Imam Khomeini's dear wife, lady Khadija Saqafi, belonged to a family of clergymen. She was born in Tehran in 1913. Her late father, Ayatollah Mirza Mohammad Saqafi, who wrote the exegesis Tafsir Javan, was one of the great scholars of his time and was a student of the grand Ayatollah Hae'rri Yazdi. Her great grandfather was Mirza Abulfazl Tehrani, who was a genius in his era and wrote the famous book "Shafa Al-Sodoor" which described 'Ziyarat-e-Ashura'.
Imam Khomeini's wife was very intelligent, and showed great interest in pursuing her studies. After their marriage, the Imam taught her Howza studies for fifteen years. Imam Khomeini always encouraged his wife to study and helped her a great deal. She got her diploma and learnt French at school, and learnt Arabic from Imam Khomeini. Even after they were deported from Iran to Iraq, she still wanted to continue her studies. She was well versed in Persian poetry and literature, such that when she grew older, she could still recite many poems off by heart.
The Imam and his wife got married in the month of Ramadan in 1929, and in the Shah Abdul Azim mosque. They had eight children: three sons and five daughters. Three of their children died during their childhood.
Their five children are: .The martyr Hajj Mostafa, who married lady Ma'some Ha'erri .Lady Seddiqa Mostafavi, who married the late Ayatollah Shahab al-Deen Eshraqi .Dr. Faride Mostafavi who was the wife of Mohammad Hassan A'rabi Fard .Dr. Zahra Mostafavi who was the wife of Dr. Mahmood Brojerdi .The late Hajj Ahmad Agha who married Dr. Fatima Tabatabaeei
All Imam Khomeini's children helped their father to achieve his goals. The Imam's wife brought her children up well. She made sure that the children respected their father and provided an environment which allowed her children and the Imam to excel in every aspect. In return Imam Khomeini himself insisted that his children respect their mother and made sure the children looked up to her. Thus the children had their utmost respect for both their parents and made sure that they served their parents well. Apart from respecting his wife, Imam Khomeini also loved his wife very much and always expressed his affection towards her. Their love for one another was talked of and admired by friends and family.
The Imam's wife was a real and sincere religious woman. She would never backbite, lie and talk ill of anyone. She always liked to carry out good deeds and helped people financially.
The lady of the revolution was a wise and patient woman. If one pays attention to her patience, one easily finds that it was with great wisdom. She knew of the ultimate goal they wanted to achieve and so she endured great difficulties.
Although she belonged to a family of clergymen she was brought up by her grandmother, who was very wealthy. Thus during her childhood and teenage years she lived a comfortable life. However after her marriage she prepared herself for a simple life. Throughout her life she always tried to live according to the financial circumstances of Imam Khomeini; from when he was a student up to the revolution. The Imam had a simple life and lived as the people did, and there was nothing extravagant about his life.
At home, Lady Khadija provided a peaceful and stress-free environment for Imam Khomeini when the movements against the Pahlavi regime began in 1962. When Imam Khomeini was arrested and sentenced to death in 1963, his wife showed great tolerance and their home became a place where many concerned people visited. The Imam's wife portrayed strength which in turn gave strength to the people. After Imam Khomeini was released from prison and was detained in the Qeytariah area of Tehran, a new period of patience and struggle began.
Lady Khadija moved to Tehran to be with her husband, who was under house arrest. This was a huge boost to the Imam's morale. When the Imam was freed and went back to Qom, large crowds of people and scholars came to visit him. Respecting all the imam's guests, treating them in an honourable way, and making sure they were all served with tea, was a difficult job and was managed by the Imam's wife.
The events which took place in 1964, like Imam Khomeini's famous speech regarding capitulation, the sudden attack on the Imam's house during the night, the Imam and Hajj Agha Mustafa's arrest and deportation, and having no news of the Imam, could have only been endured by a truly patient and courageous woman such as Lady Khadija.
Lady Khadija accompanied her husband when he was exiled to Iraq. She left behind her family and her children to be beside her husband. She felt great loneliness and was very homesick but never mentioned it to the Imam.
In Najaf, Lady Khadija had a great relationship with the wives of scholars such as Ayatollah Khoei, Sadr and other clergymen. Thus the scholars and clergymen of Najaf showed great affection to and admiration for the Imam and his family.
Hajj Agha Mustafa's martyrdom while they were in exile, was a very bitter and sorrowful experience for the Imam and his wife. When the revolution was finally victorious lady Khadija's sorrow multiplied as her son was not there to witness this great success. It is also worth mentioning that when the Imam's son was martyred, Imam Khomeini did not allow the media to focus on his son. This was because he believed that all martyrs of Iran are the same.
After the revolution, Imam Khomeini's wife provided a calm and suitable environment for the people interested in visiting Imam Khomeini at his home. She cooked simple food for the Imam who was given strict doctor's orders to abstain from having particular ingredients. Lady Khadija knew that she wasn't only a host to family and friends, therefore she received anyone who wanted to see Imam Khomeini and his family at their home. Her hospitality was famous among people in Qom, Najaf and Tehran.
Lady Khadija had a close relationship with the families of government officials and authorities, and made sure that her meetings with them did not involve political debates. This is evident from the fact that although many officials in the three decades after the revolution have changed, she was still in contact with many of their families and they still visited her on particular occasions. She also, as it is custom in Iranian culture, repaid their visits by visiting them in return.
After Imam Khomeini's death, she still showed strength and independence even though she lost her partner of sixty years. Her children always stood by her side and always supported her.
After the Imam's passing, the supreme leader and government and judicial authorities and officials visited her house every year. They did so to show their love and respect for a great woman who played a vital role in the revolution. She honoured them when they came, sometimes gave constructive criticism and was of the view that anyone who worked hard for the people and this revolution should be respected by the Imam's family.
The loss of a son was indeed an unforgettable sorrow, but after this tragedy she also lost ten more members of her family, such as her son-in-law, mother, father, sister and brother. She passed the many tests that God set her throughout her life with flying colours and showed outstanding patience throughout great hardships.
During the later years of her life, Lady Khadija still managed her time and chose when the family should travel, when to receive guests and when to visit family and friends. The last seven months of her life, were difficult as she was very ill and was confined to her bed. However she never complained or showed that she was in pain. Finally in 2007 she passed away and was buried beside the Imam.
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