Tell him to get out

One day the governor of the province of Karbala arrived at the Imam’s residence and sat down in the outer house of his residence among the rest of the seminary students and other visitors who had come to meet the Imam—but no one took any notice of him. Not knowing whom to approach, he finally called out to a person by the name of Mashahdi Awaz who was the domestic helper of the Imam’s outer house. After introducing himself, the governor asks the helper to inform the Imam that he had some work with him. He conveys the message to the Imam who asks the servant to tell the governor that, “I have nothing to do with him.” This was at a time when in Najaf— which was one of the cities of Karbala province—nobody dared to show the slightest disrespect even to any of the lower-ranked Baathist party officials. The provincial governor resorts to a ploy and tells the domestic helper Mashadi Awaz to tell the Imam that he has a religious question which he wishes to clarify but the Imam responds by saying that he should write down his religious question for him to give his answer. Although the provincial governor was humbled and helpless, yet he would not give up because he was very keen to know about the Imam’s stance on the subject of the martyrdoms (martyrdom of a number of Iraqi clergy religious combatants at the hands of the Baathist regime) and thus decides to wait for the Imam to leave the inner chamber and come to the outer house on his way to attending the mandatory prayers since he knew the Imam would leave his residence about half-an-hour before the ‘Azaan’ call to prayer. So as soon as the Imam leaves the inner chamber of his residence, the governor rushes up to him saying: “His Excellency Hassan Al Bakar (former President of Iraq) sends his greetings to you and enquires about your good health and is looking forward to your eminence’s instructions.” The Imam turns his face away towards a Lebanese clergyman in the gathering and asks him to “tell the governor to leave my house.” The Lebanese clergyman is shocked by the Imam’s response because nobody dared to say such a thing even to an ordinary policeman leave alone to a provincial governor who was the foremost political figure of Karbala. Thus overcome with fear and panic, the Lebanese clergyman instead tells the provincial governor that the Imam had thanked him for the greetings and good wishes!! On hearing this misinterpretation, the Imam looks furiously at the Lebanese clergyman, and states: “I am aware of what you are translating; tell him to leave my house.” When the clergyman fails to translate it out of fear of repercussions, the Imam rises to his feet and walks away towards the mosque in a rage. The provincial governor sees no alternative but to follow the Imam in the street and on the way catches hold of the Imam’s hand and tries to offer explanations but the Imam angrily pulls his hand away and walks on. This attitude of the Imam in an atmosphere of repression and intimidation created by the ruling Baathist party of Iraq gave enormous courage to the clergymen. 

Name of the narrator: Hujjat al-Islam wal Muslimeen Sayyed Mortaza Musawi Ardabili Abarkuhi 

Title of the Book: Impressions and Memoirs about Imam Khomeini's Practical Behaviour, vol. 1, chapter six, pages 237 & 238

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