protest against government policies.

On the afternoon of 'Ashura (3 June 1963), Khomeini delivered a speech at the Feyziyeh madrasah
Madrasah
Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious...

 drawing parallels between the infamous tyrant Yazid
Yazid I
Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya ibn Abī Sufyān , commonly known as Yazid I, was the second Caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate . He ruled for three years from 680 CE until his death in 683 CE. Many Muslims condemn Yazid's rule as contentious and unjust...

 and the Shah, denouncing the Shah as a "wretched, miserable man," and warning him that if he did not change his ways the day would come when the people would offer up thanks for his departure from the country.

On 5 June 1963, (15 of Khordad
Khordad
Khordad is the 3rd month of the Iranian civil calendar of 1925.khordad has 31 days and begins on May and ends on June. Khordad is the 3rd month of spring....

), two days after this public denunciation of the Shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

 Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

, Khomeini was arrested. This sparked three days of major riots throughout Iran and led to the deaths of some 400. That event is now referred to as the Movement of 15 Khordad
Movement of 15 Khordad
The demonstrations of June 5 and 6, 1963 in Iran, were a protest against the arrest of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after an angry speech by him attacking Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Israel and the United States...

. Khomeini was kept under house arrest and released in August.

Opposition to capitulation



On 26 October 1964, the day of the Shah's holiday celebrating '2,500 years of continuous monarchy,' Khomeini denounced both the Shah and the United States. This time it was in response to the "capitulations" or diplomatic immunity granted by the Shah to American military personnel in Iran. The famous "capitulation" law (or "status-of-forces agreement") would allow members of the U.S. armed forces in Iran to be tried in their own military courts. Khomeini was arrested in November 1964 and held for half a year. Upon his release, he was brought before Prime Minister Hasan Ali Mansur, who tried to convince Khomeini that he should apologize and drop his opposition to the government. Khomeini refused. In fury, Mansur slapped Khomeini's face. Two weeks later, Mansur was assassinated on his way to parliament. Four members of the Fadayan-e Islam
Fadayan-e Islam
Fadā'iyān-e Islam , was an Iranian Islamic fundamentalist secret society founded in 1946, by a 21 year-old theology student named Navvab Safavi. Safavi sought to purify Islam in Iran by ridding it of `corrupting individuals` by means of carefully planned assassinations of certain leading...

 were later executed for the murder.

Life in exile




Khomeini spent more than 14 years in exile, mostly in the holy Shia city of Najaf
Najaf
Najaf is a city in Iraq about 160 km south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2008 is 560,000 people. It is the capital of Najaf Governorate...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. Initially he was sent to Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 on 4 November 1964 where he stayed in the city of Bursa for less than a year. He was hosted by a colonel in Turkish Military Intelligence
Intelligence
Intelligence has been defined in different ways, including the abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving....

 named Ali Cetiner in his own residence, who could not arrange alternative accommodation for his stay at the time. Later in October 1965 he was allowed to move to Najaf, Iraq
Najaf
Najaf is a city in Iraq about 160 km south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2008 is 560,000 people. It is the capital of Najaf Governorate...

, where he stayed until being forced to leave in 1978, after then-Vice President Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 told him that it's better to leave (the two countries would fight a bitter eight year war
Iran-Iraq War
The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between the armed forces of Iraq and Iran, lasting from September 1980 to August 1988, making it the longest conventional war of the twentieth century...

 1980–1988 only a year after the two reached power in 1979) after which he went to Neauphle-le-Château
Neauphle-le-Château
Neauphle-le-Château is a commune in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.-History:Neauphle-le-Château would gain international notoriety in 1978 when, on October 8th, Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini rented and moved into a local chateau...

, suburb of Paris, France on a tourist visa, apparently not seeking political asylum, where he stayed for four months. According to Alexandre de Marenches
Alexandre de Marenches
Count Alexandre de Marenches was a French military officer.During the Second World War, Count de Marenches was aide de camp to General Juin...

, chief of External Documentation and Counter-Espionnage Service
Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage
The Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage was France's external intelligence agency from 6 November 1944 to 2 April 1982 when it was replaced by the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure...

 (now known as the DGSE), the shah declined that France expel Khomeini for fear that the cleric should move to Syria or Libya. Some sources report that president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing is a French centre-right politician who was President of the French Republic from 1974 until 1981...

 sent Michel Poniatowski
Michel Poniatowski
Michel Poniatowski was a Polish Prince and French politician. He was a founder of the Independent Republicans and a part of the administration for President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. Poniatowski served as Minister of Health from 1973 to 1974 and Minister of the Interior in the d'Estaing government...

 to Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

 to propose to the Shah the elimination of Khomeini.

By the late 1960s, Khomeini was a marja
Marja
Marja , also known as a marja-i taqlid or marja dini , literally means "Source to Imitate/Follow" or "Religious Reference"...

-e taqlid (model for imitation) for "hundreds of thousands" of Shia, one of six or so models in the Shia world.

While in the 1940s Khomeini accepted the idea of a limited monarchy under the Iranian Constitution of 1906–1907 — as evidenced by his book Kashf al-Asrar — by the 1970s he rejected the idea.

In early 1970, Khomeini gave a series of lectures in Najaf on Islamic government, later published as a book titled variously Islamic Government or Islamic Government: Authority of the Jurist (Hokumat-e Islami: Velayat-e faqih).
This was his most famous and influential work, and laid out his ideas on governance (at that time):
  • That the laws of society should be made up only of the laws of God (Sharia
    Sharia
    Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

    ), which cover "all human affairs" and "provide instruction and establish norms" for every "topic" in "human life."
  • Since Shariah, or Islamic law, is the proper law, those holding government posts should have knowledge of Sharia. Since Islamic jurists or faqih have studied and are the most knowledgeable in Sharia, the country's ruler should be a faqih
    Faqih
    A Faqīh is an expert in fiqh, or, Islamic jurisprudence.A faqih is an expert in Islamic Law, and, as such, the word Faqih can literally be generally translated as Jurist.- The definition of Fiqh and its relation to the Faqih:...

    who "surpasses all others in knowledge" of Islamic law and justice, (known as a marja'), as well as having intelligence and administrative ability. Rule by monarchs and/or assemblies of "those claiming to be representatives of the majority of the people" (i.e. elected parliaments and legislatures) has been proclaimed "wrong" by Islam.
  • This system of clerical rule is necessary to prevent injustice, corruption, oppression by the powerful over the poor and weak, innovation and deviation of Islam and Sharia law; and also to destroy anti-Islamic influence and conspiracies by non-Muslim foreign powers.


