In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Al-Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his pure, immaculate and chosen household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth
I am very glad to have had another opportunity to meet again with you gentlemen of the Assembly of Experts and to be among you friends. All of us benefitted from the statements of the gentlemen who delivered speeches. May God help us and gives us the opportunity to act on what we have come to understand.
I deem it necessary to express my regret at the loss of two valuable and truly expert scholars – the late Mr. Shahroudi and the late Mr. Mo’men. Both were indeed pillars for the Qom Islamic Seminary. They were valuable experts. They were experts who really moved on the path of the Revolution’s goals. The loss of these dear personalities was very difficult for us and for Islamic seminaries. Both Mr. Mo’men and Mr. Shahroudi were truly at the service of the goals which they felt were necessary for the country and for the Revolution and they did not expect anything in return.
May God raise their position and may He compensate us for their loss. I hope that our young fuqaha increase their efforts and their precision and strengthen their work in the area of Islamic fiqh so that tasks will be carried out more carefully. The existence of skilled and up-to-date experts, who are familiar with the developments of the country is a necessity.
What I have prepared to discuss with you gentlemen is not a new discussion for you. The reason why I discuss these matters is that each and every one of you have a special position in certain areas – whether among the people or among clergy and Islamic seminaries – and people listen to you. The purpose of discussing these issues is to clarify for the people the point that I will raise with the help of you gentlemen – you who have knowledge, skill and the capability to analyze – so that they turn into a discourse and public understanding. It is very important for the country to help our people gain some public understanding about the issue that I will discuss shortly.
What I want to discuss is the way the country and the influential personalities of the country should confront challenges and incidents. This is what I want to discuss. After all, every country and society is faced with certain incidents. Some of these incidents are good, some are bitter and some arise in the form of pressure – for instance we are under sanctions, we are suffering from cultural invasion and other such matters and some countries are under a hard, military invasion. All countries face certain incidents. And sometimes, there are achievements. The way we should confront these incidents is very important. We should know how we should confront them. This is my point of discussion and what I want to speak about.
I would like to mention some dualities in this regard. In other words, we can think of different ways of confronting incidents: sometimes, we confront incidents in an active way and sometimes, we do so in a passive and inactive manner. “Active confrontation” means that when we face a certain incident, we should see what we should do in order to keep it at bay, eliminate it or sometimes strengthen it. We should do some thinking and enter the arena in an active way. This is active confrontation.
“Passive confrontation” means that when a bitter and difficult incident occurs, we keep complaining and nagging, keep mentioning and repeating it time and time again without making any move to end it. So, we have two ways of confrontation: active and passive confrontation.
From a different perspective, we have creative and reactional confrontation. “Reactional confrontation” means that when we face a certain enemy and when he draws us into a certain arena, we enter the same arena and play them at their own game. This is passive and reactional confrontation. In other words, our moves are a subset and consequence of his moves. On the other hand, “creative confrontation” means that when the enemy strikes from a certain area, we attack him from another area. It means taking the initiative in a different way and choosing a way of confrontation which enables us to deliver a blow to him. These are two different ways of confrontation.
Another duality is desperate versus hopeful confrontation. Sometimes, when we face a certain incident, too much attention to the enemy’s capabilities and moves causes us to become disappointed. We might enter the arena but we enter in a desperate manner. This is one way of confrontation. Another way of confrontation is the opposite of this: entering the arena with hope. These are radically different. If we enter in a desperate way, there will be a certain result and if we enter with hope, there will be a different result. This was another duality.
The next duality is the duality of fear and courage. Sometimes, we enter the arena, but we are afraid of the enemy, of the challenge and of facing dangers. So, we enter the arena with fear. This is one way of reaction and presence in the face of the enemy. And sometimes, we enter the arena with courage. There is a narration which says, “Leap into dangers for the sake of right wherever it may be” [Nahjul Balaghah, Letter 31]. We can enter the arena with courage and bravery. This is another way of confrontation.
Notice that when we look at the conditions of other countries – mainly the countries which we are familiar with – we see both confrontations in their moves. For example, some countries face the pressures of the US. Some of these countries face it in a courageous and bold manner and sometimes, they face it in a fearful manner. Each one is different. Those countries which face it in a fearful way might make a move, but their move is different from that of the countries which face it with hope and courage.
