Rafed English

Intifada, Manifestation of the Power of Islamic Ummah

Most political scientists and other observers of international affairs agree that the sudden collapse of one of the closest US allies in this region following unrelenting, ever-increasing popular protests and street fighting, followed by a new social and government structure " a religious society, and a religious system of governance " in Iran was truly shocking and almost unprecedented, specially in modern times.

What was more unprecedented about this particular revolution was that its foundations were meticulously laid, over decades, and watered with love and tears, by an old scholar and high servant of Islam, Imam Khomeini, who had captured the hearts and minds of most Iranians, and with much wisdom and perspicacity led it to a glorious triumph, against all odds and predications. This particular revolution also shattered many beliefs, theories, and political equations believed by the elite policymakers in the West hitherto. 68

Ayatollah Khamenei, speaking of the great impression left by Iranian Islamic Revolution on contemporary global political literature says:

"The victory of the Islamic Revolution and the formation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, focused the world's eyes on Iran. Many, including politicians, scientists and thinkers, and the masses of people all over the globe suddenly became aware of a new event and phenomenon. A system of governance had arisen from the Iranian revolutionary movement, which, with one hand, held aloft the name and flag of Islam, and with the other, gestured to itself and claimed being 'popular.' ... Thus it became that the school of thought that set, led, and entered the stage has since been called the "the pure Mohammedan (PBUH) Islam." 69

Thus, the world suddenly came face to face with the first religious government of contemporary Islamic history whose formation heralded a new era in which a society's unlimited potential could be correctly tapped and directed toward material prosperity and limitless spiritual growth and perfection. Of course, international reaction to this fact and phenomenon varied in various places and governments, but one can roughly categorize them into three groups:

1 " The countries " nations and governments " that are neutral towards this issue and advocate establishment of relations on the basis of the principle of mutual respect.

2 " The countries that have been close to the Islamic Republic of Iran and advocated brotherly ties. Of course due to the anti-oppression nature of the Islamic system and its commitment to protection of freedom and man’s dignity, a stronger feeling of fraternity and solidarity have prevailed among the disinherited masses, particularly the Islamic ummah.

3 " The countries hostile to the Islamic Republic. They mainly included the colonialists, exploiters and arrogant countries.

Hence, the establishment of the Islamic government in Iran is a warning to the global arrogance, for the religious government due to its divine mission has always defended the deprived and oppressed masses of the world, particularly the Muslims and will not spare any efforts to continue this policy. This ideal is in serious confrontation with the interests of the global arrogance, which is interested in the colonization and exploitation of the masses and plundering of their human and material assets.

On the other hand, the establishment of the Islamic government in effect functions as a theoretical and practical support for the disinherited. In fact the victory of the Islamic Revolution and the establishment of the Islamic government is the strongest proof for the disinherited masses particularly the Muslims to have faith in the capabilities of Islam and ability of the Muslim leaders to bring about deep social changes and guide the society towards felicity and perfection in the light of the Islamic ideology and culture. Also the establishment of the Islamic government in an Islamic country could raise hopes in many disinherited masses, encouraging them to realize that they can utilize the religious government to put forth the idea of their supervision at international level.

Commenting on the impact of the Islamic uprising of the Iranian nation on the revival of the Islamic culture, Imam Khomeini states:

"They were destroying Islam; they were trampling upon the Quran under their boots. The uprising of the Iranian youth, the uprising of the Iranian nation, which was a divine uprising, revived the Quran; revived Islam and resuscitated Islam." 70

Also alluding to the capabilities of Islam in bringing about changes in the social, governmental structures and establishment of a popular revolution and government, the Imam says:

"The great change that has emerged in the nation was a change that did not aim only to eliminate the regime…the nation wanted an Islamic government. It was the fundamental issue, that is, they wanted the Quran to rule supreme. They removed the hurdles in this country to establish an Islamic government." 71

The victory of the Islamic Revolution, which occurred after protracted struggles against all symbols of oppression, inequity, infidelity, paganism, and arrogance, was achieved by paying high human and material costs. However in a short period it could introduce fundamental changes in the thought and culture of the Iranian people. As a result the idea of return to the indigenous-religious culture and revival of the Islamic values as the only source for responding to the needs and questions and the only certain path of guidance became evidently clear.

Such a fundamental change, which became possible under the sagacious leadership and guidance of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, was so amazing that astonished all thinkers and scholars of the world.

Micheal Focault,-----(1926-1984), a renowned Western thinker, visited Iran after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Upon his return from Iran, he wrote:

One of the significant aspects of this revolutionary event is the reality that it demonstrates the absolute collective will " a very few people have had such an opportunity in the history. 72 Elaborating on the concept of collective will, he writes: the collective will is not a political myth with the help of which the lawyers and philosophers try to analyze or justify the institutions; the collective will is a theoretical instrument; no one has ever seen the collective will… Perhaps we in Tehran and entire Iran came across the collective will of a nation. Well, we should respect it, for this does not happen frequently. 73

Obviously, this great event in the contemporary world enjoys diverse communication possibilities and has had a widespread repercussion in the entire world particularly among the Muslims and the deprived, oppressed peoples of the world. Its profound impact on the culture and political thought and language of the liberating struggles, particularly those of the Muslims, is quite palpable.74

Hence the Zionist regime can be considered an embodiment of "invasion, occupation and usurper of other’s land. On the other hand the struggle of the Palestinian people can be considered the practical example of resistance and Islamic holy war by reliance on such religious values as Islamism, martyrdom, self-sacrifice, etc.

The religious struggles of the Iranian nation against all symbols of oppression and inequity in principle and in practice from the very beginning supported the struggles of the Palestinian nation. Imam Khomeini considered support of the rights of the oppressed Palestinian people as a fundamental principle of his struggles. In fact from the very beginning of his political struggles against domination, Imam also launched his struggles against the Zionist regime and extended his support to the struggles of the Palestinian nation.

In the early stages of his struggles, he openly warned against the threat posed by Israel against Iran and the Islamic world: "On the basis of my religious duties, I would like to warn the Iranian Muslim nation [that] the holy Quran and Islam are in danger, the independence and economy of the country are in danger of being seized by the Zionists…. The Muslim nation will not keep silent until the danger is removed and if someone keeps silent, he will be responsible toward the Almighty God and is doomed to fall in this world." 75

Therefore the all-out support the Iranian Leader and Muslim nation of Iran extended to the liberation struggles of the Palestinian Muslim nation was one of the reasons of the transformation in the culture of struggle of the Palestinian nation and fighters.

The leader of the Islamic Revolution on a number of occasions has expressed the all-out support of the Islamic system and the Iranian nation of the struggles and fighting of the oppressed Palestinian nation:

"The Iranian nation cannot neglect the rights of the Palestinian nation. They say, you neglect the Palestinian nation and sign the compromised imposed on this nation; it is obvious that the Iranian nation rejects it and anybody who follows this path is a traitor." 76

Elsewhere, he says:

"One of the reasons for the hostilities [of arrogance] is the issue of Palestine. Particularly we have said that the usurping Zionist regime should be eliminated." 77

The victory of the Islamic Revolution and the collapse of the dictatorial monarchy and establishment of the Islamic government in Iran as well as the honorable resistance against all plots of the global arrogance are the best practical example for the Muslim fighters of the occupied territories to practically demonstrate the unlimited power of Islam in giving incentive to them and boosting their fighting power.

Therefore, the main impact of the Islamic Revolution on the struggles of the Palestinian nation was transformation of the culture of struggle and change in the objectives of the struggles. 78

In the light of these changes in the struggle culture, the language and method of struggle underwent a change and such concepts as pan-Arabism, which is based on extremist nationalism and has its roots in the Western materialistic culture, was replaced by Islamism and holy war in the way of revival of the splendor and glory of the Islamic world. Also instead of transient materialistic incentives for struggle in the way of motherland, the sublime idea of holy war in the way of Allah was institutionalized which is based on the clear spring of divine knowledge. Hence such concepts as martyrdom, self-sacrifice and sacred holy struggle were resuscitated.

Changes in the method of struggle in the light of changes in the culture of struggle are quite palpable. In the light of the rich Islamic culture, the Palestinian fighters, in order to continue their struggles, while welcoming material and spiritual support of other countries, particularly the Islamic countries, never depend on any nation or any power. On the basis of their religious teachings, they have realized that the only key to victory is trust in God and faith in the divine promises as well as preservation of Islamic unity. They also know well that faith and unity are the most effective weapons for their righteous struggles.

A glimpse at the testament of a martyred Palestinian fighter " Mahmoud Abu Hanud " demonstrates the deep impact of Islamic culture on the formation and incentives of the struggles of the oppressed Palestinian people:

"O Muslims, bear in mind that what has befallen our nation and ummah is because of keeping distance from the right path and the Sunnah of the Prophet as well as total dependence on the East and West that has brought us nothing except indignity, slavery and disunity. But, O ye the children of the Islamic movement; O ye by whose hands the Almighty God has decided to hoist the banner of monotheism and materialize the promise of destruction of Israel, pick up the flag of holy struggle and defend the prestige of religion and motherland and do not give up this endeavor…" 79

Thus the liberation struggles of the Palestinian people found an Islamic nature and the Indifada was formed within the framework of a spontaneous popular movement based on the religious principles and values and relied on the weapon of faith as an effective strategy for solving this great problem.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei, emphasizes on the crucial role of Islam in properly directing the struggles of the Palestinian people and the specific status of Islamic culture in giving incentive to the Muslims, particularly the Palestinians until achieving complete victory (destruction of Israel):

"The oppressed Palestinian nation should expel the Zionists from the occupied territories by relying on the Islamic faith." 80

Elsewhere the leaders says:

"The rise of the Islamic sun from the horizon of struggles of Palestine has resuscitated the oppressed Palestinian nation… In the beginning, the Palestinians were in hibernation and hence the enemy dominated them, but today the Palestinians have awakened… [They have realized that] struggle without relying on faith in God and Islam will bear no fruit other than alliance with the reactionary forces and cooperation with Israel." 81

In order to become more acquainted with the intellectual nature of the Intifada and the place of Islamic thought and culture in this movement, a part of the statement of the Islamic Resistance Movement of Hamas issued on the 14th year of its formation is reproduced here:

"Fourteen years have passed since the formation of the Intifada and holy war and struggle in the way of victory and martyrdom… It is now fourteen years that we have been carrying out our Intifada and will continue it… During this period we have proved that revolution and resistance is not merely being armed, but in the first place it is faith and belief in Islam and the Almighty God... The Hamas is a movement that belongs to the entire Islamic ummah… It is now fourteen years that the program of resistance has been accompanied with the devotions of the nation and struggles and support of the Islamic Ummah which first started with small weapons until it turned into martyrdom-seeking operations." 82

68. There are a number of theories of revolution expounded by the Western thinkers. Among them one may mention Karl Marx, the German philosopher of the late 19th century and early 20th century. The common feature of the theories of these thinkers, despite their superficial differences, is that they are all based on materialistic culture prevailing in the Western culture. They consider human material needs the base of the revolution and there is no place of religion and man’s inclination towards revival of religious values in their theories.

69. Characteristics of the Islamic Revolution in Viewpoint of the Leader of Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei (Cultural Institute of Qadr Wilayat, 2002), 2nd Ed. P. 10.

70. Sahifeh-e Nour, Vol. 5, P. 140.

71. Ibid. Vol. 7, P. 60.

72. Iran, the Spirit of the Spiritless World (and nine other interview with Focault), Tr. by Sarkhush, Nikoo and Jahandideh, Afshin (Tehran, Nashr Nei, 1992), 1st Ed. P. 43.

73. Ibid.

74. See Chapter II of the present study on Palestine.

75. Sahifeh-e Nour, Vol. 1, P. 34.

76. Interview with Jomhuri Islami (Tehran), November 22, 1996.

77. Ibid.

78. Ayatollah Khamenei, Speech at a meeting with the people of Torbat Jam, August 31, 1999.

79. Voice of Islamic Palestine, No. 33, January 2001, P. 15.

80. Jomhuri Islami (Tehran), March 19, 1990.

81. Jomhuri Islami (Tehran), October 31, 1993; Ittilaat, October 25, 1990.

82. Voice of Islamic Palestine, No. 33, 33, January 2001, P. 1

Adopted from the book: "Palestine Throbbing Heart of the World of Islam"

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