A modified form of this wilayat al-faqih system was adopted after Khomeini and his followers took power, and Khomeini was the Islamic Republic's first "Guardian" or Supreme Leader
Supreme leader
A supreme leader typically refers to a figure in the highest leadership position of an entity, group, organization, or state, who exercises strong or all-powerful authority over it. In religion, the supreme leader or supreme leaders is God or Gods...

.

In the meantime, however, Khomeini was careful not to publicize his ideas for clerical rule outside of his Islamic network of opposition to the Shah which he worked to build and strengthen over the next decade.

In Iran, a number of actions of the shah including his repression of opponents began to build opposition to his regime.

Cassette copies of his lectures fiercely denouncing the Shah as (for example) "... the Jewish agent, the American serpent whose head must be smashed with a stone", became common items in the markets of Iran, helped to demythologize the power and dignity of the Shah and his reign. Aware of the importance of broadening his base, Khomeini reached out to Islamic reformist and secular enemies of the Shah, despite his long-term ideological incompatibility with them.

After the 1977 death of Dr. Ali Shariati
Ali Shariati
Ali Shariati was an Iranian revolutionary and sociologist, who focused on the sociology of religion. He is held as one of the most influential Iranian intellectuals of the 20th century and has been called the 'ideologue of the Iranian Revolution'.-Biography:Ali....

 (an Islamic reformist and political revolutionary author/academic/philosopher who greatly popularized the Islamic revival
Islamic revival
Islamic revival refers to a revival of the Islamic religion throughout the Islamic world, that began roughly sometime in 1970s and is manifested in greater religious piety, and community feeling, and in a growing adoption of Islamic culture, dress, terminology, separation of the sexes, and values...

 among young educated Iranians), Khomeini became the most influential leader of the opposition to the Shah. Adding to his mystique was the circulation among Iranians in the 1970s of an old Shia saying attributed to the Imam Musa al-Kadhem. Prior to his death in 799, al-Kadhem was said to have prophesied that "A man will come out from Qom and he will summon people to the right path". In late 1978, a rumour swept the country that Khomeini's face could be seen in the full moon. Millions of people were said to have seen it and the event was celebrated in thousands of mosques. He was perceived by many Iranians as the spiritual, if not political, leader of revolt.
As protest grew so did his profile and importance. Although thousands of kilometers away from Iran in Paris, Khomeini set the course of the revolution, urging Iranians not to compromise and ordering work stoppages against the regime. During the last few months of his exile, Khomeini received a constant stream of reporters, supporters, and notables, eager to hear the spiritual leader of the revolution.

Return to Iran



Khomeini had refused to return to Iran until the Shah left. On 17 January 1979, the Shah did leave the country (ostensibly "on vacation"), never to return. Two weeks later, on Thursday, 1 February 1979, Khomeini returned in triumph to Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, welcomed by a joyous crowd of up to five million people, estimated in at least six million by ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

 reporter Peter Jennings
Peter Jennings
Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings, CM was a Canadian American journalist and news anchor. He was the sole anchor of ABC's World News Tonight from 1983 until his death in 2005 of complications from lung cancer...

, who was reporting the event from Tehran.

On the Air France
Air France
Air France , stylised as AIRFRANCE, is the French flag carrier headquartered in Tremblay-en-France, , and is one of the world's largest airlines. It is a subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group and a founding member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance...

 flight on his way to Iran, Khomeini was asked by Jennings: "What do you feel in returning to Iran?" Khomeini answered: "Hichi" (Nothing!. This statement was considered reflective of his mystical beliefs, and his non-attachment to ego,. Some consider it a warning to Iranians who hoped he would be a "mainstream nationalist leader" that they were in for disappointment. To others, it was a reflection of a unfeeling leader incapable or unconcerned with understanding the thoughts, beliefs, or the needs of the Iranian populace.
Khomeini adamantly opposed the provisional government of Shapour Bakhtiar
Shapour Bakhtiar
Shapour Bakhtiar was an Iranian political scientist, writer and the last Prime Minister of Iran under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi...

, promising ""I shall kick their teeth in. I appoint the government. I appoint the government by support of this nation." On 11 February (Bahman 22), Khomeini appointed his own competing interim prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan
Mehdi Bazargan
Mehdi Bazargan was a prominent Iranian scholar, academic, long-time pro-democracy activist and head of Iran's interim government, making him Iran's first prime minister after the Iranian Revolution of 1979. He was the head of the first engineering department of Tehran University...

, demanding, "since I have appointed him, he must be obeyed." It was "God's government," he warned, disobedience against him or Bazargain was considered a "revolt against God."

Establishment of new government


As Khomeini's movement gained momentum, soldiers began to defect to his side and Khomeini declared jihad on soldiers who did not surrender. On 11 February, as revolt spread and armories were taken over, the military declared neutrality and the Bakhtiar regime collapsed. On March 30 and 31 1979, a referendum to replace the monarchy with an Islamic Republic passed with 98% voting in favour of the replacement, but controversially the referendum was posed as a single question: "should the monarchy be abolished in favour of an Islamic Government?"

Islamic constitution



Although revolutionaries were now in charge and Khomeini was their leader, several secular and religious groups were unaware of Khomeini's plan for Islamic government by wilayat al-faqih, which involved rule by a marja' Islamic cleric. This provisional constitution for the Islamic Republic did not include the post of supreme Islamic clerical ruler.

Khomeini and his supporters worked to suppress some former allies and rewrote the proposed constitution. Some newspapers were closed, and those protesting the closings were attacked. Opposition groups such as the National Democratic Front and Muslim People's Republican Party were attacked and finally banned. Through popular support and with charges of questionable balloting, Khomeini supporters gained an overwhelming majority of the seats of the Assembly of Experts which revised the proposed constitution. The newly proposed constitution included an Islamic jurist Supreme Leader
Supreme Leader of Iran
The Supreme Leader of Iran is the highest ranking political and religious authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The post was established by the constitution in accordance with the concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists...

 of the country, and a Council of Guardians to veto un-Islamic legislation and screen candidates for office, disqualifying those found un-Islamic.

In November 1979, the new constitution of the Islamic Republic was adopted by national referendum. Khomeini himself became instituted as the Supreme Leader
Supreme Leader of Iran
The Supreme Leader of Iran is the highest ranking political and religious authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The post was established by the constitution in accordance with the concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists...

 (supreme jurist ruler), and officially became known as the "Leader of the Revolution." On 4 February 1980, Abolhassan Banisadr
Abolhassan Banisadr
Abulhassan Banisadr is an Iranian politician, economist and human rights activist who served as the first President of Iran from 4 February 1980 after the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the abolition of the monarchy until his impeachment on 21 June 1981 by the Parliament of Iran...

 was elected as the first president of Iran.

Critics complain that Khomeini had gone back on his word (or outsmarted secular, Islamic modernists and even traditional Islamic Iranians, depending on your point of view) to advise, rather than rule the country.

