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Imam Khomeini (RA) and Islamic Awakening

Imam Khomeini (RA) and Islamic Awakening

Islamic awakening is one of the phenomena of recent decades that has occurred in Islamic countries and has caused many changes in Muslim societies. This great change has been influenced by strong and influential ideas. One of these influential factors resulting in many changes in the Islamic world was the late Imam Khomeini’s discourse. With the leadership of an Islamic revolution and with the change of the oppressive government to the Islamic Republic, as well as the ten years of leadership of this fledgling republic, he was able to have many effects on the Islamic awakening in other parts of the world and among Muslims and even oppressed non-Muslims. Imam Khomeini’s discourse manifests how Imam criticized modernity and modern civilization, and throws light on the Iranian Islamic civilization, emphasizing such concepts as independence, freedom and pure Muhammadan Islam.

 

Imam Khomeini (RA)

and Islamic Awakening

Islamic awakening is one of the phenomena of recent decades that has occurred in Islamic countries and has caused many changes in Muslim societies. This great change has been influenced by strong and influential ideas. One of these influential factors resulting in many changes in the Islamic world was the late Imam Khomeini’s discourse. With the leadership of an Islamic revolution and with the change of the oppressive government to the Islamic Republic, as well as the ten years of leadership of this fledgling republic, he was able to have many effects on the Islamic awakening in other parts of the world and among Muslims and even oppressed non-Muslims. Imam Khomeini’s discourse manifests how Imam criticized modernity and modern civilization, and throws light on the Iranian Islamic civilization, emphasizing such concepts as independence, freedom and pure Muhammadan Islam.

The historical and intellectual background of the Islamic awakening dates back to sometime around 150 years ago when the first wave of this great phenomenon was started through the revivalist movement of Seyyed Jamaluddin Asadabdi against foreign colonialism and domestic despotism and tyranny in the Islamic world some time towards the end of the 19th Century.

This wave was then spread by thinkers like Abdolrahman Kavakebi in Syria; Mirzaye Shirazi, Allameh Na’ini, Akhound Khorasani, and Seyyed Hasan Modarres in Iran; Sayyid Qutb, Mohammad Abdoh and Rashid Reza in Egypt; Allameh Mohammad Iqbal and Mohammad Ayda in Pakistan; Ahmad Danesh in Tajikistan and Qunanbayuli/Kunanbaev in Kazakhstan and resulted in independence movements in the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, the Greater Khorasan and Transoxiana and brought about some sort of self-awareness and self-confidence among the peoples of the Eastern civilizations.

Evidence of this can be seen in the fact that this Islamic awakening - which is wide awake today - prevailed in the Indian subcontinent and was adopted by such figures as Abul A’la Maududi and Muhammad Iqbal and others. This also applies to the Islamic awakening that is prevailing in a number of other Islamic countries around the world.

In other words, “Islamic awakening” has been in a state of motion at least over the past two centuries, shedding light on the political dimension of Islam with the objective of liberating the Muslim masses from the bondage of western powers and domestic dictators. By reminding their people of the period of the glory and grandeur of the Islamic Ummah, these thinkers, on the one hand, emphasized the Eastern values and threw light on the causes of the backwardness of the region and, on the other hand, endeavored to draw the attention of the masses towards the role of colonialism and tyranny in suppressing and oppressing the people of the East in order to come up with a solution to the crisis that the nation-states of Asia were facing. In other words, their main purpose was to prevent the colonial presence of the Westerners in the East, confront the spread of Western forms of government, oppose the tyranny of their rulers and foil their exploitative and opportunistic quest and attempt to seek and gain absolute power. This wave of awakening, which believed in and stood for people determining their destiny through unity and solidarity, was transformed into a cultural awakening among the Asian nations and resulted in some sort of solidarity against foreign colonialism.

The second wave of “Islamic awakening” came into being in the year 1963 after Imam Khomeini’s speeches condemning the US-supported atrocities of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories and calling on the Muslim scholars, thinkers, and people to rise against what is happening in the Islamic world in the name of progress and development.

While elucidating the importance of resistance and struggle against colonialism and internal despotism, Imam Khomeini based his movement on Islamic principles and succeeded in rekindling the self-esteem and self-confidence of the Eastern peoples through reviving such values as justice, comprehensive progress, self-reliance, and justice-oriented development. In addition, by throwing light on the principles of religious democracy he paved the way for the restoration of the past glory of the Eastern civilizations, spread the spirit of awakening among the Eastern nations during the so-called age of modernization, emphasized the necessity of struggle against the attempts for the secularization of Eastern societies against their religious and historical background, imposition of imported Western cultural values on these societies and exposed and opposed the colonialist plans and programs aimed at cultural alienation of the Eastern cultures.

