Human Rights from the Viewpoint of Imam Khomeini
We belong to an age when criminals receive appreciation and vindication instead of punishment. We are living in an era when the so-called human rights organizations have become watchdogs for the brutal interests of international criminals, defenders of their cruelty, and their accomplices.
Various schools of thought in contemporary history claim to be supporters of humankind’s success and prosperity. We know about several schools with certain worldviews and inclinations, which claim to have presented systems that are consistent with the needs of human beings. They claim to satisfy the significant economic, cultural, and political aspects of human life and contribute to human beings’ intellectual growth and development.
Islam is the most prominent among these schools of thought since it is founded on divine teaching and man’s innate nature and takes into consideration the theoretical and practical aspects of human life. Islam’s worldviews and visions are based on descriptions of the realities of the universe. Islam has organized its legal, economic, and political systems on the foundations of divine principles and values. It is clear that each of the principles is not only associated with the Islamic legal framework but also relies on the Islamic system of thoughts and its worldviews.
In the contemporary age, Islamic teachings have been exemplified in the personality of the contemporary influential revivalist, Imam Khomeini. All perspectives of the Islamic system have been manifested in his personality and he can be considered a role model for Islamic and ethical values.
We can pursue the late Imam’s thoughts on very complicated concepts such as nation, democracy, political parties, and international organizations in his thoughts and works. Imam Khomeini’s approach to these concepts has not been narrow or one-sided, and rather his vision of human rights and other notions was quite broad and conclusive.
For example, Imam (RA) shed light on human rights by taking into account an all-inclusive legal system, that values a variety of perspectives. He also issued his precise judgments and underlines shortcomings, weak points, existing contradictions, and controversies surrounding the legality or illegality of respective theories about these concepts.
Imam (RA) believed that the international system of human rights has not been founded on a divine and firm worldview. He also called into question the qualifications of those who have constituted to these laws and regulations. He went on to say that, those people responsible for such legislations were ignorant about the sources of divine revelation, unaware of the universe, mankind, and societies, and finally they were not immune to self-interests and selfishness.
The great Imam (RA) maintained that those who are subject to faults and forgetful about divine knowledge and epistemology cannot be qualified for the compilation of human rights and laws.
According to him, the concept of human rights earns validity as a sovereign and independent system to some extent if it is based on the following fundamentals:
1) If the human rights system is based on deep human intellect and epistemological foundations, then the human intellect can be able to distinguish between some merits and demerits.
2) Imam (RA) also validated those parts of the existing human rights charter, which are consistent with the teachings of the holy prophets and divine revelations and religions, particularly Islam.
As a result, Imam (RA) noted that the clauses and articles of the existing human rights declaration could be beneficial only if they are consistent with the divine teachings. He further added that there should be assurances in place that could guarantee the pure beliefs and traditions of nations are being respected.
Imam Khomeini (RA) emphasized that while designers of and signatories to the human rights declaration are obliged to be respecting it’s all contents and articles they have failed to do so and that has resulted in an outcry on the part of the oppressed nations. The uproar and protests by the oppressed in this regard have exposed the real face of the so-called supporters of human rights.
The Imam (RA) had said in the pre-Islamic Revolution era:
“If the Western powers are real supporters of human rights, then they should side with the Iranian people and abandon the illegal Shah-led regime. The West should never support such a government, which resorts to force and killing of civilians.”
In several speeches of his, the late Imam Khomeini (RA) had referred to human rights declaration and addressed the so-called supporters of human rights as follows:
“This nation and every other nation have the right to self-determination. This is included in human rights charters, and our nation has also stood for this cause of taking their destiny into their own hands.”
Elsewhere the Imam (RA) had said:
“The freedom of speech, free and fair elections, freedoms of press and media are part of the basic human rights. The United States is not aware that we have absolute and advanced press and media freedom.”
Imam (RA) believed that the so-called supporters of human rights groups use the rights as a slogan and tool to plunder the wealth of oppressed nations and to protect the interests of superpowers. These so-called supporters are also after fulfilling their own greedy group interests and intend to maintain their dominance over the oppressed and continue to suck the blood of oppressed nations.
Imam Khomeini (RA) had a positive approach to the issue of human rights and supported such a declaration that could help expand man’s horizons and facilitate his understanding of the creator and divine revelations. He, therefore, maintained that the legislators of human rights should have deep knowledge of various legislative systems, religious and divine creeds, the links between the origins of the universe and the life hereafter, and the real origins of the creation and universe. He insisted that the faithful and truthful followers of divine teachings should run and execute the human rights institutions.
He, thus, said:
“Only such governments can claim to be supporter of human rights that are founded on divine and religious fundamentals. This is an essential requirement. If factors such as God, piety, and sense of responsibility are missing, then humankind will be led to anarchy and destruction.”
By: Institute for the Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s Works