meeting with families of the martyred defenders of the holy shrines

The Sacrifice of your loved ones fills the Earth with love for Imam Hussein (as)

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on October 22, 2018, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, during a meeting with families of Martyred Defenders of Holy Shrines.


In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful,


You are very welcome here, dear brothers, dear sisters, the esteemed and great families of our dear martyrs. The movement of your brave relatives, who were martyred on the outskirts of the country, at this point in time is, in fact, like that of individuals who managed to preserve the shrine of Hazrat Aba Abdullah (Imam Hussain, AS). There was a day when the caliphs of Bani Abbas decided to destroy the pure shrine of Hazrat Aba Abdullah (AS) and possibly other holy shrines of the Imams' (AS). However, some individuals prevented this measure at the cost of their own lives.


The caliphs would say, “If you come, we will cut off your hands and your legs, and we will murder you.” Despite the threats, they kept going [to visit the graves of the Imams (PBUT)]. It is because of those endeavors that the number of pilgrims who marched during the Arbaeen commemoration has reached 20 million today! If some brave individuals had not sacrificed themselves in their time, the magnificence and greatness of love for Aba Abdullah al-Hussain (greetings be upon him) would not have filled the whole world today.


Presently, people from various countries – people speaking Farsi, Turkish, and Urdu, even individuals from European countries and the US – participate in the march of Arbaeen. Who is responsible for this? The first, and most important, foundation was laid out by those who sacrificed their lives for the visitation of Hazrat Aba Abdullah's (AS) shrine. The same is true of your children. If it had not been for your dear children and martyrs – those who engaged in jihad – the enemy would have advanced as close as a few kilometers to the holy shrine of Hazrat Aba Abdullah (AS). Then, they would have had the opportunity to strike Karbala with short-range mortars. That is how close they would be. They were close to Kadhimayn and Zaynabiyyah, and they had actually laid siege on that place.


However, your young ones, along with thousands of other individuals, went across our borders and helped Islam and Muslims eradicate this disaster. --This is the great deed that your loved ones accomplished; they did this for the sake of God. We did not encourage anyone to leave home. In the era of the Holy War, we would encourage youth to join the front lines; and at the command of Imam, they would carry out some operations: this was not the case here. Nonetheless, the young defenders left home with enthusiasm and interest, begging us to let them go: this is the meaning of virtue. Allah the Exalted will bless this state of purity. By Allah’s favor, the world of Islam will witness the results of their actions in a not-too-distant future.


Of course, losing a loved one is difficult for you: fathers, mothers, spouses, children, brothers, and sisters. --This is clear, but this is the kind of hardship which will be rewarded by Allah the Exalted, as has been promised to the patient: “They are those on whom descend blessings from Allah and mercy.” [The Holy Quran, 2: 157] Allah the Exalted will shower His blessings, greetings, and mercy on those who show patience: this is the divine promise: this is a Quranic ayah, and by Allah’s favor, you will benefit from these divine blessings.


I hope that God will help us join your youth. I hope that we will follow in their footsteps, move in the same direction, and achieve the same destiny. Please recite Salawat [prayer for the prophet (PBUH) and his family].


  • defenders of the holy shrines
  • Iraq
  • ISIS
  • Syria