In the Path of the Imam (58)
Imam Khomeini had a very firm and intransigent personality. This played an important role in cementing ranks of the revolutionary people and led to the victory of the Iranian nation over the despotic regime.
Imam Khomeini had a steel willpower which originated from his strong belief in God and trusting in God. In the suffocating circumstances of that era, while no one dared to stand against the oppression and tyranny of Shah’s regime, he stood like an insurmountable mountain against the unendurable pressures of the regime and didn’t compromise no matter the cost. Perhaps, one of the factors of the Imam’s success in the Islamic Revolution and overthrowing the regime was his intransigence. Not only in his struggle against Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, but also during the era of the first Pahlavi, Reza Khan, who was much more powerful and despotic, Imam Khomeini was not scared of the regime or its forces at all. Seyed Hamid Rouhani, in his book on the Imam’s uprising, explains one of the stances of Imam Khomeini against the forces of Reza Khan which shows that he never retreated against the pressures of the ruling system. He writes, “The agents of Reza Khan tried to disturb Imam Khomeini’s class of ethics which was held every two weeks. But they faced his stiff and unpredicted resistance. The Imam, in response to the delegate of police who called for closing the class, said clearly, ‘I am duty-bound to hold this class by any means. Let the police come and prevent it personally.’ The mercenaries of the regime retreated against this vehement move of the Imam but continued their sabotage and pressure.”
Imam Khomeini’s spirit of resistance and intransigence caused him to attend some of the important meetings and express his opinion as the representative of Grand Ayatollah Boroujerdi and the Sources of Emulation. Imam Khomeini’s firm and brave opinions against the policies of Shah’s regime would astonish the ulema. For instance, when the Shah decided to execute land reforms in the country, he faced the opposition of some of the ulema, especially Grand Ayatollah Boroujerdi as the greatest Marja’ (Source of Emulation) in that era. Thus, the Shah wrote a letter to him in which he had used disrespectful words saying that he had ordered the land reforms to be executed like other Islamic countries. Grand Ayatollah Boroujerdi invited Imam Khomeini and a number of great scholars of Qom Seminary to go to the Shah and give an appropriate response to him.
After the meeting, Grand Ayatollah Boroujerdi showed the Shah’s letter to them, including Imam Khomeini. Some of them were upset and some others expressed concern out of fear. But Imam Khomeini, pointing to the phrase, ‘we ordered’ in the letter, proposed to Grand Ayatollah Boroujerdi to write decisively, “This is against the Constitution. What right does the Shah have to say we ordered? This is the country of Constitution and has a parliament.”
In a few times that Imam Khomeini met Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, very bravely warned him against the consequences of his policies. The Imam’s younger son, Haaj Ahmad Aqa writes on this, “The Imam, both in the era of late Mr. Haeri and in the era of Mr. Boroujerdi, was the pioneer of struggles at the seminary. For example, during the political events that had occurred in the era of Grand Ayatollah Boroujerdi, he was appointed by Mr. Boroujerdi to speak with the Shah. The Ulema and the Sources of Emulation had the opinion that ‘a representative should go and convey our message clearly and explicitly to the Shah and this task couldn’t be afforded except by Haaj Aqa Ruhollah [Imam Khomeini]’. During the two meetings with the Shah, the Imam had strongly emphasized on the viewpoints of the Sources of Emulation and ulema and had warned the Shah about the consequences of his policies. Besides, in the meeting that then Premier Dr. Eqbal had come to Grand Ayatollah Boroujerdi to draw his attention to the change in one of the articles of the Constitution, Imam Khomeini vehemently and decisively said, ‘We will never allow you to do such a change and alteration in the Constitution because such a change is a prelude for basic encroachment into the ratified laws of this country and it will give the opportunity to the government to encroach into the Constitution whenever its policies and interests require and annul a law and fabricate another law according to its own biases and proclivities.”
Imam Khomeini would divulge the policies of the regime though the exemplary courage that he had. Ayatollah Tavassoli, who lived with the Imam and was in fact the head of his office, narrates a memory in this regard, “In the early days of the uprising, one morning I went to the Imam who was alone. Then a certain man called Behboudi, of the royal officials, came and asked for permit to visit him. The Imam gave him permit and he entered. The Imam listened to him quite inattentively. He told the Imam, ‘You are lonely in this path’, adding, ‘Mr. Shariatmadari is with us and don’t think that you will be victorious.’ Then he started threatening. But, Imam Khomeini answered, ‘Do know this that as long as I am alive, even if you close the door on me, I will not sit aside and will write against you with the sting of this pen; and if becomes impossible, I will convey my word to the people through the split of the door.”
One of the clergymen narrated a very interesting account about Imam Khomeini, saying, “In 1963 when some of the jurisprudents were beaten at the Bazaar of Tehran, people were exposed to assault and battery and all powers supported this action of the government, the Imam said, ‘If there is one drop of Abaa Abdillah [Imam Hussein]’s blood in me, I will not sit aside; not only that but also I will humiliate America, too.’”
One of the aspects of Imam Khomeini’s firm and uncompromising character was his stance against the court mullahs who were servile of the regime. It was an extremely difficult job since these people were attached to the seminaries. But Imam Khomeini would take stances against them with an exemplary bravery. Seyed Hamid Rouhani says, “In the topic of the Islamic Government, the Imam disclosed the pseudo-clergies affiliated to the royal court and said, ‘God knows that since the advent of Islam what disasters have been inflicted upon Islam by evil ulema. The problem is that they have put on turban and joined this establishment for the stomach. What should we do with them? Many of them have been turbaned by the Security Organization of Iran to pray. If the regime failed to coerce the leaders of congregational prayers to attend the feasts and other ceremonies, now it wants to have [people] from themselves to say Jalla Jalaluh. Recently, they have given the epithet Jalla Jalaluh to the Shah. They should be scandalized’.”
Hamid Rouhani continues, “When the issue of the Shah’s arrival was raised, Imam Khomeini strictly opposed it and resisted against the ulema’s paying a visit to him. He even announced that the ulema and students of Islamic sciences and the people of Qom should ban going out of homes. On the 4th of Bahman (January 24) when the Shah entered Qom the city was empty.”
When an insulting article was published on a newspaper through preplanned devilish stratagem of the regime, Imam Khomeini, through untiring pursuit, forced the paper to retreat.
For instance, once an article was published on Ettela’at daily with the title, “Holy unity for holy goal” about the unity of the Shah and the ulema in the scandalous White Revolution. Imam Khomeini sent Hojjatol-Eslam Mahallati to the bureau of the newspaper to ask them who these ulema are. The editor-in-chief said that the editorial had been sent by the government officials and he was forced to publish it. The Imam forced the editor-in-chief to deny repudiate the article on the newspaper and followed up his demand very strongly. Finally, the government was forced to send its representative to Imam Khomeini for apology. He was obligated to prevent publication of any slander and lie against the ulema.