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Khomeini and Sufism: Ayatollah Khomeini’s influence on the oppression against Sufi Orders in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran many Shia Sufi Orders, who are religious groups that exercise the mystical and spiritual elements of Shia Islam, have been forced to exile due to oppression from the government. The largest Sufi Order, The Nematollahi Soltan Alishahi Gonabadi are still in the country, but are oppressed by the Islamic regime; From an arson attack in central Tehran in 1980; The Iranian government being blamed to have imprisoned 11 members of the Soltan Alishahi Order for peaceful activities in 2013 (HRW, 2013); To the odd arrests and physical abuses of the Order’s members in March 2014. The oppression against this Sufi Order has thus been continuing in the Republic, although it is in contradiction to the written documentations that have been declared in the constitution.

Ayatollah Khomeini’s view on Sufism may be a reason to why the Sufi Orders today are oppressed and not perceived as formal citizens of the Republic, since it is his ideology as the founding father and the Supreme Leader that is the map the Republic governs through. The definition of who is a formal citizen in Iran goes under Article 12, 13 and 41; where The Soltan Alishahi Order are members of the Twelver Shia Religion, can be understood as with regard to their treatment by the Iranian government, neither formal nor approved citizens in the eyes of Islamic Republic.

A critical discourse analysis have been made from the 21 volume anthology of Khomeini’s speeches, messages, interviews, decrees, religious permissions and letters that are texts written by Khomeini himself. The contexts of the words ‘Sufi’, ‘Dervish’, ‘Gnostic’ and ‘Mystic’ have been the focal point, which are extended words of Sufism.From the result found, it is evident that Khomeini’s perception of Sufism could be a possible reason to why Sufi Orders are oppressed; the words ‘Sufi’ and members of Sufi Orders ‘Dervishes’ are negatively described by Khomeini, whilst ‘Gnostic’ and ‘Mystic’ is almost in every case associated with positive ways of approaching God and Islam. This linguistic distinction by Khomeini can therefore be based upon on a personal hostile stance against Sufism and Sufi Orders, which in turn outflows into the Islamic Republic and the Islamic government of Iran

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 29 p.
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106476OAI: diva2:736332
Available from: 2014-08-20 Created: 2014-08-06 Last updated: 2014-08-20Bibliographically approved

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