Ayatollah Khomeini

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Khomeyn, Persia
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Khomeyn, Persia

Ayatollah Khomeini is one of the few people who can boast of having a powerful personality who takes a nation by storm and entirely transforms it to suit their line of thinking and activities. He was a prominent political and religious leader in Iran who led the Iranian Revolution, successfully overthrowing the previous Shah, establishing a new Islamic Constitution in the country, and declaring himself Supreme Leader, a position that gave him the nation’s highest political and religious authority. Though he was born Ruhollah Khomeini, he earned the title of Ayatollah, which is only bestowed to Shi’ite scholars of the highest expertise, through his perseverance and hard work. In the international community, he was known as Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, while in Iran, he was known as Imam Khomeini. He is reported to have written more than forty novels during his lifetime, in addition to his political endeavors. In 1979, the American journal TIME named Ayatollah Khomeini Man of the Year for his international significance. He’s also been referred to as the “virtual face of Islam in Western popular culture.” While his tactics won him favor among the religious, many individuals accused him of abusing human rights.

Childhood and Adolescence

Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini was born in the village of Khomeyn, Markazi Province, to Sayed Moustafa Hindi and Hajieh Agha Khanum. His father was murdered when he was only five months old, therefore he was reared mostly by his mother.

He was a lively and vibrant young man who excelled not just in athletics but also in academics. He went to a religious school and memorized Quran passages, and he quickly became known for memorizing religious and classical poetry.

He continued his studies under the guidance of Ayatollah Abdul Karim Haeri Yazdi, first traveling to Arak and then following Yazdi to Qom. He studied Islamic law and jurisprudence there, as well as philosophy, literature, and poetry.

He became a teacher after becoming a famous Shia Islam scholar, teaching political philosophy, Islamic history, and ethics. Several publications on Islamic philosophy, law, and ethics were written during his time as a teacher.

The career of Ayatollah Khomeini

He became a Marja-e-Taqlid after Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Husayn Borujerdi died in 1961. (one to be imitated). Unlike his forefathers, he believed that religion should be applied to practical, social, and political challenges of the day. In addition, he was an outspoken anti-secularist.

In 1962, he protested against the Shah’s efforts to westernize Iran, which resulted in the White Revolution. He rallied the ulama, or religious academics, and stood firm against Shah and his objectives, boycotting the White Revolution in the process.

In June 1963, he was imprisoned for his defamatory statement against the Shah, in which he accused the latter of moral decay, subordination of Iran to America, and revolutionary operations.

Following his detention, riots erupted in Iran, with many rallying for his release. The event is known as the 15 Khordad Movement. He returned to Qom after his release in 1964.

He went on to criticize Shah’s tight relations with the United States and Israel. Though the authorities attempted to persuade him to abandon the movement, he refused and continued to attack, resulting in his detention and deportation.

He was deported to Turkey and spent a year there before relocating to Najaf, Iraq. During his fourteen years in exile, he developed a theory known as wilayat-al-faqih, which outlined the characteristics of an ideal state founded on authentic Islamic values and led by the clergy.

He began instructing Iranian kids in Iraqi schools. Smuggled videotapes of these sermons were also made available in Iran. His aggressive speeches cemented his reputation as the most powerful opponent of the Shah’s government.
His rising popularity and widespread protests resulted in his deportation to Paris, where he spent the final months of his exile. Meanwhile, the Shah took a sabbatical as a result of widespread protests and dissent against the administration.

He was unanimously elected as Iran’s new leader upon his return to Iranian land on February 1, 1979. He accepted a modified form of wilayat-al-faqih shortly after his return and began laying the groundwork for an ideal Islamic state.

He tasked clerics with drafting Iran’s Islamic Constitution. Despite the fact that he had widespread public backing, opposition groups such as the National Democratic Front and the Muslim People’s Republican Party were assaulted and banned.

With the approval of the Islamic Republic’s new constitution, he was formally designated as the ‘Supreme Leader’ or ‘Leader of the Revolution.’ When the US granted Shah asylum in the country in 1979, Iranians protested, demanding that he be returned, tried, and executed.

The Iranians held 52 American captives at the US Embassy to meet their demand. Even after Shah’s death, the episode that became known as the Iran hostage crisis lingered for roughly 444 days. The two countries’ deadlock was finally broken when Ronald Reagan came to power in the United States in 1981.

The Iran-Iraq War was another significant event that occurred under his reign. The war, which lasted eight years, was primarily intended to disseminate the values and beliefs upon which the new Iran was founded to other Islamic countries.

Despite the fact that the Iran-Iraq War assisted Iran in regaining territory lost to invasion, it resulted in a huge number of deaths and was only halted through American military intervention and the forceful adoption of a ceasefire deal.

Several reforms happened during his reign, including the establishment of Sharia or Islamic Law, the implementation of a dress code for men and women, the prohibition of Western films and alcohol, and an Islamization of the school curriculum.

Meanwhile, his teachings and beliefs were taught in schools and educational institutions as part of the curriculum. Those who opposed his regime were prosecuted and executed. Almost all government jobs in the country were held by clerics who shared his train of thought and ideas during his reign.

He issued a fatwa against Indian-British novelist Salman Rushdie for his book ‘The Satanic Verse’ during his tenure. The book, which was a work of fiction, was supposed to portray Prophet Mohammed as a fake prophet, raising doubts about Islamic beliefs.

Personal History and Legacy

In 1929, he married Khadijeh Saqafi. Mostafa, Zahra, Sadiqeh, Farideh, and Ahmad were among the couple’s five children.

After suffering from illness, he passed away on June 3, 1989. Iranians from all throughout the country mourned his death, flocking in vast numbers to pay their final respects to the Supreme Leader. At the site of his internment, a massive mausoleum complex has been constructed.

Ayatollah Khomeini’s Net Worth

Ayatollah Khomeini is one of the wealthiest and most popular world leaders. Ayatollah Khomeini’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.