The following is the full text of the speech delivered on April 5, 2010 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of government officials.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
First of all, I would like to congratulate all the dear brothers and sisters on the occasion of Norouz. Although about 16 days have passed since Norouz, in fact Norouz is the occasion for celebrating spring, and therefore except for the official holidays and the traditional customs, Norouz is not over yet. I hope this year will be an auspicious year for all Iranians, especially for those who serve the people in various governmental organizations and for the officials of the three branches of the government. An auspicious year is when you become the means through which the faithful people of this country can benefit from divine blessings. Of course this requires that we make purposeful and motivated efforts. We need to make efforts. And God willing, we will be able to benefit the people.
On the Day of Judgment you and I will be asked questions about each and every moment we spend doing our duties. Everybody will be held responsible, but those who are not shouldering a heavy responsibility are like poor people who will not have to answer a lot of detailed questions regarding their wealth. Naturally, wealthy people with various sources of income will not be able to account for his wealth in a few words. Naturally, it will be very difficult for them to answer detailed questions regarding their wealth. They should carefully explain how they acquired and spent many different sums of money. The same is true of positions of responsibility. You do not seem to be wealthy - and hopefully you are not - but it is more difficult to answer for the responsibility you are shouldering. We will be asked to answer for our role in different things. We have to know the details of our responsibilities. If we fail to find out the details, we will be held responsible for our lack of knowledge and care. But if we know the details of what our responsibilities involve, we will be asked to explain how we carried out our duties. It will take time to explain the details and the shortcomings.
We are all indebted to God. All human beings throughout the world will fail to appropriately answer for their actions before God. Nobody can say, "My actions are good enough." Even the prophets could not say this, so they asked God for forgiveness. Even the prophets and saints asked God for mercy and forgiveness until the last moments of their lives. Imam Sajjad (a.s.) said in a prayer, "Your justice is my perdition." Therefore, we ask Him, "Bestow Your grace on us." If we were held responsible according genuine justice, the results would be disastrous for us. We need to ask Allah the Exalted for divine grace and mercy.
Of course there is one thing that can be said before Allah the Exalted: One can say, "I did everything I possibly could." It is good if we can say, "I did my best, but please forgive me for the failures and shortcomings." It is possible to make such an excuse. Therefore, we must focus all our efforts on making the best of our capacities and potentials. Of course everybody has their own weak points and shortcomings. We have to leave the judgment to Allah the Exalted, but we must do our best.
I named this year "The Year of Intensified Effort and Labor". We have to make multiplied efforts. The important point is the existing potentials in society. In all areas our country is like a mine that has not been tapped or has been only partially tapped. Expert from different fields - such as economic, technological, and scientific areas - have told me that our country has unique potentials. When they present reports of the areas they specialize in and compare the potentials of our country with other countries, I come to the conclusion that we have great potentials. Our country has great potentials in economic areas. We have amazing capacities in scientific areas. Whenever we accelerate our progress and work harder, we achieve excellent results, results that we did not expect. We have seen that it is possible to get such results.
When you consider different cultural areas, you realize that there are great and plentiful potentials and capacities. In technological areas one can see that there are capacities for impressive progress. It is possible to make great achievements. These are the potentials of the country.
We can utilize these potentials in various areas. It would be negligent of us if we failed to identify these potentials. Similarly, it would be remiss of us if we failed to make enough efforts to utilize the potentials we have already identified. If we feel satisfied with average levels of achievement in this regard, we have been remiss in our responsibilities. We must move towards the peak. A physically gifted athletic who has the necessary facilities cannot just set a goal of 20-30 minutes of exercise a day. He should go for a championship. He should set his sights high.
The same is true of righteous deeds and transcendence. One must not be content with low levels of achievement. This is true of divine rewards as well. You must not feel content once you have earned a few divine rewards. If we fail to make determined efforts, we have been negligent, and this negligence is a kind of oppression to ourselves - because we will be reproached by God. This negligence is also a kind of oppression to those who deserve to benefit from these potentials, and if they do not, we are the ones who should be held responsible. Of course this is easier said than done. It is very difficult to take action in this regard - it requires determined efforts.
We should know that Allah the Exalted will help us. God helps anyone who sets for himself a goal and makes determined effort to achieve it. Allah the Exalted helps people even in worldly affairs. "Of the bounties of your Lord We bestow freely on all - these as well as those: The bounties of your Lord are not confined (to anyone)." [The Holy Quran, 17: 20] God says He will help even those who are after material goals, but when they are obsessed with this world, they will not gain anything for the hereafter. God says He will help everybody - both the people who are after material gains and those who are working towards spiritual goals. Spiritual goals are not limited to midnight prayers, dua, dhikr, supplication, and other such things. Of course these are among the means of achieving spiritual goals, but serving the people and helping them whenever they need help are equally good.
Among the people of the early Islamic era, those who have been praised - at least, in our culture and according to our belief system - owe their popularity more to their socio-political positions and selfless efforts than to their worship and prayers. For example, we rarely praise Abu Zar, Ammar, Meqdad, Maytham al-Tammar, or Malek al-Ashtar for their religious devotion. They are known in history for the historic positions they adopted, which determined the path of their communities and helped promote the Islamic movement. This is true of those who have been criticized as well. The criticisms that have been leveled against many of the Islamic luminaries are not because they used to drink alcohol or failed to say their prayers. They have been criticized because they failed to be present when they should have. This is what has been recorded in history.
Therefore, spiritual and divine work is not limited to praying. Of course one must not underestimate the importance of praying. In fact all spiritual work is backed by praying. Reciting the Holy Quran, reflecting on the meaning of the verses, supplication before Allah the Exalted, and repeating the narrated duas - such as the Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, Imam Hussein's prayer, and Dua Kumeil - can all help us in this regard. They can all facilitate your spiritual journey. If you form a close relationship with God, it will be easier to engage in spiritual work. You will be more enthusiastic to engage in spiritual work. Therefore, those who are determined to do divine things will be assisted by Allah the Exalted. The same is true of those who are determined to achieve material goals. Even those who are striving towards such things as worldly gains, wealth, social positions, and indulgence in alcohol and carnal pleasure will be assisted by God. Allah the Exalted will help even those who set themselves such material goals and make serious efforts to achieve them. And you know many such people in the world. Divine assistance consists of providing them with the necessary means to achieve their goals. They make serious efforts with the sole purpose of achieving their material goals, and God helps them to finally achieve what they want. Of course they ignore and miss the spiritual and divine aspects, but they continue moving towards their goals.
The dear ladies and gentlemen who have attended this meeting are the officials of this country. The things I told you are in fact the same things that you tell the people all the time. In fact what I said in this meeting was not new to you. I am just reminding you. Human beings need to be reminded. Reminding can produce great results, and knowing the facts is not enough to achieve the same results. People know a lot of things, but they still need to be reminded regularly. We need to pay attention and know where we are, what we are doing, and what we are trying to achieve. Our goal is not to acquire material wealth, so we cannot forget our great duty and lofty goals. Our goal is not to gain such things as praise and appreciation, so we cannot just hold on to our positions and have some people respect and obey us. These goals are too trivial for man. Our goal is to achieve salvation, and that is what we must strive for. We must be concerned about our spiritual life in the hereafter, and sooner or later this life will begin. It is a matter of hours for some people, and for others it is a matter of days or years. But we will all begin this life. Eventually our spiritual life will start after we die. The goal is to prepare the ground for a good life in the hereafter. We are just making preparations in this world.
It is very important to show solidarity when taking action. I am stressing this point because almost all officials from the three braches of the government are present in this meeting. It may not be possible to have unanimity in thought and taste - in fact it is not really desirable to have such unanimity. Differences of opinion and taste result in debates, and debates lead to exploration of new options. Therefore, I would not advise our people and officials to have the same opinion about different issues. This is not possible at all. Differences of taste and opinion have been a means of progress for humanity since God created man. But it is necessary to have unanimity and harmony when taking action. For example, there may be internal conflicts among people of a caravan. They may be at odds with one another regarding intellectual, political, scholarly, and other such matters. It is okay if they argue with one another. If they reach a conclusion, so much the better. And it is absolutely okay if they do not reach any conclusions. But the caravan cannot put its journey on hold in order to settle the differences of opinion. Similarly, the people of the caravan must not go their separate ways just because they did not reach a unanimous conclusion on a scholarly issue. We are all moving towards the same goal. This is how all the three branches of the government should move ahead. My dear friends, dear government officials, you should preserve your unanimity when taking action and making important decisions. Take care not to let the differences of opinion lead to discord when taking critical action.
The fifth development plan is ahead of us, and this plan has placed many duties on the shoulders of all government officials. Of course the executive branch shoulders the greatest portion of this responsibility. But the judiciary and legislative branches of the government and different other organizations are all responsible in this regard, and they can all play a role. It would be impossible to get things done if we kept withdrawing our cooperation every step of the way because of minor problems. You should cooperate with one another. You should help each other. Try to prepare the ground for those who are out in the field doing executive work. Of course you must keep the interests into consideration, but you should also help executive officials do their job.
I would like to strongly emphasize that in order to realize the goals specified in the 20-Year Strategic Plan, there should be cooperation among the three braches of the government. There are very important goals in the 20-Year Strategic Plan. Of course if you make intensified efforts, we will even go beyond those goals. It is not at all unlikely for us to go beyond the goals specified in the 20-Year Strategic Plan. We can see that in some areas we are ahead of the schedule specified in the plan. We may be slightly behind the schedule in certain areas, but in certain other areas we are undoubtedly ahead of the schedule, and there are no problems. We can even go beyond those goals. We need to believe that we can work hard and go beyond those goals. Therefore, we need to make intensified efforts.
We need to make efforts both in spiritual and material areas. Try to intensify your efforts to form a close relationship with God. You must not ignore this aspect of life and let it sink into oblivion. Spiritual issues are of paramount importance. If we try and develop a close relationship with God, He will help us more. Actually Allah the Exalted has provided us with a lot of assistance already.
Cultural issues are also very important. It is very important to promote religion in society. It is very important to have an appearance of religiousness in public life, an appearance which is hopefully indicative of genuine religious faith.
I think it is necessary to express my gratitude to the dear brothers who made serious efforts during the New Year holidays - including those who work for the Police, the IRIB, and different health centers. Different organizations rendered various services in order to preserve public welfare. Extraordinary efforts were made in governmental organizations and various other parts. Some people made serious efforts to provide the people with happy moments, peace, and security. These efforts are very valuable.
It would be very good if governmental organizations could start their activities immediately after the official New Year holidays. Fortunately, some people made a lot of efforts and were present when they were needed during the holidays. Since the early days of Farvardin [the first month on the Persian calendar] when we were on holiday, I saw some people doing their jobs and making efforts. It would be very good if you could promote the culture of hard work in society as much as possible. This would help accelerate the movement of our society and increase its dynamism.
I hope Allah the Exalted will bestow success and assistance on all of you. By Allah's favor, the administration and the Majlis will achieve the most appropriate agreements regarding the Subsidy Redistribution Bill. I heard that new agreements are being negotiated in this regard, and I hope the administration will implement the bill successfully. Hopefully, good results will be achieved, and the people will be able to benefit from your wise decisions and efforts.
Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings