Imam Khamenei

Why Iran chose the birthday of Imam Hussain(as) as Revolutionary Guard’s Day

The interesting idea to have a day for members of the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps and to relate this day to the auspicious birthday anniversary of Imam Hussein (a.s.) is a significant innovation which shows us the path. It is necessary to thank those who were the first to think of this idea and to make us notice this concept. This is because the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps has made an impressive promise to safeguard the Islamic Revolution. I will briefly speak about this issue later on.

The concept of guardianship was embodied by Imam Hussein (a.s.) with all its dimensions and with all the necessary and possible means. This is not to say that others did not do such a thing or did not want to do such a thing, rather it means that this movement was fully realized in the behaviour of the Lord of the Martyrs (a.s.) during his ten-year imamate. 

One can clearly notice in his lifestyle all the methods that could have been used by a descendant of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) to preserve the great legacy of Islam which has been passed down by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and his father, as well as their genuine followers. 

We can clearly see everything in the lifestyle of the Lord of the Martyrs (a.s.)—everything ranging from clarification to forewarning, to promotion of Islam to provoking the conscience of prominent figures of his time, during a sermon in Mina. All these things are tangible in the lifestyle of the Lord of the Martyrs (a.s.).

Later on he stood up against a great deviation and laid down his life. Imam Hussein (a.s.) was aware of the consequences of his movement. He was an infallible Imam. Infallible Imams' extensive knowledge and insight are beyond our minds.

Imam Hussein (a.s.) revolted to set an example, and he refused to surrender. He asked the people to help him, and when a group of people from Kufa expressed their willingness to accompany him on this path, Imam Hussein (a.s.) accepted their offer and moved towards Kufa; he did not give up midway. 

Imam Hussein (a.s.) stood up against the deviated current of his time, which was extremely dangerous. And this became a lesson; Imam Hussein (a.s.) himself makes the same point. That is to say, he backed up his actions with the order of Islam. He said that his duty was what he was doing. He said that he had to express his opposition, no matter what the consequences were. He said, "It is good if my destiny is a victory, and if my destiny is martyrdom, so much the better." —This was how Imam Hussein (a.s.) behaved.

He behaved with a perfect instance of self-sacrifice; and it safeguarded Islam: this move preserved Islam: this move institutionalized values in society. If Imam Hussein (a.s.) had not accepted this danger, if he had not made a move, if he had not taken action, if his blood had not been shed, if those great tragedies had not happened to the shrine of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), to Imam Ali's (a.s.) daughter, and to the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) descendents, this event would not have gone down in history. The event that could have prevented that great deviation had to shock people and history as much as the deviation did. This shows Imam Hussein's (a.s.) self-sacrifice.

Some things are easier said than done: however, what Imam Hussein (a.s.) did was extraordinary. That is to say, the dimensions of his actions are far more greater than what we estimate. We usually ignore important aspects and details. Once, I spoke about Imam Hussein's (a.s.) patience: his patience was not limited to enduring thirst or seeing his companions being killed; these things were relatively easy for him to tolerate. 

The kind of patience that is difficult to practice is to listen to influential, aware, and respectable people who create doubt and tell you that what you are doing is dangerous and wrong. Who did those things [to Imam Hussein (a.s.)]? 

People like Abdullah Ja'far, Abdullah Zubair, and Abdullah Abbas [were not very supportive.] These prominent figures, of that time, were constantly telling Imam Hussein (a.s.) not to go on with what he was doing. If it were somebody else, somebody who did not have that determination and stable character, he would have thought, "Well, I did my duty. These people are talking like this and the world is acting like that, thus I should say what I am supposed to and do nothing else." 

A person who decides to stand up against such remarks, temptations, doubts and efforts to bend sharia and is not dissuaded from continuing his path, such a person, is the one who can give rise to a great transformation. 

In this regard our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) was similar to the Lord of the Martyrs. I explained this during another meeting; I do not want to go into the details now. This was how Imam Hussein (a.s.) acted as a guardian.

By selecting Imam Hussein's (a.s.) birth anniversary as Revolutionary Guards' Day, the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps is, in fact, subtly suggesting that it will tread the path of Imam Hussein (a.s.). This is auspicious and truly important. Certain perceptive critics might say that a specific mistake has been made or a person has behaved in the wrong way. It is possible to criticize all currents, all groups, all individuals and all legal and natural persons. 

But if we consider the movement of the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps in a fair way, we will see that the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps has kept its promise since the first day. The Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps has been truly steadfast on this path. Individual members come and go, but the collective identity of the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps has remained the same.

Imam Khamenei, Jul 4, 2011


  • Imam Hussain
  • IRGC
  • Karbala