In the path of the Imam (131)
As a reminder, it was said that Imam Khomeini protested to the ratification of the scandalous bill known as “Capitulation” in the Iranian parliament in 1963. The ratification of this bill would grant American nationals absolute immunity before law.
In other words, if a US national committed a crime in Iran, the Iranian judiciary could not prosecute and punish him and he should be transferred to his country to be dealt with! After the bill was passed into a law at the Iranian parliament, Imam Khomeini castigated the regime of Shah and was soon arrested and sent to exile to Turkey. Today we are going to touch upon the events after.
After sending Imam Khomeini to exile to Turkey, his family didn’t hear from him for 5 months. The Imam’s wife, Ms. Khadijeh Saqafi, says, “When the Imam was arrested, we didn’t have any information of him for 5 months. At last I lost my patience and told Mr. Eshraqi, ‘How long should we be uniformed. Perhaps they have killed the Imam and Mostafa. Shouldn’t we be informed? You and Mr. Pasandideh should do something. They have taken two people from my family, my husband and my son.’ My distress was reported to the SAVAC and after a few days there was a message to assure us that these two people are alive and to make sure we could choose a person to meet them. We intended to send the Imam’s brother, Mr. Pasandideh, but it was not accepted and thus, we agreed to send the son-in-law of Ayatollah Khansari and another man whom had been chosen by the regime.”
Nearly 6 months after Imam Khomeini’s arrest and exile, his first letter was received whereby he had informed the family of his health. In part of the letter he had written, “Thank God I am fine. Don’t be worried at all. Whatever Almighty God has ordained is good and will happen. ‘Yet it may be that you dislike something while it is good for you”. Thank God Mostafa is fine and there is no worry. I am just a little worried as I don’t hear from you. I entrust you to Almighty God… If you write a letter, let all children write a few words themselves.” Lady Saqafi continues, “Each one of us wrote a letter in a few lines. It was just greetings and sent it with a can of Sohān candy to turkey. But they [the agents of regime] didn’t let it reach Bursa, the place of the Imam’s exile, because they didn’t want to disclose his residence for Iranians especially the students abroad. The Imam and Mostafa were taken to Istanbul and they met with them in Istanbul. They met with each other and gave the answer to the letters were given very briefly. Yet, these letters were like the spirit breathed into our body.”
Imam Khomeini’s wife relates, “When Mostafa entered Bursa he found his father in a room with curtains drawn. He immediately draws the curtains away. In front of the room there was a roughly large and pleasant yard. His father laughs at him, saying, ‘I have been in this room for two months but I didn’t draw the curtains away as I didn’t want them to think that I am tired of this condition. You drew them away as soon as you came.’ Then they both laughed. Imam Khomeini added, ‘I haven’t looked through the curtains even once, although I was alone in the room.”
During his exile in Turkey, Imam Khomeini was taken to Izmir to visit the cemetery of many Sunni scholars who had been killed because of opposing the programs of Ata Turk. This visit had been planned by SAVAC to intimidate Imam Khomeini. Lady Saqafi continues, “In Turkey, once the Imam and Mostafa were taken to Izmir. The Imam used to repeat this sentence that, ‘the day when we reached Izmir, somewhere we saw many tombs as mass graves. I asked, what is this? The Turkish security head answered, ‘When Ata Turk revolted against religion, the ulema rose up against him and Ata Turk killed all of them and some of them were buried here.’ Imam Khomeini said, ‘I told myself the Turkish Sunni scholars rose up against Ata Turk and all were killed; but no scholar has been killed during the recent events in Iran.’ (No one had been killed till then). The Imam related this story bitterly several times.”
Imam Khomeini was in exile in Turkey nearly for one year. Then he was sent to Najaf in Iraq. The Pahlavi regime wanted to eclipse the Imam’s greatness and influence before great ulema such as Grand Ayatollahs Kakim, Khoyi, Shahroodi and Shirazi. Ms. Saqafi recounts the story, “The Imam said, ‘Once the Turkish security agents came along with the head of security of Bursa, saying, ‘Would you like to go to Najaf?’ On one hand it would be good, but on the other hand it was not good to accept my exile personally even if it was to Najaf. I asked them to give me time to think on it. But they came the day after and said that I had to go to Najaf. I said, ‘Whatever happens is good.’ So they brought us from Bursa to Istanbul and then to Baghdad.”
Imam Khomeini was taken to Iraq secretly and under tough security measures. But after entering Baghdad, the Imam and his son Haj Aqa Mostafa went to Kazemein to visit the shrine of Imam Musa Kazem and Imam Mohammad Taqi (Peace upon them). At the shrine of Imam Musa Kazem, some of the Iranians recognized the Imam and the news were quickly spread among the people and very soon many seminary students came toward the Imam. Imam Khomeini strayed in the holy cities of Samira and Karbala for a few days and then came to Najaf. But his family was unaware of his transfer from Turkey to Iraq. 10 days later they received a letter from him and were no more concerned. Ms. Saqafi says, “We would hear for one week that the Imam had been taken to Najaf. But we were not certain. We asked the SAVAC but they would not answer to disturb us. They would not send the telegram, either. And it would take at least 15 days for a letter to reach the destination. Finally, after 10 days of rumours on the issue, I received a letter from him to know that he was in Najaf.” RM/MG