Imam Khomeini’s Letter to Gorbachev revisited

Imam Khomeini’s Letter to Gorbachev revisited

On January 3, 1988, a historic letter was delivered from Imam Khomeini to President Mikhail Gorbachev. This letter has since been entered into the annals of history as a piece of remarkably insightful and indeed prophetic writing from one head of state to another.

The exceerpts from Imam Khomeini's letter come as following: 

Mr. Gorbachev

Reality must be faced. The main problem confronting your country is not one of private ownership, freedom and economy; your problem is the absence of true faith in God, the very problem that has dragged, or will drag, the West to vulgarism and an impasse. Your main problem is the prolonged and futile war you have waged against God, the source of existence and creation.

Mr. Gorbachev

It is clear to everybody that from now on communism will only have to be found in the museums of world political history, for Marxism cannot meet any of the real needs of mankind. Marxism is a materialistic ideology and materialism cannot bring humanity out of the crisis caused by a lack of belief in spirituality—the prime affliction of the human society in the East and the West alike.

Mr. Gorbachev

You may have not in theory turned your back on certain aspects of Marxism—and may continue to profess your heartfelt loyalty to it in interviews—but you know that, in practice, the reality is not so. The leader of China struck the first blow to communism and you have
struck the second and, apparently, final blow. Today we have no such thing as communism in the world.

I earnestly call on you, however, not to get trapped, while tearing down the walls of Marxist illusions, in the prison of the West and the Great Satan. I hope you will attain the honor of removing the decayed layers of 70-year communist aberration from the face of history and of your country. Today those allies of yours that are genuinely concerned about their homelands and people are no longer willing to sacrifice their subterranean and surface resources to keep alive the myth of the success of communism—an ideology whose din of collapse has already reached the ears of their children.

In an analytical article published on Shabbir Hassanally wrote as following: 

However, it should be understood, that given who Imam Khomeini was, given how the writings of such people are not just restricted to a specific moment in time, but that rather their message permeates the entirety of history, it was felt that it would be pertinent and useful to revisit this letter, nearly 30 years after it was scribed.  

Especially considering the global situation today, be it in Iran, or in America, in Saudi Arabia or Malaysia, in Norway or Sweden, in the United Kingdom or France, it was thought that examining this letter and seeing what pearls of wisdom can be garnered from it; to help and indeed understand the situation of the Muslims across the world, and indeed, of all of humanity moving forward, in these difficult, and testing times.  

Firstly, we need to provide some context and background, that the lessons in this letter can be understood better; and if appropriate the context can be mapped to that of our day and age - nearly 30 years after it was scribed by the great Leader of the Islamic Revolution and Founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini, may God rest his pure soul.

 An important aspect of all revolutions - irrespective of where they occur and what their basis - is the ideological aspect.  Every revolution, from the Russian to the French, from the American to the Islamic Revolution in Iran, has as part of its core makeup an ideological component. 

This component forms the backbone of any revolution.  Irrespective of any other component of the revolution, should the ideological backbone become damaged, then the aspirations and lofty goals of a given revolution begin to erode, and ultimately, even though every other aspect of it may be secure, the revolution will ultimately die.  

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Imam Khomeini message has gone beyond Muslim nations

To understand this, we must look at the revolution of Imam Hussain (as) in Karbala.  The fact that even after 1400 years this revolution continues to inspire and motivate, that it serves as a beacon for justice, honor, dignity, hope, and resistance to tyranny and terror; is testament to the fact the ideological core of this revolution is, has and will always remain intact.  

The same can be said of the revolution of Prophet Muhammad (saw) and the delivery of Islam to the world.  

Indeed, one can rightly say that the revolution of Imam Hussain (as) served to bolster the revolution of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).  

As mentioned by many scholars, the revolution of Imam Hussain (as), was in fact the continuation and indeed re-perfection of the message of the true Islam of Muhammad, and the injection of the Karbalai spirit into the equation, vaccinated and made immune the true Islam of Muhammad (saw) and its revolutionary spirit, from ever being harmed and damaged, lost and forgotten at the hands of those who wish it harm - be they internal or external foes.  

Having said that, securing the revolution, doesn’t mean stagnation, it doesn’t mean that there is no evolution or adaptation to changing circumstances.  It does, however, mean that there are a set of principles that are sacrosanct and that are not subject to alteration. 

The core principles of any revolution, the core ideological principles that brought about the revolution in the first place, are immutable, unchanging; however, their perception can be understood through the lens of the changes that time ultimately requires on any given construct.

Read more: 

Imam Khomeini's message continue to attract young people across globe


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