Short Biography of Imam Khomeini
Imam Khomeini's Childhood
Born in 1901 AD his birthday coincides with the anniversary of the auspicious birth of Hadrat Fatima (SA), the most revered and highly respected woman in Islam. Imam Khomeini was born into a religious family; his father, Ayatollah Seyyed Mustafa Musavi was educated in Najaf and Samarra, and later returned to his birthplace, Khomein, where he was the religious leader of the people until his death at the age of 42. Imam Khomeini's mother also had a religious background for she was the daughter of Ayatollah Mirza Ahmad, an exalted theologian.
Due to the early death of his father, the Imam was brought up under the loving care of his mother and his aunt Sahiba, however, when he was at the early age of fifteen his aunt came to an untimely end, and shortly afterwards his mother also passed away. The loss of his dear ones was a severe blow to one so Young but it also served to strengthen the will of Imam Khomeini and cemented his faith in Allah the Almighty all the more.
From early childhood the Imam paid keen interest in his studies. At a very early age he learned to read and write, and his elder brother, Ayatollah Passandideh also taught him Arabic grammar and logic along with the rudiments of many other subjects.
To further his studies Imam Khomeini studied literature at the Center for Theological studies in Arak and later in Qom, and became an authority on theological and canon law.
A self made man, refined in manners the Imam has always stressed the performance of religious duties and observance of the Islamic tenets. Wed versed in all branches of the rational and traditional sciences, he began to teach philosophy at the age of 27, and he has written many books on various aspects of religion. At the age of 30, Imam Khomeini married the daughter of a religious scholar and their marriage was blessed with two sons and three daughters.
The Imam has always spoken out against the oppression and tyranny in the world with a resonant voice. His constant protest against the former tyrannical regime in Iran stirred fire in the hearts of the Pahlavi regime and their hatred was openly displayed when. after imprisoning the Imam, they eventually exiled him from his native land.
In October of 1962 the Cabinet of the despotic government of the Shah approved a bill for the establishment of provincial and city councils. According to this bill, the stipulation of 'Islam' which the constitution of the country ordained that all those elected to the Majlis should believe in, was omitted from the law and then elected representative could take an oath on any holy scripture they accepted, not necessarily the glorious Qur'an protests from Qom spat defiantly at the Shah on this issue and Imam Khomeini sent a cable to Alam, then Prime Minister in strong protest of his actions, opposing the bill and for the first time he issued warnings against such councils and their Zionist inclinations and warned them against this action whilst calling the people to struggle. He openly protested against the torturing and imprisonment of the people by the government and at the same time the government supported Zionism and safeguarded the interests of the US
Public opposition surged and the religious circles in Qom proposed an all-out strike of the Iranian work-force. A state of emergency was declared in Tehran and two months later, in a press conference the P.M. announced the former approval of the bill - null and void.
Events of 1963
The religious circles in Qom had declared that the Muslims should not celebrate the New Year (the vernal equinox) because the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam As-Sadiq (A.S.) fell on the second day of the New Year. The deposed king was dismayed when he saw the people supporting religion and Imam Khomeini, so he decided to frustrate his opponents' plan. On the morning of the second day of Farvardin (the first month of the Iranian calendar), a number of the Shah's supporters and SAVAK (Shah's secret police) agents arrived in Qom in cars and buses. Troops in army vehicles armed with heavy machine guns poured into the town. The Imam's home was full of people. All of a sudden anti-religious slogans were heard. At the Faiziyyeh School, some hooligans created disturbances and attacked the people there. The Shah's agents opened fire on the people and the Muslim clergies. The Shah wanted to bully the clergy into remaining silent so that he could have a free hand, and further tyrannize the nation, thereby pleasing his master - the US government.
No sooner had the Imam received the news of the event than he came to pacify the people. He said: "Keep calm. You are the followers--, of those leaders in your religion who suffered greater atrocities. Such an outrage serves as a boomerang. Many a great figure of Islam suffered death in order to uphold Islam and entrust it to you. Therefore it is up to you to preserve this sacred heritage." The Imam's speech carried weight not only because the speaker was threatened with death, but because at such a critical time he promised victory for the people and defeat for the Shah.
Imam Khomeini requested the exalted religious leaders in Tehran to disclose the atrocities of the region. He also urged the religious preachers to refer in their sermons to the outrageous behavior of the regime towards the clergy, to the threat of Israel and its agents and to the actual threat to Islam.
Imam Khomeini was always welcomed warmly by the people. The heartfelt support that the masses gave to the religious leadership filled the regime with frustration. The regime saw this as an obstacle to its policies. The only religious figure remaining who gave the religious leadership weight with the people and allowed it to be a determining factor in Iranian society was Ayatollah Khomeini. Thus he was threatened by SAVAK to stop giving sermons at the Faiziyveh School. However he went there on the afternoon of Ashura the 10th of Muharram, (to comemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain) and said:
"We have come to the conclusion that they are against Islam and the religious leadership. Israel wants to discredit the Qur'an. our Holy Scripture. and wipe out the religious leadership. Israel wants to tighten its grip on our economy, trade and agriculture."
The Imam's Arrest
This crushing speech caused the Shah to fly into a rage. On the night of the 15th of Khordad, troops besieged Qom and rushed to the Imam's home and took him to Tehran where they held him in custody in the Qasr prison. He was later transferred to the Ishrat Abad Garrison. The next day the people in Qom took to the streets and led by Haj-Mustafa Khomeini, the Imam's son, shouted the slogan: "Either Death or Khomeini!". In Tehran the people demonstrated, shouting for his immediate release from prison. The bazaar and the university in Tehran were closed down. Troops opened fire on the people; casualties were heavy. Despite the security crackdown, the next day, (the 16th of Khordad), there were again demonstrations in Tehran in support of Imam Khomeini. In many other cities and towns of Iran the people went out on strike. There was no casualty list available, but some 15,000 and 400 people were reported killed in Tehran and in Qom respectively.
The atrocities of the Shah's martial law during these days and the support the masses gave Imam Khomeini were reflected in the foreign press. Although the western press, especially the imperialist papers, have never been able or willing to appreciate the struggles of the oppressed people of the world to rid themselves of the yoke of Colonialism, the 15th of Khordad uprising and the leadership of Imam Khomeini made a great impression on them which could not be overlooked.
The strike was broken and the bazaar reopened when the people received the news that the Imam was well and in good health. Nearly two months later, he was transferred from prison to SAVAK owned house in Davoodiyeh. This lessened public tension.
Nearing the first anniversary of the Faiziyyeh massacre, troops once again occupied Qom, but under strong public pressure, the Imam was released from prison and returned to Qom. His first speech delivered at Masjid Azam.
"They call us reactionary. Certain foreign newspapers are bribed lavishly to say that we are adverse to all reforms and try to lead Iran back to the Middle Ages. The Ruhaniyat (Clergy) oppose the adversity the people suffer here. We want them to maintain the independence of the country. We do not want them to be humble servants of others. We do not oppose civilization nor does Islam. You have violated all laws, whether human or divine. The radio and television programs are nerve-shattering. The press poisons the minds of the youth.
You have here military experts from Israel. You send Iranian students to Israel. We oppose all this. We do not oppose freedom for women, but we do not want women to be made-up dolls for the purposes of men. Your educational system is at the service of aliens."
Besides disclosing the evil scheming of the Pahlavi regime, the Imam always urged the unity of Islamic nations against Zionism and imperialism.
The Extraterritoriality Bill
The puppet government of Mansour, the then Prime Minister, submitted the bill to the Majlis (the Lower House of the Iranian legislative branch of the government during the Pahlavi regime) which passed it. The Imam was soon informed of this treacherous act and in a speech he explained his reasons for opposing the bill. In less than ten minutes more than 40,000 copies of an announcement embodying the Imam's views were distributed by his supporters in Tehran.
The Shah felt so threatened by the power of Ayatollah Khomeini that he arranged for his exile.
The Imam's Life in Exile
On the night of Aban 13, 1343 (November 1964) Qom was again occupied by troops. They arrested the Imam and drove him to Mehrabad Airport to send him into exile in Turkey. In the morning the people of Qom were not allowed to leave their homes and troops surrounded the houses of religious leaders. Haj Mustafa Khomeini was arrested and imprisoned in Tehran. He was likewise sent into exile in Turkey some two months later.
Cables were sent to the Turkish Embassy in Tehran in support of the religious leadership. Meanwhile, Hassan Ali Mansour, who was responsible for the bill and the exile of the Imam, was assassinated by a member of the Fadaeiyeen-e Islam.
The following letter was addressed to the UN Committee of Human Rights, dated April 1965:
"We would like to draw your attention to the measures the UN might take against the policies of the Iranian government aimed at violating human rights. The matter has been given publicity in the New York Times, the Times and Le Monde issues of November 5. The religious leaders of Iran have been sent into exile as a 'security measure'. "
The top religious figures are jailed and nearly all other leaders are under police surveillance at their homes.
