As we said in the previous article, three factors namely Islam, the leadership of Imam Khomeini (May his soul rest in peace and the people played the basic role in the shaping and victory of the Islamic revolution of Iran.
We talked about the impacts of Islamic teachings and the wise leadership of Imam Khomeini in leading the Islamic movement of the Iranian people to victory. Today we will discuss the role of people in the revolution. Of course all revolutions are shaped with the people’s presence and efforts but in the Islamic revolution people have had a comprehensive presence, and over the past three decades have been present on all scenes.
The movement generated by the Iranian people in 1978 and 1979 culminated in the Islamic Revolution. Almost all strata of society rose against local despotism and foreign hegemony in Iran. The famous French author and journalist Eric Rouleau says: The revolution of Iran was the only religious revolution which had the support of even religious minorities. British researcher, Fred Halliday says: “The mass demonstrations of the Iranian people in overthrowing the Pahlavi regime are considered the greatest protest gatherings anywhere in human history.”
In the Islamic revolution the presence of people played such a great role that even its opponents have acknowledged the power and the popular support of the revolution. It is obvious that if the Iranian people’s uprising had lacked solidarity it could not have survived. We have witnessed many revolutions throughout history which stopped mid way due to differences among people. But the Islamic Revolution in Iran displayed a unique pattern of people’s unity and solidarity for achieving lofty objectives. The objectives manifested in the people’s slogans of
‘Independence’, ‘freedom’ and ‘Islamic Republic,’ were fully realized. The role of ulema in giving awareness to people should not be ignored. For, the religious scholars are present even in the remotest parts of Iran and they have a close relationship with the masses of people due to their trust in them.
The Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (may his soul rest in peace) always stressed the need for people’s unity. He used to say: the key to great victory of the Iranian nation was their unity. The Imam called it a divine miracle. Actually one of the characteristics of the people’s epic in the Islamic Revolution in Iran was their deep-rooted belief in God, the Prophet and the Infallible Imams, and their efforts to materialize the ideals of Islam. The Iranian people have learned resistance and self-sacrifice from Islam and they have brilliantly displayed this during their peaceful revolutionary campaigns. During the Islamic Revolution they got the opportunity to put into practice the dynamic teachings of Islam. That is why in the final months to the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the people spared no efforts to help each other. In view of the importance of Jihad in Islam, which means striving in the way of God, the Iranian people considered confrontation with the Shah’s detested regime a sort of Jihad, and for this reason all took part in this fateful Jihad. Martyrdom is another important principle of Islam which made Iranians consider death in the campaign against the oppressive Pahlavi regime as a cherished goal. Hence, since martyrdom meant access to a lasting bliss, people from different walks of life, especially the youths, bravely risked death.
One of the characteristics which are related to the role of people in the Iranian Revolution was their lack of weapons, whereas in some of the world’s revolutions, people have gained victory by resorting to armed campaign and use of weapons. But the people of Iran, in view of the peaceful methods that Imam Khomeini had adopted for the revolution, they did not use weapons but they continued their campaign through unarmed against an armed-to-the-teeth regime. This impressed the armed forces of the Shah, and contrary to the expectations of the regime, the army collapsed as soldiers joined the people. Next program, we will talk about the historical movement of the Iranian nation towards materializing the great Islamic revolution.
Since then, the Iranians have played an important role than in promoting Islamic science and culture, and defending the tenets of the faith. Thus it was natural for them to feel angry when the Pahlavi regime tried to undermine Islamic values. The firm faith of the Iranian people in Islam not only led to the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, but it helped in establishing the dynamic Islamic system of government. Prominent Iranian thinker martyr Morteza Motaharri considers that the main cause of the victory of the Islamic movement was the astute leadership of Imam Khomeini (may his soul rest in peace). In any campaign and revolution, basically the leadership plays an effective role.
There are many uprisings which have failed as a result of the people’s weakness or the treason of its leaders. The presence of wise leader like Imam Khomeini was the key to success.
Imam Khomeini was a unique person. He was a prominent jurisprudent and a great Muslim scholar. He was blessed with wisdom and foresight as well, without fear of any power. Among the other characteristics of Imam Khomeini’s leadership was his sincerity. The late Imam rose only for the sake of God and for the rescue of the Iranian nation and he frequently proved his well intention during his campaign and showed that he was not seeking wealth and status. Actually one of the factors behind Imam Khomeini’s popularity in Iran and all over the world was his sincerity and purity. He was also a wise and intelligent person and he was never shaky in his campaign. In addition, Imam Khomeini’s awareness of the local and international events was a key factor in decision-making. Although he lived for about 15 years in exile in Turkey and Iraq, he had precise and clear information of the situation of the government, the people and the combatant groups inside Iran. Imam Khomeini pursued the international events specially the Middle East crisis, the issue of Palestine and the Zionist regime’s aggressions and he warned the Islamic world regarding the domineering consequences of the Americans and the Zionists in the region.
Unlike the other politicians of the contemporary world, Imam Khomeini lived a very simple life, something which amazed many foreign politicians and visitors. They could not believe that such a great and popular figure lived in such a simple and tiny house. At the same time, Imam Khomeini was very kind to the people and he was humble to them. He used to say: “I would like you to call me a servant rather than a leader.”
Imam Khomeini was a great Gnosis. His Gnostic poems which were released after his passing away showed that the Imam not only was a person of politics but he also enjoyed a Gnostic morale. Concerning Imam Khomeini, the present Leader of the Islamic revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, says: A man from the holy Prophet’s household emerged among us like a sign of mercy.
The Muslim people of Iran rallied behind such a pious and efficient person to bring their uprising to victory. The Imam’s speeches exposed the Pahlavi regime and its dependence on the US, and the awareness created among the Iranians led to the victory of the Islamic Revolution.
As we said last week this February we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the resounding triumph of the Islamic Revolution that changed regional and world equations.
To mark the occasion we have prepared a special series for our listeners titled Three Decades of the Islamic Revolution, which will continue till the 10-Day Dawn, that is, February 1-to-10, when the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (may his soul rest in peace), returned home to Iran from 15 years of exile and ten crucial days later led the masses to victory over an armed-to-the-tooth US-backed regime. Last week we referred to the situation of the world and the western colonialist domination during the days of the victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. We also talked about the factors that shaped the Islamic Revolution, such as the economic and political dependence of the British-installed and American-backed Shah on the West. Today we will discuss the other factors behind the Islamic movement of the Iranian people. Please stay tuned for the 2nd episode.
Right since the British installed the illiterate soldier Reza Khan in 1925 on the Peacock Throne, the Pahlavi regime was heavily dependent on foreign powers and brutally suppressed the Iranian people. During his 16-year reign of terror, Reza Khan tried to deprive the people of their Iranian culture and Islamic identity, by blindly copying the West and banning the hijab for women and the traditional dress of Iranian men. In 1941, during Second World War when he dared to put out feelers to Nazi Germany, the British immediately replaced him with his son, Mohammad Reza. The new Pahlavi ruler was even more dependent on the West, especially on the Americans, following the August 1953 CIA coup that restored him to power by topping the nationalist government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq. The Shah now in collaboration with his American masters set up the dreaded torture and spying network called SAVAK. The CIA and the illegal Zionist entity’s notorious terror network, Mossad, trained SAVAK agents, who carried out the most blood-curdling torture of political and religious prisoners in Iranian jails. Thousands of revolutionaries were exposed to horrible atrocities and many of them died under torture.
The West in turn openly supported the Shah’s despotic policies against the Iranian people and called his opponents Marxists. US president Jimmy Carter who used to call himself ‘an advocate of democracy and human rights’, showered the highest praise for the brutal Shah during his visit in 1978 to Iran, describing the country, which was soon to witness the Islamic Revolution, as an island of stability in the region for US interests. Although the Shah had changed the constitution to increase his powers, he never abided by it. There were no free or fair elections to the rubber stamp Majlis he had set up. In 1975, he formed a party called ‘Rastakhiz’ and forced the Iranian people to join it. The press was tightly controlled and the slightest expression of freedom was brutally suppressed.
The Shah and his clique were completely isolated from the Iranian people, and were unable to predict the rising of the nation against despotism. He was intensely hated by the people, who also abhorred the US for backing the Pahlavi tyranny. In addition, the unholy alliance between the Shah and the usurper state of Israel had strongly angered the Iranian Muslim people. As a matter of fact, the Shah’s close economic, political and security ties with the illegal Zionist entity was among the main reasons for intensification of the Iranian people’s opposition.
Another factor responsible for the great revolution of the Iranian people was the assault of the Pahlavi regime on the religious ideas, beliefs and cultural traditions of the Muslim people of Iran, a country where 98 percent of the people are Muslims, and who are noted for their devotion to the cause of the Prophet and his blessed household. The Pahlavi regime made a fatal mistake in trying to undermine and insult Islam. This naturally made the Iranian people furious. As part of its irreligious policies, the Shah placed heavy restrictions on the annual mourning ceremonies of Moharram and Safar for the martyrs of Karbala. The Iranian people who are devoted to Imam Hussain (PBUH) and his cause, were greatly angered and were resolved to end his misrule, and his promotion of decadent western culture.
In addition to his policy of spreading vices in the society, the Shah made the fatal mistake of promoting mythology on the assumption that it was Iran’s pre-Islam history. His purpose was to try to weaken Islam, and he lost his mind when he styled himself Arya-Mehr or the Sun of the Aryan Race, by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on what he called the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire in 1971. He invited kings, presidents, prime ministers and other senior officials of world countries to an extravaganza of feasting, drinking, and dancing at the ruins of Persepolis near Shiraz. In 1976, he changed the calendar in Iran from the solar hijra based on the Prophet’s migration, to the mythical date of 2500 Shahenshahi. This way he thought he would weaken religious leaders and increase his standing among the people. Simultaneously, the Shah exiled and imprisoned the ulema, especially prominent figures like Imam Khomeini (may his soul rest in peace). But contrary to his expectations, his anti-Islamic acts increased the Iranian people’s anger. At this sensitive juncture the Iranian people turned more and more towards the leadership of Imam Khomeini to launch the people’s popular Islamic movement that finally drove out the Shah and his American backers from Iran.
This February we would be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the resounding triumph of the Islamic Revolution that changed regional and world equations.
To mark the occasion we have prepared a special series for our listeners titled Three Decades of the Islamic Revolution, which will continue till the 10-Day Dawn, that is, February 1-to-10, when the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (may his soul rest in peace), returned home to Iran from 15 years of exile and ten crucial days later led the masses to victory over an armed-to-the-tooth US-backed regime. Please stay with us for the first part.
The Islamic Revolution is unique. It is quite different from the other revolutions that have occurred in various parts of the world, and that is why the arrogant powers are hostile to it. As a matter of fact, the enemies of Islam and humanity had from the very beginning, that is, from the day of its victory, said it will soon collapse. But their predictions never came true. On the contrary, thanks to the Will of God, and because of the dedication of the Iranian Muslim masses, the Islamic Republic system has gone from strength to strength over the past three decades. Today the Islamic Republic is the model and exemplary state for not just the Muslim peoples groaning under the jackboots of unelected rulers installed by the British, the French and the American colonialists, but also for most of the so-called called Third world spread over Africa and Latin America. The key to the success and progress of the unique Islamic system of the Iranian people is its Islamic nature, the prudence and resolve of Leader of the Islamic Revolution, and the steadfastness of the Iranian people in the face of the most intricate plots.
One question those unfamiliar with the nature of the Iranian Muslims and the history of Iran, ask is: Why did the Iranian people rose against the Shah and gather around the banner of Imam Khomeini, when they were seemingly economically well-off. To answer this question, we have to turn the pages of history and go back several centuries. By doing so we realize how the dynamic teachings of Islam had shaped the brilliant Islamic civilization, of which Iran and its innovative scientists and scholars, was an important part. However, decadence set in due to several social and cultural factors, especially the drift from progressive Islamic thoughts. The stagnation of Muslim societies emboldened European powers to spread their colonial tentacles. Soon the Muslim world, including Iran, became victims of European colonial powers, which plundered the rich sources of the Islamic peoples, and moreover imposed upon them their destructive culture in order to rob their minds of any positive thinking. In Iran, because of the enlightening role played by the ulema in society, the people were yearning to break from the shackles of the degenerate rule of the British-installed and US-backed Pahlavi regime. They were waiting for an able leader to lead them out of the limbo, and in Imam Khomeini (may his soul rest in peace), they found their ideal leader to lead the people’s Islamic movement to victory.
Although in other Muslim countries there were short-lived people’s Islamic movements, but they did not have the same impact on the regional and international, compared to the foresight of Imam Khomeini. The charismatic Imam inspired Iranians and mobilized to faithful to stand up to the despotic Shah and to defeat him and his foreign backers. The first sparks of the Islamic Revolution were lit in 1963 when on June 5 the Khordad 15 uprising shook the country because of the infamous capitulation bill that the Americans forced the rubber-stamp parliament of the Shah to pass. This meant that Iran was a virtual American colony with all its affairs in the hands of the Americans to the extent that even if Americans were to commit any crime in Iran, the Iranian government had no power to arrest him and prosecute him. Imam Khomeini strongly denounced this humiliating bill in a public gathering and also blasted the Shah’s regime for its unnatural relations with the usurper state of Israel. The stupid Shah, on the instructions of his American masters, arrested the venerable Imam, and thus the whole country was up in arms against him. The Imam was exiled, first to Turkey and then to Iran, but he was always in touch with the Iranian people. In the meantime, the US developed the strange doctrine to base its regional power in Israel and to turn Iran and Saudi Arabia into the ‘dual column of security’. At the same time, Iran was forced to join the Central Treaty Organization or CENTO against what was then the Soviet Union. Iran people were naturally angry at the sellout of their Islamic country and violation of national identity and Islamic dignity because of promotion of decadent western culture.
Among the policies of the Shah was blind militarization of the country with oil weal being recycled to the US and Western Europe for purchase of arms that would only rot and gather rust in storages. Since 1973, when the oil price increased spectacularly, the major part of Iran’s oil incomes was spent for the purchase of 12 billion dollars worth of weaponry. The Shah didn’t even care for the Iranian people, their religious sentiments and their national feelings. For most of the Iranians who lived in poverty, the so-called decoration of a few localities of the capital Tehran was not neither progress nor remedy for their pains and sufferings. In addition, the Savak or the dreaded secret police that took its orders direct from the US embassy and not from the Iranian government had made life miserable for Iranian people. The Shah thought that with such a powerful army there was no question of his being overthrown. But he ignored the reality that most of the military forces were from the masses of ordinary people who were frustrated with the foreign hegemony and the dictatorship of the godless Pahlavi regime. In opposition to the Iranian people’s desire, the Shah provided 65 percent of the oil needs of the illegal Zionist entity and 95 percent of the oil needs of the white racist apartheid regime of South Africa. In 1962, the Shah confiscated large tracts of lands in the name of the white revolution that destroyed the rich agriculture of the country, forced immigration of villagers to cities, and made Iran a mass importer of agricultural and diary products from Europe. Moreover, he restricted religious freedom of the Muslim people, and forced them to follow myths and superstitions in the name of ill-defined national culture. Thus Iran was ripe for a revolution, and in Imam Khomeini the people found the ideal leader to lead them to victory against an armed-to-the-teeth regime supported by the US and Western Europe.
In next week’s program, we will talk about the other causes that shape the great Islamic and popular revolution.