Dec 29, 2020 09:31 UTC

If you remember, we said that according to a religious tradition, the students who study in seminaries receive tuition from the Sources of Emulation in order not to face financial problems. This tuition is paid on the basis of the level of education.

This tuition is maintained by the money gathered from alms giving, mainly in the form of Khoms and Zakat, and endowments. Thus, the government has no role in this. That’s why the Shia clerical structure has been independent of the ruling system throughout history. Since the early years of the advent of Islam, righteous and pious people have endowed large swathes of properties, including real states, gardens, farms, factories, shops, etc. to the seminaries so that they could use them for administration of those religious centers. These moneys are spent for education, teaching, research, propagation, management and relevant jobs. Of course, the money paid to the students is not sufficient for an ordinary livelihood. Therefore, the seminary students have to lead a very simple life and forget about many daily requirements let alone luxurious life. Payment of tuition to the seminary students is based on ayah 41 of surah Anfal of the noble Qur’an, part of which reads, “And know that whatever you gain, one fifth of it is for God and for the Messenger and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer.”

Imam Khomeini would observe justice in the payment of tuition to the students of seminary. He would never consider nationality as a criterion for this purpose. Hojjat-ol-Eslam Seyyed Mohammad Sajjadi Esfahani says, “Before Imam Khomeini’s coming to Najaf, there were some discriminations at seminaries. But, the Imam eliminated these discriminations among Arab and non-Arab students. He used to say, ‘If tuition has to be paid, it should be paid according to the level of the qualified students, no matter if they are Arab, Afghan, Indian, Pakistani or Iranian.’

Imam Khomeini would observe justice even in his behavior towards different students. It was customary in Najaf that the great ulema, after arriving in the city, would go to visit only the Sources of Emulation. But Imam Khomeini paid a visit to ordinary students of lower levels, too. They would go to each and every Madrasah in Najaf to thank the students who had accorded him welcome. Imam Khomeini was very careful not to harm the self-esteem of the students while paying them tuition. Late Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammadi Gilani said in this regard, “Imam Khomeini would try to distribute the tuition among the students in a way not to make them lose their self-esteem and be humble for money.”

 Late Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali said, “The Imam would respect students and ulema very much and believed that the clergymen should be sacred.”

Dear friends, Imam Khomeini used to behaved very respectfully and nobly with those students who would not ask for their basic needs out of self-esteem and dignity. That’s why he would always enquire from his near ones about the tuition of such students. Hojjat-ol-Eslam Esmail Ferdowsipour says in this regard, “In Najaf, Imam Khomeini had said, ‘If any student or anyone among your neighbours is in need and poor while two people whom I know testify this to me, I will help them.’ Several times, we would go to the Imam and tell him that someone needs a fan or a carpet and the Imam would help them.”

Imam Khomeini always tried to identify poor and needy students to help them. Hojjat-ol-Eslam Forqani recounts an interesting memory, “In Najaf, before starting the class, Imam Khomeini would look at the shoes. One day, he noticed a pair of shoes that were shabby and unusable. He was upset and told one of the authorities after the class, ‘Tomorrow, you have to go and find the owner of these shoes. Then find his house and tell me.’ That man said that the day after he did as the Imam had asked him. The Imam gave him a full set of clothes and shoes.” Hojjat-ol-Eslam Āmeri also says, “Sometimes, Imam Khomeini would leave for the holy shrine or something else. Then he would come back and order some of his near ones to buy clothes for a poor student that he had seen outdoors.”

 He continues, “One day, someone came to the Imam and showed his cloak, saying, ‘My cloak is torn.’ The Imam showed his cloak to him and said, ‘Look, my cloak is torn, too.’ He would answer some people like this to prevent their misuse.”

Imam Khomeini was very careful about infiltration of security forces of the Iraqi Ba’athist regime in his classes under the guise of students. He would order their names to be omitted from the list of the students in order not to pay them tuition. Hojjat-ol-Eslam Seyyed Ja’afar Karimi says in this regard, “Imam Khomeini once said, ‘The Ba’athist government intends to close the Najaf seminary and I am religiously obliged not to let this happen. One of the ways to do this is to address the affairs of the students and to increase their tuition. But since the tuition that I want to pay belongs to the Imam of the Age, it should be accounted for and paid to those who are qualified to study at the seminary and are capable of reaching high scientific degrees. I have heard that the names of indecent persons are enrolled in the list of tuition and they receive tuition from me. They should be omitted and persons should be reviewed.’ We have started this and saw that he was right. Unfortunately, we came across the names of persons who wore the clothes of seminaries but were affiliated to the Ba’athist security of Iraq. They were moles of the Ba’athist party. So their names were omitted.”

Imam Khomeini was very careful on the payment of tuition to the students. Late Ayatollah Mohammad Fazel Lankarani said, “Although Imam Khomeini was able to build scores of Madrasas and even hospitals, he didn’t build any of them. He didn’t build even a library. Because he believed that the money should be used to provide relative welfare for students. This was his habit for encouraging students to study and research.”