The exile of Imam Khomeini to Izmir, Turkey, is the worst of all violating Article 14 of the Constitution of Iran to the effect that no Iranian shall be sent into exile or forced to leave his residence to reside elsewhere, unless otherwise stipulated by the law. Charged with revolt, the Imam has been under police surveillance since 1962. So, how can he be guilty of later provocation? This is rather more important, taking into account the practice of the Turkish government to accept a religious leader of so considerable caliber in its territory and keep him under control. We shall appreciate your investigation into the merit of the case and your decision thereon as the UN Charter stipulates."
The Turkish government under pressure was obliged to transfer the Imam to Iraq with collaboration of the Iranian regime. The Iraqi government agreed with such a transfer, provided that Iran had no right to intervene in the Imam's fate, freedom of activities of length of his exile in Iraq.
Exile to Iraq
The Imam lived in exile in Turkey only for a short period during which he was engaged in writing books. In Najaf, Iraq, he resumed his activities, but in an announcement he pointed out that the resumption of his activities should not be considered as termination of his exile and the public should be enlightened accordingly. They were! For fifteen years in exile, Imam Khomeini, wrote, spoke out, lectured, informed and amassed public fervor against tyrannical regime in Iran. He returned fifteen years later bringing the 'Dawn of an Islamic Revolution.' TV and radio stations, all over the world struggled to accommodate the influx of news that was coming from Iran; the Imam has returned. Some quoted thousands had gone to meet him and others, hundreds of thousands, but the truth is that millions thronged to receive the Imam when he landed on home ground.
Migration from Iraq to Paris
At a meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran and Iraq in New York a decision was made to deport Imam Khomeini from Iraq. On the 2nd of Mehr, 1357 (Sept 24, 1978), Iraqi troops put siege to Imam Khomeini's house in Najaf. The news of the siege angered the Muslims in Iran, Iraq and in other countries. In his visit to Imam Khomeini, Iraqi security chief, had said that if Imam wished to stay in Iraq he must give up his political oppositions, and the Imam had strongly replied that, due to the responsibility not willing to remain Quiet nor is he willing to make a compromise.
Return to Home
Early in Bahman, 1357 the news concerning Imam Khomeini's decision to return to the country was spread. Whoever heard this news shed tears of joy. The people had been waiting for 14 years Immediately after his triumphant return he addressed the millionic throng at Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery. The following area excerpt s from his speech ..... "We have suffered many disasters ..... but during this period, big disasters but great victories have also been achieved ..... I cannot compensate for all the damage done to this nation .... I lost everything. May God the Almighty reward it ... Muhammad Reza Pahlavi has gone ..... He fled after destroying everything... He ruined our country and made our cemeteries flourish..... Our agriculture is Wiped out..... He kept our culture in a backward state... We have had universities for more than fifty years..... Due to treason committed against us however, there has been no human development..... .
"As regards oil, it has been given totally to foreigners whether to America or other countries.....If. God forbid, that man had remained on the throne for several more year.' our oil reserves would have been exhausted... The blood of our young has been shed for these same causes and for freedom... We want a strong country with a stable and powerful system. We do not seek to reverse the system totally, in fact we want to maintain it, only let it be based on. and in the service of the people."
Imam Khomeini has been true to his words. Since the ousting of the Pahlavi regime and the establishment of an Islamic Republic in Iran, the government has acted towards the benefit of the people themselves. The system of Islamic government in Iran has not been estranged from the people in any way and has enjoyed their full support. Development activities, under the circumstances have achieved wonders far beyond the realms of expectation, and the support of the people when fighting against the despotic regime of Iraq which imposed war upon them serves to show that their faith in the Imam's guidance and the grace of Allah shall never flounder.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, having followed the guidance of Imam Khomeini, now has a strong and powerful system both at the national and international level. Islamic tenets and laws are referred to when policies and decisions are made in government and this at all times ensures that any activities or proposals carried out are in the interest of the people. The nations of the world shall be envied in future Years, for having lived through this era of transition of the Islamic Revolution, for having experienced its glorious 'Dawn' led by the most honorable Imam Khomeini.
Contrary to the views expressed by the Western media. the people of Iran have gained a new respect and dignity. They can proudly say that what they have is self-achieved that their modest dress is proper and is their cultural identity (and not an outdated custom), and that their values are Islamic and pure.
Imam Khomeini returned to Iran, from exile and brought with him the 'Dawn of the Islamic Revolution,' but now the light of the full sun shines from the faces of those who have followed his guidance and accepted the tenets of Islam. The Islamic Republic of Iran like a beacon, shines out across the globe and embraces the oppressed.