Document Type : Original Article
Assistant Professor in Department of Political Sciences; Baqer al-Uloom University, Qom, Iran
One of the most important pillars of Imam Khomeini's political thought is the people's role in the Islamic state. Similarly, in theories of democracy, in spite of different perceptions of it, the principle of people's governance has been accepted. By comparing theories of democracy and Imam Khomeini's theory on religious state and its legitimacy, we may find out the similarities and differences of these two views regarding people's role in the government. In theories of democracy, the legitimacy of the political system, the rulers' legitimacy and the legitimacy of the processes of decision-making are all contingent upon people's consent; and accordingly, people play a decisive and effective role in each of those levels. In Imam Khomeini's view, however, the legitimate political system in the Occultation Period is a system based on the [qualified] jurist's authority, and other regimes – even though people are satisfied with it – are instances of the tyrant regime. Accordingly, people's role in the legitimacy of the political system is restricted to accepting it and preparing the ground for its realization; however, they have an important role in legitimizing the ruling jurist and in the process of decision-making, and their right to participation has been considered in these two steps.