Kyawhtin1February 9, 201015min1130


Ayatullah Khomeini


Jan. 7, 1980


The dour old man of 79 shuffles in his heel-less slippers to the rooftop and waves apathetically to crowds that surround his modest home in the holy city of Qum. The hooded eyes that glare out so balefully from beneath his black turban are often turned upward, as if seeking inspiration from on high—which, as a religious mystic, he indeed is. To Iran’s Shi’ite Muslim laity, he is the Imam, an ascetic spiritual leader whose teachings are unquestioned. To hundreds of millions of others, he is a fanatic whose judgments are harsh, reasoning bizarre and conclusions surreal. He is learned in the ways of Shari’a (Islamic law) and Platonic philosophy, yet astonishingly ignorant of and indifferent to non-Muslim culture. Rarely has so improbable a leader shaken the world.

In 1979 the Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini met TIME’s definition of Man of the Year: he was the one who “has done the most to change the news, for better or for worse.”

Ruhollah Khomeini – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Grand Ayatollah Sayyed[citation needed] Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini (Persian: روح الله موسوی خمینی, pronounced [ruːhollɑːhe muːsæviːje xomejniː] (pastedGraphic.pdf listen)[add stress]; 24 September 1902[1][2] – 3 June 1989) was an Iranian religious leader and politician, and leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution which saw the overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. Following the revolution and a national referendum, Khomeini became the country’s Supreme Leader—a position created in the constitution as the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation—until his death.

Khomeini was a marja or marja al-taqlid (“source of emulation”, also known as a Grand Ayatollah) in Twelver Shi’a Islam, but is most famous for his political role. In his writings and preachings he expanded the Shi’a Usuli theory of velayat-e faqih, the “guardianship of the jurisconsult (clerical authority)” to include theocratic political rule by Islamic jurists.

Beloved by millions of Iranians [3] he was “the Imam, an ascetic spiritual leader whose teachings are unquestioned.”[4] Both his return from exile and his funeral were occasions of great emotional outpouring for millions.

In the non-Muslim world abroad he was described as the “virtual face of Islam in Western popular culture,” [5] known for his support of the hostage takers during the Iranian hostage crisis [6] and his fatwa calling for the death of British citizen Salman Rushdie.[7] TIME magazine described him as “a fanatic whose judgments are harsh, reasoning bizarre and conclusions surreal,”[4] and Iranian American scholar Vali Nasr as one who inculcated “fear and distrust towards Islam.[5]

Named Man of the Year in 1979 by American newsmagazine TIME[4], Khomeini has been referred to as a “charismatic leader of immense popularity,” [8] considered a “champion of Islamic revival” by both Shia and Sunni scholars.[5]

Khomeini is usually known as Imam Khomeini inside Iran[9] and amongst his followers internationally, and Ayatollah Khomeini outside of the country.[10]