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  • 11/8/2012

Manifestation of the Friend

With the People

part 15


Greetings of Peace to you, O Imam!

The Imam was extremely fond of people. He despised situations that created a superior being out of him and would prevent such situations. On the route he took along the Ark Lane there was a provision store whose proprietor was a person by the name of Haj Gholam. One day this person was sitting outside his store on a tin can under the shelter of a wall. He placed one foot over the other and was holding a chain in his hand which he kept rotating. When the Imam reached his shop he greeted Haj Gholam. He did not recognize us and in the same state that he was in with foot placed on one another and rotating the chain, he replied: “Peace on you, are you fine?”‌


He would answer the greeting of one and all

Despite the state of anger and belligerence that the Imam portrayed vis-a-vis the regime in power at that time; and despite the daily clashes and difficulties, I can never recall the Imam not responding to the greeting of peace of one of the children. The Imam would cast a look at each and every one of the children and while having a ready smile on his face, he would reply to the greetings of one and all.


He even greeted children

The Imam always took the initiative in greeting others and always whenever he would meet individuals, he greeted them before they greeted him. The Imam with that greatness that all the powers were horrified at hearing his name was so kind and compassionate that even when he came across children, he greeted them.


Not even once did I succeed to take the initiative in greeting the Imam

What will never be erased from the memory of the students of the Imam; rather from the memory of those around him was the extreme humility and spirit of rearing students of the Imam. In addition to being his student, I was mesmerized by his personality and had intense affection for the Imam. Throughout the period that I was with the Imam, because he always took the initiative in greeting, I never succeeded even once to greet him before he had done so.


We would be caught unaware

If the Imam entered a place, it was very difficult to be able to take the initiative in greeting him. Many times it occurred that we would go to his office earlier and would be waiting eagerly for his entrance and even clears our throat in preparation to greet him but yet again we would be caught unaware and he would greet us before we could greet him.


I heard somebody greet me

One day I was passing from the street that lay between the mosques of late Shaykh Ansari and the residence of the Imam with my head lowered that I heard somebody greet me. When I looked up my eyes fell on the blessed countenance of the Imam. In an instant I had a wonderful feeling within me and  became  tongue-tied.  After  all  he  was  the  Imam””my  source  of inspiration and emulation while I was no more than an inconsequential and unknown seventeen-year old seminary student.


He greeted me before I had resolved to greet him

The Imam’s attitude towards students and the clergy was like that of meeting between two equal clergymen. It never occurred that I visit him and he not takes the lead in greeting me. At times when the distance between the Imam and me was around ten or fifteen meters and I thought that he would probably not hear me and wanted to get a bit closer so that he would hear me, but before I would resolve to greet him, he had already greeted me.

He dispensed with all superficial protocols

In Najaf, various levels of academics must keep within the frontiers and limits of the hierarchy. For example a seminary student could not discuss or publish at the level of a tutor while a tutor could not make statements and

express views at the level of a religious authority while a religious authority could not operate at the level of a Source of Emulation. Each of these individuals must keep to their limits and it was not customary for a Source of

Emulation to intend to visit the home of a poor seminary student.

It was the tradition that all must respect the authority of the Sources of Emulation and the prominent theologians and go to visit them as a duty.

However, when the Imam arrived in Najaf, he visited each and every one of the tutors of the Najaf ‘Hawzah’ or Theological School and meet with the seminary students. One can say with certainty that throughout the Shi‘ite history, there wasn’t a source of emulation who in the period of his religious authority had visited the colleges of the Najaf theological school and spoken with the freshmen seminary students and had looked into their living condition. But it was the Imam who threw away all superficial protocols and laid the foundations of a virtuous Islamic tradition in Najaf.


The Book "Manifestation of the Friend: A collection of memoirs about Imam Khomeini (R.A)"

Other Links:

Manifestation of the Friend: Subtle Spirit (part 13)

Manifestation of the Friend: Subtle Spirit (part 14)

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