Leader's Speech in Meeting with People and Officials on Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) Birthday Ann

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on March 4, 2010 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with government officials and people from different social backgrounds. The meeting was held on the occasion of the birthday anniversaries of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and Imam Sadiq (a.s.).

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I would like to congratulate all the honorable participants and dear guests and all the great people of Iran on the occasion of this auspicious Eid. I would like to extend my congratulations to all Muslims throughout the world, the great Islamic Ummah, all seekers of the truth and all liberated personalities in the world. The 17th of Rabi al-Awwal is a great day in the history of humanity. It is the birthday anniversary of the best personality in the world, the representative of the righteous and the embodiment of all the divine virtues that have been bestowed on great personalities. It is also the birthday anniversary of Imam Sadiq (peace and greetings be upon him) who was the true successor of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and who promoted true and original Islamic teachings.

This day is a very blessed day for Muslims. There was a light in the heart of a terrible darkness on the day that holy person stepped into this world: "like the depth of darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with billow topped by billow" [The Holy Quran, 24: 40]. In describing those days and those dark conditions in humanity's life, the Commander of the Faithful (peace and greetings be upon him) says, "The world was devoid of brightness and full of open deceitfulness" [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 89]. The light of human values had disappeared from the hearts of peoples and societies.

This was the case not only in Arabia, but also in the heart of the great and civilized empires of those days - that is to say, the ancient Persian and Roman empires. Arrogance and misunderstanding of the truth was clear and visible in all aspects of humanity's life. People did not know their path and their goal. Of course, there were certain believers who took the right path. This does not mean that all people in those days were sinners and that they took the wrong path, but this was the general condition of the world. The general atmosphere of the world was covered by darkness, oppression and abandonment of all human signs. In such a situation, the light of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) existence was cast into the world at the command of Allah the Exalted and Omnipotent.

This day is an unforgettable day for the history of humanity. Commemorating this day does not mean that we want to revive its effect and influence in the world. Whether we want it or not, this event and this astonishing and great phenomenon has already exerted its influence in the history of humanity. If there is any human honor, virtue and glory in the world, it is because of his auspicious existence. These things exist because of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) be'that which is a complete version of all other be'thats and which contains all virtues of prophets.

We Muslim nations should learn a lesson from this event and phenomenon. We should look at ourselves before we look at others. Today, the Islamic Ummah seriously needs to reproduce Islamic truths and those astonishing and magnificent events [in the Holy Prophet's era]. Today, we Muslim nations desperately need the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) beacon of guidance.

The Islamic Ummah is prominent in terms of population. One and a half billion people constitute the Islamic Ummah. The areas where this large population is located are among the most important and sensitive areas in terms of geography, natural characteristics and vital resources. Although it has no shortage of human and natural talents, today this Ummah is wandering. The reason for this wandering is what you can witness in the present time. Most great problems in the world exist in Muslim countries. Poverty only exists for the Islamic Ummah. It is only we who suffer from injustice and discrimination. It is only we who suffer from scientific and technological backwardness. Cultural failure and weakness belongs to the Islamic Ummah. Global powers easily and clearly violate the rights of this Ummah while it cannot defend itself.

Take a look at the conditions of Palestine in the present time. Palestine is only an example. Of course, it is a very important example, but the situation is not particular to Palestine. Take a look at Palestine and see that the Islamic Ummah suffers from a great wound which is the disaster that has befallen the great people and the historical and holy land of Palestine. What have they done to this land? What have they done to these people? What are they doing to them in the present time? Is the event of Gaza forgettable? Is it possible to erase it from the mind of the Islamic Ummah?

The pressures, savage acts, cruelties and oppressions that have been committed against the people of Gaza continue to exist even after the 22-day war during which the Zionist government was defeated and failed to achieve its goals. But despite these crimes, the Islamic Ummah cannot defend them. The Islamic Ummah has faced this phenomenon as if it were not related to it. It behaves as though it were not its right to stand up against this usurpation. It behaves as though this oppression were not shown against it. Why are we like this? Why has the Islamic Ummah faced this situation?

A dangerous and deadly cancer - namely, the fake Zionist and Israeli government - has been created by the enemies of Islam and the Islamic Ummah. Its supporters - who have collaborated with it in showing oppression and committing great sins - continue to support it while the Islamic Ummah cannot defend itself. This is our weakness. Why is that? We should make up for this weakness by returning to Islam and pivoting around the teachings of the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.w.a.).

