Leader’s Speech to People of Isfahan

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

The following is the full text of the speech delivered in Tehran by Ayatollah Khamenei on November 17, 2010 to a group of citizens from Isfahan.

First of all, I would like to welcome you dear brothers and sisters who have traveled this long distance [from Isfahan to Tehran] to imbue the atmosphere of this Hussainiyyah with your faith and emotions on this auspicious Eid. I would also like to congratulate all you dear audience, the dear people of Isfahan, the entire Iranian nation and all Muslims throughout the world on Eid al-Adha. The timing of this meeting is very appropriate. The 25th of Aban represents the sacrifices made by the people of Isfahan, and this occasion has coincided with Eid al-Adha this year.

If we pay attention to the philosophy inherent in Eid al-Adha, many paths will be opened up for us. A select Messenger of the Righteous One, Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.), made a sacrifice on Eid al-Adha. In some cases, sacrificing your loved ones is beyond sacrificing your life. Prophet Ibrahim was about to sacrifice a loved one in the way of God - a young child whom Allah the Exalted had bestowed on him at an old age after a lifetime of waiting. "Praise be to Allah, Who has given me in old age Ismail and Ishaq. Most surely my Lord is the Hearer of prayer." [The Holy Quran, 14: 39] Allah the Exalted had bestowed these two sons on him at an old age, probably after a lifetime of impatient waiting. He had no hope of getting another child at that age. The Master of the Martyrs of the entire world, Imam Hussein (a.s.), who is the symbol of sacrifice and martyrdom, remembers this event in the holy prayer of Arafah: "And Ibrahim decided to sacrifice his son at an old age after waiting a lifetime." This is part of a dua by Imam Hussein (a.s.) in Arafah, a dua that was recited by hajjis yesterday.

This sacrifice is a symbol for the faithful people who want to tread the path of truth, transcendence and perfection. This is impossible without a sacrifice. In fact, all the tests that we go through involve one essential element - all tests involve a sacrifice. Sometimes this involves sacrificing your life and wealth. Other times it involves forgiving somebody for a comment he makes and insists on stubbornly. Yet other times it involves sacrificing your dear ones - your children and your loved ones. Being tested means going through hardships. When a hardship is placed in the way of an individual or a people, going through this hardship is a test. If they go through this hardship, they will reach the desired destination. And if they fail - if they fail to utilize the talent within them, if they fail to overcome their passions - they will fall by the wayside. This is what a test is. God does not put us through divine tests in order to get to know us and see at what level we are. Divine tests are in fact a step towards one's destination. When we are tested and we manage to go through the hardships of tests, we enter a new situation, a new stage of life. A nation and an individual are not different from one another in this regard.

Last year the Iranian nation went through a difficult test. It went through a fitna. This does not just mean that everybody has realized the Iranian nation is powerful. Rather, what is more important is that our nation entered a new situation after this movement was carried out with this level of capability, the capability to deal with fitna and hardships. Our nation has now obtained a new capability. During their lifetime, people are tested every step of the way. If we manage to overcome our passions, if we manage to utilize our insight, if we manage to detect the right time, and if we recognize the necessary measures to be taken, we will enter a new stage of life. This is a kind of improvement, a kind of progress. Therefore, the 25th of Aban - which is a prominent day and a symbol - has this significance for the people of Isfahan.

I deem it necessary to make a few points about the merits of the people of Isfahan. These things are considered to represent the identity of these faithful, honorable and persistent people. In one day the people of Isfahan held funeral ceremonies for 370 martyrs without batting an eye, and on the same day they sent soldiers to the battlefields. This is a very important point. As the Friday prayer leader of Isfahan said, Imam Khomeini (r.a.) praised the people of Isfahan for this move. In Aban of the year 1361, funeral ceremonies were held for 370 martyrs in one day, and they offered more than one thousand martyrs in the same month. Over one thousand martyrs! Who gets martyred? Those who are in the arena and are exposed to danger - those who are pioneers.

Before the Revolution, Isfahan had an outstanding presence in different events. The same is true of the events related to the Revolution as well as the imposed war. There were military units stationed in Isfahan, whether the units that belonged to the Army of the Guardians of the Revolution - including the Imam Hussein Army headquartered in Isfahan, the Najaf Army headquartered in Najafabad and the Ghamar-e Bani Hashem Brigade - or the units that belonged to the Army, or the artillery center in Isfahan. If you put all these things together, they will become very significant. You will conclude that in arenas that were important to the country, the people of Isfahan were considered among the pioneers during and after the eight-year imposed war. The same is true of their role in the growth and development of the country and in scientific issues. Some of the chronic problems of our Armed Forces were resolved in scientific and research centers of Isfahan. These are sources of pride - not in the sense of self-importance, but in the sense of recognizing one's identity and innate talents and moving forward on the basis of this identity and these talents.

Everybody knows that during the eight-year imposed war the people of Isfahan used to cooperate with different military units fighting at the first lines of defense. This is something that is clear to everybody. But what is not so clear to many people is the role of obscure and humble people who acted as backup for the soldiers fighting at the front lines all those years - women who used to help from homes, businessmen who used to work at the bazaar, people who were active in bureaucratic organizations and jihadists who used to provide different kinds of services for the war fronts. There were people among them who were even martyred. There were people among them who were martyred or offered martyrs, and they were humble people whose names have not been registered anywhere. But they are famous in heaven. Not even the smallest things go unaccounted for in divine calculations. All those aid caravans from Isfahan, all those efforts and all that motivation, yet look at the families of those martyrs. Martyrs went through only a moment of hardship, and they flew to heaven. They did not suffer much. "Surely the friends of God - they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve." [The Holy Quran, 10: 62] It was their families who suffered. Fathers, mothers, wives, children, brothers, sisters and bereaved ones - they were patient, and they felt proud. There are some families in Isfahan who have offered three martyrs. There are some families who had only one son, and they sent him to the battlefield. They are Ibrahims of our time. These are the things that form the identity of a nation. These are the things that help a nation achieve glory.

No nation will ever achieve anything by sitting around, eating, sleeping, relying on foreigners and letting passions dominate its life. Some people spin negative yarns when there is a mention of the Sacred Defense, make sarcastic comments when there is a mention of martyrdom, distort their faces when there is a mention of disabled soldiers and war veterans and laugh scornfully when there is a mention of centrifuges for uranium enrichment. They simply shake their heads and say, "It is impossible." These people do not understand anything about the movement of a nation. Those who have been trained in a wrong way and according to corrupt satanic ethics do not understand anything about the effect of faith and jihad.

When a nation comes to believe in jihad, it becomes a pioneer in all arenas. Jihad is not just limited to holding a rifle in your hand. Jihad means that one should see oneself in the arena of action and fight against the obstacles and those who create them. Jihad means that one should feel responsible and committed. This is what genuine jihad is. This is Islamic jihad. Jihad may be carried out by laying down one's life. It may also be carried out through one's wealth, thought, shouting slogans, taking to the streets and going to the ballot boxes. This is jihad in the way of Allah, and it is what helps a nation grow, make progress and become dynamic, revitalized and hopeful.

How is it possible to fight such a nation? The camp that is opposed to Islam, the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic was created in the world in order to fight this magnificent phenomenon. How can it go about this fight? It is not possible to fight it through war - they tried this and saw the result. It is not possible to fight it through war and military threats. It is not possible to fight it through sanctions. Those who think that they can bring the Iranian nation to its knees through sanctions are just wasting their time. When a nation has hope and faith and knows what it is doing, it cannot be forced to retreat through the use of threats.

In order to fight such a nation, they will pay attention to the point that you mentioned [refers to a slogan shouted by the audience], which is indicative of the vigilance of you dear people of Isfahan: Creating a rift in the nation, turning the people against one another, creating a gap between the people and government officials, and causing suspicion and disagreement over trivial issues. This is one of the most important forms of enmity utilized by the enemies of the Islamic Revolution. We should be vigilant.

Of course the people of Isfahan have been vigilant. They acted appropriately during the past events. They had a brilliant performance in the face of the fitna of the year 1388 and on the 9th of Dey - in that self-initiated public movement. Everybody should guard against creation of division, fitna and suspicion of the system. You see some people leveling accusations against the Islamic Republic here and there with no regard for any considerations or principles. They act as the enemy's representatives and say whatever they like because if the propaganda machines of the anti-Islam, Zionist and American camp could not make themselves heard, they want to be able to make up for it and deliver their message to people. These people are betraying the nation. This is in fact a clear betrayal. Making the people suspect each other and the hardworking government officials and creating an atmosphere of despair - these are one of the methods.

Another method is to promote moral corruption in society. Everybody, especially our youth, should be extremely vigilant. Unfortunately moral corruption and moral degeneration are used as a means to further the political goals of the arrogant powers. In order to weaken and annihilate a nation - and of course to obtain money in the process - they use drugs as means to further their political goals in many parts of the world. Our nation, our youth and our government officials should be extremely careful about these things.

Isfahan enjoys highly prominent capacities, just as it did in the past. You should appreciate these capacities. Isfahan is the center of knowledge - religious knowledge and different other types of knowledge. It used to be the center of knowledge in the past as well. Fortunately Isfahan has a good Islamic seminary today. There are some prestigious universities in Isfahan as well. Of course the scientific record of Isfahan is longer than this. It behooves the ulama, scholars and researchers of Isfahan to set their sights on the glory that Isfahan used to enjoy during the past centuries. One day Isfahan was the center of scientific brilliance in the entire country and even in the entire world of Islam. You should be after such a position. Isfahan is also prominent in artistic areas, fine arts and handicrafts. Each of these things is an advantage. And the religious faith and beliefs of the people of Isfahan is the supporting foundation of all these things. This has been manifested in the behavior of the people of Isfahan since before the Revolution, but after the Revolution everything acquired new dimensions. I used to visit Isfahan a lot at that time. I was witness to the religious situation of the people and their commitment to religious matters. Of course their religious commitment has grown tens and even hundreds of times stronger than that time. Therefore, this religious faith is a great support. You should appreciate these blessings - they act as the foundation for supporting all material and spiritual advances.

When a nation enjoys faith, it feels that nothing it does is ever futile. Thanks to faith, everything that one does becomes meaningful. This faith should be preserved. By Allah's favor, today the Iranian nation has managed to successfully confront different kinds of hostilities. In today's world, the basis of the enmity of the anti-Islam camp towards the Islamic Republic is the faith of this government, this Republic and this nation in divine values. Materialistic leaders cannot tolerate this. All the enmities are due to our adherence to divine values. This is one side of the issue.

The other side of the issue is that the progressive movement of the Iranian nation during the past 32 years was all because of divine faith and devotion to these values. You should firmly preserve this commitment. You should know that this progress will continue. By Allah's grace and favor, the hostilities we are faced with will not achieve any results, and the Iranian nation will emerge victorious out of all these issues.

Dear God, bestow Your mercy, grace and assistance on this nation and on the dear people of Isfahan. Make the holy heart of the Imam of the Age satisfied with us, and make us benefit from his prayers.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings