Imam Khomeini Underscored Preserving of Ashura Legacy

Imam Khomeini Underscored Preserving of Ashura Legacy

Imam Khomeini, the world religious and spiritual emphasized on several occasions that the Islamic Revolution in Iran was inspired by the Ashura and this inheritance must be kept and preserved for the coming generations.

The great Imam also called on the masses and scholars to take serious intellectual efforts to comprehend and promote the real philosophy behind the tragic event of Ashura.


Imam Khomeini insisted that the mourning ceremonies should be used to promote the genuine and pure teachings of Islam as conveyed by the holy prophet of Islam and his infallible successors.

The founder of the Islamic Republic explained the philosophy behind Imam Hussein's (peace be upon him) uprising which was to take a stance against aggression and tyranny. The grandson of the holy prophet also wanted to install and promote the Islamic principle of commanding for good and forbidding from evil.

Imam Khomeini in his historical speech on the eve of Muharram highlights the objectives achieved by the uprising of His Holiness, the Doyen of the Martyrs (‘a).


In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful


His Holiness the Doyen of the Martyrs taught all of us what we must do in the face of oppression, in the face of injustice; in the face of tyrannical rulers. Despite, he knew ahead of time that the path he was treading was a path on which he must sacrifice all his companions, his family and sacrifice much-loved individuals for the sake of Islam and he knew of its aftermath. If this movement was not present—the movement of Husayn (‘a)—Yazīd and his followers would have been shown the abrogated image of Islam abrogated in a different light to the people. From the beginning, they had no faith in Islam, were envious, and despised the saints of Islam. In addition to defeating them with this sacrifice, after a while the Doyen of the Martyrs made the people to realize what a tragedy and what a sorrow had befallen them. Moreover, this same sorrow resulted in the decline of the Umayyad dynasty. In addition, he taught in the course of history that this was the true path. Do not be afraid of the numerical superiority; numbers are not important; it is the quality—the quality of the sacred struggle—it is that which does the job. It is possible that the individuals are many in numbers but in terms of quality, they are flawed or hollow. It is also possible that the individuals may be few in numbers but potent and honorable in terms of quality…

What is our duty on the eve of the month of Muharram al-Harām? What are the duties of the eminent theologians and the revered clergy? What are the duties of the rest of the strata of the nation in this month of Muharram? The Doyen of the Martyrs, his companions and household have taught the duties: sacrifice in the battlefield and propagation outside the battlefield. To the same extent that the sacrifice of His Holiness is valued in the presence of the Blessed and Almighty God; and has helped to move forward the movement of Husayn (s), the sermons of His Holiness Sajjād and Her Holiness Zaynab also have been effective to the same extent or almost to the same extent.

They taught us that opposite the tyrant, opposite a tyrannical rule, the women must not be afraid, the men must not fear. Her Holiness Zaynab confronted Yazīd; Her Holiness Zaynab (s) stood up and humiliated him in a manner that the Umayyad had not been humiliated before in that fashion. The speeches that they delivered on the way, in Kūfah and Damascus and the sermon that His Holiness Sajjād (‘a) delivered and made it evident that the issue was not one of confrontation of wrong with right; meaning that they had been misrepresented. They wanted to introduce the Doyen of the Martyrs as a person that was resisting the rulers of the time—the Caliph of the Prophet of God. His Holiness Sajjād revealed the truth at a gathering and so did Her Holiness Zaynab…

All the speakers must pay attention to this and we should all be focused on this objective that if the uprising of His Holiness, the Doyen of the Martyrs (‘a) was not existed, today, we, too could not have been victorious. All this unity of expression, which was the source of our victory, was because of these mourning and grieving ceremonies and these propagation gatherings grounded for the promotion of Islam. The Doyen of the oppressed made available the means for our nation that without being an inconvenience for the nation, the people congregate. Islam has made the mosques to be trenches and they became a means for the nation so that from these very mosques, from these very congregations, from these very gatherings, from these very Fridays and social gatherings, all the affairs that would move Islam forward and carrying out of the uprising were facilitated. From his actions, the Doyen of the Martyrs has especially taught us that what should be the position on the battlefield and what should be the position outside the battlefield; and how must those who are armed combatants should engage in combat; and how those, who are providing backing for the frontlines, engage in preaching and publicizing. The way and mode of the struggle in the sense that how one should engage in combat as a smaller group versus a large gathering; The mode and the way may be adopted for the uprising with a limited number against an oppressive regime that has a hold everywhere. His Holiness, the Doyen of the Martyrs, his honorable household and his noble offspring taught us and nation these matters and what must be done after the occurrence of such tragedy. Should a person surrender? Should one compromise while engaged in holy struggle? Alternatively, stand should be taken in similar way of Zaynab (s) as subsequent to the great tragedy of such kind that “tragedies appear insignificant before it” resisted and confronted the faithless and spoke against the hypocrisy. She spoke on the issue wherever it was possible for her and so did His Holiness ‘Alī ibn Husayn (‘a) despite his indisposition that he did preach in a preeminent way…

You all the clergymen that are in the country have a duty to safeguard this blessing of God, this Divine gift and be grateful for it, and show their gratitude by propagating it. What the Doyen of the Martyrs carried out, the ideology that he had, the path that he traversed, and the victory that he attained for Islam after martyrdom, should be made clear for the people. They should all be made to understand that sacred struggle in the path of Islam is what he had done. He knew that he could not confront such a tyrant who possessed everything in the material sense with a small group numbering less than a hundred persons but he knew that it was the martyrdom that made Islam victorious and revived it…

Gentlemen, you must propagate! It is the month of Muharram. Keep this Muharram alive. Whatever that we have is from this Muharram and these gatherings. Our propagation gatherings are also from Muharram; from the slaying of the Doyen of the Martyrs and his martyrdom. We must approach to the depth of this martyrdom and pay attention to its impact in the world and emphasize that his influence pervades even today. If these eulogizing meetings, sermonizing, mourning, and grieving gatherings were not present, our country would not have triumphed. All revolted under the banner of Imām Husayn—may God’s peace be upon him. Now also you are witnessing that all of them are enthused at the frontline for the love of Imām Hussayn whenever they show them at the frontlines. Honorable propagators, the eminent theologians and the respected sermonizers must determine the issues of the day including the political, social issues and the duty of the people at such a time when we are faced with so many enemies in the gatherings that are organized during the months of Muharram and Safar and the rest of the times. They must make the people to understand that we are in the middle of the way and we must, God willing, traverse the path until the end of the way. If we move ahead with the order that has existed so far, we shall ultimately attain total victory. Our country and its people have by the grace of God, been ready with this order. However, we must not become lethargic…


May God’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you!

Morning, October 17, 1982 [Mehr 25, 1361 AHS / Dhūl-Hijjah 29, 1402 AH]

From Sahifeh-ye Imam, vol. 17, pp. 48-56

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