Mar 08, 2022 08:39 UTC

In the previous episode, we mentioned the account of Imam Khomeini’s proposal for marriage to Khadijeh Saqafi whose father was one of the renowned ulema in Tehran. If you remember, it was said that there was opposition towards this marriage as the girl was from a rich family and might not tolerate tough conditions of a clergyman like young Seyyed Rouhollah who had little material facilities and was seriously engaged in struggle against the puppet tyrannical regime.

Lady Khadijeh Saqafi’s father raised several conditions for her daughter’s marriage with Imam Khomeini. Firstly, he had not married before. Secondly, he had no children. Thirdly, he should be rich enough to administer an ordinary family. Fourthly, he should not transfer his wife’s house to Khomein. Mr. Lavāsāni informed Seyyed Rouhollah of the conditions and the latter accepted all of them. Thus, Khadijeh’s father took a handwritten promise from Imam Khomeini not to change the daughter’s residence. The young couple resided in a small house in Tehran. They stayed in this house for a few months as Seyyed Rouhollah decided to go to Qom to attend the courses in the seminary of that city. Lady Khadijeh Saqafi relates the story as follows, “A few months had passed since our marriage. It was the Nowruz of 1309 [1930]. The house rent had expired and spring was near. The classes were going to begin in Qom. The groom, this diligent student, was very enthusiastic. He was just thinking of Qom. In other words, he was preparing me to leave for Qom. He was eager to go while I was not. He would insist and I would keep silent. I knew that there was no escape and we should go; but I could not give up so soon. It was hard for him to stay while, for me, it seemed impossible to leave as I didn’t like Qom for living with a person whom I had not got used to yet. I was very scared.”

Imam Khomeini’s wife continues her account on leaving Tehran for Qom, “I had accepted to live with Mr. Rouhollah. Now, against my will, I had to leave Tehran, my parents, sisters and brothers who all live there. I had to leave everyone for a place where I would be lonely. But, accompanying the husband is a principle and I had to live up to the determinations which God has set and I have accepted. I should accept them with satisfaction as it determines my happiness in this world and the Hereafter. The Qur’an says, “It may be that you dislike something while it is good for you, and it may be that you love something while it is bad for you.”

Therefore, young Khadijeh set out for Qom although she knew that life in that city would surely include many problems. Lady Masoumeh (Peace upon her) was her only companion in that lonely city as she says, “She says, “Till the end of staying in Qom, whenever I was upset or sad, I would go to Lady Masoumeh [‘s shrine]. I would cry there and clean my eyes. Then I would return home with a happy heart and joyous face. After all, I had made the decision when I wanted to come to Qom, as I had no one other than Lady Masoumeh to confide with.”

Imam Khomeini and his wife left Tehran for Qom on Farvardin 14, 1309 (April 3, 1930). Lady Khadijeh Saqafi relates the account, “Finally, we were to set out. The truck was hired and it was the first time that I was travelling in such a vehicle. My dowry was loaded on the truck and we were placed on narrow seats. Some others also got on the truck. I was crying right till Hassan Abad. After nearly three hours of crying, Mr. [Rouhollah] said, ‘That’s enough. Have patience.’ I was silent and choked my feeling which caused me sore throat.”

The young couple rented a small house after one week of staying at a friend’s home. Khadijeh soon made friend with the wife of the owner. She says, “In my first letter to my mother, I wrote that in spite of being lonely, I have found a good friend and Mr. [Rouhollah] has rented a nice house which has 14 fruits. Do not be sad for me.” Imam Khomeini’s first child, Mostafa, was born in this house only to decrease his mother’s loneliness.”

Imam Khomeini’s third residence was located in an old neighbourhood in Qom. The rental was hard for the couple to pay as young Rouhollah wouldn’t like to receive the stipend from the Sources of Emulation and had made himself content with the income that he would get sporadically from his paternal real estate in Khomein. Lady Khadijeh Saqafi relates the story, “The rental was a little high for my husband. We led a life of a seminary student in or small house. Mr. [Rouhollah] had a small real estate in Khomein which we tried to make ourselves content with that not to show our need. He would never accept any stipend and was very magnanimous. However, the revenues of the real estate were not regular for us to rely on. We had to live in touch conditions for six months so that the wheat in Khomein was sold to get our share to pay the debts. Yet, Mr. Rouhollah preferred hunger for his child rather than accepting the stipend; although other ulema and students would receive it. He was very knowledgeable and the Sources of Emulation were ready to pay him other amounts of money. But he would never accept. He let us taste hardships to taste freedom. I tolerated patiently so that he remains Haaj Aqa Rouhollah. At last, I brought those hardships to their knees.”

The revenues of Imam Khomeini would receive little of his father’s real estates and farms in Khomein. But this does not mean that he had a poor family. His father was a very generous man who used to spend great parts of his revenues to the poor and the needy. The family would feed hundreds of people during wars and famines. He had a lot of properties, farms and gardens in the villages around Khomein. But, he used to spend their revenues mostly for charity and religious schools. Lady Khadijeh Saqafi recommends the young generation, “Try to live simply. Try to be content. Try not to be indebted to anyone for a better and wealthier life. If a person wants to live with dignity and pride, he/she should heed lest the luxuries of this world may not deceive him/her.”