The events unfolding prior to the victory of the Revolution show that Imam Khomeini successfully managed to monitor the Islamic movement while in exile.
The Shah regime had the Imam exiled from Iraq. He thereafter traveled to Paris and settled in the suburb of Neauphle-le-Chateau.
The Shah had hoped that this would serve to minimize contact between the Imam and his followers in Iran.
On the contrary, communication became even easier for the Imam! Furthermore, he was often visited by Western journalists and reporters in Paris, and the whole world soon knew about Imam Khomeini and his vision of an Islamic state based upon the teachings of the Qur’an and the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them).
As the Muharram season approached, the Imam declared that the Iranian must follow in the example of Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) in rising up against tyranny and injustice. On the eve of Ashura in 1399 AH, over a million people donned in white martyrdom shrouds marched through the streets of Tehran. They called for a list of 17 demands, topmost of which was the establishment of an Islamic government in Iran. Thousands of protestors were gunned down by government helicopters, but to no avail. Around the country, workers in one industry after another declared periods of national strike. The Revolution had begun.
From Paris, the Imam established the Council of Islamic Revolution, which would replace the puppet regime of Prime Minister Bakhtiar. The Shah fled Iran, never to return. The only thing between Iran and an Islamic government now was a military coup d’état.
Millions of protestors came out to face the soldiers, but instead of using violence, they invoked their brotherhood. They brought gifts for the soldiers and placed flowers in the barrels of their guns. Massive desertion followed.
On 2nd Rabi al-Awwal, 1399 AH (January 31, 1979 CE), the Imam took a chartered Air France flight to Tehran. He was greeted at the airport by millions of followers. Upon arriving in Iran, the Imam traveled first to the Behesht Zehra cemetery to pay his respects to the martyrs of the Revolution.
A few days later, a provisional Islamic government was established under Mahdi Bazargan. As the military completely disintegrated, Bakhtiar imposed a curfew in Iran. In response, the Imam urged his followers to defy the curfew and declared that if his followers were opposed or attacked, he would declare Jihad against the government. The military finally withdrew its support from the Bakhtiar regime, and on 14 Rabi al-Awwal, 1399 AH (February 14, 1979), the imperial regime finally collapsed. The Revolution had triumphed.
A referendum was shortly held, and the people voted overwhelmingly in favor of the establishment of an Islamic government. An Assembly of Experts (consisting of jurists) convened to approve the proposed constitution. Towards the end of the year, the constitution was also approved by the people.
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