Leader’s Speech to People from Different Social Backgrounds on the Occasion of Eid al-Ghad

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on December 29, 2007 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution to people from various social backgrounds on the occasion of Eid al-Ghadir.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I would like to congratulate all the faithful, all Muslims throughout the world and all liberated people who, with all their heart, love the characteristics and traits that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) had on this auspicious Eid. I would like to especially congratulate all Iranian people, the honorable audience who have participated in this friendly meeting and especially the dear and faithful people of Kashan, prominent scholars and the clergy in the seminary of this city on this auspicious Eid.

Dear brothers and sisters, the issue of al-Ghadir can be considered from different perspectives. One should not think that Eid al-Ghadir is like other eids. Although symbolic and conceptual aspects can be found on all eids, none are as meaningful as the ones on Eid al-Ghadir.

One aspect of al-Ghadir is the direction in which Islam has been moving and this is part of our beliefs. That direction is Vilayat and belief in the issue of Imamate - selecting an Imam by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) which is in fact a selection by Allah the Exalted. This is one aspect of the issue. When Muslims take an inquiring look at this issue, they all confirm the idea that the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) great move - naming Imam Ali as the future leader of the Islamic Ummah on many occasions such as in the middle of his journey to Hajj, on his way back from Hajj, in the middle of a journey in a desert and in the last year of his life combined with all the preparations that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) made to fulfill this task - has no purpose other than choosing the path of government and Vilayat after his demise. That is the only purpose. Throughout history, Islamic scholars have grasped only this meaning from this event. It becomes clear then that from the viewpoint of Islam government does not only mean assigning somebody as the head of power in the Islamic community and trying to manage people by order and discipline. This is not the only purpose of government from the viewpoint of Islam. From the Islamic point of view government is based on the issue of Imamate.

Imamate is leading people in both material and spiritual affairs. It is not only limited to managing people's routine affairs but rather it is leading the hearts, helping people's souls reach perfection and raising their understanding. This is the meaning of Imamate which Islam is seeking. Other religions have sought this too. Nowadays few documents have remained about other religions but Islam has a clear history in this regard.

The creation of Islam and the path that it took for managing the lives of people are essentially different in this regard from other movements. Islam wants to manage people's affairs in both this world and the hereafter. It wants to take on the task of helping man reach perfection as well as taking on the task of managing people's everyday affairs. This is the meaning of Imamate. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) himself was an Imam in this sense as it has been cited by Imam Baqir (a.s.) in Mina, when he shouted among the crowd, "truly the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) himself was an Imam." He was both a prophet and an Imam.

Imamate is leading people in religion and everyday affairs. Well, this is one dimension of the issue of al-Ghadir which is ideological in essence. Shia Muslims have managed over many centuries to prove their righteousness with this compelling reason to all the people who are just and curious to know the truth.

Shiaism has managed to survive and grow although there have been many obstacles, problems and pressures throughout history, thanks to its strong and convincing reason. If it had not been for its cogent reason, Shiaism would have been destroyed. This reason is very strong.

The other dimension of the issue of Imamate is paying special attention to the spiritual value of the person who was chosen by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) - the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). When it comes to appointing somebody to such a position, ordinary people will fail to take into account all the factors that make a candidate perfect. This requires a divine calculation. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) considered the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as worthy of the position only through carrying out this divine calculation.

Well, Islam will rule until the end of time. Various people with competence in different levels will govern people. This was foreseen from the beginning of Islam. However, that person whom one should choose as the leader should be somebody as efficient and competent as Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) because that person would be leading all the people in the history of Islam. He cannot be a simple person. He had the right qualifications. That is why all of our Imams (a.s.) who had the same position - although not all of them had the opportunity to rule over people - held the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) in high regard. Our Imams (a.s.) all regarded Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) as a sun in the sky of Imamate while they themselves were the stars of that sky. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was superior to the rest of the Imams (a.s.) As the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) said, regarding the position of Imam Hassan (a.s.) and Imam Hussein (a.s.), "their father was better than them" although they are very prominent themselves. This is the position of Imam Ali (a.s.) in Islam.

Therefore, in order for the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) to appoint him to such a position, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) must have had all the characteristics that we attribute to leaders chosen by God. Therefore, the second dimension of the issue of Imamate is our attitude towards the superiority of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.).
The third dimension which could be seen in al-Ghadir and which is very important to us today is that the Islamic government and community should choose the character of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and the community that he wanted to build as a model. This is the model we should move towards. I do not mean that there were some people in history from among the prominent people and scholars who were as competent or even nearly as competent as the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). This is not the case. Our prominent people and scholars are below the level of the servant of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). They are no match for the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). We cannot compare somebody with the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) even if we try hard to do so. However, we should choose the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as our role model and we should follow his path.

When they give the assignment or the model to the student so that he can practice, it does not mean that he will be able to produce something like the original drawing or the model assignment but rather the student's task is to move towards that goal. Today our Islamic society should attempt to do what the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was trying to do at that time. He fulfilled his duty when he had the opportunity to rule over the Islamic community. You should search for the criteria that he had in mind and the kind of government that he was trying to establish. We should consider those criteria and we should move towards them.

These criteria include serving justice, preserving morality, preserving monotheism, doing things only for God Almighty and having a kind and friendly attitude towards all the people in society. The Commander of the Faithful told his servant that, "people are either your religious brothers or your fellow human being." See how broad-minded this attitude is! The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) wanted to educate people with a friendly attitude towards other people.

Another factor that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) considered extremely important was showing seriousness and determination in the face of sin, wrongdoing and treachery. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) could not tolerate wrongdoing, treachery and deviation from the way of God even if this behavior came from his intimate friends or family. Depending on the situation, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was both friendly and serious. This is the outlook of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). This outlook is a model for us. It is possible that we will not take, more than two or three steps out of ten on our way towards this model. However, we should move towards this model. This is the purpose of al-Ghadir. The reason we keep al-Ghadir alive is not that it has a religious aspect or that we want to praise the virtues of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). This dimension of al-Ghadir is also important. We should not forget that our society is based on the behavior and outlook of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). We hope that our society can line up to the society that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) wanted to build. Therefore, we should have these factors in mind.

Another dimension of the issue of al-Ghadir is that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) - despite the position that he had and despite the fact that he was chosen by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and God Almighty - gave up his right as the leader of the Islamic community when he saw that the Islamic community was vulnerable and that if he had decided to stand up for his right, Islam would have been in danger. This is such an important matter that not only did he give up his right - that is to say, he did not bring up the claim that he was the true leader lest this claim would end in Muslims' disintegration - but also he cooperated with people that he knew were not true leaders of the Islamic community. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) did so because he realized that Islam needed this sacrifice. This is a lesson from al-Ghadir and the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.).

Today, our logic is the strongest one in the world of Islam. We should not have any doubts in this regard. The logic of the Shia has been based on Imamate and Vilayat since the beginning of Islam. Today this logic is the same and it is the most compelling logic. However, although we have complete confidence in our logic, our methodology and our behavior - because today the flag of Islam is in our hands as it was in the past - we invite our Muslim brothers to unity and brotherhood no matter what denominations they have adopted because we do not wish to create discord. We do not wish to prove ourselves by rejecting others. This is very important and this is the same Islamic solidarity which I talked about at the beginning of this year. Lack of solidarity among Islamic nations is exactly the point from which the enemies want to penetrate and weaken the world of Islam. For many years they used the weakness of Islamic governments and did whatever they wished to do in Islamic regions. Now that Islamic nations have awakened and in some parts of the Islamic community like in Islamic Iran there is such a glory and greatness which has come from people's power and presence in political arenas, people of other nations will increasingly rise up as well. Today, once again the world of arrogance - the same enemies of the past - wants to create discord deep inside Islamic countries with treachery and malevolence and they want to deepen this discord. We should confront their actions. This is another lesson from al-Ghadir and the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.).
Some people came to the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) at that time and told him that he was right and that they would do such and such to protect him. They told him not to give up. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) rejected what they said. If he had decided to defend his right and rise up, he would not have needed anyone to remind him what to do. He saw, however, that the Islamic community would not remain intact after this discord. As a result, he gave up his right. This is a lesson for us.

Today we should not revive discord and we should not make them prominent. Islamic denominations should not insult what each denomination holds sacred because each denomination is very sensitive when it comes to these things. It is obvious that bringing up subjects about which people are sensitive will arouse resentment. This would end in Islam's disintegration. What we are saying is that we should not let this disintegration happen.

I delivered the same message to hajj pilgrims in this year's hajj message. I said that all the sympathizers of the Islamic world are saying is that we should not touch on sensitive issues and we should not create sensitivity or hostility. Today there is an enemy which is neither Sunny nor shia, nor is it inclined to any of the Islamic denominations. When they approach Sunni, they show a certain disposition and when they approach Shia, their disposition changes dramatically because they want to create discord and arouse hostility among Islamic denominations. We should beware of this enemy.

We thank God that the Iranian nation was so wise- over the last 27 or 28 years during which Allah the Exalted gave us the opportunity to raise the flag of Islam - that whatever measure the global arrogance adopted it was defeated by the Iranian nation. If we make a list of the plots and the motives of the global arrogance against the Islamic Republic of Iran during the last 27 or 28 years, we will see that the party that has always lost in all these plots is the global arrogance. We made no extravagant claims and we were not arrogant. However, we Muslim people of Iran have prevailed over the global arrogance in all these plots, thanks to our faith, our trust in God, our presence in political arenas and finally our sense of dusty. They have used different kinds of means to create discord but they have failed. However, we should remain vigilant.

My dear brothers and sisters, the way to continue achieving more success is that we constantly keep the enemy in mind. The enemy should not be forgotten. Under any circumstances, we should keep in mind that there is an enemy out there who may use our negligence to harm us. This is the method which the Holy Quran teaches us. See how many times the name of Satan has been repeated throughout the Holy Quran. God Almighty could have mentioned his name only once. That would be enough. He repeated Satan's name many times so that man would not forget in his life - which is full of challenges - that he has an enemy who may harm him. The best method for success is to keep the enemy in mind. Moreover, we should not forget Allah the Exalted who is our supporter and we should not forget our dusty to be present in political arenas which is one of the most important and effective factors for success.

The Iranian nation has elections ahead of it in a short while. I have some pieces of advice about the elections and by Allah's grace, I will address them to the Iranian nation. Elections are an important arena. The Iranian nation should be very wise in this regard. Our people should know that elections are one of those tests, one of those significant arenas and one of those crucial turning points that the enemy may use to harm us if we are negligent. Of course, Allah the Exalted has always supported you dear and brave people of Iran. We hope that Allah the Exalted continues to support the Iranian nation by his grace at all stages.

I hope that Allah the Exalted makes this Eid auspicious for all the people of Iran by his grace and I hope that as a gift, he will help the Iranian nation move one step closer to lofty Islamic ideals.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings