Leader's Speech in Meeting with Basijis on Imam Sadiq (a.s.) Demise Anniversary

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on November 28, 2005 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with thousands of basijis on the occasion of Imam Sadiq's (a.s.) demise anniversary.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Basij Week is a very important and great opportunity to refresh the memories of the great achievements that the brave children of this nation have made over the past years.

Today is the demise anniversary of Imam Sadiq (peace and greetings be upon him). There is a connection between the movement by Imam Sadiq (peace and greetings be upon him) and the other Infallible Imams (a.s.) - particularly, the nine Imams who were assigned to imamate between Ashura and the occultation of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) - on the one hand and the basiji behavior, identity and movement of our nation on the other hand. When one reads the history of Islam, one notices that there was a period of time when leadership on the basis of religious foundations was replaced by monarchy and this was one of the most dangerous eras in the history of Islam. Of course, at that time a few of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) companions used to warn the Islamic community against the possibility of this, but it happened despite the warnings. Why did it happen? What were the causes? Who were behind it? I will not focus on these questions. The point is that it happened.

As a result of this era, a community that had been built on the basis of Islamic values and with the purpose of bringing about happiness and salvation for humanity, strayed away from its original path in a radical way. When the center of leadership in a society is not characterized by piety, salvation, knowledge and guidance - and on the contrary, it is a manifestation of materialism, aristocracy and human passions - it is clear what will happen to noble and lofty values in such a society. This was what happened in the history of Islam during a period of time, years after the demise of the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.w.a.). In such conditions, what is the responsibility of sincere believers and those who care? Infallible Imams (a.s.) are the ones who have heavier responsibilities in this regard compared to anybody else. This is because Allah the Exalted bestowed on them a great amount of His knowledge, spirituality and guidance. He made them knowledgeable, infallible and guided leaders. During that period of time, our infallible Imams (a.s.) considered it their responsibility to stand up against this deviation. For a while, they carried out this responsibility through open political resistance and confrontation, like Imam Hassan (a.s.) and Imam Hussein (a.s.) whose efforts proved very effective.

Their efforts kindled deep-rooted dissatisfaction with the new conditions that had appeared in the Islamic community. Afterwards, during the time of the succeeding Imams (a.s.), the responsibility was continued despite the sufferings and complications. The Infallible Imams (a.s.) considered it their responsibility to both consolidate and reinforce the pillars of Islamic thought and values in the minds of the people and at the same time make efforts to undermine and destroy the structure of the monarchy that had unjustly replaced prophethood and to build a just system in its place. The Infallible Imams (a.s.) were doing these two things. This is a long and detailed discussion that would take books. I am only trying to give you a general idea.

The Infallible Imams (a.s.) carried out a battle that was full of sufferings, comprehensive efforts and significance - both in the area of political battle and in the spiritual and cultural area - with the purpose of maintaining the pillars of Islamic beliefs and preventing the deviation that had already resulted in the establishment of a monarchy. This movement reached its peak during the time of Imam Sadiq (a.s.). One cannot say that the movement did not have a peak in other eras because it reached a peak during the time of Imam Ridha (a.s.) as well as in other eras. However, the movement created a unique opportunity during the time of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) and he managed to consolidate the pillars of Islamic knowledge and understanding in society in a way that the efforts to distort this understanding would prove futile. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) did this in order to lay the groundwork once and for all so that other worthy people could make use of it in other historical eras to create an Islamic system on the basis of Islamic values and build this noble structure. This was the work that was done by Imam Sadiq (a.s.). What we are faced with today in the Islamic Republic is similar to that great and deep-rooted movement which requires the kind of patience that was shown by the Infallible Imams (a.s.). And the consequences are as far-reaching as the work of the Infallible Imams (a.s.).

Today the world of Islam is comprised of approximately one and a half billion people living in around fifty different countries. If this great Muslim population - spread out in different parts of the world - relied on Islamic values, today the great Islamic Ummah would undoubtedly be a pioneer in science, civilization, knowledge and different religious, worldly and moral aspects of life. This situation is what we lack today in the world and there are no communities in the world that even remotely resemble such a society. Western peoples and governments have achieved scientific progress. Their lives contain alluring material aspects. However, this is just one part of human nature and morality, spirituality, mercy, equity, commitment to noble divine values, establishing a relationship with God and purification of the heart are missing in their lives. These things have been undermined on a daily basis.

If there was a day when their churches and places of worship had a modicum of spirituality, it is being diminished gradually on a daily basis. Over the course of many centuries, there was never a community of human beings in the world that could build and develop their worldly life in terms of material benefits and scientific advances and at the same time build spirituality and attention to morality into the fabric of their lives and refuse to deprive themselves of a relationship with God and of divine teachings and guidance. The world of Islam could have created such conditions, but unfortunately it has not managed to do so. Before the great Islamic Revolution, the world of Islam did not experience a system that was based on Islamic teachings and Islamic guidance.

Our Revolution was in line with the general orientation of the Infallible Imams (a.s.). Over the past twenty-seven years, if we had managed to coordinate the speed of our movement with the movement of the Infallible Imams (a.s.), we would have achieved a very high position today. However, we are weak and imperfect. The work that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) did during his ten-year rule cannot be completed by ordinary communities and ordinary religious leaders in even one hundred years. The low speed of our work is the result of our weaknesses. We are weak compared to those great and spiritual individuals. But we moved forward and made as much progress on this path as was possible for us.

The Iranian nation has used its firm determination and strong willpower and it has made great achievements so far, some of which are legendary. The movement that started in our country from the beginning of the Revolution has been aiming to construct a noble social structure on the basis of religious faith and Quranic guidance. This movement is the continuation of the same movement that was started by the infallible Imams (a.s.). And since the beginning, Basij has been the core of this movement. When we say "Basij", we are not just referring to a group of people who wear military uniforms and have received military training. Rather, Basij is a force that encourages people to step in with their capabilities and capacities to play an active role in the general jihadi movement of their nation with the purpose of reaching the peaks and to cooperate with the people of their country and contribute to their work. This is the meaning of Basij.

A mother who voluntarily and willingly sends her son to the front line to defend the country despite her love for him and then receives his dead body after a while but instead of expressing feelings of regret and complaining, announces that she is proud - such a mother is a perfect example of a basiji. We know that mothers' love for their children is something like legends, legends that keep happening in our lives thousands and thousands of times. The families that contributed as much as they could when our country was going through tough times and had to deal with all those problems that lay in our way, the families that stepped in with their verbal support, with their money, with their labor, with their presence and did everything that they could - those families are basijis. A basiji politician, a basiji member of the military, a basiji student, a basiji professor, a basiji cleric, a basiji farmer, a basiji laborer, a basiji researcher and scholar, a basiji professor, a basiji from any other professional background is a person who steps in with everything he has in order to contribute to the great aspirations of his nation. He contributes to the work. He considers himself responsible and he does not want to stand idly by and watch others make efforts so that he can benefit whenever he gets an opportunity or complains and protests whenever something goes wrong. There are such individuals in our society as well. A basiji is a person who is not like this.

A basiji is a person who is first to volunteer whenever he is needed in military arenas. Young and old or far and near - the basiji spirit is not limited by such things. Whenever he is needed in political arenas, he is actively and dynamically present. Whenever he is needed in international arenas - different international arenas, political arenas, cultural arenas, sporting arenas - he is present to defend the dignity and honor of his nation and country. Basijis are present in such arenas with this spirit. Whenever there is a need for science and research, whenever there is a need for patience in the face of problems with scientific innovation, a basiji lays down all his intellectual capacities. Whenever there is a need for money, a basiji gives away all the money he has. This is how a basiji behaves.

The basiji spirit can be strong or weak. Some people's sincerity and basiji spirit shine like the sun and attract one's heart. Basij is a culture. Basij is an outstanding and noble attitude in our society.

Expressing hostility towards Basij is the same as showing hostility towards selfless struggle, sincere efforts, dynamism and hard work. It is absolutely obvious that those who wish failure for our nation are not happy with Basij. Anybody who wishes failure and defeat for our nation is dissatisfied with the presence of Basij. All the enemies, all those who feel jealous of us and all those who have pinned their hopes on the enemies are opposed to Basij. The more you promote Basij and the more you attract hearts and encourage dynamism, the more the future of this country will be guaranteed. If the basiji spirit appears in a place or among a group of people, it increases dynamism by several times. This is the meaning of Basij.

Some people believe that Basij is a governmental organization. This is not true. If any one of the different organizations that exist in the country acquired a basiji spirit, their achievements would increase. Fortunately today the government, the President, members of the Majlis and different other government officials feel proud that they are members of Basij. It is the basiji culture that can overcome all the problems in the country and guarantee the continuation of the movement towards our goals.

Dear people, our nation was held back from the path that it should have followed decades earlier than it did. We need to make up for the time we have lost. These are realities. These are obvious truths in our history. Whenever our nation enters the arena of science, it surprises the world. Whenever it enters military confrontations, it stuns the enemies who are fully armed. Whenever it enters the arena of political show of power, it can stand up against the most powerful rivals. We are such a nation. With these human capacities and with this vast homeland, which is rich and full of natural resources, our nation could have reached the peak of science, civilization and material and spiritual progress. But they pushed our country among the third-world countries, among the worst of them. Therefore, there is a good reason why learned people in our country curse the taghuti regime so much. These crimes have been committed against our country and these conditions have been imposed on us.

They clipped the wings of a nation that could have flown to the peaks of infinity. They tied up its feet and wounded it. They turned our nation into a nation that had no faith in its capacities, a nation that was hopeless about the future, a nation that would take no action to reach out beyond its horizons, a nation that had no self-confidence against other nations. But the Revolution shocked our nation and gave it a new and deep outlook. Our nation awakened, started a movement, identified its capacities and announced, "We can." And it has been successful and has moved forward. Our religious faith and our reliance on God are the driving force behind our movement. The driving force behind our movement is our reliance on divine guidance, which exists in religious teachings and divine commands. Our movement has been a good movement and the enemy has targeted our essential strength, our religious faith. In our society, there is a large group of people who proudly announce their religious faith, which is very valuable. These people are basijis.

All the cultural and propaganda tools were utilized over the course of one hundred years or more in order to make our nation doubt its capabilities. One of the outstanding personalities has been quoted as saying, "Iranians cannot even make a ewer." A ewer is a container made of clay. At that time, ewers were made of clay. This was how they used to humiliate our people. The same Iranians make such achievements in biological sciences and in different areas of science and research that our country is currently ranked among the top ten countries in the world. This is no joke. This is a reminder to our people and to all of our youth - no matter where they are and where they work - that they should appreciate their value and move forward without losing hope. You are capable of doing whatever you want. Your generation is the generation whose performance and success will determine the future path of our country for the next couple of centuries or even more. This awakening, this sensitivity, this motivation, this religious faith, this hope, this reliance on God and this trust in Him are the main characteristics of Basij. This is a culture.

If we move forward like this, Allah the Exalted will help us. All creatures will benefit from divine assistance, on condition that they prepare themselves to receive this assistance, on condition that they reach out and pick this divine fruit, on condition that stand up and try to benefit from this divine fruit. Everybody can benefit from divine assistance. Of course, there are some people who do not want to, or their passions, lack of awareness and ignorance do not let them see and understand the truth and make efforts. But you are a people who have made determined efforts, a people who have become aware of your capacities, a people who have moved forward, a people who have benefitted a lot from your efforts. And you must make even more efforts so that by Allah's favor, you can benefit from divine mercy. I hope that by Allah's favor, all of you will benefit from the prayers of the Imam of the Age (a.s.).

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings