In the path of the Imam (96)
Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul) was a religious scholar and a true worshipper and servant of God. That’s why he was very much careful about performing his obligatory deeds and refraining from forbidden deeds. No doubt, one of the reasons for his success and firm resolve in political and social arenas was his profound faith in God and his pure and sincere worship.
Furthermore, Imam Khomeini was highly careful of fulfilling even the mostahabb (recommended) deeds and refraining from makrouh (disapproved) deeds.
Mostahabb deeds are the deeds that are not obligatory but if the faithful performs them he will be rewarded by God in the Hereafter and they will help the faithful in gaining perfection and sublimity. On the other hand, makrouh deeds are the ones that are not haram forbidden or sinful; yet, the faithful are recommended not to perform them as they are considered as the prelude for performing forbidden deeds. In this episode, we are going to touch upon Imam Khomeini’s adherence to performing recommended deeds and heedfulness to refrain from disapproved ones.
As we said Imam Khomeini used to perform recommended deeds although they are not obligatory according to the Islamic jurisprudence. Obligatory deeds are the ones that should be done by the faithful otherwise he/she would be punished in the Hereafter. But the recommended deeds will not lead to punishment if they are not performed. For instance, daily ritual prayer is obligatory and if it is not performed willingly the person will be punished in the Hereafter. But, performing the midnight prayer is a recommended deed which has very high rewards although if no faithful will be punished for abandoning it. Meanwhile, a makrouh (disapproved) deed is like performing daily ritual prayer in front of a picture. Although it is not forbidden, it is better to put the picture somewhere else or cover it with a piece of cloth before prayer. The ulema and faithful usually try to stick to recommended deeds and refrain from disapproved ones. One of the recommended deeds during performing ritual ablution is to face the Qibla (Ka’aba in Mecca). Imam Khomeini used to observe this deed. Dr. Borujerdi, the Imam’s son-in-law, says, “Imam Khomeini would observe every detail of the ablution towards the Qibla. So, if the tap was not toward the Qibla, he would fill his hand and after closing the tap, he would pour the water on his face or arm toward the Qibla.”
One of the recommended deeds in daily ritual prayer is to put on perfume. In fact, this has originated from the tradition of the Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt. Imam Sajjad (AS) has been narrated as saying that the prayer with perfume is higher in reward than the one without it. Dr. Borujerdi again says, “Imam Khomeini always put on perfume for prayer; even during his stay in Najaf hen he performed his midnight prayer on the roof, he had a glass of perfume there.”
Imam Khomeini wouldn’t give up recommended deeds even in critical conditions. His daughter-in-law, Fatemeh Tabatabai says, “During the martyrdom of Haaj Aqa Mostafa [the Imam’s elder son], we didn’t see anything except the Imam’s spiritual power; so that he was walking according to his regular program and near midday, he started performing the ritual ablution while facing the Qibla. Then he combed his beard, put on perfume and stood for prayer.” Dear friends, Imam Khomeini didn’t give up recommended deeds even during the time of hospitalization. It is narrated and even broadcast on TV that his younger son, Haaj Ahmad, combed his beard as he was going to stand for midnight prayer.
Dear friends, we said that according to Islamic jurisprudence, it is recommended to avoid praying in front of a picture, especially the picture of a human being or an animal. Imam Khomeini was very careful about this deed. His daughter, Zahra Mostafavi, says, “In our room, there was a black statue on the wall and in the other room there was a picture. So, the Imam told me that in neither of the rooms one can pray.” Hojjat-ol-Eslam Mohammad Reza Naseri also says, “During Imam Khomeini’s migration from Iraq to Kuwait, our companions left for having the passports sealed. At that time, the Imam wanted to stand for prayer. There was a picture of Saddam at the customs room. So, he went out and said, ‘Let’s go somewhere else for prayer.’ There was a newly constructed building that had been prepared for travelers to rest. We went there and performed congregational prayer behind the Imam.”