Poets

Leader's speech in meeting with poets

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on July 1, 2015 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with poets. The meeting was held in Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah on the occasion of the birthday anniversary of Imam Hassan Mujtaba (a.s).

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I would like to congratulate all of you on Imam Hassan Mujtaba's (a.s.) birthday anniversary. The Last Prophet (God's greetings be upon him and his household) always spoke about the virtues of that Imam. It was the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) that chose this name for him. It is very great and important that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) named that blessed child "Hassan".

The poets

I would like to remind your sensitive hearts, your delicate souls and your supple feelings of the blessings of the month of Ramadan. If the abundant crops of this month are supposed to be harvested, the most important people who can make the most of it are those who are gifted, spirited and emotional and who have delicate feelings. It is you poets who have these characteristics. Who can benefit from the moments, minutes, hours, days and nights of this month - which is the month of getting close to God, purifying one's heart, establishing a close relationship with Allah the Exalted and engaging in dhikr and supplication - better than you poets do? Who is more eligible - for this purpose - than you who are the owners of pure and gentle hearts and delicate feelings?

The best instrument for entering the paradise of dhikr, closeness [to God] and enthusiasm is the prayers that are said in this month, whether those that are particular to this month or those that we can say at all times such as Dua Sha'baniyya and the duas of Sahifa al-Sajjadiyyah. Benefiting from these prayers is very valuable: "Hear my prayers when I address them to You. Hear my voice when I call You and pay attention to me when I speak to You" [Dua Sha'baniyya]. Your gentle hearts can say these prayers with more attention and care. "I am running towards You and I am standing before You while I am desperate" [Dua Sha'baniyya]. These are phrases and words that have been uttered by the most delicate hearts and the most eloquent tongues. Who can understand and benefit from these prayers better than you and your pure and gentle hearts?

You should not show negligence towards saying prayers in this month. In Dua Sha'baniyya we read, "Oh God, bestow upon me a heart whose enthusiasm helps it get close to You. And bestow upon me a tongue whose sincerity reaches You. And bestow upon me truth-seeking eyes that seek You". We ask God to give these things to us. So, which heart is more prepared than your sensitive and delicate hearts? Well, you thankfully enjoy these qualities.

Duas

We read in Dua Abu Hamza al-Thumali, "I managed to know you with [the help of] You. It was You Who guided me towards my entity and existence. It was You Who called me towards Yourself. If it had not been for You, I would not have known Who You are". This gentle spiritual relationship with the Owner of Right and the Origin of Kindness and Power is very valuable. These prayers are very important. They really warm those hearts that are sensitive. They inspire hope into them and become their refuge and source of support. I does not matter to me whom and what the late Akhavan composed this poem for. I would like to read it out and address it to Dua Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya. I would like to address it to Dua Abu Hamza al-Thumali: "My source of reliance, you who offer refuge to my most beautiful, innocent and magnificent moments of solitude. Oh You who are my sweet and magnificent river." Duas are like this description. Therefore, you should not stop reading them and you should not turn your back on them because they are very valuable.

Duas are the elixir that can transform those hearts that have been contaminated with despair, suspicion and wrong feelings and emotions. They can guide such hearts towards guidance.

Duas are the elixir that can transform those hearts that have been contaminated with despair, suspicion and wrong feelings and emotions. They can guide such hearts towards guidance. Duas are like this. You should benefit from these nights. You are the most suitable people for reading and benefiting from duas in the real sense of the word. Of course, mere reading of the words is a low level of reading duas. Sometimes, we just read the words while we do not understand their meaning or we gain a shallow understanding of them. Getting deeply involved in duas and their meanings is very valuable.

 

Poetry

Well, poetry is an influential element and it is more influential than all other verbal arts. That is to say, no word and statement can exert the same influence that poetry does no matter how eloquent, beautiful and meaningful it is. Poetry is such a means and element. Poetry plays a motivating role where the environment is ripe for motivation. It plays the role of a guide, leader and director for the audience and for those who read poems for themselves. Well, this makes one responsible. When you have a fortune and a gift with which you can accomplish great feats, you have shirked your responsibilities and your duties if you do not benefit from it. This makes one responsible. Now, Allah the Exalted has given you this blessing, but like all other blessings, one will be questioned about it. You will be asked, "What did you do with this blessing?"

poetry is an influential element and it is more influential than all other verbal arts. That is to say, no word and statement can exert the same influence that poetry does no matter how eloquent, beautiful and meaningful it is.

