Why did Imam Khomeini express his opposition to Shah on ‘The Bill of the Provincial and District Councils’? What was the reason for his disagreement on women’s right to vote in this bill?

In 1341 ‘Alam was the prim-minister. National Consultative Assembly in the same year approved a bill which came to be known as The Bill of Provincial and District Councils apparently to reform the division of [agricultural] lands and its reallocation to landless people. There were some alterations regarding the qualification of voters as a result of which women and non-Muslim identities could have the right of voting.

Imam Khomeini and other religious authorities expressed their explicit opposition to the enforcement of this bill which basically aimed to develop the secular policies of tyrannical rulers by removing the supremacy of religious and divine laws.

The great Imam through sending telegraphs first to Shah on 17 Mehr then to ‘Alam on 28 Mehr 1341 expressed his opposition to the bill which was primarily in contrast with content and articles of the Iranian Constitution. He also delivered very enlightening speeches to the public to raise awareness against the conspiracies of foreign and domestic agents. Disagreements made on women’s right of voting he explained were never the main cause of opposition to the bill. However women could be abused by the bill's enforcement for certain objectives.

In this direction, Imam delivered another speech on 29 Esfand 1341 to explain the reason of enmity to Islam and how the objectives and vicious policies of the agents of regime and their foreign masters could be implemented through the enforcement of this bill:

They want to enforce their master’s laws of bondage in our country. We know what evil plans they have in mind. We know the treacherous hands of the imperialist agents want to pass a law against the laws of the Quran, to make the Quran unofficial, and to give the Quran the same legal status as the other heretic books.

We can understand what dangerous dreams the despotic regime has against Islam, when they drop the prerequisite of being a Muslim for voting and candidature; it is to pave the way for the heretic sect and to give them dominance over the Muslim nation’s destiny and Islamic countries. We have heard their demonic voices around the country many times, saying, sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly, that they do not want Islam, that Islam belongs to the Arabs… O Muslims of the world! Know that the reason why the ‘ulama’ of Islam protested against the Provincial and District Councils Bill was not the issue of the women's suffrage. This was too unimportant to entail the general uprising. The point was that the ‘ulama’ and the clergy perceived that the tyrannical regime was meant to distort Islam with a demonic scheme and to restore the old ways. (Sahifeh-ye Imam, vol. 1, pp. 157-58)

Such standpoints of Imam have been reiterated again in another speech among the student of Tehran University:

The seminaries have never agreed with the Land Reforms; the government did not put it forth to us and ask for our permission, did they? We know that this issue is brought upon to keep the farmers busy and to distract them. There is not anything wrong with suffrage for women, but their candidature will cause debauchery. Women’s suffrage and the like are among the least important matters. We want to guard the Constitutionalism. Having deprived us of our freedom and rights, they talk about the freedom for women! For the time being, people are deprived of the freedom of writing, expression and even of the right of living. (Sahifeh-ye Imam, vol. 1, p. 188)

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