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Question Answer

Question:  This chador, is it right that these women hide themselves under a chador?  These women took part in the revolution, they gave lives, they were imprisoned, [and] they fought.  This chador is an old custom, the world has changed, is it right that they should have to hide themselves in this way?


Reply:  First of all, this is something that is their choice, and they have chosen it for themselves.  What right do you have to deprive them of their choice?  If we tell the people to come out and demonstrate their approval for Islamic dress, whether the chador or some other form, out of our population of 35 million, 33 million would come out.  What right do you have to stop them?  What kind of dictatorship is this you want to impose on the women?  Secondly, we do not say a woman has to wear a specific type of dress, particularly in cases of women your age[1][2] there are no specifications.  We are concerned mainly with the younger women who when they make up and dress up draw hordes of young men after them.  It is these women we are stopping.  They don’t need your sympathy. (150)


12 September 1979  (21 Shahrivar 1358 AHS)



Imam Khomeini, the Leader of the Revolution and Founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in reply to a question about the attacks by a number of ignorant and possibly anti-revolutionary elements on women not properly observing the Islamic dress code, issued this edict: 


It is possible that the attacks on women in the streets, alleys and market places are being carried out by perverse elements opposed to the revolution.  No one has the right to perpetrate such an attack and this kind of behaviour is unlawful (haram) for Muslims.  The police and revolutionary committees must prevent such incidents. (151)


4 July 1980  (13 Tir 1359 AHS)



Whereas under the former regime one’s consequence and standing were measured by obnoxious make-up, by what one wore and in what kind of house one lived, the values found today in Islamic countries, particularly in Iran, are human, moral values.  These values have come about because of the change that has taken place in the ladies.  Those who once liked to show off amongst the female community with their costly clothes and pernicious make-up are now condemned and stand shamefaced.  In those days, our Muslim ladies were embarrassed wearing Islamic dress, and the deprived classes who observed the Islamic dress code felt ashamed of the way they dressed before the affluent, but corrupt, classes.  Today the opposite is true, and now one of those people who once put on such corrupt displays of make-up and dress would be ashamed in your midst. (152)


16 March 1981  (25 Isfand 1359 AHS)



You must remember that the veil, which Islam has prescribed for you is to protect your status.  Whatever God has decreed for man or for woman is to keep alive the true values they possess, values that may be destroyed by the devil’s insinuations or at the corrupt hands of imperialism and its agents.


12 March 1985  (21 Isfand 1363 AHS)



Questions put to Imam about television programmes by the managing director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) organisation and member of the IRIB’s supervisory board:


1.  On the airing of TV programmes in which the woman’s role requires her not to observe fully the rules of the Islamic dress code concerning the face, neck and hair.


2.  On the airing of sports programmes such as wrestling and football in which some parts of the sportsmen’s bodies are uncovered.


3.  On watching such programmes when broadcast on TV.


Reply:  There is no problem from the point of view of the shari‘a to watching these kinds of films and plays, indeed many of them are educational and it is perfectly permissible to broadcast them.  The same goes for sports programmes and music, most of them present no problem.  On rare occasions transgressions do occur and greater care must be taken to avoid them.  Two points, however, must be heeded.  Firstly, the person who does the actor’s make-up must be mahram[2][3] for the person being made up.  It is forbidden for anyone else to perform this task.  Secondly, people watching the programmes mentioned above must not do so in a lustful manner. (154)


21 December 1987  (30 Azar 1366 AHS)



Most probably the struggle against the wearing of the veil by Muslim women in educational institutions is a perverse attempt to undermine this great manifestation of the Islamic world’s defence of the Most Noble Messenger, peace be upon him and his descendants.  The issue is one which vexes the Islamic nations:  why in the so-called free world forcing women and girls to remove their veils is considered pure democracy, yet when we simply state that anyone who insults the Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him and his descendants, should be sentenced to death, and the council of Islamic jurists issues an edict to this effect, this is considered undemocratic!  Why does the world sit back and remain silent in the face of people who do not allow Muslim girls who have chosen to wear Islamic dress into universities to attend classes or teach?  Is it not that the interpretation of freedom and how it is used lies in the hands of people who are opposed to the fundamentals of a freedom which is sacrosanct.  Today God has made us responsible, we must not be negligent.  Today, we must struggle against apathy, inaction and silence and the enthusiasm and momentum of the revolution must be maintained. (155)


22 March 1989  (2 Farvardin 1368 AHS)


Defence of Islam and the Islamic country, incumbent on women



Question:  What is the duty of Muslim women in the battle of truth against falsehood?


Reply:  Jihad is not incumbent on women, but defence is incumbent on everyone in line with their ability and means.


Istifta’at Vol. 1, p. 503



Dear sisters and brothers, in whatever country you may live, defend your Islamic and national honour!  Defend fearlessly and unhesitatingly the peoples and countries of Islam against their enemies:  America, international Zionism, and all the superpowers of East and West.  Loudly proclaim the crimes of the enemies of Islam. (343)


29 September 1979  (7 Mehr 1358 AHS)



If, God forbid, an attack is made on an Islamic country, then all the people, women as well as men, must take action.  Defence is not a duty confined to men or something that pertains exclusively to one group, everyone must defend their country. (344)


27 December 1979  (6 Dey 1358 AHS)



I ask the brothers and sisters of Kurdistan to stand together in a fraternal manner with the rest of their Muslim brothers and defend their country. (345)


1 April 1980  (12 Farvardin 1359 AHS)



Now that we are confronting the world’s major powers and are on the defensive, defending the things that our movement, our uprising has brought for us, defending Islamic objectives, our Islamic country and everything to do with Islam and the country, the mobilisation must be a general one.  Jihad is one matter and defence another.  Jihad has particular conditions attached to it, only certain people or groups can take part, whereas defence is for everyone, men, women, young and old alike.  Just as reason dictates that if someone forces their way into another person’s home, the people of that house will defend themselves, or if a city is attacked the inhabitants of that city will defend themselves in order to protect their lives and property, so too there are no conditions attached to the defence of one’s country.  If our country, our Islamic country, is attacked and invaded, then it is the duty of everyone living there, women and men, young and old, to help defend it.  So defence is different from jihad, it has no conditions attached, everyone must take part; even the old man who is not able to do much must defend his country to the extent that he is able. (346)


15 April 1980  (26 Farvardin 1359 AHS)



My brothers!  My sisters!  We are in a situation that we must handle wisely.  We are faced with one superpower in the West and one in the East, both of whom want to swallow us up.  But by the will of God the Blessed and Exalted, and through the determination of the devout brothers and sisters of Iran, we are standing against them both with the utmost resolve.  Indeed, we will not allow any power to threaten us and try to take control of our destiny.  Do not fear big powers, for you are under God’s protection and all powers are transient before that of God the Blessed and Exalted. (347)


17 May 1980  (27 Urdibihisht 1359 AHS)



The men and women of this country are all guards of Islam.  It is a matter of faith, not of material gain; they are not seeking to gain something so that when they fail to do so they give up trying.  No, this is a matter of faith, it is a matter of defending Islam, and this must be carried out until the last person left standing.  In other words, if necessary a population of 35 million must perish and then there will be no country left for a coup d’état to take place. Of course, a coup d’état is something that will never happen, those who think it possible are mistaken, they don’t understand. (348)


12 July 1980  (21 Tir 1359 AHS)



Oh brave tribes of the Tigris and the Euphrates!  Oh fighters and warriors!  Rise up and defend Islam, protect the Qur’an and its decrees, for defending Islam and the Most Noble Qur’an is a duty incumbent on all Muslims, women and men alike. (349)


4 October 1980  (12 Mehr 1359 AHS)



We have a duty to safeguard this Islam, which has been handed down to us, until, God forbid, the last person left standing.  Everyone, women, men, young and old, has a duty to protect Islam, to defend the nation and defend their Islamic country to the last.  Defence is a matter that concerns all, it is incumbent on all, whoever is able to defend his or her Islamic country must do so to the best of his or her ability. (350)


18 August 1981  (27 Murdad 1360 AHS)



When an Islamic country is threatened by enemies of Islam, it is incumbent on us all to strive to the best of our ability to defend that country and the honour of the Muslims.  When we found ourselves in such a situation, you all, all the men and women of our country, praise God, proved yourselves ready to handle it, so you should not be intimidated by talk of a group coming from Paris or somewhere else to do whatever.  They made one attempt by setting Saddam loose to attack Iran, and what a slap in the face he was dealt! (351)


18 August 1981  (27 Murdad 1360 AHS)



And I hope you will accept and perform those duties you are obliged to carry out, which are to strive both in the area of education, which is an important matter, and in the defence of Islam.  These are among the important tasks the performance of which is incumbent on every man and woman, on the young and old alike.

Defending Islam, defending the Islamic country, is an indisputable duty of the clerics, of those whose lives are Islam and who are Muslim.  That which is disputable is women’s role in the lesser jihad.[3][1]  It is not incumbent on women to take part in this jihad.  However, defending oneself, one’s country, one’s life, one’s property and defending Islam is the duty of us all. (352)


2 March 1985  (11 Isfand 1364)



You ladies must bear in mind that just as it is necessary for the men at the fronts to push forward and spearhead the battle, so too it is necessary for you to help on the home front and to prepare yourselves so that if, God forbid, there comes a time when national defence is obligatory for everyone, for every able-bodied person without exception, you are ready to fulfil this obligation.  Education is, of course, also a bastion, a bastion of the Islamic culture.  You know that throughout these past centuries, from the period after the demise of the Prophet, upon whom be peace and blessings, to the present, the Islamic culture has been trampled underfoot, the laws of Islam falling into abeyance.  This culture must be brought alive again.  You ladies must be active on the educational and cultural fronts just as the men are. 

I hope that God will grant you all success and you will make advances on these fronts too.  Pray that those who are at the war front defending their country and Islam will also be successful, God willing.  May you all be healthy and successful. (353)


2 March 1985  (11 Isfand 1364 AHS)



What is at stake here is not simply a government or one aspect of life; it is Islam.  Islam is the concern.  So it is incumbent on the men and women of this country to defend it to the best of their ability.  And this defence must be continued until we attain the victories that God the Blessed and Exalted wants for us, if He so wills. (354)


19 July 1986  (28 Tir 1365 AHS)




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