Islam and politics : Ayat-Allah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeyni's fundamental political ideas

Rajaee, Farhang, Woodrow Wilson Department of Foreign Affairs , University of Virginia
Thompson, Kenneth W., Woodrow Wilson Department of Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia

This study of Khomeyni’s political views follows three lines of inquiry. First, the study reviews the Shi’i political thought through the works of a number of prominant theologian jurisconsults (fugahā). It shows that (a) Khomeyni’s views follow the main juridical trend of Shi’i thought, {b) his views of politics stem from the theory of Imāmate in the early history of Islam, and (c) his ideas relate to the dispute between the Usuli and the Akhbārī approach to jurisprudence in the eighteenth century. More importantly, this study suggests that Khomeyni has revitalized the Ūsūlī position in establishing the rule of the theologian jurisconsult (fagīh) in Iran.

Second, an examination of his specific views on such basic concepts as the nature of man, politics, government, state and international relations will present the basis for an overall picture of his political vision. This study suggests that Khomeyni’s political theory is shaped significantly by his conviction that it is possible to establish a society of "good men." Because of his essential goodness and through the guidance of the divine plan (in his case Islam), man can in fact reach goodness and perfection. Corollary to this idea, Khomeyni’s theory of politics focuses on the person who should guide the society along "the right path." Khomeyni assigns that role to a qualified fagīh and thereby constructs the theory of the guardianship of the theologian jurisconsult. Khomeyni’s political society thus is a community where the guardian implements the Islamic law. This study further demonstrates that the relations of Khomeyni’s community with other political societies is based on his Islamic ideology or as he terms it, the notion of the Mostaz’afān (the oppressed) vs. the Mostakbarān (the oppressors).

The third line of inquiry sums up Khomeyni’s political vision as a thinker and explains his attempt to implement it as a political leader. This study concludes that Khomeyni has done his utmost to realize in practice his political vision in post-Revolutionary Iran by trying to construct an Islamic state. Toward this end he has endeavored to create Islamic institutions ruled by the fagīh.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Khomeini, Ruhollah, Political and social views, Religion, Islam and state, Iran
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