Speeches & Messages 1994  
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Hajj message of Ayatollah Seyyid Ali Khamene'i,
the Leader of Islamic Revolution

15th May 1994

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Praise be to God, the Sustainer of the Worlds and God's peace and blessing be upon the honorable, trustworthy Messenger and upon his blessed progeny and sincere companions and peace be upon us and the righteous servants of God.

"And proclaim among men the Pilgrimage: they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every remote path." (The Holy Qur’an, 22:27)

The sacred month of Dhu Al-Hijjah is upon us with its eternal resources for the Islamic Ummah. Thanks be to God for this unending gift and this ever-vital spring, by the grace of which the Muslims of the world can benefit and reap rewards according to their own efforts and wisdom.

The extent and variety of the interests and benefits which the divine hand, with its knowledge and wisdom, has fitted into the duty of Hajj is of such magnitude that cannot be found in any other Islamic duty; ranging from spiritual presence and remembrance, the discovery of one's self when one finds himself alone with God and the cleansing of the heart from the stain of sin and negligence, to the sentiment felt by the individual who finds himself among a crowd and the sense of unity felt by each Muslim with the entire Islamic Ummah and the sense of strength arising from the greatness of the congregation of Muslims and to the effort made by every individual to attain a cure from spiritual

wounds and diseases, that is, from sins, to curiosity and the will to understand and heal the profound scars and pains affecting the body of the Ummah, to sympathy with all Muslim nations, that is, the members of that body, are all contained in the Hajj and its various rites and rituals.

The Holy Qur’an describes the rituals carried out during the Hajj as "Sha'aer" (symbols, 2:158). This means that they are not merely individual actions aimed at fulfilling an individual duty; they are, rather, symbols intended at raising the level of awareness and wisdom of the human beings toward that which those symbols point to and indicate. Underlying all these symbols lies the message of tawhid (monotheism); that is, to reject all powers that, in some way, are seizing control of the bodies and souls of human beings and to confirm the sovereignty of divine rule over one's entire existence; in other words, the rule of an Islamic system and Islamic regulations over the personal and social lives of Muslims.

In the Qur’anic verses referring to the Hajj, the Holy Qur’an calls on everyone to disavow the idols worshipped by the mushrekin (polytheists):

"...But shun the abomination of idols..." (22:30)

These idols may in some point in time refer to the idols which were placed on the Ka’bah, but, undoubtedly, today and always, they refer to those powers that have unjustly taken charge of the rule over the lives of humanity and, today, refer, most clearly, to the power of arrogance and the satanic power of the United States and the power of Western culture and the corruption and decadence which they are inflicting on Islamic countries and nations.

Of course, the pseudo-ulema affiliated to and mercenaries of some flimsy governments insist that, no, those idols refer only to Manat, Lat and Hubal [pre-Islamic idols]; those very same idols that were crushed and annihilated under the foot of the victorious soldiers of the Great Prophet (pbuh) on the day when Mecca was conquered. The intention of these court-clerics is to empty the Hajj of all political content to suit their own taste, ignorant of the fact that this very gathering of millions of Muslims that has come together from every corner of the world in one place at one time itself contains the richest political significance.

This is a display put on by the Islamic Ummah in which all differences of race, language, geography and history are set aside and in which everyone joins together to form a whole. In order to prevent Muslims from understanding the significance of this great unity and in order to prevent individuals from gaining a sense of collectivity, these pseudo-ulema and their masters have used every kind of lie, deceit and falsehood and will continue to do so in order to make life as difficult as possible for the people who call for unity and invite the pilgrims to disavow the ringleaders of shirk (polytheism).

Islamic Iran wished to do at least the minimum required by the Hajj, and that is to issue a call to unity to all Muslims, to invite all nations to learn the truth about one another and to ask people to express their hatred and disgust towards the ringleaders of shirk and corruption. Anyone who stands against these valuable and lofty aims is speaking unjustly, regardless of what he says. And the Holy Qur’an says:

"...Shun the word that is false" (22:30)

The word that is false is the unjust statements made by those who speak ill of the Islamic Republic, because the Islamic Republic rejects the rule of the Zionist government over Islamic Palestine and considers the compromises made with the usurpers by a few corrupt and isolated individuals as worthless. It condemns the master-like interventions of the United States in Arab countries. It exposes the ugliness of the treachery of some leaders of Muslim countries against their own Muslim nations for the pleasure of the United States and the Zionists. It calls on Muslims to recognize their own tremendous strength which no superpower can withstand today. It believes Islamic teachings and the rules of shari'ah are capable of ruling Islamic countries. It considers the imposed culture of the West, the manifestation of which lies in nakedness, drunkenness and faithlessness, to be harmful for Islamic countries, and simply insists on following the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of Islam.

Today, any Islamic country that states these things openly and adopts these same positions, that is, rejects the usurper Israel, rejects the bullying interventions of the United States, rejects drunkenness, decadence, sexual corruption and the immoral mingling of men and women, rejects the treachery of those who compromise with Israel, calls on Muslims to unite against and resist the superpowers, implements the rulings of Islam in government, the economy, politics and so on, will be on the receiving end of exactly the same kind of propaganda, insults and falsehoods which are spread throughout the world against Islamic Iran and its leaders. And the news agencies of the arrogant powers and Zionism and the radios of the United States and Britain and their allies will speak in exactly the same insulting way, with exactly the same kind of nonsense, about them. This is what was meant by the Holy Qur’an when it mentions "the word that is false," which was put alongside and on the same level as shirk by God. How amazing that court-clerics in some corners of the world imitate these anti-Islamic and unlawful actions of the propagandists of the United States and the Zionists. Of course, the total submission to tyrannical rulers that, unfortunately, is the fate of clergymen in some Islamic countries does not leave any room for surprise.

Today, the Hajj, God's great blessing, is before you. Every single Muslim and the Islamic Ummah must benefit from it and as has been commanded in Qur’anic verse:

"God made the Ka’bah, the Sacred House, an asylum for mankind..." (5:100)

They must benefit from it to the advantage of their world and their religion.

Today, the religion of Muslims is threatened by the enemy's cultural onslaught and the spread of corruption, injustice, faithlessness and decadence among Islamic societies; something that is happening on the initiative of anti-Islamic powers and with the help of their propaganda and media and other tools, and the world is threatened by the ever-increasing hegemony of arrogance over the affairs of Islamic countries and by the ever-increasing pressure on and hostility against any government or group that wishes to direct the minds of people towards the true rule of Islam and towards the independence and strength of Muslim nations. And of course at the head of this all-embracing attack against Islam is the Great Satan, that is, the government of the United States of America. Any clear-sighted eye can see the hand and will of that anti-Islamic government behind all the hardships which are inflicted on Islam and Muslims.

In occupied Palestine, the main reason behind the impudent and the boldness of the Zionists and the most important factor behind the compromise made by most Arab governments before the endless demands of Israel is the United States. Without the backing of the United States, the reactionary governments of the region, which are well known for their submissiveness to the United States, would not have turned into the defenders of the usurping government and into the advisories of those Palestinians who are against compromise. And those who, according to their Islamic duties, must stand against Israel would not emerge as those who stand against the opponents of Israel. And without the unconditional support of the United States, the usurping government would not have been able to bring about a great tragedy such as the massacre at the noble shrine of Abraham, peace be upon him, and to avoid suffering all the consequences of such an action.

A similar situation applies to the Muslims of Bosnia-Hercegovina. The historical massacre of the people of Gorazde and Sarajevo by the Serbs, which can truly be seen as ranking among the most shameful deeds committed by humanity in our times, is a huge crime, the responsibility for which must be borne by the powers who dominate the world and, more than any other power, by the United States.

If it were not for their interference and their policies, the Muslims of Bosnia would not have been deprived of receiving assistance in the form of weapons in the face of well-equipped and well-armed Serbs, and a defenseless and besieged nation would not have been sacrificed to bloodthirsty, shameless and encouraged aggressors.

What is painful is that the United States and NATO - after laying the groundwork in this merciless way for the massacre of Bosnian Muslims, after using the United Nations and its secretary-general totally for their own ends, after displaying signs of their own pleasure at the killing of Muslims at the hands of the Serbs and after several weeks had passed since the savage attack of the aggressors against Muslim women, children, the old and young and the death of thousands of innocent people and the inflicting of suffering on such a scale on the people of the city of Gorazde, after all that - should call a halt to the torture by threatening the Serbs with air attacks and then describe that as their humanitarianism, love of peace and neutrality.

Is it the case that, when a torturer stops torturing a person after hours and days, he can claim to be humane and use as evidence of his humanity the fact that he has stopped torturing his victim?

This apparently neutral, but in practice aggressive, stance against Muslims, is seen in America and its European collaborators, such as Britain, in every incident in which innocent Muslims constitute one side, and are subjected to their enemies' oppressive behavior and pressures. Amongst the examples are the sorrowful events of Kashmir and the intense suffering of the Muslims in Karabakh and Tajikistan.

Wherever a government or a group raises the slogans of Islam, and strives towards the establishment of the rule of Islam, it becomes inevitable targets of U.S.'s abuse, slander, ruthlessness and malicious hostility. Clear examples are the Sudanese government, the Islamic front in Algeria, Lebanon's Hezbollah, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad of Palestine, the Muslims of Egypt and so on. In all these cases, the agents of global arrogance and above all U.S. have been displaying fanatical behavior, similar to those of tribal communities. The case of U.S.'s malicious hostilities, accompanied by wrath and injustice against Islamic Iran - although in most cases ineffective thanks to the divine will and blessing - is in itself a separate issue, of which many in the world are aware.

Now, does the great Islamic Ummah, its leaders and politicians, intellectuals and religious scholars have no responsibilities with regard to this tragic plight of Muslims throughout the world? Do those - who believe in the truth of this declaration of the Great Prophet of Islam (pbuh) who said: "One who begins the day unconcerned with the affairs of Muslims is not a Muslim" - know of an occasion more suitable than the pilgrimage to the "Baitallah" (House of God) and of a time more suitable than the "Ayyam malumat" (the appointed days, 22:28) for displaying this important obligation? It was indeed not without reason that the Exalted Prophet (pbuh) chose the Hajj period for declaration of the Bar'a (disavowal) of mushrekin, which was a totally political activity within the framework of the very first Islamic government's general policy, and proclaimed this divine and Qur’anic command:

"A proclamation, from God and His messenger, unto mankind on the day of the Great Pilgrimage, - God and His messenger disavow the mushrekin. So if you repent, that will be better for you but if you turn your backs, know that you cannot frustrate the will of God. And proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject faith." (9:3)

Indeed, the Hajj is a duty during which and by way of which the most important political difficulties of the Islamic Ummah can be resolved. For that reason, the Hajj is a duty with political significance, and the nature and characteristics of it have made this very clear. Those who deny this and propagate against it are in effect against the resolution of those difficulties. In brief, the Hajj is a duty which concerns the Ummah, its unity, the power of Muslims, the improvement of the individual and the community and simply a duty concern with both this world and the hereafter.

Those who do not want to accept the political aspect of the Hajj in effect want to keep Islam away from politics and separate religion from politics. The issue of separating religion from politics is that very point which the enemies of sovereignty of Islam over Islamic societies have been raising for decades. Today, now that a government based on the sacred religion of Islam has emerged in Iran, and the ever-increasing enthusiasm for the formation of Islamic government has overwhelmed the entire Islamic world, they are raising that issue [of separating religion from politics] with more vigor and haste than ever. Wherever they see the preparations for the realization of this aim [of forming an Islamic governments], if they can, they enter the scene with force and aggression to fight against it.

The rule of Islam implies resistance against the intervention of the arrogance in Islamic countries. It also warrants the need to keep away those who are dependent on these powers, and the slaves of the satan of selfish desires and the satan of arrogance, from ruling these countries. Ht is therefore natural that the arrogance and those who rely on it and the satans and their followers should be angry about it [the rule of Islam]. By the same token, those who believe in God and the day of judgment and those who truly believe in Islam should welcome it [the rule of Islam] and struggle towards it .

Now that many people from all over the world have had the blessing of perceiving the appointed days and the Hajj to the House of God, I, in all sincerity and modesty, beseech the Almighty to accept their pilgrimage and to endow them and the entire Muslim Ummah with its benefits and make the following recommendations to brothers and sisters:

(1) Seize this opportunity for self-development, repentance and pleading [to God] and store spiritual assets to last you for the rest of your life.

(2) Ask Almighty God to eliminate big obstacles along the path of the Muslims, and keep repeating this request again and again in every prayer and supplication.

(3) Seize every opportunity to become acquainted with Muslims from other countries. Learn lessons from the positive and negative points of their daily life. Non-Iranian Muslims should particularly hear the truth and circumstances of Islamic Iran from their Iranian brothers, so that they discover for themselves whether the global propaganda [against Iran] is right or wrong. Today and always, try to strive to learn the instructions of the Great Imam, His Eminence Imam Khomeini, may God sanctify his noble soul, on Muslims' issues and problems and become better acquainted and more closely familiar with that great reformer and pious personality of Islamic history.

(4) Every accurate point of information and knowledge you have acquired on the situation of the Islamic Ummah or about your own country, pass it on to the Muslims from other countries.

(5) During conversations with your Muslim brothers from every corner of the Islamic world, bear in mind the plight of the Islamic Ummah and have an overall view of the Islamic world. Take your thoughts and others' thoughts beyond the confinement of geographical borders, racial, doctrinal, fictional and other such divides. Only think of Islam and Muslims.

(6) Keep reminding your conversational partners to think of the God-given might of more than one billion Muslims and dozens of Islamic countries with so much material and spiritual wealth and with a huge heritage of culture, civilization, religion and ethics.

(7) Break the myth of the West's invincible might and particularly that of U.S., which global arrogance has always tried to magnify several times above reality and has tried to instill into the Muslims' minds. Remind yourselves and others that the communist might, which on the surface seemed invulnerable, collapsed not too long ago and in front of this same generation's eyes and nothing is left of that might now. The existing over inflated powers, including the might of U.S., may be destroyed and annihilated just as easily.

(8) The responsibility of ulema and intellectuals of the Muslim countries is immense. Always remind them and others of this.

(9) Remind the heads of Islamic countries of their obligations towards the Islamic Ummah, which is to create unity among Muslims, to keep away from global powers, to rely on their own nations and to create healthy relations between the people and the rulers. Such a reminder by you is in accordance with "the reminder for Muslim leaders," and ask Almighty God to rectify this matter.

(10) Remember always that when we say the heads are responsible, it does not mean the individual members of a nation have no responsibility. On the contrary, they can play a decisive role in the achievement of all these great goals.

It is hoped that with divine grace and caring attention of God's Greatest Wali, may our souls be sacrificed for him and may God hasten his lofty advent, the esteemed pilgrims' Hajj rituals will be accepted by God and His blessings and vast mercy is upon the entire Islamic Ummah and all the Muslims.

Peace be upon all the righteous servants of God.

4th Dhu al-Hijjah 1414, corresponding to 15th May 1994;

Ali Al-Hoseyni Al-Khamene'i.

Marjaiyah Today and the Enemies' Propaganda

His Eminence Ayatullah Al-Uzma Seyyed Ali Khamene’I, the Eminent Leader of the Islamic Revolution, delivered an important speech at a gathering of various strata of the people on the birthday of Imam Jawad (AS) on the 10th of Rajab [December 14, 1994] in which among other issues he exposed the biased intention of the propaganda of the enemies of Islam in connection with marjaiyah. His Eminence also accepted the request of Momeneen abroad regarding the issue of marjaiyah. The following are excepts from the speech:

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

I am concerned about the meeting of the Islamic Conference

Organization [ICO] which is being held m Morocco these days. I hope this will not be the case that the heads of Islamic countries are brought together on the basis of tricks and deception and some words or statements extracted from them in support of the interest of the usurper Zionist regime. The heads of Islamic countries must be vigilant in that conference. Enemy infiltrators and traitors of the world of Islam may achieve their aims. Of course, our trusted representative, the foreign minister [Dr. Velayati] is there and, if they want to issue a joint statement, he will express our decisive viewpoints. This in itself is a source of concern for the world of Islam that a conference should be convened under the name of Islam and then, instead of dealing with the pains of Muslims, it deals with the wishes and requests of America and Israel and tries to remedy their problems. We hope that it is not like this, God willing.

On the issue of Bihac, where Muslims are being massacred, they just sit and watch it. If Islamic nations had designated a day and the governments and the nations had cooperated on that day, even if they had just verbally announced that they were unhappy with the attitude of the European Community and the positions of the Serbs and the enemies of the Muslims m Bosnia-Herzegovina, then this in it self could have resolved some problems. They did no! Even stop to do that.

What can Muslim nations do with such officials? In Islamic Iran the officials are in the same line with the people on this issue.

Unfortunately, m other places it is not like that.

These are on r pains, but today I would like to talk about another issue that is a cause for hope and optimism. This issue is the position of the people towards the enemy’s propaganda and the presence of this nation at crucial junctures. If it was possible for us to imagine this nation to be a human being, it would have been appropriate for me to kiss the hand of this human being. This is because this nation has always shown ifs greatness in crucial moments.

Here I am referring to the recent demise of that divine scholar, the late Ayatullah Al-Uzma Araki (RA). God only knows how many hundreds and thousands of hours the enemies spent working and coordinating their ideas so as to be able to use this event for their own propaganda advantage. However, you, with an appropriate and timely move, nullified these hostile activities. God knows what I was feeling when l went into the crowd of people on the day of the funeral. Fell full of admiration, amazement, gratitude and appreciation for these pure souls who, by their mere presence and sentiments resolved many problems.

In order to explain the magnanimity of what this nation did when the late Ayatullah Al-Uzma Araki passed away, I would like to refer to a few points. Also at the end, l would like to explain a fundamental issue.

The enemies have consistently been pursuing a number of issues in their propaganda. Right from the outset of the late Ayatullah Al-Uzma

Araki's illness, they sought to create a certain atmosphere in people's mind with their propaganda. Of course, this should not be underestimated. Their use of the radio as a propaganda tool, as well as other forms of propaganda, is very important. Do not just look at the Iranian people, who do the opposite of what the enemies say and want. Is not like that in the world, where ordinary people are influenced by what these radio stations say.

People do love the true clerics and ulama of Islam because they believe that it is through Islam that it is possible to secure prosperity in this world and the hereafter.

They [the enemies] believe that a political system can be toppled or reinstated by radio. They think that with propaganda disseminated from the radio they can induce people to attack a good person and beat him to pieces or that they can manage to raise an unsuitable individual to a position of power and influence. This is the degree of the world propaganda think tank's faith and belle f in the power of radio and television. Of course, they may be right, but this only applies to places where there is no faith and no awareness. They have done many things in the world by employing radio and television stations. But they were not able to do a damn thing in Iran, because of our people's faith.

There were a number of issues that they wanted to get across to our people. One issue was that Marjaiyah no longer enjoyed the usual prestige and dignity; that those days were gone when Iran used to be moved when a marja-e taqlid died. That right now Marjaiyah was not that important. They continued to repeat such utterances in their radio programs and statements. They also found a number of illiterate or infamous and fugitive clerics from here and there and presented them with a microphone and opportunity to mislead, as well as sums of money. These individuals then naturally opened their mouths and uttered whatever the enemies of Islam wanted them to utter. They even gave them the title of "Ayatullahs." Now, who really are these individuals? They are illiterate individuals who had fled Islam and the nation and were sinister and malicious people. They want to make people listen n to utterances by such individuals. They ask them: Is Marjaiyah in the present Iran as important as in the past? They receive the answer that "No, sir Marjaiyah is finished now and people do not care much about the issue." They wanted to insinuate this.

They intended to undermine the lofty and divine status of Marjaiyah, a role that carries so much influence deep inside the body and soul of Muslims. They did this because Marjaiyah has hurt them badly in the past. Because they had received blows from marjaiyah.

They, there fore, decided to aim their revenge at Marjaiyah as a whole, not just at one marja. This was one of the issues that the enemy's propaganda pursued during the 40 days of the illness of this esteemed scholar [Ayatullah Al-Uzma Araki (RA)].

The second idea that they wanted to plant in the people's minds was that there was no one in Iran who could assume the position of Marjaiyah; that those great ulama and those deep roots no longer existed; that Ayatullah Al-Uzma Araki was the last one and now they were finished. That was what they wanted to propagate. They spoke about this at great length.

The third thing they wanted to say is this: they wanted to give the impression that the Iranian nation had turned away from the clergy; that it had no interest in the clergy. They were saying: yes, at some point in the past, in the early days of the revolution, before the revolution, the clergy were very dear to the people, but now the

Iranian nation does not pay much attention to the clergy: that was the idea they wanted to instill. Of course, they were also saying other things; which I will mention.

On the day when that eminent man [Ayatullah Al-Uzma Araki (HA)] died, Tehran and Iran were in a state of pandemonium and shock. We were receiving the news. Wherever you went, in any city or town, people had gathered in masjids. Truly that day was a very special day in Tehran. People in Tehran saw that and others saw it on the television. Of course, the cameras cannot truly capture these moments. In that huge crowd, I saw many young people, one fifth or one forth of the age of that great man, who were weeping very hard. For what were they crying? What was the reason? They probably had not personally met that 103-year-oldman even once in their life. They did not even know him until 3 or 4 years ago. Of course, the ulama and scholars in the howzah knew him. But they [young people] got to know him 3 or 4 years ago. Why were they crying so hard? Why was Iran so disturbed? Why did women beat their chests and weep? Why did grown men cry like that? Why did they try so hard, in that huge crowd, to reach the coffin and to touch it? Why? What was the reason? There are several reasons. The first reason is that the people of Iran still believe in the lofty and great position of the Marjaiyah.

[Crowd chants Allahu Akbar, Khamene'i is the Leader, Death to

America, Death to Israel.]

The people of Iran really love the clergy--not, of course, the pseudo-clerics whom the enemy would like to present to the people as the true clerics, no, the people resent them--but, people do love the true clerics and ulama of Islam because they believe that if is through Islam that it is possible to secure prosperity in this world and the hereafter. Islam has given them virtue, freedom and glory. Islam has given this nation freedom from oppressors and corrupt institutions

There is no struggle for power. There is no fight. When it comes to the Marjaiyah, many are those who, despite having suitable qualifications, do not mention themselves even once. Thirty years may pass. After thirty or forty years, people think of them and go to them and they issue resaalahs because of the people’s insistence, like the late Ayatullah Al-Uzma Araki (RA) we have many like that the people of Iran suffered a lot under the sinister and heavy shadow of the Pahlavi and Qajar kings in the past century or two. They oppressed people as much as they could. Iran was deprived of its historical glory and greatness; it fell behind in the race for knowledge, of civilization, politics and economics, and it lost its vital resources. This is what the people suffered under monarchies. Who rescued them? Who awakened them? It was that great and holy man, the doyen and leader of the clergymen [Imam Khomeini (M)]. People are fond of the true religious scholars. Every time a true cry for freedom was Heard from a movement in this country, its leaders were clergymen. This is history, a history that was not written by clergymen but by their enemies who, nevertheless, admitted that this was the case. This is something that the people demonstrated. This propaganda there fore failed.

They put out false propaganda that there was no longer anyone in Iran who was qualified to become a marja. People saw, right in front of their eyes, that, all at once, a list of ulama who were qualified for the position of marja, had been issued by the experts on the subject, by those who were qualified to know and who were in control of the howzahs and the howzahs depend heavily on them [i.e. Jameah Modaresin Howzah Elmiyyah Qum (The Association of the Faculty of Qum Theological Seminary)]. They could introduce to people those who qualify for the position of Marjaiyah and that is what they did. Of course, these gentlemen put forward the names of five or six individuals-well, this was what they thought best, it was not possible to name 1OO persons. But you should know that today, if we wanted to count, there would be more than a hundred people in Qum howzah qualified to be marja. Now six of them were named, but these are not the only ones. Two of them were also named by the Association of Combatant Clergy [Jame 'eh-ye Ruhaniyat-e Mobarez]. There are a hundred persons at least [who could become marja] as well.

They say: the ancient roots .of ulama have come to an end, the generation of great ulama has ended. What do they know about great ulama or the howzahs? These politicians of Britain and America and the world's news agencies cannot understand and analyze the most obvious issues concerning this nation. If they could, they would not be defeated so much by the Iranian nation. They are incapable of analysis but give themselves the right to express their opinions on issues concerning the howzahs, which are indeed highly complex. It is the members of the howzahs who know who is qualified and who is not. What do they understand about the generation of great ulama?

A number of top class marjas have departed this world since the demise of the Imam [Khomeini] (RA). The most famous four were Ayatullah Al-Uzma Araki, Ayatullah Al-Uzma Golpayegani, Ayatullah Al-Uzma Kho'i and Ayatullah Al-Uzma Mar'ashi. Ayatullah Al-Uzma Araki lived for 103 years, whereas the others departed when they were in their nineties. That is, in the year 1340 [1961] when the late Ayatullah Al-Uzma Borujerdi departed this world, those ulama who died in their nineties were about 60 years old. Thirty-three years ago they were between 57 and 62 years old. It has always been the same. When the late Ayatullahs Kho'i or Golpayegani or Mar'ashi were introduced to the people as marja, their age at the Urne was either less or the same as some of the ones being introduced today. About what are you [the foreign media] talking'1 You are aimlessly wagging your chins saying: the ulama of the howzahs are all dead. What do you know about the howzah ulama and their status? You are making comments without justification. Another issue is that they have begun naming certain individuals as marja. They say: So and so is the top man. They have begun issuing fatwas and decrees to direct the Muslim people, not realizing that the people are the most uncompromising on the subject of Marjaiyah. And the people are justified in being so uncompromising on this subject. I would like to request you, my dear ones, to remain uncompromising. When you are dealing with the issue of Marjaiyah, you should not be swayed by emotions. Investigate by using the same shari'ah method that exists, that is, that not one but two just witnesses must testify. Of course those two witnesses cannot be just anybody. They must be experts m the field and knowledgeable. They must testify that so and so is worthy for the purpose of taqlid, then it is possible to follow that person. Now look at those gentlemen [foreign media people] who expect the Iranian nation, that is, a nation that is so uncompromising on the issue of taqlid, to listen to anything being said by those wicked and lewd individuals who run the BBC and the Zionist radio. They say: Mr. so and so is the best and the people should follow him. What a futile dream! No doubt the individuals mentioned [by these radios] lost any slight chance they might have had of becoming a marja to a group, thanks to these radios. The majority o f our committed Muslim nation have heard nothing but lies from these alien radios. They have heard so many lies and have seen so much wickedness and malice from these radio stations that they will do exactly the opposite of what these radios recommend. If they were it say: Follow Mr. so and so as the marja, our people would not do so. If they emphasize on someone, saying do not follow him, then the people would follow that person.

This is the way and habit of our people and it is justified. The Imam [Khomeini] (RA), used to say: "Progress depends on doing the opposite of what these foreign radios and the enemy propaganda recommends. Whichever direction they adopt is the wrong direction. You should know this. The truth lies m the opposite direction from their chosen path." By adopting these positions, our people have given a slap m the face to the hostile propaganda of the enemy regarding the issue of Marjaiyah. [Crowd chants Allahu Akbar, Khamene'i is the Leader, Death to Amenca, Death to Israel.] I really must thank the people. Of course, it is not very easy to thank this nation. You really made us proud with regard to the issue of the demise of the late Ayatullah Al-Uzma Araki, with the positions you adopted. Your presence in the funeral procession, your presence in prayers, your presence in the memorial services. Thanks are also due to the ulama m Qum and Tehran who prepared a list of individuals whom people can follow with regard to Marjaiyah. They carried out their duty. Of course, it cannot be said that those who were not included in the list are worth less than those on the list. I cannot say that. As I said, if you go to Qum today, you will find at least 100 people whose names can be put on a list and you can say you may follow these people. When the second term [for the presidency] came, the Imam

Khomeini] (RA) himself told me that it was my obligation. I went to see him and told him: I do not want to take on the responsibility, I do not want to run again. He told me: It is your obligation. Another issue that is a fundamental one is that the enemy was trying to suggest that in Iran a power struggle is taking place over the Marjaiyah. As the saying goes, the infidel looks at everyone else as an infidel. In those European countries, and m the United States and so on, in places where the culture of materialism prevails-when it comes to assuming some lowly position such as the post of governor of a province or mayor of a town, or winning a seal in a parliament, they are prepared to crush everything that is holy under their feel in order to win that post. That is what they are like. What I regret is that you dear people do not have the opportunity to see some of the written material and information by these people that we have at our disposal. You would then see how pathetic the world is in terms of love of power and ambition. These very same personalities whom you see in the world, who appear in front of television cameras with their clean faces, their clothes ironed, their ties knotted, with frozen smiles, they are prepared to commit every imaginable crime in order to attain their positions of power. Most of them are like that. They assume that it is the same here. They think that the same thing occurs with regard to the Marjaiyah. No sir, you are wrong. There is no struggle for power. There is no fight. When it comes to the Marjaiyah, many are those who, despite having suitable qualifications, do not mention themselves even once. Thirty years may pass. After thirty or forty years, people think of them and go to them and they issue resaalahs [religious theses] because of the people's insistence, like the late Ayatullah Al-Uzma Araki (RA)- we have many like that. Right now there are those in Qum who are worthy of Marjaiyah. If thousands of people refer to them and ask them to come and be involved, they will say that they do not wish to become involved. They say: Thanks to God there are other people. They are there right now. There are persons who do not even mention their own names, although they know that they are more suited than all others. Most mujtahids believe that they are more suited than others. I do not say that this is the case for all of them, but most are like this. Even though they know that they are more suited than everyone else, they do not even mention this. That is the way they are. They do not want to become the center of attention; they are not prepared to enter the scene. Following the demise of Ayatullah Al-Uzma Borujerdi, the eminent Imam [Khomeini] (RA) who, as you saw for yourselves, attracted the attention of the world and was so powerful that he could hold the whole world single-handedly, did not issue a resaleh. He went and sat at home. People insisted, but he did not issue a resaleh. I myself was one of the people who asked him [to issue a resaleh] at that time. But he did not answer. He said that there were [other] ulama available. Then a group of people went and obliged him [to issue a resaleh]. His fatwas were clear; his resaleh was organized and published. We have many examples of such personalities. Right now there are eminent personalities here and there in howzahs who were worthy of being named [as marja] some 20 or 30 years ago, but they themselves did not mention their names and they did not allow those who knew them to do that. The rest did not know them. There is no power struggle. The most important work that can be done [by a scholar] concerning his capacity for marjaiyah is just to publish a resaleh and leave it at home. That is all. If someone refers to him, then he could say: Here you are, this is a copy of my resaleh, get it and go. That is all they can do; they can do no more than that. Now they keep mentioning in their radio programs that there is a power struggle. One of the baseless issues they raise is that the majority of scholars are against the religion's involvement in politics. They therefore want to say that they [those scholars] are against the Islamic Government, they are against the Wilayat al-Faqih and they form the majority of the people. Those ulama who issued the statement regarding marjaiyah farm the majority [of the people]; those whose names are mentioned today are in the majority. Of course there are also unfit personalities among the clergy; we do not deny that. There are unfit people among the clergy, among shopkeepers, among university and army personnel and in many other areas. There are unfit persons everywhere, including in the clergy. There are those among the clergy who have enjoyed the blessings of Imam Zaman (AS) and are still ungrateful and they oppose the path of Imam Zaman (AS). There are those sort of clergy, too, and we do not deny that. Foreign radios can go and interview them as much as they like. They may be prepared to insult all the sanctities of the Islamic Republic in dozens of volumes of hooks. Such people exist; of course they do. But, first of all, not only are there very few of them, but they are also hated by the people of Iran and by revolutionary Muslims. If the persons that foreign radios and arrogant instruments resort to in the issue of Marjaiyah let themselves be known by this nation, then do you think that the people would leave them alone? This nation does not forgive traitors. Until today it has not forgiven them and in the future it will not forgive traitors either. [Participants chant: Allahu Akbar, Khamene'i is the Leader, Death to America, Death to Israel.] It is necessary that I should mention another point. I hope my dear brothers and sisters will listen to this issue without becoming emotional. On the very first day after the demise of the Imam [Khomeini] (RA), m the Assembly of Experts, of which I was also a member, the issue of assuming the Leadership was raised and ultimately the name of this humble individual was mentioned. They were discussing who should be elected [for the position of the Leader and the Waliy Faqih]. They agreed that they should elect this humble individual to this vital position. I opposed it. I expressed serious opposition to it. Not that I wanted to be modest. No. God only knows what was really going on in my heart during those moments. I stood up and told them: gentlemen, please wait and be patient. These conversations are recorded and exist. Both the video and the audio are available. I began to reason with them not to elect me to this post. I told them not to do it. No matter how much I insisted, they would not accept. However much I reasoned with them, the mujtahedeen and the religious scholars who were present responded to the reasons that l was putting forward. I was decisive in not accepting, but then I realized that there was no option, no choice. Why was there no choice? Because, according to the reasoning of those individuals whom I trust, this obligation and this duty has been put on my shoulders. That is, if I do not handle this burden, this burden will not be carried by anyone. Al this stage I said that I would accept. Why? Because I realized that otherwise the burden will not be carried. This is why I accepted. If there was another person, or if I had known that someone else would take up this burden and would be acceptable to the others, I certainly would not have agreed to lake on this burden. Then, we put our trust m God and God has helped so far and throughout the past years. I was elected for two terms as president. Both times l resisted. In the first term--I was just out of the hospital [In 1981, after recovering from an assassination attempt carried out by the agents of arrogant powers]- friends told me that if I did not accept this there was no one else to take on the responsibility. I had no option. When the second term came, the Imam [Khomeini] (RA) himself told me that it was my obligation. I went to see him and told him: I do not want to take on the responsibility; I do not want to run again. He told me: it is your obligation. That is, the obligation is not an obligation that one can delegate to someone else [wajib-e kefa'i]. This is your obligation, it is a specific obligation [wajib-e 'ainij]. I believe, if it is a specific obligation, I do not want to drop the burden of responsibility from my shoulders. My dear ones, this is not the case with Marjaiyah. The burden will not remain on the ground and unattended. This issue does not stop with one person. Yes, the ulama have drawn up a list [of those suitable to be a marja] and this humble person's name has been included in that list. However, if they had asked me, I would have told them not to do it. They did this without my knowledge. I was informed after their statement had been published or else I would not have let them. I even informed the television. I told them: If it does not upset these ulama, do not read my name out when you read their statement. They said: No, we cannot do this. this is a distortion of the statement, because the ulama have had meetings and discussed the situation and have reached this conclusion, so names cannot be omitted from the list. Let me say this to you now: dear nation, my dear ones, eminent ulama and great personalities who, from this and that corner, send messages to me about publishing a resaleh and so on: my current burden is very heavy. The burden of the Leadership and its enormous responsibilities are equivalent to several times the weight of the burden of Marjaiyah. I want you to know this. If you put several marjaiyahs together, the burden may be as heavy as this one, maybe, but perhaps not. There is no need now. Yes, if, God forbid, the situation became such that I could see that there was no alterative, I would say: II does not mailer, my shoulders, despite all my weaknesses and shortcomings, can, with God's help, bear this weight too when they have to, when it is necessary. But the situation is not like that now.

There is no need now. There are so many mujtahids, God be praised. I mentioned Qum; there are others elsewhere as well. There are mujtahids, worthy people. What need is there for this extra burden to be placed on me in addition to the heavy weight which Exalted God has already placed on these weak shoulders? There is no need for this. So, when people insist: Sir, write a resaleh, --please pay attention to this, this is the reason why I refuse to accept the burden of responsibility of Marjaiyah, because, God be praised, there are other ulama, there is no need as such. Today, I accept the request of Muslims outside Iran [for Marjaiyah] Of course, outside Iran that is another situation, l accept their burden. Why? Because if l do not pick up and assume that burden, it would he a loss. [Crowd chants in support: Khamene'i, you are the leader of Muslims] I feel that these ulama who are here today, praise be to God, are well qualified and have the necessary qualifications and their numbers are more than enough in Qum who can accept this responsibility. And on the day that these ulama can shoulder the burden of abroad, then l shall withdraw from that responsibility as well. Today, I accept the request of Muslims outside Iran because there is no other option, just as in other situations when we have to do something. However, inside Iran, there is no need. The holy presence of the Lord of the Age [Imam Mahdi] --may our souls be sacrificed for him and may God hasten his noble return--is himself the supervisor, keeper and guardian of the howzahs; the supporter and guardian of the great ulama; the guide of the marjas' hearts and the people's hearts. We hope Almighty God will make this stage an auspicious one for the people. May the peace and blessings of God be upon you. [Crowd chants in support: Khamene'i, you are the Leader of Muslims]


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