By Syed Zafar Mehdi
Imam Khomeini, the architect of the Islamic Revolution, passed away 33 years ago. His illustrious life and legacy has inspired millions of people across the world, especially those who believe in the righteousness of their cause and resistance against evil.
On the 33rd anniversary of his passing, Press TV spoke to a cross-section of people from different countries on the charismatic leader’s legacy and its relevance and significance today.
Syed Ali Hasan Abedi, Head of Shia Muslim Council, New York, US
Imam Khomeini’s impact is immeasurable in today’s time, for he awakened a spirit that was dormant in the hearts of Muslims for many generations before him. If we go back in time just to the last century, Muslims were moving away from a unified cause and focusing on their own individualistic situations. The mentions of the blessed savior Imam Mahdi were a thought for the future. However Ayatollah Khomeini revived the hope that was lost for some time, a hope in which the Ummah united to make a difference in the world again. A revival of the spirit of Islam in the hearts of Muslims who didn’t know what they were missing. A revival that transcended boundaries uniting people around the world in their love for the establishment of justice and Imam Mahdi.
Dr. Ibnul Hassan, PhD Scholar and Political Activist, Pakistan
Imam Khomeini embodied many characteristics that set him apart from his contemporaries, two of which I would like to point out. The first trait that distinguishes him from other personalities was his intellect that enabled Islam to come out of the book and closet into the social life. He not only clarified the need and importance of Islamic social system but also clarified the features of this system in their entirety as well as details and more than that he implemented this system through his social struggle. The other great quality of Imam Khomeini’s personality that sets him apart from others is giving space to spirituality in the community. Imam Khomeini has made spirituality the basis of all his struggles, which is why purity and holiness are prominent in this system.
Ruhi Rizvi, Human Rights Activist and Founder of Project Zainab, United Kingdom
Imam Khomeini attained such virtue whereby he foresaw the western ideology disempowering Muslims especially women. Today Muslim women are educated and employed in higher roles. His legacy through Imam Khamenei has seen Iran go from strength to strength despite the sanctions imposed by the West. Islamic ideology permits social justice and Imam Khomeini calibrated performance across the globe by introducing parameters against the western hegemony. In doing so, he reawakened Islamic spirit by uplifting courage and determination of Muslims living in the East and West. Today Iran is the only nation that stands up and resists neo-liberalism and neo-fascism. Imam Khomeini himself was an ideology that stood as a pillar of defence against the West.
Dr. Syed Jalil Mehdi, Assistant Professor, Jamia Milia University, India
The greatest legacy of Imam Khomeini is his singular message of the unity of politics, governance and Islam. By not compartmentalising any of these, he challenged this modern western doxa of arbitrary division, that has been at the heart of moral corruption, ethical decay and spiritual collapse. By emphasising on politics and governance he also rejected the prevailing orthodox religious rejection of material aspects of life. He was able to balance the need for both temporal and spiritual, evident from both his own life and his legacy.
Mahdi Garba, Journalist and Writer, Nigeria
I strongly believe that the life and legacy of Imam Khomeini has positively impacted the society we live in today, from the Middle East to Europe, the African continent and beyond. He revived true Islamic thought when religion was merely seen as a tool of oppression. His struggles echoed across the world. Prior to the Islamic Revolution led by Imam Khomeini, for many religion in whatever guise was an archaic belief that oppresses people of their God-given rights. But Imam Khomeini disappointed them. He used religion to advocate social justice. Indeed he was a great reformer.
Abdul Karim Paz, Friday Prayer Leader, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Imam Khomeini was an illustrious personality in the sacred history of Allah’s plan for mankind. He was a unique personality in a particular time and situation to carry out guidance for human beings who reach a critical point of hopeless end by forgetting God and His straight path. In human history, Imam Khomeini rates as one of the greatest leaders.
Gulam Hussain Rather, Author and Lecturer, Kashmir
When we talk of the impact of the Islamic Revolution led by Imam Khomeini at the global level, it led to a significant change in the outlook of people, especially the educated class. They started to look at religion as a way of life and began to study it. In the same vein, when we look at its impact in Kashmir, where religion was confined to rituals and customs practiced in Sufi shrines, people began to study religion more seriously, especially the youth. They realized that it dealt with every aspect of a person’s life. In the context of Kashmir, it also brought Shias and Sunnis closer as Imam Khomeini was the strong advocate of Shia-Sunni unity.
Aun Naqvi, Member, Islamic Human Rights Commission, United Kingdom
Imam Khomeini was a great jurist, an outstanding thinker, mystic, and philosopher. After decades of struggle in the field of theory and practice, and authoring more than forty books on various subjects, his character had reached a degree of perfection and excellence. Apart from that, he presented a new face of Islam to the world by leading a great revolution. Islam is revolutionary in the thoughts of Imam Khomeini. It is an Islam that considers the establishment of an Islamic state necessary for the implementation of divine laws on earth. In today’s world we learn from his writings and struggles how to overcome struggles in our path and our responsibility to implement the teachings of Islam in every aspect of our life.
Abolfazl Sabouri, Director, Quba Mosque Foundation, Namibia
Imam Khomeini introduced mysticism into people’s lives and taught us that our greatest goal is to strive for justice and that we should not be afraid of enemies by relying on God. Many justice-seeking people in the world, even non-Muslims, fell in love with Imam Khomeini.
Hussein Adel Al-Amiri, Political Activist, Iraq
Islamic Revolution led by Imam Khomeini marked a watershed moment in the contemporary world history. Such revolutions come only once in a lifetime. It was made possible by the fact that Imam Khomeini feared no one but the God. He was a leader like no other. He shook the foundation of a regime that was remote controlled by Western powers and established a political system based on the ideals of equality, freedom, justice and altruism. Today the revolution spearheaded by Imam Khomeini is seen as a model of resistance against foreign interference and despotism. Imam’s legacy is immortal.