In the path of the Imam (111)
We are going to continue discussing Imam Khomeini’s views on different issues. In this episode you’ll be listening to his advice to the authorities and students of seminaries.
Imam Khomeini (God’s mercy upon him) had explicated his views on seminaries and presented necessary warnings on the issue during his lifetime. However, he issues his most important message to the seminaries and ulema in the waning months of his life. In this message, the Imam called the ulema as the carriers and the trustees of revelation which they should strive to guide the people through the content of the revelation and what has been bequeathed to us from the Prophet of Islam and his Infallible progeny (Blessings of God upon them). He writes in his message, “There is no doubt that the seminaries and the committed ulema throughout the history of Islam and Shiism have been the most important bastion of Islam against assaults and deviations. The great ulema of Islam have tried through their life to promote the issues of the divine haram (forbidden laws) and halal (permitted laws) without modification. Had there not been the dear jurisprudents, it was not clear what sciences would have been sold to the masses in the name of the sciences of the Qur’an, Islam and Ahl al-Bayt (Peace upon them). The collection and preservation of the sciences of the Qur’an and Islam and the works and hadiths of the great Prophet and the practice and behavior of the Infallible [Imams] (Peace upon them) - and the registration, compilation and explication of them, under the conditions that there were very little facilities and the rulers and oppressors had employed all they facilities to destroy the works of prophethood, was not an easy job. Yet, thank God, today we can see the result of those efforts in works and books such as the “Kotob-e Arba’e” (the four main books of Shia seminaries) and other books of the previous and next generations in the fields of jurisprudence, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, principles of jurisprudence, hadith, history of ulema, exegesis, literature, Irfan (Gnosticism), lexicon, and all various fields of sciences. If we do not call this much of efforts as Jihad in the way of God, what should we call it?”
Imam Khomeini continues in his message for ulema and seminaries, “As for the scientific services of seminaries there is too much to say to the extent that it goes beyond the scope of what can be mentioned here. Thank God, the seminaries are rich and innovative from the viewpoint of sources and methods of discussion and Ejtehad (independent reasoning on the basis of the Qur’an and hadith). I do not think that there can be found a more proper way for deep and comprehensive examining of the Islamic sciences than the method of the preceding ulema. The over one thousand year history of research and erudition of true ulema of Islam bears testimony on our claim on the way of causing the holy sapling of Islam to flourish. For hundreds of years the clergy of Islam have been the support of the deprived. The downtrodden have always been satiated by the pure Kowsar of the teachings of great jurisprudents. Apart from their scientific and cultural struggles, which are superior to the bloods of martyrs in some aspects, in every age, they have suffered hardships and bitterness in defence of their religious and patriotic sanctities; and, while suffering captivities, exiles, prisons, harassments and taunts, they have offered precious martyrs to the divine court. The martyrs of the clergy are not restricted to the martyrs of struggles and the war in Iran. Certainly, the number of the anonymous martyrs of seminaries and the clergy, who have lonely lost their lives in the path of spreading the divine teachings and laws in the hands of the mercenaries and unmanly figures, is big. In every divine and popular uprising and revolution, the ulema of Islam have been the first who have been martyred.”
Imam Khomeini continues, “This does not mean that we defend all clergymen, as the dependent and sanctimonious clergy were not and are not small in number. There are people in seminaries who are active against the pure Mohammedan Islam. Today, some people, through sanctimonious posture, are cutting the roots of religion, revolution and the system in a way as if they had no other duty. The danger of the stupid backward and sanctimonious is not little in seminaries. Dear students should not neglect these colourful snakes for a single moment. These are the promoters of the American Islam and the enemy of God’s Messenger.”
Imam Khomeini points to two key methods that are used by enemies in seminaries. He says, “Once the Arrogance was disappointed at complete destruction of the clergy and seminaries, it chose two ways to strike. One way was intimidation and coercion, and the other way was deception and infiltration in the contemporary century. When the weapon of intimidation and threatening was useless, the ways of infiltration were strengthened. The first and most important move was the insinuation of the slogan of separation of religion from politics which has unfortunately worked to some extent in seminaries and among the clergy so that interference in politics is considered as inferior to the status of the jurisprudent and entering the arena of politicians will cause the accusation of dependence on foreigners. For sure, the struggling clergy have been suffering more from infiltration. Do not think that the accusation of dependence and calumny of irreligiousness have been applied against the clergy only by foreigners. Never. The blows of unaware and dependent aware clergy have been much stronger than those of the foreigners.”
Imam Khomeini also addresses the clergy in his testimony, “I recommend to the seminaries as I have repeatedly said that, in this era that the opponents of Islam and the Islamic Republic have attempted to topple Islam, and try in every way to achieve this satanic goal, one of the important ways to this unholy and dangerous end is to infiltrate deviated and wicked persons in seminaries, whose great short-term danger is to scandalize the seminaries with indecent acts and deviated ethics and method; and the very great danger in long-term is to attain high positions by one or a few charlatans who ensconce themselves among the masses and strata of pure-hearted people and make them love them and then deal a fatal blow to the Islamic seminaries and dear Islam and country in the proper time.”