In the path of the Imam (66)
Imam Khomeini used to be criticized by many ulema, especially before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, for being aware of the developments of his time both inside the country and abroad. He used to listen to radio and read newspapers to update his knowledge of the daily events.
Moreover, unlike many of the ulema who were strongly against studying Irfan (Gnostics) and philosophy, the Imam studied and taught these two branches of Islamic sciences; hence, a notable number of the ulema used to chide or even insult him for his approach. But, Imam Khomeini would treat and pardon them very magnanimously.
Late Ayatollah Seyyed Hussein Bodala said, “Once I was at Dar-ul Shafa Madrasa and my room was beside the Imam’s room. There was a clergy who came from Feyzieh Madrasa to Dar al-Shafa; but when he wouldn’t go farther from my room. He didn’t like to even see the Imam and his room because he was strongly opposed to Irfan and philosophy and rejected Imam Khomeini’s thoughts. When the Imam was told in a session that such a man bears such and such thoughts about him, and sometimes speaks about you; the Imam said, ‘What is about me I forgive. I hope that his backbiting and accusations would cause God to forgive my sins and guide him, too.”
According to the ayahs of the noble Qur’an, forgiveness and pardoning have several consequences one of which is to change the enemy into the friend. God says in ayah 34 of surah Fussilat: “And not alike are the good and the evil. Repel (evil) with what is best; so, when he between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a close friend.”
A review of the memories of Imam Khomeini’s companions and followers shows how he was magnanimous and forgiving towards misconduct of others so that those who had been the Imam’s opponents would turn into his lovers. For instance, Hojjatol-Eslam Forqani says that an old clergyman in Najaf was pessimistic toward Imam Khomeini and used to urge others not to attend his classes. One night, he dreams of Imam Khomeini as he was at the presence of the Infallible Imams. Thus, the Iraqi clergyman asks Hojjatol-Eslam Forqani to tell the Imam to pardon him. Hojjatol-Eslam Forqani says, “As we left the mosque, I told the Imam on the way that that person seeks the Imam’s forgiveness. The Imam said, ‘I have pardoned him. I forgive whatever has happened.’ Then he went inside. The old man came crying. He asked, ‘What happened?’ I said, ‘The Imam said he pardons everything.’ So, he prostrated and used to visit the Imam after that. The Imam also liked him and this way his two worlds turned good.”
Imam Khomeini was famous for pardoning those who had insulted and backbitten behind him even his enemies. He would even pray for them to be guided. One of these people was Sheikh Ali Tehrani who slandered and insulted the Imam here and there. Then he escaped to Iraq in the heat of the 8-year imposed war along with his family. In Iraq, too, he took the worst and harshest stances against Imam Khomeini. But, the Imam used to pray for him. Late Ayatollah Tavassoli said, “Imam Khomeini used to listen to the foreign radios… of America, Britain, Israel…; even to the remarks of Sheikh Ali Tehrani which were broadcast from Baghdad. He would say, ‘I pray for Sheikh Ali at night so that God may rescue him from the clutches of Saddam and the hypocrites.’”
God describes the pious people in ayah 134 of surah Al-e Imran, saying, “Those who spend in comfort and hardship, and quell their anger, and pardon people, and Allah likes the doers of righteous deeds.”
The ayah mentions two merits together; namely, spending at hard times and pardoning. In other words, doing righteous deeds and pardoning accompany each other and strengthen one another. Imam Khomeini, too, used to behave very magnanimously towards those who had mistreated, insulted and wronged him. Furthermore, he would even do them good. Hojjatol-Eslam Forqani said, “When the Imam was in Najaf, there was much propaganda against him by the opponents. Sometimes, they would say why he wears neatly or why he walks uprightly and puts on clean clothes. At other times, they would tell him that it is not good for him as a Source of Emulation to wear beautiful clothes in public. Imam Khomeini himself told me, ‘Someone came here and told me whatever he could; but I would send him money as long as he was here and not gone to Iran.’”
Imam Khomeini used to keep silent against the worst insults and shameless behaviors. He’d never bear grudge against the insulters let alone think of revenge. Hojjatol-Eslam Rahimian said, “Many vulgar, biased and ignorant people in Qom and Najaf would subject the Imam to the harshest spiritual harassments, slanders and insults. One of these conducts was evident when his son’s dish in Feyzieh Madrasa was washed by some saying that it was not clean because Imam Khomeini used to teach philosophy. But the Imam, either before the revolution as a top Source of Emulation at seminaries, or after the revolution enjoying absolute power and grandeur, never thought of retaliation and revenge. On the contrary, he would first asked about their whereabouts, although they didn’t even like to see the Imam alive; then he would help them and if they were sick, he would send a person to solve their problems.”
Hojjatol-Eslam Forqani relates the despicable behavior of a drunken man who was about to run over the Imam near the holy shrine of Imam Ali, and the man arresting by the police, saying, “The police insisted the Imam to come out of home so that the man kneels down for apology. We said that the Imam had gone indoors. The police asked, ‘What should we do?’ As soon as the Imam heard the noise, he said, ‘What is this fuss for? Why are you disturbing the people?’ Then he told me, ‘Right now go and release him so that he goes home.’”