As a matter of fact, the stance adopted by the late Imam Khomeini proved to be a turning point in the history of cultural awakening in the East and South such that by replacing the Western secular model of governance with an Islamic political system a wave of a quest for Islam was formed in the Middle East region and the Western hegemony came to face serious challenges in this region.

On the other hand, the introduction of the policy of “Neither East nor West” meant that as the superpower of the Eastern block the Soviet Union had no right to interfere in the political and cultural destiny of the Eastern peoples and rather the people of each region were to be left alone to determine their own destiny by relying on their own identity. It was for this reason that the Arab media of the time described the late Imam Khomeini in these words:

“Imam Khomeini’s emergence bewildered and astonished the East and shook the (foundations of) Western world”.

The third wave of Eastern awakening began with the spontaneous movement of the Tunisian people in late 2010 and early 2011 in response to social degradation and struggle against poverty, corruption, discrimination, and tyranny and spread to countries like Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, and Libya rapidly. This new wave of awakening, too, is in pursuit of such objectives as the negation of despotism, elimination of colonialism, confrontation with Zionism, and restoration of national identity, self-awareness, self-belief, honor, and independence. It also emphasizes the role of religion in the establishment of peace, freedom, and democracy and while stressing on human dignity is looking for religious and ethical values. At the same time, while regarding the promises made by Western modernism for internal well-being and international honor as false it believes that efforts should be made towards self-reliant development based on indigenous norms and the will of the masses. As a matter of fact, this wave of awakening is a response to the new uni-cultural trend in the multicultural Asian region as well as a response to efforts made by the post-neo-colonial powers to bring about a cultural uniformity and cultural transformation in Islamic societies. It is, however, to be noted that this wave of Islamic awakening shall be a prelude to the awakening of all the countries which seek the honor and dignity of their nations. This is why the revolutions in the Arab world are also referred to as “Revolutions for Dignity”.

Challenges Facing the Current Wave of Islamic Awakening

Some Western analysts and observers have been trying to forge the term “Arab Spring” in order to divert the world public opinion from the true essence of what is happening in the Arab world. It is important to note that such a hypothesis would inevitably lead to wrong conclusions. Looking at it from a broader context, the Islamic awakening is a call for a return to the practice of moderate and rational Islam. This call has spread widely across the Arab and Islamic world in response to the westernization brought about by colonialism, which was later adopted by consecutive despotic governments in a number of Arab and Muslim states. The Islamic awakening is therefore an immense human effort undertaken by a variety of Islamist factions, from governments to clerics to individuals to liberation movements. In brief, the Islamic awakening, which is manifested in what is called the “Arab Spring” revolutions, is the result of collaboration among all the stakeholders on a wide scale. However, there is no doubt that the current wave of Islamic awakening has been immensely inspired by the ideals and style of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

That is because this represents a move towards religion that is currently prevailing in the Arab and Islamic world, which itself is a quest for moral and intellectual Islamization.

Therefore, it is quite evident that Imam Khomeini’s views on the close relationship between Islam and democracy have come to be manifested in all the Arab revolutions such that the two are now considered the two sides of the same coin. By the same token, Imam Khomeini’s fashion and style of struggle has proved to be a great source of inspiration inasmuch as the people of these countries are seeking the overthrow of the dictatorial regimes without resorting to force or armed uprising. This is marked by the fact that their revolutionary slogans comprise “Allah-o-Akbar” and “La ilaha illa Allah”, mosques are being used as the main base for mobilizing the masses against oppression and tyranny and both traditional and modern methods of communication are being deployed for fostering coordination among the forces.

The historical and intellectual background of the Islamic awakening dates back to sometime around 150 years ago when the first wave of this great phenomenon was started through the revivalist movement of Seyyed Jamaluddin Asadabdi against foreign colonialism

 

 

As a religious and popular leader, Imam Khomeini (RA) took advantage of the social capital of Iranians by using his intelligence, insight, and knowledge of social and political issues. One of the most obvious manifestations of the realization of the social capital of the Iranian nation can be considered the Islamic Revolution of the Iranian people, which came to fruition under the leadership of Imam Khomeini (RA) and created a great readiness in the people for collective action. Even right now, his thoughts are considered as the intellectual and practical support of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the field of social capital (Faqih Khaljani, 2013, P. 87). These thoughts include:

Uprising for God: The most important factor in the victory of the Revolution was the uprising for God. It was a common and all-encompassing goal that led to the victory of the Revolution and its permanence. In his speeches, Imam Khomeini (RA) emphasized, more than anything, the divine element of the Revolution. Imam Khomeini (RA) believed that the basic structures of society, which include cultural, social, and political structures, with the changes and developments that have taken place in them, had a significant impact on the establishment of the popular uprising (Keshavarz Shokri, 2014, P. 125).

Belief in the Existence of Imam Mahdi (pbuh): The second factor in the success of the victory of the Revolution from the perspective of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, is the belief in the holy existence of Imam Mahdi (AS). The people started the Revolution with the intention of passing the flag of the movement to the blessed hands of Imam al-Zaman (AS); its main owner. The doctrine of Mahdism, from the perspective of the founder of the Revolution, is beyond a theological issue, but also a principle that plays a fundamental role in the position and action of a Muslim. The goal of the rule of the infallible Imams (AS) has been the full establishment of justice in society. So, if expectation is interpreted as transformation and revolutionism, not every movement is desirable. Rather, it is a desirable transformation and movement that paves the path for the emergence of divine authority.

The Popularity of the Revolutionary Leadership:

Another factor in the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran is the popularity of the leadership of the Revolution. The leader of the Revolution was an individual from among the masses of society, not from a particular group or party or a prosperous and affluent class. The late leader of the Revolution insisted on living in harmony with the people so much so that during his exile in the oppressive heat of Najaf, he refused the installation of an air conditioner in his house, to reduce the heat, and said that “I will accept it when all Iranians also benefit from such facilities”. It is the popular characteristics of the Imam that led to unity, empathy, and trust between the people and the leadership, and provided this huge social capital. The Imam always reminded the leaders of the Islamic society that the opinion of the people is important, and their opinion should be taken into consideration.

Reviving Anti-Oppression Thinking:

Another important point in the victory of the Revolution was its anti-oppression and anti-corruption motives. This was one of the central goals of the Revolution, and it is considered one of the key concepts of Shiite thought, which is related to the movement of Aba Abdullah Imam Hussein (AS). According to the common belief of the revolutionary nation of Iran, the uprising of Imam Khomeini (RA) and the Islamic Revolution of Iran is a continuation of the movement of Imam Hussein (AS).

Mythical Endurance of the People:

The mythical and amazing will and endurance of the great nation of Iran is another component of the victory of the Revolution. Despite the lack of basic facilities, they still resisted, and the worries of livelihood and the shortcomings of daily life did not detract from their high goals. The resistance of the revolutionary people of Iran was a clear example of some verses of the Holy Qur’an:

إنّ الّذین قالوا ربّنا اللّه ثمّ اسْتقاموا تتنزّل علیْهم الْملائکة ألّا تخافوا ولا تحْزنوا وأبْشروا بالْجنّة الّتی کنْتمْ توعدون

(Indeed those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah!’ and then remain steadfast, the angels descend upon them, saying, ‘Do not fear, nor be grieved! Receive the good news of the paradise, which you have been promised.) (Surah Fussilat, Verse 30)

Relying on the teachings of the Qur’an, and with heartfelt faith, they persevered in the path of uplifting beliefs until the end of their lives.

Belief in Unseen Divine Aids:

Imam Khomeini believed in unseen divine aids, which is one of the principles of Islamic and Shiite thought, and was one of the main slogans of the great leader of the Revolution and was another factor of victory and unifying factors. Divine affirmations, duty-orientation, strong faith, and clarity of purpose should be considered as other factors in the victory of the Revolution. These factors have caused forty years after the victory of the Revolution and the unrelenting hostility of the enemies of the Iranian Revolution to continue their path with pride and speak of a religious government in a world based on the ideas of liberalism and secularism and a different model of political management to be compatible with the religion and nature of human beings.

Islamic Unity and Cohesion:

One of the components of social capital is Islamic cohesion. Due to the importance of this issue in civilization as a factor of the components of civilization in the thought of Imam Khomeini, we pay attention to the importance of this task that Muslims have to achieve pure Islam and it is mentioned in Islamic teachings that all believers are brothers all over the world and they should stay on to the divine path and not quarrel with each other and also realize that their communities are not divided. These are all divine invitations that have existed from the beginning of Islam until the end, and everyone should listen to this invitation (Imam Khomeini, 1990, Vol. 12, P. 283). By the command of God, Muslims must be united and in this case, their group will not be vulnerable, and the only fear is the regard of conspiracies to separate Muslims. (Ibid., P. 190). The secret of the victory of the Muslims at the beginning of the rise of Islam was the unity and faith of the people, whose weak army could defeat the great empires (Ibid., Vol. 1, P. 49). It should be noted that Islamic nations should be united and consider their own interests and those of Islamic countries as the interests of Islam, and if an oppressor invades one of the Islamic countries, they should consider this aggression as their own aggression and confront the aggressor powers. (Ibid., Vol. 15, P. 38). The Shiites consider the Sunnis as their brothers and announce this to them, but the enemies of Islam try to make us disagree with each other, and everywhere they declare that there is division among Muslims, and with this separation and division between Muslims, foreigners want to dominate us.

Islam has a program called the unity of the word Muslims, which is; Unity of Islamic countries and their brotherhood with all Muslim sects all over the world and alliance with all Islamic governments around the world against Zionism and Israel and colonial governments (Ibid., Vol. 1, P. 82). Muslims are the people of truth, and they believe in Islam and the truth. If the Islamic nations unite quickly and move towards the truth, it is hoped that they will soon force the false ones to retreat (Ibid., Vol. 13, P. 68). Now, it is the duty of the leaders of the Islamic countries to put aside minor differences and to think about preserving the unity of the word of Muslims, and for all to join hands. Currently, the Muslim population of the world is large, but the population is not as strong as one million people. If four hundred million of this population unite, the Jews will no longer covet Palestine, and the superpowers will stop coveting the deprived and oppressed areas (Ibid., Vol. 1, P. 120).

In Islamic countries, the Islamic rule must be the same between the people and the government, and everyone must be united so that their country is safe from harm. If there is an alliance between Muslims, we will no longer have an issue in the world called Quds, Iraq, etc., and Islamic countries will be victorious (Ibid., Vol. 13, P. 4). Today, any problem that occurs in one corner of the world is the problem of the whole world. If there is a dispute between the Iranian and Iraqi brothers, the world will count on this issue and the world’s utilitarians will take advantage of this division between Shiites and Sunnis for their own interests (Ibid., P. 20). Islamic governments are unaware of the power of Islam, and because of the lack of unity, they have been slapped by Zionism for many years and are dominated by foreign powers. These differences between Islamic states have been created by others for the fear of the power of Islam, and they have made Islamic states enemies. These problems and differences must be resolved on the days when the Muslims of the world gather around the Kaaba, and the leaders of Islamic countries must come together and share their problems and find a solution to their problems (Ibid., P. 1329).

The power of Islam is at the highest levels, and these Islamic governments, which have everything, from manpower and other resources, etc., if the Islamic governments are united, there is no need to reach out to America. The need arises when all countries are as fragmented as they are now. Iran is a country that has risen from the beginning and has been a committed country until now, and it stands and stands against all powers that are against Islam, and it continues to do so.

Israel takes the Golan Heights and ignores everyone and declares that no power can turn them away from this decision. Muslims and Islamic countries create divisions among themselves instead of taking sides against Israel. This is a confrontation against Islam and the Qur’an because the Qur’an calls on Muslims to unite, and they call for division and confrontation. In the case of Islamic unity, no country will be able to invade these countries and Israel will not dare to stay in Islamic countries and will be forced to retreat (Ibid., Vol. 5, P. 271). Muslims must wake up from this three-hundred-year-old dream and follow the example of Iran, which fought empty-handed with the cannons and tanks of the great powers, relying on God and the unity of the people to have an Islamic government (Ibid., P. 176).

Conclusion:

In the intellectual system of the great architect of the Islamic Revolution and also in the revolutionary behavior of Imam Khomeini, the truth of the Revolution is in the annexation of the flag by Imam Mahdi (as) and the creation of a new Islamic civilization, which itself passes through social currents and foundations. One of the most important and pivotal issues of the present age, in order to achieve comprehensive development, is the discussion of social capital, which is far more important than other types of capital such as material and physical capital and includes all types of these capitals. Imam Khomeini, as a leader who had both the characteristics of mobilization leaders and the characteristics of policy-making leaders, was able to use the elements and religion to move the abandoned social capital of Iranian society. Social capital usually shows itself in times of crisis, strengths, and weaknesses, but also in normal situations, it has the opportunity to be present and play a role.

Cooperation and empathy of the Iranian people in the eight years of the war with Iraq, and on other occasions, people’s participation in the reconstruction of war-torn areas, helping people in earthquake-stricken areas, participating in charity celebrations, School-building donors, etc., are examples of the impact of social capital in Iran.

In this phenomenon, the position of jurisprudence and the authority of Imam Khomeini (RA) as well as his spiritual characteristics have certainly been effective, but the emergence of this consensus of elites and the masses in the framework of the theory of charismatic leadership can never be limited to these factors; Rather, factors such as the legitimacy and rationality of political positions, honesty and sincerity, determination and stability, presenting a plan for the future, leadership style and practical success of the struggle strategy, have been effective in the development of this leadership.

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