when i won Islamic Revolution in Iran In 1979, a wide discussion took place about the name of the new regime, whether it would be the “Democratic Republic” or the “Democratic Islamic Republic”, so that the formula “Islamic Republic” would eventually triumph and the term “democracy” would disappear, despite the presence of supporters for it, but the wide influence of Islamists in the street The general and the charismatic personality of the founder of the revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, settled the long-running controversy. Khomeini affirmed, “We are advocates of an Islamic republic. The republic constitutes the structure and template for the Islamic government, and it means that the content of that template are divine laws.”
That is, the “republic” was the general framework for the form of government, while the content would be based on “divine laws”, and the latter would be derived from “Islamic law”, since the majority of Iranians are Muslims.
In this regard, Khomeini said that “since our people are a Muslim people and trust us, in this respect we expect them to vote in favor of our proposal,” adding, “We will establish the Islamic Republic based on a public referendum of the people’s opinions.”
Two months after the victory of the Iranian revolution, a general referendum was held, in which about 98.2% of those entitled to vote participated, and the result was that 99% voted “yes” to establish the “Islamic Republic”, according to official statistics.
Broad support was expected, especially since the enthusiasm was overwhelming among Iranians, a wide audience of whom, with their various Islamic, nationalist and leftist formations, gathered around Ayatollah Khomeini. The latter expressed his joy at the referendum result, saying, “I sincerely congratulate the great Iranian people for what they have achieved…I declare On this blessed day, the day of the nation’s leadership and the day of conquest and victory for the people, I declare the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
A picture of Khomeini at a demonstration in Tehran in December 1978
Proponents of “democracy” wanted to have a modern system similar to what exists in European countries, based on “people’s governance”, which is the source of power. However, the influence of the clergy opposed this, and he considered that the source of authority is “Islam”, and that the people’s role is to support the regime and identify the personalities who work to implement the “constitution” and supervise the enforcement of laws that are derived from the “Islamism” of the new government.
Opponents of democracy
Opponents of adding the term “democracy” were invoking two things: the first, the contradiction between the values of democracy and Islamic values, and therefore there is no room for a balance between the two concepts, and one must be chosen, since the majority of the people are Muslims, and the leader of the revolution is a diligent religious scholar. It is inevitable to choose the “Islamic” curriculum.
The second matter is the claim that the “republic” is the structure that will guarantee “public freedoms,” guarantee popular participation, and give citizens powers through state institutions and the “Islamic Consultative Assembly,” especially since Khomeini at the beginning emphasized that “election is in the hands of the people, and the type of republic is The same republican concept is circulating everywhere.” However, he also clearly stressed that “this republic is based on a constitution that is the law of Islam.”
Therefore, the “Islamism” of the system has become the main constraint for any future change, as laws and policies must be compatible with “Islam,” which here is just a human reading of religion. The jurists who came with the revolution will have the upper hand in determining what this reading is, whether through The Guardian Council” or even other councils that have wide influence in it, such as the “Council of Experts” and the “Expediency Council.”
The Islamic Consultative Assembly, which is supposed to be the parliament of the people and expresses its opinion, is also its systems and laws that it enacts that are governed by the “Islamism” of political and legislative life in Iran, and it can be repealed if it contradicts “Sharia” or is found to undermine one of the pillars of the Islamic regime. Or lose it!
The Islamic Consultative Assembly or the Iranian parliament (archive)
Acceptability of the people
This control of “the authority of the clergy” prompted individuals from within the regime to try to present a different perception of the prevailing hard-line idea, among them former President Muhammad Khatami, who expressed a contemporary vision of modern forms of government that he believes are the best in Iran. His view is that the “acceptability of the people” is the basis, and therefore requires the people’s approval of the content of any system of government, and it is not permissible to impose any specific style, even if it is based on “Islam” if the people do not agree with it, and that there is no legitimacy for any system unless Citizens agree to it.
Khatami went even further, considering that even the Imamate of the twelve imams among Shiite Muslims, the family of the Prophet Muhammad depended on the acceptance of the people and the extent of their approval, and that they did not impose themselves on the mass of Muslims, but considered the people’s acceptance of them as a basis in their dealings.
This view was widely supported by the “reformist current” in Iran, as well as by prominent philosophical figures and thinkers, such as: Abd al-Karim Soroush, Mustafa Melkian, and Mujtahid Shabestari, where the latter worked to develop his theory, which believes that the best environment for a believer to practice in it. His belief is free democratic societies.
Despite the growing debate, even among circles within the seminary, which pushed for giving the people more space than that specified by the constitution, for example, the writings and lectures of Sheikh Mohsen Kadivar, and even the policies of former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani, but the “solid revolutionary core” remained coherent, and it seems that it We have increased the ability of the joints of the state After Ibrahim Raisi won the presidential elections last in Iran.
Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjay (archive)
“A master access is meant to be the end point of endeavors And the efforts made by the regime and its deep state to unify the decision-making centers in its grip, and that the diversities that occurred over the past three decades in the position of the presidency and the legislative authority were the results of circumstances and conditions that prevented a quick transition to the final result, and required from the regime forces redoubled efforts in confronting the political and social uprisings Which took various titles from secular, liberal or leftist to reformist or moderate, thus removing it from the circle of political and social influence in favor of strengthening the path towards establishing an authority with a religious dimension that adopts democratic mechanisms,” according to researcher Hassan Fahs, in an article titled “The Iranian President.. Multiple faces and a ruler’s guide, published by “Independent Arabia” on June 20.
In his article, he examined the philosophical and jurisprudential root on which the “hardline current” relies in its vision of the mechanism of governance, and in that, although it was characterized as an electoral form for citizens to play a role through voting processes, in reality, he believed that the real authorities are in the hands of the “guardian al-faqih”, and he The mujtahid who was chosen by God, being an extension of the mandate of the infallible Imam, and therefore, the role of “election” is merely to “reveal” the divine will, and not to give legitimacy to the position of “guardian al-faqih” who derives his legitimacy from his association on behalf of Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Mahdi, the awaited Mahdi.
The godfather of this vision is the late Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, an Islamic jurist and philosopher, a supporter of the theory of “guardianship of the jurist”, and considered the “spiritual father” of the “Samoud Front”, one of its symbols was former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, before he turned against him.
Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi (archive)
Hasan Fahs, and in his previous article, referred to Yazdi’s point of view, saying that “the election process (comes) in the context in which the spiritual leader of the idea of Islamic government, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, defined the function of the electoral process and the ballot box by revealing the person who falls in the circle of kindness He is considered a representative of the will of the Supreme Leader, the Wali al-Faqih, and the Guardian of the Muslims.
Hence, it is understandable why the figures of the “hardline current” are indifference to the low turnout in the recent Iranian presidential elections, as they see that the organization of their ranks, the unification of their front, and making all institutions within the will of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is more important than listening to the voice of the people, because The criterion is to apply “God’s judgment” and not to satisfy the desires of people who are far from infallible and may fall into error and be manipulated by the media, according to the hardliners.
So, after about 42 years of a massive popular revolution in Iran, its audience believed that they would have the upper hand, here is the “republic” eroding day after day, after “democracy” was rejected from the first sight, while “Islamism” is intended to be rooted, even if This was the opposite of the movement of history and the will of a wide audience of Iranians!