Man Of The Year: The Mystic Who Lit The Fires of Hatred

Iran's Ayatullah Khomeini seized his nation and shook all Islam

The dour old man of 79 shuffles in his heelless slippers to the rooftop and waves apathetically to crowds that surround his modest home in the holy city of Qum. The hooded eyes that glare out so balefully from beneath his black turban are often turned upward, as if seeking inspiration from on high—which, as a religious mystic, he indeed is. To Iran's Shi'ite Muslim laity, he is the Imam, an ascetic spiritual leader whose teachings are unquestioned. To hundreds of millions of others, he is a fanatic whose judgments...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!