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Educational Revolution as Regarded by Imam Khomeini

This is a collection of ten sermons delivered by Sayyid Ruhullah Khomeini that emphasize the rectification of educational, religious, cultural and societal values in order to evolve into a true Islamic society; each discourse is targeted towards specific groups and backgrounds that make up the pillars of society.

The present pamphlet is a collection of the discourses delivered by the great leader of the Islamic Revolution, Grand Ayatollah Imam Khomeini on educational matters and the basic principles relating to the ideals of a society.

Since the emphasis on and adoption of these fruitful precepts can influence the creation and the future of a wholly Islamic university unattached to the East and the West, we decided to place this collection at the disposal of the general public.

We hope that this critical period of our Revolution in which our young generation is increasingly in need of such significant discussions, the publication of such works will illuminate the way and serve to rouse the hopes of the Islamic ummah.

Upon the order of Imam Khomeini the leader and founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the following gentlemen were entrusted with the task of forming planning councils for various branches of education and the future educational strategy of Iranian universities:

  • Dr. Muhammad Javad Bahonar
  • Mr. Mehdi Rabbani Amlashi
  • Dr. Hassan Habibi
  • Dr. Abdol-Karim Soroush
  • Mr. Jalal-eddin Farsi
  • Dr. Ali Shariatmadari

Imam Khomeini’s Message to the Cultural Revolution Headquarters

The text of Imam Khomeini’s decree addressed to the seven previously-noted gentlemen is as follows:

In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful

Some time has passed since the necessity for an educational revolution of an Islamic character has been declared, and yet no effective step has been taken so far. The Muslim nation, especially committed students with a good faith are anxiously waiting for it and are worried about the harm which may be caused by plotters the evidence of which can be witnessed from time to time. The Muslim nation, which is devoted to Islam, fears that, God forbid, the opportunity may be lost and no positive step be taken.

It also is apprehensive that the system of education may remain what it was during the whole period of the domination of the corrupt regime when cultureless taskmasters had put this important centre at the service of colonizers as is evidenced by the products of a few individuals loyal and faithful to Islam contrary to the universities’ expectations, the rest offered nothing but loss and damage to our country.

The continuation of this disaster, which unfortunately is the aspiration of some groups attached to foreign powers, will mean a deadly blow against the Islamic Revolution and the Republic. Any negligence in this vital matter is tantamount to a great treason against Islam and Pan-Islamic country.

Therefore, the following honourable gentlemen, namely Muhammad Javad Bahonar, Mehdi Rabbani Amlashi, Hassan Habibi, Abdol-Karim Soroush, Shams Al-Ahmad, Jalal-eddin Farsi and Ali Shariatmadari are hereby entrusted with the task of forming a headquarters consisting of pious and clear-sighted persons from among Muslim professors, loyal per­sonnel and religious students and other groups, who are true believers in the Islamic Republic, to take the necessary steps for planning various branches and designing the future educational policy of the universities on the basis of Islamic culture, and for training worthy, loyal and well­ informed professors, as well as other matters related to the Islamic cultural revolution.

Naturally on the basis of the above points, all the secondary schools and other educational institutions which, under the old regime, were administered by a deviated and colonising system, must be carefully examined so that my dear children may be protected against all damage and diversion.

I pray God Almighty for the success of these gentlemen in this important matter and beg for the greatness of Islam and Islamic countries.

Greetings to you
Ruhollah Al-Mousawi Al-Khomeini
29 Raj ab 1400 (of Hejria) / 12 June, 1980

Imam Khomeini’s Message to members of Islamic societies

The complete Text of Imam Khomeini’s discourse at a meeting with the members of Islamic Societies and Muslim Students’ Organisation of the universities and colleges and various classes of people on 25th May, 1980.

In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful

Greetings to you, the great nation of Iran; greetings to the Muslim people of the world; greetings to university staff and fine students who are soldiers for Islam.
I consider it necessary as a reminder to tell you what we mean by the reform of universities.

Some have supposed that those who wish the universities to be Islamic and reformed believe in the dual aspect of every branch of knowledge and science, for example geometry being both Islamic and non-Islamic, or physics too of the same sort. Their objection is that science does not have such dual aspect of being Islamic and non-Islamic. Others have imagined that what is meant by Islamic universities is that only jurisprudence, interpretation and principles should be taught there, that is, the same program, prevalent in the old types of schools, should be enforced at the universities.

These are errors either made by such people, or they cause themselves to fall into error. What we mean by it is that our universities are dependent, and of a colonised nature. Our universities train and educate those who are pro-West. Many of our Muslims are so, and they bring up our youths pro­West. What we claim is that our universities are not useful for the nation.

Despite fifty years of university experience, we are still dependent on the West.

We have had universities for over five decades on which enormous public funds have been spent, and yet we have not been able, during these fifty years, to gain self-sufficiency in sciences which are usually promoted leading to discoveries in these universities.

After fifty years when a patient must undergo treatment, some of our physicians or most of them recommend him to go to England for treatment.

We have had fifty years of university experience, and yet we lack doctors, according to their own confession, to meet the needs of the nation adequately. We have had and still have universities, but we continue to be dependent on the West in all the affairs that an alive nation requires.

When we say that a university must undergo a fundamental transformation and become Islamic, it does not have the connotation that only Islamic branches of knowledge should be taught there. Nor does it mean that every science is of two kinds: Islamic and non-Islamic. What we ask, after having possessed universities for fifty years, is to be shown their products. We say that our universities check the progress of the children of our soil. We say that our university has been transformed into a propaganda battlefield.

What we say is that even if our youths have knowledge, they lack education, or at least they lack Islamic teachings. Those who pursue studies have, for their goal, the acquisition of a certificate by which they may impose themselves on the nation. A university does not train our youths according to the needs of the nation and the country, and does not prevent this great generation and our dear children from wasting themselves and their energies.

In these fifty years, either our energies were wasted or we were forced to serve foreigners. The teachers in schools are not Islamic in kind, and training has not been combined with instruction. Therefore, the graduates from our universities are not individuals with a sense of obligation or interest in and sympathy for their country, and also without concentration on self-interest.

When we ask for a fundamental change, we mean that our universities must serve the nation, not foreigners, in connection with national needs. Our teachers and university professors are mostly in the service of the West. Our youths are being brainwashed. They are imparted corrupt training.

We never declared that science has two aspects, a matter which some people contend either deliberately or due to ignorance. What we claim is that our universities lack Islamic ethics, and Islamic education. Had they possessed Islamic ethics and education, they would not have been turned into a battlefield of ideas harmful to this country. If they had Islamic morality, there would be no room for these disputes which cost us dearly.

All this is due to their ignorance of Islam and lack of Islamic education.

The University Must Have Islamic Education

The universities must be fundamentally transformed and rebuilt to give our youths an Islamic education. They must not train the youths according to Western standards, or make a group of them pro­West, another group pro-East, and yet another group against us. We do not want our university youths to help those who wish to impose an economic blockade on us, or claim and make a great effort to do so.

What we want is that if the Iranian nation stands against the West, our university youths, too, would follow suit, and if our nation stands against Communism, all our universities, too, would do the same.

We do not wish these youths who have accepted the false teachings of some of their teachers because of their credulity, to be dependent on the West or Communism or Marxism now that we intend to build an independent university based on a necessary transformation to make that independence possible. When we wish to do so; they form fronts, and this proves that we have not had and do not have an Islamic university to train our youths, which, in turn, shows that our youths have not been trained properly.

They do not seek to study, and spend all their time on slogans and false propaganda in support of America or the Soviet Union. We want our youths to be independent, and to discern themselves and their needs, without being Western or Eastern.

These people, who have started street or university demonstrations and cause conflicts resulting in difficulties for the government and nation, are those who support the East and West and America.

Now that we are facing America and this superpower, we require our youths to stand with us against them. Yet they stand against themselves and work for America. We wish our universities to be such that our youths work for themselves and their own nation.

Science Is Not Two In Kind; Islamic Geometry And Non-Islamic Geometry Do Not Exist

These gentlemen who are sitting aside and raising objections to these ideas, imagine that the members of the Revolutionary Council do not understand that the meaning of Islamization is not to divide knowledge and science into two kinds or claim, for instance that there is an Islamic geometry and a non­Islamic one. They are not aware that the members of our Council are either specialist doctors or learned clergymen.

They do not know that the place of Islamic branches of knowledge is the old theological schools, but the Council is the place of other branches of knowledge.

However, the university must be Islamized so that the subjects studied there would be for the cause of the nation and its needs. What we say is that the program of our universities drags our youths to communism or towards the West, and this is not right. We affirm that those teachers and professors who were working at universities and some of whom still are, do not let our youths study properly, and hinder them from advancement. They serve the West and want us to be dependent on the West in everything.

The meaning of Islamization of the universities is that these institutions should become independent and detached from the East and West, so that we may have an independent country, independent universities and an independent culture.

My dear ones, we have no fear of economic sanctions, and no fear of military intervention, What we are afraid of, is cultural dependence. We fear a colonised university that trains our youths to serve the West or Communism. We have no wish that our university be similar to the people who object to this policy.

They do not know the meaning of independence or an Islamic university. I support the statements of the Revolutionary Council and the President of the Republic concerning the purge of the university and the change in the direction it has had in order to become independent and to preserve that independence. I ask all our youths not to cause hindrance or show resistance. For, if they do so, we will decide what the final step should be for the nation.

I pray God Almighty for the prosperity of the Islamic nation and youths, and hope that as it has been proposed, the universities would be rid of all undesirable elements and dependence, so that, if God wills, a truly moral, Islamic and real cultural university may be created.

Greetings to you and God’s blessings and mercy upon you.

Imam Khomeini’s Message to University and Theological Students

The Text of Imam Khomeini’s discourse at a meeting with university and theological students on 25th May, 1980.

In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful

I must give you gentlemen an account of the time of Reza Shah which you have not witnessed so that you may realise what hands have been at work. Reza Khan, after his Coup d’état and capture of Tehran, introduced himself as a virtuous Islamic servant of the nation.
It was said that he attended even the sessions held in the mourning month of Muharram in a religious centre, and I have myself seen him once taking part in the religious procession of the army in Tehran and attending the gatherings for the narration of the martyrdom of the Imams which were held on his behalf. This went on until his rule was established, and he thus misled the nation and various classes of society to secure n firm footing.

Reza Khan Was An Enemy Of Clericalism

When he became sure of his footing, his first object and what had been planned for him, was to weaken the clergy and make them lose their prestige with the nation, so that he may be able to carry out what the conspirators wished.

The journalists, writers and mass communication media of the time were equipped to act conjointly against clericalism.

They managed to isolate the clergy and did not even allow them to make use of public means of transport. The propaganda was so intense that they misled our youths and even our religious youths. Their first target was the clergy.

In this Feyzieh School, there were, at that time, six or seven hundred resident theological students. In daytime, they dared not attend the school and had to run away to various neighbouring gardens to return there late at night, for, government agents were on the watch to arrest them and remove their turbans. They pursued priests in Tehran and took some of them away, in spite of their being authorized to preach, to the police station where they cut short their clerical dress with a pair of scissors.

What hand was it that overthrew the clergy in those days? And yet in spite of all that pounding, the only group that rose up against Reza Khan was the clergy, once in Tabriz, once in Khorasan, and once in Isfahan which was most extensive of all the others. The learned clergymen of Isfahan emigrated to Qom and were joined by the priests from other places, but all these uprisings were broken up. The uprising in Qom was more radical, but they managed to delude a number of them, and it is said that their leader, the late Haj-Agha Nurollah Isfahani, was poisoned and killed in Qom.

What hand was it that created a disunion between the university and clerics in the time of Reza Khan and is still doing it?

What hand was it that thus pounded the clerics and to what end? What hand was it that separated the clergy from university groups to such an extent that no one dared mention the name of the clergy at the university, nor the name of university to the people in the Feyzieh School? What hand was it that made these two groups hostile to each other? What hand was it that turned the university into an organization which, with the exception of a committed group, produced deviated graduates who followed other schools of thought?

And what hand was it that at this time when the Revolution became victorious, made a military fortress of the university? And what hand is it that is still at work to crush clericalism once more?

What have they seen of the clergy and what do they see now that they intend to repeat, in various places, the deeds they committed in the time of Reza Khan, insulting and offending the clergy? What hand has separated these two groups?

Now that they are separated, I hope God’s grace will bring about a reunion. The long acquaintance that these people have had with the people of the Orient, Muslim and Muslim countries through the knowledge gained by experts who went on various missions, has made them realise that the Muslim masses are close to the clerics and the latter have a deep influence on the former.

In every town its priest or congregational prayer leader is in touch with the people and is obeyed by them. Thus, if they intend to split up the nation and dominate it, they must separate the people from the clergy.

By creating differences between the university and the clergy, it was aimed to bring about a situation in which the name of a priest could not be mentioned at the university and no one could pray except in secret, and similarly in theological schools, any mention of the university could not be appreciated. It was the result of their studies that if they could separate these two groups of intelligent minds of society, they would be able to do what they liked, while if these two groups were linked together, they would fail in their design.

Therefore, the pens, speeches and mass communication media, which were at the service of aliens, began their task of separating and creating hostility, even within each group.

But now they have witnessed the power of Islam, clergy and university, and realized that their union has led to the downfall of the devilish power of the Shah. No one in the world could imagine that Iran would be able to oust this traitor, for, all the foreign powers, including non-Islamic ones like America and Soviet Union, and the diverted governments in Muslim countries supported him.

For example, when we intended to begin an open combat in Iraq against the Shah, Iraq did not allow us to reside there, and when we wanted to emigrate to Kuwait, its government refused us entry.

I realized that we would come across same treatment in every Muslim land. God willed a better alternative, and we found a place which was not under Iran’s influence, even though there was, at first, some opposition to us, but it gradually abated.

The enemy is more frightened than in the time of Reza Khan. Today they are more worried than in the time of Reza Khan. His time was the occasion of investigating this idea that if the clergy and university join together and if the clergy secures its spiritual power, they would not let Iran be misused by anyone. This was a true idea, but it was subjective at that time. But today the idea has become objective, and you noticed that the movement was pioneered by the clergy, and the loyal groups of the university joined them, while those who felt no obligation were compelled be consonant with them, and this became true of all classes and the whole nation.

They were aware of the clergy’s influence, but not to this extent.

When the Shah (who was deposed later) resorted to apology and asked Sharif Imami to form a government, these people said they were wrong in supposing the clergy to have little influence, and now they intended to make up for their mistake by serving the clergy.

But such statements were all nonsense, and were meant to mislead the people, but no one listened to them anymore. Today they have witnessed the power of Islam and seen that of a population of 35 million, 20 or 18 or 15 million active young people managed, without any equipment and military training, to overcome all powers with their bare fists, and the enemy could not keep their protégé in power at all.

The power of Islam was revealed to them. Now, they intend more and more to check Islam.

What were the fortifications in the university for? Who was behind it? Was it those who on seeing the university as an artificial West or a Westernized unit, inclined to turn it into an Islamic university the product of which would be true and loyal Muslims? Were those people who had entrenched themselves or those who, in the time of Reza Khan, wanted to break Islam and its power with their pens and acts?

When we speak of cultural revolution and an overall revolution, we should not mix things up. Those I have heard speaking of cultural revolution mix matters up, thus making its attainment remoter.

The university and Feyzieh School only begin their task with university matters, and have nothing to do with national economy. If the university starts with economics in order to build up an Islamic culture, it will fail in the latter task.

Similarly if those who can effect a cultural revolution in the army, try to carry it out in the university, they will fail in their original task.

Each group should confine its activities to its proper organization and institution. Neither those connected with economic revolution should interfere with university matters, nor should you, as university people, deal with economic revolution.

I do not say that mixing up such matters is caused by treason, but such people are deluded. Those who suggest that everything should be put right at the same time, and do not divide the tasks for each organisation to act separately with the aid of its experts, are, in all probability, being misled. In re-building the university and affecting an educational revolution, we should not mix things together. Everything should be put right, but each in its own place.

The market should be put in order, but an academician should have nothing to do with it.

Different qualified groups should carry out the tasks in each of them.

There should also take place a revolution within the army; the time is ripe for it, but the army has nothing to do with the university. These organisations are connected together, but each one has its own task to perform.

In the passion plays of former times, they used to say that a proper Shimr (the wicked assassin of Imam Hossein) must be a real Shimr in action. If he speaks or recites like Imam Hossein, he is no longer a Shimr. As the performers were a single unit, each of the members had to play his own proper part in order to produce a good scene, and interference with others would only have harmful results and no one can perform his own task properly.

I remind you that all pens, acts, speeches and devilries seek to hinder you in your tasks. They want to prevent the union of the university with the clergy. You are only at the beginning of your task.

My guess is that they may approach those in the Feyzieh School and other centres of learning and whisper things in their cars in order to separate them from you, or do the same to you to separate you from them. They have suffered losses at the union of this nation. They fear Islam and have witnessed the events elsewhere.

They observe your demonstrations and gatherings and hear your Islamic outcries, and are thereby worried.

A few days ago I saw this phrase written somewhere: “Why do you fear the word ‘national’? Why don’t you say “the national consultative assembly?” I ask the writer: “Why do you fear the word ‘Islamic’?” This national consultative assembly has had a life of over 50 years, and we have got nothing good out of it.

Whenever there appeared an honest man, fifty servants of colonisation rose to crush him.

What I tell these people is that we are dependent on these people and this nation, and want to see what these 35 million people desire. We realised that the whole of the 35 million people aspired for Islam. During all that time there was no talk of being national. Nationalism is contrary to Islam which has come to have an equal regard for all men and societies. Nationalism is what we see in America between the whites and blacks. Carter, who is an advocate of humanitarianism, hurts and kills the blacks so cruelly.

Nationalism means what certain Arab governments’ claim, that is, Arabism and nothing else. Pan-Iranism is similar to Pan-Arabism. This is contrary to both God’s command and the Qur’an. When we speak of Islamic Republic and Islamic

Consultative Assembly, it is because the former system produced no miracles. We were driven back for 50 years and hindered for 50 years. During all that time when the national consultative assembly existed, not even once could the people vote freely. Before the times of Reza Khan and Muhammad Reza Khan, in the Ghajar period, there were the chieftains and princes who forcibly took groups of people to the ballot box to vote for them. The people were of no consequence and were ignorant of what all these things meant. Each one was given a ballot paper to cast into the box. When Reza khan and ‘Muhammad Reza came to power, they had no contact with the people.

Muhammad Reza had once said that the list of parliamentary candidates used to be sent to him by foreign embassies and he was compelled to approve it. This confession is made by a person who had usurped the government in this country and was well-informed of various matters. This shows what kinds of people found their way into the two Houses of Parliament. They were imposed with lists sent from the U.S. or Soviet embassies.

This is what Muhammad Reza himself declared, by which he intended to say that he was a different man, and thereby he weakened his father’s position to exalt himself and turn people’s attention to himself.

This confession showed the form of a national assembly, not an Islamic assembly, that was composed of servants of foreign powers who were forced by the big servant into the Parliament. During the whole history of Iranian Constitution you cannot find a case in which the whole country could have voted freely, even in the early Parliaments, except in Tehran where the chieftains had no influence, and the votes were cast by people themselves. But in other town s and villages, the Khans and nobles forced their dependents to go and vote for whom they nominated.

This is the first time ever that you have this year an Islamic assembly desired by the nation, and even if there is something wrong, no one has been forced to vote. Even if there has been some fraud and trickery, it was very trifling. The people, men and women, old and young, went freely to cast their votes.

You have been a witness in Tehran, Qom and other places, and have heard of other centres. They have no wish to see an assembly belonging to the nation and Islam whose members are mostly Islamic except where they have faked. They do not desire to see the university and clergy gathered under one roof and mingled.

I warn you that they are busy creating dissension among you. You are now like young saplings with fresh relationships, and their object is to prevent every positive step taken at the university. They use every means such as guns or entrenchment or devilry to attain their ends. What hand writes those slogans on the university walls? What does it want to do? What is the aim of gathering people and speaking against Islam? They are really the individuals who consider the university and clergy harmful to the nation and wish to get rid of them. Well, they are the groups which aim their guns at the nation, and are armed, and their weapons are stored somewhere waiting for the opportunity to use them.

They are those who wish Kurdistan to remain rebellious. But thanks be to Allah that province is purged and is being cleared. They possess guns with both Soviet and Israeli markings. They see Islam standing against them. Those adults who lead the youngsters realise that if the clergy and university join together as two active minds, other people will naturally join them too, and they fail to attain their designs. They know well that no coup d’état can be successful in Iran now, and no one can even think of it. And no outside element can come in and last here.

They have learnt a lesson from the example of Afghanistan where all types of modern weapons, helicopters and planes as well as trained soldiers were brought in, but they could not force the Afghan nation into submission and are every day facing defeat in a country whose government and employees support those foreigners. In Iran there is no longer any duality between government and nation; all are together and united and do not allow anyone to come in and interfere.

Moreover, God Almighty is with us. It is for God’s sake that we want to drive these foreigners out of our country, and dismiss those who arc against Islam, or guide them to the straight path, if possible. When we intend to do this for God Almighty, He will assist us but on condition that we follow the same way we took at the beginning and peak of the Revolution when various aims were set aside for a single goal of establishing the Islamic Republic and Islam, without caring about our meals or our ranks in the office.

You should not imagine that the task is over and we could return to our normal life. No if you desire a life of honour and dignity, you should pay no attention to what they infuse in you and the nation, saying that the Islamic Republic, too, has failed in its purpose. All that is to discourage you from the Islamic Republic, so that you keep aloof and they crush the Islamic Republic.

This Republic has been established only a year ago, and yet it has, in spite of all hindrance, from every quarter, managed to render as much service to villagers, who had nothing, as was done during the whole long reigns of the two traitors deprived everyone of everything. Now in many places, all kinds of services are being provided with the cooperation of the people themselves and governmental and national organisations.

In such matters the nation should pay no heed to those who write anti—Islamic slogans nor should it listen to their accusation that nothing has been done.

You and I can now sit here and talk freely. Is there any freedom better than this? We have cut foreign hand from our country, even though some of its roots are still there. Is that nothing to be reckoned with? Should we not regard the expulsion of Muhammad Reza with all, his power as something significant? Did the Islamic Republic do nothing? What is all this, then? Is Muhammad Reza still reigning here, and is the SAVAK still engaged in its ignoble deeds?

They are trying to deceive the young, but luckily our young are alert and are not to be easily misled. The miscreants try to discourage you by saying that nothing has been done.

What do you expect to have been done. In the space of a year and a few months, all the organisations essential for an Islamic country have been set up – something that is unrivalled in the whole world. In other lands 20 or 30 or 50 years after their revolution they were still without a constitutional law. Several people have come together to rule that country by force. But in Iran as all the ardour belonged to people and society, and since the Revolution and people were Islamic, everything that is fundamental for the country has been achieved, and there remains nothing to delay us.

Then the task of reconstruction must be under­taken which has already started and with the grace of Allah will continue. Do not let these poisonous pens and these journals and newspapers which are allowed to be published though they serve others, play with you, and delude you every day. Do not listen to the words which they whisper to you at the university or Feyzieh School. Your union has become a target now for those who are opposed to Islam, university and Feyzieh School.

It is more important to continue a task than to start it. You spent three days in Qom and, God be praised, you came to an understanding and became closer to each other, but what is more important is to continue this. You should chalk plans to get together once every few days or months to retain unanimity. I hope that this alliance will be a good omen to enable you to transform the university and centres of learning into Islamic ones.

The products of the university show us its nature as it produces men like Sharif Imami. We know a factory by its products. By the sugar produced in a factory we can see what kind of a sugar factory it is, or by cloth what type of a textile factory it is. The product of the university should show us its nature. Let us see what these people who claim progress for the university have done during this year. In the last fifty years one million university people should have been trained to serve our people, not others.

Has the university trained individuals to work for the nation and have no other attachment? Where have these Communists come from? Where have these Marxists come from? We know what has been going on at the university by its teachers and products. Of course, some of them are loyal as they ought to be, but a university population of several million must have trained over a hundred million in 50 years. Had its products been desirable, our country would have been a garden. We would not have needed to wage war, or movement or to stage revolution.

But its products were undesirable, for, as soon as they got employed, they worked for foreigners, not for the nation. They obtained top posts in various ministries and served foreigners. If they had served Iran, and if the university had served Iran, would we have to fight? Would the university become a battlefield? Would our government offices stay idle and shirk their duties?

The university has not been able to render its proper service to the nation, and has only served others. They made our youths what they are, and even now they hinder the university from serving the nation. When we speak of an Islamic university we want it to be based on the needs of the nation and for the nation. Its work has not been to educate, but to promote opposition. Its work has been verbal, not education. It has given instruction, not training.

Its instruction has been to incline our youths to the East and West, and its training has been to bring them up into careless youths. I advise you to preserve your unity which they want to snatch away from you. Your aim must be to keep your country independent and yourselves free beings.

Follow this goal and get your two groups together, and prepare your plans through the cooperation of the teachers at university and theological centres of learning in order to have an education based on the country’s needs, not something useless. There are many things in it unrelated to the country now.

We need a proper training so that our graduates become independent in thought and action, and are not influenced by eastern and western tendencies. They should serve their own country, not others. This is the meaning of a university revolution. We judge a university by its product.

If after a few years, God willing, its product is human and Islamic and serviceable for the country, we can call it a transformation. But if it remains what it was, producing Communists and throwing out Muslims, then we will remain eternally crippled and must wait for something even worse.

But we hope that God Almighty will aid us and the country will be reformed, by His will, through the efforts of you learned men.

Greetings to you and God’s blessings and mercy upon you.

Imam Khomeini’s Message to Heads of Education Departments

The Text of Imam Khomeini’s discourse at a meeting of the heads of Education Departments from all over the country, and members of the employees of the Ministry of Interior and various Governorates- general at the Jamaran Religious Centre on 1st July, 1980.

In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful

While thanking you for your trouble in coming here and accommodating yourselves in its inadequate space, I wish to say a few words.

Words are often interesting, but are in fact a cover for something uninteresting. Instruction and training are both attractive words, and in the old regime too we had a ministry for them. Islamic society, too, which exists throughout Iran now, is an interesting word meaning that Islam must be promoted.

But in both cases, that is, in connection with instruction and training and Islamic societies we were entangled with words. In the old devilish regime, they spoke of education consisting of instruction and training, but let us see what these two were.

One expected something proper. Instruction consists of things needed by our nation; sciences that can make our nation self-sufficient after some time, and training is something necessary, especially for ignorant ones. Both are needed so that when individuals graduate from these educational centres, they may be useful for their country and possess fine qualities, proper conduct, right opinions and similar things. But we have all seen what type of persons were produced by our system of education and universities, and what academic training was given and for what purpose. If that education had met Iran ‘s needs and had been for the cause of Iran, we would have had institutions of higher education after 50 years.

We should not be in a position that a patient, with a fairly complicated illness, should be advised by our physicians to go abroad for treatment. Why should a patient be obliged to go to America or England after 50 years of heavy expenditure on so many universities and schools and after so much trouble? What has the university done in these fifty years?

Let those who claim that they have preserved the university and done this or that, come and tell us what has been done by them during these long years under the old regime. Show us your performance, your teachings and those who were trained scientifically.

You say training is combined with instruction. What are the mental state, the views, and the morals of these products of yours who were busy doing something all over the country? In this one and a half year that we have tried to bring about a reform here and there, how is it that we still hear of women there doing this and that, though this is not limited to that centre, but is noticed in various ministries, too, which are in a truly undesirable state?

I have no intention of mentioning names, but a minister who hears these words should take steps for reform. A ministry is not a place for obscene acts. A university should be a centre of education.
God has not expressed man’s indebtedness to Himself in any of the worldly matters except in the question of education. He says that “He has sent the Prophet to purify and instruct the people in the Book and Wisdom”. You notice that purification is mentioned before instruction.

The above Qur’anic Verse requires a discussion which would be lengthy, but I say briefly that it shows us the way of instruction and education.

It shows that the main reason for sending the Prophet has been for these two things: to read the verses to the people, then purify their mind and spirit and then teach them the Book and Wisdom.

Education comes before instruction, and if it is not before, it comes with it but with priority. If people are not cleaned and purified and vices are not removed, knowledge will produce harmful consequences. All the false creeds have been invented by men of learning where knowledge was not combined with purification and education. Such a learned man who lacks the power of purifying becomes dangerous for society.

In this respect, there is no difference between university professors and clerical men of learning. If religious centres of learning and universities lack moral refinement, the knowledge stored there would be similar to what is said by God Almighty, that is, ‘like a load of books on a donkey ‘s back.’

He who has a knowledge of monotheism, morality, religions and all, but has not purified his mind and spirit is a dangerous being for society.

If young people enter a university which lacks proper instruction and education even if it can give proper instruction, it will lead to corruption without the prerequisite purification. God forbid corruption by an impure man of learning. In our tradition it is said that the stench of a wicked man of learning torments those in hell.

You witnessed that when the university was managed by unworthy people, their teachings only produced Westernised graduates. It was an improper instruction with the limitations of a colonised university. Those who go abroad to study, too, do not receive the training that American or English youths get. There, too, they are given a colonised training for a colonised country, as a result of which people like Sharif Imami and Nassiri are produced.

So many people received an education to become doctors and engineers, but it was like cultivating in brackish soil. Knowledge in an unwholesome land is like rain in a fetid place which increases its fetidness. But the same rain in another place causes the spread of fragrant smell. An impurified man of learning is much more dangerous than an ignorant being.

An ignorant person who is corrupt confines his corruption to himself, but a corrupt man of learning corrupts the world.

Purification comes before instruction. As I quoted before, the Prophet has come to purify and educate the people, and then teach the Book and Wisdom. Without the combination of these two, the product will be similar to what we saw in the Senate and Assembly before the Revolution. Both looked magnificent, so did the university with its fine buildings. But foreigners do not care how they look and how much money is spent out of public funds on their useless appearance and on extensive ministerial buildings. What they were concerned about was their contents. The teachers, with the exception of a few, were colonials and worked for them and trained our youths for them.

You people are in the field of education, but for what type of instruction and what education? Do not deceive yourselves and do not be deceived by the word ‘education’. Those of you who belong to an Islamic society, too, should not deceive yourselves by the word ‘Islamic Society’. You must see what your task is and what it should be in order to perform it in the interest of the country and Islam.

If education is in the interest of the country and Islam, their results would become known to everyone after a few years. Those who oppose the reforming and Islamization of the university and education are the ones who were brought up by foreigners, and fear that with the Islamization of the university they can no longer engage in theft and revelry. The Islamization of university is probable, but one feels ashamed of saying what has been going on in all these centres, offices and ministries.

Those who have been in these places as well as those sent by me to visit these ministries have narrated many things about these centres. If an Islamic society has been set up in each ministry, how is it that so much depravity is allowed to still exist there?

If our system of education were proper, our country would be culturally self-sufficient, and not waste the results of the labours of this long-suffering nation by so much expenditure during all these years, and let the rest of the people be famished.

These centres are machines into which Muslims are thrown to come out as Communists. The product shows us the nature of the machine. These people who were in the government. Senate and Assembly must be examined carefully since they were the products of these very universities and educational organisations. If they were properly educated they would not offer our country in a silver platter to aliens.

Difficulties are plentiful and must be resolved. You must do it yourselves. and not wait for the outside people to remove them. If someone comes from outside, he does not regard your interests. He will train you to be like those in the old regime. You must build up the contents and try to make it a proper system of education and that is possible and useful only when there exists spiritual and moral training and purification in the universities and other centres of learning – both religious and non-religious.

The teachers must be of the type to be able to give the students the necessary ethical training and enable them to purify themselves as they study. A chaste man of learning in every sense of the word can bring an upheaval in a whole society

In my youthful years when I sometimes visited various towns I noticed that the people of some towns were very religious. I was interested to find the reason; I realised that this was due to a priest who had purified himself first before reforming others.

A priest who goes to a community, a locality or a village must first give others moral training before teaching. A university professor must be assisted by a learned priest to give moral training, and remove those who try to divert our youths.

The university and offices must be purged from those who mislead and corrupt our youths. If a teacher tries to have wrong influence on our children with his words, this should be dealt with. Inform the purging officials of those devils who are seen here and there, at the universities and elsewhere. Those of them who insist on diverting our young are our enemies and also enemies of Islam. A minister who has not been able, after several months of I had assuming his position to do anything to purge those who corrupt the young – has neglected his duty and if such people take no step, I will announce them by name.

After coming out of prison one day, Masoor, the then Prime Minister, sent Sadr who was the Minister of Interior to me in a detention house, claiming that he wanted to act differently from the previous government and such talks.

I replied that we were neither the enemy of the previous government, nor on fraternal ties with this one. We must see what you will do.

As I am now under detention there is no point in liberating me, because I will pursue with the same talk after my release.

I am no kith and kin of yours, and I will criticise any wrong action.

Right now I declare to all of you in position that I have no brotherly bond with you, and even if I would warn you to reform yourselves in case of default – each minister must purge his ministry of those whose ideas and actions are diverted as well as those who mislead our youths in thought and action.

I hope that with the grace of God these people will be Islamic. These Islamic societies, too, wherever they are, whether in a ministry, an office, or a factory, must remember to be Islamic themselves, for, if one is diverted, he cannot guide others to the right path, One who, God forbid, is addicted to drinking, cannot check others from it, but rather invites them to it. If you do not reform yourselves in accordance with the name of Islamic society which you have adopted, you cannot ask others to be Islamic.

God Almighty, in sending prophets to guide people, chooses those who have not blundered even once throughout their lives and are wholly innocent. Thus, they can educate, purify and teach people. A person who intends to train a society or an organisation in an Islamic way, must first Islamize himself and his mind to be able to influence others, for, without it, he can do nothing. School teachers who lack education can neither educate nor instruct youths.
Everything begins with the man himself.

When the Prophet appeared on the scene, he was personally perfect. He began with his wife, Khadija and she was converted to Islam. Then Ali, peace be upon him, embraced Islam even though he was very young. Then the Prophet gathered his kith and kin, and presented the subject to them. Some of them agreed, and some did not.

One should begin with oneself. If I am corrupt, my advice to you to do such and such deeds is of no avail. You, too, who have set up Islamic societies or whoever has done so with God’s grace, must remember to begin with that society itself, to be Islamic in every sense. Its morals, opinions and actions must be Islamic and its founder should have been taught the Book and Wisdom, not necessarily to the highest level, but to the extent that the Qur’an enjoins the good and forbids what is inadmissible.

You gentlemen must first reform yourselves, which we hope you will do, and then all of us must reform society. The university which wishes to produce truly learned men, must bring about a reform within itself, and not turn itself into an arena of disputes. Those who are loyal must try to make it a centre needed by our country for education, refinement of character and home of knowledge, not a place leading to corruption.

Many of the things that are imparted under the name of teachings at the university, cause the corruption of our youths. There must be some planning to the extent needed by us and in the interest of our country, and omit what has been to our loss in the past, in order to create a fine and true centre of knowledge. The university must employ people who can educate these individuals.

Our youths are good to begin with, but they are spoilt by teachers. When a child is born he is good by nature, but a corrupt environment should be such that every entrant finds its personnel to be faithful, loyal and serving the country and Islam. In that case he will also be brought up like them.

A wholesome society will produce sound individuals automatically. A good family will bring up good children, unless they enter a community which is corrupt and are thereby corrupted. A child is easily influenced by good or evil, and so an honest society will make him honest, and an evil one turn him wicked.

You gentlemen and those of you engaged in educational work or about to undertake this task, and all those in such institutions both modern and old, must be able to educate and give moral training to students. We need teachers of morals everywhere. The mosques should be centres of proper education, and fortunately most of them are, and those who frequent them should be offered Islamic teachings.

Do not let the mosques remain empty of you. Those who try to keep you away from them and from educational centres are your enemies. The blessed month (of Ramadhan) is near at hand, and in that month education worth should be offered.

In this month, education should be provided for in mosques in every sense and in all its aspects. Let those who say that the Revolution is over now and other matters must not be heeded. They should rather be told that mosques are the source of revolution.

Preserve both the mosques and universities. These two are not contrary to one another. Let the mosques flourish by your visits. You of the Islamic society and educational jobs have a precious task to perform as well as a great responsibility. I hope all of you and the whole nation will follow the path of prosperity and attain happiness, and save the young from the troubles that perverts have created for them.

May God Almighty preserve all of you.

Imam Khomeini’s Message with Pakistani Students

The Text of Imam Khomeini’s discourse at a meeting with Pakistani students on August 31st 1980.

In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful

Although I did not expect you gentlemen to be here today since the doctors as a precaution, have advised me not to make long ‘speeches’ yet I desired to receive you Pakistani students and other gentlemen as well as Iranian teachers. So this is a gathering of teachers and students, that is, two groups who by virtue of their own reform, can reform a whole country, or conversely, God forbid, they may annihilate countries.

The position of both teachers and students who constitute the brains of a nation must receive careful attention, and their duties must be defined so that, God willing, they may follow the way of Islam and humanity, and pass through necessary stages to become good human beings.

All the trouble the prophets have taken and all the labours of saints since the beginning of creation and that are to continue in future as well, have been the first step to help this being, who is called man, become human. The purpose of all the divine books which have been sent to prophets was to impart to this creature, which, if left to himself, would turn into the most dangerous being.

All the Islamic and monotheistic movements have been for this purpose. In Islam, all matters are preliminary to nurturing man, for if he is left to himself, he would annihilate the world. The prophets were sent to check these great evils, these ruinous wars and unjust deeds in various lands, and to guide mankind to the right path to attain perfection. If he is educated properly, all his needs in both worlds will be met, but if he moves contrary to his natural course, the result is destruction. The prophets show the right way, but it is man’s duty to follow it. Therefore this duty is not confined to teachers and students.

The world is a university, and the prophets and saints and their trained followers are its teachers, and all human beings are its students. The whole world must consist of two groups: teachers and students. The duty of teachers is to guide society towards God, and the duty of students is to learn these instruct ions in order to have a proper society.

Everyone should turn to God Almighty and follow His way. Everything, including economy, education, army, gendarmerie, as well as teachers and students should become Godly.

There exist only two ways: the way of God and the way of devil. The way of God must be shown to man and he be guided to it in all its dimensions, whether intellectual, or medium which is fanciful, or action. If all followed the way of God, they will become Godly, and similarly all aspects of man, including his deeds, his ideas, and his behaviour, his ideas and reasoning,

There is this way, or the ways of right and left which are contrary to the straight path. they are ways of diversion leading to the devil. The world of darkness pays no heed to God; it is His light, and His absolute light that must attract the whole world.

Thus there are only two ways; the way of faith and Islam and attention to divine school in which believers are guided by God to become wholly godly, and the other is the way of infidelity which is contrary to monotheism.

The devil is both on the right and left, and this way ends into hell. In this world, too, all evils and wars waged by superpowers are devilish acts.

Wars are of two kinds, wars of the devil, and wars of monotheism. The wars undertaken by the prophets, saints and believers were to rectify the stubbornness of the obstinate, and these were divine wars. But the wars, waged for the sake of position, and power, are devilish and Satanic in nature to coerce societies and to satiate the criminality of superpowers.

There are only these two states in the world, and every human move, whether physical, mental or spiritual, falls within these two limits. They are either straight and Godly, or crooked and inclined to the right and left and, therefore, devilish. The straight path begins here and ends beyond this world into the source of light.

God has favoured us by sending prophets to guide us to His way, leading to happiness and living in tranquillity and with proper education in this world, and to turn us from every direction to divine monotheism in all our movements whether physical, mental or sentimental. The opposite way is satanic, and there are no other ways but these two.

You teachers should follow this way which has been chosen by the prophets, the way of God, the way for all human beings. Those who adhere to other ways are devilish, and those who take you on a way contrary to the natural course are deviating you.

I hope wherever teachers are they will consider all brothers and sisters as their students and guide them along the way chosen by the prophets, and their students will follow the way of prophets.

Greetings to you and God’s blessings and mercy upon you.

Imam Khomeini’s Message with Officials of the Literacy Movement

The Text of Imam Khomeini’s discourse at a meeting with the officials of the Literacy Education Movement on 27th December 1980.

In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful

I thank all of you gentlemen for assembling in this inclement weather in this small place for a discussion and talk. This year sufficient interest was not shown in the Literacy Education Movement by people and adequate means were not provided for it, but I hope it will be amended in the future. Of course, in beginning, every task meets with unforeseen circumstances, and certain needs arise during the process. I hope the people and Government endeavour to execute this vital task.

On this placard you have brought with you, it is written: “If we could turn our pens into machine-guns,” but we hope that man will become mature enough to turn machine-guns into pens. The extent to which pens and speech have served mankind, machine-guns have certainly not. The latter have mostly served superpowers and the cause of human destruction. If Islam has ordered a crusade, it is for the purpose of the defence of justice, and thus it requires military equipment in order to substitute justice and knowledge for machine-guns.

It is the pen, speech and knowledge that can nurture man, not machine-guns and other destructive weapons. Machine-guns and all military weapons were invented through knowledge, but sometimes machine-guns and other so-called “civilised implements” have been made by those who have caused the annihilation of people and things, and sometimes by those who caused human growth and tranquillity. You should try to put aside machine-guns with the use of pens and speech and leave the field to knowledge and science.

As long as man intends to continue his life with the aid of machine-guns, tanks and guns, he cannot be human and attain his human goals. Human beings can attain Islamic and human goals and also perfection of knowledge and science only when pens dominate machine-guns, and man rises so high in his knowledge that he puts guns aside and the field is left to pens and science.

In the holy Qur’an, when the first Verse was revealed to the Holy Prophet, he was at first asked to read, and then the purpose for which reading was ordered was mentioned. The creation of reading, knowledge and science is not by itself desirable, for, many a kind of knowledge may be contrary to humanity and man’s nobility. What is needed is a knowledge whose aim is to serve man and the divine cause, and turn to his godship and His name. Such a reading, knowledge and machine-gun are in the service of mankind.

The goals are the things for which human acts, his invented implements and his science are employed, that is, those objectives for which pens, machine-guns and knowledge have been brought into existence, are used in God’s way and thereby gain value.

The value of a pen lies in the purpose for which it is used; so is that of a machine-gun. If this value is not final, human and Godly, neither a pen nor a machine-gun is of any use. Rather, it should be said that the danger of a pen is greater than that of a machine-gun, and the danger of speech more than that of a tank and gun, and the danger of science greatest of them all.

But if they are in the service of people, at their command and devoted to the divine cause, then all of them will find a value. Then, a machine-gun will be like a pen, and a pen like a machine-gun.

Man should remember that those things which are goals and focus on the education and instruction. If universities lack direction, they will be what they are now in a world which produces destructive forces. But if they have a proper direction, they can achieve what machine-guns cannot, and render services which no one else can offer.

The main thing, as I said before, is the direction that is chosen, for God and God’s creatures.

If pens were used in the world for God and people, machine-guns would be side-lined, but if they are not employed for God and people, they produce machine-guns. All the destructive weapons are produced by those who hold pens and by university scientists. All human progress is through the written and spoken words of learned men.

Try to give direction to the teachings you offer. In the literacy classes for the young and adults, as you teach them reading and writing, at the same time give them direction to read and write for God and to serve God, Islam and people.

Instruction and education should be combined; a human education which benefits man and is for him, with a direction towards God and in His name. In all the classes which are by God’s will, going to be set up throughout the country, you and others who are entrusted with this great task and this devotion, should remember to give direction to the teachers to turn to God and offer their knowledge and devotion to Him.

A knowledge with a direction is considered by God Almighty as a great devotion. No nation has praised knowledge as Islam has. The Qur’an has in many of its verses lauded knowledge, and man of learning, and the need for attention to learning, but spoken very rarely of iron. It speaks of the benefits and firmness of iron. It is of great value if used in the service of people, but is of no value when as you see it being used by superpowers.

As a pen is valuable, so is iron and everything else, depending on the mode of its service to mankind. The value of even prayer depends on the intention with which one prays. Many a people begin their prayer with a hellish intention, and that is when they use it to show off to people. Many an army, many a soldier or guard act for God, and their worth is greater than prayer. Their machine-guns will then have a greater worth than pens.

In giving instructions, you should also pay attention to education in the name of God. Read and hold a pen to educate man who has benefitted from proper pens more than anything else and has suffered more loss than anything else from improper pens. Pens and speeches have association with people’s minds, and if they are for God, they can train Godly minds. But if they are not so, they will produce haughty brains and devilish minds.

I ask the whole Iranian nation to help in this great and vital task. When you go to villages, those illiterate people should welcome you. According to the Prophet, “It is the duty of everyone to seek knowledge, a duty for both men and women”. With knowledge man can gain happiness in this and the next world. By means of teaching, the young may be educated in such a way that they can preserve their interest in both worlds. If our country secures knowledge and culture, and the right direction to apply theory and practice, no power can dominate it.

All our difficulties throughout history has been caused by the exploitation of people’s ignorance. Exploiters used this ignorance to make them act against their own interests. If the people had knowledge coupled with a proper goal. it would have been impossible for the subverters to mobilise the people in a direction contrary to their natural course.

It is knowledge and literacy with a goal that can save the nation from all its difficulties. Those who intend to cause damage to this Islamic movement and have no wish to see Islam established in this country, can only be hindered by knowledge. With the two weapons of knowledge possessing a goal, and an education which is religious, Godly and human, no-one can show you aggression, or bring back despotism But without these two, they will persuade the people to restore the former tyranny, dependence and such matters.

You teachers of literacy education in the whole country should remember that you are rendering the highest service to mankind. And villagers and other illiterate people should know that they must welcome this service heartily. They should not think them­selves to be incapable in this task. Each human being can learn and become human, from the cradle to the grave, from childhood till death. The world must be managed with knowledge possessing the right goal. An old man and woman, too, can be taught, and they should not lose hope. Young and old, villagers and city-dwellers should all help in this significant task on which your civilisation, your Islam, your humanity and everything else depends upon.

I hope that by next year, if I am still alive, I would witness considerable progress in this matter, and if I am not there, you will witness it yourselves.

I pay God for your success and the success of our nation in imbibing knowledge with a goal, and at the same time learning the use of machine-guns and military training, for the sake of world tranquility.

Greetings to you and God’s blessings and mercy upon you.

About Ali Teymoori

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