Leader’s Address to Clergy in Qom

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on October 21, 2010 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of clerics in Qom.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, 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. Greetings be upon you Fatima Masoumeh, the daughter of Musa ibn Ja'far, and the best greetings be upon your immaculate, pure and infallible ancestors.

The presence of the honorable instructors, luminaries, scholars and seminarians of Qom Seminary has made this meeting great. The coincidence of this great meeting with the auspicious birthday anniversary of Imam Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha (a.s.) and his honorable sister, Hazrat Fatima Masoumeh (s.a.), reminds me of their great and significant movement and migration. Their movement was undoubtedly a constructive and significant event in the history of Iran and Shia Islam.

There is no doubt that Hazrat Fatima Masoumeh (s.a.) played an indisputably important role in helping Qom become Qom. She played an undeniable role in helping this historical and religious city gain prominence. Through her journey among the companions and friends of the infallible Imams (a.s.) and by traveling through different cities and sowing the seeds of knowledge and Vilayat during her journey, especially after arriving in Qom, this honorable lady, this young girl who had been educated by the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household, caused Qom to shine as the main stronghold of the teachings of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household during that dark reign of oppressors. She made this city a stronghold for transferring the light of knowledge and the teachings of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household to the east and west of the world of Islam.

Even today the city of Qom is the center of knowledge in the world of Islam. Just like those days, today Qom is an active heart that can and should spread knowledge, insight, vigilance and awareness into the veins of the entire Islamic Ummah. During those days the first books on fiqh, Shia teachings and the teachings of the followers of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household were written in Qom. The essential books - which Islamic jurisprudents, scholars and hadith experts of the city of Qom could rely on - were produced in Qom Seminary. The book "Nawadir al-Hikmah" by Mohammad ibn Ahmad ibn Mohammad ibn Isa and tens and hundreds of other books were first produced in this center of knowledge. Many figures were educated in this place, figures who spread knowledge through their lectures whenever they travelled to different parts of the world of Islam. When Sheikh Saduq - who was among the third and fourth generations of this great movement - travelled to Baghdad, Muslim scholars, ulama and luminaries gathered at his minbar and benefited from his lectures. Baghdad was the center of hadith and Shia Islam at that time. We can say that Sheikh Saduq was a teacher of Sheikh Mufid. Qom became a center (for Islamic scholarship).

Today Qom is still a center. For many years, tens of thousands of enthusiastic people have studied the teachings of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household, acquired knowledge, tackled numerous problems and moved forward despite these problems keeping lofty and spiritual goals in mind. There are few or no other cities in the world in which such a large number of people - men and women - are after acquiring religious knowledge, religious understanding, spirituality and communal transcendence. Maybe there are few or no other cities in the world in which such a large number of people make efforts and engage in spiritual, scientific and cultural struggle day and night. This is the situation of Qom Seminary today, and it enjoys such a prominent position in the world. As for its historical background, Qom was the place where the first important center for Shia Islam was established, and luminaries such as Sheikh Kuleyni and Sheikh Saduq were among the people who benefitted from this spring of knowledge - people whose works preserved the teachings of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household over many centuries.

Islamic seminaries - especially Qom Seminary - have never received as much attention from global public opinion as they do today. They have never been as significant in global policies as they are today. Perhaps they have never played a more important role in the destiny of the world than they currently do. Qom Seminary has never had so many friends and enemies as it does today. The members of Qom Seminary have more friends today than they ever did. Your enemies are also more in number and more dangerous. Today Qom Seminary - which is the best among all Islamic seminaries - enjoys such a sensitive position.

In this regard there is a common fallacy which I should discuss. Some people may say if Islamic seminaries had not entered global issues, political issues and challenging issues, they would not have made so many enemies - they would have been respected more than they are today. This is a fallacy. No valuable group or organization has ever received public respect because of isolation, lack of involvement and adopting neutral positions. And such groups and organizations will not receive public respect in the future either. Respect for indifferent organizations and societies - which avoid being involved in challenging issues - is superficial respect. In a deeper and more profound sense, this superficial respect is indeed disrespect. It is like respect for objects, and this kind of respect is not considered genuine respect. It is like respect for pictures and icons. It is not considered respect. Sometimes this kind of respect is insulting. It is accompanied by humiliation on the part of the person who pretends to have respect. Somebody who is responsive, active and significant inspires respect - both in the hearts of his friends and in the hearts of his enemies. His enemies show hostility, but they also respect him at the same time.

First of all, sidelining Qom Seminary or any other Islamic seminary will lead to their elimination. Lack of involvement in social and political movements and challenging issues will cause Islamic seminaries to be sidelined, isolated and forgotten. Therefore, except for certain individuals and eras, generally Shia clergy have always been present in different events. This is why Shia clergy enjoy a deep-rooted and significant position in society, a position which is unique among all clergy in the world - including both Muslim and non-Muslim clergy.

Second, if the clergy had been sidelined and isolated, religion would have been harmed. The clergy are the soldiers and servants of religion. They do not have any honor if they are separated from religion. If the clergy had decided not to get involved in essential issues - one prominent example of which is the great Islamic Revolution - and to remain indifferent, undoubtedly religion would have been harmed. And the goal of the clergy is to safeguard religion.

Third, if being present on the scene provokes hostilities, these hostilities will ultimately be beneficial. It is such hostilities that motivate people and create opportunities for them. Whenever the clergy or religion were exposed to hostilities and spite, a constructive movement was carried out by vigilant and aware people as a response. Once I said in a meeting that a single book by a prejudiced anti-Shia author led to the production of several great Shia sources. For example, in the city of Qom if the book "Asrar-e Hezar Saleh" [Thousand-Year-Old Secrets] - which is a combination of secular thoughts and Wahhabi tendencies - had not been published by a misguided person, our magnanimous Imam would not have decided to stop teaching and write the book "Kashful Asrar". This book contains the earliest ideas about the importance of Islamic rule and Vilayat-e Faqih. The re-introduction of this important Shia and Fiqhi thought is tangible in the book written by our magnanimous Imam. If it had not been for the leftist and Marxist tendencies and the Tudeh Party in the 1320s and early 1330s, a timeless book like "Osul-e Falsafeh va Ravesheh Realism" [Principles of Philosophy and Method of Realism] would not have been produced. Therefore, these hostilities have not really harmed us. Whenever there were hostilities, our aware and vigilant Islamic seminaries gave rise to an opportunity through their response. Hostilities can give rise to opportunities when we are vigilant and responsive.

During the rule of Reza Shah, the hostile move against the clergy caused a marja taqlid like the late Sayyid Abul Hassan Isfahani to issue the permission to spend religious financial contributions on publishing religious periodicals and magazines. This was something unprecedented, and it was strange even at that time. As a result, religious financial contributions - which belong to the Imam of the Age - were used to publish a religious periodical. Using these sources of money, religious societies were established. That is to say, in spite of what some people believed or believe, a religious figure like Sayyid Isfahani was thinking of the cultural issues of our country and Shia Islam, and he considered spending religious financial contributions on such things as permissible. These hostilities are opportunities. Hostilities give rise to such great opportunities.

Fourth, even if the clergy adopt a neutral position on essential issues, this will not cause the enemies of the clergy and religion to remain silent and adopt a neutral position. "When you fall asleep, the enemy will not fall asleep." If Shia clergy do not feel responsible in the face of the hostilities they confront, if they do not step into the arena, if they do not utilize their capacities and if they fail to fulfill the responsibility that lies on their shoulders, this will not cause the enemy to put an end to its hostilities. On the contrary, whenever the enemies felt we were weak, they took action to harm us. Whenever they felt we were passive, they increased their activities and took action. Westerners have long realized - from the events in Iraq and from the tobacco fatwa - the great potential of Shia thought to confront global oppression and global arrogance. Therefore, they will never keep silent. They will continue their transgression. Therefore, active involvement of Islamic seminaries and their avoidance of neutrality in the face of global events and national and international challenges are a necessity that cannot be ignored.

After the victory of the Islamic Revolution two wrong and misleading concepts were promoted by those who were opposed to both the clergy and the Revolution. Of course both verbal and practical responses have been presented in response to these two concepts. But it is necessary to be vigilant all the time.

These two wrong concepts were in fact two slanders that had been utilized by the enemy as two tactics. One of the concepts was to put forward the issue of clerical government. They say that Iran is ruled by a clerical government. They repeatedly wrote and spoke to promote this. The other concept was the issue of ruling clergy - dividing the clergy into government-linked clergy and those clergy that are not. The first goal that they were pursuing by these two wrong and misleading concepts was to deprive the Islamic system of the great intellectual, theoretical and logical support of religious scholars, and the second goal was to isolate and defame the responsible and revolutionary clergy who are present on the scene and are the target of the enmities. They wanted to promote the idea that there are two kinds of clergy: Those who are in the government and those who are not. They wanted to say that the former group of clergy are bad and anti-values and that the latter group of clergy are good and pure.

The relationship between the clergy and the Islamic system is something clear. The relationship between the clergy or Islamic seminaries and the Islamic system is a relationship based on support and advice. I will explain this point. The relationship is limited to support accompanied by advice - support accompanied by reform. The two wrong concepts are truly misleading and hostile. This is because first, describing the Islamic Republic as a clerical government is a lie. The Islamic Republic is the rule of values. It is the rule of Islam. It is the rule of sharia. It is the rule of fiqh, not the rule of individual clerics. Being a member of the clergy is not enough to rule. The nature of the Islamic Republic is different from the clerical governments that used to rule in certain parts of the world - and there are such governments in the modern world as well. The Islamic Republic is the rule of religious values. A cleric may have certain qualifications that make him superior to many other clerics. Such a cleric would have an advantage over other clerics, but just because somebody is a cleric does not make his rivals unqualified. Being a cleric is not a sufficient condition for being considered as qualified, just as it is not grounds enough for rejecting people as unqualified. The Islamic Republic is the rule of religion, not the rule of a particular group of people.

Dividing the clergy into those who in the government and those who are not - and presenting them as values and anti-values - is a fundamental mistake. If going after government or anything else is driven by material motives, it is something bad. If it is driven by human passions, it is something bad. This is not just limited to government. If we are driven by our human passions and personal interests, any goal that we seek will be an anti-value. This is an instance of being submerged in the material world. "Religious authorities are trustees of the Messenger as long as they are not affected by material tendencies." This is not particular to going after government. If the goal is material, it is unacceptable, no matter if it is government or something else. But if going after government is driven by divine and spiritual motives, it is one of the best examples of counseling people to do good and advising them against evil. It is one of the best examples of selfless efforts in the way of God. It is an instance of accepting heavy responsibilities or supporting qualified people who have accepted responsibilities. If governmental clergy are those who support the Islamic system or its officials for the sake of God and with the purpose of carrying out their religious obligations, this is a value, not an anti-value. On the contrary, withholding this support is an anti-value. Therefore, none of these two concepts are right - neither clerical government, nor government-linked clergy. These two fallacies were promoted after the victory of the Islamic Revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic. These concepts do not belong to the culture of this Revolution.

In contrast, there are two right concepts which are values and give rise to values. One concept is that the Islamic system is intellectually dependent on Islamic seminaries, religious scholars and their scholarly efforts. The Islamic system is dependent on Islamic seminaries. It is dependent on religious scholars and intellectuals. Another right concept is that Islamic seminaries and the clergy are not indifferent to the Islamic system. No cleric, no religious scholar, no servant of Islam can be indifferent to the system that has been established on the basis of Islam - a system whose movement and function has been driven by Islamic motives. They cannot consider themselves as alien to such a system. This is another truth.

The fact that the Islamic system depends on Islamic seminaries is because in an Islamic system all political and large-scale managerial theory-building is carried out by religious scholars - those who are experts on religion and can present the view of Islam in economic matters, managerial matters, war, peace, educational issues and various other things. If religious scholars fail to present religious theories, western, non-religious and material theories will fill the gap for theories. No system can manage in a vacuum. A managerial system, an economic system or a political system that is the product of material thinking will fill this vacuum. This happened whenever the existence of these gaps were felt.

This is why I warned both our universities and our government officials about the humanities and the danger posed by these inherently poisoned sciences. The humanities, as commonly taught today, have certain contents which are by their nature opposed to the Islamic movement and the Islamic system. They are based on a different worldview. They are saying something else. They are after a different set of goals. When these theories become dominant, managers are educated according to them. These managers take control of our universities, our economy, our domestic and international policies, our security matters and different other things. Islamic seminaries and religious scholars have a duty to extract Islamic theories from divine texts. They have a duty to identify these theories and present them to be used for the purpose of planning and preparing the ground in different areas. Therefore, the Islamic system depends on religious scholars, leading ulama and Islamic theories, so the Islamic system has a responsibility to support Islamic seminaries. This is because Islamic seminaries are what the Islamic system depends upon.

Apart from the fact the Islamic system needs Islamic seminaries in order to manage the country, today certain doubts are created which are targeted at the Islamic system. Religious, political, ideological and intellectual doubts are infused into our society - especially our young population - and the only purpose is to change the way people think. The purpose is to destroy the sources of public support for the Islamic system and distort the main principles of the Islamic system in people's minds. The enmities are targeted at the Islamic system. Resolving these doubts and cleansing people's minds of this confusion - which is done by religious scholars - is another source of support for the Islamic system. Therefore, in different aspects, the Islamic system depends on ulama, religious theoreticians and researchers and scholars of Islamic seminaries.

On the other hand, Islamic seminaries cannot afford to remain indifferent. Islamic seminaries, especially Qom Seminary, are the mother of this Islamic system. They gave birth to this Revolution and this great movement. How can a mother neglect and be indifferent to her child? How can a mother fail to defend her child when necessary? It is impossible. Therefore, the relationship between Islamic seminaries and the Islamic Republic is based on mutual support. The Islamic system supports Islamic seminaries, and Islamic seminaries support the Islamic system. They cooperate and assist each other.

There is a point in this regard that I would like to discuss. Then I will discuss a few important issues related to Islamic seminaries. The point that I would like to discuss now is the independence of Islamic seminaries. Is it possible that the support of the Islamic system for Islamic seminaries may work against the independence of our Islamic seminaries? Is this permissible or not? These are important questions. First of all, Islamic seminaries have been independent throughout history - not only during the time of the governments that were opposed to Shia Islam, but during the rule of Shia governments as well. That is to say, when the Safavid dynasty was ruling Iran and great religious scholars such as Mohaqeq Kurki and the father of Sheikh Bahai came to Iran and were appointed to various religious positions, these religious scholars and their students were never controlled by Safavid policies. It is true that they used to help and cooperate with the Safavid dynasty. They also used to praise the Safavids. But the Safavids did not control them. The situation did not change during some eras of the Qajar rule. The great religious scholar, Kashiful Ghita, travelled to Iran and wrote the book "Kashiful Ghita". In this book, he highly praises Fath Ali Shah both in the introduction and in the section about jihad - where he discusses Iran-Russia wars. But Kashiful Ghita was not the kind of person who would give in to Fath Ali Shah or people like him. He was independent. Mirza Qomi was praised by the king of his time in his own home in Qom, but he did not give in to his demands. They demanded that Mirza issue whatever fatwa they wanted, but Mirza refused to do so. Mirza Qomi wrote a treatise called "Resale-ye Abbasiyyeh" in which he expressed his view about jihad. This treatise was published a few years ago for the first time. He was asked to give permission that some people engage in jihad - I think this has been mentioned in "Jame' ash-Shattat" as well - but he refused. Shia clergy have always been like this. They have always been independent. They have never given in to the power of governments. The same is true of today. This state of affairs should not change in the future either and, by Allah's favor, it will not.

But you should guard against another fallacy in this regard. Independence of Islamic seminaries should not be interpreted to mean the Islamic system and Islamic seminaries should not support each other. This is exactly what some people want. Some people want to put an end to the relationship between the Islamic system and Islamic seminaries under the pretext of independence for Islamic seminaries. This is not right. Dependence is not the same as support. Dependence is different from cooperation. The Islamic system owes Islamic seminaries. It should help Islamic seminaries. Of course, according to the common and significant tradition, seminarians' livelihood should be provided by the people. It is the people who should provide their livelihood through religious financial contributions. This is what I believe.

The more you think about the depth of this old tradition which has been common among our seminarians for more than 100-150 years, the more important and significant you think it is. This is the secret behind the firm relationship between Islamic seminaries and the people, which makes them feel like relatives. The people do not expect too much of the clergy, but they feel committed to provide financial support for Islamic seminaries and the clergy. And this is the right thing to do.

But the issues of Islamic seminaries are not limited to the livelihood of seminarians. There are certain expenses in Islamic seminaries that cannot be met unless through public and governmental support. Governments are responsible to cover these expenses, and they should not interfere in the affairs of Islamic seminaries. Many of the important schools in different cities were built by emirs, sultans and prominent figures. In Mashhad, there are three schools next to each other - Navvab, Baqeriyyeh and Hajj Hassan - and all three were built during the time of a Safavid sultan. All these three schools were built by the order of that Safavid sultan or his commanders. There is nothing wrong with this. Baqeriyyeh was built by them, the school where Mohaqeq Sabzvari - Mollah Mohammad Baqir Sabzvari, the author of "Zakhireh" and "Kefayeh" - used to teach. There is nothing wrong with this. Governments must cover such expenses, and they should not interfere in the affairs of Islamic seminaries. Islamic seminaries accept different kinds of support from the Islamic system, and they do so with dignity. The Islamic system has a duty to offer the kinds of support that it currently does, and this support should be increased. Support for Islamic seminaries is not limited to material support. Thankfully, today our esteemed marja taqlids and the scholars of Islamic seminaries have the most important public podium at their disposal. These are a kind of support offered by the Islamic system. The Islamic system has a duty to offer this kind of support, and this is due to the bond that I mentioned before. Therefore, the issue of independence and interference should not be confused with the existing truths in this regard.

The truth of the situation is that these two great movements - that is to say, the movement by the Islamic system and the movement by Islamic seminaries - are related and linked to one another. The fate of these two movements is intertwined. Everybody should know this. Today the fate of the clergy and the fate of Islam are dependent on the fate of the Islamic system. If the Islamic system is harmed in the slightest way, the clergy and religious scholars will be harmed more than any other group of people. Of course the Islamic system is alive. It is standing firm. It is strong. And I am sure that it will overcome all the challenges that lie on its path.

The other important issue which has to be discussed clearly is the issue of change in Islamic seminaries. The issue of transforming Islamic seminaries, especially Qom Seminary, has been being discussed for several years. What does this transformation mean? What is it that Islamic seminaries want to do in this regard? If we consider transformation as changing the main orientations of Islamic seminaries - like changing the method of Islamic jurisprudence - this is definitely a diversion. It is a kind of transformation, but it is headed towards decline. The method of Islamic jurisprudence, which is commonly practiced in Islamic seminaries and which religious scholars rely on, is one of the most logical methods of jurisprudence. It is based on certainty and knowledge. It is based on revelations. That is to say, it is almost free of doubts. Our reasoning is scholarly and based on certainty. And the particular doubts that exist should be based on certain and unquestionable reasoning. Even the validity of the scholarly principles that we use in fiqh should be unquestionable. As long as we do not have unquestionable evidence regarding the validity of these scholarly principles, we cannot use them. Therefore, directly or indirectly, all our methods of reasoning in fiqh lead to certainty.

In Shia Islam, Islamic jurisprudence does not mean relying on doubts that lack credibility. This is why our scholars wrote books and divided Islamic jurisprudence into different categories. Ismail ibn Abu Sahl Nobakhti, Sayyid Morteza in "Zorriyah", Sheikh Tusi in "Iddat ul-Usul" and others rejected jurisprudence that is based on unreasonable doubts. This kind of jurisprudence has no place in Shia Islam. And today anybody who turns to such jurisprudence will be rejected, no matter what his pretext is. It is not acceptable to argue - implicitly or explicitly - that the world does not like a particular kind of jurisprudence. Unfortunately it has been noticed in certain cases that the methods of extracting Islamic ahkaam have been changed in order to comply with the norms of the modern world - mostly the norms of the materialistic world. Even worse, sometimes in order to win the favor of materialistic powers and to comply with their norms, fatwas have been issued saying that the Islamic Republic's peaceful nuclear activities are prohibited because they arouse the suspicion of the superpowers. Who are they to suspect us?

Islamic jurisprudence is very good only if it is practiced in the right way by relying on the Holy Quran and Sunnah and by following the right, logical and well-thought-out method of jurisprudence. Different kinds of Islamic jurisprudence will lead to progress even if they produce different results. Throughout the history of fiqh, our religious authorities have expressed different views regarding different issues. The students of our religious scholars have presented arguments against their teachers. There is nothing wrong with. This can bring about progress. This kind of Islamic jurisprudence should be promoted in our Islamic seminaries. Jurisprudence is not limited to fiqh. Jurisprudence is necessary in rational sciences, in philosophy and logic. In the absence of Islamic jurisprudence, we will be like stagnant water.

Today our Islamic seminaries should not be absent from different philosophical, fiqhi and logical areas in the world. So many questions have been raised in the world regarding different issues. What is the response of our Islamic seminaries? Our Islamic seminaries should neither be absent from international debates, nor should they remain passive: both of these things are harmful. It is necessary to present new ideas. It is necessary to address the flood of new needs which are being voiced throughout the world. You should fulfill these needs. Your response should be focused on these needs and on the responses presented by different schools of thought and different denominations. Your response will not be as effective as you want it to be if you are ignorant of other responses. You should present firm, logical and convincing arguments. You should make your responses international. It is necessary to constantly export the intellectual products of Qom. As I said, Qom is the intellectual center of the world of Islam. Fortunately means of instant commutation are available to everybody today. You can say something here and have people on the other side of the planet listen to and benefit from your comments.

Today there are different needs in different areas. The Islamic Republic has its own needs. The country and the world have certain other needs. Islamic epistemology, political and economic ideas of Islam, fiqhi and legal concepts which form the basis of economic and political ideas of Islam, the educational system, moral and spiritual concepts and many other things should be prepared and presented in an accurate, scientific and convincing way with a focus on the ideas prevalent in the world. This is the duty of our Islamic seminaries. It is possible to do these things through Islamic jurisprudence. If we do not do these things, we will simply help eliminate religion from the scene of human life and we will help isolate the clergy.

This is what change means. This movement in Islamic jurisprudence, which is focused on particular needs, is the basis of change. I will speak about other areas, and I will distinguish between what constitutes change and what does not. I will distinguish between positive and negative change. I have always said that change is inevitable. It happens. Different institutions are not confined by walls. There are no boundaries to change. We have two options: we can either manage change, or we can stand by and watch. We will lose if we just stand by and watch. The luminaries of our Islamic seminaries, our marja taqlids, our intellectuals and our religious scholars should roll up their sleeves and try to manage change. Therefore, in essence change means moving forward on the basis of the particular instances that come up.

It is necessary to avoid interpreting change in the wrong way. Change does not mean that we should abandon the efficient traditional methods of instruction used in our Islamic seminaries. Change does not mean that we should replace these methods with the methods of instruction that are common in the academic world. Such change is absolutely wrong: it is retrogression.

Today the world is becoming familiar with our traditional methods. Driven by imitation or innovation, there are some people in the world who are promoting our traditional methods. We do not want the kind of change that would lead to imposing academic methods of instruction - which are based on old western methods - on our Islamic seminaries. Such change would definitely be an instance of retrogression. We do not believe in such change. We have been using very good methods of instruction in our Islamic seminaries for a long time. Students of Islamic seminaries are free to choose their teachers. When a student enters a seminary, he starts looking for an appropriate teacher and attends his classes. Seminary work is based on thinking, reflection and studying, not memorization. Memorization is the problem which has been plaguing our modern system of education, and we have been fighting it for a long time, but the problem is still there. It is necessary to address this problem. In Islamic seminaries everything is traditionally based on thinking. A seminarian prepares himself before attending a class. He prepares his mind by studying before the class so that he can learn new things from his teacher. After the class, he reviews the lesson with a classmate. In this way seminarians can acquire deep knowledge. In some Islamic seminaries, such as Najaf Seminary, it was common for the students to practice the lesson after the class. The students used to present the same lesson to the students who needed help. At that time, this method was not so common in Qom Seminary. Notice how much this practice would help students learn what they have been taught. These traditions are too good to be abandoned.

Respect for one's teacher is another issue. In Islamic seminaries students have been traditionally humble and respectful to their teachers. Beginning seminarians are taught what their rights and responsibilities are. Seminary instructors do not just present the lesson and leave. This is not the case. They listen to their students. These things have been common since old times. The students of some of our prominent figures accompany them home after the class. They discuss and debate things and ask questions at the instructor's home. These are good traditions that have been preserved in our Islamic seminaries. It is not right to replace these methods of instruction with obsolete methods of the people who have decided to practice our methods. Therefore, it is necessary to preserve and strengthen these traditions. Change does not mean that we should transform these things.

