Ayatollah Mustafa Khomeini Had a Courageous and Comprehensive Personality: Ayatollah Khamenei

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on October 22, 2017 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the officials of the Ayatollah Mustafa Khomeini Commemoration Congress.


In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad and upon his pure household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth

I sincerely thank the dear brothers who thought of commemorating and reviving the memory of that dear personality and describing the characteristics of that valuable and great man. This is showing respect to both Imam and to that personality himself.

The late Hajj Agha Mustafa (may Allah the Exalted bestow paradise on him) shone brightly in two areas. One was in the beginning of the movement – on the 15th of Khordad – and another was in the beginning of the public movement of the people. In the former event, he actually channeled that great movement by going to the courtyard of Hazrat Masoumah's holy shrine and sitting there in protest. And in the latter event, with his demise and his loss, he inspired the people's feelings and emotions in their oceanic movement. During the first event, I was not in Qom, rather I was in prison in those days. However, in that event, Hajj Agha Mustafa (God's paradise be upon him) showed that he was the second version of Imam in terms of personality traits and characteristics. He really showed this in that event.

In that astonishing event – the attack of taghuti agents and the events that followed in Tehran and Qom – he went and sat in the courtyard of that holy shrine. According to the news that we received later on, a number of revolutionary fighters and courageous youth of Qom – personalities like the late Hajj Mirza Abul-Qassem Vakili and other such personalities – gathered around him and they guided the people. And in that night, Imam (God's paradise be upon him) was arrested. This occurred after Ashura. Well, this was a great task. It was a very important course of action. Later on, he himself was arrested and transferred to Qezel Qal'a Prison.

Well, in the latter event too, the mysterious demise of Hajj Agha Mustafa shocked his friends. When people like us heard the news of his demise in Mashhad, we felt thunderstruck.  We felt like this because of the loss of such an individual – who was a dear and valuable personality – and because we were worried about what would happen to Imam who had lost that young man. Nonetheless, we could not imagine that this event – which was of course a heavy loss for his friends - would create such torrents and waves, but it did so. When Imam said that this was a veiled divine kindness bestowed by God, this was really the case. It really requires greatness on the part of a father to look at this loss from this perspective, not from the perspective of a disaster and a personal crisis.

The late Hajj Agha Mustafa was an outstanding personality. Of course, I did not see him anymore when he went to Turkey first and later on to Najaf in the last years of his life. I only received some news about him. However, when we were both in Qom, I knew him up close. First of all, he was a unique personality in terms of scholarly talent. He really enjoyed extraordinary talent and as Mr. Reshad pointed out – which is completely correct – he truly benefitted from a curious mind. And he was a well-educated person despite the fact that he was interested in ga'dah [gathering together and engaging in a friendly chat]. Of course, we did not see this, but they said that he sometimes spent two hours in ga'dahs. However, when he went home and engaged in studying, he would be ahead of all his classmates. He was more knowledgeable and well-informed than all of them. So, he was an outstanding person in terms of knowledge and talent.

The same is true of his scholarly courage. He was a courageous person. I will never forget the criticisms that he used to make in Imam's classes. He used to criticize Imam in his usul class. He used to sit at the back and argue! The behavior of the father and the son towards each other was spectacular. He used to criticize Imam. Whenever he wanted to do so, he would raise his head – he would sit in a way that he would be clearly seen. He was tall and he stood out among others. So, he would argue at Imam. Imam too used to argue in his classes. He used to argue many times particularly with those who used to persist in their criticisms. Imam too would bellow his son and there would be an argument.

These are really beautiful scenes. If we look at Islamic seminaries, we see that when seminary traditions are in the hands of competent and outstanding personalities, the results will turn out to be excellent. Imam himself was a creator and destroyer of structures in usul. He would not rely on the ideas of other personalities. He himself created foundations. One of the faqihs and masters in usul is our magnanimous Imam. He was like other great personalities such as the late Akhund [Khorasani], the late Naini and the like. He was not just a Mullah who was teaching usul so much so that everyone could criticize him. But that youth used to criticize him!

At that time – in the years 1338, 1339, 1340 – perhaps Hajj Agha Mustafa was not older than 31, 32, but he was like this. He had great scholarly courage. This is evident in the books that he has written – the ones that have been collected with the efforts of Mr. Sajjadi. This is completely clear in his books.

Imam had laid down an important principle in usul, namely "the legal discourses". He considered shar'i discourses as legal discourses. This is a very important principle which has influenced several usuli discussions. Imam thought of this principle and expressed it in his usul with detailed explanations. He spoke about this principle in several books including in the main one and with numerous introductions. Perhaps, he prepared six, seven introductory parts for that. Later on, Hajj Agha Mustafa engaged in discussing this principle. At first, he begins to praise it because it was really praiseworthy. That principle was really a praiseworthy one. He highly praises the principle, explains it in detail and says that it is a wonderful idea – he was right, because Imam's thought and idea was really a wonderful one – and after that, he engages in criticizing each and every introduction that Imam had prepared.

He said that such and such introductions were not necessary and relevant at all, thus rejecting all those introductions one by one. Of course, later on, he substantiated the principle, not rejecting it. This is because the principle could not really be rejected. Imam's usuli principle was firm although it had many opponents.

What I mean by these statements is that the late Hajj Agha Mustafa was like this. He was talented, experienced and courageous in terms of scholarly knowledge. Once, I came across a writing – I do not remember where and how many years ago that writing was published – saying that whenever he attended the classes of well-known ulama and teachers in Najaf, he levelled criticisms at each of them on noteworthy issues. The gentlemen in the meeting have taken the trouble to gather all these writings. He was such a personality. These statements were about his scholarly and intellectual personality.

In terms of pragmatism, Hajj Agha Mustafa was really an outstanding individual as well. This is important. He was the son of a person like Imam Khomeini. Well, Imam was well-known in Qom both before and during his position as a marja taqlid. However, there was no sign of arrogance in Hajj Agha Mustafa as a result of being the son of such a person. Once, Imam organized a rowza during Fatimiyyah days of mourning. Even in Imam's house and rowza, one would not see Hajj Agha Mustafa trying to attach himself to Imam despite the fact that he really loved Imam – later on, I will explain this. He was really one of those sons who love their father. He really loved Imam, but he would not make one move to show off his position as Imam's son.

Later on in the year 1341 – when revolutionary activities began – there were many comings and goings to Imam's house and every day, we used to see Hajj Agha Mustafa sit at the door. A person who was not usually seen in such places showed his presence every day when revolutionary activities began in the year 1341 – this occurred on the issue of the councils. In other words, he had a revolutionary outlook.

In terms of adopting a simple lifestyle too, the late Hajj Agha Mustafa lived an ascetic life in the true sense of the word. He really turned his back on material pleasures in terms of his clothing, behavior, food and attendance to family affairs. This is related to the time when I saw him up close. I do not have ample information about the part of his life in Najaf. He had also become oriented towards mysticism before revolutionary activities began. He engaged in dhikr and presence [from a mystic perspective] and the like. This is another side of his personality.

Another side of Hajj Agha Mustafa's personality is courage. When Imam said that he was the main hope for the future of Islam, this was because of his comprehensive character in terms of knowledgeability, piety and self-edification, and courage. A person who wants to become the reference point for people's affairs should have courage. Such a person should understand the issues of society perfectly and he should be able to act when necessary. Hajj Agha Mustafa (may Allah the Exalted bestow paradise on him) was really like this. He was an outstanding personality in every sense of the word.

You did a very good job by working on his works and his philosophy. Of course, many of his works were left unfinished. This includes his tafsir and other such works, all of which are in parts and pieces. Perhaps, the most comprehensive one was his usul. He also has writings in fiqh, tafsir and even ulum-e gharibe. In his tafsir, he had some gharibe discussions and the like. He had ideas on all these matters.

In my opinion, working on his scholarly comprehensiveness is very good. I have looked at and reviewed the lists that you have prepared on the works for which a number of articles have been written. It is a complete list. If you can write one or several good articles for all these matters, it will really be good. It is really worth carrying out such a task. Allah the Exalted turned that man into an instrument for showing part of Imam's (God's paradise be upon him) personality. In cultivating that youth – his success in cultivating him like that – and in showing patience and endurance when he passed away, he really showed an identity which was unknown before that. These two points showed Imam's greatness. I hope that God will raise his position, God willing.

He – the late Hajj Agha Mustafa – was deeply interested in Imam. He was extremely interested in him. I myself saw this in Qom. This had occurred in Najaf as well and it was narrated to me later on. He was so sensitive about preserving Imam's reputation that he would become impatient and would react angrily and strongly if someone wanted to question Imam's personality in the slightest way. As I mentioned, I myself witnessed an example of this up close in Qom. And they narrated another example for me during the time when he was in Najaf.

In any case, I hope that God will raise his position, God willing. I hope that He will raise his position and help us get a better understanding of such great personalities. I hope that God will bestow on you the capability to carry out this task in the best way possible.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings




  • Ayatollah Mustafa Khomeini
  • Imam Khomeini