The participation of clergy in revolutionary activities, opened the door for mass participation of the people in the revolution

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on November 13, 2017 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the officials of the Clergy Martyrs of Qom Commemoration Congress.


In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

The discussion about the martyrdom of ulama, clergy and seminarians of Islamic seminaries is an important and meaningful discussion from different perspectives. One of these perspectives is that such martyrdom is of symbolic proportions. The fact that Islamic seminaries have offered a large number of martyrs – whether Qom Seminary or other seminaries throughout the country – is of symbolic importance. So, the movement is a symbolic movement and this has a very important significance. The significance is that only those who participate in the arena of jihad and fighting are martyred. Otherwise, if a person who is not present in the arena of fighting and jihad against the enemy – the enemy of religion, of independence and of the country – is killed in his house by a thief who is after his money, that person does not enjoy the position of a martyr.

Martyrdom is among the necessities of jihad. Only a person who engages in jihad and who is killed on this path is a martyr. Well, this means that the clergy have shown serious and strong presence in the arena of fighting. This is a very important matter. One of the plights of us seminarians in certain eras was drifting away from the arena of fighting against the enemies of religion and independence, foreign enemies, tyrants and colonialists. We really suffered from this malady in certain periods of time and this has harmed us. This has harmed the clergy. Whenever the clergy entered the arena of fighting and stood firm in that arena, whenever they resisted the enemies of religion and Islam and fought really hard on this path and whenever they did jihad, received blows and were martyred, they achieved dignity and honor.

We have always had such clergy in different eras. However, in the recent era – in our era and our time- the era of the Revolution- the scope of this arena has thankfully been vast. Many people have entered this arena thanks to the great movement that our magnanimous Imam launched by Allah's favor, with divine guidance and with the support of the people. In that movement, the clergy really entered the arena of fighting.

And we should consider it an obvious fact that if the clergy had not entered into the revolutionary activities that led to the formation of the Islamic Republic and the Revolution, this would never have happened. In other words, no political party, and no group of people – ranging from intellectual groups, to political groups and guerrilla fighters – would have been able to overthrow and destroy the dictatorial and monarchic regime in our country, to put an end to the long-standing domination of colonialism in this country and to annihilate its roots. If the clergy had not entered this arena, this would not have been possible. The task was carried out by the people, but the presence of the people stemmed from the presence of the clergy.

If it had not been for the clergy, the people would not have entered the arena in such large numbers and with that seriousness. If it had not been for the clergy, the religious aspect of that fighting and jihad would have been concealed. And if the religious aspect had not been highlighted, we would not have had so many martyrs and sincere individuals who worked in the way of God and we would not have witnessed so many self-sacrificing parents who raised their children like a bouquet of flowers, who sent them to the front lines and who endured their martyrdom. Therefore, the presence of the clergy in the arena of fighting is a very important historical phenomenon and these martyrdoms are a sign of that presence.

Martyrdom in itself is a value. Now if it is accompanied by the presence of the clergy and by scholarly and religious personalities, its value will increase. The purity that existed in the young clergy who joined the front lines – like the purity of many other youths – is a value. All these points are valuable in themselves, but what is particular to the clergy and what is special about their martyrdom is that symbolic aspect. This shows their presence in the arena of jihad and fighting and this presence is a very important matter. God's mercy be upon those great personalities who smoothed this path.

The late Allamah Tabatabai (may God bestow paradise upon him) was an intellectual clergyman who had worked on social matters. In his Tafsir al-Mizan, this characteristic of the late Allamah Tabatabai is completely evident. However, he was not present in the arena of fighting. Once, we had a discussion among ourselves – a two-man and private discussion. He said that there is no doubt that in the past, a grave negligence – or perhaps, a grave fault and sin – was committed by us clergy. I do not remember his exact wording. This was the content of what he was saying, but I do not remember the exact words.

He accepted and acknowledged that we had committed that mistake in the past, but this was not the case in our time. When the clergy are revolutionary, when they fight and engage in jihad, when they identify the enemy and his methods and tricks and when they prepare themselves for confronting these methods and tricks, then they have really gotten close to or they have reached their main and true position.

Naturally, this involves danger and harm. It involves worldly harm one of which is losing one's life. However, this is the greatest position before Allah the Exalted. Not anyone is offered martyrdom by Allah the Exalted. In any case, the value of the martyrdom of those dear ones is a great value and commemorating those personalities is a decent and very appropriate task.

Of course, there should be an effort to avoid separating clergy-martyrs from other martyrs. After all, martyrs are all martyrs in the way of God, be that the clergy and turban-wearers, or non-turban-wearers. All these individuals are martyrs on the path of God and they are alive in the presence of Allah the Exalted: "They live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord" [The Holy Quran, 3: 169]. And we should look at the lofty position of martyrs with envy and we should desire it. Their value is beyond these words. But in any case, clergy-martyrs are a group of people who can be worked on.

Thankfully, this idea of fighting and jihad has been developed and expanded because of these martyrdoms and self-sacrifices, both inside our country and among Muslims. Notice that today, the spirit of fighting, jihad and preparedness for martyrdom has been developed in different ways throughout the world of Islam. This is more serious in certain places and less serious in other places. An example is the great Arbaeen rallies. This is really a phenomenon: a divine and spiritual phenomenon. This is really indescribable. It cannot be truely analyzed either, like many important divine phenomena. This event cannot be analyzed. Notice how astonishing the formation of this great population is – comprised of millions of individuals and which has taken place in the course of only a few years.

Of course, there were certain rallies in the past as well, but such things did not exist in any way. We are aware that in different periods of time – whether during Arbaeen or at other times – the clergy from Najaf and various other places in Iraq used to form rallies with large crowds accompanying them. However, this great population, comprised of millions of individuals and from various places in the world – several million people from Iran and several million people from Iraq and other countries – and this great movement create an extraordinarily important phenomenon despite the terrorist threats that have always existed including in the present time. This is very important. This is a sign that the idea of fighting in the way of God and Islam is ascending in the world. This is a sign of public and communal preparedness on this path. And I hope that Allah the Exalted will bless these movements and our people.

Now that there was talk of Arbaeen rallies, I would like to thank all those who participated in this year's Arbaeen rallies and I pray that God will accept this movement. I deem it necessary to thank the Iraqi government because it prepared the ground for this to happen. I deem it necessary to really and sincerely thank the dear people of Iraq who considered it their responsibility to genuinely and happily receive the marchers and pilgrims of Aba Abdullah (greetings be upon him) on these days – in the past week or more. I deem it necessary to thank the revolutionary youth of Iraq, Hashd al-Sha'abi [Popular Mobilization Forces] and other individuals who had a share in the security of this ceremony and who managed to ensure the pilgrims' safety. Also, I deem it necessary to thank the officials in charge of Najaf's atabat [the Imams' holy shrines] and the shrines of Hazrat Aba Abdullah (greetings be upon him) and Hazrat Abul Fadhl (sa) because of providing the people with the necessary amenities.

I hope that Allah the Exalted will bless, aid and support them, this great movement and all the individuals involved in this movement so that they can continue this task in the best way possible, God willing. I hope that your meeting will be a significant, valuable and beneficial meeting and I hope that Allah will bless your meeting as well, God willing.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings