The Founder of Islamic Republic
Until the age of nineteen, His Holiness Imam Khomeini remained in Khomein where he received his elementary education from the teachers in that town. The subjects he studied included Arabic literature, logic, dogmatic theology and Islamic jurisprudence. In 1921 (1299 AHS / 1339 AS) he went to study religious science in Arak at a theology institute there, and a year later he moved to the city of Qom to continue his studies. There, in addition to completing his previous studies with the religious experts (fuqaha) and religious authorities (mujtahedin) of the time, he also learned mathematics, astronomy and philosophy. It was here that he attended lectures on ethics and Islamic mysticism and for a period of six years he studied the most advanced levels of applied and theoretical mysticism under the late Ayatollah Aqamirza Mohammad `Ali Shahabadi.
Imam's period of teaching began in 1929 (1307 AHS / 1347 AS), when he was 27 years old, with lectures in Islamic philosophy, and throughout the rest of his stay in Qom, the subjects he taught there were Islamic philosophy, theoretical mysticism, jurisprudence, the principles of jurisprudence and Islamic ethics.
Based on existing documents, Imam’s struggle began in the early years of his adolescence and continued throughout the period of study in various forms against social corruption and ideological and moral deviations. In 1941 (1322 AHS), in what is considered to be his first public political statement, Imam wrote and published a book entitled Kashfol-Asrar in which he revealed the crimes of the 20-year monarchy of Reza Shah. The book is essentially a detailed, systematic critique of an anti-religious tract, and in defending Islam and spirituality, Imam refutes the deviatory sophisms employed by the author. It is in this book that the idea of an Islamic government, and the need for an uprising to establish this, is propounded.
Imam"s overt struggle against Mohammad Reza’s regime began in 1960 (1341 AHS) with his opposition to the Provincial and District Councils Bill which essentially sought the eradication of Islam. With its approval by the government of the time, the Islamic stipulations concerning voters and candidates were dropped and the pledge of allegiance was changed from swearing ‘on the Holy Qur’an’ to swearing ?on the Holy Book?. Imam rose up in opposition to the bill and invited the other maraje’, the theological schools and the people to rise up with him.
Following Imam’s warnings to the government in the form of telegrams to the prime minister of the time, along with his revelatory speeches and trenchant declarations and coupled with the support given by the maraje’ as well as the widespread demonstrations of the people in Qom, Tehran and other cities, the Shah’s regime was forced to retreat from its stance and rescind the bill. The struggle continued, and the regime, in a precipitous move on March 22, 1963 (Farvardin 2, 1342 AHS) attacked the Feyziyeh theological center in Qom. Imam’s messages and speeches on this tragic incident were distributed throughout Iran, and on the afternoon of `Ashura 1383 AS (June 3, 1963 / Khordad 13, 1342 AHS), in a hard-hitting speech, he revealed the secret relations, the agreements and the friendship existing between the Shah and Israel. Subsequently, at 3 am in the morning of June 5 (Khordad 15), Imam’s home was surrounded by commandos and as dawn broke, the Leader of the Revolution was arrested and taken to Tehran.
The response of the people was immediate. As news of Imam’s arrest broke around the country, the people took to the streets in the early hours of June 5 and staged protest demonstrations. The largest of these took place in the city of Qom, and as soldiers intervened, large numbers of people were martyred. With the announcement of martial law in Tehran, the suppression of the people?s demonstrations on that and the following day reached new heights with the resultant deaths of thousands of innocent people.
The tragedy of June 5 was so great that news of it spread across the borders. The pressure of public opinion and the protests of the ulama and people from different areas within the country and outside it eventually forced the regime to free Imam after a ten-month period of imprisonment and house arrest.
Imam"s struggle continued with the delivery of revelatory speeches and the publication of disclosing messages. The approval of the ‘Capitulation Bill’ by the government of the time, according to which American political and military advisers would receive judicial immunity, angered the Leader of the Revolution. As soon as he was informed of this treachery, he began a widespread struggle against the bill. He sent messengers to different areas of Iran to inform the people of his decision to deliver a speech on October 26, 1964 (Aban 4, 1343 AHS / Jamadyolthani 20, 1383 AS) revealing the regime’s plans. Despite the serious threats issued by the regime concerning his proposed speech against the Capitulation Bill, Imam delivered what was to become one of the most famous of his speeches on the day he had planned to do so, and in it he severely reproved and humiliated the American President and government.
The Shah"s regime saw the solution to their problem to lie in the expulsion of Imam. At dawn on November 4, 1964 (Aban 13, 1343 AHS), Imam’s home was once again surrounded by hundreds of commandos and paratroopers. Imam was arrested by the regime’s agents and taken straight to Mehrabad Airport in Tehran from where, according to previously arranged agreements, he was sent first to Ankara and then into exile in Bursa, a city in the west of Turkey.
There, under the observation of the security forces of the two countries, he was forbidden from carrying out any form of social or political activity.