Leader's Friday Prayer Address

The following is the full text of the Friday prayer sermons delivered on September 14, 2007 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

First Sermon

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, Whom we praise, from Whom we seek help, Whom we believe in, to Whom we repent, and peace and greetings be upon His beloved and noble one, the best among His servants, guardian of His secret, promoter of His mission, harbinger of His mercy and wrath, our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his immaculate, pure and chosen household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.

I advise all dear brothers and sisters attending the prayers and myself to observe piety which is the best product of this auspicious month. Once again, the auspicious month of Ramadan arrived with all its blessings and spiritual beauties. Before the beginning of the auspicious month of Ramadan, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) used to prepare people for entering this important, lofty and blessed arena: "The month of God has come to you with its blessings and mercy" [Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha, v 1, p. 295]. According to a certain narration, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) in a sermon which was delivered on the last Friday of the month of Sha'ban, "He said to the people that the month of Ramadan arrived" [Iqbal al-A'maal, v 1, p. 2] If we want to describe the month of Ramadan in a sentence, we should say that it is the month of opportunities. In this month, there are many opportunities ahead of you and me. If we can make use of these opportunities in the right way, a great and very valuable resource will be accessible to us. I would like to explain a little about this issue. The first sermon is about these issues which are related to the month of Ramadan and these unique opportunities.

In the same sermon which was referred to, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) said, "This is a month in which you have been invited to a divine celebration". One should think deeply about this sentence. It says that we have been invited to a divine celebration. It is not obligatory for all people to benefit from this divine celebration, no it has been made a faritha. We have the power to choose whether or not to benefit from this celebration. There are some people who do not at all find the opportunity to pay attention to this invitation. They are so ignorant and they pay such careful attention to materialistic issues and the materialistic world that they do not notice when the month of Ramadan arrives and when it ends. They are like the people who are invited to a very impressive and blessed celebration, but they do not have the time to take part in it and they do not even look at the invitation card. These people deprive themselves of all the blessings.

Some people know that there is such a celebration, but they do not join in the celebration. These are the same people whom Allah the Exalted has not bestowed His kindness on. These are the same people who - although they have no excuse - do not fast and who deprive themselves of reading the Holy Quran or the prayers of the month of Ramadan. There are some people who do not join in this celebration. It is clear what will become of these people. A large number of Muslim peoples - people like us - join in this celebration, but we do not benefit from it to an equal extent. A number of people benefit from this celebration to the full extent.

The hardships that exist in Ramadan's celebration - the hardships that one endures because of fasting and hunger - are perhaps the greatest achievement of this divine celebration. Fasting has such a large number of blessings - in terms of the spirituality and enlightenment that it bestows on one's heart- that, perhaps, it can be said it is the greatest blessing of this month. A number of people fast and thus these people have joined in this celebration and they have benefited from it.

But, as well as fasting - which is the spiritual hardship of this auspicious month - these people follow Quranic teachings in a perfect manner. They think deeply when they read the Holy Quran. Reading the Holy Quran at nights and at midnights, developing a close relationship with it and being addressed by God while one is fasting or while one is enlightened as a result of fasting gives one a special kind of pleasure and it has a special significance. The thing that one obtains out of such reading of the Holy Quran cannot be obtained in normal conditions. These people benefit from such reading of the Holy Quran too. Besides, they benefit from speaking to Allah the Exalted, being addressed by Him, praying to Him and opening up their hearts to Him. They do these by reading the prayers of the month of Ramadan. Reading the Abu Hamza al-Thumali dua and the duas that one reads during the days, nights and early mornings of Ramadan are actually a kind of speaking to God, making requests from God and getting close to God. These people benefit from these things too. Therefore, they benefit from all the blessings of this celebration.

Avoiding sins is of higher priority and, perhaps, it is more important than these duas in some ways. These people do not commit sin in this month either. In the same sermon which was delivered by the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) asks the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) which act is the most blessed act. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) answers, "Avoiding sins". Avoiding sins is of higher priority than Islamic obligations. It prevents one and one's heart and soul from being corrupted. These people avoid sins too. So, the blessings of Ramadan include fasting, reading the Holy Quran, engaging in dua and dhikr and avoiding sins. A combination of these things brings individuals close to achieving the things that Islam wants.

When all of these things are done, then our hearts become empty of grudges, the spirit of sacrifice is revived and helping the poor and the underprivileged people becomes easy for us. It becomes easy for us to act to the advantage of the others and to the disadvantage of ourselves in materialistic issues. That is why crime decreases and good deeds increase in the month of Ramadan. Thanks to this divine celebration, in this month the people in a society show more kindness towards one another more than they do at other times.

A number of people benefit from the month of Ramadan in such a way, but a number of people benefit from one aspect of Ramadan and deprive themselves of other aspects. A Muslim should try to make the most of this divine celebration and obtain divine mercy. He should focus on repenting of sins - whether small or large sins - and immoral acts. It is very important that we cleanse ourselves and our hearts of impurities and evils. This is possible with repentance.

There are many narrations which say that repentance and asking God for forgiveness is the best dua or it is more important than all duas. Repentance is for all people. Even the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) - that noble person - used to repent. The repentance of people like us is related to certain sins. It is related to common sins, animal instincts that exist in us and the sins which are referred to as animal sins - those obvious sins.

The repentance of a number of people is not because of making such sins. They repent because they have stopped exercising an Islamic obligation. And there are a number of people who do not stop exercising these Islamic obligations, but they still repent. Such repentance is because of the essential and natural negligence of an individual before the greatness of God Almighty. They repent because they cannot have a perfect understanding of this greatness. This kind of repentance is peculiar to God's saints and outstanding personalities.

We should repent of our sins. The big advantage of repentance is that it frees us from negligence in taking care of ourselves. Sometimes, we make a mistake about ourselves. When we think of repentance, then the sins that we committed, the mistakes that we made, the carnal desires that we pursued, the moral rules that we violated, what we did to ourselves and what we did to others will flash through our mind and we remember what we did. Then, we do not become arrogant and we will not be negligent in taking care of ourselves. This is the first advantage of repentance. Second, Allah the Exalted said that a person who repents - that is to say, a person who honestly prays to Allah the Exalted for forgiveness - and who is regretful for his sins, "Would have found Allah indeed oft-returning, Most Merciful" " [The Holy Quran, 4: 64]. Allah the Exalted accepts our repentance. This repentance signifies that we will return to God and turn our backs on mistakes and sins. And God will accept our repentance, if it is a genuine repentance.

Notice that if somebody merely says, forgive me God, forgive me God, forgive me God, but his attention wanders, this is not valuable. This is not repentance. Repentance is a dua and a request. One should genuinely ask God for His forgiveness and mercy. He should say, "I have committed this sin. Dear God, bestow Your mercy on me. Forgive me for this sin". This kind of repentance - for any of our sins - will definitely result in divine mercy. Allah the Exalted has opened this door for us.

Of course, according to holy religion of Islam, repenting in front of other people is forbidden. In some religions, people go to holy places and they confess their sins before a priest. This does not exist in Islam and such a thing is forbidden. Disclosing one's secrets before other people is forbidden. It is no use doing this. Unlike illusionary and distorted religions which say that a priest can forgives one's sins, in Islam, God is the only one who forgives sins.

Even the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) cannot forgive one's sins. As this holy ayah says, "If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto you and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed oft-returning, Most Merciful". [The Holy Quran, 4: 64]. If people go to the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) when they commit sins and when they are unjust to themselves, if they ask Allah the Exalted to forgive them and if the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) intercedes with God on their behalf, God will accept their repentance. That is to say, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) only asks God to forgive them. He himself cannot forgive sins. Sins are only forgiven by Allah the Exalted. This is a genuine repentance and such repentance enjoys a special position. You should take care not to forget to repent in this month, especially in the early morning and at night. Pay attention to the meaning when you read prayers of the month of Ramadan.

Thankfully, our society is a spiritual society. Engaging in dua, dhikr and supplication is common among our people and our people love it. The pure and enlightened hearts of our youth are inclined towards the remembrance of God. These are all opportunities. We have been blessed with the month of Ramadan, which is a divine opportunity. You should benefit from this auspicious month and this very great opportunity. Keep your hearts close to God. Cleanse your hearts and souls with repentance. Speak to Allah the Exalted about what you want. The spiritual relationship of our people with Allah the Exalted has brought about great achievements and the month of Ramadan is a great opportunity to preserve this relationship. This opportunity should be grasped.

I hope that Allah the Exalted will help us make our angelic side overcome our animal side. We have an angelic side and a material and animal side. Our carnal desires make the material side overcome the angelic side. By Allah's favor, we will be able to make our enlightened and spiritual side overcome the material side in this month and we will keep it as a great resource. By Allah's favor, we will benefit from the month of Ramadan by engaging in self-education. This self-education will be helpful to us throughout the year.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I swear by the time,

Most surely man is in loss,

Except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience [The Holy Quran, Sura 103].

Second Sermon

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem al-Mustafa Muhammad, upon his immaculate, pure and chosen household, and upon the infallible and noble guides, especially upon the Commander of the Faithful, Siddiqat at-Tahira, the mistress of all women, Hassan, Hussein the Masters of the Youth of Paradise, Ali ibn al-Hussein, Muhammad ibn Ali, Ja'far ibn Muhammad, Musa ibn Ja'far, Ali ibn Musa, Muhammad ibn Ali, Ali ibn Muhammad, Hassan ibn Ali and Khalaf al-Qaem al-Mahdi hujjat upon Your worshippers and trustee in Your realm. And greetings be upon the Imams of Muslims, supporters of the oppressed, and those who guide the faithful. And I ask God to bestow forgiveness on you and myself.

In this sermon, the first point that I would like to make is to speak about the late Ayatollah Taleghani (may God bestow paradise on him). On our magnanimous Imam's (r.a.) orders, the first Friday prayer in Tehran - which was impressive - was led by Ayatollah Teleghani. The late Ayatollah was a pious, mujahid, steadfast and pure scholar and he emerged victorious out of different tests during the time of revolutionary activities and after the victory of the Islamic Revolution when there were complex equations in political and security areas. The late Ayatollah Taleghani emerged victorious out of different tests. Friday prayers turned into blessed occasions both in Tehran and other cities in our country. Gradually, Friday prayers turned into centers of both spirituality and resistance in smaller cities throughout our country.

This is the meaning of religious-political prayer - a phrase which was apparently used by our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) for the first time. Friday prayers are centers for both praying and raising one's spiritual and political awareness. This awareness will prevent a nation from making a mistake, changing its path and being brought to its knees. Many of the defeats that nations throughout the world suffer in political arenas result from lack of awareness. This lack of awareness has inflicted harm in different areas. Awareness makes a nation immune from harm and it prepares it for resistance. Therefore, Friday prayers are both centers of spirituality and resistance. All the people, particularly our dear youth should appreciate the value of Friday prayers. The honorable Friday prayer leaders should also appreciate the value of Friday prayers. They should also appreciate the value of these prayers. This is a kind of unique minbar. They should do something to draw the youth and their pure and eager hearts to Friday prayers and to make these centers warmer on a daily basis.

Another point which I would like to discuss with you - it is an introduction to the main issue that I want to discuss - is the issue of Sacred Defense Week which is ahead of us. Although the war which started against the Islamic Republic in 1359 was waged by the cursed and disgraced Saddam, a global plot - in order to destroy the Islamic movement and the Islamic Republic - was hatched by the arrogant powers and was behind it. When western analysts analyzed the Islamic Republic, they correctly understood that what this Revolution has done is not only destroying a puppet regime in Iran and liberating this great and blessed country from the domination of global arrogance. They understood that this revolutionary movement will be an inspirational movement, it will stir the world of Islam and it will make nations think. And that was exactly what happened. Palestine began to think. North African countries began to think. In the entire world of Islam, an enthusiastic movement for discovering one's identity began to develop. This movement has continued to develop up until today.

