Global dimensions of the Islamic Revolution
The Iranian people are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their revolution while the message of their revolution keeps resonating throughout the world.
When Imam Khomeini spoke of exporting the Islamic Revolution in the first days of the uprising, some people couldn’t understand the depth and importance of his remarks. But, 40 years after the resounding triumph of the revolution, both the friends and enemies witness that without dispatching of forces, war and bloodshed, or what the US calls “nation-building” the principles and basics of the Islamic Revolution have gone beyond frontiers and conquered the hearts and minds of Muslims and free-spirited people in the world. Is it not due to the fact that the Islamic Revolution is in complete conformity with the human nature? Ayatollah Khamenei stated, “The concepts of the revolution and the concepts of Islam are like the scent of spring flowers. No one can prevent it. It will spread and go everywhere. It is a reviving and inspiring breeze which engulfs everywhere automatically.”
The victory of the Islamic Revolution took the Islamic communities out of inaction and released them infatuation against foreigners. Hence, they woke up and tried to return to their Islamic identity. Muslims tried to adopt the Islamic teachings which had been forgotten for centuries. The Islamic Ummah was revived and began recalling the lost realities.
The Iranian nation triumphed with bare hands against the regime of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi which was supported by the superpowers of those days. The message of this revolution was that the Islamic Ummah can be dignified, free, advanced and strong provided that it returns to the genuine Islamic teachings and the authentic religion preached by the Prophet.
The Islamic Revolution had an especial impact on the Shias of South Lebanon. The inexhaustible efforts of Imam Musa Sadr during the years of the revolution had created turned the situation in a way that Lebanon was more susceptible to accept the message of Iran’s revolution. The consecutive defeats of Arabs against the spurious Zionist regime, their humiliation before and fear of this illegitimate regime, and the failure of various Lebanese groups vis-à-vis aggression and invasion and the defeat of the national army had aggravated the feeling of hatred of the enemy and revive the hope of honorable days in the hearts of Muslims.
The successful experience of the Iranian nation in struggling against oppression and arrogance led to formation of Hezbollah in Lebanon shortly after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. In its famous letter known as the “Manifest of Hezbollah” which was officially released in 1985, Hezbollah stressed, “We declare our commitment to the unique, wise and just leadership that has been presently incarnated in the person of Imam Ayatollah-ul Uzma Ruhollah al-Musavi al-Khomeini. He is the stimulator of the Islamic Revolution and its grand movement.”
The anti-terrorist legendary Hezbollah attained great victories against the fabricated regime in Tel Aviv and smashed its myth of invincibility several times. As a result, Hezbollah liberated the occupied regions of southern Lebanon from the clutches of Israel. After Israel’s defeat, Hezbollah became active in social and political domain and affected parliamentary and council elections.
One of the clear manifestations of the spread and influence of the Islamic Revolution was the awakening of Nigerian Muslims despite being thousands of kilometers far from Iran. Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and the third populated among Islamic countries. 50% of the 190 million people of the country are Muslims and mostly Sunnis of Maleki sect. 40% are Christians and the remaining 10% adhere to vernacular religions. Islam arrived in the region by preachers and merchants in early 2nd century AH but as colonialists infiltrated in the region, Christianity prevailed and the rule of Muslims began to decline.
The miraculous victory of the Islamic Revolution bestowed vividness and hope to the Nigerian Muslims. Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, as a fervent youth with religious tendencies, traveled to Iran in the beginning of the revolution and after visiting Imam Khomeini became a Shia Muslim. After returning to Nigeria, he started an indefatigable activity to awaken Muslims and succeeded in founding the great Islamic movement there. His activities during the past three decades increased the population of Shias to 10 million.
Deep trust in the ability of religion to administer communities was one of the important legacies of the Islamic Revolution for Nigerian Muslims. While they used to be inactive and idle against anti-religious measures, they have tuned into active and demanding community which is ready to sacrifice its life for religious ideals and values. One of these values is hijab which the women and girls of Nigeria had been banned for decades to observe it at schools and universities. The Muslims of the northern Nigeria succeeded in convincing the authorities of Muslim-inhabited areas to lift this illegal ban. The demonstrations of Nigerian Muslims for establishment of Islamic Constitution are under the influence of the Islamic Revolution. Finally, the central government was forced to submit to the demand of Muslim population in their own areas for implementation of Islamic laws.
Nigerian Shias are among the most active Shias in the world. They have turned into trend-setters in Africa. The movement that has begun in Nigeria has enhanced the tendency of researchers to know more about Shia school of thought.
When the Islamic Revolution triumphed in 1979 in Iran, Imam Khomeini had spoken of the illegitimacy of the Zionist regime for 20 years. Now, it is being clarified day by day that this child-killer regime is a cancerous tumour in the heart of the Islamic lands and as Imam Khomeini stressed, “Israel is not just the enemy of Muslims but it is the enemy of mankind.”
In view of this, struggling against Israel has been one of the fundamental principles of the Islamic Revolution. Imam Khomeini named the last Friday of the month of fasting (Ramazan) as the World Quds Day to draw the attention of world Muslims to the importance of the issue of Palestine and the crimes of the occupying Zionist regime. This announcement proved that Palestine is not an issue of Arabs or Sunnis but the prime issue of the entire Islamic world. Thus, it revived the hope for salvation of Palestine. Then the Palestinian currents underwent basic changes with more Islamic motives rather than narrow national and racial ones. Indeed, as one of the Palestinian leaders stressed, “It was Iran’s revolution that opened a new era before the Palestinian movement and caused the issue of Palestine to be looked through the eyes of Islam.”
The Islamic Revolution revived values like hijab, fighting arrogance and oppression, the bond intertwined bond between religion and politics, and the demand for establishment of Islamic government. In the world that was dominated by communist and liberalist mottos, few (if any) would imagine that religion is able to stage a revolution and rule a society. With reliance on religion, the meaning of power altered basically and Muslims understood that the real power is the power of God and it is He that can help them restore their violated rights. When Muslims saw the obvious example of returning to dignity and victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Islamic Awakening took place faster than what was expected. Nations got the guts to withstand oppressive and puppet regimes with the hope of victory. The people in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt and elsewhere rose up against the ruling systems one after the other. Although they haven’t attained final victory, the awakening that has occurred is a precious asset which prophecies the establishment of monolithic Islamic Ummah, God willing.