One of the requirements for positive change is that we should adjust ourselves and our scientific activities according to the needs. There are certain things that our people need, and they demand them from us. We must fulfill these needs. There are certain other things which have already been provided, and our people do not really need them. We must not keep ourselves busy with those things. These are extremely important points.

I demand that our universities adjust their activities according to the needs of our society. I repeatedly demand this from our university professors and students whenever I meet them. I ask them to adjust their fields according to the needs of our country. The same is true of our Islamic seminaries.

The next issue is the behavior of Islamic seminaries. If any change is supposed to be made, it should be in this direction. I have written down a few topics in this regard that I would like to discuss. One is respect for seminary teachers. Our behavior in Islamic seminaries should move in this direction: respect for seminary teachers, respect for scholarly individuals and in particular respect for marja taqlids. It is not easy to become a marja taqlid, and not everybody can reach this level. You need to have a lot of qualifications to become a marja taqlid. Marja taqlids are usually considered the peaks of knowledge in Islamic seminaries. Therefore, it is necessary to respect them.

The need to benefit from spirituality and self-purification is the next issue regarding the behavior of Islamic seminaries. This is a very important point. Today our young seminarians need self-purification more than ever before. Those who study general behaviorology confirm this. Today in every part of the world, materialism and the materialistic system has made youth impatient and depressed. In such a situation, attention to spirituality and ethics is what can help youth. This is why you see false schools of mysticism developing everywhere and attracting supporters. This is because there is a need for spirituality. Our male and female seminarians need self-purification. There are certain people who have reached the peaks of self-purification. The late Haj Mirza Javad Aqa Maleki, the late Allamah Tabatabai, the late Ayatollah Bahjat and the late Ayatollah Bahaeddini were the peaks of self-purification in Qom Seminary. Becoming familiar with the lifestyle, behavior and ideas of these scholars is one of the most effective ways to bring about spiritual calm and enlightenment. There were other figures in Najaf Seminary who were also prominent in this regard. The students of the late Mullah Hussein Qoli, the late Aqa Qadhi and others were among these figures. I do not want to speak about their schools of thought and mysticism because intellectual matters are not the focus here. Some of these prominent figures followed different schools of thought. For example, the late Sayyid Morteza Kashmiri was the teacher of the late Haj Mirza Ali Aqa Qadhi, but they followed completely different schools of thought. One of them used to seriously advise against a certain book, while the other loved that book. This does not contradict the fact that they were both prominent figures. The luminaries who used to live in Mashhad were famous for piety and purity. The same is true of the late Haj Mirza Javad Aqa Tehrani, the late Haj Sheikh Mojtaba and people like them. What is important is that the heart should be purified through spirituality. Therefore, schools of mysticism are not the focus of my comments.

Another issue regarding the behavior of Islamic seminaries is the issue of revolutionary tendencies and sentiments in our Islamic seminaries. My dear ones, the revolutionary atmosphere of the country has spiteful enemies. They are opposed to spreading the revolutionary atmosphere across the country. They want to undermine this general revolutionary atmosphere. At a certain stage, you saw that they questioned martyrdom. They questioned jihad. They questioned martyrs. They questioned the ideas of the Imam (r.a.). They questioned the divine prophets. The problem is not that a certain person is opposed to these concepts. The problem is that the enemy believes this opposition should be become public and the revolutionary atmosphere should be undermined. Everybody should pay attention to this point in our Islamic seminaries. The same is true of our society. They know that a cleric is not just one person. They know that a cleric can influence his audience. They are trying to undermine the revolutionary atmosphere. They are trying to isolate revolutionary clerics. It would be a disaster if our basijis and martyrs were humiliated in Islamic seminaries and if martyrdom and the long-lasting jihad of our people were questioned. The luminaries of our Islamic seminaries should prevent such things in a vigilant manner.

Now I would like to address a point to the enthusiastic and revolutionary youth studying at our Islamic seminaries. Enthusiastic and revolutionary youth make up a large portion of our seminary students. Dear youth, the future belongs to you. You are the hope of the future of the country. You should be extremely vigilant. The revolutionary youth studying at our Islamic seminaries are down-to-earth and active, but they should also be vigilant. The revolutionary movement must not be such that allegations of extremism can be leveled against it. Our revolutionary youth should know that it is necessary to avoid going to extremes. Just as passiveness and indifference is harmful, so extremism is also detrimental. You should take care not to engage in extremism. I have received reports that certain luminaries and marja taqlids have been insulted in our Islamic seminaries. If these reports are accurate, you should know that a deviation has taken place. The revolutionary spirit does not sanction such things. A revolutionary person should have insight. He should be perceptive. He should be able to understand the complexities of time. Rejecting a certain person and accepting another person is not a simple issue. You should be careful. You should preserve the revolutionary enthusiasm. You should deal with the problems. When somebody raises an objection, you should not turn your back on him. However, you should be careful as well and avoid immature actions. You should not lose hope. You should stay on the scene. But take care not to get angry at an action which you think is objectionable. Take care not to lose your temper in such cases. It is necessary to behave in a logical and reasonable way. Of course I would like to advise everybody against accusing our revolutionary forces of extremism. Some people have a tendency to level allegations of extremism against revolutionary elements, revolutionary youth, revolutionary seminarians, revolutionary ulama and revolutionary teachers. This is another kind of deviation which has been caused by the enemy. This is obvious. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid extremism.

All these points are related to the issue of change. Now I would like to ask you a question. Is it possible to introduce widespread change without centralized management? I mentioned this point several years ago in this Islamic seminary in a meeting with seminarians, and they accepted that widespread change is not possible without centralized management. Some of those seminarians have become marja taqlids, and some others have passed away. Centralized management of Islamic seminaries by a group of religious experts - who are sanctioned by our marja taqlids and luminaries - is necessary and inevitable. We cannot go without this central management. It is not possible to undertake this complex, important and comprehensive task without competent management.

I would like to mention two other points and finish my speech. The meeting is becoming too long. I apologize to the brothers and sisters who are sitting close to one another in this mosque. I also apologize to the brothers and sisters who are listening to my speech outside this mosque.

One point is related to the issue of philosophy as a lesson and as a field. Pay attention to this point. The importance and the impressiveness of fiqh should not make us ignore the importance of philosophy as a lesson and as a field of study. Philosophy and fiqh are responsible for certain things. Fiqh has a mission to fulfill, and philosophy also has a great mission to fulfill. The flag of Islamic philosophy has been in the hands of Islamic seminaries, and it should remain in their hands. If you put this flag down, others will pick it up - others who may not have the necessary qualifications. Teaching philosophy and the field of philosophy will fall into the hands of certain individuals who may not have the necessary qualifications. Today if our government and our people are deprived of philosophy, they will be defenseless against different doubts that are raised and against the philosophies that have been imported from abroad. Often fiqh cannot provide you with the answers you need. It is rational sciences which can provide such answers: philosophy and logic. These fields are necessary. These fields are very important in Islamic seminaries. Tafsir [exegesis] is another important field - close familiarity with the Holy Quran. We should not deprive ourselves from exegesis. Tafsir is an important field, just as philosophy is. These fields are very valuable.

The last point is related to female students of Islamic seminaries. The fact that our Islamic seminaries admit female students is an auspicious and great event. Thousands of religious scholars, researchers, religious authorities and philosophers are being educated in women's Islamic seminaries, and this is a great movement. The materialistic world has a very negative, humiliating and twisted attitude towards women. The presence of women scholars - who have been trained in Islamic seminaries and universities - in different scholarly areas will have great effects on the world. This presence is a source of pride for the Revolution. Ladies should study hard. Of course the ultimate goal is not to become a religious authority or a philosopher. Some ladies may have the interest, talent and time to achieve this goal, others may not. It is familiarity with Islamic and Quranic teachings which can prove useful to female seminarians and other people.

Dear God, make what we said and heard serve Your cause. Dear God, bestow Your blessings on the great movement that has started in Islamic seminaries. Dear God, make our actions, words and movement satisfactory and noticeable to the Imam of the Age (a.s.). Make the holy heart of the Imam of the Age (a.s.) satisfied with us. Bestow Your mercy and blessings on our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) and our dear martyrs who opened up this path in front of us.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings