Leader's Speech to Seminarians and Clergy

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on December 13, 2009 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a meeting with a group of seminarians and prominent clergy.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I would like to welcome the dear brother and sisters who have attended this meeting. Thankfully, this is a unique meeting due to the presence of the esteemed students, teachers, scholars, and managers of Qom Seminary.

On the day of Mubahila [the day Prophet Muhammad (s.w.a.) issued a challenge to Christian missionaries concerning the unity of God], the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.w.a.) brought his dear ones with him. The important point is that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) selected his dear ones for Mubahila, which was supposed to help distinguish between right and wrong in front of everybody's eyes. "Come! Let us gather together - our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves. Then let us earnestly pray, and invoke the curse of Allah on those who lie!" [The Holy Quran, 3: 61] On no other occasion did the Prophet (s.w.a.) bring Imam Ali (a.s.) and his daughter to the arena of promoting Islam and clarifying the truth. This shows the extraordinary importance of clarifying the truth. That is an exceptional feature of the day of Mubahila. He brought them to Mubahila and told his challengers to invoke God's curse on liars.

The same thing happened during the month of Muharram, when Imam Hussein (a.s.) brought his dear ones to the desert of Karbala in order to clarify the truth. He knew what was going to happen, yet he brought Zeinab, his wives, his children, and his brothers with him. Like the day of Mubahila, it was again a matter of clarifying the truth and promoting Islam in the real sense of the word. That shows the importance of promoting Islam. "If someone comes across a ruthless sultan who mixes up halal with haraam and breaks his promise to God, they deserve living with the sultan in the hereafter." That is to say, when someone sees such a person, they should clarify the truth through their words and actions just as Imam Hussein (a.s.) did - and he paid the price for it. Imam Hussein brought his dear ones and his wives and children to Karbala in order to clarify the truth.

The unity between Islamic seminaries and universities is the modern aspect of the issue. Again, it is a matter of conveying a message: The relationship between our university students and scholars of our Islamic seminaries. That is the meaning of unity between universities and Islamic seminaries. This unity is not just a superficial merger of universities and Islamic seminaries. There is no reason to merge universities and Islamic seminaries. Universities and Islamic seminaries were supposed to stay away from one another until Imam Khomeini (r.a.) proposed the idea of unity between these two important and influential organizations. Universities were supposed to stay away from Islam. Similarly, Islamic seminaries were supposed to be kept away from global developments and scientific advances. They were supposed to drift away from one another. Again, this highlights the issue of promoting Islam. Studying is just a means of preparing ourselves for conveying God's message to humanity regarding religious teachings, rules, and norms of behavior.

Therefore, the issue of promoting Islam is related to acting on the basis of insight and religious certainty. Insight and religious certainty are necessary, and one should move ahead on the basis of these two factors. It is not good if there is insight and religious certainty, but nothing is actually done. We cannot promote Islam if we lack insight or religious certainty. "The messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. They all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers." This Quranic verse refers to religious certainty, and it means that the Messenger himself was the first person to deeply believe in the divine message. In the absence of this religious faith and certainty, it is not possible to continue promotion of Islam. And this religious faith has to be accompanied by insight. Righteous deeds have these characteristics. "Those who believe and do righteous deeds." [The Holy Quran, 2: 277] Promoting Islam is the prime example of righteous deeds. Therefore, promoting Islam requires thought and action. Mr. Moqtadai [the head of Qom Seminary] said that a center has been established in order to plan promotion of religion. Establishing such a center was exactly what I wanted to demand.

Publicity has taken on a very important role in the modern world. As promoters of Islam, we currently have the advantage of face-to-face communication - that is, addressing people directly from a pulpit. This is a great advantage that cannot be replaced by anything else. In some respects, this method of promoting religion is more effective than other methods. Of course the artistic methods of promoting Islam are also necessary sometimes, but preaching from a pulpit has a special effect that is lacking in other methods of promoting Islam. Therefore, promoting Islam is very important. As promoters of Islam, we can make use of face-to-face preaching, which is one of the most effective methods of religious publicity.

What I am trying to say is that religious publicity should give rise to a discourse. When something becomes a discourse, it becomes public knowledge in a particular era and a particular society. It is not possible to achieve this goal though isolated and spontaneous measures. Creating a discourse requires active planning and measures.

Why do we need to create this discourse? Because this discourse can promote religious thought and knowledge among our audience. When religious thought is promoted among the people and it is accompanied by a sense of commitment, it gives rise to actions and becomes exactly what prophets were after. Religious publicity leads to appropriate knowledge and cultural norms, and in some cases it acts like a warning.

Religious publicity in the month of Muharram is a case in point. The religious ceremonies for mourning Imam Hussein's (a.s.) martyrdom provide us with the best opportunity to promote Islam. We should utilize this opportunity in order to help distinguish right from wrong and create a beacon of guidance for the people. In the modern world, creating fitnas is the main technique that is used by the enemies of the truth. In such a situation, the proponents of the truth should provide the people with as much insight and clear guidance as they can so that they do not get confused.

Regarding religious publicity, we should pay attention to the Quranic verse that was recited at the beginning of this meeting: "Those who deliver the messages of Allah and fear Him, and do not fear anyone but Allah. And Allah is sufficient to take account." [The Holy Quran, 33: 39] There are two requirements that have to be met for promoting the messages of God. First, one should fear God and no one else. Fearing God is the first requirement. Religious publicity should be done for the sake of God, and it should also be inspired by divine teachings. Religious publicity will only mislead people if it is not done for the sake of God or is not inspired by divine teachings. "Apart from the truth, what (remains) but error?" [The Holy Quran, 10: 32] Understanding the truth is possible through fearing God. And when it is time to publicly declare the truth, we are advised not to "fear anyone but Allah". Why? Because the truth has its own enemies. It is not easy to declare the truth. Material powers and different kinds of global taghut [authority not sanctioned by God] are the enemies of the truth. This has been the case throughout history, and this state of affairs will not change until the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) establishes his righteous government.

These material powers will not stand by and let the world go by. They will use all their facilities to create problems and distort the truth. Therefore, it is necessary to fear God and no one but Him, otherwise the path of religious publicity will be blocked. There are different kinds of non-divine fears. People may be afraid of losing their life, wealth, or reputation. They may also be afraid of what other people say about them. These are different kinds of non-divine fear, and we should get rid of them. It is difficult to fear God and no one but Him. Sometimes it is hard for ordinary people to understand this difficulty. "... And Allah is sufficient to take account," the ayah continues. You should leave the calculations to God. Sincerity, acting courageously on the basis of religious certainty, and leaving the calculations to God are the general outline of promoting Islam.

Now I would like to discuss a point regarding the efforts to promote Islam in the month of Muharram. Some people may question the value of the ceremonies for mourning Imam Hussein's (a.s.) martyrdom. They may say, "If you want to speak about Imam Hussein's (a.s.) movement, just go ahead and speak about his movement. Why all the crying?" This is a wrong assumption. It will be extremely hard to move ahead on this path in the absence of this emotional connection to the infallible Imams. This is why Imam Khomeini (r.a.) recommended the traditional forms of mourning.

The Quranic verses about the role of the infallible Imams are interpreted in three different ways. Wilayat is one of these interpretations. "Your guardian can only be Allah - and His messenger and those who believe, who establish worship and pay charity, and bow down (in prayer)." [The Holy Quran, 5: 55] Another interpretation is submission and obedience. "Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you." [The Holy Quran, 4: 59]

Friendship is the third interpretation. "Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives." [The Holy Quran, 42: 23] What is this friendship? People are advised to accept their Wilayat and obey them, but what is friendship for? This friendship is a kind of assurance. After the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) passed away, those who ended this friendship gradually brushed aside the leadership of the infallible Imams (a.s.). In the absence of this sense of friendship, the Islamic Ummah will face the same disasters. Therefore, this sense of friendship is of paramount importance, and it can be achieved through this emotional connection to the infallible Imams (a.s.). Narrating the tragedies that happened to them is an attempt to establish this emotional connection. Similarly, praising their virtues [through the mourning ceremonies] is another way to form this emotional bond.

Therefore, it is necessary to hold the mourning ceremonies and narrate the events of Ashura. Some people should not adopt a so-called intellectual position and reject the necessity of these mourning ceremonies. These ceremonies are necessary, and they will always be necessary. Of course some forms of mourning are unacceptable. For instance, "Qame Zani" [a religiously prohibited ritual in which people cut their foreheads] has been declared haraam, and it must not be practiced. That is because Qame Zani will make the enemies more insolent and will give them an advantage over those who love the members of the Holy Prophet's household. But the common mourning rituals can increasingly strengthen one's emotional connection to the infallible Imams. These rituals are very good.

Therefore, our Islamic seminaries, especially Qom Seminary, should take appropriate measures in order to organize promotion of Islam. The head of Qom Seminary gave us good news in this regard [the establishment of a center for promotion of Islam], and I hope such measures are pursued seriously. Religious publicity may appropriately focus on a certain issue, but the same issue may not need any publicity after 5 or 10 years. This needs planning. I always advise the promoters of Islam, seminarians, and Islamic scholars to assess the needs of society. I always advise them to preach on the basis of the questions that form in the minds of their audience. But this cannot be done individually because individuals may sometimes make mistakes in their assessment. There is a need for concerted and organized efforts.

Religious publicity becomes most important whenever and wherever there is fitna. Hypocrites were the main source of trouble during the time of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.). Similarly, during the time of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), the main source of trouble was the people who claimed to support Islam and fought against Imam Ali's Islamic government. The situation was the same during the time of other infallible Imams (a.s.) - there was an atmosphere of confusion and ambiguity. It was not difficult to fight the Battle of Badr. It was not difficult to fight on the battlefields against the enemies who clearly expressed what they thought. Everything became difficult when the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was faced with those who claimed to support Islam. It was not the case that they did not believe in Islam or that they had turned their backs on Islam. No, they did believe in Islam. But they were heading in the wrong direction - their passions were creating problems for them. This is the most difficult situation, and it can create doubts in the minds of people. These doubts were so serious that the companions of Abdullah ibn Masoud went to Imam Ali (a.s.) and told him, "We are doubtful about this battle." Why did they become doubtful? When prominent figures of an Islamic society become doubtful, their doubts can gradually undermine the foundations of the Islamic society. When prominent figures of society become doubtful about obvious realities, they make everything difficult. That was the problem the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) had to deal with. Today we have to deal with the same problem. The situation is the same today both on international and domestic fronts. There is a need for clarification.

On the international front, the enemies are using all the available means today in order to mislead global public opinion. They are trying their best to confuse both ordinary people and prominent figures throughout the world. They claim to support the oppressed, human rights, and respect for the law. Their claims are beautiful and appealing, but the truth is something else. For instance, a few days ago, the US President said they are trying to hold law-breaking governments responsible. The question is which government is law-breaking? Which government breaks the laws more often than the US government? Which law entitled the US government to occupy Iraq and inflict so much spiritual and material damage on the people of Iraq? They attacked Iraq and occupied it on the basis a rumor which had been started by American politicians. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people have been killed during the last few years. Millions of Iraqi people have been displaced since then.

Some time ago, it was disclosed that 550 Iraqi scientists have been assassinated by the Israelis. Is this something insignificant? They sent their assassination squads to find and kill Iraqi scientists one after the other. This was caused by the American occupation of Iraq. Which law entitled you to enter Iraq and stay there? Which law entitled you to treat the Iraqi people with so much insult? Which law entitled you to occupy Afghanistan? Which reasonable international law entitled you to increase your troops in Afghanistan? How many times have American aircraft dropped bombs on wedding processions in Afghanistan? This has happened many times so far. Tens of people were killed in each of these air strikes. They were ordinary people who had just attended a wedding ceremony. But then the American officer was insolent enough to say, we are after members of the Taliban and we will target them wherever we find them! Why do you not leave them alone? Some time ago, they caused a similar tragedy in Herat. They killed more than a hundred people, and there were fifty children among them. They are the embodiment of lawlessness. Today the American government is the most law-breaking government in the world.

This is the truth of the situation, but they say that they are opposed to law-breaking and that law-breaking governments should be held responsible! This is fitna. Clarifying the realities is the only way to purge global public opinion of these plots and this cesspit of corruption. What else can end this ignorance? See how difficult your duty is.

This is true of religious issues as well. The seditious enemies are making serious efforts throughout the world to foment religious discord among Muslims. That is because Muslim countries are located in a strategic and oil-rich part of the world. They need the areas inhabited by Muslims, and Islam is an obstacle. Therefore, they feel they have to remove this obstacle in one way or another. Fomenting discord among Muslims through provoking religious prejudice is one of the effective ways they have devised to achieve this purpose. Insight, clarifying the realities, appropriate promotion of Islam, and avoiding the enemies' traps can help us deal with this divisive scheme.

We should act in the same way on the domestic front. Some people violated the law. They created uproar in the country. They did their best to encourage the people to stand against the government. They were not successful, but they did their best. They emboldened the enemies of Islam and the Revolution. They acted in a way that the spiteful enemies of Imam Khomeini (r.a.) were emboldened to the extent that they desecrated his photo in a university. Their actions revitalized the disappointed enemy, and it was encouraged to insult the memory of Imam Khomeini (r.a.) in front of our students who undoubtedly love the Imam and the Revolution and who love to make efforts for their country and the Islamic Republic. This great insult was the result of their violations of the law and their efforts to cause uproar. After they had made these mistakes, they resorted to sophistry in order to cover up their mistakes! This is one of the great human flaws. All of us are prone to make mistakes. We should be cautious. We make mistakes, and then we resort to sophistry in order to salvage our conscience and justify our actions to other people. We rationalize our mistakes!

They cause fitna. That is to say, they create an atmosphere of confusion. They shout slogans in support of the law, but they clearly act against the law. They shout slogans in support of Imam Khomeini (r.a.), but then they act in a way that his memory gets insulted in front of his supporters. Their actions caused such a sin against the Imam. This is not something insignificant. The enemies were thrilled with that insult. They were not just delighted. They also analyzed this insult, and they will make decisions on the basis of their analyses. They will be encouraged to act against our national interests. In such a situation, deception and creating an atmosphere of confusion can create serious problems. In this regard, Imam Ali (a.s.) said, "But they mix up the truth with falsities, and in such a situation, Satan dominates his followers." They take part of the truth and mix it with a lie, and thus they create doubts about justice. This is where clarifying the truth becomes significant. This is where it becomes important to provide people with the criteria to distinguish justice from injustice.

Those who work for the Revolution, the Imam, and Islam would be chastened as soon as they realize that their action and statement may lead to the adoption of a position against the principles they support. Why are they not chastened? They should have been chastened when Islam was deleted from the central slogan of the Islamic Republic - that is, "Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic". When such a thing happens they should realize that they are heading in the wrong direction. They should realize they are making a mistake. They should distance themselves from this movement. On Quds Day, when they heard slogans against the people of Palestine and in support of Israel, they should have been chastened. The idea of Quds Day was proposed with the purpose of supporting the people of Palestine and opposing the usurping Zionist regime. When they witnessed such things on Quds Day, they should have distanced themselves from this movement.

When they see that the heads of such countries as America, France, and England - which have been the embodiment of oppression in the past 100-200 years - are supporting this movement, they should realize that something is wrong. When they see that corrupt and royalist individuals are supporting them, and when they see that members of the Tudeh Party and exiled dancers and singers are supporting them, they should be chastened. They should awaken to the reality and realize that something is wrong. They should immediately stand up and say, we do not want your support. Why do you stand on ceremony with them? Is it possible to ignore these realities under the pretext of rationality? Does rationality tell you that you should feel pleased and encouraged when the enemies of the nation, the country, Islam, and the Revolution consider you a friend and applaud your actions? Is this rationality? This is the opposite of rational thinking. Rationality requires that you immediately stand up and say "no" as soon as you see something that goes against the principles you claim to support. When you saw that the Imam's photo was desecrated, you should have condemned the act instead of denying its occurrence. More importantly, you should awaken to the realities. You should realize what the enemy is after. These gentlemen should try to realize these things. I am surprised by their actions. The individuals who owe their fame to the Revolution are delighted when they see that the enemies of the Revolution have deployed their forces. Some of these gentlemen who owe all of their wealth to the Revolution did not even receive a single slap for revolutionary activities during the time of the oppressive Pahlavi regime. Yet they are cheerful when they see that the enemies of the Revolution have lined up their forces against the Revolution. Do you not see these things? Wake up to reality!

You are my former brothers. On some occasions, some of these defeated candidates were even insulted during the time of the Imam for supporting him. Now those who shout slogans in support of them, hold up their posters, and speak about them with respect have taken the opposite stance. Their supporters are shouting slogans against the Imam, the Revolution, and Islam. And they were eating in public on Quds Day during the month of Ramadan. You can see these things, so step aside. The election is over. It was a national election, and it was healthy. They could not prove any election fraud. They constantly repeated their claims, and they were given the opportunity to prove their claims. They did not take part in the session which had been arranged to give them the opportunity to provide evidence for their claims. They could not prove any election fraud. It is over now. Respect for the law requires that one obey the law even if one does not recognize the elected president. Obviously, no one can say that someone who is elected is the embodiment of virtues or someone who is defeated is the embodiment of vices. No, everybody has their own virtues and vices. Both the defeated and elected candidates have their own virtues and vices. The law is the criterion for judgment. Why do these things happen? Why? It is all because of human desires.

These things are nothing new. Those who remember the first decade of the Revolution know that there were some people among the companions of Imam Khomeini (r.a.) who ended up confronting him. They ended up fighting the Imam. They tried to bring the Imam to his knees. They tried their best to prove that the great and divine man was wrong. Then they deviated from his path. Naturally, the Revolution brushed them aside. Those who were initially among the companions of the Imam ended up defecting to the enemy, confronting the Revolution, or delivering blows to the Revolution. We all have to learn a lesson from these things. We have to understand.

As I said in my Friday prayer sermons, I do not at all believe in purging. I believe in maximum inclusion and minimum purging. But some people appear to be insisting on distancing themselves from the Islamic Republic. Some people turned a family disagreement - that is, the election campaigns - into a battle against the system. Of course these people are few in number. They are nothing compared to the greatness of the Iranian nation. But slogans are shouted in their support, and they are encouraged by these slogans. We should learn a lesson. Through publicity, these realities should be clarified to the people as well as these individuals so that they realize they are heading in the wrong direction.

Of course this government is divine. Allah the Exalted has shown His support for this government on many occasions. We have experienced His grace since the beginning of the Revolution. God will support us, if we pursue a divine cause. These individuals and greedy global powers that are currently using faulty reasoning to dominate the world will undoubtedly receive a kick in the mouth from our nation as well other independent nations of the world. They do not know Islam, the Iranian nation, the Revolution, and our magnanimous Imam. They do not know who they are fighting. They do not know our nation. Our nation is strong. Our youth are trying with all their heart to achieve national prosperity - the kind of prosperity that has been recommended by Islam. The same is true of our students as well. Today our students are among the best students in the world. They are among the best students not only in terms of their intelligence and knowledge but also in terms of their sincerity, spirituality, and faith. During the post-election events, university students proved themselves on many occasions. They showed that they are vigilant. The more the relationship between our Islamic seminaries and universities is strengthened, the more this spirituality and these qualities will increase.

After Imam Khomeini (r.a.) was insulted, our people became furious. They have every right to be angry. They condemned the act, and appropriately so. But I would like to ask them to be calm. I also ask our students to be calm. You should stay calm. The people you are faced with do not have any roots, so they will not stay. They will not be able to resist against the greatness of this nation and this Revolution. Everything has to be done in a calm manner. When necessary, our government officials and the guardians of the law will do their duty. Of course students should identify the sources of corruption in academic environments. They have a duty to identify these individuals and let other people know who they are. This is an appropriate kind of publicity. Students should let other people know who these individuals are linked with and what their positions are. But everything has to be done in a calm manner. It is not advisable to cause tension and uproar in society. Tension and uproar are what the enemy desires. The enemy does not want our society to have peace. Security is of paramount importance. The enemies of public security want our people to suffer from lack of security. They want our people to be anxious and furious. That is not what we want. We want the people to have a peaceful life so that our students and seminarians can study and our scholars can engage in research. This peaceful life is necessary to let our industrialists, farmers, and businessmen do what they are supposed to do. Academic environments have to be secure. Academic environments are where our youth gather. Our people want their young children to study in a secure environment. The rioters who make academic environments insecure are fighting against the people. Of course governmental organizations are also responsible in this regard, and they should carry out their responsibilities.

"As for the scum, it vanishes as debris, and what profits humans remains in the earth." [The Holy Quran, 13: 17] Dear youth! Dear seminarians! Dear scholars! You should know that this Quranic verse applies to the present era, and you will see the manifestation. By Allah's grace, you will see that "what profits humans remains in the earth". This strong structure [the Islamic Republic] is divine in nature and has been built by a divine man. And its permanence depends on the determination and faith of this great nation. You will see that this strong structure will stay. By Allah's favor, this government will become stronger on a daily basis. And you will see that those who oppose this structure and this reality will vanish. By Allah's grace, these people will be annihilated in front of your eyes.

I hope Allah the Exalted will make the heart of the Imam of the Age tenderer towards us. I hope Allah the Exalted will help us benefit from his prayers. I hope the immaculate souls of our magnanimous Imam and our martyrs will be pleased with us.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings