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The Greatest Jihad: Combat with the Self

Translator's Introduction (part 4)

which can be read in order to learn something about history, sociology or anthropology, and in all of these areas valuable lessons are to be learned. But more important than any of these is the moral lessons to be drawn for the Islamic community in general. Let us not content ourselves with ritual duties while ignoring the need for moral reform. Let us appoint moral guides in all of our Islamic educational institutions, so that Islamic education may become more truly a training in submission to Allah, and let us draw upon the example as well as the teachings of the prophets and the Imams so that we may learn to seek to commence the journey of the believer toward Allah, insha Allahl

The remainder of this introduction consists of a few biographical remarks with particular reference to the moral and spiritual training of Imam Khomeini, may he rest in peace.

Ruhullah Musawi Khomeini, was born in 1902 in the town of Khomein, which is about half way between Tehran and the southwestern city of Ahwaz. Ruhullah's father and grandfather were religious scholars in Khomein. His father, Ayatullah Mustafa, is said to have been murdered by bandits when Ruhullah was less than six months old. His mother, Hajar, was the daughter of the religious scholar Aqa MTrza Ahmad Mujtahid Khansan. The boy was raised by his mother and an aunt, both of whom died of cholera when he was six. His education was then supervised by his older brother, Ayatullah Pasandldeh. At nineteen, Ruhullah traveled northwest from Khomein to the city of Arak, where he became a student of Shaykh 'Abd al-

Karim Ha'erl, a leading religious scholar of his day. The following year, Shaykh Ha'erl and his student Ruhullah moved to Qun, where the Shaykh reorganized and revitalized the entire institution of religious education in that city, which was already famous as a center of learning. Ruhullah studied in Qun until the death of Shaykh Ha'erl, in 1936 ater which he began teaching theology, ethics, philosophy, and mysticism. It was during his irst fourteen years in Qun that Ayatullah Khomeini became familiar with the intertwined traditions of philosophy and mysticism which flourished during Iran's Safawid period (16th and 17th centuries) and which continue to exert an

enormous influence on contemporary Shi'ite thought.

When he arrived in Qun, Imam Khomeini began to receive private instruction in ethics with Haj MTrza Jawad MalekT Tabriz!, the author of a book entitled, The Secrets of Prayer (Asrdr as-Saldt), Imam

Khomeini also wrote a book on this topic, called The Secret ofPrayer: Prayers of the Gnostics or Ascension of the Wayfarers (Sirr as-Saldt: Salat al-'Arin ya Mi'raj as-Sdlikin). His instruction under Mlrza Jawad continued until the death of the teacher, in 1925. Imam

Khomeini also studied the mystic traditions from Haj Mlrza Abu'l-

Hasan Rai'I Qazvlnl, who was in Qun from 1923 to 1927. Qazvlnl is known for his commentary on a supplication which is recited daily in the pre-dawn hours during the month of Ramadan. Later, Imam Khomeini would also write a commentary on this prayer. Finally, and perhaps most importantly among his spiritual guides, there was Aqa Mlrza Muhammad 'All ShahabadI, the author of Spray from the Seas (Rashdhat al-Bahar), who was in Qun from 1928 to 1935. In the

mystic tradition of which ShahabadI was a part, the phrase 'spray from the sea' may be taken as a symbol for inspiration from God. It was with ShahabadI that Imam Khomeini is reported to have studied the Fusus al-Hikam [Bezels of Wisdom] of Ibn al-'Arabl3 (d. 1240) and

the important commentary on that work by Qaysarl (d. 1350).

In   1929, Imam Khomeini married, and a year later his irst son, Mustafa, was born. Over the course of the years, two other sons and four daughters were born. Mustafa would grow up to be killed in Iraq by agents of the Shah. The youngest son Sayyid Ahmad, would become a secretary to his father, and aterward, a political leader in his own right.

Source:”‌ The Greatest Jihad”‌ by imam khomeini

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