Leader's Speech in Meeting with People from Different Social Backgrounds

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on June 12, 2013 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with people from different social backgrounds. The meeting was held on the occasion of the birthday anniversary of Imam Hussein (a.s.).

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I would like to welcome all of you dear brothers, sisters and youth who took the trouble to attend this meeting from nearby and distant cities and who turned our day into an Eid in the real sense of the word. The gathering of the friends of the Holy Prophet's household (a.s.) and the friends of the Lord of the Martyrs (a.s.) and the gathering of smiling faces and happy hearts on the occasion of the auspicious birthday anniversary of Hazrat Abi Abdullah al-Hussein (a.s.) turns one's day into a real Eid. With the passage of time, I hope that - by Allah's favor - the people of Iran will become happier, more successful and more honorable on a daily basis by relying on diving blessings and by paying attention to the Holy Prophet's household (a.s.) and Islamic teachings.

The auspicious birthday of Hazrat Abi Abdullah al-Hussein (peace and greetings be upon him) is a great day. As the late Hajj Mirza Javad Agha Tabrizi Maleki - who was a great mystic, faqih and scholar - said, the greatness of the third of Sha'ban should be viewed and considered as a beacon of the greatness of Hussein ibn Ali (a.s.). The third of Sha'ban is a great day. On this day, someone was born on whose movement, uprising, self-sacrifice and purity the fate of Islam was dependent. This great Imam presented a movement to the entire humanity which was peerless and unprecedented throughout history and which will never be forgotten. This movement is a model.

He showed self-sacrifice on such a large and grand scale for the sake of achieving the divine goal. This self-sacrifice means laying down one's life and the lives of one's most dear, the captivity of the family of the Holy Prophet's household (a.s.) under terrible and disastrous circumstances and enduring this difficult event so that Islam would be preserved and so that fighting against oppression would remain a principle in the history of Islam and humanity. This is an event which will be peerless forever.

Many people were martyred in the way of God and alongside the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and divine prophets. But none of these events is comparable to the event of Karbala. There is a difference between a person who enters the arena with the praise and encouragement of friends and companions and with a hope of victory and who is martyred in such conditions - of course, such martyrdom will bring great rewards for him - and a person who enters the arena in a dark and gloomy world while not only do all the great personalities of the world of Islam refuse to accompany him, but they also blame him for engaging in battle. The latter enters the arena while there is no hope of assistance from anyone and while people like Abdullah ibn Abbas and Abdullah ibn Ja'far try to prevent him from fighting. He enters the arena with a few sincere friends and with his family - including his wife, his sister, his nieces and nephews, his six-month-old son and a few young members of his family - while his friends and supporters in Kufa refuse to accompany him. This is a strange event. It is a glorious panorama in history which has been presented to the entire humanity. Imam Hussein (a.s.) prepared himself for such a day.

Of course, the entire 50-plus-year life of Hussein ibn Ali (a.s.) is a lesson. His childhood is a lesson, his youth is a lesson, his behavior during his imamate is a lesson and his behavior after the martyrdom of Imam Hassan (a.s.) is a lesson. It was not the case that Imam Hussein's (a.s.) responsibility was confined to the last day. However, the event of Karbala enjoys such greatness and brightness that like a sun, it overshadows all the other lights.

The lofty speech of Imam Hussein (a.s.) which was addressed to ulama, outstanding personalities, Sahabah [companions] and Tabi'un [followers] in Mina and which has been narrated in hadith collections is a historical document. His letter which was addressed to ulama and religious personalities of his time and which has been narrated in reliable hadith collections is an important historical document as well: "You who are well-known for your knowledge and for your good deeds... does all of these characteristics that I mentioned not mean that you should spark an uprising to defend divine rights" [Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 97, page 79]. The behavior of that great Imam, particularly his behavior towards Muawiyah and his letter to him and his presence by his father's side during the short caliphate of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) are all lessons. However, the event of Ashura is a different event.

Today is the birthday anniversary of that great Imam. On such a day, we should learn from Hussein ibn Ali (a.s.). The lesson that Hussein ibn Ali (a.s) teaches to the Islamic Ummah is that we should always be prepared to defend our rights, administer justice and confront oppression and we should bring all of our capabilities to the arena. Of course, you and I cannot carry out this responsibility at the level of Hussein (a.s.), but we should learn from Hussein (a.s.) to carry out this responsibility within the scope of our conditions and limitations.

Fortunately today, the people of Iran have learnt this lesson from Hussein ibn Ali (a.s.). It is 30-plus years that all the people of Iran are moving on this path. Of course, there are a few people in some corners who do not follow this movement, but the general movement of the people of Iran is in line with the movement of Hussein ibn Ali (a.s.). The fate of that great Imam was martyrdom, but the lesson that he taught is not only martyrdom. This movement is a blessed movement. Sometimes, it may lead to martyrdom like the event of Hussein ibn Ali (a.s.), but this spirit of martyrdom is beneficial for protecting and upholding the divine religion and all the blessings which follow in the wake of such protection.

The people of Iran entered the arena with such a spirit and they destroyed the foundation of oppression - on national and international levels - in Iran and they replaced it with an Islamic foundation. It is not the case that anyone who takes the path of Hussein ibn Ali (a.s.) should necessarily end in failure in material arenas. This is not the case. This lesson which has been presented to all human beings says that even if you want to achieve material goals, and even if you want to achieve glory in this world, you should take this path. The people of Iran have experienced this path and this should be appreciated.

The people of Iran entered the arena by following the model of Hussein and Ashura and they became victorious in a great Revolution which has had no or few equals in recent centuries. The people of Iran adopted this method and they have managed to move forward until today. Of course, the enemies with their propaganda tools and media networks are not prepared to openly acknowledge the progress of the Iranian nation, but people throughout the world are not blind and they see this progress. Iran during the time of taghut is not comparable to Iran during the time of the Islamic Republic. Iran in the year 1357 is not comparable to Iran in the year 1392. The kind of Iran which existed in the past is not comparable to today's Iran in terms of science, politics, security, domination over regional events, influence on global events, hope, self-confidence and the path of dignity and happiness. Today, the people of Iran are galloping forward and, by Allah's favor, this will continue on a daily basis. All evidence shows this.

I should add that we have entered the month of Sha'ban. Even if we exclude the third of Sha'ban, the month of Sha'ban is still the month of worship, reliance on God and prayers such as "Hear my prayers when I pray you and hear my voice when I call you". The month of Sha'ban is the month of speaking to Allah the Exalted and connecting pure hearts with the mine of greatness and enlightenment. The value of the month of Sha'ban should be appreciated. The "Dua Sha'baniyya" is a blessing which has been bestowed on us. Well, we have many prayers and all of these prayers are full of lofty concepts, but a number of our prayers are particularly outstanding.

I asked our magnanimous Imam (may God bestow paradise on him), "Out of the prayers which have been narrated by the Imams (a.s.), which one are you more interested in and more attached to? He said that he was more interested in Dua Kumayl and Dua Sha'baniyya. He was more interested in these two prayers. Imam used to worship God from the bottom of his heart. He was a man who relied on God, who engaged in supplication, who showed humility before God and who established a close relationship with the Creator. In the eyes of Imam (r.a.), Dua Kumayl and Dua Sha'baniyyah were the best means for getting close to God.

When one turns to these two prayers and pays careful attention, he sees how similar these two are. They have many similarities and they reflect the prayers of those humble people who rely on God: "It looks as though I have stood before You while my reliance on You has overwhelmed me. You do what befits Your position and status and You have covered me up with Your mercy".

In this dua, humble people hope for God's forgiveness, mercy and attention and they make lofty requests to God: "Dear God, bestow upon me perfection in separating myself from anyone except you and enlighten our hearts with the light of seeing you". The month of Sha'ban is such a month. Pure, enlightened and young hearts should benefit from such an opportunity and they should strengthen their relationship with God.

On the great and dignified path which is ahead of the people of Iran, paying attention to God and relying on and establishing a close relationship with Him play a great and fundamental role. Some people are negligent about this. They only take material aspects into account when they want to estimate and evaluate the situation. Spirituality, divine assistance, reliance on God and trust in divine promises do not at all exist in their estimations. Well, global arrogant powers carry out these materialistic estimations better than these people. If their estimations produce results, why do they have to dispatch their armies to Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan and kill innocent people? "Those who are weak need to oppress people" [Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, Dua 48]. Those who are weak need to oppress. They are weak and that is why they oppress other people.

Because they have knowledge of different weapons, they use them without any scruples and they do it in an oppressive, transgressing and obstinate way. Well, this means retrogression in both spiritual and material arenas. Western civilization is creating more problems for itself on a daily basis and these problems will destroy it. This is because of breaking off one's relationship with the Creator. This is because of breaking off one's relationship with the mine of enlightenment and greatness: "Dear God, bestow upon me Your blessings so that our hearts are connected to the mine of greatness and our souls pivot around Your sacred glory" [Tohaf al-Uqul, page 237]. These things are necessary. Today, the ground is prepared for the people of Iran to achieve this.

Now, I would like to address the issue of elections. I have spoken about political valor many times. This political valor has started today. Of course, it will reach its peak on Friday, but even today one can see that political valor has thankfully started in the country. This year's elections are different. The entire world has cast its eyes on these elections. The enemies as well as the friends of the Iranian nation have cast their eyes on these elections. They want to see what the people of Iran will do.

The enemies have spent a lot of money, they have made great efforts, they have adopted different policies and they have established - as they say - think tanks so that they can find a way to separate the people of Iran from the Islamic Republic. By going to ballot boxes and participating in the elections, the people of Iran are proving their strong relationship with the Islamic Republic. This is in front of the people's eyes. By Allah's favor, the people of Iran will make this political valor come true in the real sense of the word with the enthusiasm that they are showing today. Thankfully, this enthusiasm is an auspicious one.

For both the people of Iran and the Islamic Republic, this is a show of power in front of the enemies. The enemies have made great efforts to separate the people of Iran from the Islamic Republic, to make them indifferent towards the Islamic Republic and to make them pessimistic towards elections and the organizations in charge of holding elections, but they have failed until today and by Allah's favor, they will continue to fail. This is an important and great experience for the people of Iran.

My insistence on the maximum and public presence of the people of Iran is because I know and I see that the enthusiastic, promising and powerful presence of all the people will frustrate the enemy. When the enemy is frustrated, it will lose its efficiency. The reason why the enemy sometimes makes an achievement and shows some transgression in different arenas and from different angles is that the people who give him the green light keep him hopeful. Certain statements make the enemy hopeful. The way some people behave makes the enemy hopeful. When the enemy becomes hopeful, he will increase his pressures, but when the enemy becomes hopeless, he will find out that exerting pressures is useless and he will look for other methods.

The immunity of the country is dependent on the presence of the people. The reduction of the enemies' pressures is dependent on the presence of the people, their unity and solidarity with the Islamic Republic and a feeling of mutual trust between the people and officials. This feeling should be strengthened on a daily basis.

Thankfully, legal procedures have been followed until today. One of the positive and outstanding points of these elections is that according to our reports and the substantial evidence which exists, the discourse of the people is the discourse of obeying the law. Anyone who is interviewed speaks about obeying the law. This is a very valuable and outstanding event. Obeying the law is very valuable. The people were harmed as a result of the violation of the law. In the year 1388, violating the law harmed the country. The people saw this. Today, one of the outstanding phenomena is that the people adopt legal outlooks and orientations. Fortunately, both officials and the honorable candidates have obeyed legal procedures until today and so it shall remain God willing. This is an important point.

Another important point is that those who shouted for several years that there is no freedom of expression in this country feel embarrassed now because of the initiative that the IRIB started. Eight different candidates with eight different orientations and outlooks on different issues of the country came and made their statements in front of the eyes of the people. What the IRIB did helped the people become familiar with the viewpoints and opinions of the candidates. In my opinion, this initiative was very valuable and beneficial. Some people constantly shouted for years that there is no podium to speak. Well, this is the podium and it is not only for one specific orientation. Rather, it is for eight orientations. There were eight gentlemen and eight different voices on that day. They presented different analyses and opinions. Well, we respect the opinions of different people. Of course, I have certain things to say about some of the statements which were made during the debates. Now, there is no time, but by Allah's favor, I will discuss them after the elections if I am alive. There are certain things to be said about the statements which the honorable candidates made. In any case, this movement has been very good and pleasing. The enemies and the accusers of the Islamic Republic became embarrassed.

They saw that the candidates came and talked freely. They saw that a number of candidates freely supported or engaged in verbal attacks against other candidates. They saw that the candidates freely condemned certain policies and approved certain measures. All the intellectual and political orientations of the country were completely present in these televised debates. This was one of the strong points of this year's elections. The people too feel enthusiastic about not showing any disrespect for other people. In the year 1388, there was enthusiasm as well, but it was accompanied by verbal abuse and disrespect. In the year 1388, some people in Tehran - in other cities, this was witnessed less frequently - used to disrespect and shout slogans against some other people. Besides, some people engaged in verbal abuse. This is not the case in these elections. There is enthusiasm and strong feelings, but there is no impolite behavior and disrespect. This is very valuable. We have made such progress during the past four years. We thank God for this achievement and for many other achievements which were thankfully made in the country during the past years.

My first and foremost recommendation is participation through the ballot box. This is more important than everything else. It is possible that some people do not want to support the Islamic Republic for any reason, but in any way they would like to support their country. Therefore, these people should go to ballot boxes as well. Everyone should go to ballot boxes and show their presence. If the person who will be elected - we do not know what divine destiny has determined for us - enjoys many votes, he will be better able to defend those votes and to stand up against the opponents of the country. Our country has certain enemies and opponents. In international arenas, our international enemies do not leave the arena just because of certain considerations and respect for the other party. It is not the case that we can say, "Let us make the other side embarrassed so that he backs off". This is not the case in the world of politics. The more you show weakness, the more he advances. The more you back off, the bolder he becomes. We have experienced this. Sometimes, we backed down and our enemy became bolder. Sometimes he said something and we accepted what he said out of certain considerations. But then, we saw that he went back on his promises and took one step forward.

The enemy is like this. In the face of our global enemies, we should choose our path with strong determination, with a feeling of dignity and trust in our people - we should trust our people because they are a brave and courageous people - and with trust in divine promises. We should move forward by adopting proper, reasonable and wise outlooks. If we do this, Allah the Exalted will make this task achieve results and divine blessings will be bestowed on everyone.

I hope that by Allah's favor, grace and assistance, the people of Iran will emerge successful and victorious out of the test that is ahead of them next Friday - which is the test of elections and participation through the ballot box.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings