Memories of Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Hadi Khamenei

Memories from Prison about MKO

Selected by Faezeh Sasanikhah
Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi


Regardless of all the issues, training in prison challenged me and some of my friends, and its main factor was the same cabals, especially Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization (MKO); it runs in the name of a religious prison and intended to manage the cells openly and secretly, and anyone who wanted to enter this cycle, had to accept the whole organization and its establishment.

They even recruited some low-level clerics to achieve their goals. Newcomers and inexperienced students who had nothing of their own and were empty of education records and political awareness, were attracted to them; calling them Haj Agha Haj Agha, MKO members strung them along in ordinary tasks, gradually taught with their teachings, and made them submissive. I saw this fact with my own eyes.

When I entered wards 1, 7 and 8, they also strung me along, but I did not accept it. Those days, whatever I wanted to do, they told me: "No Haj Agha! Not you! We do it ourselves. Don't bother." A number of clergyman and lay friends and I did not pay attention to these words and did not enter into their game. They also did not come to us when they did not see our behavior according to their wishes; they even ordered each other to be careful not to do anything against their intentions, especially in educational matters.

This was in a situation when we were interested in the organization until the first months of 1354 (1975) and we did not think there was anything wrong with their ideas and practices. If we saw something wrong, we tried to at least justify it to ourselves. We consider them as Muslim prisoners like ourselves and were willing to cooperate with them; that's why we insisted on educational planning and teaching Arabic language, Quran, Nahj al-Balaghah and similar topics; unaware of the fact that they neither accepted our understanding of Qur'an nor our knowledge of religion, but they could not simply remove us. After spending some time with them, we slowly realized that the organization is not the one we thought.

One day, a member of MKO told me: "We need you very much. It is good to be with us in training Muslim prisoners"!

I said: "What do you need from us?" What should we do"?

He said: "hold an Arabic class so that they can learn Arabic and then the organization can teach them Qur'an and Nahj al-Balagha!" At that time, I had just been transferred to the wards 7 and 8 and they did not know what I was sensitive about. After hearing this proposal, I soon informed my clergyman friends in the ward and said: "I believe that we should not accept their proposal!" They said: "Why?! I said: "Because they want abuse us; they want us to work hard and teach Arabic to the guys, and then they come and teach them Quran and Nahj al-Balagha based on their misinformation and their own organizational approach.

Anyway, we had studied religious lessons and considered ourselves to be more knowledgeable and superior in teaching these matters than them. That's why I told my friends we shouldn't do this, unless we ourselves teach Quran and Nahj al-Balagha after teaching Arabic. We should not allow them to teach Qur'an based on their own understanding, or at least teaching Qur'an and Islamic teachings should not be exclusive to them. Some of my clergyman friends and I followed the same method and conditions, but they managed to trick some young seminary students and recruit them. Although we also tried to inform them to stop cooperating with the organization.

This issue made the organization's decision-makers in that ward very angry and upset, because they saw themselves as defeated. They always criticized us among other prisoners and instilled that we split the prisoners. In spite of such conditions, when I saw they wanted to give their organizational training under the banner of Qur'an and Nahj al-Balagha to the young people who were attracted to them or advocated them, I said to one of these students who cooperated the organization: "Tell your friends whatever you want to teach, first teach us, then we will teach others what we learned from you." This was a common method of training in prison. Before that, I had clearly told several times to assign me a class too; I am also interested to present in your class and listen to you as one of your students. They knew it was not my or some of my friends' problem to learn from them, that's why they didn't accept to hold such a class until they finally agreed to hold a class of Quranic topics specifically for me. It was an interesting class. It was held in five or six sessions. I would go and sit across these friends and instead of that they teach me, they would tell me, "Well! Say what you know!" And I explained them some Quranic topics; like someone who learn from somebody! They listened to me what I want to say. In short, after five or six sessions, they said: "we have been informed from superior officials of the organization that Khamenei does not need training!" I said, "Then assign me a class to teach."

But they never accept and did not allow me to undertake training. All of these behaviors made us decide with our clergyman friends to start training ourselves and work separately; from teaching Arabic, Quran and Nahj al-Balagha to religious and political education.[1]


[1] Source: Qobadi, Mohammad, (2019) Memorial of Those Days: Memories of Hojjat al-Islam Val-Muslemin Seyyed Hadi Khamenei. Tehran: Sooreh Mehr Publication, p. 469.


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