Ayatollah Khamenei's debate on clerics who oppose political roles of women

I admit that our magnanimous Imam [Khomeini] was the first person who understood the roles of all people in society—including women. There were many other things that he understood that we failed to understand — such as important roles of our people. He understood the importance of various roles that the people had to offer, and this was at a time when nobody else could comprehend their importance. 
There were certain luminaries who used to tell us, "Do you really think it’s possible to make such great achievements by relying on the people?" They were so condescending, it sounded as if they were not speaking about humans. Imam Khomeini (r.a.) was different: he appreciated the abilities of the people. He discovered the potential within the people, and he called on them to take action. He became an influential figure, because he was sincere, and because his words were flowing from his enlightened and pure heart; therefore, everybody stepped into the arena. When it was time to establish a committee, people from different social backgrounds signed up for that committee: students signed up, University professors signed up, seminarians signed up, high-level religious scholars and ordinary people signed up. They all came and signed up for the committee. When it was time for the war, everybody went to the battlefield on Imam Khomeini's command. Towards the end of his life, when Imam Khomeini said, “everybody had to play a role in constructing the country,” everybody entered that arena. The effect of his pioneering actions have continued into the present era. I believe, even today, whatever progress we make is because of Imam Khomeini. The people moved forward and their motivation is being passed on, from generation to generation.
Imam Khomeini (r.a.) had the same attitude towards women: he understood the importance within each role that women could play. On the other hand, there were certain luminaries, among our religious scholars, who had to be convinced whether it was necessary to let women take part in demonstrations. They used to say that women should not take part in the demonstrations. Imam Khomeini's thoughts and determination were shaped into a firm pillar, which people relied upon in order to stand up against such views: views that were historically presented by important centers. God bless his soul until the end of time.

In any case, the role of women is a unique role. It is necessary to preserve this role because it has a future. The Revolution is only thirty two years old: a human being is considered young at the age of thirty two, let alone a revolution. This divine system must persist hundreds of years from now, as it is very new. Our women must stay present on the national scene: this is necessary for our future. Therefore, we must make great efforts regarding women's issues, trying to preserve the potential that exists in our society in this regard. This is the first reason that explains why it is necessary to discuss more on women's issues.

Jan 4, 2012


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