“Our divine movement nullified the calculations of the experts…Those who questioned how a bunch of youth working in the bazaars and teachers without having anything could defeat a regime that had everything at its disposal, realised that their materialistic calculations were void.
Here, it is a divine calculation; here the Hand of God is at work. Individuals cannot create such a movement and such a force. Mankind cannot awaken all the sections in this manner; mankind cannot enable the men and women of a country; the child and adolescent of a country, to become self-sacrificing. It is the Hand of God and it is the Divine Will, which caused all sections of the nation to become brothers and invalidate all the calculations of the material pundits.” – Imam Khomeini – (Sahifeh Noor, vol. 7, p. 174)
The Victory of the Islamic Revolution under Imam Khomeini’s leadership in 1979 is regarded as one of the most significant events of the 20th century. The world witnessed the emergence of Imam Khomeini, one of the most influential personalities in the Islamic world. Although he emerged in Iran, his character made him an international figure. Due to his particular attention to religion, the Islamic movement made constant progress and expanded in the Middle East following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The Iranian Revolution of Iran refers to the overthrow of the self-proclaimed kingdom of the Pahlavi dynasty led by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic Republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The discourse and intellectual discussions that were formed following the success of the revolution called into question the role of religion in society, challenging the idea that religion should be confined to the private sphere. The new system also envisaged the centrality of religion in the political life of the nation. The founder of this new system had no problem in making use of several terminologies from other political disciplines and interacted with other systems in order to improve the theoretical framework of the Islamic Shi‘a school of thought. Among the main objectives of the Islamic Revolution was the enhancement of people’s power, relieving them of the undesired state of dependence on foreign colonial powers to move towards self-reliance by implementing changes in key faculties of the state and national institutions.
The revolution and the revival of the Islamic Identity
On many occasions Imam Khomeini stated that: “It is not concealed from anyone that the motive behind the Islamic Revolution of Iran and the secret of its victory was Islam. Our nation, throughout the country, from the capital or the remotest towns and villages and settlements, by sacrificing their blood under the cry of ‘God is the Greatest’ demanded the establishment of an Islamic Republic. In the unprecedented and amazing referendum, [that followed] almost unanimously [they] voted for an Islamic republic; and both Muslim and non-Muslim governments recognised the new state and the government of Iran, as an Islamic Republic. With regard to the above circumstances, the constitution and the rest of the laws in this republic must be based one hundred percent on Islam. And even if a single article contravenes the tenets of Islam, it is a violation of the republic and the almost unanimous majority of the nation.”
According to some experts and researchers, the Islamic Revolution was one of the major factors influencing the awareness of Muslims, enhancing Islamic activities in different Muslim societies. Imam Khomeini, who revived political Islam and called it a ‘Pure Muhammed-an Islam’, harmonised politics and religion and brought Islam back to the heart of political life, revitalising it, turning it into a live religion whose divine tenets can be utilised for the benefit of society in its entirety and not in a truncated form. The result was a vibrant society that understands what it means to struggle in the way of God and to resist and combat the tyranny of hegemonic powers. The Islamic Revolution of Iran was an amazing phenomenon in the modern world that had the effect of reviving Islam’s dignity among Muslims.
Characteristics of the Islamic Revolution
The Islamic Republic, drawing upon its millenary sources of knowledge, has struggled, not without fierce external opposition, to present to others an example of a comprehensive and multi-dimensional system in areas of religion, politics, economy, society and culture. It is also trying eagerly to raise awareness among the oppressed and the deprived and to create suitable ground for self-awareness, self-reliance and self-confidence.In doing so it cannot forget the importance of freedom movements, Islamic and/or anti-colonial. It also insists on the negation of external powers and the necessity of dynamic management based on Islamic principles to handle political and social changes. Regrettably, this misunderstood revolution has been a constant target of the propaganda of western powers that have forced upon it all kinds of economic and political pressures.
Despite all the difficulties and international opposition, 38 years later, the Islamic Republic of Iran still stands, having made great achievements on the domestic and international stages. It has also provided the initial spark for the revival of Islam in different parts of the Muslim world. The challenges ahead are many and the objective will be to resiliently carry on and improve.