Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ayatollah Montazeri

The world has become familiar with the term Ayatollah only  after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The word was officially included in English dictionaries a few years later. Ayatollahs are high level clergy or scholars  of Islam ,the word literally meaning sign of God. They have been the subject of much news and debate and have emerged on the global scene since Imam Khomeini came forward with the paradigm of a religious democracy or Islamic Republic three decades ago.  Imam invested on the concept in Shia jurisprudence which recognizes those leading and knowledgeable Ayatollahs who are aware of world affairs, in control of their egoist desires, and  in struggle with their selfishness  could lead the society if they appeal to the people. Conceptualized into the theory of " Velayate Faghih" or Leadership of the Jurisprudent provided the theoretical basis for the creation of the Islamic Republic in modern times. Leading religious figures like the late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri supported Imam Khomeini on this highly debated issue, during the conception of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. During later years Ayatollah Montazeri was appointed as the Vice- Leader but due to harsh criticisms and certain people in his entourage he was stripped from his title a few months before the demise of Imam. Montazeri who enjoyed a very high ranking due his profound knowledge and insight on matters of Islamic studies returned to Qom and led his classes in the Seminary. He also remained critical of political conditions in the country. He had indicated repeatedly that although he believed in the Velayate Faghih and had played an important role in the institutionalization of this concept,  he also believed in regulatory processes that would maintain necessary oversight over the functions of the leader and ensure that he does not surpass the Constitution and the law. Montazeri was a Islamic scholar who believed in standing up for the truth even at the expense of his position. His championed the human rights cause from the perspective of Islamic jurisprudence and in his serious criticism of the actions of the government of Ahmadinejad particularly after the recent Presidential elections provided  inspirational support for the Green movement. Montazeri died last week at 87 in Qom. His repeated condemnations of repressive government policies and his portrayal of Islam as a religion of peace, tolerance and human rights, made him very popular among the people and particularly the young generation who saw him as the personification of a true Muslim who courageously stood up against oppression even in the name of Islam to protect the truth and to provide an example for all freedom seekers in the world.
 Mourning ceremonies in Qom were marked by the presence of hundreds of thousands of people , many displaying their green symbols and mourning for the charismatic Ayatollah.  Government pressures and unrest created by holigans on the streets have prevented the ceremonies from taking place in other cities. Security forces have prevented newspapers and news agencies from reporting on these matters. In the Tehran City Council we proposed to name an appropriate venue in Tehran in his name. Government censorship prevented any dissemination of this news. Nevertheless, the demise of Montazeri at the begining of the month of Muharrram has give a new impetus to the Green wave.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Although I am absolutely nothing but my words are something for they pierce the loaf of meat in our bosom known as the heart. The imam montazeri may be dead for a martyr is not taken as dead but alive forever. Anyone who behaves like a yazid is a yazid no matter if he claims himself to be even the ahlelbayt. Those who tortured imam montazeri are yazids in my heart and i am proud to say this even after his death. Dr Hasan Khan