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 (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake)
Greetings be upon Hussein, upon Ali ibn al-Hussein, upon the children of Hussein and upon the companions of Hussein
I am very lucky and happy and I thank Allah the Exalted for giving me another opportunity to see your enlightened faces in this annual meeting. I hope that God will bestow His special blessings and guidance on all of you and that He will help you reach the loftiest position that one desires, God willing.
The Unique Characteristic of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps
Among the phenomena that have emerged because of the Islamic Revolution – phenomena which are not few in number – the Islamic Revolutions Guards Corps has a special characteristic. The Guards Corps is a phenomenon which has come into being because of the Islamic Revolution. There are certain characteristics in the Islamic Revolutions Guards Corps which are witnessed to a lesser extent in other phenomena emerging after the Revolution.
First of all, the birth of the Guards Corps took place in the midst of great events and excitements thanks to the Revolution. After that, the growth, movement and maturity of the Guards Corps coincided with the great incidents of the Sacred Defense Era. During the eight-year Sacred Defense, the Guards Corps achieved growth, like a teenager who reaches youth and adulthood and who finds courage. During the post-war era which as an era during which there were deep and extensive movements in political and cultural areas between the Revolution and the enemies of the Revolution – the opposite front to the Revolution – and the subsequent tests that were ahead of us during these great movements, many individuals slipped and faced difficulties. It was during this era that the Guards Corps managed to reach maturity and a noteworthy perfection.
A Dangerous Quandary
In the third era, the era after the Sacred Defense Era, there was a dangerous quandary in one’s individual, political and social life and in the life of organizations: the quandary of transcendence or decadence. This is usually the case. After one enters into youth and moves forward, one faces a quandary. This is the case with individuals, organizations, groups of people and even revolutions. One way leads to transcendence and another leads to decadence. Either the angel of wisdom, acumen, guidance and spirituality guides individuals towards the summit or the lure of materialism drags them into mean materialistic desires.
This predicament is also witnessed in the movement and progress of individuals. Individuals, organizations, and as I have said, revolutions have a good beginning in the midst of great political events in the world. They achieve good growth as well, but they face decadence at one point in time and they take a slippery road. This quandary naturally occurred for our society and our country after the end of the Sacred Defense Era. Of course, there are many things to be said about the essence of the Revolution, but I do not want to get in to that discussion now.
There Have Been More Cases of Growth Rather Than Decay in the Guards Corp
What I want to say is that the Guards Corps emerged victorious and honorable out of that era. The Guards Corps was not afflicted with decay and decadence. It preserved the main elements of its identity and it walked towards transcendence. Of course, there is growth and decay everywhere and the Guards Corps is not an exception, but the main point is to see if there are more cases of growth or decay. I would definitely say that in the case of the Guards Corps, victory belongs to the growth part in a clear manner. The movement was a movement towards growth, progress and transcendence.
No one should complain that well, we had certain cases of decay. Yes, we did, but this exists everywhere and at all times. This is not the main point. The main point is that we should have a comparison between the cases of growth and those of decay. The same discussion exists about the essence of the Revolution itself, but this is not the place to discuss this.
Notice that the most exquisite arena that an organization like the Guards Corps can participate in, is the arena of jihad and martyrdom. Of course, there are other arenas as well, but the arena of martyrdom in the way of God is the peak and the most brilliant arena and it is the most beautiful point that one’s eyes can pursue.
In the arena of martyrdom, 30 years after the end of the Sacred Defense Era, we have an experienced man with a white beard named Shahid Hamedani. We have a fresh teenager named Shahid Hojjaji. All these phenomena are significant. All these are signs of the survival of that freshness and that main identity. The same is true of other arenas which I will discuss later on. I will speak about the arenas that the Guards Corps has participated in.
I wish all of us to reach a judgement. Of course, what I am about to say might be a repetitive discussion for you. Nonetheless, it will be good to discuss it so that everyone knows the condition of the Guards Corps. One criterion for evaluating the condition of every organization and every association is to compare its achievements with its failures with the purpose of seeing how successful it has been in facing the missions that it undertook. If we use this as a criterion, then in my opinion the Guards Corps is one of the most glorious organizations in this calculation and using this criterion, whether the achievements or the failures weigh heavier. With this criterion, the Guards Corps is very glorious.
Factors One Can Use to Evaluate the Performance of the Guards Corps
Creativity and Innovativeness
I would like to refer to a number of important factors in this regard which should definitely be taken into account in this calculation. One is the issue of innovativeness and creativity in the Guards Corps. An example is innovation in military tools and weapons and war machinery. One day, the same Guards Corps used to sweat heavily in order to have access to 120 mortars and to be able to use them somewhere. In the present time, you can see what weapons the Guards Corps is using and what innovations it has had in the area of building weapons.
Its creativity and success has been the main factor in the emergence of these resources in the country for the Armed Forces. The Guards Corps is creative both in the area of military weapons and in the area of military methods: the methods of fighting and responding. The creations of the Guards Corps are very outstanding in this area. This is one element and one factor: the issue of innovativeness, creativity and success.
Rendering Public Services
Another factor is strong presence in different arenas of social services. Notice which organization and association and which armed force in the world can be compared with the Guards Corps in terms of the public services that the Guards Corps has rendered in the course of all these years and is continuing to do. And it is increasing these services on a daily basis.
An example of this is the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters which has been a strong arm for various administrations throughout these years. Another example is fighting and eliminating poverty. The Guards Corps, the Ground Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and other divisions of the Guards Corps, have made many efforts to eliminate poverty and I estimate that 90 percent of these endeavors are not reflected in publications. No promotion is done to reflect these endeavors and most people do not know about them, but we are aware of them because of the reports that we receive. The endeavors to eliminate poverty throughout the country and in underprivileged areas are very vast in scope.
Another example is offering extraordinary assistance during natural calamities. For example, following the earthquake in Kermanshah or following the floods that occurred in several provinces, the presence of the Guards Corps was a determining and outstanding one. And one can mention many other small and big tasks. This is another factor: the extensive public services which the masses of the people benefit from. This has nothing to do with military work, strategic issues and the like. These endeavors are purely for the sake of rendering services and helping the progress of the country. And in important areas, they help further the economy of resistance policy.
Participation in the Arena of Culture and Art
Another factor is entrance into the arena of culture, thinking and art. In this area, the Guards Corps and Basij have carried out prominent tasks. Those who are knowledgeable in the area of culture, art, literature, poetry and other artistic fields feel that a new entity is being born in the world of art. This is a new event and an outstanding piece of work and it has nothing to do with strategic and military issues and the like. This is another arena.
Strategic Outlook at the Geography of Resistance
Another arena which is very important is looking strategically at the geography of resistance in the region. The Resistance Forces have shown their capability to confront arrogance, the US, the allied camp of kufr and oppression in the region. Notice what a significant role the Guards Corps plays in this great force: this ranges from the issue of Palestine to other issues in West Asia and in other regions. However, I do not want to discuss those issues and the circumstances of our meeting does not allow that.
The presence of the Guards Corps in this expanse and geography of resistance is so outstanding that it has provoked the enmity of others: the enmity of bad people and the camp of evil. This in itself is a great honor. If the worst people in the world are on bad terms with someone, this in itself is a great honor.
The Struggle to Preserve Spirituality
Another factor which is the most important one in my opinion is the effort that exists in the Guards Corps to preserve spirituality. The issue of spirituality is very important – later on, I might raise certain points about it. It is like showering mercy on a diverse orchard: it both revives and freshens it. When it rains, it is not just the case that it gives life to the orchard. It also gives it beauty, delicacy and freshness and it endears it in the eyes of people. The rain of spirituality is the same.
These were the factors that I enumerated. We can explain, expand and clarify the different parts of these factors, which is a very important course of action. And we can also add other factors to them. Therefore, the Guards Corps has moved forward to a great extent in the area of hardware and software and in the path of transcendence and progress and it has emerged victorious out if its test. I believe that the Guards Corps is soaring. And this has caused the US, the apparatus of arrogance and bad people in the world to be on bad terms with the Guards Corps.
Why Are the Enemies on Bad Terms with the Guards Corps?
You might have seen in the news, in writings, in speeches, in cyberspace and in other media that they speak badly of the Guards Corps to a large extent. They are working on this. The same is true of their cohorts and followers inside the country as well. Of course, they are not large in number, but they exist anyway. They try to find a weakness in the Guards Corps here and there and to magnify it. And as for the US, it naively thinks that it is hurting the Guards Corps by imposing sanctions on it. It is these achievements, these feats and these outstanding points that have caused such enmities. This is a source of pride because it increases the dignity of the Guards Corps in the eyes of individuals and even enemies.
Such achievements make the Guards Corps go up in the estimation of the enemies – let alone for friends. And today, this is the case and this dignity has thankfully been achieved. Well, these are some of the outstanding characteristics of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps – this glorious organization.
You are the dear children of this humble person. If someone asked me if I am pleased with these children, I would say that I am a hundred percent pleased [audience say salawat]. But I am not satisfied with this level. I am very pleased, but I am not satisfied. And this is not an unreasonable expectation because I believe that Allah the Exalted has given you such talent with which you can move forward ten times more than this. Of course, by saying “ten times” I wanted to be on the side of caution, but you can move 100 times more!
What is the reason for this? Because your position in the present time is a 100 times stronger than that of the first day. The youth in the first day of the establishment of the Guards Corps are sitting here [referring to the senior commanders seated in the front rows, audience laughs]. What did you have back then? How many resources did you have? To what extent was your presence felt? You should compare the condition of the Guards Corps today and on that day. This shows that Allah the Exalted has given you the necessary talents, capabilities and resources. When He gives capabilities and resources, this is followed by certain obligations: “On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.” [The Holy Quran, 2: 286]
The more resourceful you are, the more obligations you will have. This is what I am saying. This is the gist of my statements: because you are resourceful and highly capable, you have many duties as well.
Words of Advice
Because your responsibilities are heavy, these are some words of advice that I would like to offer:
Prevent the Guards Corps from Aging and from Becoming Conservative
The first word of advice is that you should not allow the Guards Corps to age and to become conservative. The Guards Corps should not age. By aging, I do not mean elderly individuals. Of course, that is not insignificant – I will speak about attracting youth in the Guards Corps later on – but what I mean is the spirit. The youthful spirit of the Guards Corps should prevail. We can imagine an organization that never ages and that always remains young with divine assistance and guidance and with different methods. One can imagine such an organization, but how?
How Can the Guards Corps Protect Itself from Aging?
First of all, we should employ youth. Thankfully, this endeavor exists. This has begun in the Guards Corps for a long time and attention to the young generation exists. And another task is to build the second and third generations of the Revolution in a religious and revolutionary sense of the word. You should not allow a generational break to emerge. The same spirit that was exhibited by great and well-known martyrs of the Guards Corps in battlefields before, during – and in the case of a number of them – after the Sacred Defense Era should continue to overflow into the generations that enter the Guards Corps.
So, we should cultivate youth in religious and revolutionary ways, we should prevent a generational break and we should continue with creative and innovative methods. When I said that the Guards Corps is creative in weapons and in tactics, you should not allow this to stop. This creativity in using methods, tactics, resources, military weapons, the collective instruments of the Guards Corps and in some of the arenas that I mentioned should continue to exist.
Of course, this spirit already exists in the Guards Corps and I can see this. One can already see this in various divisions – including in air and ground divisions – and at various levels. However, this should continue and be strengthened on a daily basis. Therefore, the first advice of this humble person is that you should not allow the Guards Corps to age, to become conservative and to be complacent about the current condition. This should not be the case. You should move forward and improve on a daily basis in the direction of becoming revolutionary, religious and efficient.
Preserve Your Preparedness
Secondly, you should keep being prepared for facing great incidents. This has been one of the characteristics of the Guards Corps. Since it was born, the Guards Corps has always shown its spirit of sacrifice in the front lines. When the Guards Corps had just been born and when different incidents took place in different corners of the country – the issue about ethnicities and the moves that were made in eastern, western and northern parts of the country – the Guards Corps stepped up and showed its preparedness.
During the auspicious lifetime of Imam, the issue of the imposed war arose, but the Guards Corps thrust out its chest and showed its preparedness. Since the very first day and the very first hours of the war and Saddam’s attack, the Guards Corps was present in the arena. Before that, it was present as well. Before the war, the enemies used to make sneaky moves, they used to keep pestering us and they would launch malicious attacks on our borders. In that time too, the Guards Corps was present in the arena.
After the demise of Imam, the Guards Corps showed that it was prepared in the midst of various political and social incidents and plots and it showed this spirit whenever there was an incident. I do not want to say that its performance was excellent everywhere, but its presence was excellent everywhere. This preparedness should be preserved and I am not only speaking about security, military and other such areas. The Guards Corps should be prepared in all areas.
The friends in the meeting pointed to some of these areas: the economy of resistance, boosting production and helping the poor and underprivileged classes. As it happens, these are the important and day-to-day issues of the country. The Guards Corps should preserve its preparedness. In the area of offering public services and eliminating poverty, in the area of confronting enmities, in the area of organizational strength, in the area of scientific and practical preparedness and in the area of political awareness – in all these areas – you should be able to preserve your preparedness and agility.
Have a Transboundary Outlook
Thirdly, you should not lose this extensive strategic outlook towards the geography of resistance. You should not abandon this transboundary outlook. We should not be satisfied with our region: “No people have been attacked in the hearts of their houses but that they suffered disgrace.” [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 27] This is a hadith by one of the infallible Imams (greetings be upon him) saying that those who were sitting at home waiting for others to attack them became ruined and humiliated. We should not choose a small dwelling and then ignore the incidents and the threats that exist beyond the walls of this dwelling.
This extensive transboundary outlook and this expansion of our strategic depth is sometimes even more necessary than the most urgent issues in the country and we should pay attention to it! Of course, many people do not pay attention to it. Many people are unaware of its significance. Of course, some people are aware, but they speak to the advantage of the enemy, for example they say “neither Gaza, nor Lebanon” however, many people are not aware of its significance. This is the truth of the matter. You should not allow this outlook towards an extensive geographical zone – which is one of the duties of the Guards Corps – to be undermined from within.
Have a Realistic Estimation of the Enemy
The fourth word of advice is that you should have a realistic evaluation of the enemy with a thorough outlook. And you should not mistake vigilance for fear. You should never be afraid of the enemy. You should never fear the enemy no matter how strong and great he is.
This is because your enemy is devoid of the power of faith that you possess, no matter how strong it is. However, you should know your enemy’s strengths: “The enemy cannot be considered small and weak” [from a poem by Sa’adi]. You should not consider any enemy – big or small – as mean, weak, desperate and unworthy of attention. You should take the enemy into account even if it is a small one. You should have a correct evaluation of him and you should be vigilant in the face of him. As I said, you should not mistake vigilance for fear in any way, but you should know who you are facing.
Cooperate with Other Sectors and Divisions
And the fifth word of advice is that you should cooperate and collaborate with all the great parts and pieces that have formed the Islamic Republic: this cooperation and collaboration with the administration, with the judiciary branch and with the Islamic Consultative Majlis, the legislative branch and with various divisions, is necessary. This is a duty which is not particular to you. I advise this to everyone and I wish to advise it to you as well.
Of course, this cooperation and overlap does not mean getting separated from the Guards Corps’ elements of identity. You should pay attention to this point. The Guards Corps’ elements of identity should be preserved one hundred percent in all dealings and conducts and in all cases of cooperation and overlap.
Love the People and Be with the People
The sixth word of advice is that you should be popular. You should love the people, you should receive the people warmly and you should behave like the people. The Guards Corps is a popular force after all. Since the establishment of the Guards Corps, the youth who joined it were from universities, from the bazaar, from workshops and from everywhere. They came here and they grew. They became well-known personalities and they reached such a point that the likes of us look at them with envy. The Guards Corps was formed with a popular spirit. Therefore, you should be with and from the people.
You should behave like ordinary people. Condescension, materialism and aristocracy are against this conduct. This is a firm word of advice. Of course, there are many points in this sixth word of advice. I always offer the same word of advice to all the officials of the country and I would like to stress it, but there is no more time and I would like to move on.
Have a Jihadi Spirit and Do Not Put Things Off to Tomorrow
The seventh word of advice is that you should place jihadi work and jihadi spirit in various arenas at the top of your agenda. Jihadi work is against indolence, against indifference and against putting things off to the future.
When I sometimes meet with officials in different sectors, they say that they are going to carry out a task. They confirm that it is urgent and necessary and they even welcome it, but they put it off to tomorrow and when tomorrow comes, there will be another tomorrow. I sometimes warn them about this, saying, “I asked you to do something six months ago. You issued a written edict to your agent and he passed it on to another, but six months have passed and no move has been made.” This is because they do not pursue jihadi work. Jihadi work is very important. You should pursue jihadi work in all arenas.
Exercise Piety and Be in Contact with the Quran and Ahlul Bayt
And the last word of advice is that you should never abandon reliance on God, spirituality and praying. You should never abandon your relationship with the Quran. You should never stop being in contact with Ahlul Bayt. You should never forget about avoiding sins. Those people for whose each and every word we held great admiration and respect, always offered this advice. Perhaps it can be said that it was the most important piece of advice: avoiding sins. This is the basis of the work.
You should establish and instill these points in yourselves, in your family members, in your children and in all your relatives. These issues were about the Guards Corps. As I said, if there is enough time and if my life allows me, I have many points to raise with you, but this much is enough considering the time that we have and the conditions of our meeting. There are other issues that I would like to discuss.
Who Created DAESH and Who Supported It?
As for international issues, there is an important point. If we pay careful attention, we reach a certain point which is the fact that the more investments our enemies make, the more losses they suffer. Take a look at the region and notice how much money they spent, for example, in Afghanistan. They are still stuck there. They are still incurring losses in West Asia – in Syria, in Iraq and in other places. They spent a huge amount of money to create DAESH. Of course, they claim that they destroyed DAESH, but the hell you destroyed it! Was it you who destroyed it? It was Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian and Lebanese youth who destroyed DAESH, not you!
First of all, it was you who created DAESH. Secondly, you invested heavily in them. You gave them weapons, resources and money. Your spending was massive and you gave them promotional resources. Those who are experts in the area of promotions would say that the promotional resources of DAESH were among the most advanced broadcasting and promotional resources. How did they obtain them? It was arrogance which gave them to DAESH: the same “excellencies” who were apparently not connected to them, but who are still supporting them.
On many occasions, the daeshi elements were trapped in a siege, but then they would come with their helicopters and they would save and take them away so that they would not be destroyed in the siege. They used to sell Iraqi oil for a long period of time. One of the heads of countries said to me once that they used to see with satellites, the row of vehicles that would transport oil with the purpose of selling it for DAESH. And he said that American planes were escorting them from above. Not only did they not attack them, but they also protected them in certain cases!
What Happens if DAESH Returns?
But as I said, it was the determination of pious youth in those countries and in ours that destroyed DAESH. Now, they say that it has not been eradicated completely. Very well, if they come again, there is the same story: “If the scorpion returns, we will strike him again” [speaking in Arabic]. He crushed the scorpion with his shoe and then he said, “If it returns, I am carrying the same shoe and I will crush it again” [audience laughs].
Therefore, the more investments they made, the more losses they incurred. The current US President said that they have spent seven trillion dollars in the region, but what have they gained from the region? What have they earned? What do they have? The more money they spent, the more losses they suffered. And it will be the same from now on too, God willing.
The Consequences of America’s Maximum Pressure Policy
They have been defeated in their maximum pressure policy – which was the American policy – until today as well. They used to think that if maximum pressure would be exercised over Iran in the area of economic matters, mostly economic, and some other minor issues, Iran would be brought to its knees and thus, it would be forced to show flexibility somehow. By Allah’s favor, grace and assistance, they have figured out until this hour that this maximum pressure has created problems and caused serious trouble only for themselves!
Lately, in order to continue with their pretensions, fabricate a symbolic surrender of Iran and force the President of our country into a meeting with him, they have resorted to begging! They have used their European comrades as go-betweens, but all of them have come and gone and they did not succeed until the end. Therefore, the policy of maximum pressure has failed until this very hour and I will definitely tell you that it will continue to fail until the end.
What Is the System of Domination and What Does It Want with Iran?
Therefore, this is our condition in confronting international issues. We have thankfully continued our path with power and strength. They insist that the Islamic Republic should abandon its revolutionary outlook – which is what we advise to keep. They say that we should become a “normal country.” A “normal country” means a country that is compatible with the requirements of the world and its system of domination. I have frequently explained what a system of domination is. The system of domination means that the whole world should be divided into the oppressor and the oppressed. This is the way of the world in the present time. Some governments are oppressors and some are oppressed. Of course, not all the oppressed are necessarily servile, but they have accepted domination and they have given in to it.
If they say to them that they should do something, they do it. This is the current system of domination. They say that the Islamic Republic should enter this system as well. In other words, it should become one of the oppressed.
Since the first hour of its birth and its establishment, the Islamic Republic has moved against this system of domination. So, how could it abandon it? We are opposed to the system of domination. We are opposed to the division of the world into the oppressor and the oppressed. We will confront it and we will never surrender to its impositions. And we have managed until today to make great progress in this area. We have managed to encourage many individuals, thoughts, intellectuals and groups of people to accompany us on this path and we will definitely continue taking it: the path of being revolutionary and the path of confronting and opposing the system of domination.
Iran Should Go Ahead with Reducing More Nuclear Commitments
Another issue which is good to be discussed briefly is the issue of nuclear energy. We will continue to reduce the commitments related to the nuclear deal and this should continue. It should continue with complete seriousness. And this falls on the Atomic Energy Organization. They should comprehensively, thoroughly and completely go ahead with the reduction of commitments that the government of the Islamic Republic has announced and this should continue until we reach the desired results. By Allah’s favor and grace, we will definitely reach the desired results.
The Cure for Economic Problems
We have found the cure for the enmities towards the economic sector of the country in relying on domestic capabilities. This is the cure. Our domestic resources are very good, as you can see in the present time. Some people used to predict before that the year 1398 will be like this and that. Now, the officials of the country point out that we have had relative economic growth in the year 1398. Of course, the people are in a difficult situation. They have livelihood problems, but if officials make their moves in a strong, reasonable, perseverant and jihadi manner, this will certainly impact the people’s livelihood condition little by little.
The Benefits of Sanctions on Oil
An important point is that sanctions – primarily the ones on selling oil – and their maximum pressures, which are focused on the issue of oil, are undoubtedly a problem for the country. However, it is a short-term problem. A long-term profit can be obtained from this short-term problem and that is getting detached from oil. A few days ago, government officials announced that we are going to eliminate oil revenues from the budget from a specific date – they have set a specific date for this. Well, this is very good news. This is a great achievement!
If we keep selling our oil and receiving dollars in return, we will never think of separating the country’s budget, expenditures and costs from oil revenues. We would never think of this. When selling oil is prevented, when this easy source of income is taken from the government, then we will think of doing something important.
In the present time, many countries have a better rate of economic growth than us. They are in a better economic situation while they do not have a single drop of oil and they are not selling oil. So, this is possible. The resources of our country are better than some of the countries which I mentioned. Our resources are much better than some countries. So, we can do so. We can conclude that this pressure that is being exerted on us in terms of tactics will end to our advantage in terms of strategy and it will come to our help.
Many Quranic References Indicate that the Iranian Nation Will Be the Final Victor
At the end of my statements, I wish to say that when I look at every direction and when I consider things from all perspectives, I see that in the confrontation of the Iranian nation in the shade of the Islamic Republic – with the world of oppression, arrogance and kufr – the Iranian nation is the final victor. We will win strategically, God willing.
Quranic ayahs and divine promises have enlightened us about this and our 40-year experience is a living proof of this: “But to satisfy my own undertaking” [The Holy Quran, 2: 260]. On the issue of reviving the dead, Prophet Ibrahim (as) said to God, “I believe, but I want my heart to rest assured.” Now, when the people of Iran look at these 40-year achievements and when they see the thin sapling which had been attacked from all sides in order to destroy it and which has now turned into this lofty structure and this fruitful and prospering tree, they will experience this: “To satisfy my own understanding”.
Dear God, by the blessedness of Mohammad and his household, increase Your kindness, Your mercy and Your blessings on the Imam of the Martyrs – greeting be upon him – on our dear martyrs and on the mujahids who opened this path. Make the holy heart of the Imam of the Age satisfied and pleased with us.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings