Leader’s Speech to Basijis

The following is the full text of the speech delivered by Ayatollah Khamenei on November 25, 2010 to more than 110 thousand basijis in Tehran. The speech was delivered on the occasion of Eid al-Ghadir.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and greetings be upon our Master, Muhammad Al-Mustafa, and upon his immaculate household and select companions. All praise is due to Allah Who placed us among those who adhere to the leadership of Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, and the infallible and immaculate Imams.

I would like to congratulate all you dear people who have attended this great and impressive gathering, all the sincere basijis across the country, all those who consider themselves committed to Islam and rule of Islam, and all those who respect the holy name of Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) on auspicious Eid al-Ghadir.

Although Eid al-Ghadir is usually associated with Imami-Shia denomination, considering the vast meaning and theme that this event contains, it in fact belongs to all Muslims. I will explain that Eid al-Ghadir is even beyond this and that it belongs to all people who are deeply concerned about happiness of man.

We Shia Muslims have this firm belief about Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), a belief that is founded on firm and indisputable reasons. We consider the mutawatir Hadith of Ghadir al-Khumm which has been narrated by all great hadith narrators - including Shia and Sunni narrators - as the proof of this firm belief.

On a hot day and in a strategic spot, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) publically appointed Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) as Imam of Muslims and put him in charge of all Islamic affairs. "Those who consider me as their guardian [mawla] should consider Ali as their guardian." This refers to numerous ayahs which say that Vilayat of the Holy Prophet has been established by Allah the Exalted. "Only Allah is your Vali and His Messenger." [The Holy Quran, 5: 55] And there are numerous other ayahs. According to the Hadith of Ghadir al-Khumm, "Those who consider me as their guardian [mawla] should consider Ali as their guardian." Any aspect of Vilayat that applies to the Holy Prophet also applied to the Commander of the Faithful, as he was appointed by the Holy Prophet. This is a firm, well-documented and indisputable reason. This has been discussed by Islamic luminaries, but there is no need to start ideological discussions in this meeting. The proof is indisputable.

Everybody had tested Ali ibn Abi Talib at that time. There was nobody who had doubts about the appointment of the Commander of the Faithful as Imam. It was clear to everybody that such a selfless, sincere, faithful and pious man deserved to be appointed as Imam by the Holy Prophet - and in fact, by Allah the Exalted. The appointment of the Commander of the Faithful was not a decision by the Holy Prophet - it was a divine decision. It was a decision made by Allah the Exalted, which was announced to people by the Holy Prophet.

The day the Commander of the Faithful entered Medina with the Holy Prophet, he was a young man in his early twenties. The youth of his age should compare their behavior with how that prominent youth affected the history of mankind. It was the same young man who became the brilliant champion of the Battle of Badr. It was the same young man who did so well in the Battle of Uhud that all Muslims realized the greatness of his performance. It was the same young man who stood by the Holy Prophet in different trials, in early Islamic battles led by the Prophet, in resisting the pressure by the camp of arrogance and infidels of that time. It was the same young man who did not become attached to the material world. The day the Holy Prophet appointed that young man as Imam, the greatness he enjoyed in the eyes of Muslims could not be denied by anybody, and nobody has denied his greatness ever since.

The event of Ghadir was not just limited to appointment of a successor for the Holy Prophet. Ghadir has two aspects. One is the appointment of a successor. The other aspect of Ghadir is highlighting the issue of Imamate and what all Muslims understand from the word "Imamate". Imamate means leadership of people and society in religious and worldly matters. This has been one of the essential issues throughout the long history of mankind. The issue of Imamate is not particular to Muslims or Shia Muslims. Imamate means that an individual or a group rules a society and determines the direction of their movement in worldly and spiritual matters. This is an issue for all human societies.

There can be two kinds of Imam. One is the kind that is described in the Holy Quran: "And We made them Imams who guided (people) by Our command, and We revealed to them the doing of good and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of the alms, and Us (alone) did they serve." [The Holy Quran, 21: 73] This is the kind of Imam who guides people by God's order - the kind of Imam who protects people against dangers, pitfalls and slips and leads them towards the desired goal of worldly life, the life which has been bestowed on human beings to give them an opportunity to reach that goal. This is one kind of Imam, and divine prophets are an example. The Holy Prophet is an example of this kind of Imam. Imam Baqir (a.s.) gathered people in Mina and said, "Surely the Messenger of God was the Imam." Divine prophets who were the most select human beings are among this kind of Imams. Their responsibility is to guide people. They are guided by Allah the Exalted, and they transfer divine guidance to people. "And We revealed to them the doing of good." Their actions are good deeds. "... and the keeping up of prayer." They keep up daily prayers, which are the secret behind the relationship between man and God. "And Us (alone) did they serve." They are servants of God, just like all other human beings who are servants of God. Their worldly dignity does not at all affect their heartfelt desire to serve God. This is one kind of Imam.

The other kind of Imam has been exemplified in the Holy Quran by the Pharaoh: "And We made them Imams who call to Fire." [The Holy Quran, 28: 41] The Pharaoh was also an Imam. In this ayah, the word "Imam" has the same meaning as in the ayah I recited. That is to say, worldly life of people, their religion and their life in the hereafter are all controlled by the power of their Imams, but they call people to Fire. Such Imams call people to destruction.

In spite of what they claim, even the most secular governments of the world are controlling the life of the people in this world and in the hereafter - whether they know it or not. The great cultural organizations which are leading young generations in the four corners of the world towards immorality and corruption are the same kind of Imams who "call (people) to Fire." It is institutions of power that call people to Fire because of their interests, because of their oppressive rule and because of their desire to reach different political goals. The life of people in this world and in the hereafter lies in their hands. They have full control over the body and soul of people.

The claim that in Christianity the church deals with spiritual matters and the government deals with worldly matters is a fallacy. When power is in the hands of people who are alienated from religion and ethics, the church will be at their service, spirituality will be crushed in their powerful clutches and the body and soul of human beings will be influenced by the elements of their power. This is a persistent problem that humanity has to deal with.

A society is either led by a just Imam - who is from God and guides people towards good deeds and justice - or is controlled by people who are alienated from justice, are not familiar with it and bear grudges against it in many cases. Because justice is in conflict with their personal and material interests, they hold grudges against it. It is always one of these two possibilities, and there is no third possibility.

Through the establishment of a government and a civil community in Medina, it was proven that Islam is not just limited to giving advice, preaching and verbal call to God. Islam wants the truths of divine rules to be realized in society. This is not possible unless through establishment of a divine government. At the end of his life, the Holy Prophet selected his successor under the order and inspiration of God. Of course the history of Islam went off in a different direction. But this was what the Holy Prophet and Islam wanted. This became a model that went down in history. It is not right to think that the Holy Prophet's thought failed. No, his thought did not fail. It was just that his thought was not practiced in that era, but this standard remained in Muslim communities and the Islamic history. Today you can see the results in this corner of the world of Islam. By Allah's favor and transforming power, this paradigm and this clear path will spread in the world of Islam on a daily basis. This is the theme of Ghadir.

Therefore, the issue of Ghadir is not a Shia issue. It is an issue for all Muslims and even for all human beings. Those who think are aware that this clear path is one that belongs to all human beings. There is no other path. If evil people seize power in human communities, the world will go in the direction the signs of which can be seen in the modern world. The more the world is modernized, the more dangerous those governments become. Of course the more the world progresses in terms of knowledge, the more the possibility that a path of guidance will emerge. It is not the case that progress of knowledge pushes this path of guidance backward. No, it progresses along with the progress of knowledge.

Today the great Basij movement of the people in our country is a clear truth. You are part of a great garden called Basij. This garden was created by our magnanimous Imam who provided it with water through his words and behavior. These saplings are thankfully thriving on a daily basis. Today the Basij is an impressive, undeniable and unique truth in our country. It is a fact that the enemy propaganda and their followers inside the country are trying to humiliate and insult the Basij. These people even insulted the word of God and the Holy Prophet. Something that is inherently impressive and brilliant will not be belittled or made less brilliant with insult and slander.

Today the Basij is an impressive and brilliant truth in our country, and it is unparalleled. Both males and females, people from different age groups, adolescents, youth, middle-aged and old people and people from different occupations - including students, seminarians, professors, teachers, laborers, farmers and businessmen - have joined the Basij from across the country. That is to say, there is no occupational, gender-based, ethnic or linguistic border. In this gathering, for example, there are Azeris, Kurds, Lors, Persians, Baluchis and different other Iranian ethnicities. The same is true about all parts of the country. The Basij is an organized and structured organization that has a goal, and it enjoys such impressive scope, variety, quantity and faithful quality that are not observed in other organizations.

Your heart belongs to the Basij. There are different parties in the world, and there may be many of them out there - of course the millions strong Basij is unique among all parties in the world in terms of the number of its members - but it is only the tongues, bodies and material capabilities of the members of a particular party that are at the service of the party. It is not clear whether their hearts and loyalty is with their party or not. The Basij is about hearts. It is about souls. It is about beliefs and faith. And these are the things that come to the aid of a nation in difficult times. When nations face hardships, bodies are not useful. It is hearts that should be in the arena. It is hearts that should be in the vanguard. Those who acted as pioneers did not necessarily have strong bodies, but they had strong hearts and faith which enabled them to make their way through mountains and difficult paths, avoid the pitfalls and reach the destination. The Basij is such a truth, and we should appreciate it. First, it is basijis who should appreciate the Basij. We heard in the pledge of allegiance by the dear basijis that they are thankful to God for being a member of the Basij. This is indeed how they should feel. One should thank God for the opportunity to enter such a great organization.

The Basij does not just have one orientation, one dimension and one purpose. This is another reason why the Basij is important. The Basij enjoys military skills. It has taken on the most difficult responsibilities at the warfronts in the most difficult conditions. But it is in fact an all-purpose organization. That is to say, the Basij is a pioneer in any arena that it enters. Today our basiji youth play a pioneering role in scientific arenas as well. Our basiji professors are among the most successful people as far as their scientific work is concerned. Our basiji artists - those who entered the arena of art with a basiji spirit - have accomplished more achievements, and they have managed to attract more people. Whenever people enter an arena with basiji spirits, sincerity, faith, courage and innovation, they can make great achievements. This is the essence of the Basij.

Our dear basijis should appreciate this, and they should strengthen their basiji qualities. Being a basiji has a number of foundations. Dear youth, all of us should strengthen these foundations within ourselves on a daily basis. The more your insight is, the closer you can get to sincerity of action. The more sincerely you act, the more Allah the Exalted will increase your insight. "Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light." [The Holy Quran, 2: 257] God is your guardian. The closer you get to God, the more your insight and your capability to see realities will be. When there is light, one can see realities. In the absence of light, one cannot see realities. "And (as to) those who disbelieve, their guardians are the evil ones who take them out of the light into the darkness." [The Holy Quran, 2: 257] When we are blinded by disbelief, when we are blinded by passions - which are genuine manifestations of disbelief and are worse than pharaohs within us - when we are blinded by greed, jealousy, materialistic desires, passions and carnal desires, we cannot see realities.

You saw that some people failed to see realities that were right in front of their eyes. They failed to identify them. In the complex and preplanned fitna of the year 1388, certain realities were in front of people's eyes. They did not let some people see and understand these realities. When some people decide to create a fitna in a country for the sake of their ambitions, their greed for power and their desire to achieve their accumulated wishes, they stoop to turning their back on national interests of a country and the righteous path. They stoop to trampling on national interests and the righteous path. They act in a way that western leaders and the Iranian nation's number-one enemies become excited and support them. This is a clear truth. This is not something that one can miss when there is light. But some people failed to see these realities. Some people do not see and understand these realties. Because of the darkness of their hearts, some people may even understand realities, but they are not prepared to act on the basis of their understanding. These are all consequences of human passions. These are all consequences of taking orders from our inner pharaoh. They are the consequences of human passions which are like a drunken elephant, and holy sharia turns piety into a hammer for a believer to strike the head of the drunken elephant and calm it. If we manage to calm the drunken elephant within ourselves, then the world will be illuminated and we will be able to see everything. But when there is a tendency to seek one's passions, one will not be able to see. As members of the Basij and as young people whose hearts are pure and enlightened, you can strengthen this spirit and this quality within yourselves through the purity of your heart. Basijis are pure-hearted and enlightened.

My dear ones, you became basijis, and I congratulate you on that. But try to stay basijis. It is important to tread the path persistently. Staying a basiji depends on acting cautiously and taking care not to stray away from the path. The Iranian nation has made a great accomplishment. It has let out a mighty yell and managed to stop part of a world that was rushing towards hell. Today a large portion of the world's population has realized the truth. And as the pioneer, the Iranian nation has changed the path and the direction of their movement. Human communities should move towards God. They should move towards heaven. They should move towards the truth. It is obvious that you Iranian people have made this accomplishment. The proponents of falsehood will not remain silent. The people whose existence depends on falsehood, injustice, oppression and trampling nations underfoot will not stand by and let the Iranian nation give the yell of truth and guidance and awaken the world and humanity. They will fight.

Of course if we continue our resistance, the end of this confrontation is promising for us. "Surely Allah will help him who helps His cause." [The Holy Quran, 22: 40] Allah the Exalted has promised to definitely assist those who move towards the truth and call others to the truth. We have experienced this. It is 30 years now that the enemies have been making efforts against the Iranian nation, but the Iranian nation has grown stronger on a daily basis, thanks to its resistance and faith. And the enemy has grown weaker on a daily basis. Today our power of resistance is more than 20 or 30 years ago. This is our experience. Therefore, this confrontation will result in a victory for Islam and Muslims. But you have to pay attention to the fact that there will always be confrontation and challenges. You should stay prepared. You should stay up-to-date. You should keep your insight up-to-date. You should keep your sincerity up-to-date. You should be up-to-date basijis and stay basiji. This is the secret behind the success of the Iranian nation and the great Iranian society.

By Allah's grace, you dear youth will one day achieve the peaks of glory. "That you may be the bearers of witness to the people." [The Holy Quran, 2: 143] As the Holy Quran has promised, you have become bearers of witness to the people, and I hope one day you will achieve the peaks so that other nations are inspired by you to move towards the peaks as well.

Dear God, hasten the re-appearance of the Imam of the Age. Dear God, place us among those who adhere to his Vilayat and the Vilayat of his immaculate ancestors. Dear God, make us faithful, basiji and revolutionary in the true sense of the words. Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad and his companions, help the honorable and great Iranian nation achieve its great wishes. Bestow Your constant grace and blessings on the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam and the pure souls of our dear martyrs.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings