Ayatullah Khomeini A Historical personality (1900-1989) :

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Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini (17 May 1900-3 June 1989) was an Iranian Islamic revolutionary, politician, and religious leader who served as the first supreme leader of Iran from 1979 until his death in 1989. He was the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the main leader of the Iranian Revolution, which overthrew Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and ended the Iranian monarchy.

Early Life:

Born on May 17, 1900, Ruhollah Mousavi entered the world into a family lineage steeped in Shiite religious scholarship in the humble Iranian village of Khomein. His given name, meaning “inspired of God,” foreshadowed his future influence. Embracing his hometown as his surname, he became renowned as Ruhollah Khomeini. Tragedy struck early in his life when, just five months after his birth, his father, Moustafa Mousavi, was murdered.

After the death of his father Ayatullah Khomeini was raised by his mother and his aunt, both of whom died of cholera in 1918. The  responsibility of the family fell in the shoulder of older brother, Mourteza.

As a young boy, Khomeini was lively, strong, and was good at sports. He was even considered the leapfrog champion of his village and the surrounding area. Far from being dedicated only to games, though, Khomeini was also an intellectual. He was known for his great ability at memorizing religious and classical poetry and also excelled at his studies at the local maktab, a school dedicated to teaching the Quran.

Because of his scholarly success the older brother of Khomeini decided to send him to Najaf a city of Iraq inorder to persue his religious studies in 1920. There, Khomeini studied with the renowned Islamic scholar Yazdi Ha’iri. Ha’iri left Arak for the city of Qom in 1923, and Khomeini followed. There, he committed all of his efforts to furthering his own religious studies while also becoming a teacher for younger students at Ha’iri’s school.

The Iranian Revolution:

The year of his return was 1979, mere months after his move to Paris. Students, the middle-class, self-employed businessmen, and the military all took to the street in protest. The Shah turned to the United States for help, but ultimately had to leave the country himself in the face of the revolution at his doorstep. Despite statements such as the one he made in Paris, Khomeini was widely acknowledged as the new leader of Iran and came to be known as the Supreme Leader. He returned home to cheering crowds and began laying the groundwork for the Islamic state he had for so long been imagining.

During this period, he put other clerics to work on writing an Islamic constitution for Iran. He also began iterating more authoritarian sentiments than before: “Don’t listen to those who speak of democracy. They all are against Islam. They want to take the nation away from its mission. We will break all the poison pens of those who speak of nationalism, democracy, and such things.”

Years in Exile:

Ruhollah Khomeini’s life in exile was the period that Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini spent from 1964 to 1979 in Iraq, Turkey and France, after Mohamed Reza Shah Pahlavi had arrested him twice for dissent from his “White Revolution” announced in 1963.During his years in exile,  Khomeini developed a theory of what a state founded on Islamic principles and led by the would look like, called Velayat-e faqeeh.

What is Velayat-e faqeeh Theory:

Velayat-e faqih, which means “guardianship of the Islamic jurist” in Farsi, is a concept that gives all political and religious power to Shia Muslim religious Scholar. This means that important decisions in the country are made by a supreme religious leader called the vali-e faqih, who is usually a highly respected cleric. The vali-e faqih’s role is to oversee and approve major decisions, ensuring they align with Islamic principles. This system effectively leads to the Islamicization of the state, as the supreme clerical leader ensures that the country follows Islamic laws and principles from the top down.

In a book entitled Islamic Governance, published in 1970, Khomeini Described his plans for the creation of an Islamic state in Iran, reconceptualising the doctrine of velayat-e faqih to justify clerical guardianship of the state. The ayatollah claimed that God had made Islam for it to be executed as shown by the creation of divine law (sharia). Given that no one knew Islam better than the Islamic religious scolar called Ayatullah, Khomeini argued, it was natural that they should rule as guardians of the state until the return of the 12th divinely ordained Shia imam (Imam al-Mahdi or the Hidden Imam), who Shias believe was withdrawn into occultation by God in AD 874.

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