Sunday 16 June 2019

Imam Khomeini’s Biography

Family and early years

Ruhollah Mousavi was born to Ayatollah Seyyed Mostafa Musavi and Hajieh Agha Khanum, also called Hajar, in the town of Khomein, about 300 kilometers south of the capital Tehran, Iran, possibly on May 17, 1900 or September 24, 1902. He was a seyyed from a religious family that are claimed descendents of Prophet Mohammad, through the seventh Imam, (Imam Mousa Kazem). His paternal grandfather, Seyyed Ahmad Musavi, whose third wife, Sakineh, gave birth to Mostafa in 1856. Imam Khomeini's maternal grandfather was Mirza Ahmad Mojtahed-e Khonsari, a high-ranking cleric in central Iran. Following the grant of a monopoly to a British company, he banned the usage of tobacco by Muslims. The Shah canceled the concession. The event marked the beginning of the direct influence of the clergy in Iranian politics. Imam Khomeini's father was murdered when he was five months old, and he was raised by his mother and one of his aunts. Later, when he was 15, his mother and aunt died in the same year. At the age of six he began to study the Koran, Islam's holy book. He received his early education at home and at the local school, under the supervision of Mullah Abdul-Qassem and Sheikh Jaffar, and was under the guardianship of his elder brother, Ayatollah Pasandideh, until he was 18 years old. Arrangements were made for him to study at the Islamic seminary in Esfahan, but he was attracted, instead, to the seminary in Arak, which was renowned for its scholastic brilliance under the leadership of Ayatollah Sheikh Abdol-Karim Haeri-Yazdi (himself a pupil of some of the greatest scholars of Najaf and Karbala in Iraq). In 1921, Imam Khomeini commenced his studies in Arak. The following year, Ayatollah Haeri-Yazdi transferred the Islamic seminary to the holy city of Qom, and invited his students to follow. Imam Khomeini accepted the invitation, moved, and took up residence at the Dar al-Shafa school in Qom before being exiled to the holy city of Najaf in Iraq. After graduation, he taught Islamic jurisprudence (Sharia), Islamic philosophy and mysticism (Irfan) for many years and wrote numerous books on these subjects. Although during this scholarly phase of his life Imam Khomeini was not politically active, the nature of his studies, teachings, and writings revealed that he firmly believed from the beginning in political activism by clerics. Three factors support this suggestion. First, his interest in Islamic studies surpassed the bounds of traditional subjects of Islamic law (Sharia), jurisprudence (Figh), and principles (Usul) and the like. He was keenly interested in philosophy and ethics. Second, his teaching focused often on the overriding relevance of religion to practical social and political issues of the day. Third, he was the first Iranian cleric to try to refute the outspoken advocacy of secularism in the 1940s. His now well-known book, Kashf-e Asrar (Discovery of Secrets) was a point by point refutation of Asrar-e Hezar Saleh (Secrets of a Thousand Years), a tract written by a disciple of Iran's leading anti-clerical historian, Ahmad Kasravi. Also he went from Qom to Tehran to listen to Ayatollah Hassan Modarres —the leader of the opposition majority in Iran's parliament during 1920s. Imam Khomeini became a marja` in 1963, following the death of Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hossein Borujerdi.

Early Political Activity

In this time he could represent his religio-political ideas openly. Because the deaths of the leading, although quiescent, Shiite religious leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Borujerdi (1961), and of the activist cleric Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani (1962) left the arena of leadership open to Imam Khomeini, who had attained a prominent religious standing by the age of 60. In addition, although ever since the rise of Reza Shah Pahlavi to power in the 1920s the clerical class had been on the defensive because of his secular and anticlerical policies and those of his son, Mohammad Reza Shah, these policies reached their peak in the early 1960s with White Revolution.

Opposition to White Revolution

Imam Khomeini first became politically active in 1962. When the White Revolution proclaimed by the Shah's government in Iran, called for land reform, nationalization of the for