Imam Khomeini and Centrality of Leadership in the Islamic Movement

Developing Just Leadership

Author(s): Zafar Bangash

Publisher: The Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT)

Published on: Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1432 2011-06

ISBN: 978-0-9688591-9-3 (pbk.)

No. of Pages: 25

The task of the Islamic Ummah is to render all forms of injustice and God-denial powerless. This is at once a regional as well as global responsibility; and thus removing injustice cannot be the task of individuals. Just as the penetration of injustice into the minutest aspects of the lives of ordinary people requires institutions and rationalizing arguments that come from the coordinated activities of hundreds and thousands, perhaps millions of people, the removal of it must come from the concentrated force that multiplies through the aggregate exertions of Muslims in the service of Allah (SWT). At the center of these coordinated activities by Muslims is the imam. He is the embodiment of the Qur’anic furqan and the prophetic reference point; from him comes the direction, inspiration, and motivation. He makes the life-changing decisions. His ummah is accountable to him when he is accountable to Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (SAW).

In this effort, the Muslim Ummah encounters resistance from the beneficiaries of the status quo that prefer to maintain a state of political, economic, and social disorder characterized locally by wars, currency crises, crime, and the polarized distribution of food and resources, and globally by racism (Zionism), classism (imperialism), and deprivation (capitalism). Thus along the path to maturity, a Muslim Ummah must endure economic isolation, political ostracism, social degradation, and media vilification in order to get a measure of its innate capacities and to get an understanding of what it means to rely only on Allah (SWT) as the Liberator of their human potential.

The Islamic Revolution under the leadership of Imam Khomeini matured and persevered in exactly this kind of human ideological and martial cauldron. This is why the Islamic Revolution was and is unique in the history of the overturning of corrupt political orders, something that continues to elude uprisings in the Muslim East today. They not only appear leaderless but also directionless; above all, they appear to lack a clear understanding of the nature of the contemporary Socio-economic and political order in their societies. This will cost them dearly in the long run despite their undoubted courage and sacrifices.

There is clearly a need for a leader of Imam Khomeini’s caliber in the Muslim East. But then again, Imam Khomeinis do not emerge on the global scene everyday. This is what makes him such a unique figure in Islamic history.

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