In the path of the Imam (128)
As a reminder, Imam Khomeini (God’s mercy upon him) lived in Yakhchāl Qāzi neighbourhood of Qom for 20 years and the house had turned into a center of knowledge and political struggles of the Imam. In fact, the Father of the Islamic Revolution authored many of his books and also composed a remarkable part of his poems in the same house.
Imam Khomeini and his wife experienced many sweet and bitter events in this house. However, writing of the book Kashf-ul-Asrār (Uncovering of Secrets) was a very effective event during those years which we are going to touch upon in this episode.
Kashf-ul-Asrār (Uncovering of Secrets) was the name of a book which Imam Khomeini wrote in response to some religious and ideological ambiguities that had been raised in 1944 by a certain Ali Akbar Hakamizadeh in his blasphemous book One- Thousand- Year Secrets. Hakamizadeh was a student of seminary but had reactionary and deviated thoughts. He had lived with Kasravi, an anti-religious figure. Under the influence of Kasravi, Hakamizadeh left the seminary and went to the US while he no more wore the clergy clothes. Hakamizadeh had authored the book One-Thousand- Year Secrets in order what he considered to remove superstitions from Islam. Yet, the book fomented rifts among people and made people suspicion on the authenticity of Islam. The publication of the book caused special jurisprudential and political debates among ulema and the seminary students. Nevertheless, it was Imam Khomeini who sensed the danger of this blasphemous and seditionist book and wrote Kashf-ul-Asrār (Uncovering of Secrets) to show the Shia clergy community’s serious reaction to the conspiracy. Imam Khomeini’s responses to Hakamizadeh were so broad and harsh that he hid with no trace in history.
Imam Khomeini answered the anti-religious anti-clergy propaganda of the book One-Thousand-Year Secrets. He discussed historical events and critically discussed the views of the ancient and contemporary Greek philosophers to emphasize the rightfulness and constructive role of the Shia ulema and seminaries. Imam Khomeini’s book not only defended the Shia ideas but revealed the basis of his political practice in the years of struggle. The Imam explicitly says in the book that the only legitimate rule is the divine rule. In response to Hakamizadeh’s claim that “There is no reason to say that a jurisprudent is entitled to rule,” Imam Khomeini wrote that the jurisprudential principles are mainly the narrations and hadith of the Infallible Imams and they, in turn, are connected to the Prophet and the divine revelation. The Imam deducted from a number of hadith that, “So, it is clear that those who narrate the practice and hadith of the Prophet are the Prophet’s representatives, and whatever is proved for the Prophet of the necessity to obey him, Wilayah (God-given Authority) and rule, are proved for them, too; because if a ruler introduces a representative for himself, it means he must do his jobs in his absence.” Imam Khomeini’s wife, Ms. Khadijeh Saqafi was closely witnessing the Imam’s concerns over the book One-Thousand-Year Secrets. She says o this, “This is the Imam’s thought. The Imam, who thinks in this way on rule, studies and teaches Irfān (Islamic Gnosticism). You know that those who pursue the issues of philosophy and Gnosticism are not after such things like rule and vice versa. But he has staged uprising in two fronts. [Firstly], in the front of struggling the sanctimonious who washed the jar that our son Mostafa had drunk water from because the Imam was a teacher of philosophy. However, the Imam stood against these taunts and taught philosophy and clashed with the thought which considered philosophy as haram, and opened the way for the next teachers. On the other hand, he was preoccupied with formation of the Islamic rule and didn’t stop for a moment to establish God’s religion. As for the tough issues which occurred during political events, he would intervene but he would spend his effort and talent in studying and discussion as he believed that there were great ulema at the seminary and basic responsibility is up to them and he should get prepared for the future and he had to study to achieve easier what he was thinking about.”
One of the moral characteristics of Imam Khomeini was the high respect he observed for the ulema and jurisprudents of seminary while writing the book Uncovering of Secrets although he was opposed to some of their political thoughts. His wife says that he “always had a combative spirit. During the reign of Reza Khan, he was constantly in pain and hardship. When Reza Khan wanted to remove turbans, the Imam was among those who spent days in gardens and nights in his room. He was not a person to surrender to Reza Khan with such threats. Late Sheikh Abdul-Karim, who believed in silence, hadn’t been able to force the spirit of this unyielding man to be silent against Reza Khan’s coercion. Although he himself behaved so and trained some on this basis, a group of others who were few in number and Mr. (Khomeini) was among them, didn’t accept his method.”
She continues, “The defenceless people would go and give the reports of injustices of the agents of Reza Khan and he (Sheikh Abdul-Karim) would keep silent as if nothing had happened. He believed that silence was better. At the time of the seminary students’ exams which had been determined by the regime, the Sheikh not only didn’t prevent them but he encouraged them to take the exams. The Imam had differences with late Ayatollah Borujerdi, too; but, he would never say anything as he considered respect the respect of Islam. He would always respect Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Abdul-Karim, too.” Here, Imam Khomeini’s wife has pointed to the exams of seminary students which was related to the law that had been passed during Reza Khan’s reign for exempting from military service only the students who could pass the exam which the regime would give. This way it was the court mullahs who proved the scientific qualification of students not the great teachers and Sources of Emulation.