3. Holding fast to the commonalities
With the aim of fostering unity among the Muslims and even with the non-Muslims by relying upon the common points, the Imam used to invite all to unity. In the message he issued for the Christians of the world on the occasion of Christmas, by citing verses from the Evangel, he states:
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
O you who have faith! Be maintainers, as witnesses for the cake of Allah,
of justice, and ill feeling for a people should never lead you to be unfair. Be
fair; that is nearer to God-wariness, and be wary of Allah. Allah is indeed
well aware of what you do.”
How lucky are those who are hungry and thirsty for justice! It is because they would never satiate (the Gospel according to Matthew); how lucky are the ones who endeavor for justice; it is because the sky kingdom is of theirs (the Gospel, according to Matthew). I congratulate the auspicious birthday of Jesus Christ (‘a), the honorable Prophet of God, to the depressed nations of the world, to the Christian nations and to our Christian citizens. Jesus Christ (‘a) was appointed by God to defend the oppressed and to establish justice, he though his divine speech and behavior, condemned the arrogance and the oppressors and protected the poor and the deprived. O Christian fathers and priests who follow Jesus Christ (‘a): rise up to defend the oppressed in the claws of the oppressors and tyrants, and for once for God’s sake toll the bells of our churches in favor of the Iranian oppressed and for the condemnation of the oppressors.
Carter, the head of the world’s tyrants, asked you to toll the church bells in favor of the American spies detained in Iran in opposition to the deprived Iranian nation. how proper it is now. under the command of the Great Creator and Jesus Christ (‘a), to toll the bells in favor of the oppressed nations who are being annihilated under the boots of the executioners, such as Carters. How lucky are the ones who endeavor for justice. And woe to those who, in contradiction to Jesus Christ’s commands and all prophets’ instructions, endeavor to violate and suppress the rights of the oppressed ones in favor of tyrants and spies! O you followers of Jesus Christ (‘a): rise up and defend the dignity of Jesus Christ and his nation. Do not let the divine trainings of Jesus Christ and his divine commands be misrepresented to the oppressed and deprived nations of the world.
The very presence of the agents of the super powers at your temples and their invocations fix the treacherous spies and for the infidels who are against the depressed ones should not deceive you since they will resort to any means to sustain their power of government, which is in contradiction to divine instructions, and they think of nothing else.
Our nation has been exposed to the hypocrisy of these tyrants for years and has suffered a lot. O Christian nations! How come Mr. Carter did not attend the church for invocations and did not ask for going on in Iran, Vietnam, Palestine, Lebanon and elsewhere? How come he has taken part in invocation ceremonies and has asked the church bells to be tolled now that he is seeking reelection and looking for some more years to impose tyranny and despotism over the depressed nations?
O Holy Christian Fathers! Rise up and save Jesus Christ (‘a) out of the claws of these killers since that Great Prophet abhors a statesman who is using religion for tyranny, and is employing invocations for securing a position through which he could impose tyranny over God’s servants. This is because the divine commands have been descended onto the earth for the salvage of the depressed ones. O feeble and oppressed ones of the world! Rise up and unite to get rid of the tyrants. This is because land is God’s and its heirs are the oppressed ones!
O American nation! Do not pay heed to American presidents’ election slogans: they think of nothing else except for the attainment of power. Be aware that our youth treat the spies here amicably because Islam orders us to have kind treatments towards prisoners, though they may be tyrants and spies.
O Great nation of America! Ask Carter to return the deposed and treacherous Shah to Iran since in his hands lies the key of the spies’ freedom.
O people of the church bells! Raise your hands for invocation and toll the bells and ask God to bestow justice upon your presidents. How lucky are those who pray for justice.
Ruhullah al-Musawi al-Khomeini
Also, in a meeting with the Iranian Jews and Zoroastrians while citing the mission of the divine prophets of negating oppression and eliminating discrimination among nations, the Imam says:
“The great prophets of Allah, from Adam to the Seal of the Prophets who have come and the noble messengers who have lived among the people, have all been sent to hoist the banner of monotheism and justice among the nations. The prophets, all the prophets throughout history have been such that they should be unified counselors. In fact, they were commissioned to purify the morality of the people—in speech, thinking and action. And God, the Blessed and Exalted, has appointed them so as to nurture human beings, to cultivate human morality in them, and to enhance human deeds and actions in them. Given the state that they have had, they have made their utmost efforts.”
The Imam has even taken a step higher than the unity of religions with divine origins. By calling on all the downtrodden of the world, he invites all the downtrodden on the surface of the earth of every sect, creed and religion to form a single party so as for they to be able to defend and regain their rights from the oppressors. The Imam says:
“And I hope that a party named “Party of the Oppressed” comes into being throughout the world and all the oppressed have a say in this party; and the problems that are present in the path of the oppressed are removed; and they rise up against the oppressors and the plunderers of both the East and the West; and no longer permit the oppressors to oppress the downtrodden of the world; and the call of Islam and the promise of Islam which is the rule of the oppressed over the oppressors and “inheritance of the earth” that is for the oppressed, be realized. Until now, the oppressed were disunited and with disunity, nothing can be achieved. Now that a specimen of the bond of the oppressed has been realized in a Muslim homeland, this specimen must be realized at a more extensive level throughout the strata of human beings in history; and by the name of “Party of the Oppressed” which is the same as Hizbullah [Party of God], and which is in agreement with the will of God, the Blessed and Exalted, the oppressed must become the inheritors of the earth. We call upon all the oppressed of the world to join together in the “Party of the Oppressed” and solve their problems collectively and with a firm common resolution; and any problem that occurs in any place and among any nation be settled by means of the “Party of the Oppressed.”
The eminent Imam does not make any distinction among races and religions in supporting the oppressed and the downtrodden. For him, the oppressed Iranians, Afghanis, Lebanese, Arficans, and Americans are one and it is for this reason that when the American spies where under the custody of the Iranian nation, the Imam ordered for the release of the blacks and women among them on the ground that these strata have been oppressed in America. Meanwhile, the permission for the calling of adhan on the minarets of the mosques in the former Soviet Union made him glad just as he had been glad for the victory of the Iranian nation. In his message to Mikhail Gorbachev, the last head of the former Soviet Union, the Imam says:
“Mr. Gorbachev’ When after 70 years the call, “Allah is Great” and the testimony to the Prophet hood of the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad (peace be upon him and his posterity) were heard from the minarets of the mosques in some of your Republics, all the followers of the pure Muhammadan Islam were moved to tears out of ecstasy.”
Domestically, the Imam also used to be open with the students and individuals who had been educated in the new institutions of learning sometimes including those who had un-Islamic appearances. By virtue of their feeling for Islam and love for religion, he used to try drawing their attention and guide them. He used to advise the clerics to be careful lest these individuals were driven away from them, and to enhance their capability by making utilizing the people’s endearment of the clerics and their record of struggle. In one of his messages, the Imam says:
“It is essential that the venerable clergy and the university students show mutual respect. The enlightened university students should respect the clergy and the clergymen. God, the Exalted, holds them in esteem and the God-inspired Household of the Prophet (‘a) has recommended them to the people. The clergy is a great source of strength. Losing it would cause the pillars of Islam to collapse, God forbid, thus enabling the cruel might of the enemy to go unchallenged.
Meticulous studies conducted by the alien exploiters in the course of history have led them to the conclusion that this bastion must be demolished. The widespread propaganda that they and their hirelings have been doing over several hundred years have caused some intellectuals to part with the clergy and become pessimistic about them so that the enemy remains unchallenged. lii case some unqualified persons pass themselves off as being part of them, but serve and, according to the differences in their rank and service, make the people abide by the main and subsidiary principles f the faith in spite of the foreigners and their agents, this force should be assisted, protected and shown respect. The respected clergy must also respect the young intellectuals, who are serving Islam and the Islamic country and for this reason are the target of the attacks of the foreign agents. They should consider them as their dear children and their esteemed brothers.
They should not give up this immense power in whose hand the destiny of the country willy-filly will fall. They should guard against the malicious propaganda that has been going on against them for hundreds of years, showing them up in a different light to some people in order to benefit further from the disputes. They should ostracize those who either through ignorance or malicious intent have distanced this powerful group from the clergy, and not allow them to sow discord. They should rest assured that with these two great powers joining forces, victory will be attained; divided, they will never gain it.
Meanwhile, when the views and ideas of the clerics in Iran on the manner of administering the country led to the emergence of split and division among them and ended up in the separation of the Majma’-e Rühaniyyun-e Mubariz-e Tehran [Assembly of the Combatant Clerics of Tehran] from the Majma’-e Ruhaniyyat-e Tehran [Assembly of the Combatant Clergy of Tehran]. By citing the common objectives and principles of these groups, the Imam invite all to unity under the basis of the common objectives. In his reply to the letter of Muhammad ‘Ali Ansari, which is now known as the “charter of brotherhood,” the Imam says:
“The fact is clear that if there is difference among the individuals and parties affiliated to the Revolution, it is purely political although an ideological color is given to it. It is because all are in common regarding the principles and it is on this account that I confirm them (all). They are loyal to Islam and the Revolution; they are concerned of the country and the people; each (of the groups) has its own design and view for the advancement of Islam and serving the Muslims, which to my opinion, brings out deliverance. The overwhelming majority in both currents (parties) wants their country to be independent; both (parties) want to reduce for the people the wickedness and evil of the leech-like (elements) associated to the government, market and street. Both (parties) want noble employees, religious workers and farmers, and truthful merchants in the markets and streets to have a pure and wholesome life. Both (parties) want to have no graft and corruption in the government and private organs. In the realm of economy, both (parties) want the Islamic Iran to develop in such as way that the global market would be its own. Both (parties) want the cultural and academic conditions of Iran to be such that the students and researchers from around the world would flock toward the educational, scientific and artistic centers of Iran. Both (parties) want Islam to become the global power. So, the difference lies on what? The difference lies on the fact that each of them believes that its way is the one leading toward the realization of all these.
However, both (parties) totally pay attention to the fact that assuming stances should be such that while preserving the principles of Islam throughout history. they should be the keepers of their and the people’s revolutionary wrath and rancor against the Western capitalism, on top of which is the world-devouring American and the international communism and socialism, on top of which is the aggressor Soviet Union.
Both currents should exert utmost efforts that there should not be even a minute deviation from the policy of “Neither East nor West but the Islamic Republic”. If there is a minute deviation from it, they should be corrected by means of the sword of Islamic justice. Both groups must pay attention to the fact that they have common arch enemies, which will have no mercy on any of them. With utmost sense of brotherhood, the two currents should beware of the world-devouring America and the treacherous Soviet Union for the Muslim ummah. Both currents should inform the people that it is true that the deceptive America is their arch enemy but their dear children were martyred through the Soviet bombs and missiles. Both currents should not be negligent of the tricks of these two colonialist fiends, and they should know that America and the Soviet Union are thirsty of their blood and that of Islam.”
4. Keeping aloof from divisive issues
Another fixed characteristic of the Imam was the avoidance of the affairs that would create division in the society. While the Imam was not willing to abandon any of his religious and ideological principles or make compromise in relation to them, he used to extremely avoid any movement whose utility is nothing but the creation of rift in the ranks of Muslims. For example; in the book, Kashf al-Asrar, in reply to the accusations of the deviant writer, he strongly defended the infallible and pure Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), attacking those who usurped their rights. In the introduction of his religious-political testament, by citing the mutawãtir hadith ath-thaqalayn [tradition of the two precious things], he demonstrated the highest form of defense for the truthfulness of the Shi’ah. On the other hand, never would he be willing to attend to occasions held by some individuals in the name of supporting the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). So far, none of the Imam’s supporters and comrades has ever witnessed to his attendance in this type of occasions whose objective is nothing but the creation of discord among Muslims and insult to the sanctity of the divine laws. Similarly, his opposition to the caliphs after the Prophet (c) did not hinder his expression of their positive points. For example; the Imam says:
“When ‘Umar set off to enter Egypt—after the Muslim army had conquered the country and Islam became a powerful force—he did so with a camel which he and his slave took turns in riding; as one tired the other took his turn to walk. According to historical accounts, when they entered Egypt it was the turn of the slave to ride on the camel, so when the people of Egypt turned out to greet the caliph, they found him on foot guiding the camel on which his slave rode! This was how a caliph acted. We do not accept ‘Umar (as the rightful successor to the Prophet), but this action of his was Islamic. It was Islam which made him act this way, and even though we don’t accept ‘Umar, still his action was in keeping with Islamic teachings. The Prophet also acted in a similar manner. He would ride on a donkey with someone seated behind him and would answer the questions put to him by his companion and instruct him. Can you relate a similar story about the leaders of any of these democracies? Can you name any democratic leader like ‘Umar who, even though his realms were several times larger than Iran or France, treated his slave in such a way, who had a camel, nothing more, and who lacked the loftiness and embellishment that usually accompanies power. Take any democratic leader and see how he enters a vanquished country. ‘Umar was entering a conquered land, yet his slave rode upon his camel—because it was his turn to do so—while he walked in front leading the camel. The noblemen of Egypt came to greet him… they all paid homage to him, yet this was the manner in which he entered their land, and it was the teachings of Islam which made him act in such a way.”
Also, in his book, Anwar al-Hidayah, on the discussion of the outward forms [zawahir] of the Book (Qur’an) as proof [hujjah] after arguing on the absence of distortion [tahrif] in the Qur’an. he vehemently attacked the writer of the book, Fasl aI-Khitab fi Tahrif al-Qur‘an, who is a prominent and honorable scholar but he has attempted to prove by citing weak traditions that there had been verses and chapters in the Qur’an in favor of Hadrat ‘All (‘a) that have been deleted by the enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). Perhaps, it can be said that the eminent Imam has never been harsh in words, as he did to this writer, to any Shi’ah scholar with the exception of the court-‘ulama’. After quoting his statements, the Imam says:
“Anyone whose books have no theoretical and practical utility and only compiled weak traditions which were discarded by the companions and the learned figures and men of discernment from among the predecessors of our companions such as the “three Mulammads” (Muhammad ibn Ya’qub, al-Kulayni, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Babuyah, and (Muhammad ibn Hasan at-Tusi ) have preferred to keep aloof from these traditions. This is the state of his books on traditions, mostly like the book, Mustadrak al-Wasa‘il ,and never ask about his other books as they are replete with strange stories and accounts and they are more akin to jokes than to serious matters. Though he has been a righteous person and a researcher, he is more interested and inclined to compile strange and weak narrations and those that cannot be accepted by a sound mind and independent view, than to compile beneficial and useful statements.”
The Imam also opposed word or action that would lead to the creation of discord within the united ranks of Muslims in a way that he said elsewhere:
“Today, to dispute on the caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) is treason to Islam.”
In this manner, he used to prevent any attempt at sowing the seed of discord, and he used to give more weight to the expediency of unity and harmony of Muslims than to other interests even to the extent of postponing the practice of some religious laws observed by the Shi’ah. For instance, in
reply to religious questions related to Hajj and in the messages addressed to the Iranian Hajj pilgrims, he says:
“It is necessary for the Iranian brothers and Shi’ah from other countries to abstain from foolish acts that would lead to dissension in the ranks of Muslims and it is necessary for them to join the congregations of the Ahl as-Sunnah and to avoid conducting congregational prayers at home and putting different loudspeakers.”
“In the places of wuquf it is necessary and permissible to follow the ruling of the Sunni jurists.
When congregational prayers are being conducted in Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca) or Masjid an-Nabi (in Medina), the faithful [mu’minun] are not supposed to go out and miss the congregational prayers, and they have to say the prayers in congregation along with other Muslims.
The Imam did not merely give these orders. In fact, in the specified cases, he observed the same orders. For instance; when he was about to leave Najaf (in Iraq) bound for Kuwait, he and his companions made a sojourn at noon beside a mosque along the border of the city of Basrah. The Imam asked his companions: “Has this mosque a congregational prayer leader or not?” When they answered in affirmative, the Imam said: “If it has a designated prayer leader, you have to stand behind him in prayer. We have to leave if it is not vet noon, and if it is already noontime and you wanted to prayer individually, it is not proper.”
Also, the Imam never initiated forming an organization, party and group for himself. Neither did the Imam allow somebody to take advantage of his position and associate to the Imäm, his group or party. For example, one may point at his way of dealing at the Mehrabad Airport at the time of riding a car. The Imam did not allow taking a ride the man who took a seat beside him and was affiliated to one of the prominent groups of the time, not allowing anyone to ride except the late Sayyid Ahmad Khomeini.
5. Laying the foundation of the symbols of unity
As the harbinger of unity in the world today, in addition to his leadership in the Islamic Revolution, the Imäm had also the honor of fostering unity among the Iranian people as well as unity among the Muslims of the world through the following:
a. Presenting the theory of Islamic government
Having proper understanding of the predicaments and misfortunes of the Muslim world and the main problem of the downtrodden nations, and the discernment that the reason the revolutionaries’ inclination toward one of the two blocks—East and West—is the absence of proper model of the government of truth, the Imam presented a new platform of administering the society. By presenting the theory of the governance of the jurist [wilayah al-faqih] based on the Islamic principles and religious government, the Imam created a pivot for the unity of the strugglers in the contemporary period, and through the assistance and will of the people he established a government with free elections and through modem system in this country (Iran). In this regard, the Imam himself thus says in the book, Wilayat-e Faqih:
“In order to assure the unity of the Islamic ummah, in order to liberate the Islamic homeland from occupation and penetration by the imperialists and their puppet governments, it is imperative that we establish a government. In order to attain the unity and freedom of the Muslim peoples, we must overthrow the oppressive governments installed by the imperialists and bring into existence an Islamic government of justice that will be in the service of the people. The formation of such a government will serve to preserve the disciplined unity of the Muslims; just as Fatimah az-Zahra (‘a) said in her address: “The Imamate exists for the sake of preserving order among the Muslims and replacing their disunity with unity.”
In this manner, the Imam set up the government in order to foster unity among the Muslims.
b. Declaration of the International Quds Day
By designating the last Friday of the blessed month of Ramadan as the International Quds Day, which is common to all Muslims and has no racial and nationalist undertone and connotation as it is acceptable to all Muslims, the eminent laid down a milestone in the unity of Muslims around the globe and it led to the unity of all Muslims in the world in that every day and every year the grandeur and dignity of this day increases, in this regard, the Imam says:
“The Quds Day is the day of Islam. The Quds Day is the day on which Islam must be revived and it shall be revived; and the canons of Islam must be implemented in the Muslim countries. The Quds Day is a day on which all the superpowers must be warned that Islam shall not come under their subjugation through their evil lackeys.”
c. Holding the Friday congregational prayers
By reviving the true Friday congregational prayers in the Islamic society of Iran, the Imam took a great leap in the unity of the Muslim people of Iran. Had it not been for these Friday prayers in Iran, it is not clear whether or not this revolution, with such a popular power, could be able to confront the world-devourers. Concerning this, the eminent Imam says: “With the splendor that it has, it is a solid backing for our sapling movement and is an important and effective element for the advancement of our Islamic Revolution.”He also says elsewhere: “Holding the Friday prayer was one of the most magnificent blessings of Islam.”
d. Revival of the Abrahamic Hajj
Hajj—this great meeting place of Islam and gathering center of the power of the Muslim world which is supposed to be a catalyst of unity of the Muslim ummah—had been diverted by the court- ‘ulama’ and ignoramuses ruling over the Muslim nations, and was turned into a ‘dry’ and spiritless rite. By reviving the (true essence of) Hajj and declaring disavowal of the polytheists in this great Islamic congress, Imam Khomeini unified all Muslims against the agents of kufr (disbelief).
Although it is facing hurdles, this religious-political has already left its impact. Although today the government of Saudi Arabia prohibits the Iranian pilgrims’ formal holding of the rite of disavowal of the polytheists, annually Muslims from other countries observe the said rite without any prior program and coordination.
e. Issuance of the death sentence to the apostate Salman Rushdie
At the time when the global arrogance exerted its utmost effort to uproot the foundation and edifice of this revolution, and at the same time, when Islamic Republic system was in a position of weakness, by targeting the root and base of the enemies’ conspiracy, the Imam unified all the Muslims against the world-devourers, and by issuing the death sentence against Salman Rushdie, which is unanimously agreed upon by all Muslim sects, contributed to the revival of Islam and the unity of Muslims vis-à-vis the enemies.
f. Inviting the Soviet leader to Islam
During the days when the bell of the death of communism tolled, and the sound of breaking into pieces of its bones was heard, by inviting the leader of the communist camp to Islam and expressing happiness for the recital of adhãn (prayer-call) in the minarets of mosques in the Soviet Muslim Republics, the eminent lmam created indescribable ecstasy and joy among the Muslims, and as the leader of Muslim nations of the world, he became the source of grandeur, glory and greatness of the pure Muhammadan Islam. Specifically, by correctly predicting the downfall of this system based upon materialism and his call for divinity and spirituality, he gave a renewed credit to religion and divine schools such that the Muslim nations acquired indescribable dignity.
We conclude, therefore, that revolution and struggle in the school of the Imam is blended with unity and solidarity, and by taking inspiration from the unity-fostering teachings of Islam, the Imam called on all the downtrodden and the deprived of the world Io rise up, and he set the emphasis on the commonalities and sympathizing and assisting them in combating oppression as the cornerstone of his invitation. Along this path, he also defended his principles and beliefs, not making the least deviation from them. The reaction of the Imam to the calumny against Hadrat az-Zahra (‘a) in the Islamic Republic of Iran Radio during the last months of his life is an illustrious proof of this assertion. The introduction of the Imam’s religious-political testament is also a solid proof of his preservation of the principles, ideals and beliefs.
It is needed to explain that the stances of the eminent Imam in relation to the preservation of unity are not confined to the five pivots mentioned in this article, and in observing brevity we have sufficed ourselves with this extent.
For information on the views of the Imam, those who are interested may refer to the book, Wahdat az Didgah-e Imam Khomeini [Unity from the Viewpoint of Imam Khomeini} published by the Institute for the Compilation and Publication of Imãm Khomeini’s Works and the book, Imam Khomeini va Wafaq-e Ijtima I [Imam Khomeini and Social Harmony] by the same author which is published by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Iran.