In Commemoration of the Martyrs at Qum (April 3, 1963)

Developing Just Leadership

Imam Khomeini

Rabi' al-Awwal 19, 1401 1981-01-25

Occasional Paper

by Imam Khomeini

FORTY DAYS HAVE NOW PASSED since the beating, wounding and killing of our dear ones; those the victims of the slaughter at Fayziya Madrasa left behind have now been plunged into mourning for forty days. Yesterday the father of Sayyid Yunus Rudbari (may God have mercy upon him) came to see me, with his back bent and his face deeply marked by the great tragedy he has suffered. What words are there to console those mothers who have lost their children, those bereaved fathers?

Indeed, we must offer our condolences to the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) and the Imam of the Age (may God hasten his renewed manifestation), for it is for the sake of those great ones that we have endured these blows and lost our young men. Our crime was defending the laws of Islam and the independence of Iran. It is because of our defense of Islam that we have been humiliated and brought to expect imprisonment, torture, and execution. Let this tyrannical regime perform whatever inhuman deed it wishes—let it break the arms and legs of our young men, let it chase our wounded from the hospitals, let it threaten us with death and the violation of our honor, let it destroy the institutions of religious learning, let it expel the doves of this Islamic sanctuary from their nests!

During these past forty days, we have been unable to obtain a precise count of the dead, the wounded, and those whose property has been plundered. We do not know how many people have been buried, how many are languishing in dungeons, how many have gone into hiding. In fact, all these years after the event, we still do not know the exact number of people killed at the mosque of Gauhar Shad, when the bodies were carried away loaded on trucks. 10 The problem we confront is that whatever authority you address will tell you: “Whatever was done, was on the orders of His Imperial Majesty; we had no choice in the matter.” Everyone, from the Prime Minister down to the police chief and the governor of Qum, tell us in effect: “We received orders from His Imperial Majesty. The crimes at Fayziya Madrasa were committed on his orders. The wounded were expelled from the hospitals on his orders, and it was he who commanded us to attack your homes with commandos and whores and to plunder your homes if you attempted to do anything in response to Ayatullah Hakim.11 It is also His Imperial Majesty’s command that we seize and forcibly draft the tullab,12 without the slightest legal justification. Furthermore, it is the command of His Imperial Majesty that we attack the university and assault the students.”

Government officials attribute all these violations of the law to the Shah. If this attribution is justified, we must recite funeral prayers for Islam, Iran, and legality. If it is not, and they are lying in attributing all these crimes, violations of the law, and inhuman acts to the Shah, then why does he not defend himself, so that the people may know how they should treat the government and punish it for its deeds at the appropriate time?

I have repeatedly pointed out that the government has evil intentions and is opposed to the ordinances of Islam. One by one, the proofs of its enmity are becoming clear. The Ministry of Justice has made clear its opposition to the ordinances of Islam by various measures like the abolition of the requirement that judges be Muslim and male; henceforth, Jews, Christians, and the enemies of Islam and the Muslims are to decide on affairs concerning the honor and person of the Muslims. The strategy of this government and certain of its members is to bring about the total effacement of the ordinances of Islam. As long as this usurpatory and rebellious government is in power, the Muslims can have no hope for any good.

I don’t know whether all these uncivilized and criminal acts have been committed for the sake of the oil in Qum, whether the religious teaching institution is to be sacrificed for the sake of oil.13 Or is all this being done for the sake of Israel, since we are considered an obstacle to the conclusion of a treaty with Israel directed against the Islamic states?14 In any event, we are to be destroyed. The tyrannical regime imagines that through these inhuman acts and this repression it can deflect us from our aim, which is none other than the great aim of Islam—to prevent oppression, arbitrary rule, and the violation of the law; to preserve the rights of Islam and the nation; and to establish social justice.

But it causes us not the least concern that the sons of Islam should be drafted into the army. Let our young men enter the barracks, educate our troops, and raise their level of thinking; let a few enlightened and freedom-loving people appear among our troops so that, by the grace of God Almighty, Iran may attain its dignity and freedom. We know that the commanders of the great Iranian army, its respectable officers, and its noble members share our aims and are ready to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the dignity of Iran. I know that no officer with a conscience approves of these crimes and acts of brutality, and I am aware of (and deplore) the pressures to which they are subject. I extend a fraternal hand to them in the hope of obtaining the salvation of Islam and Iran. I know that their hearts are troubled by this subordination to Israel, and that they do not wish Iran to be trampled by the boots of the Jews.

I declare to the heads of the Muslim states, whether Arab or non-Arab: The ‘ulama of Islam, the religious leaders and pious people of Iran, together with its noble army, are the brothers of the Muslim states and share their interests. They abhor and are disgusted with the treaty with Israel, the enemy of Islam and Iran. I say this quite clearly; if they wish, let the agents of Israel come put an end to my life!

It is fitting that the Muslim nation, whether in Iran or abroad, should commemorate the great tragedy suffered by Islam and the disasters inflicted on the religious teaching institution on the fortieth day after their occurrence. If they are not prevented by the agents of the government, they should hold ceremonies of mourning and curse those responsible for these atrocities.

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