Imam Khomeini defined genuine political facet

Imam Khomeini defined genuine political facet

In the opinion of the Imam Khomeini, Islam is not a religion which is only concerned with the spiritual and personal needs; rather, Islam is everything for the human being; that is, it has ideas and views on everything from nature to beyond nature to the celestial world; Islam has a thesis; Islam has a program.

This program of Islam takes into account all the facets and dimensions of life: Islam has rules and decrees for the entire life of man from the day he is born up to the moment he is delivered to his grave.

The meaning of politics and the status of power Politics is inextricably intertwined with all the dimensions of our life and it is so palpable and conspicuous that its existence and influence cannot be denied.

But, what is politics really? Innumerable descriptions of politics have been advanced. But one thing is certain: politics is related to the acquisition of power or the struggle for the acquisition of power. So, at the core of the concept of politics, ruling (over others) and attempts at exerting influence lie latent. If such is the meaning of politics, then it cannot be evaded and must be accepted.

It is because the requisite of social welfare and well-being of the society lies in the existence of power, and attainment of power is tied to politics. What is politics by the way? It is the relations between the ruler and the nation, relations between the ruler and the other governments and, I should say, it is to prevent the corruption and mischief that exist. All of these constitute politics and it is so.

 If politics is such and forbidding corruption is deemed part of it, then Islam also has politics as it pursues the enjoinment of what is good and the preclusion of what is bad. Hence, the Imam describes Islam itself, thus: Islam is governance along with its affairs and decrees.  Similarly, the Infallibles have always been involved in politics in this sense.

On what day was the Most Noble Messenger concerned with political issues? He used to establish a government; he used to resist those who were anti-Islam and oppressed the people; he used to wage war against them. It was not only the Most Noble Messenger who used to engage in politics in this sense; the aspect of politics was there in all the prophets.

Politics means ensuring the interests of the people, and the prophets used to perform this duty in the best manner. 

Politics means guiding the society and showing the way; it means considering all the interests of the society, and taking into account all aspects of man and society and guiding them toward the things that are best for them, for the nation and the individuals.

This is exclusive to the prophets. Politics in this sense has been the principal axis of movement of all the prophets and no religion can be regarded as alien and distant from it. But, the most essential element of politics is power.

However, power is something that is frightening. It misleads man as well as disenchants him, that the nature of power corrupts man. A person who feels powerful rebels, and forgets himself, as well as his being a servant of God, and nourishes an illusion of godhood. 

Can it be concluded that power is evil in itself? In reality, the claim of those people is that since power has unpleasant repercussions such as excesses, injustice and insolence, it follows then that one must eschew it totally.

 This view has been propagated by many of the Muslim mystics and it has been one factor in the decadence of the Muslim societies.

But if gluttony has dire consequences, it cannot be concluded that food must be absolutely discarded. If abundant wealth is corruptive, one cannot reject it totally and abandon the same. Keeping aloof from the detriments of power by giving it up cannot be realized. The evils should be identified and their emergence prevented.

In the opinion of the Imam, the essence of power is an attribute of perfection and God also possesses this attribute in its absolute sense. Power is a form of perfection in itself. God, the Sublime and Exalted, is powerful.

As such, one should not shun power. Instead, he should understand it and benefit from it, in an optimal way, and the proper way of benefiting from something, in the view of the Imam, is internal refinement.

Thus, he stands on the proposition that in case it is acquired by unrefined individuals, power is dangerous. In case power is obtained by corrupt persons, this same perfection will lead him to corruption

Yes, all the evils that are found in the world arise from egocentrism. Craving position, desire for power, love of riches, and the like all of them spring from self-love, and this idol is the biggest one, breaking which is also far more difficult than everything else.

 Therefore, in the intellectual code of the Imam, power ought not to be feared or evaded. Rather, it should be properly utilized, nourished and embellished; by means of relentless trimming of the extra branches of power, its possible centralization and absolutism can be parried.

Politics as indispensable for the realization of Islam Imam lived at a time when, owing to the influence of extensive propaganda of the antagonists, and the ineffectual actions of the protagonists, serious doubts on Islam and its functioning has arisen in people s minds.

 One of these doubts concerned the relationship between Islam and politics, and the duty of the religious scholars vis-à-vis politics.

The outcome of these doubts was the preponderance of the notion of separation of religion and politics, which the Imam used to attack severely, viewing it as an offshoot of the imperialist designs.

At various places, he used to speak of the role of Islam in politics and also about the duty of all Muslims to be involved in politics and that the two were inseparable. 

The principal part of Islam is concerned with its social aspect; giving effect to this depends on having power and being the ruler.

As such, Islam cannot be regarded as merely a personal religion and the private matter of an individual. This notion that politics can be separated from religion is either the outcome of the misconception of the principle of religion, or the effect of the propaganda of the ill-wishers.

If man is a social and political being, and if we accept that Islam is all-embracing and has a plan for every dimension of man, the logical implication of these premises is that religion is not separate from politics.

So, all this talk about religion and politics being separate is suspicious.

 This slogan of the separation of religion from politics and the demand that Islamic scholars should not intervene in social and political affairs have been formulated and propagated by the imperialists; it is only the irreligious who repeat them.

These slogans and claims have been advanced by the imperialists and their political agents in order to prevent religion from ordering the affairs of this world and shaping Muslim society.

 According to the Imam, [Islam] is a school of thought which, contrary to non-monotheist schools of thought, has function and jurisdiction in all aspects of the individual and society, material and spiritual, culture and politics, military and economy.

It has not neglected any point including the most trivial one, which has a role in the nourishment of man and the society as well as in the material and spiritual advancement.

 With such an approach, basically, one who speaks about the separation of the two categories has indeed not understood the function and nature of neither of the two.

In the view of the Imam, Basically, the foundation of Islam is in politics. The Messenger of God has laid the edifice of politics in piety.

From the time of the Messenger of God up to the period when there was not yet any deviation, politics and piety were in tandem. These topics have been repeated time and again, and are more understandable and acceptable particularly in light of the definition of politics that he gives.

In his view, Politics is meant to guide the society and take it forward.

It should take into account all the interests of the society; it should consider all the dimensions of man and society and lead them to whatever is to their good, the good of the nation and of the individuals. This is specific to the prophets.

With this perspective, all the decrees and laws of Islam have a political facet and the religion of Islam is a political religion; it is a religion in which everything is politics, including its acts of devotion and worship.

In this view too, The moral precepts of Islam are political as well.

Oneness of ethics and politics in Islam The Imam believes that if man is left to himself he will fall under the sway of his carnal desires and material needs and any type of educational and political system, even the correct one, will be incapable of nourishing his spiritual dimensions, whereas the foundation of everything is spiritual and by reforming and nourishing this dimension in man, all other problems will be solved.

 In his opinion, the enigma of today s world is a moral one and if it is not solved, the world will head downhill toward destruction.

The things that are threatening the world are not arms, bayonets, missiles, and the like What is leading these people and these countries to perdition and decadence is the degenerations among the heads of countries and in the actions of the governments, which is emerging from the moral decadence.

According to the Imam, the school of thought of Islam is not a materialist school; it is a material-spiritual school Islam has come for the edification of man.

The mission of Islam and the goal of all the prophets is this to nurture man.

Therefore, the source of every political approach should be ethics. Attention to spirituality is inevitable because the foundation is spiritualities.

Basically, without ethics, politics is incapable of guiding the people and securing their true interests and if we assume that there is a person who implements a correct policy this policy is just one dimension of the politics which had been for the prophets, the saints, and now for the scholars of Islam. Man is not one dimensional.

The society too is not one dimensional.

Man is not a mere animal whose affairs only concern food and eating. If there were both satanic policies and correct policies, they would guide and lead the community in one dimension and that is the animal dimension and material-social dimension. Such is of politics which in Islam is fixed for the prophets  and for the saints.

They want to guide the nation, the nations, the society, and the individuals, and to pave the way for all the conceivable interests of man and the society.

 This point is the kernel of Imam Khomeini s moral-political thought.

 As such, we are not dealing with two independent types of knowledge and realms.

Politics is the extension of ethics while ethics is the underpinning of politics.

By reflecting on the above-mentioned pivots, this point becomes very clear.

Since its goal is the growth of man s material and spiritual dimensions and as these dimensions are supposed to be nourished concordantly and harmoniously, Islam has enacted laws for mankind.

These laws, although concern the individual, while some others concern the society, and some have educational aspects while some others have political ones, all are in pursuit of a single goal.

So, these laws ought to have various features. First of all, they should cover all the dimensions and aspects of man s existence. 

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