In the path of the Imam (59)
As a reminder, it was said that Imam Khomeini would adopt stances against the false policies of the regime of Shah without an iota of fear and he would never retreat or accept compromise.
It was also said that Grand Ayatollah Hussein Borujerdi, as the main Source of Emulation in that period, had chosen Imam Khomeini as his representative due to the latter’s unique valour and unwavering character. The Imam without fear conveyed the views of ulema to the Shah and officials of the regime firmly and self-confidently. He would even warn the Shah and officials against the consequences of their policies.
A very important manifestation of Imam Khomeini’s unwavering character was his stances against the infamous bill of “State and Provincial Associations”. According to the bill, the condition of being Muslim had been omitted from the lawmakers and the voters. In addition, the oath by the Qur’an was also removed from the conditions of lawmakers. The measure was in utter contradiction with the letter and spirit of Constitution. According to the Constitution of that era, all lawmakers and voters had to swear by the Qur’an, except the religious minorities. The offering of this bill by the government sparked public anger especially among the ulema. But, the stances of Imam Khomeini were more strict and clever.
Martyr Mahdi Araqi wrote on the difference of the Imam’s stance with that of other clergymen, “Some of the ulema had released statements on the bill but Haaj Aqa Rouhollah released a statement whose text, wording and discourse was different from other statements at all.”
Imam Khomeini, in reaction to the position adopted by then premier Asadollah Alam who had said that the bill was not opposed to religion, answered powerfully and authoritatively. This response emboldened other ulema to oppose the regime. Ayatollah Khamenei says in this regard, “The Imam, in one of his letters, had addressed from a domineering and powerful position then premier Alam, who had said that the bill of state and provincial associations is not opposed to religion, saying, ‘If you don’t know that this is opposed to the religion, then come to Qom and ask us as the experts to tell you if this is opposed to the religion or not.’ This state, this awe, this superior and strong stance of Imam in statements and speeches revived the sense of sympathy and responsibility for Islamic and religious bidding and forbidding in the heart of ulema and excited them.”
Imam Khomeini’s iron stances shattered the Shah’s pomp. Late Ayatollah Khalkhali says, “When the bill of States and Provincial Associations began, the Imam had a meeting at the house of Ayatollah Haaj Morteza Haeri, the son of Ayatollah Haaj Sheikh Abdul-Karim Haeri where he said, ‘Since the Shah has gone to Azarbaijan and returned, he has become proud as if he didn’t want to pay any attention neither to the Constitution not to the religion of Islam. We must do something that this pride of Shah breaks down.”
The clear and public stances of Imam Khomeini caused the regime retreat in the issue of the bill. But the despotic regime was trying to deceive the ulema by trivializing the annulment of the bill on the press. Nevertheless, the acumen, bravery and intransigence of the Imam caused the regime to fail in this plot. Dr. Mahmoud Borujerdi explains, “When the Shah was defeated in the issue of the bill and was not able to resist against the ulema, led by the Imam, he took the bill back. Then he wrote on daily Ettela’at very briefly that the government took the bill back. But, the Imam said since they had announced with a bold title on the first page of the newspaper, they must take it back with the same title and on the same page. It is not appropriate to accept this announcement by the ulema.”
This uncompromising stance of Imam Khomeini occurred while some of the ulema had ordered to decorate the Bazaar of Qom with lights since the government has retreated from its word. But, Imam Khomeini resisted and said that they should announce in the same way on newspaper that they had retreated.
After the scandalous bill of States and Provincial Associations, the Shah raised the 6-bills of the White Revolution; but, Imam Khomeini fearlessly adopted stance against those bills and blocked the way of any compromise. One of his companions says, “When the Shah’s regime was defeated in the issue of the bill of States and Provincial Associations vis-à-vis the Imam’s resistance, he raised the issue of 6-bills. The Imam said, ‘This time it is different issue. Last time, the government of Alalm stood against us; but, now the Shah himself has come to the scene which makes it more intensive and difficult. Yet, we should stand with willpower and determination and be ready for all its difficulties’.”
Martyr Araqi also refers to the White Revolution Referendum, saying, “After the defeat in the issue of the bill, the Shah raised the 6-bills issue but he faced the opposition of some of the ulema and Sources of Emulation. Therefore, the government and the Shah started confronting the Seminary. There occurred events in Qom. Some were beaten, some were arrested and they attacked the shops of people. Imam Khomeini issued a statement and his move took an upsurge against the regime’s assault as he kept calling on the people to resist…. The referendum of January 27, 1979 had no fruit for the Shah. While the people and ulema were scared of the repercussions of their defiance of the regime’s policies, Imam Khomeini came to Masjid A’azam (Great Mosque) in Qom for teaching. He delivered a long fiery speech starting with the ayah “Indeed, those who said, ‘Our Lord is God’, then resisted…” The Imam suddenly broke the dead-end and said, ‘Get ready for everything’.”
Imam Khomeini throughout the struggle against the regime of Shah considered as haram (religiously forbidden) any form of Taqiya with the despotic ruling system. Taqiya was one of the common traditions among Shia Muslims. If a Shia Muslim feared harm to his life, property, family or honour, he could conceal reality and his belief to be immune from likely harms. But Imam Khomeini forbade Taqiya to block any way of compromise with the regime. Ayatollah Khamenei, pointing to the incident of assault on Feiziyah School in Qom, says, “I should admit that with the incident of Feiziyah horror dominated everywhere. I give myself as an example. I am not a cowardly person and on that day I had all characteristics of an unmarried, non-expecting and plain seminary student. Yet, on the day of the incident, the atmosphere of fear and horror was so overwhelming that it took away the mood of congregational prayer from me. That state of me can be the scale to assess the condition and situation of Qom and in what tough spiritual state the students were. I should add here that this state of worry and horror in individuals would turn into a state of bravery and valour with 20 minutes to 30 minutes talking with the Imam so that no incident would be considered horrible and scaring. A few things had a significant effect in breaking the atmosphere of horror. One of them was the Imam’s statement. In this statement, the Imam referring to the incident of Feiziyah School and the crimes that had been committed there, said, ‘Love of Shah means plundering, love of Shah means murder, love of Shah means annihilation of the works of Prophet.’ Imam Khomeini’s fatwa was another cause of breaking the atmosphere. His fatwa, that Taqiya (Dissimulation) is haram and expression of realities is obligatory, was a surprising move and it caused uproar. This phrase was very effective in breaking the atmosphere of horror and repelling compromising thoughts; and it hindered the way of a series of pretexts and hypocrisies for years.”
Imam Khomeini was thinking of the collapse of the regime from the very first days of struggle and would give the good news of the defeat and collapse of the despotic regime to his friends and the people. One of his companions writes, “For many people the events of that period are hard to imagine. Throwing down the seminary students from the roofs and martyring many of them, closing the doors of hospitals to the injured students, captivating and arresting other students, pillaging and looting, murdering and theft were some of the crimes of those days. In such conditions when an injured student was brought to the Imam’s house, he said, ‘Sweet for you, sweet for you, sweet for you; the regime’s breaths are numbered’.”