Jul 26, 2022 08:40 UTC

As a reminder, it was said that Imam Khomeini was sent to exile to Turkey and that his wife and family didn’t hear from him for 5 months. It was also said that the Imam was in Turkey for nearly one year after which he was transferred to the holy city of Najaf in Iraq. The measure was taken by the regime in a bid to eclipse Imam Khomeini’s scientific and political personality influence before the great ulema in Iraq.

Nearly one month after Imam Khomeini’s compulsory exit from Turkey for Iraq, his wife, Lady Khadijeh Saqafi and some of his family members were allowed to travel to Najaf. They left Qom for Najaf under a secret SAVAC agent’s supervision. Ms. Saqafi says, “To go to Najaf, it was necessary to have SAVSC’s agreement. They permitted to travel to Iraq but without any man, woman or child except ourselves. We told them that we needed a man to carry the luggage. They let us take our worker, Mashhadi Hassan, but didn’t let Ahmad accompany us. We left for Iraq with an agent of SAVAC in the clothes of a clergyman. My son, Ahmad, was left alone in Iran.”

The trip to Iraq took 24 hours but the travelers stayed at the customs custody due to lacking the health paper. The Imam’s wife continues, “The next morning we reached the Iraqi customs. We had forgotten to take health papers, so, we were quarantined at the dirty customs for one week. The driver was a religious person. As he recognized us, he said, ‘Don’t be upset. I will Najaf from Kazemain and tell them to transfer your luggage to a warehouse in Kazemain. He did the same. In the afternoon we were vaccinated and we had only one pot from the luggage. We were 17 people and they had settled us in a roughly large room with 10 beds.”

Imam Khomeini’s wife continues the story, “Finally one week was over and Mr. Shabestari came to us with two cars. And we were taken directly to Najaf. It was dark when we arrived in Najaf. We entered a house which we had not seen the like before. After passing through a narrow and gloomy corridor, we were shown steps which were meandering. Either there was no light in the course or it was so dimly-lit that we couldn’t see under our feet and the children fell several times. Then we got into a small room where the Imam was sitting in one corner.” The visit of Imam Khomeini with his family was very emotional and warm. Lady Saqafi relates the visit, “The daughters rushed with tears and enthusiasm to kiss the Imam. I, too, started greeting. He said, ‘How are you?’ I said, ‘Fine.’ His behavior was in a way as if he had seen everyone the day before. He was greeting so calmly. I asked, ‘Where is Mostafa?’ He said, ‘He has gone to the shrine.’ He came back a few minutes later. I hugged him and burst into cry. I hadn’t wept that way for a while. My weeping was unusual. My whole body was shivering. Everybody was surprised as they knew how patient I was.” Ms. Saqafi further explains the house in Najaf, “The kitchen was a crypt with no water, sewage system and even a place to put the dishes. When we wanted to serve the food, we would take the pot out of the kitchen and if I wanted to monitor the food, our worker would come out as there was not enough room. We spent 13 years and a half in this way. Our house had only a threadbare rug and two rotten Gilims. Later Mostafa satisfied his father to buy a 9-meter rug and one of the friends gave us a refrigerator as a present.”

Imam Khomeini’s wife, Ms. Khadijeh Saqafi relates her stay in Najaf, “I had no telephone in Najaf. At times that I was missing my sisters, brothers and parents- while telephone was the easiest way for contact- the Imam believed that we should never use religious money for personal and private conversation. Thus, he was not willing to bring a telephone set for the interior. Thus, I would not insist on having a direct call line, although I liked to contact with my relatives. I would write my words on a paper and they would answer a few days later.”

Imam Khomeini was very careful and exacting on spending religious money which people would send him a great Source of Emulation. Once he told his son, Ahmad, “God willing, you will be successful in acquisition of religious sciences and ethical purification. Firstly, do not send cheese anymore. It is not good for neither of us and I am prevented to eat it. Secondly, do not write anything about telephone so that I would pay for it. I will not have a telephone line and you don’t have anything except the money of the poor. It is good to practice observing of religious money and refraining from excessiveness. Almighty God will be satisfied with you.”

When Imam Khomeini’s daughters returned to Iran, the conditions were tougher for his wife. She says, “The daughters’ 3-month stay was over. They returned to Iran with my mother and left us alone in a lonely city. There was no friend, no one speaking the same language, no companion. We were in a small room away from all dear ones, especially Ahmad, who was 18 and I didn’t know what would happen to him. Thank God, with his intellect and prudence, I knew that he would handle his personal affairs and those of the Imam’s office.” Ms. Saqafi continues, “Little by little we made friends in Najaf. Even if there was no struggle in the houses of the ulema in Najaf, they were the people of knowledge.”

Imam’s elder son, Haj Aqa Mostafa, had learnt from him to lead a simple life. His mother writes on his way of living, “Mostafa was in our house for two months till he found a house. They had no home appliances and we gave them some of our own. They had no bed for a while and they used to sleep on the roof which was so hot. He had no refrigerator. When he was said, ‘Think for your children. What is their guilt, he would answer, God doesn’t like me to have refrigerator while my old father lives without it.”