Khomeini arrived in Qom and devoted himself to1923,
completing the preliminary stage of madreseh (school or academy) education.
Khomeini did not engage in any political activities during the 1930's. He believed that the leadership of political activities should be in the hands of the foremost religious scholars, and he was therefore obliged to accept the decision of Ayatollah Haeri to remain relatively passive toward the measures taken by Reza Shah against the traditions and culture of Islam in Iran. In any event, as a still junior figure in the religious institution in Qom, he would have been in no position to mobilize popular opinion on a national scale.
In 1955, a nationwide campaign against the Baha'i sect was launched, for which the Khomeini sought to recruit Ayatollah Boroujerdi's (he was the most prominent religious leader in Qom after the death of Ayatollah Haeri) support, but he had little success.
Ayatollah Khomeini therefore concentrated during the years of Ayatollah Boroujerdi's leadership in Qom on giving instruction in fiqh (Islamic science) and gathering round him students who later became his associates in the movement that led to the overthrow of the Pahlavi Dynasty, not only Ayatollah Mutahhari and Ayatollah Muntaziri, but younger men such as Hojatolislam Muhammad Javad Bahonar and Hojatolislam Ali Akbar Hashimi-Rafsanjani.
The emphases of the Ayatollah Khomeini's activity began to change with the death of Ayatollah Boroujerdi on March 31, 1961, for he now emerged as one of the successors to Boroujerdi's position of leadership. This emergence was signaled by the publication of some of his writings on fiqh, most importantly the basic handbook of religious practice entitled, like others of its genre, Tozih al-Masael. He was soon accepted as Marja-e Taqlid by a large number of Iranian Shi'is.
In the autumn of 1962, the government promulgated new laws governing elections to local and provincial councils, which deleted the former requirement that those elected be sworn into office on the Qoran. Seeing in this a plan to permit the infiltration of public life by the Baha'is, Imam Khomeini telegraphed both the Mohammad Reza Shah and the prime minister of the day, warning them to desist from violating both the law of Islam and the Iranian Constitution of 1907, failing which the 'ulama' (religious scholars) would engage in a sustained campaign of protest.
In January 1963, the Shah announced a six-point program of reform called the White Revolution, an American-inspired package of measures designed to give his regime a liberal and progressive facade. Ayatollah Khomeini summoned a meeting of his colleagues in Qom to press upon them the necessity of opposing the Shah's plans. They sent Ayatollah Kamalvand, to see the Shah and gauge his intentions. Although the Shah showed no inclination to retreat or compromise, it took further pressure by Ayatollah Khomeini on the other senior 'ulama' of Qom to persuade them to decree a boycott of the referendum that the Shah had planned to obtain the appearance of popular approval for his White Revolution. Ayatollah Khomeini issued on January 22, 1963 a strongly worded declaration denouncing the Shah and his plans. Two days later Shah took armored column to Qom, and he delivered a speech harshly attacking the 'ulama' as a class.
Ayatollah Khomeini continued his denunciation of the Shah's programs, issuing a manifesto that also bore the signatures of eight other senior scholars. In it he listed the various ways in which the Shah had violated the constitution, condemned the spread of moral corruption in the country, and accused the Shah of comprehensive submission to America and Israel. He also decreed that the Norooz celebrations for the Iranian year 1342 (which fell on March 21, 1963) be cancelled as a sign of protest against government policies.
On the afternoon of 'Ashoura (June 3, 1963), Imam Khomeini delivered a speech at the Feyziyeh madreseh in which he drew parallels between the Umayyad caliph Yazid and the Shah and warned the Shah that if he did not change his ways the day would come when the people would offer up thanks for his departure from the country. The immediate effect of the Imam's speech was, however, his arrest two days later at 3 o'clock in the morning by a group of commandos who hastily transferred him to the Qasr prison in Tehran. As dawn broke on June 3, the news of his arrest spread first through Qom and then to other cities. In Qom, Tehran, Shiraz, Mashhad and Varamin, masses of angry demonstrators were confronted by tanks and paratroopers. It was not until six days later that order was fully restored. This uprising of 15 Khordad 1342 marked a turning point in Iranian history
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