Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Whispered Prayer of The Lovers by Imam Ali ibn al-Husayn

In the Name of God, The Most Loving, The Most Compassionate.

1My God,
          who can have tasted the sweetness of Thy love,
                    then wanted another in place of Thee?
          Who can have become intimate with Thy nearness,
                    then sought removal from Thee?
2My God, place us with him
          whom Thou hast
                    chosen for Thy nearness and Thy friendship,
                    purified through Thy affection and Thy love,
                    given yearning for the meeting with Thee,
                    made pleased with Thy decree,
                    granted gazing upon Thy face,
                    shown the favour of Thy good pleasure,
                    given refuge from separation from Thee and Thy loathing,
                    settled in a sure sitting place in Thy neighbourhood,
                    singled out for true knowledge of Thee,
                    made worthy for worship of Thee,
          whose heart Thou hast captivated with Thy will,
          whom Thou hast picked for contemplating Thee,
          whose look Thou hast made empty for Thee,
          whose breast Thou hast freed for Thy love,
          whom Thou hast made
                    desirous of what is with Thee,
                    inspired with Thy remembrance,
                    allotted thanksgiving to Thee,
                    occupied with obeying Thee,
                    turned into one of Thy righteous creatures,
                    chosen for whispered prayer to Thee,
          and from whom Thou hast cut off all things
                    which cut him off from Thee!
3O God,
          place us among those
                    whose habit is rejoicing in Thee and yearning for Thee,
                    whose time is spent in sighing and moaning!
          Their foreheads are bowed down before Thy mightiness,
                    their eyes wakeful in Thy service,
                    their tears flowing in dread of Thee,
                    their hearts fixed upon Thy love,
                    their cores shaken with awe of Thee.
          O He
                    the lights of whose holiness
                              induce wonder in the eyes of His lovers,
                    the glories of whose face
                              arouse the longing of the hearts of His knowers!
          O Furthest Wish of the hearts of the yearners!
                    O Utmost Limit of the hopes of the lovers!
          I ask from Thee love for Thee,
                    love for those who love Thee,
                    love for every work which will join me to Thy nearness,
                    and that Thou makest Thyself more beloved to me
                              than anything other than Thee
                    and makest
                              my love for Thee
                                        lead to Thy good pleasure,
                              and my yearning for Thee
                                        protect against disobeying Thee!
          Oblige me by allowing me to gaze upon Thee,
                    gaze upon me with the eye of affection and tenderness,
                    turn not Thy face away from me,
                    and make me one of the people of happiness with Thee
                              and favoured position!
          O Responder,
                    O Most Merciful of the merciful!

- Imam Ali Ibn al-Husayn

Monday, April 26, 2010

Judeo-Christian-Islamic Prayer: The Lord's Prayer (Kadesh) Similarity To The Opening (Surah Fatiha)

After attending the Episcopal Diocese of Columbus Conference in London, Ohio where I was asked to speak; I became curious of the difference or similarity of The Lord's Prayer and The Opening.  

Being raised in the USA and attending First Baptist Church Kindergarten in Denton, Texas; I remembered The Lord's Prayer after hearing it during the Conference.  Also, before I went to the conference I happened to run across this video of the movie "Gabriel" where The Lord's Prayer is recited in the song that accompanies the video: 

Coincidentally, Gabriel is the Angel that we as Muslims believe revealed the message of Islam to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

We see that both the Lord's prayer in the Bible and the Opening Chapter of the Qur'an (Sura Fatiha), go to the root of all religions ever professed by man. They are truly universal prayers. No man need hesitate to join in the solemn recitation of either.

The Islamic prayer is simpler than the Christian prayer. We do not say that one is good and that the other is bad. No, both are very good indeed, however one seems simpler than the other. Let us compare them.


The Muslim Prayer

The Christian prayer

The Fateha [The Opening]The Qur'an 1:1-7

The Lord's PrayerMatthew 6:9-13 [The New Testament, King James version]

(a) Adoration
Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds, the Compassionate, the Merciful. King of the Day of Reckoning.

(a) Adoration
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

(b) Submission
Thee only do we worship and of Thee only do we ask aid.

(b) Submission
Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

(c) Supplication
Guide us unto the right path -  the path of those to whom Thou hast  been gracious, not the path of those who are the objects  of Thy wrath,  nor of those who have gone astray.  Amen

(c) Supplication
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors [Other translations say: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."] And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, The Power and the Glory. For ever and ever. Amen

If we carefully compare the parts of each prayer which are written above as separate paragraphs (a) (b) and (c), we will observe that there are differences only in language, yet there are no differences whatsoever in meaning. There is in both prayers absolutely the same spirit of (a) Adoration (b) Submission and (c) Supplication.

Here is the original "Lord's Prayer" in Aramaic:


O cosmic Birther, from whom the breath of life comes, 


who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.
Nethkâdasch schmach 

May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest. 

Têtê malkuthach. 

Your Heavenly Domain approaches.
Nehwê tzevjânach aikâna d'bwaschmâja af b'arha. 

Let Your will come true in the universe (all that vibrates) just as on 
earth (that is material and dense). 

Hawvlân lachma d'sûnkanân jaomâna. 

Give us wisdom (understanding, assistance) for our daily need, 

Waschboklân chaubên wachtahên aikâna daf chnân schwoken l'chaijabên. 

detach the fetters of faults that bind us, (karma) 
like we let go the guilt of others. 

Wela tachlân l'nesjuna 

Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, common temptations),

ela patzân min bischa. 

but let us be freed from that what keeps us off from our true purpose.

Metol dilachie malkutha wahaila wateschbuchta l'ahlâm almîn. 

From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act, the song 
that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.


Sealed in trust, faith and truth. (I confirm with my entire being)

Hebrew & Arabic (The Languages of The Torah & The Quran) come from the father language of Aramaic (which was a popular language across the Persian Empire)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Persian Sahaba: Iranian Companions of The Prophet

Here is a list of the Iranian Companions of The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)...something that many Persians and even others are not aware of.  Most people think that there was only Salman Al-Farsi or "Salman The Persian".  However, there were more...

Salman the Persian- he was born in Persia but embarked on a long and continuous journey (away from his homeland) in search of the truth. He ultimately reached his destination in Arabia, when he met Muhammad and converted to Islam. It was his suggestion to build a trench in the Battle of the Trench that ultimately resulted in a defeat for the force of the enemies of the Muslims.

Fayruz al-Daylami
Munabbih ibn Kamil- he was a Persian knight. He had two sons, who were both Islamic scholars.

Salim Mawla Abu-Hudhayfah- he was a highly respected and valued Muslim (among his fellow Muslims), who died while fighting against the forces of Musaylimah during the Wars of Apostasy. Umar ibn al-Khattāb suggested he would have designated Salim as his successor to the Caliphate had he still been alive.

Badhan (Persian Governor)- he was the Sassanid Persian Governor of Yemen who converted to Islam after one of Muhammad’s prophecies was proven to be correct. As a result, every Persian in Yemen followed his example and also converted to Islam.

I will write more on this subject inshallah. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Revolution Muslim: The Neo-Khawarij

Considering that Southpark is my favorite cartoon on TV, I thought I would defend the producers (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) of the show against the Neo-Khawarij with justice.  Something that I love about Southpark is that it is an equal opportunity comedic cartoon that portrays the world we live in with a grain of salt.    For people to take things to such extremes is doing a disservice to Islam and the Muslim community in the USA and abroad.  When I hear these extremists and what they say and do, I am ashamed they call themselves Muslims.  It is like criminals driving a Police Car.  The only way we as Muslims can combat this extremism and Neo-Kharijism is to educate both Muslims and Non-Muslims about traditional Sunni, Shia, and Sufi Islam.  


Here is a clip that explains the Kharijites effect on contemporary Islam: 



What Revolution Muslim is doing would be no different than having a Muslim become a Fundamentalist Christian and then promote fiery evangelism and the ideologies of the "Hutaree" Militia. This is a very interesting dynamic, "Revolution Muslim" is run by the Ex-Israeli Jewish convert to Radical Islam and appears to be recruiting like minded people. The group itself is a modern day "Khawarij" that quotes Bin Laden & Al-Qaeda.  Coincidentally there are many Jews and Christians that convert to Islam, however they are normal people and many of them are very smart intellectuals.  Some very popular figures in the normal Islamic scene come from Jewish and Christian backrounds.  However, these fringe groups that make a mockery of Islam by producing extremist beliefs and products are a danger not only to Non-Muslims but to Muslims and Islam itself.  These people are misguided and think they are doing good, however in reality they are doing a lot of bad things against God.  Islam is a faith of peace and tolerance, so much so that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) allowed a pagan Arab to urinate in the Mosque and then explain to him what Islam is.  Once the Pagan Arab learned what it is and saw the tolerance of Islam, he converted to Islam and brought the rest of his tribe to Islam.  However, groups such as Revolution Muslim, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, etc.  hurt Islam and the Muslim community (Ummah).  

Here is a clip of the Neo-Khawarij Revolution Muslim on CNN: 

They Kharijites believed that the act of sinning is the same as Kufr (disbelief) and that every grave sinner was regarded as Kafir (disbeliever) unless he repents. With this argument, they denounced all the Ṣaḥābah they disagreed with and even cursed and used abusive language against them. Ordinary Muslims (Sunni & Shia) were also declared disbelievers because first, they were not free of sin; secondly they regarded the Ṣaḥābah they disagreed with as believers and considered them as religious leaders, even inferring Islamic jurisprudence from the Hadith narrated by them.  

The Neo-Khawarij are a modern manifestation of this intolerant extremist evangelical mindset.  

Here is a clip from a TV show produced by a Muslim producer called "The Cell", which speaks of the real threat and he says "some Muslims are trying to transform Islam for political purposes":

The permissibility of depictions of The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the founder of Islam, has long been a concern in Islam's history. Oral and written descriptions are readily accepted by all traditions of Islam, but there is disagreement about visual depictions.
Illustration portraying Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) prohibiting intercalation. 17th century Ottoman copy of an early 14h century Persian illustration
The Qur'an does not explicitly forbid images of Muhammad, but there are a few hadith (supplemental traditions) which have explicitly prohibited Muslims from creating the visual depictions of figures under any circumstances. Most contemporary Sunni Muslims believe that visual depictions of the prophets generally should be prohibited, and they are particularly averse to visual representations of Muhammad. The key concern is that the use of images can encourage idolatry, where the image becomes more important than what it represents. In Islamic art, some visual depictions only show Muhammad with his face veiled, or symbolically represent him as a flame; other images, notably from Persia of the Ilkhanate, and those made under the Ottomans, show him fully.
Other Muslims have taken a more relaxed view. Most Shi'a scholars accept respectful depictions and use illustrations of Muhammad in books and architectural decoration, as have Sunnis at various points in the past. However, many Muslims who take a stricter view of the supplemental traditions, will sometimes challenge any depiction of Muhammad, including those created and published by non-Muslims.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution, Conflict in the 21st Century, and Robo-Ethics of War

Real Terminators: With the progress of technology in warfare, has anybody stopped to see if these new ways of war are ethical?  The USA is no longer the only nation that has produced or bought such weapons that do not take human casualties, however they can deliver human casualties to the enemy these robots face.  The new ethics of technology used in warfare will soon become a global issue...

Below is an excerpt from P.W. Singer's book called "Wired for War" that is probably one of the most insightful books of this era in regards to how wars will be fought and the new robo-ethics of war...

What happens when science fiction becomes battlefield reality?

An amazing revolution is taking place on the battlefield, starting to change not just how wars are fought, but also the politics, economics, laws, and ethics that surround war itself. This upheaval is already afoot -- remote-controlled drones take out terrorists in Afghanistan, while the number of unmanned systems on the ground in Iraq has gone from zero to 12,000 over the last five years.  But it is only the start. Military officers quietly acknowledge that new prototypes will soon make human fighter pilots obsolete, while the Pentagon researches tiny robots the size of flies to carry out reconnaissance work now handled by elite Special Forces troops.

Wired for War takes the reader on a journey to meet all the various players in this strange new world of war: odd-ball roboticists working in latter-day “skunk works” in the midst of suburbia; military pilots flying combat mission from their office cubicles outside Las Vegas; the Iraqi insurgents who are their targets; journalists trying to figure out just how to cover robots at war; and human rights activists wrestling with what is right and wrong in a world where our wars are increasingly being handed over to machines. 

If issues like these sound like science fiction, that’s because many of the new technologies were actually inspired by some of the great sci-fi of our time ­ from Terminator and Star Trek to the works of Asimov (my first Sci-Fi book as a child was Isaac Asimov, no wonder  love Sci-Fi and Technology!) and Heinlein.  In fact, Singer reveals how the people who develop new technologies consciously draw on such sci-fiction when pitching them to the Pentagon, and he even introduces the sci-fi authors who quietly consult for the military.

But, whatever its origins, our new machines will profoundly alter warfare, from the frontlines to the home front. When planes can be flown into battle from an office 10,000 miles away (or even fly themselves, like the newest models), the experiences of war and the very profile of a warrior change dramatically. Singer draws from historical precedent and the latest Pentagon research to argue that wars will become easier to start, that the traditional moral and psychological barriers to killing will fall, and that the “warrior ethos”  the code of honor and loyalty which unites soldiers  will erode.

Paradoxically, these new unmanned technologies will also seemingly bring war closer to our doorsteps, including even with videos of battles downloaded for entertainment. But Singer also proves that our enemies will not settle for fighting our high-tech proxies on their own turf.  He documents, for instance, how Hezbollah deployed unmanned aircraft in the Lebanese war of 2006, and how America may even fall behind in this revolution, as its adversaries gain knockoffs of our own technology, or even develop better tech of their own invention.

While his predictions are unnerving, there's an irresistible gee-whiz quality to what Singer uncovers and the people he meets along the way. It is packed with cutting edge research and hard to get interviews of everyone from four star Army generals and Middle East leaders to reclusive science fiction authors. Yet it also seamlessly weaves in pop culture and illuminating anecdotes to create a book that is both highly readable and accessible. In laying out where our technologies are taking us to next, WIRED FOR WAR is as fascinating as it is frightening.

Read more about P.W. Singer's book called "Wired for War":


George Washington: First president owes library $4,577 and two books

This is exactly what makes America great and why I love this country!  Not even the first president...the founder of the USA can get away with not paying even his library fines!  Where else could this kind of record be kept? 

It is amazing how there is such order and accountability in this country from the start...as an American Muslim I see Islam in America from day one!  

Here is the article regarding George Washington's library fines:

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Shah's White Revolution: Biting The Hand That Feeds

The White Revolution (Persian: انقلاب سفید Enghelāb-e Sefid) was a far-reaching series of reforms in Iran launched in 1963 by the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Muhammad Reza Shah’s reform program was built especially to strengthen those classes that supported the traditional system. The Shah advertised the White Revolution as a step towards modernization, but there is little doubt that the Shah also had political motives: the White Revolution was a way for him to legitimize the Pahlavi dynasty. Part of the reason for launching the White Revolution was that the Shah hoped to get rid of the landlords' influence (The Iranian Nobility) and create a new base of support among the peasants and working class. The bulk of the program was aimed at Iran’s peasantry, a class the Shah hoped to gain as an ally to thwart the threat of the increasingly hostile middle class. (Something the Shah failed at and Ahmadinejad has been extremely successful at) Thus the White Revolution in Iran represented a new attempt to introduce reform from above and preserve traditional power patterns. Through land reform, the essence of the White Revolution, the Shah hoped to ally himself with the peasantry in the countryside, and hoped to sever their ties with the aristocracy in the city.

Quickly one recognizes that the destruction of the aristocracy destroys the base of a fuedal system of government, which The Shah's legitimacy rested on.  There has never been a Monarchy without the Nobility to establish it.  What is interesting to note is that the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Khomeini achieved what the Shah wanted to achieve because there was no longer a Monarchy or Nobility.  Infact, after the revolution all those who were not part of the lower classes of society were deemed "Taghuti" in a Dr. Zhivagoesque type of way.  The Nobility that was already abused under Reza Pahlavi I and had been hurt under Reza Pahlavi II had been again attacked by a new government.  What is ironic is that at the beginning of the 1979 revolution, the new Iranian government had asked the Iranian Nobles to help them in the revolution by distributing guns and weaponry and in turn they could hold their positions within the society.  Some of the nobles took the offer and others did not depending on their view of things.  Some of the nobles said that they would not dirty their hands with the blood of their fellow compatriots by doing the revolutions dirty work and others along with many other influential people of various creeds joined in.  

The 1979 revolution was a chaotic one initially with many different heads, however in the latter half of the past 30 years the more traditional Islamist and reformist groups have changed things considerably and Iran has been progressing in a more positive direction.  The current situation with the elections and the green movement is a real test of the future of Islam and Democracy in Iran.  I would personally love to see a legitimate Islamic Democracy or Demoracy set up where people of any faith have the freedom to practice as they wish to do so.  Islam is not something that is threatened by secularism, because it lives in the hearts of people.  Infact, the political nature of Islam in Iran for the past 30 years may have hurt Islam more than if it was not at the brunt of peoples political discussions.  Before the revolution, people used to talk bad about the government, even though it was secular.  Historically, Iranians have never been satisfied with anything, which comes from the perfectionist nature of Iranian society that is easily seen in the carpets and Mosques and other things that they produce.  

In order to legitimize the White Revolution, the Shah called for a national referendum in early 1963 in which 5,598,711 people voted for the reforms, and 4,115 voted against the reforms.  Although this figure seems to suggest that a vast majority of the country was in favor of the reforms, there was plenty of controversy over its accuracy and it was quickly realized that the White Revolution lacked the technical, managerial, and organizational power it needed to succeed.  So, in essence the Shah failed at this "White Revolution" and could not go back to the Nobility for support, because he had already bit the hand that fed him.  The White Revolution ironically has been deemed a velvet or "bloodless" revolution by the supporters of the Monarchy, which tends to be a bit naive considering the situation with the Shah's secret police.  

In essence the White Revolution in Iran was very similar to that of the "Meiji Restoration" in Imperial Japan.  The Iranian Nobility was wiped out just like the Samurai was in Japan in order to "modernize" the country.  However, the reason why Japan succeeded and Iran did not had to do with the decision the Emperor of Japan made in regards to traditional Japanese culture.  At first it was headed towards the way of The Shah of Iran and Kemal Ataturk of Turkey, where all culture was destroyed and westernized in the name of modernization.  However, after the Emperor of Japan realized the damage that was being done to his nation, he stopped and regressed this anti-Japanese cultural initiative.  He stopped destroying the Samurai and instead brought them into his new government along with the peasantry.  This compromise by the Japanese Emperor helped keep Japan intact, however later Imperial Japan made miscalculations when entering into World War II.  

The Shah had intended it to be a non-violent regeneration of Iranian society through economic and social reforms, with the ultimate long-term aim of transforming Iran into a global economic and industrial power. The Shah introduced novel economic concepts such as profit-sharing for workers and initiated massive government-financed heavy industry projects, as well as the nationalization of forests and pastureland. Most important, however, were the land reform programs which saw the traditional landed elites of Iran lose much of their influence and power. Nearly 90% of Iranian share-croppers became landowners as a result.
Socially, the platform granted women more rights and poured money into education, especially in the rural areas. The Literacy Corps was also established, which allowed young men to fulfill their compulsory military service by working as village literacy teachers.

The White Revolution consisted of 19 elements that were introduced over a period of 15 years, with the first 6 introduced in 1963 and put to a national referendum on January 26, 1963.

Land Reforms Program and Abolishing "Feudalism": The government bought the land from the feudal land lords at a fair price and sold it to the peasants at 30% below the market value, with the loan being payable over 25 years at very low interest rates. This made it possible for 1.5 million peasant families, who had once been little more than slaves, to own the lands that they had been cultivating all their lives. Given that average size of a peasant family was 5, land reforms program brought freedom to approximately 9 million people, or 40% of Iran's population.

Nationalization of Forests and Pasturelands: Introduced many measures, not only to protect the national resources and stop the destruction of forests and pasturelands, but also to further develop and cultivate them. More than 9 million trees were planted in 26 regions, creating 70,000 acres (280 km²) of "green belts" around cities and on the borders of the major highways.

Privatization of the Government Owned Enterprises, manufacturing plants and factories by selling their shares to the public and the old feudal lords, thus creating a whole new class of factory owners who could now help to industrialize the country.

Profit Sharing for industrial workers in private sector enterprises, giving the factory workers and employees 20% share of the net profits of the places where they worked and securing bonuses based on higher productivity or reductions in costs.

Extending the Right to Vote to Women, who previously did not enjoy suffrage. This measure was criticised by some of the clergy.

Formation of the Literacy Corps, so that those who had a high school diploma and were required to serve their country as soldiers could do so in fighting illiteracy in the villages. In 1963 aprox. 2/3 of the population was illiterate, with 1/3 found mainly in the capital city of Tehran.  Formation of the Health Corps to extend public health care throughout the villages and rural regions of Iran. In 3 years, almost 4,500 medical groups were trained; nearly 10 million cases were treated by the Corps. Formation of the Reconstruction and Development Corps to teach the villagers the modern methods and techniques of farming and keeping livestock. Agricultural production between 1964 and 1970 increased by 80% in tonnage and 67% in value. Formation of the Houses of Equity where 5 village elders would be elected by the villagers, for a period of 3 years, to act as arbitrators in order to help settle minor offences and disputes. By 1977 there were 10,358 Houses of Equity serving over 10 million people living in over 19,000 villages across the country.
Nationalization of all Water Resources, introduction of projects and policies in order to conserve and benefit from Iran's limited water resources. Many dams were constructed and five more were under construction in 1978. It was as a result of these measures that the area of land under irrigation increased from 2 million acres (8,000 km²), in 1968, to 5.6 million in 1977.

Urban and Rural Modernization and Reconstruction with the help of the Reconstruction and Development Corps. Building of public baths, schools and libraries; installing water pumps and power generators for running water and electricity.

Didactic Reforms that improved the quality of education by diversifying the curriculum in order to adapt to the necessities of life in the modern world.

Workers' Right to Own Shares in the Industrial Complexes where they worked by turning Industrial units, with 5 years history and over, into public companies, where up to 99% of the shares in the state-owned enterprises and 49% of the shares of the private companies would be offered for sale to the workers of the establishment at first and then to the general public.

Price Stabilization and campaign against unreasonable profiteering (1975). Owners of factories and large chain stores were heavily fined, with some being imprisoned and other's licenses being revoked. Sanctions were imposed on multi-national foreign companies and tons of merchandise stored for speculative purposes were confiscated and sold to consumers at fixed prices.

Free and Compulsory Education and a daily free meal for all children from kindergarten to 14 years of age. In 1978, 25% of Iranians were enrolled in public schools alone. In that same year there were 185,000 students of both sexes studying in Iran's universities. In addition to the above there were over 100,000 students pursuing their studies abroad, of which 50,000 were enrolled in colleges and universities in the United States.
Free Food for Needy Mothers and for all newborn babies up to the age of two.

Introduction of Social Security and National Insurance for all Iranians. National Insurance system provided for up to 100% of the wages during retirement.

Stable and Reasonable Cost of Renting or Buying of Residential Properties (1977). Controls were placed on land prices and various forms of land speculation.

Introduction of Measures to Fight against Corruption within the bureaucracy. Imperial Inspection Commission was founded, consisting of representatives from administrative bodies and people of proven integrity.

Aftermath and Unintended Consequences

There was a minor industrial revolution during this period of reform. Port facilities were improved, the Trans-Iranian Railway was expanded, and the main roads connecting Tehran and provincial capitals were asphalted. Many small factories opened up specializing in clothing, food processing, cement, tiles, paper, and home appliances. Larger factories for textiles, machine tools, and car assembly were also opened.9 Educational institutions also grew after the launching of the White Revolution. Enrollment in kindergarten increased from 13,300 to 221,990, elementary schools from 1,640,000 to 4,080,000, secondary schools from 370,000 to 741,000 and colleges from 24,885 to 145,210. Not only were new schools opening, but they were also instituting new educational policies designed to undercut clerical control over education and religious education. The Literacy Corps also helped raised the literacy rate from 26 to 42 percent. The White Revolution also included certain reforms on women’s rights. Women gained the right to vote, to run for elected office and to serve as lawyers and later judges. The marriageable age for women was also raised to fifteen.

What the Shah did not expect was that the White Revolution lead to new social tensions that helped create many of the problems the Shah had been trying to avoid. The Shah’s reforms more than quadrupled the combined size of the two classes that had posed the most challenges to his monarch in the past—the intelligentsia and the urban working class. Their resentment towards the Shah also grew since they were now stripped of organizations that had represented them in the past, such as political parties, professional associations, trade unions, and independent newspapers. Land reform, instead of allying the peasants with the government, produced large numbers of independent farmers and landless laborers who became loose political cannons, with no feeling of loyalty to the Shah. Many of the masses felt resentment towards the increasingly corrupt government; their loyalty to the clergy, who were seen as more concerned with the fate of the populace, remained consistent or increased. As Ervand Abrahamian points out, “The White Revolution had been designed to preempt a Red Revolution. Instead, it paved the way for an Islamic Revolution.”
The White Revolution’s economic “trickle-down” strategy also did not work as intended. In theory, oil money funneled to the elite was supposed to be use to create jobs and factories, eventually distributing the money, but instead the wealth tended to get stuck at the top and concentrated in the hands of the very few.
It was true that Iran has made progress with various social programs from the White Revolution, but it was equally true that Iran still had one of the worst infant mortality rates, and doctor-patient rates in the Middle East. It also had one of the lowest percentages of people who were receiving a higher education. For example, 68 percent of the adult population still remained illiterate, and 60 percent of children did not complete primary school.  This resentment and anger towards the Shah’s failed reforms seems to unite the people against the Shah, and certainly did not increase any class loyalty towards the Shah, as he had intended.
The most important and relevant consequence of the White Revolution and the reforms it brought was the rising popularity of Ruhollah Khomeini. Khomeini started out as a member of the clergy who followed the practice of “quietism”, not getting involved with the government or political affairs. With the growing corruption of the Shah and the implementation of reforms through the White Revolution, Khomeini grew to be an outspoken political enemy of the Shah. The White Revolution was the catalyst for Khomeini’s change in thought. Once Khomeini, as a respected member of the clergy, started to openly oppose the Shah and call for his overthrow, people of all different professions and economic status began to see him as a figure to rally behind.
Though the White Revolution contributed towards the economic and technological advancement of Iran, the failures of some of the land reform programs and the partial lack of democratic reforms, as well as severe antagonism towards the White Revolution from the clergy and landed elites, would ultimately contribute to the Shah's downfall and the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Problems With Land Reform

Land reform, which was the focus of the White Revolution, did what it was intended to do, weaken the notables and landlords. In their place, though, emerged a new group of commercial farmers, and many previously large landowning families, such as the Pahlavi family, managed to renovate themselves into these commercial farmers. A rapid expansion of small landowners did occur, but the peasantry as a whole did not acquire land. Only roughly half of the rural population received any land, and many of the people who did receive land did not receive enough to sustain themselves. The result of the White Revolution was that the rural population could be separated into three groups: prosperous farmers, small landowners, and village laborers. The first group was the only group to really benefit from the land reforms, and this group consisted of former village headmen, bailiffs, and some former landlords. The second group consisted of sharecroppers who received no more than hectares of land—the minimum amount of land needed in most regions to sustain oneself. Most of these people ended up trading their land in for shares in state cooperatives since it was pointless to try to survive on the amount of land they were given. The last group received no land at all, and survived as farm hands, laborers, or shepherds. Many of them migrated to urban centers for work. Thus, it can be concluded that the land reforms really did not provide land to the people it was designed for, the rural population and it created a new urban unemployed or semi-unemployed underclass.


The White Revolution received most of its criticism from two main groups: the clergy, and the landlords. The landlords were angry about the land reforms because their land was taken and redistributed. They also did not appreciate the government undercutting their authority when it came to dealing with peasants or land laborers.
The powerful Shī‘ah clergy were also angered at the reforms that removed much of their traditional powers in the realms of education and family law, as well as lessening their previously strong influence in the rural areas. A "large percentage of the upper echelon of the clergy came from landowning families" deeply affected by the reform and much absentee rent income went directly to the clergy and their institutions. The rents from an estimated 10,000 villages whose rents helped finance the clerical establishment were eligible for redistribution.
The group, or more appropriately, the man who most openly opposed the White Revolution and the Shah himself was Ruhollah Khomeini. Although the clergy in Iran were not happy about many aspects of the White Revolution, such as granting suffrage to women, and the secular local election bill as well as land reforms, the clergy as a whole were not actively protesting. Khomeini, on the other hand, seemed to undergo a serious change of thought from the traditional role and practices of Shi’i clergy, and actively spoke out against the new reforms and the Shah. Khomeini’s famous speech at Qom in June 1963 spoke out against the Shah’s brutality towards student protests, and for the first time, it was speech attacking the Shah as a person.15 This speech did lead to Khomeini’s exile, but being outside of Iran did not stop Khomeini’s protests, nor did it weaken his influence inside Iran.
Khomeini also attacked provisions of the reforms that would allow members of Iran's non-Muslim minority to be elected or appointed to local offices:
I have repeatedly pointed out that the government has evil intentions and is opposed to the ordinances of Islam. ... The Ministry of Justice has made clear its opposition to the ordinances of Islam by various measures like the abolition of the requirement that judges be Muslim and male; henceforth, Jews, Christians, and the enemies of Islam and the Muslims are to decide on affairs concerning the honor and person of the Muslims.
A couple months later on Ashura, Khomeini gave an angry speech attacking the Shah as a "wretched miserable man" and asking whether the Shah was an "infidel" Jew. Two days later, on June 5, Khomeini was arrested. This sparked three days of rioting and left several hundred dead. The riots were remembered in speeches and writings as the time when the army "slaughtered no less than 15,000". Khomeini was released from house arrest in April 1964 but sent into exile that November.  A recent book published by a parastatal organization in the Islamic Republic make no mention of non-Muslims deciding on affairs concerning the honor of Muslims, but claims that "the right of women to be elected was a cover to conceal other plots," specifically allowing Bahais to hold office and relations with Israel. A bill unsuccessfully introduced before the referendum but with similar measures concerned town and province councils which would delete the candidates and voters election conditions of: `Being a Muslim, swearing on the Quran and being a male,` was approved by the cabinet of Amir Asadollah Alam (16 Mehr 1341/8 October 1962). The right of women to be elected was a cover to conceal other plots. The deletion and alteration of the first two conditions were aimed at legalization of the presence of Bahai elements in key government positions. As mentioned above, one of the U.S.'s conditions for its support of the Shah, was the Shah's support of Israel and the enhancement of relations between Iran and Israel. The infiltration of the followers of the colonialistic ideology of Bahaism into the three forces would ensure this condition. ...
However, there is no proof of those statements, and accusations of conspiracy theories against the Bahá'ís have continually existed from the 20th century to draw public attention away from the government.  These accusations helped define a new 'other' and reaffirmed a threatened Shi'i self. Chehabi suggests that the accusations and prejudices of secular Iranians against the Bahá'ís arise from the anti-cosmopolitan outlook of Iranian nationalism; while the Bahá'í Faith affirms the unity of humanity, Iranian nationalism has contained strongxenophobic elements.