In the path of the Imam (129)
As a reminder, Imam Khomeini authored the book “Kashf-ul Asrār” (Uncovering of Secrets) in response to the misleading book “One-Thousand-Year Secrets” which had been written by Ali Akbar Hakamizadeh and erstwhile student of seminary who left for the US while no more wearing the costume of clergymen.
It was said that Imam Khomeini’s book can be considered as the starting point of his struggles against the Pahlavi regime and his endeavour to establish the Islamic rule. In this episode, we are going to dwell upon that part of the Imam’s struggles which were against the Shah’s so-called White Revolution. As usual, the narrator is mainly Imam Khomeini’s wife, Ms. Khadijeh Saqafi.
After the passing away of Grand Ayatollah Hussein Borujerdi in 1961, Iran’s Shah, Mohammad thought that one of the main obstacles against his anti-religious moves and consolidation of his tyrannical rule had gone. Therefore, he started fighting of Islam and ulema very seriously and openly. However, his dream was very soon shattered by Imam Khomeini’s uprising which fell upon him like a nightmare. The Imam raised the banner of struggle against the regime and its main supporter, the US, opening a new chapter in the political and religious atmosphere of the country. Imam Khomeini’s wife narrates, “The Imam was a wise, clever and religious man. After the demise of Ayatollah Borujerdi, he staged uprising against the Shah’s apparatus which wanted to set aside religion and march in the path of the West. As he was a very religious and devoted person, whenever the religion and religiosity were mocked at, it was as if his children had been beheaded in front of him. After the late Borujerdi, the Shah intended to set aside clergymen and religion in Iran for ever. Of course, he had made the decision at the time of late Borujerdi, but his power wouldn’t let the Shah do such a thing. In those days, the man of politics and the field of struggle against the regime was Ayatollah Kashani and Mr. (Khomeini) was acquainted with him; but there was not a political relation in the modern sense and as I have said the Imam’s main job was studying and discussion.”
Imam Khomeini had a positive opinion on the struggles of Ayatollah Kashani although he had some critical views, too. The Imam’s wife continues, “My father said that when Mr. Kashani had seen Mr. Rouhollah [Imam Khomeini] for the first time, he told my father, ‘Where have you found this prodigy? He is a good base for the future.’ Mr. (Khomeini) liked Mr. Kashani’s struggles generally and would go to his house, too. But, it was not that much to say that he had a role in late Kashani’s political establishment. After late Borujerdi, the Imam, besides studying and discussion, had become a Source of Emulation himself and considered himself responsible before events. Thus, he couldn’t be silent against deviations and believed that silence against oppression is a bigger oppression.”
In the winter of 1963, the American President John F. Kennedy, advised the Shah to implement the so-called reforms calling it “The White Revolution” or “The Revolution of the Shah and the People”. This measure comprised issues which were seemingly useful such as land reforms, granting the right to vote to women, and giving shares of the profits of factories to workers. But the Shah’s main aim was to bolster the foundation of his despotic rule and destroying strong social forces such as the clergymen and landowners. Ms.Saqafi says, “In 1963, the government decided to do some reforms. Although it was not that important, it implied issues which would make them important. The Imam believed that the Shah had taken the first step cautiously, but his next steps would be serious danger for Islam and the country’s independence. Therefore, he couldn’t be silent against the Shah’s anti-religious moves.”
Imam Khomeini’s wife, Ms, Saqafi, referring to her protest to the Imam as why he was the only one among the ulema and Sources of Emulation to oppose the Shah’s plans, says, “The Imam felt his duty in this regard and considered himself accountable before God. I told him, ‘Why do other ulema and Sources of Emulation not protest and it is only you who feel the duty?’ He answered, ‘I don’t bother them, lady. By God I am responsible. If you are ready to see God punishing me on the Judgment Day, tell me to keep silent.’ So, I was sure that the Imam had a mission which he had to fulfill. Therefore, I always tried to pave the ground for his activity.”
Imam Khomeini’s courageous and explicit opposition to the Shah’s so-called referendum infuriated the latter and there were rumours of arresting the Imam. Yet, Imam Khomeini was so calm and unmoved. Ms. Saqafi narrates as follows, “The mourning gatherings and narrations of Imam Hussein’s tragedy were different from those of the previous years. Little by little these narrations were finding their true meaning which was the memory of martyrs and combatants of the path of freedom and religion. They had gradually changed from amusement and stupor to movement and awareness. Preachers had turned the issue from the state of stupor and would prepare the people for resistance against all tortures and torments, preparation for uprising, the uprising like Hussein by his descendant Khomeini… when the rumour prevailed on Imam Khomeini’s arrest, one night he told me, ‘If they arrest me, do not be anxious.’ I told him jokingly, ‘That’s good as I will breathe for a while.’ In the advent of his struggles, the Imam would tell Ahmad, ‘Tonight they may arrest me. Don’t fear. If they come and arrest me, don’t do anything. Don’t seek help from anyone to relieve me. Even do not accept anyone’s money for livelihood.” RM/MG