Hostage crisis


On 22 October 1979 the United States admitted the exiled and ailing Shah into the country for cancer treatment. In Iran there was an immediate outcry with both Khomeini and leftist groups demanding the Shah's return to Iran for trial and execution. Revolutionaries were reminded of Operation Ajax
Operation Ajax
The 1953 Iranian coup d'état was the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh on 19 August 1953, orchestrated by the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom and the United States under the name TPAJAX Project...

, 26 years earlier when the Shah fled abroad while American CIA and British intelligence organized a coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 to overthrow his nationalist opponent.

On 4 November, Islamist students calling themselves Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line
Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line
Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line , also translated as Muslim Students of the Imam Khomeini Line, was an Iranian student group that occupied the U.S. embassy in Tehran on 4 November 1979...

, took control of the American Embassy in Tehran, holding 52 embassy staff hostage for 444 days – an event known as the Iran hostage crisis
Iran hostage crisis
The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian...

. In 2005, when Mahmoud Ahmedinejad became president, several of the hostages identified him as one of their captors, however this claim has been denied by a CIA investigation on the matter. In America, the hostage-taking was seen as a flagrant violation of international law and aroused intense anger and anti-Iranian sentiments. In Iran the takeover was immensely popular and earned the support of Khomeini under the slogan "America can't do a damn thing against us." The seizure helped to advance the cause of theocratic government and outflank politicians and groups who emphasized stability and normalized relations with other countries. Khomeini is reported to have told his president: "This action has many benefits ... this has united our people. Our opponents do not dare act against us. We can put the constitution to the people's vote without difficulty, and carry out presidential and parliamentary elections." The new theocratic constitution was successfully passed by referendum a month after the hostage crisis began. The effect was the splitting of the opposition into two groups – radicals supporting the hostage taking, and the moderates who opposed it. On 23 February 1980, Khomeini proclaimed Iran's Majlis
Majlis
' , is an Arabic term meaning "a place of sitting", used in the context of "council", to describe various types of special gatherings among common interest groups be it administrative, social or religious in countries with linguistic or cultural connections to Islamic countries...

 would decide the fate of the American embassy hostages, and demanded that the United States hand over the Shah for trial in Iran for crimes against the nation. Although the Shah died a few months later, during the summer, the crisis continued. In Iran, supporters of Khomeini named the embassy a "Den of Espionage", publicizing details regarding armaments, espionage equipment and many volumes of official and classified documents which they found there.

Relationship with Islamic and non-aligned countries


Khomeini believed in Muslim unity and solidarity and the export of Islamic revolution throughout the world. "Establishing the Islamic state world-wide belong to the great goals of the revolution." He declared the birth week of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 (the week between 12th to 17th of Rabi' al-awwal
Rabi' al-awwal
Rabi' al-awwal is the third month in the Islamic calendar. During this month, Muslims around the world celebrate Mawlid - the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Sunni Muslims believe the exact date of birth of Muhammad to have been on the twelfth of this month, whereas Shi'a Muslims believe...

) as the Unity week. Then he declared the last Friday of Ramadan
Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

 as International Day of Quds
International Day of Quds
Quds Day , officially in Iran known as International al-Quds Day , is an annual event that began in Iran in 1979, that is commemorated on the last Friday of Ramadan, expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people and opposing Zionism as well as Israel's control of Jerusalem.Quds Day rallies were...

 in 1981.

Iran-Iraq War



Shortly after assuming power, Khomeini began calling for Islamic revolutions across the Muslim world, including Iran's Arab neighbor Iraq, the one large state besides Iran with a Shia majority population. At the same time Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

's secular Arab nationalist Ba'athist
Baath Party
The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party was a political party mixing Arab nationalist and Arab socialist interests, opposed to Western imperialism, and calling for the renaissance or resurrection and unification of the Arab world into a single state. Ba'ath is also spelled Ba'th or Baath and means...

 leader, was eager to take advantage of Iran's weakened military and (what he assumed was) revolutionary chaos, and in particular to occupy Iran's adjacent oil-rich province of Khuzestan
Khuzestan Province
Khuzestan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the southwest of the country, bordering Iraq's Basra Province and the Persian Gulf. Its capital is Ahwaz and covers an area of 63,238 km²...

, and, of course, to undermine Iranian Islamic revolutionary attempts to incite the Shi'a majority of his country.

In September 1980 Iraq launched a full scale invasion of Iran, starting what would become the eight-year-long Iran–Iraq War (September 1980 – August 1988). A combination of fierce resistance by Iranians and military incompetence by Iraqi forces soon stalled the Iraqi advance and by early 1982 Iran regained almost all the territory lost to the invasion. The invasion rallied Iranians behind the new regime, enhancing Khomeini's stature and allowed him to consolidate and stabilize his leadership. After this reversal, Khomeini refused an Iraqi offer of a truce, instead demanding reparation and the toppling of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 from power. That was proved to be a huge mistake, because if Khomeini have accepted the truce, Iran could have taken a large territory in Iraq, then occupied by the Iranian Army. Instead he chose to continue the war which ended with a crippled Iranian economy, casualties of 500,000 to a million lives, and no gain of Iraqi territory.

Although Iran's population and economy were three times the size of Iraq's, the latter was aided by neighboring Persian Gulf Arab states, as well as the Soviet Bloc and Western countries. The Persian Gulf Arabs and the West wanted to be sure the Islamic revolution did not spread across the Persian Gulf while the Soviet Union was concerned about the potential threat posed to its rule in central Asia to the north. Although, Iran had large amounts of ammunition provided by America during the Shah's era, and also America illegally smuggled arms to Iran during the 80s despite Khomeini's anti-Western policy (sse Iran-Contra affair
Iran-Contra Affair
The Iran–Contra affair , also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or Iran-Contra-Gate, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior Reagan administration officials and President Reagan secretly facilitated the sale of...

).

The war continued for another six years, its costs mounting. 1988 saw deadly month-long Iraqi missile attacks on Tehran, mounting economic problems, the demoralization of Iranian troops, attacks by the American Navy on Iranian ships and oil rigs in the Persian Gulf, and the recapture by Iraq of the Faw peninsula.
In July of that year, Khomeini, in his words, "drank the cup of poison" and accepted a truce mediated by the United Nations. Despite the high cost of the war – 450,000 to 950,000 Iranian casualties and USD $300 billion – Khomeini insisted that extending the war into Iraq in an attempt to overthrow Saddam had not been a mistake. In a 'Letter to Clergy' he wrote: '... we do not repent, nor are we sorry for even a single moment for our performance during the war. Have we forgotten that we fought to fulfill our religious duty and that the result is a marginal issue?'

Rushdie fatwa


In early 1989, Khomeini issued a fatwa
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

 calling for the assassination of Salman Rushdie, an India-born British author. Khomeini issued a juristic ruling (Fatwa) that claimed that Rushdie's assassination was allowed for Muslims to partake because of his alleged blasphemy
Blasphemy
Blasphemy is irreverence towards religious or holy persons or things. Some countries have laws to punish blasphemy, while others have laws to give recourse to those who are offended by blasphemy...

 against Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 in his novel, The Satanic Verses
The Satanic Verses
The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdie's fourth novel, first published in 1988 and inspired in part by the life of Prophet Muhammad. As with his previous books, Rushdie used magical realism and relied on contemporary events and people to create his characters...

, published in 1988. Rushdie's book contains passages that many Muslims – including Ayatollah Khomeini – considered offensive to Islam and the prophet, but the fatwa has also been attacked for violating the rules of fiqh
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

 by not allowing the accused an opportunity to defend himself, and because "even the most rigorous and extreme of the classical jurist only require a Muslim to kill anyone who insults the Prophet in his hearing and in his presence."

Though Rushdie publicly regretted "the distress that publication has occasioned to sincere followers of Islam", the fatwa
The Satanic Verses controversy
The Satanic Verses controversy was the heated and sometimes violent Muslim reaction to the publication of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses. Many Muslims accused Rushdie of blasphemy or unbelief and in 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie...

 was not revoked. Khomeini explained,

Even if Salman Rushdie repents and becomes the most pious man of all time, it is incumbent on every Muslim to employ everything he has got, his life and wealth, to send him to Hell.

Rushdie himself was not killed but Hitoshi Igarashi
Hitoshi Igarashi
was a Japanese scholar of Arabic and Persian literature and history and the Japanese translator of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses. He completed his doctoral programme in Islamic art at the University of Tokyo in 1976, and was research fellow at the Royal Academy of Iran until the Islamic...

, the Japanese translator of the book The Satanic Verses
The Satanic Verses controversy
The Satanic Verses controversy was the heated and sometimes violent Muslim reaction to the publication of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses. Many Muslims accused Rushdie of blasphemy or unbelief and in 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie...

, was murdered and two other translators of the book survived murder attempts.

Through this fatwa, he was regarded a renewer of Islam by most non-Shi'a and became the spokesman for the frustratins and ambitions of Muslims in general.

Life under Khomeini


In a speech given to a huge crowd after returning to Iran from exile 1 February 1979, Khomeini made a variety of promises to Iranians for his coming Islamic regime: A popularly elected government that would represent the people of Iran and with which the clergy would not interfere. He promised that "no one should remain homeless in this country," and that Iranians would have free telephone, heating, electricity, bus services and free oil at their doorstep.

Under Khomeini's rule, Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 (Islamic law) was introduced, with the Islamic dress code enforced for both men and women by Islamic Revolutionary Guards and other Islamic groups Women were required to cover their hair, and men were not allowed to wear shorts. Alcoholic drinks, most Western movies, the practice of men and women swimming or sunbathing together were banned. The Iranian educational curriculum was Islamized at all levels with the Islamic Cultural Revolution; the "Committee for Islamization of Universities" carried this out thoroughly. The broadcasting of any music other than martial or religious on Iranian radio and television was banned by Khomeini on July 1979. The ban lasted 10 years (approximately the rest of his life).

Emigration and economy


Khomeini is said to have stressed "the spiritual over the material". Six months after his first speech he expressed exasperation with complaints about the sharp drop in Iran's standard of living: 'I cannot believe that the purpose of all these sacrifices was to have less expensive melons' On another occasion emphasizing the importance of martyrdom over material prosperity: "Could anyone wish his child to be martyred to obtain a good house? This is not the issue. The issue is another world." He is also reportedly famous for answering a question about his economic policies by declaring that 'economics is for donkeys'. This low opinion of economics is said to be "one factor explaining the inchoate performance of the Iranian economy since the revolution." Another factor was the long war with Iraq, the cost of which led to government debt and inflation, eroding personal incomes, and unprecedented unemployment.

While Iran became more strict Islamically under Khomeini, absolute poverty rose by nearly 45% during the first 6 years of his rule. Emigration from Iran also developed, reportedly for the first time in the country's history. Since the revolution, an estimated "two to four million entrepreneurs, professionals, technicians, and skilled craftspeople (and their capital)" have emigrated to other countries.

Suppression of enemies and opposition



Opposition to the religious rule of the clergy or Islamic government in general was often met with harsh punishments. In a talk at the Fayzieah School in Qom, 30 August 1979, Khomeini warned opponents: "Those who are trying to bring corruption and destruction to our country in the name of democracy will be oppressed. They are worse than Bani-Ghorizeh
Banu Qurayza
The Banu Qurayza were a Jewish tribe which lived in northern Arabia, at the oasis of Yathrib , until the 7th century, when their conflict with Muhammad led to their demise, after the Invasion of Banu Qurayza, took place in the Dhul Qa‘dah, 5 A.H i.e. in February/March, 627 AD...

 Jews, and they must be hanged. We will oppress them by God's order and God's call to prayer."

The Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia , ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979...

 and his family left Iran and escaped harm, but hundreds of former members of the overthrown monarchy and military met their end in firing squads, with critics complaining of "secrecy, vagueness of the charges, the absence of defense lawyers or juries", or the opportunity of the accused "to defend themselves." In later years these were followed in larger numbers by the erstwhile revolutionary allies of Khomeini's movement—Marxists and socialists, mostly university students—who opposed the theocratic regime.

In the 1988 executions of Iranian political prisoners, following the People's Mujahedin of Iran
People's Mujahedin of Iran
The People's Mujahedin of Iran is a terrorist militant organization that advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran....

 operation Forough-e Javidan against the Islamic Republic, Khomeini issued an order to judicial officials to judge every Iranian political prisoner and kill those who would not repent anti-regime activities. Estimates of the number executed vary from 1,400 to 30,000.

Although many hoped the revolution would bring freedom of speech and press, this was not to be. In defending forced closing of opposition newspapers and attacks on opposition protesters by club-wielding vigilantes, Khomeini explained, 'The club of the pen and the club of the tongue is the worst of clubs, whose corruption is a 100 times greater than other clubs.'

Minority religions


Life for religious minorities was mixed under Khomeini. Non-Muslim religious minorities no longer had equal rights. Senior government posts were reserved for Muslims. Schools set up by Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians had to be run by Muslim principals. Compensation for death paid to the family of a non-Muslim was (by law) less than if the victim was a Muslim. Conversion to Islam was encouraged by entitling converts to inherit the entire share of their parents (or even uncle's) estate if their siblings (or cousins) remain non-Muslim. Iran's non-Muslim population has fallen dramatically. For example, the Jewish population in Iran dropped from 80,000 to 30,000 in the first two decades of the revolution.

However, four of the 270 seats in parliament
Majlis of Iran
The National Consultative Assembly of Iran , also called The Iranian Parliament or People's House, is the national legislative body of Iran...

 were reserved for three non-Islamic minority religions, under the Islamic constitution that Khomeini oversaw. Khomeini also called for unity between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims (Sunni Muslims are the largest religious minority in Iran).

Prerevolutionary statements by Khomeini had been antagonistic towards Jews, but shortly after his return from exile in 1979, he issued a fatwa ordering that Jews and other minorities (except Bahá'ís
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

) be treated well. In power, Khomeini distinguished between Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 as a secular political party that employs Jewish symbols and ideals and Judaism as the religion of Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

.

Unlike the other non-Muslims in Iran, the 300,000 members of the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

, were actively harassed. "Some 200 of whom have been executed and the rest forced to convert or subjected to the most horrendous disabilities." Starting in late 1979 the new government systematically targeted the leadership of the Bahá'í community by focusing on the Bahá'í National Spiritual Assembly (NSA) and Local Spiritual Assemblies (LSAs); prominent members of NSAs and LSAs were either killed or disappeared.
Like most conservative Muslims, Khomeini believed Bahá'í to be apostates. He claimed they were a political rather than a religious movement,
declaring:

Death and funeral


After eleven days in a hospital, Khomeini died at the age of 86. He was succeeded by Ali Khamenei
Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Seyed Ali Hoseyni Khāmene’i is the Supreme Leader of Iran and the figurative head of the Muslim conservative establishment in Iran and Twelver Shi'a marja...

. Iranians poured out into the cities and streets to mourn Khomeini's death in a "completely spontaneous and unorchestrated outpouring of grief."
3.5 million people attended his funeral. Iranian officials aborted Khomeini's first funeral, after a large crowd stormed the funeral procession, nearly destroying Khomeini's wooden coffin in order to get a last glimpse of his body. At one point, Khomeini's body almost fell to the ground, as the crowd attempted to grab pieces of the death shroud. The second funeral was held under much tighter security. Khomeini's casket was made of steel, and heavily armed security personnel surrounded it. In accordance with Islamic tradition, the casket was only to carry the body to the burial site. In 1995, his son Ahmad Khomeini
Ahmad Khomeini
Ahmad Khomeini , was the younger son of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. His wife is Fatemeh Soltani Tabatabai, daughter of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Bagher Soltani Tabatabai Borujerdi and niece of Imam Musa Sadr, the Shī‘ah religious leader of Libanon.Ahmad Khomeini was close to his father, the leader...

 was buried next to him. Khomeini's grave
Mausoleum of Khomeini
The Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini houses the tomb of Ruhollah Moosavi Khomeini and Ahmad Khomeini, his second son who died in 1995. It is located to the south of Tehran in the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. Construction commenced in 1989 following Khomeini's death on June 3 of that year...

 is now housed within a larger mausoleum complex.

Successorship



Grand Ayatollah Hossein Montazeri, a former student of Khomeini and a major figure of the Revolution, was chosen by Khomeini to be his successor as Supreme Leader and approved as such by the Assembly of Experts
Assembly of Experts
The Assembly of Experts of Iran , also translated as Council of Experts, is a deliberative body of 86 Mujtahids that is charged with electing and removing the Supreme Leader of Iran and supervising his activities.Members of the assembly are elected from a government-screened list of candidates by...

 in 1985. The principle of velayat-e faqih and the Islamic constitution called for the Supreme Leader to be a marja (a grand ayatollah), and of the dozen or so grand ayatollahs living in 1981 only Montazeri qualified as a potential Leader (this was either because only he accepted totally Khomeini's concept of rule by Islamic jurists, or, as at least one other source stated, because only Montazeri had the "political credentials" Khomeini found suitable for his successor). In 1989 Montazeri began to call for liberalization, freedom for political parties. Following the execution of thousands of political prisoners by the Islamic government, Montazeri told Khomeini 'your prisons are far worse than those of the Shah and his SAVAK.' After a letter of his complaints was leaked to Europe and broadcast on the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, a furious Khomeini ousted him from his position as official successor.

To deal with the disqualification of the only suitable marja, Khomeini called for an 'Assembly for Revising the Constitution' to be convened. An amendment was made to Iran's constitution removing the requirement that the Supreme Leader
Supreme leader
A supreme leader typically refers to a figure in the highest leadership position of an entity, group, organization, or state, who exercises strong or all-powerful authority over it. In religion, the supreme leader or supreme leaders is God or Gods...

 be a Marja and this allowed Ali Khamanei, the new favoured jurist who had suitable revolutionary credentials but lacked scholarly ones and who was not a Grand Ayatollah, to be designated as successor. Ayatollah Khamene'i was elected Supreme Leader by the Assembly of Experts
Assembly of Experts
The Assembly of Experts of Iran , also translated as Council of Experts, is a deliberative body of 86 Mujtahids that is charged with electing and removing the Supreme Leader of Iran and supervising his activities.Members of the assembly are elected from a government-screened list of candidates by...

 on 4 June 1989. Grand Ayatollah Hossein Montazeri continued his criticism of the regime and in 1997 was put under house arrest for questioning what he regarded to be an unaccountable rule exercised by the supreme leader.

Political thought and legacy


According to at least one scholar, politics in the Islamic Republic of Iran "are largely defined by attempts to claim Khomeini's legacy" and that "staying faithful to his ideology has been the litmus test for all political activity" there.
Throughout his many writings and speeches, Khomeini's views on governance evolved. Originally declaring rule by monarchs or others permissible so long as sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 law was followed Khomeini later adamantly opposed monarchy, arguing that only rule by a leading Islamic jurist (a marja'), would insure Sharia was properly followed (wilayat al-faqih), before finally insisting the ruling jurist need not be a leading one and Sharia rule could be overruled by that jurist if necessary to serve the interests of Islam and the "divine government" of the Islamic state.

Khomeini's concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists (ولایت فقیه, velayat-e faqih) did not win the support of the leading Iranian Shi'i clergy of the time. Towards the 1979 Revolution, many clerics gradually became disillusioned with the rule of the Shah, although none came around to supporting Khomeini's vision of a theocratic Islamic Republic.

There is much debate to as whether Khomeini's ideas are or are not compatible with democracy and whether he intended the Islamic Republic to be a democratic republic. According to the state-run Aftab News, both ultraconservative (Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi
Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi
Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi is a hardline Iranian Twelver Shi'i cleric and politician who is widely seen as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's spiritual advisor. He is also a member of Iran's Assembly of Experts, the body responsible for choosing the Supreme Leader, where he heads...

) and reformist opponents of the regime (Akbar Ganji
Akbar Ganji
Akbar Ganji is an Iranian journalist and writer. He has been described as "Iran’s preeminent political dissident", and a "wildly popular pro-democracy journalist" who has crossed press censorship "red lines" regularly...

 and Abdolkarim Soroush
Abdolkarim Soroush
Abdolkarim Soroush , born Hosein Haj Faraj Dabbagh , is an Iranian thinker, reformer, Rumi scholar and a former professor at the University of Tehran. He is arguably the most influential figure in religious intellectual movement in Iran. Professor Soroush is currently a visiting scholar at the...

) believe he did not, while regime officials and supporters like Ali Khamenei, Mohammad Khatami
Mohammad Khatami
Sayyid Mohammad Khātamī is an Iranian scholar, philosopher, Shiite theologian and Reformist politician. He served as the fifth President of Iran from August 2, 1997 to August 3, 2005. He also served as Iran's Minister of Culture in both the 1980s and 1990s...

 and Mortaza Motahhari believe Khomeini intended the Islamic republic
Islamic republic
Islamic republic is the name given to several states in the Muslim world including the Islamic Republics of Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Mauritania. Pakistan adopted the title under the constitution of 1956. Mauritania adopted it on 28 November 1958. Iran adopted it after the 1979 Iranian...

 to be democratic and that it is so. Khomeini himself also made statements at different times indicating both support and opposition to democracy.

One scholar, Shaul Bakhash
Shaul Bakhash
Shaul Bakhash , PhD, is a historian and leading expert in Iranian studies at George Mason University where he is a "Clarence J. Robinson Professor of History."...

, explains this disagreement as coming from Khomeini's belief that the huge turnout of Iranians in anti-Shah demonstrations during the revolution constituted a 'referendum' in favor of an Islamic republic. Khomeini also wrote that since Muslims must support a government based on Islamic law, Sharia-based government will always have more popular support in Muslim countries than any government based on elected representatives.

Khomeini offered himself as a "champion of Islamic revival" and unity, emphasizing issues Muslims agreed upon – the fight against Zionism and imperialism – and downplaying Shia issues that would divide Shia from Sunni.
Khomeini strongly opposed close relations with either Eastern
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 or Western Bloc
Western Bloc
The Western Bloc or Capitalist Bloc during the Cold War refers to the powers allied with the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact...

 nations, believing the Islamic world should be its own bloc, or rather converge into a single unified power. He viewed Western culture as being inherently decadent and a corrupting influence upon the youth. The Islamic Republic banned or discouraged popular Western fashions, music, cinema, and literature. In the Western world it is said "his glowering visage became the virtual face of Islam in Western popular culture" and "inculcated fear and distrust towards Islam," making the word 'Ayatollah' "a synonym for a dangerous madman ... in popular parlance." This has particularly been the case in the United States where some Iranians complained that even at universities they felt the need to hide their Iranian identity for fear of physical attack. There Khomeini and the Islamic Republic are remembered for the American embassy hostage taking
Iran hostage crisis
The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian...

 and accused of sponsoring hostage-taking and terrorist attacks, and which continues to apply economic sanctions against Iran
Sanctions against Iran
This article outlines economic, trade, scientific and military sanctions against Iran, which have been imposed by the U.S. government, or under U.S. pressure by the international community through the United Nations Security Council...

.

Before taking power Khomeini expressed support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly . The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled...

. "We would like to act according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We would like to be free. We would like independence." However once in power Khomeini took a firm line against dissent, warning opponents of theocracy for example: "I repeat for the last time: abstain from holding meetings, from blathering, from publishing protests. Otherwise I will break your teeth."

Many of Khomeini's political and religious ideas were considered to be progressive and reformist by leftist intellectuals and activists prior to the Revolution. However, once in power his ideas often clashed with those of modernist or secular Iranian intellectuals. This conflict came to a head during the writing of the Islamic constitution when many newspapers were closed by the government. Khomeini angrily told the intellectuals:

Yes, we are reactionaries
Reactionary
The term reactionary refers to viewpoints that seek to return to a previous state in a society. The term is meant to describe one end of a political spectrum whose opposite pole is "radical". While it has not been generally considered a term of praise it has been adopted as a self-description by...

, and you are enlightened
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 intellectuals: You intellectuals do not want us to go back 1400 years. You, who want freedom
Freedom (political)
Political freedom is a central philosophy in Western history and political thought, and one of the most important features of democratic societies...

, freedom for everything, the freedom of parties, you who want all the freedoms, you intellectuals: freedom that will corrupt our youth, freedom that will pave the way for the oppressor, freedom that will drag our nation to the bottom.


In contrast to his alienation from Iranian intellectuals, and "in an utter departure from all other Islamist movements," Khomeini embraced international revolution and Third World
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

 solidarity, giving it "precedence over Muslim fraternity. From the time Khomeini's supporters gained control of the media until his death, the Iranian media "devoted extensive coverage to non-Muslim revolutionary movements (from the Sandinistas to the African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

 and the Irish Republican Army
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

) and downplayed the role of the Islamic movements considered conservative, such as the Afghan mujahidin."

Khomeini's legacy to the economy of the Islamic Republic has been concern for the mustazafin, but not always results. During the 1990s the mustazafin and disabled war veterans rioted on several occasions, protesting the demolition of their shantytowns and rising food prices, etc. Khomeini's disdain for the science of economics ("economics is for donkeys") is said to have been "mirrored" by the populist redistribution policies of Iran's current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who allegedly wears "his contempt for economic orthodoxy as a badge of honour", and has overseen sluggish growth and rising inflation and unemployment.

In 1963, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini wrote a book in which he stated that there is no religious restriction on corrective surgery for transgendered individuals
Transsexuality in Iran
Before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the issue of transsexuality in Iran had never been officially addressed by the government. Beginning in the mid-1980s, however, transsexual individuals were officially recognized by the government and allowed to undergo sex reassignment surgery...

. At the time Khomeini was a radical, anti-Shah revolutionary and his fatwas did not carry any weight with the Imperial government, which did not have any specific policies regarding transsexual individuals.

Appearance and habits


Khomeini was described as "slim," but athletic and "heavily boned." He was known for his punctuality:

He's so punctual that if he doesn't turn up for lunch at exactly ten past everyone will get worried, because his work is regulated in such a way that he turned up for lunch at exactly that time every day. He goes to bed exactly on time. He eats exactly on time. And he wakes up exactly on time. He changes his cloak every time he comes back from the mosque.


Khomeini was also known for his aloofness and austere demeanor. He is said to have had "variously inspired admiration, awe, and fear from those around him." His practice of moving "through the halls of the madresehs never smiling at anybody or anything; his practice of ignoring his audience while he taught, contributed to his charisma."