Today, the Islamic Ummah needs unity more than anything else. Let us be united. Let us unify our words and our hearts. This is the responsibility of each and every individual who has the power to influence the great Islamic Ummah. All governments, intellectuals, ulama and different political and social activists - no matter in which Islamic country they live - have a responsibility to awaken the Islamic Ummah and to explain these truths for Muslims. They should clarify and explain to them the bitter situation that the enemies of Islam have created. They should call on them to carry out their responsibilities. This is the responsibility of all of us.

Dear brothers, dear sisters, wherever you come from and whatever denomination you have, you should know that the enemies of Islam and Muslims have focused most of their efforts on creating discord and disunity. They want to prevent hearts from getting close to one another because they know that if hearts get close to one another and if hands are joined together, the Islamic Ummah will think of curing its big problems. All these problems - one of which is the issue of Palestine and the fake Zionist government - originate from global powers. The enemy knows that we will be united and that we will employ all individuals and all forces to confront the clear transgression that is being committed. This is why it does not allow hearts to get close to one another.

Today, it is the enemies of Islam who provoke discord. It is the Americans and the English who bring up the issue of Shia and Sunni. This is a source of disgrace for us. One of the matters that American, English and western analysts study and highlight is separating Sunni Islam from Shia Islam and pitting them against each other. The enemy wants to adopt this scheme and this has always been the case. The enemies of the world of Islam have always tried to make maximum use of denominational, tribal, geographical and regional differences. And today, they are using modern instruments to fulfill their purpose. We should pay attention to this and we should awaken.

They want to busy us with one another so that they can distract our attention from the main point. They want to pit Muslim ethnicities, nations and denominations - including Shia, Sunni and other Islamic denominations - against one another so that the issue of Israel will be forgotten. The issue of occupying Palestine should have made us get close to one another. But they are using it to make us drift away from one another. They create discord in the world of Islam and pit governments against one another by using the issue of Palestine.

The issue of Palestine is a clear issue. There is no Islamic denomination that has any doubts about the fact that jihad is wajib for Muslims whenever an Islamic land is under attack. All Islamic denominations share this belief and there is no ground for disagreement on this matter. However, the enemies cast doubt on this matter which all Muslims believe in. They create division among Muslims, they provoke denominational and tribal prejudice and they fuel its fire so that they can freely pursue their goals.

We should be awake. This is what the Islamic Republic says. From the beginning of its formation, the Islamic Republic set these things as its main goals: promoting unity among Muslims, making their hearts get close to one another and pursuing the issue of Palestine.

There are two points which Imam (may God bestow paradise on him) highlighted in his statements: one is the issue of unity among Muslims on all matters, decreasing intellectual and fiqhi differences of opinion and preventing such differences from causing enmity among Muslims, and another is pursuing the issue of Palestine.

The Islamic Republic has stood by its claim and we are paying the price for it. Our people look at this issue as a wajib task and as a religious responsibility. They know that if this deadly and dangerous cancer is kicked out of the body of the Islamic community, many problems of Muslim societies will be solved and many alliances will be formed.

Today, Islamic countries form a very big group. They can exchange knowledge, wealth, experience and understanding among themselves. They can help one another to progress and they can reach peaks. The enemies have put this cancerous tumor in the middle of the arena and this way they have caused Islamic countries to drift away from one another. Of course, nations do not show enmity to one another. Unfortunately, it is the officials of countries who are to blame in some cases.

On the birthday anniversary of the Holy Prophet of Islam (God's greetings be upon him and his household), we should keep this in our minds as an important lesson, reminder and warning. We should learn a lesson from it and we should get close to reaching this goal, as we are doing so in the present time. Fortunately today, the loud cry that the world of Islam and Muslims in different countries have let out in defending the unity of the Islamic Ummah and in supporting the Islamic Awakening, has produced many positive results. Allah the Exalted blesses any slogan and claim that is truthful. He grows any seed that has been planted in the land of truth. This is really the case in today's world.

Today, the truthful slogan that the Islamic Republic has chanted loudly and with all its heart and soul is well received in the world. The administration, the people, officials and everyone else say the same thing on these fundamental matters and they let out the same cry. The slogan of the Islamic Republic is a clear slogan on all these issues and thankfully, it has been welcomed.

I hope that Allah the Exalted will help the Islamic Ummah to grow and increase its transcendence and progress on a regular basis. I hope that by Allah's favor, it will strengthen its unity - which is an important factor for everyone - more than the past. I hope that all of you gain God's approval and satisfaction and that the prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) protect all of you.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings