A Glance at Hashemi Rafsanjani’s Works
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was an Iranian clergy and politician who has been called as the old companion of Imam Khomeini. He passed away on 8 January, 2017. Rafsanjani was a famous personality in the arena of internal and foreign policy in the present era.
After his demise, nearly all of the world news agencies and media mentioned him as an outstanding politician. In addition to politics, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani was active in culture, too. Late Rafsanjani authored a number of books which indicate his cultural, social and historical views.
He has written some books under titled, “Daily Memoirs”. He himself says that the reason for writing these books was his interest in writing. Hashemi Rafsanjani’s memoirs, speeches, interviews and viewpoints have been the basis for authoring several books by other writers. Furthermore, the full text of his Friday prayer sermons, interviews, general speeches and speeches at the parliament have been published in book form.
“The Era of Struggle” is the title of one of his books pertaining to his memoirs before the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Some parts of the book are helpful in mirroring his views. For instance, his selflessness toward Imam Khomeini (God’s mercy upon him) and his love of the Nationalization of Oil Industry are among these views.
Another book written by Ayatollah Rafsanjani is “Amir Kabir: Hero of Struggle against Colonialism” which is on the life and ideas of Mohammad Taqi Khan Amir Kabir, the able and competent premier of the Qajar period during the reign of Nasser-edDin Shah.
Another book of Hasehmi Rafsanjani is his interpretation of holy Qur’an titled, “Tafsir-e Rahnema” which he had written during the period of imprisonment before the Revolution. Some other books of his include, “The Account of Palestine”, “Islamic Free Thinking and Islamic Intellectualism”, “Qur’an’s View on Position of Mosques in the Islamic System”, “Culture of Qur’an”, “World in the Age of Prophet’s Mission”, “Solidarity of Islamic Ummah”.
The issue of Palestine was the topic that Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani dedicated his first book to it. The book was translated and published in 1963.
Earlier he had penned an article on Palestine in the last issue of the magazine “Maktab-e Tashayyo”. One of the books that inspired Hashemi Rafsanjani was the Arabic book “al-Qaziyat-ul-Falastiniya” by then Jordanian ambassador to Tehran, Akram Zuaytar. The book gained fame very soon and Rafsanjani stirred a row among political and religious circles by publishing the book. He wrote a prelude to the book about which he said, “I wrote the prelude myself. It was very vitriolic for at that time the issue of colonialism was among the most important issues for combatants. The first publication finished very soon. Of course, I had representatives across the country as I published the magazine. I had provided some money for that which, due to selling many of the books, we managed to compensate the expenses.”
The writer, in this book, has tried to find and clarify the root causes of the Arab world especially the conflict between the Arabs and the Zionist regime of Israel. That’s why he examines the political developments of the late 19th century and early 20th century and explains the emergence of Zionism and invasion of Palestine by the Jews and the onset of the Arabic Nationalism.
Some of the topics of Hashemi Rafsanjani’s book on Palestine are: the Palestinian geography, background of Palestine, Arabic and Palestinian uprising, Zionism, Palestine after the WWI, start of political negative struggles, implementation of Judaization of Palestine and the 1929 revolution. The book also deals with the talks between London and Palestine, the 1936 Revolution, union of Arab and Palestinian states, four cease-fires, refugees, the account of Beit-ul Moqaddas, Gaza, danger of Zionism for Arabs and the way out in separate chapters.
Hashemi Rafsanjani published the book “Amir Kabir, the hero of struggle against colonialism” in 1967. He says on the book, “After studying the book ‘Devourer of legacy of colonialism’ I decided to do something on the life of Amir Kabir. I did some studies and took some notes. But the bulk of the job was done in this opportunity. I intended to write on the issue of struggling against colonialism. Our adversaries were America and Britain. I wanted to introduce a good example of the past record of struggle against colonialism and that on the basis of a personality whom is accepted by all. In Iran, due to the hostility of the Pahlavi regime with the Qajars- as Qajars had killed Amir Kabir- they [Pahlavi regime] had aggrandized Amir Kabir very much. That means that everybody knew him well. I wanted to say that the main characteristic of Amir Kabir was the struggle against colonialism which is not compatible with the state of the Pahlavi family. I have focused on Amir Kabir’s anti-colonial dimension. I have told the history of Iran, too. But the main purpose was that. My second purpose was related to the modernists or the west-intoxicated who would mostly follow Amir Kabir. I intended to say that Amir Kabir was a religious person and not irreligious. I mentioned some instances of his religiosity so that the students of seminaries wouldn’t separate Amir Kabir from the religious stratum of society.”
The book was published in 1967 for the first time under the severe pressure of SAVAK security apparatus. After 50 years this book was published again by the same publisher. Although the writer likes the measures of Amir Kabir on reforms in the country, he criticizes some of his behaviors and beliefs. One of Hashemi’s criticisms on Amir Kabir is about the latter’s belief in the Shah. He writes, “Amir Kabir has introduced the Shah as the symbol of power and the mighty idol who can do whatever he wants and he has introduced him as the source of the powers in the country. This way does not comply with raising the spirit of democracy in the country and setting the ground for the thoughts of nation and politics of the country. And it will bolster the position of the dictatorial regime which is the source of all miseries of the country.”
Mirza Mohammad Taqi Khan Farahani known as Amir Kabir, one of the famous viziers of Iran, assumed premiership for three years and three months. He did many reforms in Iran during this short period. He was the founder of Dar-ul Fonun Academy for teaching the modern sciences and technologies. Moreover, he published the newspaper “Vaqaye Ettefaqiye” and made big changes in the some of the internal affairs and relations with other countries. Amir Kabir was deposed through intrigues of courtiers and killed in Kashan on the order of Naser-edDin Shah. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has included the personal characteristics of Amir Kabir from the viewpoint of Qaem Maqam Farahani. He writes, “Qaem Maqam, in a letter to Fazel Khan Garusi, has described much about the intellect, demeanour and spiritual characteristic of Mirza Taqi Khan and has deemed him a competent person.”
In another part of the book, Hashemi Rafsanjani refers to Amir Kabir’s presence in the Ottoman court to sign a treaty. He writes, “The British Robert Korzone, who was one of the British delegates at the commission of negotiations, writes on the commission that Amir Kabir was more considerable and dignified than all other Ottoman, British and Russian delegates and was not comparable with any of them.’ No doubt this long and perilous trip, especially the lengthy talks with the delegates of the colonialist states, had a great impact on training the sensitive spirit of Amir and familiarizing him with the intricate politics, conspiracies and deceptions of colonialist diplomats and preparing him for assuming the heavy responsibility of administration of the country.”
One of the valuable measures of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani was his authoring and publishing of his memoirs on a daily basis; a measure that should be regarded as a big step toward publication of the political realities after the triumph of the Islamic Revolution. Hashemi Rafsanjani was accustomed to daily registering of the events. These memoirs have been annually published under the serial title of “The report card and memoirs of Hashemi Rafsanjani”.
“Era of struggle”, “Revolution and victory”, “Revolution in crisis”, “Passing by crisis”, “After the crisis”, “Calm and challenge”, “Toward the destiny”, “Hope and anxiety” and “Climax of defence” are the subtitle of some of the books of the serial.
Rafsanjani’s memoirs have been published several times and have faced with ample critiques and comments.