Imam Khomeini: Family Life

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SHAFAQNA- Observance of the Rights of the Wife
The Imam always offered me the better place in the room. He would not start eating until I came to the dinner table. He would also tell the children: ‘Wait until Khanom comes.’ He maintained respect for me and was not even willing that I should work in the house. He would always tell me: ‘Don’t sweep.’ If I wanted to wash the children’s clothes at the pond, he would come and say: “Get up, you shouldn’t be washing.”

On the whole, I have to say that Imam did not consider sweeping, washing dishes and even washing my children’s clothes as part of my responsibilities. If out of necessity I sometimes did these, he would get upset considering them as a type of unjust dealing towards me.

Even when I entered the room, he would never say: ‘Close the door behind you,’ but waited till I sat down and then would himself get up and shut the door.

The Imam’s Wife

60 Years of Living Together and not One Request for a Glass of Water
The Imam had extraordinary respect for his wife. For example, I am not lying if I say that in the period of 60 years of living together, he did not even reach for food (on the dinner table) before his wife, nor did he have even the smallest expectation from her. I can even say that in the period of 60 years of living together, at no time did he even ask for a glass of water, but would always get it himself. If he was in such a position that he could not, he would say: ‘Is the water not here?’ He would never say: ‘Get up and bring me water.’ He behaved this way not only with his wife but also with all of us who were his daughters. If he ever wanted water we would all enthusiastically run to get it, but he never wanted us to bring and give him a glass of water in his hand.

During the difficult last days of his life, each time he would open his eyes, if he was capable of speaking, he would ask: ‘How is Khanom?’ We would reply: ‘She is good. Shall we tell her to come to you?’ He would answer: ‘No, her back is hurting. Let her rest.’

Siddiqa Mustafavi (Imam’s daughter)

Blessed I Am that I have Such a Wife
The Imam was very attached to his wife and had special respect for her, so much so that he placed his wife on one side, and his children on the other.

I remember that once, the Imam’s wife had gone on a journey, and the Imam was missing her very much. When he would frown, we would jokingly say to him: ‘When Khanom is here, Imam laughs, and when she is not here, the Imam is upset and frowns.’

In short, however much we teased Imam, he would not stop frowning. Finally I said: ‘Blessed is Khanom that you like her so much.’ He said: ‘Blessed am I that I have such a wife. No one else has sacrificed as much in life as she has. If you too would be like Khanom, your husband would also like you this much.’

Siddiqa Mustafavi (Imam’s daughter)

He Would Never Pass his Work to Anyone Else
As far as possible, Imam was particular that he should not impose his work on others, but rather carry it out himself. In Najaf, it sometimes happened that from the roof, the Imam would notice that the kitchen or bathroom light was left on.

In these cases, he would not tell his wife or anybody else who was also on the roof to go and switch off the light. Rather, he would himself make his way down three flights of stairs in the darkness, switch off the light and return.

Occasionally, he would also want a pen or paper that was upstairs. In this circumstance too, he would not tell anyone, not even his loved ones the children of Martyr Marhum Hajj Sayyid Mustafa (Imam’s son), to bring them for him. He would himself get up and go up the stairs to get what he needed and return.

Hujjatul Islam Sayyid Hamid Ruhani

Why is Hassan Disheveled Like This?
The Imam acted exactly according to all the instructions that he gave from the start, and in actuality, was an embodiment of those very instructions. He himself was the book ‘Forty Hadith’ that he had written in his youth. Suppose he spoke about riya (performing any action for the purpose of other than the pleasure of Allah) and reproached it, he himself would stay away from it with intensity.

I remember one day my son entered the house wearing trousers which I had patched up at one knee. Imam asked: “Why is Hassan disheveled like this?” I jokingly replied: “It’s the life of poor people, Agha.”

Immediately, his face became drawn, and he said: “You don’t want to do riya.” I said: “No, why riya?” He said: “Be careful. Not paying attention to outward physical appearances has value. However, if you want to show (people) that I am such and such, it is riya.”

Imam said this sentence to me with the same intensity with which he had, at the age of 30 years, written in his book!

Fatema Tabatabai (Imam’s daughter-in-law)

I Have Come to Wash the Dishes
One day, as it so happened, there were many guests at the Imam’s house. After the meal, I collected the dishes and took them to the kitchen. Along with Zahra, the daughter of Agha Ishraqi, we prepared to wash the dishes. However we saw that the Imam himself had immediately come to the kitchen.

I asked Zahra: “Why has Hajj Agha come to the kitchen?” I had a right to be surprised because it wasn’t time to perform wudu. Imam rolled up his sleeves and said: “Because there are many dishes today, I have come to help you.” My body started to tremble. My Lord! What am I seeing! I said to Zahra: “I swear by you to Allah, please request the Imam to leave. We will wash the dishes ourselves.” This was really unexpected for me.

Marzieh Hadide Chi (Dabagh)

A Piece of Advice to Solve Family Issues
One of the Imam’s daughters narrates: “At the start of my marriage, I went to Hajj Agha so that he could give me some advice. He said: “If your husband is upset, or if he says something to you for whatever reason, or acts badly, at that time don’t say anything, even if you are in the right. Leave it until he has calmed down, and then say what you have to.” He also gave the exact same advice to my husband.
In the beginning I didn’t give this advice much importance. Later upon reflection, I saw that indeed the root of many of the family disputes came back to this very issue. Therefore, from then on, every time somebody has wanted advice about family issues, I have given them this very same advice of the Imam.

Hujjatul Islam Muhammad Hassan Murtadhavi Langarudi

Utmost Respect for Children
The Imam really liked young children. He had such an attachment to them that he said:

“In Najaf, when we would return from the shrine, I used to like the children very much despite their rough appearance.” The children would follow the Imam until he reached home.

The Imam used to tell my daughter who used to complain about the mischievousness of her child: “I am ready to exchange the reward that you get by bearing the mischievousness of Husayn, with the reward of my worship.” He believed that children should be free until they became older, and then limits should be set for them.

On the subject of raising children, he used to say: “Be truthful with your children so that they too are truthful. The role-models of children are their fathers and mothers. If you behave correctly with your children, they will be brought up correctly. Whatever you tell your children, act on that.”

Farida Mustafavi (Imam’s daughter)


*Derived from al-islam.org, Rays of the Sun

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