Because they found out that Iran is an inspirational center for the world of Islam, they said that they should destroy the Islamic Republic by any means possible. Therefore, although the Middle East region is a very important region and it is a region of oil, although westerners consider the issue of oil and the Persian Gulf as very important and although the security of this region is of vital importance to them, they entered the arena and they supported Saddam. Not only did they support him, but they also encouraged him to wage the war. Since he was a stupid and obstinate person and an inexperienced power-seeker, he thought that he could go and get it over with in 2,3 days or in a few weeks and then he could return to his country in a powerful manner. This was why they waged this war.

For eight whole years, Islamic Iran was under great pressures exerted by all global powers. This is very important. The Soviet Union exerted pressures through the channel of war. America and NATO - European countries - exerted pressures. The reactionary governments in the region exerted all kinds of pressures on Iran through this channel. Each of these pressures would have brought any revolution and any government to their knees and it would have destroyed them. But not only did these pressures not exhaust the Islamic Republic, but they also made the people of Iran stronger and wiser, they strengthened their determination and they helped the Islamic Republic build up Islamic and divine strength.

And many blows were delivered to the opposing side. The most serious blow to Saddam and the Ba'ath regime was delivered when they confronted Iran. America thought that it should control them. That is to say, it realized that the Ba'ath regime is a hollow regime, one that is not dependent on its people. They realized this. In fact, it was the people of Iran and the Islamic Republic who dealt the most serious blow to this aggressor. That is why - as you know - he ended up like this. But the Islamic Republic became stronger on a daily basis.

Now, they speak about sanctions, sieges and other such things. There used to be so much more serious sieges and sanctions during the war. It was amid these sanctions that we managed to help our armed forces reach such a position that it has today. The Islamic Republic is the top country in the region in terms of military capability. Apart from our achievements in different scientific and technological areas - such as our achievements on the issue of the nuclear energy - the things that the Islamic Republic has managed to build with its strength, innovation, creativity and internal capacities have astonished everyone. All these things were achieved in the middle of sanctions and pressures. That is to say, not only did sanctions have no harmful effects, but they also had the opposite effect. They made the people of our country think and they spurred them into action.

Today, the main issue that I want to briefly discuss is that the plot which was hatched by the arrogant powers to suppress and defeat the Revolution, has failed to achieve results. On the contrary, those who attacked the Revolution - even large and powerful governments such as America - are getting close to being defeated on a daily basis. Today, we can see signs of this defeat in American policies in the region. These are really important issues for our people, our youth and our analysts to think about. This great discussion about the confrontation between populist forces which rely on spirituality and materialistic forces which rely on bullying and threats is very important and serious. It should be discussed in social sciences, sociology and social psychology. This issue has been completely neglected.

Our nation does not have atomic bombs, it has not been given the opportunity - during the past 100 years - to move forward alongside leading countries in scientific areas and it fell behind other countries many times and it does not have the same position as these countries in terms of wealth. Nevertheless, in the most important arenas, this country and these people have managed to foil the plots of these powerful countries which are equipped with weapons, technology, media and materialistic wealth. And they made these countries back down. Why did that happen? This requires careful thought. This should be analyzed by scholars in the field of political sciences and social sciences. They should see how this spirituality plays its role in Iran. Therefore, taking a look at this scene teaches us a lesson. It is a scene of the defeat of America and its arrogant power. We do not want to make false claims. These are obvious and they themselves acknowledge these things.

The Americans used the event that happened on the 20th of Shahrivar - that is to say, the 11th of September - four, five years ago as a pretext to pursue their greedy desires in the Middle East region. Their main goal was to build a kind of Middle East which would pivot around the interests of Israel. As we used to say in those days, they wanted to build a kind of Middle East whose capital would be Israel. This was what they were looking for. Attacking and occupying Iraq was part of their plan. Iraq is one of the wealthiest Arab countries in the region, a country in which the people unfortunately live in such poverty and such difficult conditions. The Americans wanted to keep a hold on this country. Saddam was not enough for them because he was not predictable. They wanted to help a government come to power which would look to be supported by the people and which would be under their control. This was one of their important steps in creating a new Middle East which would pivot around the interests of Israel. Then this kind of Middle East would be able to lay siege to Iran. This was their goal.

Analyze each and every part of this plot. In Palestine, this plot failed to achieve results. In Palestine - which was a strategic point - this plot failed. Why? Because in Palestine, it was Hamas, the biggest and the main opposition group against Israel, which formed the government after being elected by the people. Is there any slap across the face - delivered to America and Israel - which is harder than this? Since the day that this government was formed, they are constantly creating obstacles so that they can throw it out of the arena. But they have not managed to do this until today. Unfortunately, they have received help from a number of Palestinians in order to bring this popular government to its knees. But, thankfully, they have not managed to do this until today. We hope that they will not manage to do this from now on either. This was their plot against Palestine.

The Zionist regime - which America wanted to strengthen - received blows and the Americans received a slap across their face. How did they receive this slap? Last summer, this arrogant and boastful army - the army of Israel which was claimed to be the strongest army in the region - waged a war against Lebanon with all kinds of advanced equipments. It did not wage a war against a country or a government. It waged a war against an organized army which was comprised of a few thousand soldiers of Hezbollah and the Islamic resistance. This war lasted for 33 days which is unprecedented in the region. The several wars that Israel waged against Arab countries did not last beyond a few days - At most 1, 2 weeks. But this war lasted for 33 days and it ended with the complete and humiliating defeat of the army of Israel. Who would have imagined this? The Americans did not at all think that this would happen, but it happened. This was another slap across their face. They had intended to disarm Hezbollah. But not only was Hezbollah not disarmed but it also became so strong that it managed to defeat Israel which was thought to be invincible in a legendary way.

They were defeated on the issue of Palestine and the fake Zionist regime. They failed to prevent the brave Lebanese youth from helping Palestine. They were also defeated on the issue of Iraq. First, they set out to occupy Iraq by launching an attack. This was the first step and it was the easy part of the issue. Today, after four years since the occupation of Iraq by the Americans and their allies, the judgment of everybody in the world is that the Americans were defeated on the issue of Iraq. All analysts throughout the world know that America is nervously looking for a way to get out of Iraq with dignity. Everybody knows that America has reached a dead end in Iraq. The goal of the Americans was to install a puppet government. The government that the people of Iraq formed is the kind of government which is very distant from American goals. This government stands up against the Americans. It is not installed by the Americans and it does not give in to their demands. The Americans tried many plots so that they could perhaps overthrow this popular government and install their own government. But they failed. They have failed to do this until today. If by Allah's favor, the people of Iraq preserve their vigilance, the Americans will not manage to do this from now on either.

On the issue of weakening and besieging the Islamic Republic, the plots of the Americans turned out to have the opposite effect. By Allah's favor and grace and thanks to the determination of the people of Iran, our nation has moved up the ladder of glory and progress step by step. Today, we have a better situation in terms of political status than four or five years ago when the Americans started to hatch this plot. Today, we are better in terms of scientific progress. Today, our nation has a better situation in terms of dynamism and psychological preparedness. Today, compared to the past, our nation has a better situation in terms of the domination of revolutionary values and guidelines - which were laid down by our magnanimous Imam (r.a.). During these four-five years, the more the Americans tried, the livelier, the more vigilant and the more dynamic the Iranian nation became. The Iranian nation is present on the scene in a more active way than four-five years ago. There is no significant issue towards which the people of Iran show indifference. This is the result of American efforts: complete defeat in achieving its goals. Besides, today, the Americans are being questioned judged badly by the Islamic Ummah. Today, public opinion in Islamic countries considers America as a culprit. As you heard about different opinion polls in the world of Islam, everybody talks about their hatred of America and condemnation of this country. They are questioned and judged badly by the Muslims.

I strongly believe that one day will come when the current American president and American officials will be tried in a fair international court for the crimes that they committed in Iraq. The Americans should answer why they do not leave Iraq. They should answer why Iraq has been struck by waves and storms of insecurity and terrorism. It was the Americans who imposed terrorism on Iraq. They should answer why 50 percent of the people are unemployed in such a wealthy country and why there is no trace of public services. The people of Iraq have the problems of electricity, fuel and clean drinking water. Their schools and universities have been destroyed and no schools have been built. Their hospitals cannot provide services. The people are in need of hospitals. Which hospital did the Americans build? For which hospital did they provide equipment? Which university did they build or repair? Which road did they build? Which pipeline did they build? Which water pipeline did they build? These issues require an answer. These should be answered by the Americans. They cannot deny that they are responsible for these things. For a short while, they can treat these issues with indifference. But it will not be like this forever.

They will be punished, as many rulers were punished. There are not a few powerful rulers who were punished. One day, Hitler was punished. One day, Saddam was punished. One day, a number of European rulers were punished. Nations are against this course of action. Even the people of America are against this course of action. The people of England were also unhappy about the presence of the English in Iraq. They did not like it. Because of this, the English had to get out of Basra. The people of Spain and Italy, whose governments supported America in the war against Iraq, brought down their governments. New governments were formed in both of these countries. The people throughout the world are unhappy about this situation.

The only thing that prevails is the wishes and the demands of the people. The show of power organized by powerful rulers will not last long. America was defeated. They could neither get their hands on the Middle East, nor weaken the Islamic Republic by launching the movement which began a few years ago in the region - the goal of this movement was to dominate the Middle East and in our opinion, its ultimate goal was to defeat the Islamic Republic. And In Iraq, they are in such a condition.

The Americans are faced with many problems. The fact that they project their feelings on others and the fact that they make extravagant claims in the media are of no importance. The fact that they accuse Iran or another country is of no importance. But in these projections, signs of weakness, hopelessness and desperation are clearly visible. When military and political agents of America went to Iraq in order to deliver a report to the U.S. Congress, the only thing which they could report as an achievement was that Iraq has joined America's arms industry. Oh how stupid you are! They occupied a country, they ruthlessly trampled on the rights of the people of Iraq, they seriously threatened their interests, they easily lied to their own people - they told their people that they want to do this or that. But the only result is that America's weapons can be sold in Iraq. This shows their complete weakness and backwardness. This shows that they are really frustrated.

You dear brothers and sisters and you great people of Iran should appreciate your value. You should appreciate the value of this path. You should appreciate the value of this straight path which made you strong and honorable and made your enemy humiliated. This path is the path of God, one that divine prophets invited us to follow. It is the path of the authority of Islam.

We have many issues about the internal affairs of the country to discuss, but there is no time. The only thing which I would like to say is that our people should be vigilant. Thanks to this vigilance, you have done many things, you have entered and conquered many arenas and you have made many achievements. It is in the shade of this vigilance that you will be able to conquer peaks again and make yourselves invulnerable. You should act in a way that nobody dares to even threaten the Iranian nation again.

We have Quds Day ahead of us which will be on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan. It may be held one week sooner in this year's month of Ramadan so that all Islamic countries can participate in it. This is the responsibility of the officials who are in charge of this. Remember Quds Day - which is on Friday - and do not forget it. By Allah's favor, all of us will make the most of the opportunities in this month.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

When comes the help of Allah and the victory,

And you see people entering the religion of Allah in companies,

Then celebrate the praise of your Lord, and ask His forgiveness. Surely He is oft-returning (to mercy) [The Holy Quran, 110].