Khomeini adhered to traditional beliefs of Islamic hygienical jurisprudence
Islamic hygienical jurisprudence
Hygiene is a prominent topic in Islam. Islam has always placed a strong emphasis on personal hygiene. Other than the need to be ritually clean in time for the daily prayer through Wudu and Ghusl, there are a large number of other hygiene-related rules governing the lives of Muslims...

 holding that things like urine, excrement, blood, wine etc. and also non-Muslims were some of eleven ritualistically "impure" things that physical contact with which while wet required ritual washing or Ghusl
Ghusl
Ghusl is an Arabic term referring to the full ablution required in Islam for various rituals and prayers. The ablution becomes mandatory for any adult Muslim after having sexual intercourse, any sexual discharge , completion of the menstrual cycle, giving birth, and death by natural causes.Islam...

 before prayer or salah. He is reported to have refused to eat or drink in a restaurant unless he knew for sure the waiter was a Muslim.

Mystique



Khomeini was noted by many for his mystique. Before the revolution he benefited from the widespread circulation of a Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

 attributed to the Imam Musa al-Kazim who is said to have prophesied shortly before his death in 799 that
'A man will come out from Qom
Qom
Qom is a city in Iran. It lies by road southwest of Tehran and is the capital of Qom Province. At the 2006 census, its population was 957,496, in 241,827 families. It is situated on the banks of the Qom River....

 and he will summon people to the right path. There will rally to him people resembling pieces of iron, not to be shaken by violent winds, unsparing and relying on God.'


Khomeini was the first and only Iranian cleric to be addressed as "Imam", a title hitherto reserved in Iran for the twelve infallible leaders
Imamah (Shi'a twelver doctrine)
Imāmah means "leadership" and it is a part of the Shi'a theology. The Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, in the Twelver or Ithna Ashariya branch of Shia Islam....

 of the early Shi'a. He was also associated with the Mahdi
Muhammad al-Mahdi
Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Mahdī is believed by Twelver Shī‘a Muslims to be the Mahdī, an ultimate savior of humankind and the final Imām of the Twelve Imams...

or 12th Imam of Shia belief in a number of ways. One of his titles was Na'eb-e Imam (Deputy to the Twelfth Imam). His enemies were often attacked as taghut
Taghut
"Taghout" redirects here; for the village in Azerbaijan, see Ataqut.The Arabic word taghut means to "cross the limits, overstep boundaries," or "to rebel." In Islamic theology, the word refers to idolatry or to worship anything except Allah, I.e. worshiping Jesus or Muhammad would be taghut....

and Mofsed-e-filarz
Mofsed-e-filarz
Mofsed-e-filarz is the title of capital crime in the Islamic Republic of Iran, that has been translated in English language sources variously as "spreading corruption on earth", "spreading corruption that threatens social and political well-being", "corrupt of the earth; one who is...

(corrupters of the earth), religious terms used for enemies of the Twelfth Imam. Many of the officials of the overthrown Shah's government executed by Revolutionary Courts were convicted of "fighting against the Twelfth Imam". When a deputy in the majlis
Majlis of Iran
The National Consultative Assembly of Iran , also called The Iranian Parliament or People's House, is the national legislative body of Iran...

 asked Khomeini if he was the 'promised Mahdi', Khomeini did not answer, "astutely" neither confirming nor denying the title.

Before the revolution, in late 1978, a rumour swept the country that Khomeini's face could be seen in the full moon.
Tears of joy were shed and huge quantities of sweets and fruits were consumed as millions of people jumped for joy, shouting 'I've seen the Imam in the moon.' The event was celebrated in thousands of mosques with mullahs reminding the faithful that a sure sign of the coming of the Mahdi
Mahdi
In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years- before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.In Shia Islam, the belief in the Mahdi is a "central religious...

 was that the sun would rise in the West. Khomeini, representing the sun, was now in France and his face was shining in the moon like a sun. People were ready to swear on the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 that they had seen Khomeini's face in the moon. Even the Tudeh Party [the party of "Scientific Socialism
Scientific Socialism
Scientific socialism is the term used by Friedrich Engels to describe the social-political-economic theory first pioneered by Karl Marx. The purported reason why this socialism is "scientific socialism" is because its theories are held to an empirical standard, observations are essential to its...

"] shared in the [enthusiasm]. Its paper Navid wrote: 'Our toiling masses, fighting against world-devouring imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 headed by the blood-sucking United States, have seen the face of their beloved Imam and leader, Khomeini the Breaker of Idols, in the moon. A few pipsqueaks cannot deny what a whole nation has seen with its own eyes.'


As the revolution gained momentum, even some non-supporters exhibited awe, called him "magnificently clear-minded, single-minded and unswerving." His image was as "absolute, wise, and indispensable leader of the nation"

The Imam, it was generally believed, had shown by his uncanny sweep to power, that he knew how to act in ways which others could not begin to understand. His timing was extraordinary, and his insight into the motivation of others, those around him as well as his enemies, could not be explained as ordinary knowledge. This emergent belief in Khomeini as a divinely guided figure was carefully fostered by the clerics who supported him and spoke up for him in front of the people.


Even many secularists who firmly disapproved of his policies were said to feel the power of his "messianic" appeal. Comparing him to a father figure who retains the enduring loyalty even of children he disapproves of, journalist Afshin Molavi
Afshin Molavi
Afshin Molavi is an Iranian-American author and expert on global geo-political risk and geo-economics, particularly the Middle East and Asia. He is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, where he is co-director of the World Economy Roundtable, an ambitious exercise to re-map the global...

 writes of the defenses of Khomeini he's "heard in the most unlikely settings":
A whiskey-drinking professor told an American journalist that Khomeini brought pride back to Iranians. A women's rights activist told me that Khomeini was not the problem; it was his conservative allies who had directed him wrongly. A nationalist war veteran, who held Iran's ruling clerics in contempt, carried with him a picture of 'the Imam'.

Another journalist tells the story of listening to bitter criticism of the regime by an Iranian who tells her of his wish for his son to leave the country and who "repeatedly" makes the point "that life had been better" under the Shah, but after hearing that the 85+-year-old Imam might be dying, turns "ashen faced" and speechless, pronouncing 'this is terrible for my country.'

Family and descendants



In 1929, Khomeini married Khadijeh Saqafi
Khadijeh Saqafi
Khadijeh Saqafi was the Iranian wife of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 Iran Revolution. Saqafi was known as the "mother of the Islamic Revolution" within Iran....

, the 16 year old daughter of a cleric in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

. By all accounts their marriage was harmonious and happy. She died in 2009. They had seven children, though only five survived infancy. His daughters all married into either merchant or clerical families, and both his sons entered into religious life. Mustafa, the elder son, died in 1977 while in exile in Najaf
Najaf
Najaf is a city in Iraq about 160 km south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2008 is 560,000 people. It is the capital of Najaf Governorate...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 with his father and was rumored by supporters of his father to have been murdered by SAVAK
SAVAK
SAVAK was the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service established by Iran's Mohammad Reza Shah on the recommendation of the British Government and with the help of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency SAVAK (Persian: ساواک, short for سازمان اطلاعات و امنیت کشور...

. Ahmad Khomeini
Ahmad Khomeini
Ahmad Khomeini , was the younger son of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. His wife is Fatemeh Soltani Tabatabai, daughter of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Bagher Soltani Tabatabai Borujerdi and niece of Imam Musa Sadr, the Shī‘ah religious leader of Libanon.Ahmad Khomeini was close to his father, the leader...

, who died in 1995 at the age of 49, was also rumoured to be a victim of foul play, but at the hands of Islamic regime. Perhaps his "most prominent daughter", Zahra Mostafavi, is a professor at the University of Tehran, and still alive.

Of Khomeini's fifteen grandchildren the most notable include:
  • Zahra Eshraghi
    Zahra Eshraghi
    Zahra Eshraghi is an Iranian feminist and human rights activist. She is the granddaughter of Ayatollah Khomeini, and wife of Mohammad Reza Khatami , former head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the main reformist party in Iran.Zahra Eshraghi wants the wearing of headscarves to no longer...

    , granddaughter, married to Mohammad Reza Khatami
    Mohammad Reza Khatami
    Seyyed Mohammad Reza Khatami is an Iranian politician and nephrologist.He was the first Secretary-General of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the largest Iranian reformist party. He is now a member of the central council of the party...

    , head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front
    Islamic Iran Participation Front
    The Islamic Iran Participation Front is a reformist political party in Iran...

    , the main reformist party in the country, and is considered a pro-reform character herself.
  • Hassan Khomeini
    Hassan Khomeini
    Seyyed Hassan Khomeini is a "mid-ranking" Iranian cleric. He is the grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, and son of the late Hojat-Ol Eslam Ahmad Khomeini...

    , Khomeini's elder grandson Sayid Hasan Khomeini, son of the Seyyed Ahmad Khomeini
    Ahmad Khomeini
    Ahmad Khomeini , was the younger son of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. His wife is Fatemeh Soltani Tabatabai, daughter of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Bagher Soltani Tabatabai Borujerdi and niece of Imam Musa Sadr, the Shī‘ah religious leader of Libanon.Ahmad Khomeini was close to his father, the leader...

    , is a cleric and the trustee of the Mausoleum of Khomeini
    Mausoleum of Khomeini
    The Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini houses the tomb of Ruhollah Moosavi Khomeini and Ahmad Khomeini, his second son who died in 1995. It is located to the south of Tehran in the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. Construction commenced in 1989 following Khomeini's death on June 3 of that year...

     and also has shown support for the reform movement in Iran, and Mir-Hossein Mousavi
    Mir-Hossein Mousavi
    Mir-Hossein Mousavi Khameneh is an Iranian reformist politician, artist and architect who served as the seventy-ninth and last Prime Minister of Iran from 1981 to 1989. He was a Reformist candidate for the 2009 presidential election and eventually the leader of the opposition in the post-election...

    's call to cancel
    2009 Iranian election protests
    Protests following the 2009 Iranian presidential election against the disputed victory of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and in support of opposition candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi occurred in major cities in Iran and around the world starting June 13, 2009...

     the 2009 election results.
  • Husain Khomeini, (Sayid Husain Khomeini) Khomeini's other grandson, son of Sayid Mustafa Khomeini, is a mid-level cleric who is strongly against the system of the Islamic Republic
    Islamic republic
    Islamic republic is the name given to several states in the Muslim world including the Islamic Republics of Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Mauritania. Pakistan adopted the title under the constitution of 1956. Mauritania adopted it on 28 November 1958. Iran adopted it after the 1979 Iranian...

    . In 2003 he was quoted as saying:
Iranians need freedom now, and if they can only achieve it with American interference I think they would welcome it. As an Iranian, I would welcome it.
In that same year Husain Khomeini visited the United States, where he met figures such as Reza Pahlavi II, the son of the last Shah. Later that year, Husain returned to Iran after receiving an urgent message from his grandmother. According to Michael Ledeen
Michael Ledeen
Michael Arthur Ledeen is an American specialist on foreign policy. His research areas have included state sponsors of terrorism, Iran, the Middle East, Europe , U.S.-China relations, intelligence, and Africa and is a leading neoconservative...

, quoting "family sources", he was blackmailed into returning. In 2006, he called for an American invasion and overthrow of the Islamic Republic, telling Al-Arabiyah television station viewers, "If you were a prisoner, what would you do? I want someone to break the prison [doors open].".
  • Another of Khomeini's grandchildren, Ali Eshraghi, was disqualified from the 2008 parliamentary elections on grounds of being insufficiently loyal to the principles of the Islamic revolution, but later reinstated.

Works


Khomeini was a prolific writer (200 of his books are online) who authored commentaries
Tafsir
Tafseer is the Arabic word for exegesis or commentary, usually of the Qur'an. Ta'wīl is a subset of tafsir and refers to esoteric or mystical interpretation. An author of tafsir is a mufassir .- Etymology :...

 on the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, on Islamic jurisprudence
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

, the roots of Islamic law
Usul al-fiqh
Uṣūl al-fiqh is the study of the origins, sources, and principles upon which Islamic jurisprudence is based. In the narrow sense, it simply refers to the question of what are the sources of Islamic law...

, and Islamic traditions
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

. He also released books about philosophy
Kalam
ʿIlm al-Kalām is the Islamic philosophical discipline of seeking theological principles through dialectic. Kalām in Islamic practice relates to the discipline of seeking theological knowledge through debate and argument. A scholar of kalām is referred to as a mutakallim...

, gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

, poetry, literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, government and politics. Some of his books:
  • Hokumat-e Islami: Velayat-e faqih (Islamic Government: Governance of the Jurist)
  • Forty Hadith (Forty Traditions)
  • Adab as Salat (The Disciplines of Prayers)
  • Jihade Akbar (The Greater Struggle)
  • Tahrir-ol-vasyleh

See also


  • List of Islamic studies scholars
  • Family tree of Ruhollah Khomeini
  • Islamic fundamentalism in Iran
  • Islam and Revolution
    Islam and Revolution
    Islam and Revolution is a two volume set of writings by Ayatollah/Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, which contain a collection of his speeches and writings.- Islam and Revolution I: Writings and Declarations :...


External links


Selected bibliography