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Imam Khomeini, the Role Model of Islamic Leadership

By: Sayyid Ali Shahbaz
Imam Khomeini (may his soul rest in peace), who indeed remains the role model of Islamic leadership in the contemporary world. God Almighty saved Iran from one of its most critical conditions in history by inspiring His servant Seyyed Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini to mobilize the people against the despotic rule of the British-installed and US-backed Pahlavi regime and to finally throw into the dustbin of history 2,500 years of the tyrannical monarchic system. Imam Khomeini, as a humble servant of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and the Infallible Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt, diligently followed their path to awaken the sleeping consciences of not just the Iranian people, but the Muslims and the oppressed all over the world.
It was his firm resolve that saw the power of the people emerge victorious in the face of a armed-to-the-teeth regime that was supported by the domineering powers. His wisdom, insight, piety, courage, and firm resolve, attracted people towards him, and enabled him to establish the Islamic Republic in Iran. The unprecedented welcome by millions of Iranians to him on his return home from 15 years of exile is prove of his charisma that within ten days of his arrival resulted in the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Thereafter, in the next ten years, he proved his mettle to the whole world as the epitome of the Just Islamic Leader, and till this day the personality of Imam Khomeini serves as role model for all aspiring Muslims throughout the world.
Imam Khomeini (RA) strove to instill in the virtuous Muslims the concept of God’s vicegerent on earth – a trust given to the Father of the human race, Adam, at the dawn of creation, and which was so admirably handled by all Prophets, culminating in the personality of the greatest of them all, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), who entrustment it to Imam Ali (AS) at Ghadeer-Khom. This is among the fundamental goals of the Islamic Republic, and this would never have been materialized by a non-religious or non-Muslim leader. As a leading jurisprudent of his age, with firm faith in God and piety as his most potent weapon, he showed to the world that no obstacle can obstruct the path of a divinely-inspired leader. It is impossible to understand the dynamism of the leadership of the Late Imam, without taking into consideration these vital factors. He believed the world and life are worthy, only if the goal is to make them the means of attaining the proximity of God for creating the conditions of prosperity in its real sense for fellow humans, and paving the way for their salvation in afterlife. It means that leadership by itself has no value if it is not at the service of humanity and the virtuous servants of God. The Imam believed that absolute sovereignty belongs to God Alone, and for this reason, he would always refer to himself as a servant of the people. Such a concept and self-purity made his heart receptive to divine inspiration and granted him a special kind of foresight. For instance, in an interview with the famous Egyptian journalist Hassanian Haikal, he once said: I know the nation and I speak on their behalf. I realize what they feel deep down in their heart. I am aware of all weak points; I have witnessed the developments of the past half century. I know the misery resulting from threatening and pressuring g the people and I felt it.
Imam Khomeini was also fully aware of the enemies and the intricacy of their plots. This made him realize that the archenemy of world nations is the US regime, which he called the “Great Satan”. This was not any emotional outburst but the result of the correct analysis of a man of God well aware of the evil nature of successive regimes in the White House that had created all sorts of problems for the Iranian nation and other Muslim lands. In view of Washington’s policy of meddling in the affairs of Iran and other nations, he considered campaign against the oppressive and corrupt super powers as the legacy of the Prophets.
He said: Those who blame us for our refusal to compromise with the corrupt powers is because of their narrow materialistic perspective and their ignorance of the campaign of the Prophets of God against the oppressors. Imam Khomeini pointed out in the light of Islamic teachings that compromise with the oppressor is tantamount to oppression of the oppressed. In view of this, he never yielded to the pressures and intimidations of the west, especially the US, and inspired the Iranian people to resist and be steadfast. He said: I categorically announce to the world that we will resolutely resist the assault of the world devourers on our religion. He was not the least afraid of any threat and said: By God I have never been afraid… I am prepared to sacrifice myself for defending Muslims and I am waiting for martyrdom. The super powers and their mercenaries should know that even if I remain alone, I will continue my campaign against infidelity and idolatry.
Imam Khomeini believed that epic and bravery ought to be the main features of the Islamic community and a truly independent Islamic government. He considered the weakness of the Muslim World against the onslaughts of the oppressive powers to be lack of firmness and the spirit of epic. He called on thinkers of the Muslim World to use the power of their speech and pens, in order to help them overcome fears and the false power of the oppressors. In the light of genuine thoughts of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), Imam Khomeini believed that the oppressed and specially the world Muslim should not expect help from the big powers. He considered the only way of salvation to be reliance on God Almighty, solidarity amongst oppressed as keys to resistance. He made it clear: Those who think that the capitalists could be guided through advices are wrong, because of their hypocrisy. As a matter of fact, Imam Khomeini practiced whatever he believed. In other words, he practically demonstrated to Iranians and the world how to lead a simple life without depending on others, in order to resist the pressures of the enemies, as taught by Islam. This made him humble and courteous towards the people – qualities that are not found in leaders of so-called revolutions. He always appreciated the self-sacrifice of people to the extent that he used the phrase of \"I kiss the hand of people\" for thanking them. He never attributed victories to himself and taught people that they should not become proud of victories, but should always thank God Almighty.
Thus, what is needed today as inspiration for Muslims throughout the world are leaders of the stature of Imam Khomeini (RA) so as to awaken sleeping consciences.

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