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Khomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah

Khomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah 1902-1989

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was the leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. He was born on September 24, 1902, in the western Iranian town of Khomein to a clerical family. His father Mustafa was murdered by bandits when Khomeini was five months old. His older brother Sayyid Murtaza (later known as Ayatollah Pasandida) assumed responsibility for Khomeinis education after their mother died in 1918.

At nineteen, Khomeini traveled to nearby Arak, where he studied religion under Ayatollah Abd al-Karim Hairi, a well-known Islamic scholar. Khomeini followed Hairi to the Fayzieh madrasa (religious college) in Qom the following year, where Khomeini distinguished himself in ethics and religious philosophy. Upon completing his education, Khomeini taught Islamic philosophy and jurisprudence. After Hairis death in 1937, he became an assistant to Ayatollah Husayn Boroujerdi, one of the leading Shiite authorities of the day. Khomeinis residence in Qom coincided with the rise of Reza Shah, who curtailed the influence of the clergy as he centralized authority.

In 1932 he married the daughter of a prominent Tehran cleric and had seven children, five of whom survived infancy. Both sons died under mysterious circumstanceshis eldest son Mustafa in Najaf in 1977 and his youngest son Ahmad died in Tehran in 1995.

Khomeini published his first tract on spiritual philosophy at age twenty-seven. His reputation as a teacher of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) grew throughout the 1940s and 1950s. He published his first major book, Kashf al-Asrar (Secrets Revealed), in 1944, to refute an influential antireligious pamphlet published several years before.

Khomeini catapulted to the national stage in 1962 after he publicly opposed a government reform package that included land reform, womens suffrage, and a provision which would allow the religious minority Bahais to seek office. He was a master of rhetoric and coalesced an opposition including traditional clergy, nationalists, and the poor. After Khomeini denounced the Iranian government on June 5, 1963, the shah ordered his arrest, but he was soon released because of popular pressure. After two more arrests, on November 4, 1964, the shah exiled Khomeini to Turkey from where he made his way to Najaf.

It was during his Iraqi exile that, in 1970, Khomeini wrote Hukumat-i Islami (Islamic government) that outlined his theory of vilayat-i faqih (guardianship of the jurists) in which he countered the traditional Shiite opposition to direct clerical rule. Khomeinis followers smuggled many of his sermons into Iran by audiocassette.

Protests erupted on January 7, 1978, after a state-controlled newspaper questioned Khomeinis sexuality and patriotism. Police fired onto the crowds, beginning a cycle of escalating demonstrations. In October 1978, Khomeini flew to France where he received Iranian visitors and the Western press. The shah fled Iran on January 16, 1979. On February 1, 1979, Khomeini returned to Iran and, two months later, declared the Islamic Republic. As supreme leader (rahbar ) and against the backdrop of the U.S. hostage crisis and Iran-Iraq War, he launched a cultural revolution and consolidated his power in a series of bloody purges. Khomeini died on June 4, 1989.

SEE ALSO Fundamentalism; Fundamentalism, Islamic; Iranian Revolution; Iran-Iraq War; Religion

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Khomeini, Ruhollah. 1981. Islam and Revolution: Writing and Declarations, trans. Hamid Algar. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Moin, Baqer. 1999. Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah. London: I. B. Tauris.

Michael Rubin

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"Khomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Khomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. . Retrieved October 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/khomeini-ayatollah-ruhollah

Khomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (khōmā´nē), 1900–1989, Iranian Shiite religious leader. Educated in Islam at home and in theological schools, in the 1950s he was designated ayatollah, a supreme religious leader, in the Iranian Shiite community. Khomeini's criticisms of Reza Shah Pahlevi led to his exile in 1964. Settling in Iraq, Khomeini continued his outspoken denunciations, developing a strong religious and political following abroad, until forced to leave (1978) by Saddam Hussein; he then moved to France. Following the revolution that deposed Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlevi, Khomeini returned triumphantly to Iran in 1979, declared an Islamic republic, and began to exercise ultimate authority in the nation. His conservative ideology opposed pro-Western tendencies. Khomeini's rule was marked by the Iran hostage crisis and the Iran-Iraq War.

See biography by B. Moin (2000).

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"Khomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Khomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/khomeini-ayatollah-ruhollah

Khomeini, Ruhollah

Khomeini, Ruhollah (1900–89) Iranian ayatollah (religious leader). An Islamic scholar with great influence over his Shi'ite students, he published (1941) an outspoken attack on Reza Pahlavi and remained an active opponent of his son, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi. Exiled in 1964, he returned to Iran in triumph after the fall of the Shah in 1979. His rule was characterized by strict religious orthodoxy, elimination of political opposition, and economic turmoil. In 1989, Khomeini issued a fatwa (death order) against the Anglo-Indian writer Salman Rushdie. He was succeeded by Hashemi Rafsanjani. See also Iran-Iraq War

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