Imam Khamenei

Without religious and revolutionary commitment, society moves towards moral corruption

The following is an excerpt from a speech delivered on February 1, 2017 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with professors and outstanding students of Sharif University of Technology.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Like a window which opens to a lovely garden, the presence of you dear ones in this place gladdened our hearts, gave fresh air to us and ignited and kindled the hope that by Allah's favor has never been extinguished in the heart of this humble person. I thank God for the existence of you good and dear youth, the moral and righteous children of this country and – by Allah's favor – the powerful men and women of the future of Iran.

When I said that we should thank God, this is not particular to me. You yourselves should thank God as well. Allah the Exalted has given you wisdom, the power to think and talent. He has planted the seed of being outstanding in you. Under certain circumstances, this seed has yielded fruit. You should thank God for the great blessing – talent and mental capacity - that he has bestowed upon you. 

One of the issues that I would like to stress is the issue of scientific endeavor. Scientific endeavor should not stop in universities. Thankfully, you are outstanding students and you have won medals. These medals are a sign and a symbol. The spiritual value of this medal is much more than its material value. The spiritual value shows that you enjoy a kind of capacity and internal talent. It shows that you enjoy a lofty identity. These medals are like this. So, because of acting as a symbol, these medals have a spiritual as well as a material value.

That is why I accept your gifts with complete willingness and honor, but later on, I will give them back to you. I would like you to keep these symbols in your house and workplace – when you have one. In any case, one issue is that you should take the issue of science seriously.

Another important issue… is that what helps this country achieve development and what helps this develop flow to the region, to the world of Islam and possibly to the whole world is religious and revolutionary commitment. If this religious and revolutionary commitment does not exist, then scientific progress alone will not make a country, a nation and a group of people happy and blissful. If someone had said this 70, 80 years ago, many people would not have believed it. This is because in those days, the rifts and cracks that in the present time have emerged in the body and structure of western civilization and western countries did not exist. Today, these rifts, these shortcomings and the frailties in the foundation of the western civilization – in the lives of youth, in the lives of families, and in being drawn towards various intellectual, practical and moral deviations – have shown themselves.

What I am saying is not a hostile claim on the part of this humble person, against the leaders of the western civilization. Of course, I am hostile towards them. In other words, they are my enemy, but this statement is not based on this enmity, rather this statement is based on their own words. Today, violence, moral corruption, the destruction of family and the disastrous condition of children and the future generations in the US – I am speaking about the US: these conditions exist in other countries with different ratios – have reached a point where some thinkers and sympathetic personalities in the US insist on changing the condition of movies, promotions, cinema, Hollywood and other such phenomena: a change from the behavior that they have shown in the past 70, 80, 100 years to more morality and moderation. This exists in their articles. This is the information which is available to me. I am saying this based on information. They themselves have become concerned.

For example, I read recently that in the space of a few days, a hundred individuals – for example – in the US were killed by one another without any crime and reason. They were not killed by the police. The issue of the crimes which are committed by the US police is a different issue. Those individuals were killed at the hands of one another. For example, in the space of one week, a hundred or several hundred individuals killed one another. The exact figures are available, but I do not remember it. Well, this is a grave disaster for a country! The availability of guns and the prevalence of murder has created many problems for a country like the US.

And everyone confirms this. Everyone is afraid of this and they are worried, but no one dares use the clear cure and treatment for this malady. What is the cure? The cure is that guns should become illegal. The leaders of the US do not dare do so. Weapon-building companies in the US are so dominant that US senators and congressmen do not dare pass such a law. The US president does not dare say this as his presidential slogan and he does not dare stick to it.

Notice that this is the meaning of corruption. Corruption means the domination of power-seeking and money-hungry mafia groups in a way that the great political and military apparatus of a country like the US does not dare implement a measure – preventing the sale of guns – whose efficacy is clear. These are instances of corruption. It is because of lack of spiritual ideals that western societies reach this point.

Of course, youth depression, suicide and filicide attempts, and various moral, sexual and other such crimes are different issues which require separate discussions. If we want the country, the people and the human community in general to achieve happiness and bliss, the way to do so is to give priority to religious and divine ideals over all other ideals. This should affect our economy, our scientific work, our management of the country, our selection of managers and our own intellectual movement.

Fortunately, today, a large group of youth in the country – Basij, Student Basij, and those who are acting as Islamic and revolutionary thinkers in the country and who are very large in number – are pursuing this thought. You should preserve this thought. You should know that various events make one undergo some mental and intellectual changes. Sometimes, deviations and digressions are very minute, but when they continue, the distance from the straight and the main path widens in a continuous manner. You should pay attention to this. The great feats that were accomplished by some people in the country – for example, the victory of the Revolution, the issue of the Sacred Defense and the like – and the achievements that we made in the eight-year Defense Era, during the Revolution and in the serious confrontations against the Revolution in the course of the past 40 years resulted from resistance and stability.

I advise you youth to read the memoirs about the Sacred Defense. These memoirs are very valuable. When I – who am like your grandfather, was present in the war and witnessed those events – read these memoirs, they were new and significant to me. They are new and fresh to me and they influence me. Those who change their behavior on a daily basis have been described by the Commander of the Faithful in the following way, "Your girth is loose and you have put it on the wrong way" [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 162]. The Commander of the Faithful describes this person as a camel whose load is not fastened tightly. As the camel walks, the load budges to different directions and it finally falls. Naturally, the camel cannot walk straight. We should be afraid of this and we should avoid it.

We read in a prayer, "I ask you to show stability in your religion." Stability and resistance in religion and on the path of the Revolution is very important and it should receive attention. So, studying one's lessons, revolutionary commitment and continuous presence in all the scenes which are influential in the future of the country are important.

The students in the meeting referred to the student cause and the student movement. This student movement can be interpreted in two ways: one is that students speak, chant slogans and clench their fists against all ideals and another is that students move at the service of ideals: this is a youthful and jihadi movement. We should act in a jihadi manner in the area of science, in acquiring knowledge and in political activities on the ground. Jihad does not only mean drawing one's sword and striking others from left and right. Jihad means refusal to become tired. It means choosing a path with correct thinking and reasoning, having faith in that path and pursuing and treading it despite all the difficulties and obstacles. This is the meaning of acting in a jihadi manner.

I hope that Allah will make you successful, God willing.


  • Ethics
  • Gun Violence
  • Morality
  • Police Brutality
  • Technology