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Supreme Leader's Hajj Message

Written by ebrahimi

Sunday, 07 December 2008

In the Name of God the Beneficent the Merciful

Once again the Land of Revelation has gathered legions of true-believers for its annual banquet. In the birthplace of Islam and the Holy Qur'an, eager hearts from throughout the world are now engaged in such rites which indeed show a sign of the eternal lesson of Islam and the Holy Qur'an to mankind: symbolic steps for implementing and applying such a lesson.

The aim of this great lesson is to ensure the eternal salvation and dignity of mankind by training righteous people and establishing a righteous society; people who worship the One and Only God in their hearts and in practice and cleanse themselves from polytheism, moral impurities and deviant desires, and a society built out of justice, freedom, faith, vitality and all the other signs of life and progress.

The main elements for such personal and social training are incorporated in the Hajj. Going into ihram and leaving individual distinctions behind, abstaining from many carnal joys and desires, circumambulating around the symbol of monotheism and praying in the Place of Ibrahim the Idol-breaker and the Self-Sacrificing, the hurrying between the two hills, finding tranquility in Arafat among the great numbers of monotheists from every color and ethnic background to passing the night in prayer and supplication in al-Mash`ar al-Haram with a fondness for God in one's heart, devoting one's heart and soul to God the Almighty in such a congested crowd, being present in Mina and stoning the satanic symbols, the meaningful concretization of sacrificing and feeding the poor and the wayfarer are all aimed at training, practicing and reminding us of it.

In this perfect ritual, sincerity, purity of heart and disentanglement from materialistic engagements, endeavor, resilience, intimacy and seclusion with God, unity, concordance, homogeneity, adorning the soul and heart, committing the heart to solidarity with the great body of the Muslim Ummah, humility before the Ultimate Truth, firmness against falsehood, soaring in the desire for the hereafter and the firm resolution to adorn the world are all interwoven and constantly practiced:

وَ مِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَقُولُ رَبَّنا آتِنا فِي الدُّنْيا حَسَنَةً وَ فِي الآْخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَ قِنا عَذابَ النَّارِ .

"And among them there are those who say, "Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the Fire."

This way, the Honored Kaaba and the Hajj rituals contribute to the resilience and the uprising of human societies and are filled with benefit and enjoyment for all mankind:

جَعَلَ اللَّهُ الْكَعْبَةَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرامَ قِياماً لِلنَّاس‏

ليَشْهَدُوا مَنافِعَ لَهُمْ وَ يَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَعْلُوماتٍ‏

Allah has made the Kaaba, the Sacred House, a means of sustenance for mankind...

That they may witness the benefits for them, and mention Allah's Name during the known days.

Today, Muslims from all countries and races should appreciate the value of this great ritual more than before and benefit from it, for the horizon is brighter than ever in the eyes of the Muslim Ummah and the hope for reaching the goals Islam has envisaged for individuals and societies is greater than ever. If, in the last two centuries the Muslim Ummah got disintegrated and was defeated in the confrontation with the Western materialistic civilization and the atheist schools of thought of both the right and the left, today, in the 15th century of the Lunar Hegira, it is the economic and political theories of the West that are paralyzed and fading away. Today, as a result of the Muslims' reawakening and the retrieval of their identity and with the resurgence of monotheistic ideas and the logic of justice and divinity, a new dawn of prosperity and glory has begun for Muslims.

Those who, in the not-so-distant past, were singing the tune of despair and believed that not only Islam and Muslims but also the foundations of spirituality and religiosity had been lost in the invasion of the Western civilization, are now today witnessing the resurgence of Islam and the revival of the Holy Qur'an as well as the gradual debilitation and collapse of those invaders, confirming all this with their tongues and hearts.

I say with full confidence that this is only the beginning and the complete fulfillment of the divine promise of the victory of truth over falsehood, the reconstruction of the Ummah of the Qur'an and the new Islamic civilization are on the way:

وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَ عَمِلُوا الصَّالِحاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الأَْرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ وَ لَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضى‏ لَهُمْ وَ لَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْناً يَعْبُدُونَنِي لا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئاً وَ مَنْ كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذلِكَ فَأُولئِكَ هُمُ الْفاسِقُونَ

Allah has promised those of you who have faith and do righteous deeds that He will surely make them successors in the earth, just as He made those who were before them successors, and He will surely establish for them their religion which He has approved for them, and that He will surely change their state to security after their fear, while they worship Me, not ascribing any partners to Me. And whoever is ungrateful after that it is they who are the transgressors.

The first and foremost sign of this inescapable promise was the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the establishment of the glorious Islamic system which turned Iran into a strong fortress for the idea of Islamic rule and civilization. The birth of this miraculous phenomenon amidst the height of the materialism and Islamophobia of rightist and leftist politicians and thinkers, and then its resistance against political, military, economic and propaganda strikes coming from all directions, gave rise to the creation of new hope and passion in the hearts of Muslims. With the passage of time and by the grace of God the Almighty, the strength and capabilities of the Islamic Revolution have increased and the hope it created is now more deeply rooted than ever. Over the last thirty years, the Middle East and Muslim countries in Asia and Africa have been the arenas where this victorious struggle is taking place: Palestine and the Islamic Intifada and the emergence of a Muslim Palestinian government; Lebanon and the historic victory of Hizbollah and the Islamic resistance against the arrogant bloodthirsty Zionist regime; Iraq and the establishment of a Muslim and populist government on the ruins of the atheist regime and the dictator Saddam; Afghanistan and the humiliating defeat of the Communist occupiers and their puppet government; the defeat and failure of all the plots hatched by arrogant America to dominate the Middle East; the incurable problems and chaos inside the usurper Zionist regime; the prevalence of the Islam-seeking masses in all or most of the neighboring countries and especially among the youth and intellectuals; the amazing scientific and technological progress in Islamic Iran achieved under severe economic sanctions and embargoes; the defeat of warmongers in America in the political and economic arenas and Muslim minorities' regaining their true identity and dignity in most of the Western countries. These are all clear indications of the triumph and advancements of Islam in its struggle against its enemies in this century that is the 15th century of Lunar Hegira.

Brothers and sisters! These victories are all the fruits of jihad and sincerity. When the voice of God was heard from the lips of His servants, and the resoluteness and strength of the fighters of the true path were deployed and when the Muslims fulfilled their promise to God the Exalted and the Almighty fulfilled His promise in response, the path of history was changed:

أَوْفُوا بِعَهْدِي أُوفِ بِعَهْدِكُم‏ إِنْ تَنْصُرُوا اللَّهَ يَنْصُرْكُمْ وَ يُثَبِّتْ أَقْدامَكُمْ ً وَ لَيَنْصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَنْ يَنْصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيز إِنَّا لَنَنْصُرُ رُسُلَنا وَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فِي الْحَياةِ الدُّنْيا وَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الأَْشْهادُ

Fulfill My covenant that I may fulfill your covenant, and be in awe of Me alone.

If you help Allah, He will help you and make your feet steady.

Allah will surely help those who help Him. Indeed Allah is all-Strong, all-Mighty.

Indeed We shall help Our apostles and those who have faith in the life of the world and on the day when the witnesses rise up.

But this is still the beginning. Muslim nations still face treacherous roads ahead. One can never survive them unless one is equipped with the power of faith, sincerity, hope and jihad as well as insight and patience. This path cannot be taken with despair and pessimism, apathy and lack of spirit, impatience, lethargy and disbelief in the fulfillment of the divine promise.

The wounded enemy is now resorting to anything and will spare no effort to strike back. We need to be resourceful, wise and to take advantage of opportunities. This way all the efforts of the enemy will fail. In the last thirty years, the enemies, mostly the US and Zionism, have been utilizing all their capacities but have failed miserably. The same thing will happen in the future, too, inshallah.

The severity and intensity of the enemy's actions usually show just how weak and imprudent he is. Look at Palestine and especially Gaza. The cruel and ruthless acts of the enemy, which are unprecedented in the history of human atrocities, are indicative of his weakness in overcoming the firm resolve of men, women and children who, with their empty hands, are standing against the Occupant Regime and its supporter, the superpower called America; they have spurned its demand which is to reject the Hamas government. May God the Almighty's blessings be showered upon this resolute and great nation. The people of Gaza and the Hamas government have given meaning to the following everlasting verses of the Holy Qur'an which says:

وَ لَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْ‏ءٍ مِنَ الْخَوْفِ وَ الْجُوعِ وَ نَقْصٍ مِنَ الأَْمْوالِ وَ الأَْنْفُسِ وَ الثَّمَراتِ وَ بَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ *الَّذِينَ إِذا أَصابَتْهُمْ مُصِيبَةٌ قالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَ إِنَّا إِلَيْهِ راجِعُونَ *أُولئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَواتٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَ رَحْمَةٌ وَ أُولئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ و لَتُبْلَوُنَّ فِي أَمْوالِكُمْ وَ أَنْفُسِكُمْ وَ لَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ وَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَذىً كَثِيراً وَ إِنْ تَصْبِرُوا وَ تَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ ذلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الأُْمُورِ.

We will surely test you with a measure of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth, lives, and fruits; and give good news to the patient.

Those who, when an affliction visits them, say, "Indeed we belong to Allah, and to Him do we indeed return."

It is they who receive the blessings of their Lord and His mercy, and it is they who are the rightly guided.

You will surely be tested in your possessions and your souls, and you will surely hear from those who were given the Book before you and from the polytheists much affront; but if you are patient and God wary, that is indeed the steadiest of courses.

Truth will emerge triumphant in its battle with falsehood and it is the oppressed and steadfast nation of Palestine that will ultimately be victorious over the enemy.

وَ كانَ اللَّهُ قَوِيًّا عَزِيزاً

And Allah is all-Strong, all-Mighty.

Even today, the enemy has failed to break the resistance of the Palestinians. The claims of freedom and democracy and the slogans of human rights have turned out to be nothing but lies. This has greatly disgraced the US and most European regimes; disgraces from which they will not be able to recover soon. The infamous Zionist regime is more notorious than before and some Arab regimes have lost their honor and reputation which they did not have in this test.

وَ سَيَعْلَمُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَيَّ مُنْقَلَبٍ يَنْقَلِبُونَ

السلام علی عباد الله الصالحین

Sayyed Ali Husainy Khamenei

4 Dhil-Hijjah 1429/ 3 December 2008

Imam Khamene'is Hajj-Message 1429 [pdf]


Supreme Leader's Speech to Participants of the 17th National Prayer Meeting


The following is the full text of the speech delivered on November 19, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to participants of the 17th National Prayer Meeting.

In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the dear brothers and sisters who are responsible for propagating prayers. This is a righteous and valuable deed everywhere, especially in universities. I pray to Allah the Exalted to bestow grace on all of you as well as on Mr. Gharaati and other people who are in charge of this great duty-and who started this propagation. Their efforts have become very successful today. I pray to God to grant them a long life so that they can continue carrying out this duty.

The importance of propagating prayers is due to the importance of prayers themselves. Islamic teachings-the Quran and the statements left from our Prophet (s.w.a.) and infallible Imams-have encouraged Muslims to pay attention to prayers. When we see the importance that has been attached to prayers, we realize that prayers have a pivotal role among the elements that contribute to physical, mental, individual, and social health of human beings. Performing all religious obligations and avoiding all unlawful acts come together to form the divine prescription that has been provided for man. This is to increase our psychological strength and to improve our status in this world and the hereafter-that is, our personal and social status. However, there are a number of key elements on this prescription, and maybe we can refer to prayers as one of those key elements. "Those who, if We establish them in the land, will keep up prayer." [The Holy Quran, 22: 41]. Faithful people, those who are engaged in jihad, and those who are devoted to promoting divine teachings act like this. When these people are established "in the land" and when they are given power, there are many things that they are expected to do: establish justice and many other things. But the first thing they do is to "keep up prayer". Why is it so important to perform prayers? What is the secret behind all this?

Performing prayers has been discussed in detail. There are irrepressible passions in all of us. These passions are like an elephant that has to be controlled, in which case the same human passions will bring about improvement. Passions are a set of human instincts which can help man achieve the peaks of perfection if they are controlled and utilized in an appropriate way. The only problem is that they are hard to control. These passions must be controlled. The reason why we have oppression in the world is that there are some individuals or groups of people who let their passions loose. That is also true of corruption, insult, loss of human dignity, and poverty. That is the reason why a great portion of the world population is deprived of divine blessings. It is the passions of oppressors that give rise to oppression. It is the arrogant people who disempower others. It is the greedy and ruthless people who cause poverty and hunger. All the corruption in the world from the beginning of time up to the present has been caused by human passions. Throughout history the more man has tried to utilize his talents, the more he has been involved in his passions. An oppressor who has an atomic bomb is different from the oppressor who has only a sword. These passions have grown more and more dangerous for human beings.

Human beings inherently suffer from these passions, and one day they have to control them. These passions could be controlled through remembrance of God, taking refuge in God, feeling dependant on God, feeling humble before the glory of God, and realizing one's ugliness compared to the absolute beauty of Allah the Exalted. These are all due to remembrance of God. A pious man-that is, one who is careful and exercises self-restraint-would not cause iniquity, oppression, and corruption. Remembrance of God is a factor that keeps pious people from these things. "Surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil." [The Holy Quran, 29: 45]. This does not mean that saying prayers limits people. Prayers just help us control our instincts. Some people believe this verse means performing prayers puts an end to corruption and unlawful acts. That is not the case. It simply means that your inner voice grows strong when praying and constantly warns you against corruption and unlawful acts. These constant warnings are certainly effective, and they make the heart humble. That is the reason why prayers have to be repeated during the day. We have been advised to fast once a year and go on hajj pilgrimage once in a lifetime. But prayers have to be repeated several times a day. That shows the importance of praying.

If we perform prayers, we will feel psychologically and socially secure. Prayers make our mind, body, and society secure. That is the inherent characteristic of prayers. That shows the effect of praying on society. That is the reason why prayers have been stressed so much. This is the duty of the organizations in charge of promoting prayers in different parts of our country, and among people from different social backgrounds - especially among our elite young students. I mean you are responsible for leading the country towards collective remembrance of God. Everyone-young or old, male or female-including government officials and those who are self-employed, must be careful about moral issues. When people are aware of God, they will do their job appropriately. Most of our sins are rooted in lack of vigilance. That is the reason prayers have to be repeated constantly.

These issues have been discussed in detail, and I have talked about them on several occasions. Prayers have a body and a soul. You must pay attention to this point. Each and every one of us, including myself, must pay attention to this point. Prayers have a form as well as substance. We must take care not to separate the soul and body of prayers from one another. That is not to say that the body of prayers is totally ineffective. Even the body alone is not totally devoid of positive effects. However, the type of prayer that has been emphasized by Islam, the Quran, sharia, the Holy prophet (s.w.a.), and the infallible Imams (a.s.) is one that has a body as well as a soul. The form of prayers has been tailored to their soul. Prayers are composed of different parts such as ruku, sajdah, prostration, and tashahhud. These various parts are there to fulfill the different needs that prayers are supposed to fulfill, and there is a secret behind each of the parts. Together, these parts form the body [form] of prayers. This form is very important, but attention to God is the soul of prayers. We must be aware of what we are doing. As I told you, when praying is not accompanied by attention to Allah, it is not as effective as it should be.

Sometimes people perform their prayers out of the force of habit. Sometimes we pray for the same reason as we, for instance, brush our teeth or exercise. But sometimes people pray in order to feel God's presence. That is a different issue. We are constantly before God, no matter if we are asleep, awake, unaware, or aware [of God's presence]. There are other times when we perform wudu and ghusl-becoming spiritually and physically clean as a result-and pray to God. That is how we must feel during prayers. As I told you, you must feel God's presence. That is the psychological status that prayers require. We must feel we are before Allah. Producing some vocal signals is not the purpose of praying. That is not what we have been advised to do. We can just say: "Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the Beneficent, the Merciful, Master of the day of Requital...." [The Holy Quran, 1]. Then we have just produced some sound waves. Or we can perform prayers in a good voice, but inattentively. But we have still done nothing but produce some sound waves. That is not what we have been required to do. We have been required to feel that we are before God. We must talk to and from our hearts. These are all important. These are the soul of prayers, and we must pay attention to them when we pray, propagate praying, or teach it to other people.

Of course the soul and the form of prayers are inter-related. It is not possible to think that one can engage in dhikr instead of saying prayers. As I previously mentioned, the form and soul of prayers are inter-related. According to Islamic traditions, different positions have been recommended to us for different pasts of prayers. Of course, these positions are not obligatory. Rather, they are recommended acts. For instance, it has been recommended where we should look when we are standing or are during ruku and sajdah. In other traditions, it has been recommended that we should close our eyes when we are during ruku. Still in some others, we have been recommended to look ahead when during ruku. These positions will all help us be more attentive during prayers.

Let me refer to the importance of saying prayers, although we may not be able to truly explain the importance of prayers. Imam Sadiq (a.s.), while ill in bed and about to die, told his executor before his death: "Those who debase prayers are not among my followers." This means those who do not consider prayers as important.

Considering all the positive aspects of saying prayers, how much time do we usually spend per day saying our prayers? The obligatory prayers which we say during the day-17 rikaats-will take almost 34 minutes of our time in a day if we are to say our prayers attentively. Otherwise, the time we spend everyday on saying our prayers would be even less. Sometimes, we spend 15 or twenty minutes of our time watching TV advertisements while we are waiting for our favorite program to start. These advertisements are not useful for us, but we just watch them and lose twenty minutes of our time just to watch our favorite program. There are lots of similar cases in our life in which we waste time in a similar fashion-like when we wait for a taxi, a bus, a friend, or our professor in a class. In all these cases, we lose ten, fifteen, or twenty minutes of our time. We can spend these minutes praying which is a great and important act.

The youth should pay even more attention to praying than the others. Through praying, the hearts of our youth get enlightened and they gain more hope. Through praying, the youth gain spiritual vitality. These feelings are typical of the youth. They will gain a lot of vitality out of praying. If God Almighty bestows upon us the blessing to say our prayers attentively, we will realize that one will never get tired of praying if one prays attentively. When we say our prayers attentively, we can enjoy praying more than any other thing in the world. These are the results of attentive praying. Saying prayers inattentively and getting bored during prayers are among the characteristics of hypocrites. Of course, this does not mean that those who do not feel well while saying their prayers are hypocrites. God Almighty mentions the characteristics which are typical of hypocrites in the Holy Quran. There were some hypocrites during the Prophet Muhammad's (s.w.a.) time who did not believe in praying but would only pray for the sake of others. "And when they stand up for prayer, they stand up sluggishly-they do it only to be seen." [The Holy Quran, 4: 142]. When one prays without remembering God, praying would turn into a boring act for him. Even the four or five minutes which we spend to say four rikaats of prayers would seem like a very long time if we pray without remembering God during the prayers. If we pray for the sake of God and remember God during the prayers, we will see that time passes very fast during the prayers and wish we could spend more time praying.

This is something which our youth have to learn. If our youth learn this, praying properly will not be difficult for them when they reach our age. For those who are not used to praying properly, learning to do so will be possible but difficult when they reach our age. Praying properly means praying attentively and remembering God when praying. This means speaking to God from the bottom of one's heart while praying. If these points are observed, praying properly will turn into a habit and will not be tiring for anyone. In this case, one will continue praying attentively until the end of one's life.

A point was mentioned by Mr. Gharaati. This is a point which he has mentioned several times in the past and which I have always emphasized as well. The point concerns the insufficient number of mosques in densely-populated areas. This is a point which the administration officials who are present in this meeting-the honorable ministers present in this meeting-should pose in the cabinet meetings. In all the great building projects which are carried out inside the country, building mosques should be a priority. When building subway stations, train stations, airports, and satellite towns, building mosques should always be a priority. In places where more than one mosque is required, they should be built. Is it possible to develop a plan for a city without any streets? Is it possible to build a city without any streets? Building mosques is equally important. Building satellite towns without any mosques is not acceptable. Building mosques should be one of the prerequisites for issuing licenses for mass building projects.

Another point that was mentioned concerned the issue of praying during flights-both domestic as well as international flights. If possible, the flights should be scheduled in a way that makes it possible for the passengers to say their prayers on time. For instance, it should not be the case that a particular flight takes off before the dawn and lands after the sunrise. The flights should be scheduled to allow the passengers to say their prayers on time-either before the flight or after the flight has landed. However, if this is not possible, the required facilities should be provided for the passengers to say their prayers on the plane. Of course, locating the Qiblah is easily possible. This is something which pilots are well capable of. The same is also true of train schedules.

Our current situation is not comparable to that of the pre-Revolution era. Most of you may not remember the pre-Revolution era. Things were really strange, both here as well as in other places. I once took a trip to Iraq to make a pilgrimage to the holy shrines there. The train did not stop for morning prayers although we insisted a lot. Of course, it was not possible for the train to stop due to the schedule which had been previously set. As a last resort, I jumped out of the train while it was near a station in order to say my prayers. It was not possible for me to say my prayers inside the train because the train was very dirty. However, what I intend to say is that these points were not observed before the Revolution. Of course, the situation is quite different now, but I still expect more from you. The importance of prayers should be clarified for everyone.

I have said many times before to prayer leaders of the different cities-including Tehran-that enough facilities should be built inside our mosques. The sound of the call to prayers should be heard everywhere. All the manifestations of attention to prayers should be visible in an Islamic city-especially in cities like Tehran and the other large cities in our country. Both our people and the people who enter these cities should see these manifestations in our cities. The manifestations of an Islamic city should be clearly visible in our cities, just as they should in our architecture. The Zionists use the sign of the unlucky Star of David on all the buildings they construct in the world. This is one of their policies. Similarly, the manifestations of Islam should prevail in our architecture.

I hope Allah the Exalted will bestow success on you all. Being in charge of prayer-related affairs is not an insignificant task. Rather, it is of paramount importance. I hope all those who are involved in these affairs will be among those who are referred to as "those who keep up prayers" in the Holy Quran. In the Holy Quran, pure-hearted, faithful people are referred to as "those who keep up prayers". [The Holy Quran, 4: 162]. I hope you will all be among those who promote prayers, and I hope God Almighty will bestow upon us the blessing to benefit from prayers.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Address to Officials in Charge of Hajj Affairs


The following is the full text of the speech delivered on November 5, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to the officials in charge of Hajj Affairs.

In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I wholeheartedly pray to Allah the Exalted to bestow His blessings on your efforts. I hope that these sincere efforts - which are being made to get closer to Allah - will lead to the outcomes you intend to achieve, that is, a genuine Islamic pilgrimage that is to be satisfactory to the immaculate soul of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) of Islam.

Hajj is an opportunity that Allah the Exalted has bestowed on us. It is an opportunity for both the individual Muslim and the great Islamic Ummah. It is also an opportunity for the Islamic Republic that has raised the flag of Islamic leadership and sharia. We must all make the best of this opportunity.

For the individual Muslim, hajj is an opportunity to enter the vast world of spirituality, to get rid of the imperfections of daily life, and to enter a sincere, spiritual atmosphere. It is an opportunity to get closer to Allah and to practice voluntary asceticism. From the very beginning of the hajj rituals, pilgrims avoid the ordinary things that are permissible in daily life. Ihram is to consider as haraam things that are ordinarily permissible in everyday life. Some of these things that have been declared halal prepare the ground for lack of vigilance and some others bring about decadence.

During the hajj rituals, all the means of material and superficial pride are taken away from us. First, we lose our ordinary clothes. All pilgrims lose their ordinary clothes and social status and wear the same uniform. During ihram, pilgrims are not allowed to look at themselves in a mirror because this is indicative of a tendency towards narcissism. They are also not allowed to use perfume because it is a means of attracting attention. Pilgrims are not allowed to escape from sun and rain. Also they are not allowed to take shelter under a roof because all these acts signify a tendency towards laziness and luxury. Pilgrims are advised against pinching their nostrils when they go through a stinky place. These acts as well as all the other acts related to ihram take away all the means of material and superficial pride from us. Ihram is to consider as haraam the ordinary things that bring about luxury and sensual desires and give rise to arrogance and discrimination. During ihram, all these acts are avoided.

Then pilgrims enter Masjid al-Haram and feel its glory with their hands, eyes, and all their being. The glory of Masjid al-Haram is not because of its material attractions. Its glory cannot even be described by ordinary human beings. Afterwards, pilgrims go around the Ka'aba along with many other people while they are involved in dhikr and dua. Then the pilgrims go through the other rituals of hajj.

Quoting me, some of the friends mentioned that the pilgrims must have a comfortable journey, but this comfort is not the same as indulging in luxury. During the past years, I have always told the officials in charge of hajj affairs that this comfort is a means of involving oneself in spirituality and getting closer to God. You must prepare the ground for this kind of comfort so that the pilgrims can easily perform this religious duty in the best possible way. That is what I mean by comfort. Delicious food and ample sleep are not part of this comfort. I do not approve of this kind of comfort and I think we must not seek this sort of comfort during hajj.

Hajj is not an opportunity for having fun. It is a spiritual journey. Hajj is a journey towards Allah while the soul and body are together. This journey is not a material journey for mystics. It is a spiritual journey. Hajj is an opportunity to experience a material and spiritual journey. It is not right to go on this journey and leave our hearts behind. Those who have had the opportunity to go on this journey several times must guard against a gradual loss of its spiritual effects. They must beware of becoming unenthusiastic and failing to engage in a spiritual revolution.

God bless the late Sheik Mohammad Bahari - I think one of these days there is going to be a commemoration ceremony on the occasion of his demise anniversary. In one of his works, he has written that dua, dhikr, and prayers can make the heart ruthless when they are repeated without paying attention to their meaning. Why is that? That is because our hearts are inattentive during prayers. Therefore, prayers can be accompanied by attentiveness, which cause the heart to get tender, pure, and closer to Allah. On the other hand, prayers can also be performed without any attention, in which case - according to Sheik Mohammad Bahari - the heart becomes ruthless.

This is true of hajj as well. The rituals of hajj have to be performed attentively. As is mentioned in the Holy Quran, hajj is only "a certain number of days" [The Holy Quran, 2: 184], "on appointed days" [The Holy Quran, 22: 28]. Hajj provides us with an opportunity to practice leading a simple life. That is to say, during hajj one realizes that it is possible to lead a simple life. During hajj, one realizes that it is possible to ignore ostentation and material pleasures. This is not to say that we should spend all our lives as if we were in ihram. On the contrary, one must make use of the material blessings that God has declared permissible. However, dependence on material pleasures and feeling impatient in their absence are sometimes considered irremediable. We must dispel this illusion. We must realize that it is possible to spend part of our life, day, and midnight without these material blessings, while engaging in spiritual purification. This is something that pilgrims can practice and learn on hajj. During hajj, pilgrims realize that it is possible to do without material blessings. Therefore, hajj is a great opportunity.

As the officials in charge of hajj affairs, you must make sure to help Iranian and non-Iranian pilgrims to understand this opportunity. You must encourage them to make the best of this opportunity. This is one of the most important responsibilities that the officials in charge of hajj affairs have to take on. Not all pilgrims may realize the fact that hajj is a golden opportunity. Pilgrims have to realize that there are many people who wish to have this opportunity for a single day. There are many people across the world, who wish to go on hajj. Those who have this opportunity must appreciate it. This is the individual aspect of hajj on the basis of which the responsibilities of the officials in charge of hajj are specified. That is what I wanted to say about the first opportunity that hajj provides for us.

The second opportunity is one that has to be taken by the Islamic Ummah. That is because the Islamic Ummah is inherently susceptible to a number of splits due to the large number of races, ethnicities, cultures, geographical differences, and various tendencies that are embedded in it. Islam was not to be introduced to a particular race, culture, or geographical area. Islam was to be introduced to the entire humanity. Human beings are different in terms of their skin color, language, habits, tendencies, and historical and geographical differences. Therefore, the Islamic Ummah is susceptible to potential discord. Such discord must not be allowed to show up. Hajj is a great opportunity for the Islamic Ummah to restore its unity in spite of these natural-and sometimes artificial and imposed-differences.

Hajj is a great opportunity for the Islamic Ummah. Take a ten-year period and try to estimate the number of male, female, educated, and undereducated Muslims with different tendencies who take part in hajj from different parts of the world - such as Africa, Asia, and Europe. If this great congregation of Muslims come together under the Islamic call to unity, a great outcome will be achieved. All causes of discord would fade out. Sunni and Shia Muslims would live together peacefully. Different Shia and Sunni denominations as well as other Islamic denominations have various tendencies, which would normally cause splits among them. However, all these differences can be resolved through hajj. Hajj helps create an integrated Muslim community.

Let me digress for a moment and point out that it is a pity that some people take this means of unity and turn it into a means of discord. I address this point to all pilgrims. I do not mean to address this to the prejudiced Salafi-Takfiris in Medina who shout insults at what you hold sacred. Everyone must pay attention to this point. The officials in charge of hajj - the accompanying clergymen and the executive officials in charge of hajj - must beware not to turn this means of unity into a means of discord and fill the hearts of Muslims with pain and spite towards one another. I am not going to pinpoint all the potential causes of discord. I will leave it to you to figure out the things that make non-Shia Muslims spiteful towards their Shia brothers. You must identify the causes of discord and eradicate them. Hajj is a means for creating unity and unifying the Muslim nation. You must not allow hajj to turn into a means for causing discord and spite. You have to be extremely cautious to identify these causes and their manifestations. This is not a simple matter.

The third opportunity is for the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic has been oppressed. Let me tell you - I have repeated this for many years - that the Islamic Republic is a government that embodies all the principles of spiritual power. The Islamic Republic is powerful, but it has been oppressed. Being oppressed and powerful are not contradictory. There are several reasons why the Islamic Republic is considered oppressed. One of the reasons is that the enemies of the Islamic Republic have leveled various allegations against it in order to prevent its ideology from being spread among the great Muslim communities. They have resorted to different types of allegations - from ideological and intellectual allegations to allegations against different denominations, politics, and executive affairs. They criticize us for acting, talking, and thinking the way we do. They have been repeating these allegations for thirty years. The officials in charge of hajj, whose hearts are brimful of faith in the Islamic Republic, shoulder a great responsibility in this regard. This great duty is to explain the realities to your Muslims brothers who have been exposed to these types of propaganda. You must clarify the Islamic teachings as well as the principles of the Islamic Republic for them.

The Islamic Republic is an "Islamic" republic system. The majority of our people are Shia Muslims, but the Islamic Republic is comprised of both Shia and Sunni Muslims. The reason is that our Sunni compatriots as well as a large number of Sunni Muslims living across the world supported us before and after the Islamic Revolution and during the Sacred Defense Era. They stood up for us and some of them gave their lives for this cause. That is the reality behind the Islamic Republic.

In Muslim countries in Africa, Asia, and different parts of the world - and even at the heart of the United States of America which has been our most spiteful enemy - there are some non-Shia Muslims whose hearts are brimful of love for the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini (r.a.), and our great, determined nation. That is all because the Islamic Republic has been an Islamic republic. They are trying to stand the reality on its head. They are trying to label the Islamic Republic as opposed to different Islamic denominations. You must go and explain the realities. Our Muslim brothers and sisters living across the world must know that our country belongs to them. They must know that the event which took place in our country was one that all Muslims would desire wholeheartedly. There are no Muslims who do not want the world to live under the rule of the Holy Quran. Our people live under the rule of the Holy Quran and Sharia in this country.

Is there anyone in the world of Islam who is not deeply dissatisfied with the domination and influence of the infidels and foreigners over Muslim countries? The hearts of Muslims are filled with pain, but they cannot talk. They are not allowed to talk. The Islamic Republic is the means through which the stifled shouts of the Muslims nations are being expressed strongly.

That is the reason why the arrogant powers are opposed to the Islamic Republic. That is the reason behind the US enmity towards us. We are expressing the heartfelt feelings of the Muslim nations. The few corrupt governments [that are currently ruling some Muslim nations] are not the whole of what we call Muslim nations. Muslim nations are tired of the domination, interference, and arrogance of the US. Muslim nations are tired of American and non-American arrogance, but they cannot do anything about it. These feelings are being expressed by the officials serving at different levels of the Islamic Republic system. These are the exquisite realities that are being expressed by the Islamic Republic. You must express these realities across the world of Islam and the Muslim nations. Of course the scope of this duty must not be limited to a number of particular individuals - such as students who are studying in Muslim countries and who are directly in touch with the realities. All the people must have access to these realities. These are some of the opportunities to express the realities of the Islamic Republic.

Of course I believe we must not improve our outward appearance and leave our inward nature untouched. I really believe that our first duty is to improve our inner selves. We must improve our spiritual qualities and our national living conditions.

We ourselves are responsible for building our country. Our nation is faithful and determined. Our nation is determined and sincere. However, there are some individuals and groups - the so-called political elite and other individuals - that are trying to cause an atmosphere of political turbulence in the country. They are trying to remove sincerity from society. They are trying to cause distress and doubt among the people.

It was the Iranian nation that helped this Revolution to achieve victory. This impressive and strong government was founded by the Iranian nation. The Iranian nation has protected the Islamic Republic for thirty years. These are indicative of the faith and determination of our nation.

These achievements have not been accomplished easily. These achievements would have been impossible to accomplish in the absence of national determination and sacrifices. We must not question the entire government just because we are opposed to a certain individual, administration, or executive official. Unfortunately, certain political intellectuals are currently doing just that.

The current atmosphere prevailing in the national press and the current political atmosphere are not satisfactory at all. We must set Islam as the model for our acts, behavior, and stance. We must know that the Islamic Republic, divine blessings, and divine grace will continue to benefit us only as long as we adhere to the principles. Allah will not bless us for nothing. I have said this many times before and I would like to repeat that Bani Isra'il has been constantly mentioned in the Quran. "O Children of Israel, call to mind My favor which I bestowed on you and that I made you excel the nations." [The Holy Quran, 2: 47]. Allah made them excel other people. However, the same Bani Isra'il was spoiled. They did not thank God for His blessings. "Be (as) apes, despised and hated." [The Holy Quran, 2: 65]. "And abasement and humiliation were stamped upon them." [The Holy Quran, 2: 61]. That is the way the Quran talks about them.

We can benefit from divine blessings only when we are careful about what we do and say. The unprincipled atmosphere in which different objections are being made against the administration and individuals is not something that Allah the Exalted will pass over easily. There are some people who make mistakes and are punished by Allah. "And guard yourselves against an affliction which may not smite those of you exclusively who are unjust." [The Holy Quran, 8: 25]. That is the punishment for some actions. There are some actions the consequences of which plague the whole community, and not just the one who perpetrates them. Sometimes people have to suffer because some individuals have been unfair in their acts, judgment, or speech. We must be cautious about such things.

All of us - both the pilgrims who go on this religious journey and the rest of us who pray and wish that the pilgrimage be accepted by Allah - must consider hajj as a lesson. May God bestow on us the blessing to make the best of the lessons of hajj.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Speech on the Occasion of Students' Day


The following is the full text of the speech delivered on October 29, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of students on the occasion of Students' Day.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Firstly, I welcome the dear youth who are present in this meeting - the dear students and children of the Iranian nation. I would also like to express my greetings to all the dear youth of our country.

This meeting has been held to mark Students' Day which is commemorated on November 4th. This is a very important day. Firstly, it marks Students' Day. Secondly, it is a day which is reminiscent of the Iranian nation's resistance against the arrogant powers. Let me make a few points to you dear students in this regard.

The first point is that you - as the soldiers of Islam and those who are willing to bring about grandeur to the country - shoulder a heavy responsibility towards building the future of the country. This is typical of a true, sincere, and realistic government. In such a government, everyone shoulders a responsibility towards the future of the country. The youth, whose talents are blossoming, also shoulder a responsibility in this regard. Feeling responsible is not limited to elderly and middle-aged people only. Rather, from a different perspective, one can say that the youth shoulder even a heavier responsibility towards the country. This is because they are equipped with the power of youth, and this makes them even more capable of carrying out their duties. The youth should feel responsible towards the future of the country and the nation. They should feel this sense of responsibility in their hearts. It was the same sense of responsibility that caused our youth to go to the battlefields during the Sacred Defense Era. They could have stayed home and enjoyed the comfort of being pampered by their parents. That would have prevented them from having to tolerate the cold of the snowy mountains of the western parts of the country and the heat of the deserts of Khuzestan province. However, it was their sense of responsibility which prevented them from seeking comfort. They entered the battlefields and the result of their efforts was miraculous for our nation.

I would like our youth to be informed about what went on in our country during the 8-year Iraqi imposed war. This is a point which I have mentioned on several occasions. Other people have also elaborated on this issue. However, a thorough review of what happened during the 8-year war will assist our youth greatly in planning for the future. Fortunately, useful books have been authored in this regard. Although I do not usually have a lot of time, I read most of the books which have been written about the Sacred Defense Era. They are very useful to me. I advise you to read these books and try to get informed about the prominent youth of the time. Some of these prominent youth were the ones who led that great movement on November 4, 1978. Later, they entered the battlefields. Many of those youth are now among the unforgettable prominent figures of our history. This is the meaning of feeling responsible.

During the Iraqi imposed war, the dominant powers of the time - the Soviet Union, the US, France, the Eastern Bloc, and the conservative countries of the region - had joined forces to aid the Iraqi regime. They provided them with financial and military aid as well as intelligence and weapons. However, our nation was only equipped with the power of faith and determination. We were short of weapons and ammunition and were not well-informed about the enemies' operations. But the power of faith had made our nation solid as a rock. Two different countries were engaged in the war on two totally different fronts. But it was our nation which managed to gain eventual victory over the enemies. This means that the power of our nation's faith enabled them to overcome the enemy which was equipped with advanced weapons and received financial and intelligence aid from its allies. This proves the fact that they felt responsible towards their country.

Prior to the Iraqi imposed war, the determination of our youth and the sense of responsibility which they felt towards the country resulted in that great miracle, namely the Islamic Revolution. The faithful people of our country destroyed the strong fortress which the arrogant powers - and the Pahlavi regime - had built in our country, and established an Islamic and democratic government. This is what feeling responsible means.

The future of the country and the nation is dependent on your efforts. You should feel responsible towards the future of the country. You should try to prepare yourselves for the future. To do so, you should gain knowledge and strengthen your faith. You should develop a deep insight into the past, present, and future. In ten or twelve years' time, you and the other youth of the country will turn into educated people who have to shoulder responsibilities in the country. The future presidents, ministers, managers, and prominent figures of the country - intellectuals and those who plan for the future of the country - will be selected from among you. Those who are going to be the future managers and are going to plan for the future of the country should be knowledgeable, pious, insightful, and faithful in the true sense of the word. This is a goal which cannot be achieved unless you prepare yourselves for the future. This was the first point I intended to make.

You are like my children. One usually wishes the best for one's children, and I wish you the best. You have to prepare yourselves for the future. This is the path which the Iranian nation will continue to tread. It is the path which will lead our nation to glory. It is the path which we have to take in order to make up for the backwardness which was imposed on us in the past one or two centuries. As I will explain it is very important that you prepare yourselves for the future.

The second point is that the Islamic Republic has some disagreements with the arrogant powers and the US over certain issues. What are these disagreements rooted in? This is an important point to be considered. Today, political analysts say that the US always pays special attention to Iran and the Iranian nation when dealing with the different matters of the world. What is the reason behind this? We have also realized that most of the problems of our country and nation have somehow been caused by the Americans. Why is that? The reasons should be carefully sought.

The disagreements are not limited to political issues only. It is natural for two countries to have disagreements over certain political issues. This can be resolved through negotiation. However, the Iran-America conflict does not fall into this category. This is a different issue and the disagreements are deep-rooted. The issue is that the US regime claimed to be the only dominant superpower after the Second World War. Of course, the Soviet Union was a rival for the US at that time. However, the issue was more than mere competition between the two superpowers. The US had targeted all the vital resources of the world. They had even gained control over some strategic areas in the world including the Middle East, the northern parts of Africa, and the Persian Gulf - which has been a great source of oil. Oil is a vital resource in the modern world. Whether the situation will remain the same in the future as well is something I cannot be sure of.

However, in today's world, oil is a great resource which provides heat and light for many countries. It is a vital resource for many countries. Without it, many factories will be closed down and there will be no production and business. Oil is as vital as blood for our lives today. The majority of oil sources are located in the Middle East. Dominating this region was an important goal which the US had achieved. Iran is located in the middle of the Middle East. This region was then the main stronghold of the arrogant powers. The neighbors of our country were controlled by the US in one way or another at that time. Of course, the Soviet Union also tried to benefit from the situation, but the Americans were the dominant force and they had to preserve the status quo. Of course, their greed was not limited to this region and its oil resources only. The Americans were trying to gain a stable position in Latin America, Africa, Eastern Asia, and different parts of the world as well. They extended their domination in those regions and their rivals retreated more and more each day.

In the middle of this struggle for power, the Islamic Revolution came into existence, and its main slogan was to defend the rights of other nations and fight arrogance and oppression. The Islamic Revolution liberated Iran, which played a crucial part in the region, from the domination of the US. There was a time when those connected to the US could be found in different parts of the country - in Tehran as well as in other crucial parts of the country. Those who were connected to the US played a key role in the Armed Forces, in the country's financial sector, in the political organizations of our country, and in our intelligence services. The Pahlavi Shah who was in charge of all the country's organizations and who had control over all the country's affairs only took orders from the English and American ambassadors. If they wished to do something, he would - willingly or unwillingly - follow their orders. In some cases, he was reluctant to follow the orders, but he had to and therefore did follow the orders. The Americans were expelled from such a strategic country in the region. This was a very important event which dealt the US a serious blow.

As is usually the case, they started to pursue their goals through their embassy in Iran. The arrogant powers usually organize harmful activities, establish relationships different people, and engage in espionage activities through their embassies. Even now, this policy is pursued in the world. The arrogant powers usually engage in various forms of corruption through their embassies. The Americans also started such activities through their embassy in Tehran. The movement of a group of students under the name of "Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's path" foiled their plot. They captured the American embassy and gained access to their documents. Currently, around one hundred books have been published in this regard. In fact, the books provide a copy of the documents which were found in the American embassy at that time. I do not know whether you have read these books or not. They are very interesting to read. Reading the books can inform you about the activities which were organized in the American embassy at that time, and the people whom the Americans were connected with in our country. You can gain information about the role which their embassy played during the years prior to the Islamic Revolution.

The students of our country led this great movement. The Americans still cannot hide their anger over this movement. Unfortunately, some capricious people - those who do something based on a whim and then change their mind to seek more comfort in their lives - from among the youth of the time, are now regretful and criticize that movement. But, you should know that this was a great movement. As Imam Khomeini said, this movement was greater than the Revolution itself. This is because the movement put an end to the American arrogance in Iran and in the world.

This great event has already taken place. That was not a small blow to them. What is more, the problems did not stop there. The continuance of our Islamic and revolutionary government, its progress, and its different achievements on various fronts - such as military, scientific, social, and political fronts - greatly influenced other nations. When other nations - the nations in this region and Muslim nations who were exasperated but did not have a leader - saw the event happen in Iran, they felt that they had t do the same thing. As a result, other nations grew fond of the Islamic Republic, Islamic leadership, Imam Khomeini (r.a.), and Islamic government. Today the situation is still the same. Today other Muslim nations - living across the world of Islam - have a very high opinion of the Iranian nation and its movement. They aspire to do what our nation did. This turned the knife in the American wound and provided the US with enough motivation to oppose the Islamic Republic.

America wants the Islamic Republic to give up and say that it is tired of the US enmity. America wants the Islamic Republic to say that it is regretful. America wants us to join the line of their mercenaries and those who follow non-divine governments. These are what the arrogant powers want. The US wants our nation to lose its self-obtained independence and go back to the era of dependence. The US wants us to surrender to its power. That is what America expects our nation to do. They are mounting pressure to force our nation to do as they wish. They are pressurizing the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation in order to make them exasperated. They want our people to fall by the wayside and accept their defeat. The American government wants to make other governments retreat so that it can resume the policies it used to pursue in our country - the same policies that the US government is currently pursing in certain parts of the world. The US government is seeking to make us dependant.

That shows the magnitude of the conflict between our nation and government and the US government. The conflict between the Iranian nation and the US is not rooted in the current policies of the American government only. The conflict is rooted in more than 50 years of spiteful acts on the part of the US government against the nation. They have been doing these spiteful acts since the year 1953. They started to plot against our nation many years before the victory of the Revolution - especially since the movement was started by Imam Khomeini (r.a.) and the clergy - and continued their plots up to the victory of the Revolution. They continued to harm us. They continued to betray us. They continued to mount pressure on us. They resorted to various arrogant methods to harm our nation. Not a single day has passed since the victory of the Islamic Revolution - thirty years ago - in which the US government has shown any good intentions towards the Iranian nation. The US has never apologized for its past measures. It has never been sincere enough to stop being greedy and arrogant towards the Iranian nation. The conflict between our nation and the US is not limited to a couple of differences of opinion over some international or regional issues. Therefore, the conflict cannot be resolved through negotiations. It is a matter of life and death. That is the second point that I want you dear youth to know. We have no intention to attack other countries. We only want to preserve our identity, independence, and glory. Relying on its faith and nationalistic feelings, the Iranian nation is going to cut off the hands of any country that intends to destroy our glory, humiliate our nation, and spread its domination over our country.

But how is this conflict going to end? That is the third point that I want to discuss. That is an important question. All Western, and especially American, propaganda machines - through art, media, propaganda, and seemingly political and scholarly centers - pretend that this conflict is going to lead to a dead end for the Iranian nation. They also claim that the US is going to be successful in its plans. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are trying to stand the reality on its head. This conflict is going to end in a dead end for the arrogant and evil US government. One obvious reason is that they would have defeated our nation - if they could - when our country did not have so many young people, had not gained so much experience, and had not made so much technological progress as it has today. They would have defeated our nation, if they could, when we had not emerged victorious out of the Iraqi imposed war and when we had not proven ourselves on various political fronts. If they were to defeat the Iranian nation, they would have done so at that time. Now that the Iranian nation has much more experience, power, technological capabilities, military capabilities, international influence, and youthful dynamism, the US government is incapable of defeating our nation. At the beginning of the Revolution, our young people formed only a small portion of our population - our population was 40-45 million at that time. Today our youth form a major part of our population, which is currently more than 70 million. At that time, the US government enjoyed much more prestige among other nations. Today the US has lost all its reputation in the world. Today many Western nations as well as Muslim nations hate the US. Many American political experts and many American citizens are opposed to the regime that is currently ruling their country.

Today the basic American slogans regarding issues like human rights and democracy - which were once used as tool to decapitate nations and overthrow legitimate governments - have lost their credence.Americans showed their respect for human rights in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and many other prisons. They are currently showing off their respect for human rights in the numerous killings which they carry out in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are also flaunting their respect for democracy in Palestine. Hamas, which is a legitimate popular government, is currently ruling Palestine. They are spitefully mounting pressure on this government. They are showing their respect for democracy in Iraq by trying to impose a security agreement. Their pressure is stifling all nations. Currently the people and government officials of Iraq are expressing their objection, but the US is using threats and mounting pressure on them. That is while the present Iraqi government has been installed through the votes of the public. This is a parody of democracy. American intellectuals have admitted in their reports that the Islamic Republic is the most democratic country in the Middle East. They admit that our country holds elections to elect the president, the MPs, and the members of the Assembly of Experts who elect the leader of the country. They admit these facts but this is the way they treat the Islamic Republic. The American slogans regarding human rights and democracy have grown threadbare. Even ordinary people do not believe these slogans, let alone intellectuals.

Today whenever the US president travels to a country in a particular part of the world, the people of that country hold demonstrations and shout "go back to your home, Yankee!" What else can be more disgraceful than this? That is a measure of the US international reputation. If the US was to stop the Iranian nation and make it face a dead end, it would have done so when it [US] did not suffer from international disgrace. Today the US is not able to do so.

Dear youth, I would like to assure you that the future belongs to you. The future belongs to the Iranian nation. The future is going to bring about scientific progress, power, prosperity, and glory for the Iranian nation. This prosperous future is certain because it is a divine promise. Islam and the Quran have assured us that if nations start a movement and be faithful, steadfast, patient, and tireless on their path, they will certainly achieve their goals. We have already experienced the truth of this promise. We have been steadfast and have managed to achieve our medium-term goals. Of course there are some problems too, which indicate that resistance has not been flawless. That is all our fault. I am fully aware of our problems. When there is a problem in a certain part of the country - be it injustice or poverty - it shows that we, the public and government officials, have not displayed enough steadfastness to promote our goals. If we had been steadfast, we would have had no problems in any part of the country. That is all our own fault. We should have been more steadfast.

Our dear youth - both those who are members of student organizations and those who are not involved in such organizations - must know that the unity between and among our people and government officials is the secret behind our victory. You dear youth must know that the enemies want to destroy this unity. I believe in the slogans that are shouted by our youth, but you must take care not to allow these slogans to cause discord among our people. You must take care not to help the enemies to achieve their goals. You must take care not to fall into the enemies' trap. Everyone must stay vigilant. Our politicians, journalists, youth, and government officials must all stay vigilant.

The enemies are busy making plots against us. You must not play into their hands because there will be no winners in such a situation. The enemies are plotting to foment discord among us. They are trying to make us feel disappointed. They are seeking to pitch our political activists against one another. They are seeking to make us forget our original path and Islamic values. These are the plots made by our enemies. They are plotting to make our youth busy with carnal desires. They want to make our youth apathetic towards the movement started by the Iranian nation. They seek to close down our schools and universities. These are the enemies' plots. We must stay vigilant. We must stand up to any act that helps promote these plots. We must preserve our unity and hope. We must make more and more efforts to be more sincere towards one another. We must carry out our social duties in an enthusiastic manner.There are some people who have already started talking about the elections which are going to be held next year. Elections are of paramount importance, but their importance is due to a massive public turnout during the elections. Today the presidential elections are important in that they are likely to cause discord, slandering, and digression from the main issues. You must be vigilant.

I am sure that the Iranian nation will, by Allah's favor, emerge victorious out of the constant challenges that it has to face. By Allah's favor, the Iranian nation will reach the peaks of success.

Dear God, make the holy heart of the Imam of the Age tender towards us. Let us be among the people who benefit from the prayers of the Imam of the Age. Place the souls of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) and our dear martyrs among those of Your saints in the hereafter. O God, make us all tread the right path.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Address to Army Cadets


The following is the full text of the address delivered by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution on October 19, 2008 at the graduation and oath-taking ceremony of a group of army cadets from the Imam Ali Military Academy.

In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I would like to congratulate you dear youth on your entrance into the glorious Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The uniform you are wearing is the manifestation of glory. That is because your presence, services, and prominent human characteristics as the soldiers of Islam are a reassurance to the nation and your sacred homeland.

In all countries the armed forces are one of the most important elements that contribute to the national power of countries. This glory and this manifestation of national power will be twice as valuable and important when they are not manifested through weapons only. Weapons are important. An armed man is better able to defend himself. However, the spiritual power of a man is more important than his weapons. Spiritual power turns national power into a genuine and inexhaustible source of power. With its armed men, its armed youth, and its valorous soldiers - whose hearts are enlightened by faith and whose wills are strengthened by the power of their faith - a nation can gain such power that is rare in the world and even in human history. This shows the importance of your role.

Within the framework of the Islamic Republic, the Armed Forces do not display their grandeur and power only through their weapons. Besides military power, our Armed Forces enjoy spiritual power that is dependant on their faith. The Iranian soldiers, Iranian armed forces, and the armed Iranian youth take on this role and remain vigilant for the sake of God, humanity, and promotion of monotheism as well as defending our noble values. In the materialistic modern world and throughout history some armies have been formed in order to satisfy the greed of the powerful. Modern armed forces throughout the world have been used by the superpowers as a tool for bullying. However, the Iranian armed forces are prepared to lay down their lives for the sake of human virtues. Our armed forces are being trained in order to promote human virtues and divine values. Our armed forces resist in the battlefields in order to promote these values. That is what will bring about the final victory for us. You must preserve this quality.

Today, astonishing realities are being revealed to the people of the world. People of the world were witness to the fact that the Israeli army - which was armed to its teeth - was forced to admit that it had been defeated by the faithful and brave youth of Hezbollah. The Israeli army that had managed to defeat all Arab armies was forced to admit its ignominious defeat against the faithful youth of Hezbollah. They were forced to acknowledge that the Israeli army is too weak to stand up to the power of the faithful youth [of Hezbollah]. That indicates the superiority of spiritual power over material power. Our dear youth - who enjoy both military and spiritual power and who are serving at the Army, the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, the Basij Resistance Force, the police force, and the different parts of the Islamic Republic's Armed Forces - enjoy an exceptional privilege compared with other armed forces throughout the world. This is due to your faith. You must appreciate this.

As the people who have been entrusted with the duty of defending the nation, you are being trained to serve your country. You are treading such a path, and that is the future you have determined for yourselves. Our people support our Armed Forces. They consider the Armed Forces as being an integral part of the nation. According to our prominent religious figures, you are a strong fortress for the nation. You must keep this in mind throughout the different stages of your training and service. You are the strong fortress of our nation, a nation that rose up for the sake of God and pushed back the enemies - who were armed with the most advanced weapons - by relying on its faith, strength, valor, and devotion. Today all the enemies who believed that the Islamic Republic could not resist their opposition admit that the Islamic Republic is the strongest government. You are the strongest Armed Forces in the world. This power is the result of your strong faith. You must appreciate this faith and try to strengthen it.

The responsibility of a soldier in the Islamic Republic's Armed Forces is to learn, be disciplined and vigilant, and exercise sincerity and spirituality. You must try to have all of these qualities. You must make the best of your youth and try to achieve these great virtues. You are going through the best years of your life. You can be one of the best servants of God and one of the greatest men of your time through achieving the virtues that are required of devoted and faithful people. The Islamic Republic's Army has always been in need of men who are prepared to shoulder heavy and important responsibilities. Thankfully, the Islamic Republic has so far benefitted from the services of these men. In future, it is you who have to shoulder this heavy responsibility.

I pray to Allah the Exalted to help you - who represent the best soldiers of Islam and the best men of your time - achieve spiritual growth and transcendence.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Public Address on Eid ul-Fitr


The following is the abridged text of the speech delivered on October 1, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution after the Eid ul-Fitr prayers.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I congratulate you dear brothers and sisters, the great Iranian nation, and the Islamic Ummah on the occasion of Eid ul-Fitr.

Firstly, we should ask Allah the Exalted to help us observe piety in what we do, what we say, and what we listen to.

A point I have to mention about Quds Day is that this great movement has been propagated and spread on a daily basis in the Muslim world. Today, the world of Islam is witness to demonstrations in the majority of Muslim countries. There were demonstrations both in the eastern part of the Muslim world - in Indonesia - as well as in the western part - in African countries. Whenever allowed to exercise their will, the people of Muslim countries have displayed great sensitivity towards the issue of Quds on this day. Even the Muslim people living in Europe and the minority groups who have been suffering from prejudice on the part of European governments commemorated Quds Day. This bears testimony to the fact that the issue of Palestine is gaining more significance in the word of Islam on a daily basis. This is against the will of the occupying forces and their allies. They intended to obliterate the memory of Palestine from the minds of Muslim nations. Their goal was to wipe Palestine off the map of the Islamic world. They have focused all their efforts during the last 60 years on achieving this goal. However, what has happened today is quite contrary to what they wished and pursued. Today, the world of Islam is even more sensitive about the issue of Palestine, and the reason is that the Muslim nations have become aware of the circumstances. If there was such vigilance in the year 1948 - when Palestine was occupied by the Zionist regime - the situation would now be quite different than what it is today, and this bitter event would have never taken place in the Muslim world. That was a major blow to the Islamic Ummah. Today, the Muslims of the world have become conscious and are aware of the realities. By Allah's favor, they will become even more conscious on a day to day basis.

I have to say that the resistance of the brave Palestinian nation is the reason for all the global support that is given to them. We appreciate these efforts on the part of the Palestinian nation. They are the true manifestation of a vigilant Muslim nation. I hereby have to tell the Palestinian nation and the legal Palestinian government led by Mr. Haniya that the Iranian nation will not leave the Palestinian nation alone.

Quite the contrary, the Zionist enemy is growing weaker on a daily basis both in terms of its spirits and its international status. Today, even high-ranking Zionist officials admit the fact that the Zionist regime is about to meet its nemesis. The Muslims of the world will see the day - I hope the current Palestinian generation will also see the day - when Palestine is governed by the Palestinian people and the Palestinian people live freely in their homeland.

The second point I have to mention is that today the world of Islam is faced with comprehensive political, cultural, and propaganda attacks on the part of the enemies. All the people - especially elites, intellectuals, religious scholars, and prominent political figures - should stay vigilant about this fact. Today, the enemies have launched a large-scale attack against Islam and what the Muslims hold sacred. This is not because the enemies have grown stronger. Rather, this is due to the fact that the enemies feel they are overwhelmed by this great Islamic movement. Therefore, they resort to psychological warfare and different kinds of attacks. They provoke Muslim nations and pitch them against one another. They instill fear of Muslim nations into the hearts of their people. The solution is that the Muslim countries should maintain their unity. I once again reiterate on behalf of the Iranian nation that our Muslim brothers in other countries should maintain their unity and stay vigilant against the enemies' plans to use them as a tool to foment discord in the Muslim world. The enemies will try to foment discord under the pretext of different ethnicities and denominations while in fact they support neither Shia nor Sunni. They are the enemies of Islam. This is one of the methods they use to weaken the Muslim countries, namely by arousing enmity among them. They try to make Islamic countries afraid of one anther. They try to make other countries afraid of the Islamic Republic through different lies and methods of deception. We - Muslim countries - are all brothers. The Iranian nation is treading the path of progress and promoting Islam and is by Allah's favor making great progress on this path. The Iranian nation considers its own grandeur and progress to be part of the grandeur and progress of the Islamic Ummah.

Let me also make a point to our dear brothers inside the country. My suggestion about maintaining unity which was addressed to the whole Islamic world is true about our own nation as well. The Iranian nation should maintain its unity. What we have achieved so far is all due to our unity. Unity does not signify that all our people should hold the same views and share the same opinions. Rather, unity means that those with different points of view should act as a unified front and prefer national interests to their individual tendencies. This means that personal desires - Ramadan was the month for suppressing selfish personal desires - should not affect our behavior at different political and social levels. The Iranian nation is carrying out great tasks these days. These great tasks are appreciated by experts and fair people across the world.

Thankfully, the Iranian nation and the Iranian youth - the revolutionary and enthusiastic youth of today - are present on the scene with a lot of enthusiasm and with great readiness. They are ready to make efforts. You can see the results of their efforts in such fields as science, politics, technology, and different social activities. These efforts should be appreciated. All the people, especially the political and social elites as well as the prominent figures of the country, should remember the fact that maintaining unity is the most important priority on the social front. You should maintain your unity. There is a Quranic verse in this regard: "That abode of the Hereafter, We assign it to those who have no desire to exalt themselves in the earth nor to make mischief. And the good end is for those who keep their duty." [The Holy Quran, 28: 83]. 'The good end' is for those who are pious and do not overstep the limits set by God - those who suppress selfish personal desires and make efforts on the path of God to promote Islam and to defend their national interests.

O God, help us all succeed in achieving our goals. Dear God, associate with Your saints the pure souls of our martyrs and our magnanimous Imam (r.a.). Dear God, bestow success on our nation on a day to day basis.

"In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Surely We have given thee abundance of good. So pray to thy Lord and sacrifice. Surely thy enemy is cut off (from good)." [The Holy Quran, 108]

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

Supreme Leader's Speech to Government Officials on Eid ul-Fitr


The following is the full text of the speech delivered on October 1, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of government officials on the occasion of Eid ul-Fitr.

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I congratulate the great Islamic Ummah, all the Muslims of the world, the great faithful Iranian nation, and all those present in this meeting on this great Islamic Eid. I pray to Allah the Exalted to make Eid ul-Fitr a true Eid [a day on which no sin is committed] for the Islamic Ummah. I also pray to Allah to help our nation get closer to the glorious future - promised by God - which awaits it.

Most of our people, the government officials, and the Muslims of the world took the opportunity provided for them in the holy month of Ramadan to benefit from God's blessings in the best way. Ramadan was an opportunity for repentance, asking for God's forgiveness, dhikr, and supplication. Fasting and suppressing one's worldly desires provide great opportunities for God's servants to benefit from His blessings in this holy month. In this holy month, the hearts of Muslims are filled with the joy of dhikr and praying. In this month, Muslims get closer to their divine nature, strengthen their determination, and engage in pious deeds.

I have to say that today the Muslim Ummah is in need of faith more than any other time. There was a time when the Islamic Ummah had no hope about the future. Those days, Muslim intellectuals lamented the hard times the Muslims were going through. Take a look at the literary works of such prominent Muslim figures as sayyid Jamal-al-Din and other intellectuals of the Muslim world. Some of the elites of the Muslim world who had become aware of this situation lamented the situation the Muslims were in those days. There was no trace of hope in the Muslim world. The arrogant powers had then entered the Islamic countries and taken charge of their affairs. They took advantage of our negligence as much as possible and painted a bleak picture of the future for the Muslim Ummah. This was the situation the Muslims were living in during that era.

Today, the situation has changed. Those dark days have turned into bright prospects for the Islamic Ummah. In every part of the world where Muslims live - either as a nation or a minority group among followers of other religions - there is hope about the future among Muslims. They feel they can continue their movement. The enemies of the Muslim world - the arrogant, materialist, and hegemonic powers - entered Muslim countries with deceptive slogans and brought about the most difficult times for them. Although these powers have made great progress compared to the past in terms of technological progress, destructive weapons, mass-communication facilities, and propaganda tools, they feel they are in a weak position to stand against the great movement of the Islamic Ummah. They feel they have been subjugated by the Muslim world. This is a reality in the Muslim world today. If there are any people who think otherwise, they should know they are denying the realities.

Today, the Muslim world has a bright future ahead of it. The great enemies of the Muslim world and the powerful arrogant powers who have taken control of the whole world feel that they are unable to oppose the vigilance and great movement of Muslim nations. They have no options to achieve their goals. This bears testimony to the promises made by God. "And surely Allah will help him who helps Him. Surely Allah is Strong, Mighty." [The Holy Quran, 22: 40] God Almighty says: "And We desired to bestow a favor upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the leaders, and to make them the heirs." [The Holy Quran, 28: 5] These are God's promises. There is also another Quranic verse: "And Allah has full control over His affair, but most people know not." [The Holy Quran, 12: 21] These promises which have been made by God will gradually turn into realities thanks to the vigilance and great movement of the Muslim nations.

Muslim nations must engage in a jihad. This is not necessarily an armed jihad. This is a form of political, intellectual, scientific, social, and moral jihad. The great Islamic Ummah has been gaining more and more familiarity with the different aspects of this jihad. If you take a brief look at the Middle East, you will instantly see the progress made by the Islamic Ummah.

Today, the Israeli violence against the Palestinian nation has grown far more severe, but the faces of the Palestinian people are still full of hope. The Palestinian issue has always been a tragedy for the Muslim world.

Today, even the occupation forces in Palestine have expressed their disappointment over continuing their plans in Palestine. They admit that they have reached a deadlock. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the American government felt that it was the indisputable chief of the global village. But you can see that they have reached a deadlock in different parts of the world. They are faced with different serious issues. They entered this strategic region under the pretext of fighting terrorism. American plans have proved to be ineffective and hopeless in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. Even they themselves acknowledge that they do not have much hope in their plans. They admit their failure.

Last year I told our faithful nation in Eid ul-Fitr prayers that their "Fall Conference" would be a failure. The conference had been organized to help Americans increase their control over the Middle East region. Today you can see that their plots have failed to affect the situation in Palestine, Lebanon, and the Middle East. This shows that the American government - which is there to oppose Islam and the Muslim Ummah and which intends to increase its control over this strategic region - feels that it cannot make any progress. Of course, we are not being overly optimistic. What we say are bitter realities that anyone can see. The point is that the arrogant powers have not been able to deal with the will of nations, neither will they be able to do so in the future. They are already stuck in a quagmire in Afghanistan and Iraq. Still they interfere in the other countries' affairs - for instance in Pakistani. You have seen and heard about their interference in the internal affairs of our eastern neighbor. But their plans will fail in Pakistan as well. That is because the Muslim nations are well familiar with their Islamic rights. Nations are determined to resist and, God willing, their determination will increase on a daily basis.

Paying attention to God, asking Allah the Exalted for help, and gaining access to divine source of power are what the Islamic Ummah needs most in the present situation. When we become familiar with divine source of power, we will not be intimidated or made hopeless when we are faced with the enemies' threats. This is a well trodden path. The Islamic Republic has been subject to thirty years of enmity, obstructionism, and malevolence on the part of superpowers and the network of arrogance. We endured all these problems. Benefiting from its efforts and determination, the Iranian nation put up a strong resistance. Thankfully, we managed to make more and more progress. This progress will, by Allah's favor, increase on a daily basis. And hopefully the entire world of Islam will one day enjoy Islamic glory.

We must appreciate divine guidance and favor. We must appreciate Eid ul-Fitr, on which an impressive number of people face the Qiblah, pray to God, and connect their souls with Allah. We must preserve our unity and determination and try to increase our hope in the future.

I hope that the prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) will benefit all our faithful people as well as other Muslims living in different countries. I hope that the future of the world of Islam will be far better than it is today.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings


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