Leader's Speech on His Arrival in Qom

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on October 19, 2010 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution to members of the Construction Basij.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all sentient beings, and peace and greetings upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Al-Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his immaculate and infallible household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.

I would like to extend my congratulations on the auspicious birthday anniversary of Imam Reza (a.s.), and the birthday anniversary of Hazrat Masoumeh (s.a.). I am truly thankful to Allah the Exalted who gave me the opportunity to be present in the company of you dear people of Qom and have a meeting with you in this great city, which is reminiscent of many memories for me. Qom is the city of knowledge. It is the city of jihad, the city of insight. The insight of the people of Qom is a crucial factor which has revealed itself during past 32 years. It is interesting that the establishment of the city of Qom resulted from a jihad-like movement accompanied by insight. That is to say, when the Ash'aris settled in this region, they turned it into a center for propagating the teachings of the Holy Prophet's household (a.s.). They started a cultural jihad in this region. Before they came to Qom, the Ash'aris had already engaged in armed jihad. The leader of the Ash'aris had fought alongside Zayd ibn Ali (a.s.). This was why al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf became furious with them, and they were forced to leave for this region and make it the center of knowledge relying on their efforts, insight and knowledge. This caused Hazrat Masoumeh (s.a.) to express her tendency to stay in Qom when she was passing by. It was all because of the Ash'ari luminaries who were living in this region. The Ash'aris welcomed Hazrat Masoumeh (s.a.) and invited her to their city. After her demise, they built a shrine for her in this city. As the ones who started this great cultural movement, the people of Qom established a center for promoting the teachings of the Holy Prophet's household (a.s.) at that time. They trained hundreds of religious scholars, hadith experts and exegetes of Islamic and Quranic teachings and send them to different parts of the world of Islam. Knowledge spread from Qom to Khorasan, Iraq and Sham. This shows the insight that the early residents of Qom enjoyed. Qom was established on the basis of insight and jihad.

The same thing happened in the contemporary era as well. That is to say, Qom became the center of the most superior Islamic and divine teachings. Thanks to the presence, selfless efforts and insight of great religious scholars, a source of knowledge was created in this region which benefitted the entire world of Islam.

I would like to remind you of two important historical stages in which the people of Qom played a central role. The people of Qom played crucial and memorable roles in these two stages. One of these historical stages was the day of Ashura in the year 1342 and the 15th of Khordad, which was two days after the day of Ashura. On the day of Ashura, the people of Qom gathered in Feyziyeh School. They listened to Imam Khomeini's (r.a.) call, and their hearts were filled with enthusiasm. Two days later, when they heard the news of the Imam's arrest, they gathered in Feyziyeh School. This great movement by the people of Qom caused the clerical movement - which was led by our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) - to spread beyond the walls of Islamic seminaries into society. The people of Qom were at the forefront of this movement. It was the people of Qom who accomplished this great achievement.

The second historical stage happened in the year 1356 when the people of Qom discovered the enemy's plot and realized the magnitude of the enemy's insult to our magnanimous Imam (r.a.). They realized the nature of the issue. It was not just a simple insult. The first widespread public demonstrations were staged against that treacherous move in the city of Qom. The blood of the youth of Qom was shed in the streets. They lost their lives. They proved the truth of their words with their blood. During the past 30 years, the people of Qom have entered different arenas with sincerity and exemplary insight. The enemy had plans for Qom. If the people of Qom had not been vigilant and insightful, the enemy's plans for Qom would have proven dangerous. The vigilance of the people and the existence of Qom Seminary in this city have turned Qom into the center of insight.

Since the late Ayatollah Haeri - the founder of Qom Islamic Seminary - many great marja taqlids have lived in this city, including the late Ayatollah Boroujerdi, Ayatollah Golpaygani, Ayatollah Araki, Ayatollah Mar'ashi and Ayatollah Bahjat. Thankfully, there are great marja taqlids and prominent religious scholars in this city today. Islamic seminaries are a source of blessings, and the sincere, insightful and mujahid people of this city have shown that they appreciate the value of Islamic seminaries and the clergy. They are present when they are needed. This is the city that became the stronghold and hope of the Revolution after the uprising of that great man - Imam Khomeini (r.a.).