Another duality is that of making a move based on insight and acumen or based on superficial thinking and negligence. For example, you gentlemen touched on the issue of cyberspace and the like. Well, we can face this issue in two ways: we can either act in an intelligent manner or we can act in a superficial manner. Of course, negligence and superficiality are two different things. Superficiality means failure to see the complex and convoluted parts of the work. This is superficiality. Negligence, however, means passing by dangers and perils in an indifferent way. We can act in this way or we can act with acumen and precision and by considering the different angles of the task at hand.
The next duality is looking at events simultaneously as threats and opportunities or taking a one-sided outlook: looking at incidents either as threats or as opportunities. For example, when we face the enmity of the US, we can act in two ways: we can look and see what our opportunities against this apparently powerful enemy are. We can also see what the threats against us are. We can look at both and then reach a conclusion and make a decision. However, we can also decide to mainly look at the threats and ignore the opportunities or on the contrary, only focus on the opportunities and ignore the threats. This one-sided outlook is a mistake. We can take a comprehensive outlook towards this matter. This was another duality.
Notice that all these dualities are important to the people. They are not particular to officials. Of course, officials are the first addressees of these recommendations and statements – political, military and social officials, all in different ways – but the masses of the people should have a voice on such matters. They should deeply understand such matters. When I say that we should help bring about a public understanding, this is what is meant. Later on, I will give more explanations in this regard.
One more duality is understanding the realities of the arena. It is actually understanding or failing to understand the realities of the arena. It means that we should know where we are, where the enemy is and what our position is. This is one of the areas on which the enemy is working very hard. In recent years, the enemy has constantly been trying – with the cooperation of his domestic agents – to portray us as weak and to portray himself as holding a strong position. They want to instill the idea that we are completely ruined and that we cannot do anything to change the situation. This is one of the most fundamental dualities.
We should really know where we are. For example, if we fail to understand that our position in the current shape of the region makes the enemy fear us, we may act in a certain way and if we are fully aware of the fact that the enemy fears us, we may act in a different way. Those who speak and write against our presence in the region with wrong arguments, are in fact helping the enemy’s cause unknowingly – I do not want to accuse anyone of anything. This is another duality: knowing our position and that of the enemy in the arena of confrontation.
Another duality is the issue of expressing one’s feelings and emotions. In different incidents, you might release your feelings, whether positive feelings such as joy resulting from an achievement – which makes you vent your feelings – or negative feelings such as sorrow, grief and unhappiness. This is one behavior. Another behavior is controlling one’s feelings and expressing them to the extent that is necessary. One of the areas where we can really receive a blow – as we have on certain occasions – is lack of control over public feelings.
I have always stressed the role of youth and I believe in them in the true sense of the word. Well, I used to work with youth before the Revolution and after the Revolution too, I have always been with them, but we should pay attention that despite our trust in them, youth’s feelings should not engulf society in a frenzied and unbridled manner. Feelings should be controlled. So, there are two ways of behaving: one is expressing one’s feelings without control and another is expressing our feelings as much as necessary. Of course, these are not easy tasks.
The next duality is that of observing or not observing religious obligations. During the time of revolutionary activities, before the Revolution, we used to see that some people – who were very active in revolutionary fighting – would not attach much significance to many shar’I [related to sharia] issues. They used to say, “we are fighting for the cause.” So, if they did not say daily prayers on time, if they failed to observe such and such an obligation, if they had to slander and talk behind other people’s backs, they would not care much. This is one behavior.
Another behavior is observing piety. According to a narration, the Commander of the Faithful says, “If it were not for piety, I would act the most cunning among Arabs” [Kafi, Vol. 8, page 24]. Is there anyone who is more cunning, clever and intelligent than the Commander of the Faithful? However, piety sometimes prevents you from doing certain things. This is another duality.
Learning from experience or repeating the same mistake twice: this is another matter. Regarding our confrontation with foreign enemies – the west, the US and Europe – we have certain issues with them anyway. We have past issues – since the beginning of the Revolution – and recent issues: the issue of the Bar-Jaam [the JCPOA], their commitments, their violations and their failure to fulfill promises. Well, this is another experience. When it comes to confronting the party that has treated us this way, that has failed to carry out its duties despite their absolute commitments and assurances and that has moved forward with insincere smiles and the like, we should know that our confrontation towards this side, these people, this government and this front should be based on experience. We should know how we should behave towards them.
Another point, another way of moving forward and another duality – the last one – is that we can constantly attack and criticize one another in confronting various incidents. I can blame you and you can blame me. This is one way of confronting incidents. It has unfortunately occurred on various occasions that when certain groups face a difficulty – be that a party, an administration or a nation – they accuse each other. Or we can act otherwise: instead of yelling at one another, we can – as Imam once said – “let out all our cries and shouts at the US.” It is he who is the opponent.
I have frequently said in my public speeches that we should not commit the mistake of failing to know our own enemy. It is clear who our enemy is. There are others who work against us, but what they do is out of ignorance. They are not important. The real enemy is the likes of people who have been described by the Commander of the Faithful like this: “And recount the story of Abi Sufyan’s son.” We should not yell at one another and fight against each other over those insignificant matters. We should know whom we should really be fighting against and whom we should confront. We should act like this.
In my opinion, these dualities are important. We should ask ourselves how we should conduct ourselves in the face of these dualities. Of course, it is easy to give a verbal response to them, but giving a practical response and implementing them is not that easy. In my opinion, the answers to these questions are clearly seen in our Islamic resources. For example, when we achieve victories, the Holy Quran teaches us: “When comes the help of Allah, and victory and you see the people enter Allah’s religion in crowds, celebrate the praises of your Lord, and pray for His forgiveness, for He is oft-returning” [The Holy Quran, 110]. It does not say that we should show our happiness by, for example, chanting slogans in the middle of the street, rather it says, “celebrate the praises of your Lord.” It says that we should praise God as our victories are not a result of our achievements, rather they are a result of God’s help.
It says that we should repent. In the middle of your move, you might have made a mistake. Therefore, you should ask for the forgiveness of Allah the Exalted. We should treat positive incidents like this: we should not become arrogant and we should consider them as divine blessings: “When you threw (a handful of dust), it was not your act, but Allah’s” [The Holy Quran, 8: 17]. It is not correct to be over-confident and assured about God’s assistance: “The righteous should not be too confident about Your mercy” [Sahifa al-Sajjadiyyah, Dua 39].
In one of the prayers of Sahifa al-Sajjadiyyah, it has been mentioned that the righteous too should not be overconfident, saying to themselves, “It is clear what position we have before God.” This is not the case. Allah the Exalted does not stand on ceremony with the righteous either. If they make a mistake, they will receive a blow. We should not think that good accomplishments have been made by us. We should consider them as a blessing by God. This is the truth of the matter.
Well, this year’s 22nd of Bahman enjoyed a higher turnout compared to previous years. Who did this? Which factor and which individual can claim that it was they who were influential in that regard? No matter how hard we look, there was no element other than that of divine power. Everyone said that the participation in different cities was better than previous years. There is no factor other than divine power. This was the hand of God. When Imam (may God bestow paradise on him) was ill, we had made a big achievement. I said that it was God’s work. Then he said to me that from the beginning of the Revolution or from the beginning – he said something like this – he had seen a hand of God moving our affairs forward. When I went out, I wrote the exact quotation, but I do not remember it exactly now. He said that he saw a hand of power. This is the truth of the matter.
There is a hand of power which is carrying out these tasks. However, this hand of divine power signifies that if we correct our behavior, Allah the Exalted will bestow His mercy on us: “Dear God, I ask you to give me the requirements for Your mercy”. The requirements for His mercy depend on us. Imam (may God bestow paradise on him) said that it was God Who liberated Khorramshahr. So many youth fought hard until they were martyred, but Imam said that it was God who liberated it. This is correct. It was Him who liberated Khorramshahr.
We could have ended up offering as many martyrs without any result. During the Operation Ramadan – in the battle that took place at the same time – God did not want us to achieve victory, but this happened in Khorramshahr. It was divine willpower. This is about our conduct in the face of happy and positive incidents.
As for difficult incidents such as sanctions, which is a difficult incident, or a military invasion and move – these are difficult incidents that might be imposed on us by the enemy – Allah the Exalted teaches us what His edict and command is: “When the believers saw the confederate forces, they said: ‘This is what Allah and his Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger told us what was true.’ And it only added to their faith and their zeal in obedience” [The Holy Quran, 33: 22].
We did not expect the Islamic government to be established in the era of the domination of materialism and materialistic governments and after its establishment, we did not expect the materialists in the world – who have all worldly powers at their disposal – to sit silent and watch. It was clear that they would confront us. It is clear that they impose sanctions if they can. It is clear that they wage a military war if they can. We should do something to prevent them from thinking of doing these things and if they do think of doing these things, we should crush them. Otherwise, if we expect the enemy not to attack us, this is not a reasonable expectation. Therefore, this is a divine command as well.
We should not harbor any fear and worry when confronting different incidents: “Behold, verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve” [The Holy Quran, 10: 62]. This is an ayah from Sura Yunus. I looked this up and found out that there are four, five more ayahs in Sura al-Baqara which repeat “Verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve” regarding believers. Well, this is because of faith, of one’s relationship with God and of accepting divine wilayat. Fear and other such feelings should not exist.
Imam (may God bestow paradise on him) would not really show any fear. Once, I went to visit him in the beginning of the Revolution, during the time when we used to have those arguments with that poor person [Abol-Hassan Bani Sadr] over the issue of the Armed Forces and the like. I said to him, “The reason why you mentioned that about such and such a person is that you are afraid…” I wanted to say, “You are afraid that the Armed Forces will not like it,” however, when I said, “You are afraid…” he interrupted me and said, “I am not afraid of anything”! He did not allow me to mention the object to that “fear”. As soon as I said, “You are afraid…” he retorted, “I am not afraid of anything”. And that was really the case! He was not afraid of anything: “Behold, verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve” means this. Why should he have been afraid? A great personality like him really had no fear.
Regarding the duality of hope and despair, we should not be hopeless: “And never give up hope of Allah’s soothing mercy: truly no one despairs of Allah’s soothing mercy, except those who have no faith” [The Holy Quran, 12: 87]. This is an ayah from Sura Yusuf. This is related to worldly affairs. “And never give up hope of Allah’s soothing mercy” is not related to spiritual affairs. It is about finding Yusuf: “Oh my sons, go and enquire about Yusuf and his brother and never give up hope of Allah’s soothing mercy.” “And never give up hope of Allah’s soothing mercy” is about finding Yusuf. This is a worldly affair. So, “And never give up hope of Allah’s soothing mercy” is a general rule about worldly affairs. Of course, the same is true of spiritual affairs as well, but this ayah is about worldly affairs: “And never give up hope.”
Why should individuals be hopeless? We are not hopeless and we hope we can bring these arrogant powers to their knees and subjugate them. We can do so, hopefully. If we endeavor hard, show determination, have the desire to do so and rely on God, it will be possible.
We should not act in a hasty manner and be critical of one another either. One of the matters towards which the attention of the people should be drawn to – this should be done by all of us including you and me: in cities, in Friday prayer sermons, among the clergy and in Islamic seminaries – is that one of our shortcomings is acting in a hasty and impatient manner. It is pointless to keep stamping our foot saying, “Why did not that happen? Why?” Well, there is a time for everything. There is a finishing point for every affair and action. Not everything can be done in haste.
Once, someone went to Imam and complained about the condition of the administration – at that time, I was president. He said something and in response, Imam said something which I will never forget. He said, “Mister, it is difficult to manage the country.” I, who was president, confirmed this when Imam mentioned that. Many tasks should definitely be carried out and we should be prepared for that and work in a determined way, but until we reach that point, we need some patience. Acting in a hasty manner, stamping one’s foot and feeling that it is getting late are not good feelings.
I have written down a holy ayah which is about Hazrat Musa. When he returned from his journey, receiving the commandments, he witnessed that something had happened – the story of the calf: “Oh my people, did not your Lord make a beautiful promise to you?” God has promised that He will improve your living conditions: “Did then the promise seem to you long in coming?” Has it taken too long? Has the divine promise taken too long to be fulfilled that you are showing such impatience? Well, you should be patient because Allah the Exalted will fulfil his promise. Having trust in Allah the Exalted – I have said this before in the same meeting – is a necessity and distrusting divine promises – if we keep saying, “Why did it not happen?” – is seriously renounced in Quranic ayahs: “’Did then the promise seem to you long in coming? Or did you desire that wrath should descend from your Lord on you, and so you broke your promise to me?’” [The Holy Quran, 20: 86].
I think that “Oh you who believe, be not like those who vexed and insulted Musa, but Allah cleared him of the slanders they had uttered: and he was honorable in Allah’s sight” [The Holy Quran, 33: 69] is a reference to “And remember, Musa said to his people: ‘Oh my people, why do you vex and insult me, though you know that I am the apostle of Allah sent to you?” [The Holy Quran, 61: 5]. It is probably reference to their pressures on Musa. They kept saying, “Why did this not happen?”
Of course, these incidents occurred after their escape from the Pharaoh, but the situation was the same even before their escape from the Pharaoh: “They said, ‘We have had nothing but trouble, both before and after you came to us’” [The Holy Quran, 7: 129]. They used to complain to Hazrat Musa that the same troubles continued to exist for them even after his arrival. When they speak about “Bani Israeli criticisms and complaints”, it was really the case. We should be careful not to let the same situation arise for us.
Well, another matter that I would like to discuss is establishing our borders with the enemy in order to be immune from his soft attack. One of the most necessary tasks would be to prevent our borders with the enemy from being undermined. If we do not establish our borders with the enemy in a distinct manner, then crossing these borders – from this to that side or the other way around – will be quite possible, just like geographical borders. If there are no distinct geographical borders, then someone from the other side will penetrate into our country. Smugglers, thieves and spies will find their way into our country and from this side too, a negligent and careless individual might go there and become stuck.
The same is true of ideological and political borders. When there are no clear borders, the enemy can penetrate, act in a deceitful manner and dominate cyberspace. However, if our borders with the enemy are clear-cut, his dominance over cyberspace and the cultural environment will not be that easy. This is another issue which has been mentioned in the holy ayah, “Take not my enemies and yours as friends or protectors, offering them your love.” It goes on until it reaches this part, “Holding secret converse of love and friendship with them, for I know full well all that you conceal and all that you reveal” [The Holy Quran, 60: 1]. Allah the Exalted has forbidden us from behaving towards the enemy like this. This was another point.
Regarding the issue of establishing borders with the enemy, there is an additional point which is very important in my opinion. This point is that we should not consider everyone as enemies. This is another important matter. Sometimes, because of our zeal and commitment against the enemy – which is a good and legitimate commitment – we tend to accuse others of enmity as soon as they say something which is different from our outlook towards the enemy. This is not appropriate. For example, there is a discussion inside the country about such and such a convention and international matter. Some people are for it and some people are against it. There is no reason for those who advocate it to accuse those who are against it or for those who oppose it to level accusations against those who favor it.
Well, there are two viewpoints and perspectives. The former do not agree with the latter’s viewpoint and the other way around. Refusal to accuse and blast one another is an issue that I have raised before as well. In other words, we should not fail to establish our borders with the enemy. The issue of establishing borders with the enemy is very important, but this should not cause us to swiftly label others as enemies as soon as we witness that their viewpoints are slightly different from ours. We should not say that they are the enemy’s agents. In my opinion, this is not appropriate.
At the end of my statements, I would like to raise two additional points: first, the enemy’s maximum attack requires the maximum deployment of our forces. Today, the enemy’s invasion exists in full force. They are utilizing all resources and tools. Primarily, the Americans, secondly, the Zionists – the Zionist regime who are below them – and behind or alongside them, there stand westerners and all Europeans. In the present time, for some European countries, the ban to buy oil has been lifted by the US, but they are not buying. Well, this is enmity. There is no other interpretation to it, but this is a specific kind of enmity. They have deployed their forces to a maximum level.
The Americans have repeatedly said that their sanctions against Iran are the harshest and most severe in history. They are right. I too once said in one of my speeches that the defeat that the US will suffer in this regard will be the harshest in history, God willing. This will happen if we show determination and move in the right direction, God willing. Therefore, it is necessary to deploy all forces and resources. In the face of a maximum invasion, a maximum deployment of forces is necessary. This is one point.
The second point is that the basis of our work is divine dhikr [remembrance of God]: “Slacken not, either of you, in keeping Me in remembrance” [The Holy Quran, 20: 42]. Allah the Exalted said to Musa and to Harun – while they were in a delicate situation: they were two individuals who were going to face a strong and dominant power like the Pharaoh who had many resources at his disposal: “Slacken not, either of you, in keeping Me in remembrance.” He said many times, “Fear not, for I am with you: I hear and see everything” [The Holy Quran, 20: 46]. He promised that He would help and support them, but He also mentioned that “Slacken not, either of you, in keeping Me in remembrance.”
Divine dhikr is the main ingredient for all the capabilities that I enumerated. I mentioned that those capabilities should be utilized and divine dhikr is the main ingredient for all of them.
I hope that Allah the Exalted will bestow on you and me the blessing to engage in dhikr and to pay attention to Him, God willing. I hope that He will shortly fulfill the promise that He made to this nation and this Ummah, God willing.
I wish to add that I have heard some people say, “When he speaks about benefitting from youth, this means getting rid of the elderly.” I deny this claim. I did not mean that we should get rid of the elderly. Benefitting from youth is a concept which should be contemplated and thought about deeply. We have a clear definition of utilizing youth, but it does not mean getting rid of the elderly.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings