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Islamic Revolution’s View on Authority and Governance


As you know we are celebrating the Ten-Day-Dawn in Iran. Today on the threshold of the final victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, we present you a feature on its views regarding authority and governance as follows:

According to the ayahs of the holy Qur’an, officials of the Islamic system are duty bound to implement the injunctions of Islam in society, such as prayer, zakat, the enjoining of good and forbidding of evil. This is what Allah the Almighty has commanded the believers, and this was practically demonstrated by the Prophets and Saints, for the welfare of the society and the individuals. The goal of life is to thank God for His favours, and to strive towards perfection and prosperity in the real sense of the term. This ensures our salvation in afterlife. Thus, real authority and the right to governance, is based on the holy Qur’an, and this requires the end of the rule of dictators, and the cutting of hands of the domineering powers. The Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (may God bless him), brought a new life for the Iranian people by establishing the Islamic government in line with the aspirations of the people, because in such a system of government, power and authority are not means to dominate and oppress the people, but to serve them.
Islam is the perfect religion and the finest code of life for all humanity decreed the by the All-Wise Creator, so that people would lead an orderly and harmonious life, which requires social norms as well as the proper method of governing the society. By following the guidelines of Islam, we become aware of our responsibilities to serve fellow humans, and at the same will be on guard to prevent seizure or exploitation of power and authority by the wayward whose main goals are oppression. Imam Khomeini practically demonstrated to us these guidelines during the ten years he was alive after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. As a humble and devoted servant of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and the Infallible Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt, he guided the nation of Iran in accordance with the ethereal laws of Islam after delivering the country from the clutches of domestic despotism and foreign hegemony. This was indeed a new phenomenon in the modern world, and in contrast to the concept of power, authority, and governance, of the democracies and dictatorships of the West and the East, where the sole goal is to deceive the people, dominate them, and exploit them. The dynamic system of Islam makes it clear that the unprincipled, the unqualified, the uncivilized, the immoral, and the agnostics, should on no account be considered eligible for power and authority. These persons when they assume power lie, commit crimes, and even resort to massacre of the people, in a bid to hold on to power. The prime examples of such power-mongers are the US and its accomplices in the West and the East, who do not even have any inhibitions in killing children and spreading vices in society.
The Islamic Revolution, since it is based on Islam, thus presented to the people of the modern world the finest example of government by promoting morals and spiritual values in society, and at the same time, calling for truth, honesty, and courage in politics at the international level. The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based on ethical principles, and endevours to resolve the problems of the society, by following the practical guidelines of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), during his four-and-a-half year model rule of social justice. Here we relate to you an example of the simple life the Imam lived, and prevented corruption and hegemony in society. Once his brother, Aqeel arrived as a guest at the Government House and Imam Ali (AS) made a sign to his elder son Imam Hassan (AS) to offer a garment to his uncle. Imam Hassan (AS) presented to him a robe and a cloak. The night came; the weather was warm. They were sitting on the roof-top having amiable talks. It was time for dinner. Aqeel considered himself to be the guest of the Absolute ruler of the Muslim World and expected a lavish dinner. But to his surprise it was the most ordinary and simple one.
He said: “Is this all the food?” The Imam replied that this is the gift of God for which we should heartily thank the Creator. Aqeel said: “Then I should better tell you my needs at once, and be on my way soon. I am in debt. Please order to pay off my debt as soon as possible; and also help your poor brother as much as you ca.n” Imam Ali (AS) asked him about the amount of his debt and was informed “One hundred thousand Dirhams”. The Imam said: I am sorry, brother. I don’t have so much money to give you; but wait till the time comes for the disbursement of stipends. I shall withdraw my personal share and give from it to you, thus fulfilling my duty of cooperation and brotherhood towards you. If my family and children were not in need of their own expenses, I would have given you my entire share.”
Aqeel tried to convince the Imam that the state-treasury is in your hand and you can take the any amount you want from it. Imam Ali (AS) said: “I am surprised to hear your proposal. What concern it does it, is of me or you whether there is money in the Treasury or not? We are just like any other Muslims. True, you are my brother and I must help you as much as possible, but from my personal money, not from the public treasury.” The argument continued and Aqeel pleaded toImam Ali (AS) in various ways. He continued to insist that the Imam should give him from state treasury. The place where they were sitting overlooked the market of Kufa, and they could see the cash-boxes of the shopkeepers. The Imam Ali said: “If you still insist and are not ready to listen to me, then I have got another proposal for you. If you follow it you can repay all your loan and still have plenty of money left.” Aqeel:”What is that?” Imam Ali (AS): “Down over there are some cash-boxes. As soon as the market is closed and nobody is there, go down and break open the boxes. And take whatever you want.” Aqeel said: “Strange! You are telling me to steal the money of poor people who have earned it with their hard labour and have gone home leaving it there trusting in God?” Imam Ali (AS): “Then why are you urging me to open the boxes of the state-treasury for you? Whom does it belong to? This also belongs to the same people who are asleep in their houses carefree and in comforts.
When his brother still pleaded and failed to understand, Imam Ali (AS) told him that if you do not have principles, then pick up your sword and go to the old city of Hirah where there are leading merchants and wealthy people there. Make a surprise attack on one of them during night and seize their wealth. Aqeel said: “Brother, I haven’t come here for theft and robbery that you are suggesting these things to me. I am only asking you to instruct the officials of the treasury to give me the money which is in your power, so that I may repay my debt.”
The Imam Ali replied (AS): “Suppose that we steal the property of an individual, isn’t it better that stealing from the property of millions of Muslims? How is it that taking the property of an individual with sword is robbery, while usurping the property of the general public is not? You are under the impression that robbery only means attacking some individual and taking his property by force. The worst type of robbery is the same thing which you are proposing to me to do now.”
In short, misusing the public treasury and state funds for the benefit of the self and friends, is strictly forbidden in Islam. This is what Imam Ali (AS) taught us, and this is what Imam Khomeini (RA) strove to implement in Iranian society by emphasizing on piety, and self-purification, for both the public and government officials. The Islamic revolution which was the greatest development in the history of Iran turned the personal rule into popular religious rule, based on the laws of God. The Islamic Revolution presented a new definition of power and governance which was well seen in the leadership of Imam Khomeini and is fully evident now in that of his successor Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei. None of them were seeking power but they accepted leadership just for serving the people. Such leaders fear no power except that of God Almighty and that is why they bravely stand against the domineering powers and defend the interests of people. So the only way for cutting off the hands of aliens from the Islamic states is by following the holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet and the Immaculate Ahl al-Bayt.

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