Memoirs of Hassan Soleimani, a servant and guard of Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul)

Selection of Mosalla for people’s farewell with Imam

Selected by: Faezeh Sassani Khah Translated by: M.B. Khoshnevisan


The moments when the body of the imam was being washed, Haj Ahmad Agha [Imam’s son] told Mr. Ansari that we wanted to find somewhere or a center to keep the body of the late imam for two or three days so that the people came and bid farewell with him. Mr. Ansari regarded Mosalla as a proper place and left. He talked to the engineers of Zagros Company and presented a design according to which a refrigerator with glass walls was prepared. The refrigerator had been placed on a container. Mr. Ansari also came and said that the desired place was ready and that we would transfer the imam there tomorrow. It was maybe 5:30 a.m. when we prepared a "Hiace" car and misters Ansari, Rasouli, Tavasoli, Haj Ahmad Agha, Masih and Hashemi arrived and I also took a gun and armed myself. We transferred the body into the "Hiace" and started started. An ambulance from the brothers of the Health Office was also following us. We went from Jamaran and Niavaran to Kamraniyeh Street and from there to Manzariyeh and then to Sadr Highway and from there we entered Shariati Street. We could see that in the early hours of the morning, men and women in black were moving in groups, and the closer we got to the Mosalla, the more the crowd became. From Shariati street to the other side, the crowd became denser and we were slowly getting out of the crowd. From time to time, I would remove the corner of the "Hiace" curtain and saw that people were beating their chests and mourning loudly, and they did not know that their leader, whom everyone was looking for, was just a few steps away. Imam's body was wrapped in a shroud and on a stretcher inside the car. They had marked a passage near Mosalla, but the crowd was too large and we were worried that people would find out and we would not be able to control the situation. Because there were no formalities involved and no one would notice. We acted secretly. In any case, we passed through the crowd and entered the compound. There were premeditated measures. They had also prepared a crane. We took Imam's body out of the car and the crane took it up to the refrigerator. Of course, first we put the body on the container and there we bid farewell with the Imam for the last time and put him in the refrigerator.


Travelling to Qom and bringing Ayatollah Golpaygani to Tehran

Haj Ahmad Agha called the house of Ayatollah Golpaygani to perform funeral prayer for the imam. Then, they sent me to Qom in a bulletproof car that belonged to the house of Ayatollah Golpaygani. I arrived in Qom in the evening and took Ayatollah Golpaygani in the car and we started driving towards Tehran. Mr. Golpaygani (may God bless him), had removed his turban in the car and kept talking about the Imam and shed tears and said that it was a pity that he left, he was useful for Islam, he revived Islam and his work was unprecedented in history.  
Then we reached Jamaran. I remember that Haj Ahmad Agha had sent Mr. Tavasoli and Mr. Rasouli to welcome Ayatollah Golpaygani in order to respect him. Ayatollah Golpaygani spent the night at Mr. Rasouli's house, and it was decided that we would go to the mosque for prayers the next day.


Performing funeral prayer over the body of the Imam by Ayatollah Golpaygani

The next day, I along with Haj Ahmad Agha went to take Ayatollah Golpaygani for prayer. The imam was brought and he performed funeral prayer over him. After the prayer, they moved the Imam's body. The crowd rushed and Haj Ahmad Agha asked Mr. Golpaygani to leave here and you would be accompanied by one of the brothers. Haj Ahmad Agha left and I told Mr. Golpaygani to get up and go. He accepted and at the same moment when they were getting up, due to the pressure of the crowd, his stick fell from his hands several times and his shoes came off his feet. No matter how hard it was, we moved him to the open space. We saw that there was no protective place where we could keep them safe from the pressure of the people. I saw a car of the Islamic Revolution Committee and moved him a few steps towards the car, I broke the small window of the car with a gun and opened the car door and picked him up and put him inside the car. His son - Agha Baqer - was also there and at this moment the driver also arrived. I asked him to drive the car and he did and we went to the alleys around Mosalla and Abbas Abad. The doors of all the houses were closed and all the people were in Mosalla and no one was in their houses. We did not find a suitable place for Ayatollah Golpaygani to rest there. While driving, we met an old man and an old woman who were sitting in front of the door of their house and watching the crowd. They were very old and therefore could not participate in the farewell ceremony and were sitting at the door. We talked with them and I asked them to open the door so that Ayatollah Golpaygani could rest there for a few minutes. They agreed, we went inside the house and they welcomed us with milk, water and watermelon. Ayatollah Golpaygani also had some food. We were there for an hour or two, then I went to get the car and put him in the car and took him to Qom. I returned from Qom at around four in the afternoon. I reached Behesht Zahra Cemetery and saw that it was very crowded. There, due to the acquaintance I had with the brothers, I was able to go by car to the area that was near the Imam's burial place. When I arrived, I saw that the Imam was taken to his eternal home.

Source: The memory book of servants and guards of Imam Khomeini, Orooj Publications, V. 1, P. 211.


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