I have limited time to speak at this huge gathering. Due to the big enthusiastic welcome, there was a long delay on the way here. We are pressed for time. I will make only a few short comments.

First of all, Qom is the birthplace of the Revolution. The most religious city of the country became the center and birthplace of the biggest Revolution of the contemporary era. What does this mean? It means that the entire world should know that this Revolution is religious in nature. It is not possible to impose any materialistic motives on this Revolution. Its birthplace is Qom. Its leader was a great faqih, philosopher and religious scholar. This is what the entire world thinks of the Islamic Revolution. This is one point.

The enemies of this Revolution have tried to harm the Revolution and the Islamic Republic during the past 32 years. What was the focus of their attacks? Their attacks were focused on two essential targets: One target was religion and the other was the people and their loyalty. They know that if this Revolution were not religious in nature, it would not have the power to resist. This is because it is religion that prohibits its followers from surrendering to oppression and encourages them to counter oppressors. Religion provides human life with justice, freedom, spirituality and progress. This is the characteristic of religion. Therefore, it is not possible for a government that is based on religion to surrender to the pressure and coercion of enemies, bullies and greedy people. If this Revolution lacked the element of religion, the leaders and the officials of the Revolution might have backed off after receiving a privilege from the enemies, thus opening the way for the enemies to dominate the country again. But because religion forms the backbone of the Revolution, such a thing has not happened so far, and it will not happen in the future either.

This was the great lesson that our honorable Imam (r.a.) taught us and all our people. Have faith in your power. Try to increase this power on a daily basis. Have faith in Allah the Exalted and His promises. If you resist and move ahead in a wise manner, you can rest assured that you will benefit from divine assistance. This is a natural consequence of the faith of the people and the religious nature of the Revolution and the Islamic Republic.

The populist nature of the Revolution means that it has been loyally supported by the people. The Islamic Republic has been fully approved and supported by the people during all this time.

If it were not for the presence of the people and if a gap had developed between the people and the government, the Islamic Republic would not be able to resist against the enemies. It is the firm presence of the people that supports the resistance of the officials. These two targets - namely, religion and the people - are essential. Therefore, the enemy has focused its attacks on these targets. It has targeted religion in one way, and the loyalty and faith of the people in another way. You see that since the 1360s when the Imam was alive, both foreign enemies and their paid mercenaries or unpaid servants inside the country have questioned and rejected religious truths and obvious Islamic facts. This was not just an accident. They have emphasized this. This issue started with Salman Rushdie and continued with anti-Islam Hollywood movies, caricatures, the burning of the Quran and different anti-Islam events that took place in different parts of the world. They did all these things in order to undermine people's faith in Islam and what is held sacred in Islam. They did all these things and used different methods in order to shake the foundations of religious faith of our people - especially our young generation. They resorted to different things ranging from promoting debauchery to propagating fake schools of mysticism - fake forms of genuine mysticism - the Baha'i Faith and the home church network. These are some of the things that the enemies of Islam are pursuing today through studying, planning and prediction. And the goal is to undermine religion in society.

They do different things in order to undermine the loyalty of the people to the Islamic Republic. They start rumors in order to make the people disappointed in our government officials and the heads of the three government branches. They sow the seeds of suspicion. Using their numerous tools of propaganda, they question anything good and valuable that is done in the country. If there are any weaknesses, they are hugely magnified. They do not show the strengths. Their purpose is to make the people, especially the young generation, disappointed. In order to encourage the people to step off the scene, they paint a gloomy picture of the future prospects for our people and youth. However, the essential point is that all the efforts by the enemies of the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic during the past 32 years have failed. They have not achieved any results so far. They were decisively defeated. They thought they could develop a gap between the people and the Islamic Republic. The commitment of the people to religious matters and spiritual values has increased on a daily basis. When did so many youth take part in religious ceremonies in our country? When did so many youth take part in religious ceremonies of the month of Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr? These massive public gatherings and this public insight about political issues are unprecedented. When some people who had been provoked, insulted Imam Hussein (a.s.) on the day of Ashura last year, it took less than two days for the people to take to the streets on the 9th of Dey and publicly expressed their explicit position. Not only have the enemies and their propaganda not managed to undermine religious feelings of the people, but their feelings have also grown stronger and their religious knowledge has become deeper.

There is no doubt that the enemy has failed in its attempt to develop a gap between the people and the Islamic Republic. In last year's presidential elections, 40 million voters went to the ballot boxes. In fact, the election was a referendum in which 40 million took part and voted for the Islamic Republic. This was what enraged the enemy. They decided to minimize the effects through a fitna, but they failed in that attempt as well. The people stood up against the fitna. The fitna of the year 1388 vaccinated the country. It equipped the people with the means to fight against the political and social microbes that could have been effective. It increased the insight of the people.

In certain newspapers published inside the country, some people who had claims to understanding and knowledge wrote against religion and Islamic principles. Their writings failed to affect the people as well. Pay attention to the point that the enemies are pursuing two essential goals regarding religion. This was because they saw what an essential role these two factors play in the life of the people. One of the goals was to promote Islam minus the clergy because they realized the amazing effect that the clergy have on the people of Iran and their movement. Of course they used to whisper the same things before the Revolution as well. The central role of the clergy in the Revolution forced them to put aside the idea temporarily. But they started to work on this issue later on. The other goal is to promote Islam minus politics and the separation of religion from politics. These are among the things that they are persistently promoting today in their press, writings and websites. The issue is important to them. We should pay attention to the point that whatever the enemy emphasizes and whatever the enemy's plans are focused on can provide us with a general strategy and blueprint. We should pay attention to whatever they select as the target of their attacks, and we should know that we need to emphasize their targets - namely, public presence on the scene and religious and Islamic teachings.

They started imposing sanctions on our country since the year 1358 and 1359, but the purpose of imposing new sanctions is to pressure the people and to develop a gap between the people and the Islamic Republic. Fortunately, both the officials and the people announced and showed in action that by Allah's favor these sanctions will not have a noticeable effect on the lives of the people. Having tolerated the troubles of the 1360s and the early years of the Revolution and having achieved these great advances, our people are more confident, and they are more hopeful about the future. They will continue countering the enemy and foiling its plots.

There may be a conflict between my speech and the prayer time, so I will briefly discuss a few principles that we should observe in our behavior - taking the enemy plots into consideration.

National solidarity is one issue. I am addressing this point to the elites as well as our ordinary citizens. The issue of unity should be taken seriously. I speak a lot about the importance of public solidarity, and I have touched on a number of characteristics as well. It is not enough to say that one is in favor of unity - there are certain signs and criteria.

The next issue is the importance of increasing solidarity of the people and the elites with the three branches of the government. Solidarity with the three branches of the government should be increased on a daily basis. The three branches of the government should be assisted, especially the executive branch which shoulders many responsibilities. Starting rumors and ignoring the efforts that are made are not at all in the interest of the country and its future.

The third point is about strengthening religious faith and responding to the intellectual needs and questions of the young generation, which - for the most part - should be addressed by the clergy and Islamic seminaries. They are raising doubts all the time. It is necessary to respond to the doubts on a constant and day-to-day basis.

The fourth point is about introducing the clergy in a correct and appropriate manner, which is not a responsibility that lies on the shoulders of the clergy only. Our intellectuals can show the role of the clergy in the country. They can show how the clergy - especially our honorable marja taqlids and the luminaries of our Islamic seminaries - helped society go through sensitive and difficult stages.

The next point is about the efforts made by our youth to increase their insight. Our youth should make efforts in this regard. It is necessary to identify the enemy and its methods. This is a responsibility that lies on the shoulders of the youth.

The next point which should be considered as necessary is scientific progress and moving ahead in the direction specified in the comprehensive scientific plan. Thankfully, it is five or six years now that the efforts to prepare the comprehensive scientific plan have been increased, and good achievements have already been made in this regard. It is necessary to make more efforts. By Allah's favor, this movement will continue faster. It is necessary to start a new movement in our Islamic seminaries. Hopefully, I will speak about this in a meeting with members of our Islamic seminaries.

Another important duty of the government is to make efforts to eliminate the factors that create problems for the people and make them dissatisfied: The daily life of the people, the issue of unemployment, the issue of bureaucratic affairs, the issue of appointing people to different responsibilities - especially in the case of high-ranking positions - the issue of municipalities and the issue of the police who are directly in contact with the people and are able to resolve many of their problems or, God forbid, give rise to public dissatisfaction. Therefore, different organizations should work harmoniously in different areas. They should work in harmony and try to complement each other's work. There should not be any discord. This duty is related to governmental organizations.

I would like to say a few things about the city of Qom. Qom was the birthplace of the Revolution. It is the place where this great historic event was started. From an international point of view, Qom enjoys a special position. Different people from different countries travel to this city. Some people do not travel to this city due to certain considerations or are sensitive to this city, but even those people have a special view of Qom and follow the developments that happen in this city. For example, today's impressive gathering will attract a lot of attention. They may not even mention it in their propaganda, but those who are in charge of policy-making will observe and evaluate this gathering from an international perspective. The biggest Islamic seminary of the world of Islam is in this city. No other Islamic seminary is as great as Qom Seminary. Here is a center for worship and spirituality. The magnificent shrine of Hazrat Masoumeh (s.a.) is in this city. The Jamkaran Mosque was built here. The shrines of different descendants of the infallible Imams (a.s.) are located in Qom. If the shrines on different streets of Qom were located in different places, a city would be built around each of them. These are the international and national potentialities and functions of this holy city.

Unfortunately, Qom is suffering from different kinds of backwardness because it was hated by different governments during the time of taghut. The honorable government officials should quickly compensate for this backwardness through their determined efforts. Of course many things have been done since the Revolution. The city of Qom has received more funds since the year 1379 when Qom had already became a province. According to the reports that I have received, after the year 1384 more funds have been spent in this city than in any other city of the country. Therefore, good projects have already been started, but all of them should be completed. In terms of public needs and aesthetic appearance, this city should make the kind of progress that the people of Qom deserve. If we want to make up for this accumulated backwardness, we need to work hard.

The issue of water is among the most important needs of this city, which has been followed up seriously since several years ago. Good achievements have already been made. A large portion of this issue has been resolved, and I deem it necessary to express my gratitude to the officials in charge. But I ask our honorable government officials to provide the people of Qom with sufficient water supplies as soon as possible. This is the essential need of the people of Qom which should be addressed.

The issue of Qom's agriculture is also important. I heard they are planning to channel water from Tehran to the Mesileh region, helping Qom's agriculture - which was once very prominent in this area - to flourish again.

Qom's handicrafts, especially its famous carpets, should be supported. By Allah's favor, I will highlight the necessary points to the officials during this journey.

What I would like to stress is the architecture of Qom. Today great things are being done in this city. Construction projects are well under way. They should make sure to observe the principles of Islamic architecture in these projects. Symbols of the Revolution should be visible in the architecture of this city. This is because Qom is the city of Islam and the Revolution.

The last point is that when the honorable officials of this city disagree about an issue, they should not let their disagreements affect the lives of the people and get them into trouble. Different governmental organizations of this city disagree about various things, which may affect the lives of the people. I have noted down these points of disagreement, but I will not read them out. However, my general recommendation is that everybody should join hands and cooperate. Government officials should render services to the people through cooperation and complementing each other's work. Hopefully, with the support of the people and through their unfailing presence, the people will enable the officials to complete the work that has been done in this country after the Revolution and make the benefits visible to the world of Islam.

Dear God, bestow Your blessings on these honorable people and the entire Iranian nation. Dear God, make us appreciate the selfless efforts of those who helped this movement reach this point. Dear God, help us to become true soldier of Islam. Bestow Your grace and approval on the honorable and hardworking officials of this country. By Your grace and assistance, make it easier for them to help the people and render services to them. Make the holy heart of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) satisfied with us. Help us be among his companions both in his presence and in his absence.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings