Imam’s Devotee Recalls Memoirs about Imam’s Family

Imam’s Devotee Recalls Memoirs about Imam’s Family

An intellectual woman who attended an international conference in Tehran nearly two decades ago and met some family members of the founder of the Islamic Republic was deeply impressed by their simple life style and devotion for Muslims and oppressed nations.

When Iran hosted a conference on "Women and the Islamic Revolution", the participants were provided an opportunity to visit Imam Khomeini's house.

Her memoirs were originally published in Crescent magazines. 


 Here one participant, Khadejah, recounts her impressions.

[Courtesy Crescent International, 1985]


This was a dream came true: a rare privilege to be in the Imam's home. After many requests, we were informed one night that a visit had been set for the following morning: no one could sleep because of the excitement.

The next morning, it was snowing; the streets were blocked, and we had to wait for the snow to be cleared in order to reach the Imam's house. In front of the house were a large number of people queuing in the freezing weather, just to see him. When we entered Jamran Husseiniyah I realized what it was to be a Muslim woman. I have never had such a feeling before, even in my own country.

People had come from different countries, among them were press representatives, wives of martyrs, and many other people. Some were crying and shouting 'Allahu Akbar', their eyes fixed at the door, through which the Imam was expected to come. Suddenly the Imam appeared. People cried in excitement, shouted, more this time, 'Allahu Akbar, Down with America, Israel and Saddam'. The Imam sat down quietly and beside him sat his son Ahmed. I was barely one meter away from where the Imam sat, so I could see him very clearly. His whole face showed complete composure and an inner peace. Looking at his serene countenance, I felt as though he were living in another world; only his eye revealed the fact that he was present in our midst.

Visiting the Imam's house was another surprise for us. The main door is a simple iron door, leading to a yard about six meters long. It has three rooms, inside each of which you will find a mattress and a cushion, and a simple sofa used by the Imam for sitting and sleeping on. The kitchen is under the stairs. There is a small room for him alone for studying, praying, reading and listening to the news; it is furnished with a chair, a small table, and some book shelves.

The foreign press correspondents were surprised when they saw the house of the leader of the Ummah. They were even more surprised when they saw the Imam's food which was composed of a boiled potato, an orange, and a small chunk of bread. They asked the Imam's wife: 'Where do you sleep?' She answered simply, 'Just where we sit.'

The wife of the Imam described his life. 'He sleeps from 9 pm until 2 am when he wakes up for the night prayers. He continues his nawafel prayers until the Adhan for fajr prayers. He completes his fajr prayer and then waits till sunrise, when he goes to have his breakfast with his family, his wife, two daughters (one of them lost her husband who was martyred at the war front), his son 'Ahmed and his grandsons. He always eats with them and never alone. After that he goes to his room to listen to the news and read the newspapers.'

'At 10 am he receives the officials, members of the government and others till zuhr prayers. Then he usually takes a short rest before lunch and then walks for an hour after that. Some time in the day he spends time with his family.'

'From the time we were married he has never ordered me to get him something. If he needs anything, he says so indirectly. For example, if he needs a shirt, he says: "Do we have a shirt in the house?" Then I understand that he needs a shirt, and I get it for him.'

'He insists on preparing things for himself: he prepares his food, his tea, and washes the cups and puts them back in the right place. If there is anything wrong he fixes it himself.'

'One day he was meeting some leaders. He saw that the light was on in the next room. He went into the room, himself put the light out and came back to his place. People were astonished at what he had done.'

'Once he was separating a sheet of two-ply tissue paper. When someone asked him to use both of them, he replied, "I only need one of them."'

'He prefers the simplest food, and does not eat from a variety of dishes at any one meal. He eats only to survive. This is very important for him, and he is very very organised'.

The Imam respects women very much. For example, when his grandsons come to visit him, he asks them first of all to go and see their grandmother and kiss her hand.

There are no servants in his house. The guests are served by the Imam's family, usually his two daughters who won't allow their mother to get anything, since they try to make her life as comfortable as they can.

At the Imam's house we really felt at home, as if we were among our own family, where one feels safe and secure.

We felt very sad when we had to leave the Imam and his family who make you feel that they are the living representatives of the teachings of the Qur'an.

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