May 03, 2022 07:29 UTC

As a reminder, we talked about Imam Khomeini’s struggles against the despotic regime of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, especially his opposition to the so-called “White Revolution” which was a plan to legitimize the Shah’s rule. This time we are going to dwell upon the events which led to the Imam’s arrest in 1963. As you know we have tried to quote from Imam Khomeini’s venerated wife, Lady Khadijeh Saqafi who was truly a fellow-combatant beside the Imam.

Imam Khomeini’s opposition to the ceremonial referendum of the Shah awakened political groups and they accompanied the Imam in struggles. But, the regime announced that the referendum was successful and most of the people voted for it!!! Imam Khomeini (God’s mercy upon him) at the threshold of the Iranian calendar year 1342 (March 1963) announced public mourning. The Imam said, “I announce this Feast (Nowruz) as mourning for the Muslim community in order to make Muslims aware of the dangers ahead of the Qur’an and the country.”

The Imam had smartly announced that Nowruz as mourning day not due to the martyrdom of Imam Sadeq (AS), the 6th Infallible Successor of the Prophet of Islam, but rather for the conspiracy of colonialists against Islam and the Qur’an. He said in a speech on the last day of Esfand 1342 (1963), “This year we have no feast and I announce this feast as public mourning not because of coincidence with the martyrdom of Imam Sadeq (AS) who has a lofty status; but due to the disasters and losses that have been inflicted on Islam. This year was not a happy year for Muslims… in this year, colonialism schemed plots against Islam. The wicked agents of colonialism insulted the Qur’an. They designed plans to violate the luminous laws of the Qur’an; they designed schemes and have plots in mind. If Muslims know what plots and designs are underway against the dignity of Islam, the happiness of Muslim nations and independence of Islamic counties, they will never mark feast.”

The announcement of public mourning by Imam Khomeini moved the entire Iranian nation. On the second of Farvardin, the agents of Shah’s regime intended to disturb the ceremony held at Imam Khomeini’s home on the occasion of Imam Sadeq’s martyrdom; but they failed. Then, the security agents of the regime assaulted Feizieh School in Qom and massacred many seminary students and mourners of Imam Sadeq to cause fear among the public, particularly ulema. However, Imam Khomeini called on people to be resistant and help the injured. The news of the bloody event soon spread to the whole country and preachers took stances against the brutal regime. Nearly two months later, the atmosphere of the country was zealous and inspired by Imam Hussein’s epic as Ashura was approaching. Imam Khomeini called on preachers and ulema to expose the Shah’s servility to the US and Israel and the dangers of this puppet regime for Islam and Muslims. Thus, people in Tehran held demonstrations in Tehran on the day of Ashura and many of them and the near cities went to Qom to hear the Imam’s speech. On that day, Imam Khomeini delivered his historical speech in which he directly addressed the Shah. He said, “O Mr. Shah! I advise you to give up these acts. You are being fooled. I don’t like to see everyone giving thanks on the day that you are leaving the country… do not play this much with the nation. Do not be this much opposed to ulema. Take admonition from your father… listen to the ulema of religion as they like good for you. By God, Israel has no use for you.”

The fiery speech of Imam Khomeini against the Shah horrified the regime and on the following day some of preachers and people attending the speech were arrested. At midnight, the Imam’s house was assaulted and he was arrested. Imam Khomeini’s wife relates, “These events continued from the beginning of Moharram till Ashura leading to that speech; and the next night they came and Rouhollah Khomeini was arrested… the Imam had got up for midnight prayer. From the row and noise he understood what was going on. It was half past two at midnight. The Imam came to me and said, ‘They have come to take me. Don’t be upset and make no noise. Awaken others and tell them to be calm.’ He was speaking so calmly that he insinuated calm in me. He was telling these words while I could hear the fast and worried gasps of the dastards behind the door of the house. They seemed to be 300-400 but there were more on the main street. There, they changed the Imam’s car and transferred him from a Volks Wagen to a Mercedes. The Imam, seeing the street full of agents, told the one beside him, ‘So many people have come to take one?”

Imam Khomeini’s wife continues on the night that the Imam was arrested by the agents of regime, “The sound of gasps became faster. The Imam left me to put on clothes. I was worried but I awakened the children calmly telling them that strangers wanted to enter the house… everyone woke up but no one said anything… everyone was listening to me. Suddenly the door of our house was open with a kick and there was a row. I called on everyone to be quiet and didn’t let anybody defy the orders as the Imam had asked so. The Imam’s shout disturbed the calm in the house as he said, ‘What’s up? Why are you making so much noise? Our neighbors are asleep. Do not disturb them.’ At that moment the door was broken and they poured into the house. They asked the Imam’s whereabouts. And he pointed to his chest, saying with a sneer, ‘He is here’, and said, ‘I am Khomeini. Do not bother anyone.’ The children wanted to shout but I prevented them. The commander of the enemy asked, ‘Is it you?’ The Imam said, ‘Yes, It is me. What do you want at this time of night?’ Three people said in panic, ‘Please let us go.’ And they took the Imam. Mostafa asked the agents to take him, too. But the Imam told him seriously, ‘Go back. Whom are you pleading?’

After arresting Imam Khomeini, his family was sad, but his wife changed the climate. She says, “It was getting clear little by little. Our home, the home whose members had lost their father, Source of Emulation and leader, was interesting. Everyone was sitting stunned in a corner. Suddenly I said, ‘Stand up it is the time of prayer.’ And that morning we performed a nice prayer.”

Imam Khomeini’s wife continues, “The Imam would relate that on the way he told them that he wanted to pray, but they didn’t let. He told them, ‘Stop for a few minutes so that we pray together and then we move. They didn’t permit. Upon my insistence they just stopped and I stooped and touched the soil and performed Tayammum, and I was forced to say my prayer in the car. Then as I caught the sight of oil reserves of Qom, I said, ‘All or many of the miseries of this country stem from oil.’ They were so much impressed that one of them said, ‘Sir, We will return you. We know that we are guilty but returning is equal to being shot dead.’ He was not saying these words for flattery but he was rather speaking sincerely as he wept.”