With the tool of poetry, you can guide your audience towards both the straight path and the deviant path - one that ruins your audience. Poetry can lead us into an abyss. We have such kinds of poems particularly in the present time when the culture of decadence and immorality is unfortunately being promoted in a serious way by the modern means of mass communication - the new media means. Sometimes, poetry becomes a tool for committing sins and taking a deviant path. This is the other side of the matter. Therefore, poetry can do both these things. Poets perceive with their delicate feelings. They become both excited and sad and thus they compose. This composition originates from poets' sense of excitement, melancholy and perception of those things that others do not see. Well, this has two sides in it: one is that it can lead people towards good deeds and another is that it can act in the opposite way.

If poetry is influenced by the sexual instinct in an excessive way, this is a very bad thing. Unfortunately today, some hands are dragging poetry towards this direction. After our youth moved forward in pure, gentle, spiritual, epic and revolutionary environments, some hands began to work in different places particularly in the virtual world, let alone other places. They began to drag youth towards excessive sexuality. This is an alarming situation. Sometimes, this is their motive and sometimes there are personal motives behind it. And sometimes, they praise and highlight oppression. Unfortunately, praising oppression and oppressors has a long history in our country.

Sometimes, poetry becomes a tool for committing sins and taking a deviant path. This is the other side of the matter. Therefore, poetry can do both these things.

Today, we have poets who act in the opposite way. Thankfully, I have seen that some of our dear and young poets have stood up against this orientation. I had read and listened to the poems about Yemen - such as Mr. Sayyar's poem - and other such poems before. They are very good poems. The poems that the friends in the meeting recited are very good and accurate. This is the right course of action. This is the commitment on which Allah the Exalted will question us.

We read in one part of Dua Makarim al-Akhlaq, "Help me carry out the duties for which I will be questioned by You in the future." We should think about this. In the hereafter, we will be questioned. This dua asks God to give us the necessary requirements for carrying out those duties for which we will be questioned in the hereafter. Now, you have the requirements to do so. Some people might want to open up to someone because of the sorrows that have filled their hearts, but they might not be able to do so. On the contrary, you can thankfully express your feelings and you can influence people. The poems that you compose for Bahrain, Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza, Palestine and Syria and every poem that you compose for the sake of furthering the goals of the Islamic Ummah will be valuable wherever they are benefitted from. If poetry is used in these directions, then "Poetry is truly wisdom" [speaking in Arabic]. This holds true for your poems, as they are surely pearls of wisdom.

Impartiality

I would like to say that impartiality make no sense in the fight between truth and evil. Of course, I have said this many times in my meetings with poets and in many other meetings. Sometimes, it is not clear who is right. This is a different issue, but when there is a truth and an evil, it makes no sense to adopt an impartial position. Here, we should support truth and stand up against evil. Now, someone does so in the military form and someone else does it in the form of politics. We can stand up against evil in different forms. Some people can do so with eloquent language and with philosophy. In any case, we should stand up against evil. Poets cannot be impartial in the battle between truth and evil. If poets and artists take an impartial position, they have wasted God's gift to them. If, God forbid, they support the evil side, they have committed a treacherous and criminal act. Here, the issue is not about negligence, rather it is about committing a crime. Well, your people have been subject to many cases of oppression in the course of many years. These cases of oppression should be expressed and reflected throughout the world.

 Impartiality make no sense in the fight between truth and evil.

They bombarded Sardasht in the year 1366. We are close to the anniversary of that crime. Is it a minor crime to bombard a city with chemical weapons and to kill thousands of people including children, the elderly, youth, and men and women? And the whole world was completely silent. This is a world in which all news agencies, newspapers and television networks reflect the fall of a cat or a fox into a pit. In such circumstances, these news agencies begin to rant about the efforts of such and such an organization to bring this animal out alive or to help a marine animal that has gotten stuck in the beach to go back to the water. The world makes a fuss about such things, but it remains silent about the chemical massacre of a city.

By "the world", I do not mean nations because they do not have any tool and means. By "the world", I mean those powers that control propaganda apparatuses. To put it in simple Farsi, I mean America, England, powerful western forces and the Zionists. It is these people who control the promotional environment in the world. It is they who do not allow anything to happen without their approval.

By "the world", I mean those powers that control propaganda apparatuses.

They are striking Yemen day and night, but no voice is raised in opposition. They used to strike Gaza and, before that, Lebanon, but no voice was raised to oppose it. Now imagine that two smugglers are condemned and hanged somewhere. They begin to cause dreadful commotion in the world. Well, this is the world. What should we do in the face of such a world? What does an honorable person - excluding those people who have religious motives for a moment - do in the face of such a shameless and vicious act? What verdict do our sense of honor, conscience and human identity pass? All of these are loads on our shoulders.

Of course, I am really satisfied with the progress of our country's poetry in the post-revolutionary era. It has really improved. There is a dramatic and noticeable difference between the youth who compose poetry in the present time and the youth who used to compose poems 10 years ago. Poetry has really improved, but the capacity of poetry in our country is much more than this. Notice that the young lady who recited a poem today is a student. I have also heard that Shahrestan Adab [a literary society] has developed student activities. It is gathering different individuals - our students, our teenagers and our boys and girls - so that they compose poems. And these individuals are composing good poems with good content and with imaginative power.

I am really satisfied with the progress of our country's poetry in the post-revolutionary era. It has really improved. There is a dramatic and noticeable difference between the youth who compose poetry in the present time and the youth who used to compose poems 10 years ago.

This is very good, but I should tell you that the general condition of our poetry in the present time has not reached the desired level yet. In certain eras - which are not very distant in time - the general level of our poetry was higher than the present time in terms of the peaks that existed. We used to have several outstanding poets whether in the area of qasida, ghazal or different other styles. We should have such poets so that the level of our poetry improves. This requires hard work and diligence.

Our poetry is very extensive. We should preserve this extensiveness and this requires hard work. The Department of Art is responsible in this regard. The same is true of different other organizations such as executive organizations, organizations in charge of artistic work and the IRIB. All of these organizations are responsible. We should place a high value on poetry because it is a very great and important phenomenon. I see that some - not all - of those people who should appreciate the value of poetry in our system and country have not truly appreciated its value. They do not appreciate the value of poetry at all. "They failed to appreciate the value of poetry the way it deserves" [speaking in Arabic]. Poetry produces an astonishing effect. Sometimes, a couplet or a ghazal exerts more influence than a one, two-hour speech delivered by a well-informed personality. So, this is a very important phenomenon. As they say, it is a pearl of wisdom. Poetry enjoys such significance and they should be able to appreciate its value.

The young poets

A brilliant task that has been carried out in the country is the quick response that our young poets make in the face of different events. Thankfully, this was witnessed in our meeting, as was witnessed in the past. I am really satisfied with this because it is very valuable and good. No one should think that this is a negative phenomenon. On the contrary, it is a very positive one. Throughout history and in the contemporary century - close to our time - we have had certain poets whose quick responses produced the best effects.

When the Israeli airplane was hijacked by that girl [Shadiyya Abu Ghazala], the late Amiri Firuzkuhi composed a qasida. Those who know Amiri Firuzkuhi know that he was not a revolutionary youth, but he composed a beautiful and brilliant qasida in the 1340s because of the feeling that he had. This qasida was in line with the requirements of the time and it began with: "There stood a gazelle... Now, I do not remember many of its couplets, but at that time, I knew them by heart. I had heard it from Mr. Amiri himself. In any case, it is very good to make a quick response when different events occur.

By "revolutionary poetry", I mean the kind of poetry that is at the service of revolutionary goals, justice, human values, religion, unity, national improvement, progress in all affairs of the country, and the cultivation of individuals in the real sense of the word.

I hope that by Allah's favor, revolutionary poetry achieves a higher rank on a daily basis. Of course, by "revolutionary poetry" I do not mean the kind of poetry that is composed about the revolutionary era although it may be against the Revolution. Some people think that war poetry means the kind of poetry that is composed about the war although it may be against the war. This is not war poetry, rather it is anti-war poetry. Revolutionary poetry means the kind of poetry that is at the service of revolutionary goals. This means revolutionary poetry, not the poetry of the revolutionary era. So, by "revolutionary poetry", I mean the kind of poetry that is at the service of revolutionary goals, justice, human values, religion, unity, national improvement, progress in all affairs of the country, and the cultivation of individuals in the real sense of the word. This means revolutionary poetry which is at the service of the Revolution's goals.

I hope that God will help all of you succeed and that by Allah's favor, your youth will continue to move in this straight path for many years. I hope that by Allah's favor, they will be beneficial to the country, the future and the future generations.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings