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The Essence of Revolution

The Essence of the Islamic Revolution

The Essence of the Islamic Revolution

Recognizing the essence of Islamic Revolution and what distinguishes it from other revolutions is not difficult, because the difference between this revolution and other revolutions of the world is its Islamic essence. Therefore, if a system continues to preserve its distinctive feature then it would be possible to claim that it has not lost its essence. However, if it does not preserve it then it must be confessed that the revolution has deviated from its path (Mesbah Yazdi, 1390, p. 87). With the view to recognizing the essence of the Islamic Revolution we are going to examine different viewpoints and ideas especially those of the leaders of Revolution, revolutionaries of the time and the theoreticians of this Revolution.

Keeping in view that Imam Khomeini was the theoretician and architect of Iran’s Islamic Revolution and this Revolutions is known by his name in different part of world, it is worthy to analyze his viewpoints about the essence of the Iranian Revolution. For this purpose, the Imam’s statements, messages and speeches form the basis and source of extracting his views on Islamic Revolution. He, at different points of time, illustrated the nature, factors and basis of the Islamic Revolution. He performed and carried out the roles and functions of a leader in a revolution; the roles of the ideologist, architect and commanders as well as such functions as outlining the strategies and tactics of the movement. Moreover, in his messages and speeches of pre and post-Islamic Revolution era he adopted a full-fledged cultural approach to the essence and causes of the Islamic Revolution (Malakoutiyan, 2008, p. 65). Emphasis on the essence of Islamic Revolution being cultural and the reclamation of national identity and culture are issues that were outlines in Imam Khomeini’s viewpoints about this Revolution and from this perspective Islamic Revolution is a response to identity crisis created during the Pahlavi era, which occurred because of Pahlavi’s policies. For this reason, he called Islamic Revolution a Cultural Revolution: “We want to export (the spirit of) our revolution, our cultural Revolution, our Islamic Revolution to all Islamic countries (Imam Khomeini, 1999, Vol. 3, p. 227).

The nature of Islamic Revolution is based on Islam and the anti-oppression teachings of Ahl al-Bayt. So, from Imam Khomeini’s perspective owing to its independent identity and also because of its comprehensive and full-scale religious attachment to “Allah”, Islamic Revolution could resist all oppressive powers. In this case Imam Khomeini believed: other revolutions were dependent on the East and the West, but the Islamic Revolution of Iran is a national revolution based on Islam and resembled the revolutions of divine prophets and was not dependent on anyone except God Almighty” (Imam Khomeini, 2008, Vol.15, p. 118). Imam Khomeini, in his sayings, emphasized on the necessity of relying on indigenous culture and negating the West and also pointed out to that revolutionary movement of the Iranian people was aimed at denying the Western culture (Eivazi and Harati, 2010, p. 145). From his point of view, the secret of occurrence and victory of Islamic Revolution must be looked for in people’s faith and demand for Islam and Islamic government, trust in God, martyrdom, nation’s unity on the basis of Islam and self-esteem. (Malakoutiyan, 2008, p. 65)

From Imam Khomeini’s perspective the aim of revolution is the growth of humanity and society, establishment of justice and a justice oriented government that can ensure promotion of justice in the society; and believed: “our Islamic Revolution has different aspects; subverting the corrupt regime, establishing the right regime, and hopefully the growth of human being and a humane country… revolution for a government of justice and Islamic Republic in the next step…and protecting justice” (Imam Khomeini, 2008, Vol. 8: p. 317). From his viewpoint not only the aim of the movement and revolution was protecting Islam and expanding it, but was also the implementation of Islamic laws, and, thus, the uprising for establishing Islamic is a lofty objective. In Imam Khomeini’s view a society becomes religious and Islamic when Islamic laws are implemented in it (Jamshidi, 2009, p. 410). In his words: “we did this movement so that Islam and Islamic laws and Qur’an and Qur’anic laws govern the country” (Imam Khomeini, 2008, Vol.9, p.166).

From the viewpoint of Imam Khomeini, in addition to fundamental transformation in all political, economic and social aspects, intellectual, ideological, religious and cultural transformation are prerequisites of the Revolution. Keeping in view his emphasis on spiritual and contextual aspect of revolution, it is evident that Imam Khomeini believed that: “revolution was in need of an intellectual movement” (Imam Khomeini, 2008, Vol. 11, p. 196). This is because non-ideological revolutions do not bring about spiritual and inner transformation in people and will lead to dictatorship and strangulation. From the viewpoint of Imam Khomeini, Islam results in spiritual transformation because it outlines the great objective of establishing God’s rules in the world, which if followed by the nation, unity and sympathy will occur among people of the society; and it is this spiritual transformation and faith in God Almighty as well as non-reliance on others, bravery and martyrdom and accepting it as a way to eternal salvation that outer revolution would happen. In this manner, Imam Khomeini believed that a necessity for revolution is making changes on perception and attitude of general public about themselves and outer phenomenon. (Dehshiri, 1998, p. 44). Imam Khomeini referred to other revolutions as worldly revolutions but called the Iran’s revolution a divine revolution as well as the outcome of Islamic movement. In his view, “your uprising, the youth of Iran and the Iranian nation is a divine revolution, it was a divine movement, revived the Qur’an, revived the Islam and gave a new breath to the Islam (Imam Khomeini, 2009, Vol. 8, p. 246).

Extreme pressures on people, political strangulation, loss of freedom and independence in various aspects include some factors that Imam Khomeini referred to as important reasons for the occurrence of Islamic Revolution: “It would be possible to briefly say that extreme pressure on the part of Shah forced people to a general uprising. The Shah has destroyed our political, military, cultural and economic independence and has made Iran dependent on the East and the West in all aspects. He has killed Iranian people under torture and in black holes. He prevented all scholars and religious scholars from saying the truth. All these made Muslim people of Iran demand an Islamic government (Imam Khomeini, 2008, Vol. 4, p. 533).

Imam Khomeini mentioned two important origins for the formation of the movement and Islamic Revolution: “the basis of this movement descends from two things: first, excessive internal and external pressures as well as internal and plunder (of the nation’s resources) and excessive disgraces in this fifty odd years during which the Iranian nation did not have even a good day plus the recent mass killings that happened in many cities of Iran and make people angry and join the movement; and second; our dream for an Islamic government and a justice-oriented government that would oppose the regimes and establish Islamic laws in Iran like the early Islamic era” (Imam Khomeini, 2008, Vol. 8, p. 85).

In Imam Khomeini’s view the best objective of uprising and the revolution was preservation of Islam’s virtues, Islamic goals and expanding and spreading it in the world. Prevention of innovations and attacks on Islam and its teachings is an important objective and the responsibility of every Muslim. This is a principle that was outlined by the late Imam from beginning of the movement and the uprising and on which he emphasized till the end of his life. After being released from prison in 1963 he stated: “we must sacrifice ourselves for Islam, we must sacrifice our dreams and wishes for Islam” (Jamshidi, 2009, p. 408, quoted from Imam Khomeini, 2008, Vol. 1, p. 307).

For Imam Khomeini the motive for the revolution was not individual benefit corporeal desires and incentives but God’s consent satisfaction. Based on a verse of the Qur’an: “Say, I give you just a single advice: that you rise up for Allah’s sake, in twos, or individually…” (34:46) he invited the masses and all social groups to join the uprising and believed that all individual and collective solutions would be needed and useful (Dehshiri, 1998, p. 44). With due attention to this point that revolution could encompass two aspects of human existence, i.e., the outer or social aspect and inner aspect, and also because revolution is a type of transformation that could occur in both outside and inside man’s being, besides outer and material revolution, Imam Khomeini considered inner revolution a fundamental condition in the fulfilment of the objectives of Islamic Revolution and, thus, preferred inner transformation over the outer one (Jamshidi, 2009, p. 422). He was of the belief that: “the affairs should be changed and transformed, the entire nation must be transformed, it is not enough to be happy with the victory of the revolution, there must be an inward revolution… our souls also must also be transformed. If until now we are under the domination of Satan and tyranny, we should now be transformed and come out of this satanic cover toward divine cover. And that means we should according to the system of Islam (Imam Khomeini, 2009, Vol. 11, p. 504).

Emphasizing on comprehensiveness of Islamic Revolution, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Grand Ayatollah Khamenei, also believes: “Islamic Revolution is different with other revolutions; it is neither merely a spiritual and cultural revolution and nor is it a merely political revolution; it is a comprehensive revolution. It is like Islam itself. Just as Islam is of spiritual, moral and divine aspects, it is also concerned about of the economic, political and social aspects of people’s life. The Islamic Revolution, too, has different dimensions and the secret behind its survival and progress in the region and the world which lies in its multi-dimensional essence, which is in alignment with human needs” (Grand Ayatollah Khamenei’s Speech in Imam Khomeini’s shrine, 4 June 2008).

Ayatollah Khamenei believes the main feature of Islamic Revolution is being Islamic: “This Revolution relies on Islam and its teachings…our revolution has derived everything, its aims and objectives, its principles, the methodology of its struggle and also the form of its political system and administration of the affairs from Islam. This is what makes the Revolution astonishing and admirable and presents a new definition of its victory (Speech at the 42nd United Nations General Assembly, 22 September 1987). According to him the Islamic Revolution gained victory in Iran because the people chose to revive and establish the fundamental values of Islam. He believes: “In the absence of people’s faith in Islam the Revolution would not be victorious… In a great evolution that has occurred in the world the role of faith in Islam is of prime importance. This is because we work for Islam so the Almighty God also bestows His mercy upon us. Because Iranian people are faithful to God, Islam and the Quran, other nations respect our people” (Speech on 5 July 1989).

From the Supreme Leader’s point of view Iran’s Revolution has certain exceptional features two of which have had the greatest impact on the popularity of its image in the world…These two features include: firstly, the basis of this revolution was religious, moral and spiritual values and secondly, it was it people’s will to establish a government that would be administered as per the laws of Islam. Similarly, the Supreme Leader is of the opinion that the other revolutions have either taken place on the basis of a materialistic school of thought or with materialistic incentives. Even those revolutions that were initially of religious or Islamic essence eventually deviated from their Islamic path. He further emphasizes: “In our country the Revolution began in the mosques and religious seminaries with an increasing religious essence and the role of religion and spiritual values got to be stronger every day; mobilizing people who would not usually get involved in any uprising. Religion was the essence of this Revolution and continued to stay on. This characteristic cannot be found in other revolutions and this is one of the most important factors that makes the Islamic Republic - the aim of which is the exaltation of the name of Islam - wins the hearts of the faithful and the believers (Ayatollah Khamenei, Speech on 9 February 1990)

By emphasizing on this issue that the secret the victory of Iranian nation is Islamism and reliance on Islamic and Quranic foundations, Ayatollah Khamenei, believe: “Many people neglected this effective truth; but the secret of the victory of Islamic Revolution was and is the strong faith of the Iranian nation in Islam. Most Muslim nations are like this and if obstacles are removed from their way their deep faith in Islam would emerge. Therefore, when people saw the flag of Islam in Imam Khomeini’s hand and believed that he has come to revive Islam and establishing an Islamic system they gathered around him and joined the Revolution. And when the revolution became victorious they came to be present in the battlefields with same enthusiasm, because their faith in Islam was profound” (Speech on 4 June 2001).

By referring to the role of religious beliefs in the people of Iran as pivotal in the formation and victory of the Islamic Revolution, the Supreme Leader has emphasized: “If the revolution was not based on religious beliefs and Islamic faith it would not have been victorious. It was the faith each and every one of the people that made this movement and its continuation possible. All the pre-Islamic Revolution movements of the last 150 years followed the same unsuccessfully. The Revolution could traverse on the same path powerfully and overcome the possible causes of failure. Why? Because the Islamic Revolution brought about a new discourse, a new discourse that made it possible to make a niche in world public opinion and especially in the Islamic world. The major part of this new discourse was monotheism (Tawhid); monotheism means the rule of divine values in society and negation of tyrannical, dictatorial, corrupt and rebellious governments on human and noble values. Therefore, monotheism is the backbone and the main pillar of Islamic slogan and the massage of the Islamic Revolution (Speech on 14 October 2003).


14:28 - 9/02/2021    /    Number : 764629    /    Show Count : 52


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