Friday, 22 April 2016

Ruhollah Khomeini (LSI): Personality Type Analysis

Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini (a.k.a. Ayatollah Khomeini) was Grand Supreme Leader of Iran from 1979 until his death in 1989. He was, in some sense, responsible for the Iranian Revolution and overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (ILI) and founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Khomeini was well known to be a strict and adamant follower of Shia Islam, with the intention of shifting the previous monarchy laid out by Shah Pahlavi into an Islamic republic.

Khomeini was born in 1901 in Khomeyn, Iran, under the care of his mother and aunt, and was drawn to the studies of Shiite law and Islamic scholarly pursuits, as well as the traditional and ancient language of Iran - old Persian. Although invested in these studies, Khomeini as a young man was not interested in politics, and primarily felt that this task was better suited for clerics.  It was not until 1962 – during the reign of Shah Mohammad Pahlavi, where Khomeini began to change his attitude towards political activism. 
As his knowledge of Islam became more refined, his interpretations of Shiite law became more strict– where he started to believe that Islam was not only a spiritual pursuit – but also a political one: 

“When anyone studies a little or pays a little attention to the rules of Islamic government, Islamic politics, Islamic society and Islamic economy he will realize that Islam is a very political religion. Anyone who will say that religion is separate from politics is a fool; he does not know Islam or politics.”

The death of two religious Shia leaders who had some political power in Iran left an open platform for Khomeini, which he seized easily. During this time, the Shah of Iran had tried to suppress some aspects of the clerical class, as well as welcoming diplomatic relations with US military. These events deeply upset a large population of Iran, as it was noted to be an intrusion of their nationalistic pride which made Khomeini's position in the clerical groups much more powerful. The date of June 5th 1963 is regarded by revolutionists as the turning point from the reign of the Shah (with influence and relations with the West) to one of strict and nationalistic Islamic adherence. The political foundation of using Islamic law to protecting Iran's assets became widely supported. In 1964, Khomeini denounced the Shah and the United States, and as he became more politically active with hundreds and thousands of followers, the Shah of Iran exiled him to Iraq in late 1964.

During his 14 years of exile in Iraq, Khomeini laid in wait for an opportune moment to push his political agenda – while simultaneously gathering followers and a military base from the outskirts of the Iran/Iraq borders. He also published many influential pieces of work that laid out his projected foundations for Iran:

The laws of society should be made up only of the laws of God - which cover "all human affairs" and "provide instruction and establish norms" for every "topic" in "human life."

Islamic jurists who have studied and are the most knowledgeable in Sharia, the country's ruler should be [one who] "surpasses all others in knowledge" of Islamic law and justice, as well as having intelligence and administrative ability. 
Rule by monarchs and/or assemblies of "those claiming to be representatives of the majority of the people" has been proclaimed "wrong" by Islam

This system of clerical rule is necessary to prevent injustice, corruption, oppression by the powerful over the poor and weak, innovation and deviation of Islam and Sharia law; and also to destroy anti-Islamic influence and conspiracies by non-Muslim foreign powers

Over 14 years of build up - the Shah was eventually overthrown in 1979. Khomeini approximately 11 days later returned to Iran and was titled Supreme Leader. The previous provisional government was adamantly opposed by Khomeini, as they tried to implement the previous foundations laid out by the Shah. Khomeini stated he would “kick their teeth in" and that as supreme leader, he would appoint the government on his own, as it was dictated by God. Khomeini chose his own interim prime minister to complete his cabinet and claimed publicly that "he must be obeyed. It is God's government."

In general – Khomeini’s primary tactic during his climb to power was that of following a strict, and consistent code of Shia Islam – one of which cannot and will not be broken by outside dissidents or from its own Persian citizens: 

-"Those who are trying to bring corruption and destruction to our country in the name of democracy will be oppressed…they must be hanged. We will oppress them by God's order”. 

In my opinion, this very narrow and strict adherence to principles, while constructing his political environment can only be described best by the L and F valuing type, specifically, the Beta QuadraHis general focus has primarily been that of strict Islamic rule, one that is of his own interpretation, and one that is obstinately followed by all people for the betterment of the society. Additionally, I think Khomeini had a very good sense of strategic maneuverability in order to have infiltrated the political environment during his exile. He was able to create a political movement while not even being in the same country as the one he wanted to morph.

Overall, I believe Khomeini’s type to be LSIStrong and Valued L+F makes sense for his unbending views and interpretations of religious law, and  his ability to take positions of opportunity easily for his agenda. His desire to bring unity and cohesion to the Iranian people, albeit through force, fear or punishment – as well as a strict code that is solely determined by Islamic principles, make sense for the LSI type. 

It makes sense to me that the change between the more Gamma influenced years of the Shah of Iran to the Beta years of Khomeini transformed Iran to what it is today. Iran in previous decades was primarily one focused on independence through economic growth and stood apart from its primarily Arabic neighbors. Although these ideals have been apparent from the beginning of Persian civilization through history - the more current one is that of consistent principles based on Islamic law, one of which was dramatically changed because of Khomeini's revolution.

To learn more about about LSI, click here.

If you are confused by our use of Socionics shorthand, click here.

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