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.