In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful.
We have sent Our apostles with veritable signs and brought down with them scriptures and the scales of justice, so that men might conduct themselves with fairness".
[quotations from the KORAN; English translation by N.J. Dawood]
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran sets forth the cultural, social, political and economic institutions of the people of Iran, based on Islamic principles and rules, and reflecting the fundamental desires of the Islamic people. The essence of the great Islamic Revolution of Iran, and the course of the struggle of the Muslim people from its beginning to its victory, as manifested by the categorical and striking slogans used by all classes of the people, get their special character from this fundamental desire. Now our nation, with the whole of its being is in the vanguard of this great victory, and strives for the attainment of that desire.
The unique characteristic of this Revolution, as compared with other Iranian movements of the last century, is that it is religious and Islamic. The Muslim people of Iran, after living through an anti-despotic movement for constitutional government, and anti-colonialist movement for the nationalization of petroleum, gained precious experience in that they realized that the basic and specific reason for the failure of those movements was that that they were not religious ones. Although in those movements Islamic thinking and the guidance of a militant clergy played a basic and prominent part, yet they swiftly trailed off into stagnation, because the struggle deviated from the true Islam. But now the nation's conscience has awakened to the leadership of an exalted Authority, His Eminence Ayatollah Imam Khomeini, and has grasped the necessity of following the line of the true religious and Islamic movement. This time the country's militant clergy, which has always been in the front lines of the people's movement, together with writers and committed intellectuals, has gained new strength (lit: impetus) under his leadership (The most recent movement of the Iranian nation began in the HEGIRA lunar year 1382, equivalent to the HEGIRA solar year 1341) - (Translator's note: the solar year 1341 equals 1963 A.D.)
THE VANGUARD OF THE MOVEMENT
Imam Khomeini's crushing protest against that American plot, The White Revolution, which was a step taken with a view to strengthening the foundations of the despotic regime and consolidating Iran's political, cultural and economic links with World Imperialism, was the motive force behind the united uprising of the nation. There followed the great and bloody revolution of the Islamic people in the month of KHORDAD 1342 (Translator's note: equivalent to June 1963) -This was indeed the starting-point of the flowering of that magnificent and widespread revolt which consolidated and confirmed the Imam's central position as the Islamic leader. Despite his banishment from Iran following on his protest against the shameful Law of Capitulation (immunity for American advisers), the firm bond (of the people) with the Imam was strengthened. The Muslim nation, in particular committed intellectuals and the militant clergy, continued along its path, amid banishment and imprisonment, torture and execution.
Meanwhile the informed and responsible section of the community was busy with clarification of the issues, within the strongholds of mosques, places of learning, and universities. Inspired by the revolutionary religious feeling and the rich fruitfulness of Islam, they began a persistent and rewarding struggle to raise the level of awareness and vigilance as regards the fight, and its religious nature, among the Muslim nation. The despotic regime began the suppression of the Islamic movement with a malignant attack on the FEIZIYE (Translator's note: meaning uncertain) and the University and all the clamorous (protesting) Clubs (that were part) of the Revolution. It took bloodthirsty but futile steps to quell the revolutionary fury of the people. While this was going on firing squads, medieval torture, and long imprisonment were the price our Muslim nation paid to demonstrate its firm resolve to continue the struggle. The blood of hundreds of young men and women flowed for the Faith in the shooting yards at dawn as they raised the cry of "God is Great" (ALLAHU AKBAR). Or they were the target for hostile bullets in lanes and bazaars in forwarding the Islamic revolution of Iran, distributing the ever-continuing proclamations and messages of the Imam on a variety of occasions, and (asserting) the awareness and determination of the Islamic nation ever more widely and deeply.
Islamic Government is designed on a basis of "religious guardianship" (VELAYAT FAQIYE) as put forward by Imam Khomeini at the height of the intense emotion and strangulation (felt) under the despotic regime. This created a specific motivation and new field of advance for the Muslim people; and opened up the true path for the religious fight of Islam, pressing forward the struggle of the committed Muslim combatants, inside and outside the country.
The movement continued along this basic line until eventually the dissatisfaction and fury of the people, arising out of the daily increasing pressure and strangulation inside the country, and the extension and repetition of the struggle by the clergy, and by militant students at world level, severely shook the rule of the regime. The regime and its masters were forced to reduce its pressure and strangulation, and - so to speak - to open up the political arena of the country which it thought would be the safety valve to secure it against its certain collapse. But the nation was aroused, aware (of the situation) , and firmly devoted to the decisive and unshakable leadership of the Imam. It began its victorious and united uprising in ever more wide-spread and comprehensive fashion.
THE PEOPLES' ANGER
The publication by the regime on the 17th of the month of DEY, 1356 (equals 7 January 1978) (Translator's note: not 1977 as in original translation) of the letter which insulted the sacred order of the clergy, and in particular the Imam Khomeini, hastened this movement. It caused the people's anger to explode all over the country. In an effort to control this volcano of popular anger, the regime tried to suppress the protest uprising by bloodshed. This very fact set more blood pulsing through the veins of the Revolution. Continuing revolutionary passion at the time of the seven-day and forty-day commemoration of the martyrs of the Revolution, added on an ever-increasing scale to the vitality and ardor and fervent unity of the movement throughout the country. It continued and extended the people's upheaval in all the country's organizations by a general strike and joining in street demonstrations while actively seeking the downfall of the despotic regime. Widespread co-operation of men and women of all classes, and of religious and political groups, in this struggle, took place in decisive and dramatic fashion In particular women joined openly on all the scenes of this great Holy War, ever more actively and extensively. Such a scene would be a mother with a child in her bosom hastening to the battlefield and facing machine gun fire This large section of society took a main and decisive part in the struggle.
THE PRICE THE NATION PAID
After a little over a year the budding Revolution and its continuing struggle settled to its result. It's cost (lit: fruit) was the blood of more than 60,000 martyrs, 100,000 wounded and with damaged health, and milliards of tomans of financial loss; all amid cries of "Independence", "Freedom", and "Islamic Rule". This mighty movement with its reliance upon faith, unity, and decisiveness in leadership, came to a victorious conclusion in an atmosphere of emotion and tension and of the nation's devotion. It was successful in crushing all the calculations and maneuverings of Imperialism. A new chapter opened up in its own way for popular revolutions in the world.
The 21st and 22nd of the month of BAHMAN 1357 (Translator's note: equivalent to 10th and 11th February 1979) were the days on which the Shah's establishment collapsed Domestic despotism and the foreign domination which depended on it were defeated. This great victory brought the glad tidings of final triumph and was the prelude to Islamic Government which was the long-felt desire of the Muslim people.
Unanimously, the nation of Iran, in partnership with the religious authorities, and the ULEMA of Islam, and the repository of Leadership, in a referendum concerning the Islamic Republic, took a final and categorical decision to set up an exalted new republican and Islamic order, and affirmed the Islamic Republic by a majority vote of 98.2%.
Now the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, as the announcement of the structure and political, social, cultural and economic relationships within society, must guide the way towards the consolidation of the foundations of Islamic Government, and produce the design for a new order of Government in substitution for the old idolatrous order.
STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT IN ISLAM
From the viewpoint of Islam, government does not spring from the sphere of classes or domination by individuals or groups. It crystallizes the political aspirations of a nation united in faith and thinking which provides itself with an organization so that in the process of transformation of ideas and beliefs, its way may be opened towards the ultimate goal (moving towards God). In the course of its revolutionary development our nation was cleansed from the dust and rust of idolatry, and from foreign ideological influence. It returned to true Islamic intellectual attitudes and views of the world. Now it is planning to build its new model society on such a basis, with Islamic standards. The Mission of the Constitution is to identify itself with the basic beliefs of the movement and to bring about the conditions under which the lofty and worldwide values' of Islam will flourish.
The Constitution, having regard to the Islamic contents of the Iranian Revolution, which was a movement for the victory of all the oppressed over the arrogant, provides a basis for the continuation of that revolution both inside and outside the country. It particularly tries to do this in developing international relations with other Islamic movements and peoples, so as to prepare the way towards a united single world community ("Your community is one community, and I am your Lord who you are to worship") Quotation from the Arabic and to the continuation of the progressive struggle for the rescue of deprived and oppressed nations throughout the world.
Having regard to the intrinsic nature of this great movement, the Constitution guarantees to oppose any kind of despotism, intellectual, social, and as regards monopoly economics, and to struggle for freedom from the despotic system, and to entrust men's destiny to their own hands.
"He releases them from their heavy burdens and yokes which are on them". Quotation from the Arabic
In creating the political structures and foundations for organizing society on the basis of acceptance of religion, devout men have the responsibility for government and administration of the country.
"The earth will be inherited by my pious followers". Quotation from the Arabic
Legislation which is to set out the codes for the management of society will have as its central axis the Koran and tradition. Therefore there is great necessity for exact and serious supervision by just and virtuous and dedicated Islamic scholars (FEQHA-ye-ADEL = just men of religious law). Because the aim of government is to help mankind to develop towards the divine order and until the ground is cleared and the human talents have blossomed forth for the glorification of God's nature in all its dimensions, ("To emulate God's morality11) Quotation from the Arabic, there cannot, except by delegation, be active and extensive participation at all stages in the taking of political decisions and the determination of destiny for all persons in society, so that every individual has a hand in the task of human development and is responsible for growth and progress and guidance. This will be the assurance of government for the oppressed of the earth.
THE GUARDIANSHIP OF THE JUST MAN OF RELIGIOUS LAW (FAQIYEH-e-ADEL)
On the basis of continuous Guardianship and Leadership (Imamate) the Constitution provides for leadership under all conditions, (by a person) recognized by the people as lender, so that there shall be security against deviation by various organizations ("The course of affairs is in the hands of those who know God and who are trustworthy in matters having to do with what he permits and forbids") - Quotation from the Arabic.
THE ECONOMY AS A MEANS NOT AN END
In strengthening the foundations of the economy, the governing principle is the satisfaction of mankind's needs in the course of its growth and development. It is not (the pursuit) of other economic objectives (systems) , such as centralization and the accumulation of wealth and the search for profit. In materialistic schools of thought, economic activity (the economy) is its own end This at (different) stages of growth, economic activity is a factor working for destruction and corruption and decay. But in Islam economic activity is a means. As an ultimate (lit: waiting) means there can be no more effective (instrument) on the path towards the goal.
From this point of view, the Islamic program of economic activity to provide a suitable field for the emergence of human creative power in various forms, and in this way provide equal and well-balanced opportunities, and make work, for all people, and satisfy the essential requirements of the advance towards development is the responsibility of the Islamic Government.
WOMEN IN THE CONSTITUTION
In the creation of Islamic foundations, all the human forces which had been in the service of general foreign exploitation will recover their true identity and human rights. In doing so, women who have endured more tyranny up till now under the idolatrous order, will naturally vindicate their rights further.
The family unit is the basis of society, and the true focus for the growth and elevation of mankind. Harmony of beliefs and aspirations in setting up the family is the true foundation of the movement towards the development and growth of mankind. This has been a fundamental principle. Providing the opportunities for these objectives to be reached is one of the duties of the Islamic Government.
Women were drawn away from the family unit and (put into) the condition of "being a mere thing", or "being a mere tool for work" in the service of consumerism and exploitation. Re-assumption of the task of bringing up religiously-minded men and women, ready to work and fight together in life's fields of activity, is a serious and precious duty of motherhood. And so acceptance of this responsibility as more serious and - from the Islamic point of view -a loftier ground for appreciation (lit: value) status (lit: greatness) will be forthcoming.
THE RELIGIOUS ARMY
In the organization and equipping of the countries defense forces, there must be regard for faith and religion as their basis and rules. And so the Islamic Republic's army, and the corps of Revolutionary Guards must be organized in accordance with this aim. They have responsibility not only for the safeguarding of the frontiers, but also for a religious mission, which is Holy War (JIHAD) along the way of God, and the struggle to extend the supremacy of God's Law in the world.
"Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of God and your enemies, and others beside". Quotation from the Arabic
THE JUDICIARY OF THE CONSTITUTION
The question of the judiciary in relation to the safeguarding of the people's rights along the line (adopted by) the Islamic movement with the object of preventing localized deviation within the Islamic community, is a vital one. Thus provision must be made for the establishment of a judicial system on the basis of Islamic justice, manned by just judges, well acquainted with the exact rules of the Islamic code. Such a pattern of organization is necessary because of the delicate and subtle structure of Religion, which must be kept free from any kind of unhealthy relationship.
"And when you judge between man and man, judge with justice". Quotation from the Arabic
THE EXECUTIVE POWER
The executive power must open up the path towards the creation of an Islamic society. This is because of its special importance as regards the putting into effect of Islamic ordinances and regulations, so that just relationships can be attained in the governing of society; and also because of the essential character of this vital question in laying the foundations for the ultimate goal of life. Thus (the executive power) is to be hedged about by every kind of intricate disciplinary arrangement which may further the attainment of this goal, or negate any source of anxiety from the Islamic viewpoint. The bureaucracy which was the offspring of idolatrous rule is to be eliminated with severity, so that an executive system of greater efficiency and increasing speed (of action) can come into existence to deal with administrative undertakings.
THE PUBLIC MEDIA
The public media (radio-television) must take their place in the process of development of the Islamic revolution, and must serve in the propagation of Islamic culture. In this sphere they must look for opportunities for a healthy exchange of differing ideas, and must rigorously refrain from the propagation and encouragement of destructive and anti-Islamic qualities (ideas).
In pursuance of the principles of this law which recognize freedom and human dignity as the central point (lit: frontispiece) of their objectives, and opens up the path of development and perfection of man as the responsibility of all, the Islamic community must elect sagacious and devout representatives, and exercise active supervision over their work, to participate in the building up of the Islamic society. This in the hope that in building the exemplary Islamic society they will succeed in setting a pattern of self-sacrifice to all the people of the world.
"Thus we appointed you a central nation that you might be witnesses to the people". Quotation from the Arabic
The Council of Experts (MAJLIS-e-KHEBREGAN), composed of representatives of the people, drew up the Constitution on the basis of scrutiny of the draft proposed by the Government, and of the proposals put forward by various groups. It contains 12 chapters and 175 articles. It was completed on the eve of the 15th century since the HEGIRA of the great Prophet (God bless and preserve him) and the establishment of the redeeming faith of Islam with the aims and motives described above, and in the hope that this century will be the century of the rule of the world by the oppressed, and the complete overthrow of the arrogant ones.