Leader's Friday Prayer Sermons

The following is the full text of Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei's Friday prayer sermons delivered on February 13, 2004 in Tehran.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, the Creator of all creatures, Whom we praise, from Whom we seek help, to Whom we repent and Whom we rely on, and peace and greetings be upon His beloved and noble one, the best among His servants, the protector of His secret, the promoter of His message, the harbinger of His mercy, the warner of His chastisement, our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem al-Mustafa Muhammad, upon his immaculate, pure and chosen household, and upon those who guide the guided, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth, and greetings be upon leaders of Muslims, supporters of the oppressed and guiders of the faithful.

I advise all the brothers and sisters - and particularly myself - to fear God, observe piety and pay attention to what satisfies Allah the Exalted and what He has assigned as our obligations in order to help us achieve salvation and improve our religious faith and our living conditions. If a speaker fears God, He will guide him and if his audience fear God, He will make their hearts familiar with truth and will channel their energy towards truth and justice. Fear of God leads to guidance, salvation and firm determination. We should appreciate the value of this congregational praying and the opportunity it provides for fearing God. Fearing God is nothing but being careful about one's words, one's actions, one's interaction with others and one's decisions. We must take care not to let our decisions, our thought and our words be affected by satanic forces: this is fear of God. Anybody who is like this will be helped by Allah the Exalted. This does not mean that a person who fears God will not make a mistake or that he will never commit a sin, rather it means that Allah the Exalted will help him. This is the reason why fear of God is highlighted in Friday prayer sermons. Even the Friday prayer leader himself is in need of this advice. All of us need to be advised to fear God. All of us need our hearts to be reminded of this firm Islamic principle.

First of all, I deem it necessary to express my gratitude to our honorable people for their massive and glorious presence in the demonstrations marking the 22nd of Bahman. Despite the will of the enemies, our people showed that they are present on the scene and that they care about their national interests. They showed that they will be present whenever their presence is needed. This year, just like every year, they proved this on the 22nd of Bahman. I would say that the demonstrations on the 22nd of Bahman are unique in the world. There is no country in the world in which such massive demonstrations are held in big and small cities.

This is particular to the people of Iran. The slogans that are shouted by the people are the same. The motives are the same. The understanding of this great movement is the same throughout the country. This is a very important phenomenon. It carries a message and it shows that first, the people are aware and vigilant and they care about their national interests and second, they care about the destiny of the country, the Islamic Republic and the Revolution and they are committed to their magnanimous Imam (r.a.). They pass these great values from generation to generation. Even the youth who were born after the 22nd of Bahman of 1357, participate in these massive demonstrations with the same enthusiasm and vibrancy that is characteristic of those who have many memories of those glorious days. This is very important for the people of Iran and it makes them immune.

As a servant of the people of Iran and as a member of the Iranian nation, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of those who participated in that great movement. As government officials, we must appreciate the value of this glorious movement and respond appropriately to the sense of responsibility that exists among the people. This sense of responsibility among the people makes our responsibility heavier.

In this sermon, I would like to briefly speak about the Revolution. First, what was the nature of our Revolution and what was the role it played? Second, what are the motives behind the hostilities that have continued until today? Third, what are the techniques that the enemies of the Revolution and the Islamic Republic utilize? Fourth, what are the solutions? These are the topics that I will discuss in the first sermon and hopefully, the discussion will not take too long.

The Islamic Revolution was the beginning of a new era in our history. The people of Iran had suffered from autocracy for a long time. Autocratic and despotic kings had controlled everything in our country. Those kings considered the country as their personal property and they believed that the people were their subjects. From the late Qajar era through the Pahlavi era, another problem was added to the problem of autocracy: the problem of dependency.

Ancient kings were dictators, but at least they were not dependent on and obedient to foreign powers. However, during the late Qajar era and during the entire Pahlavi era, kings became both autocratic and dependent. This turned into a serious malady for the political system of Iran. Such autocracy and dependence had many negative consequences in our country and it had vast negative effects on our people. It was such autocracy and dependence which kept our country backward, which offered our resources and natural sources of wealth to the enemies and which prevented our people from achieving growth and making intellectual and scientific progress. We, who used to carry the flag of knowledge one day, became beggars of knowledge - particularly insignificant and obsolete knowledge. We reached out our hands to other people to beg for knowledge. In return, foreigners used to give us very little whenever they liked. And they would refuse to give us anything whenever they wanted. As a result, our people became a backward and weak people due to that autocracy and dependence.

We also lost our oil and other natural resources. They had prepared other plans that were far more dangerous than the plans they had implemented. If one goes through the documents about the last years of the evil Pahlavi regime, one can clearly see that they had prepared very dangerous plans for our country and our people and that they would have prevented us from making progress for another one hundred years if they had been implemented. The Revolution reversed this process and gave rise to a new era in the history of our nation. Independence, freedom, self-confidence and progress are the four main outcomes of the Revolution. These four factors are firm pillars that support the Revolution despite all the enmity and opposition by the enemies.

Independence means that the people and government of Iran are no longer forced to give in to the imposition of foreign powers. Everything had to be done on the basis of what foreigners wanted. If foreigners sacrificed Iran's national interests, the government had to stay silent. If they transgressed on Iran's national resources, nobody had the right to say anything. If the people of Iran decided to protest, the government would suppress them. These were the conditions that I myself experienced with my body and soul during the time of the Pahlavi regime. The Revolution made the people and government of Iran independent. Today there is no power in the world that can pull strings anywhere in our country and force us to do anything. Our government officials evaluate the existing situation and they do whatever they think is best. Our people are observing and evaluating the actions of our government officials and if they like what government officials do, they support them and if not, they replace them with other government officials. It is the people who are in control today.

Freedom means that our people choose their government officials within the framework of the law which their representatives have approved, not the law that has been imposed by foreigners. If the people are satisfied with their performance, they continue supporting them and if they are not satisfied, they do not vote for them and they replace them. This is the most important manifestation of freedom in our country. Today we have complete freedom of thought and expression in our country. Foreign radio stations might say the opposite of this, but the people know the truth. There are people who neither want the Islamic Republic, nor the executive branch, nor the Leader, yet they are still allowed to speak and announce what they think and nobody persecutes them. Today nobody is reproached by the government for expressing his opinion. Of course, the opponents of the Islamic Republic are still unhappy and the reason is that the people do not listen to them. This is not anybody's fault. The people do not like them and do not associate them with any good memories. Since the beginning of the Revolution until today, the people have seen many similar individuals and they do not trust them, which is not anybody's fault. Therefore, there is freedom in the country.

The third outcome of the Revolution is self-confidence. Our people have gained self-confidence thanks to the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic. Imam (r.a.) taught this to us and the general atmosphere of the Islamic Republic played a key role in this regard. Today, our youth, our students, our professors, our researchers, our industrialists and our producers believe that they are capable. This self-confidence has helped us in scientific areas. Today, we have made many achievements in scientific arenas, but we are still backward. Nobody should think that because we have made progress in the arena of science, we have reached the destination and this level of progress is enough. This is not the case. They have kept us backward to a great extent, but we have made progress and we have moved forward over the past 25 years. According to the reports, after the Revolution, we have made more scientific progress than all other countries in the world.
A few days ago, I raised this point in a meeting with our outstanding youth as well. Self-confidence helped us in science and politics and in defending our country. During the eight-year war with Iraq, if we lacked self-confidence, the people of Iran would have been seriously harmed and our country would have been trampled upon. This was why our 25-year-old youth had faith in their capabilities. An entire army would be entrusted to a 25-year-old youth who would prepare it for battle, take action and accomplish great achievements. Today this self-confidence still exists in the country.

Today, our universities engage in scientific work and our youth make scientific achievements. Our scientific accomplishments in certain areas have made the world concerned. This has been done in the shade of the Revolution. They do not want the people of Iran to make scientific progress and they have openly said this. As long as a country does not make scientific and economic progress, global powers continue to bully it forever. Japan, which was under the domination and occupation of other countries, pulled itself together and made scientific progress. Westerners - who are not at all interested in paying attention to any peoples other than Europeans - have to take the east seriously because of its scientific progress. In a number of political or scientific centers in America, some people have said that they do not want an Islamic Japan to be created. "Islamic Japan" means you people of Iran. They said that they do not want to let the people of Iran show any sign of scientific progress. These people see the movement of the people of Iran and they see this self-confidence. This has been achieved in the shade of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic.

The fourth outcome of the Revolution is progress. Despite what our enemies wanted and despite what they currently promote in their propaganda, we have made progress. This does not mean that we have already achieved our goals. I have said on many occasions and I would like to repeat that as a revolutionary seminarian who has faith in Islam and the Revolution, I believe that we are only half-way through in the case of many of our goals. We wanted social justice in the country. We wanted to eradicate poverty. We wanted to help our country achieve comprehensive development. However, we have not yet achieved these goals completely and we are only half-way through. We have only managed to take action, move forward and complete a portion of the work. It was the Revolution and the Islamic Republic that gave rise to these things.

We owe these four outcomes to Islam and to moving forward under the flag of Islam. If it had not been for Islam, we would not have managed to achieve independence, freedom, self-confidence and progress. We achieved these things in the shade of Islam. These are the blessings of Islam. Some people are opposed to the name of Islam. Some others are opposed to Islamic commands and teachings. Yet others are opposed to the soul of Islam. These people do not understand how they are harming our country and our future. They are sawing off the branch that they are sitting on. They want to cut off the branch that supports the movement of the Iranian nation. Of course, this immaculate tree is fortunately too strong to break as a result of such things. However, there are some people who are trying to harm this tree and they are making a mistake.

What are the hostilities for? Some people think that our revolutionary government officials and Imam Khomeini (may God bestow paradise on him) have made enemies for our country. No, this is not true. Imagine that you have a house which has been occupied by a thug for many years and then you decide to take legal action and present documents to show that you own that house and that he must leave. It is natural that he will resist and become your enemy. Nobody can blame you and say that you have made enemies. All you want to do is take back what belongs to you: this is not an effort to make enemies. Foreigners had been offered many privileges and they were doing whatever they wanted through the use of those privileges. The Revolution put an end to their privileges. It is clear that such people would become enemies of our country because of this. It is clear that such people would bear grudges against the Revolution. Our Revolution revived hope in the world of Islam and in the Arab world. When the Islamic Revolution achieved victory, the world of Islam and the Arab world were suffering from stagnation, total silence and despair. The Zionists had achieved their goals and managed to intimidate everybody. No Muslim people believed that there was hope for them. Suddenly the great gates of salvation opened up and peoples found new hope.

The Zionists falsely believed that Palestine had been fully captured and subdued. You can see today that the people of Palestine have stepped into the arena with all their heart and soul. The people of Palestine are standing firm even though they are being pressured. This is not just a defeat for Israel alone. It is a defeat for America as well. It is a defeat for all Zionist elements that have dominated the world. A people who do not even have weapons and have been besieged in Palestinian lands, have made all of these powers desperate and helpless. It was the spirit of hope that awakened the people of Lebanon. During the time the people Iran were carrying out a Revolution in Iran, Lebanon was turbulent. The Zionists would do everything they wanted with Lebanon. They would invade Lebanon and kill its people. Their warplanes would constantly violate the airspace of Lebanon, treating it as Israel's airspace. On the other hand, Lebanese groups were fighting each other. Before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, we received a tape recording from Dr. Chamran. I listened to the recording in Mashhad. He was in Lebanon at that time and in the recording, he spoke about the details of the afflictions of the Lebanese people. Currently, the people of Lebanon have reached a point that they can harm Israel in ways that no Arab government has since the beginning of the Zionists' presence in the region.

Two years ago, the Zionists were forced to retreat. A few weeks ago, several hundred Lebanese fighters were freed despite the will of the Zionists and they celebrated it in a show of power. If a people lack hope, such things would not happen to them. You were the ones who provided this hope. Today this hope can be witnessed in the entire world of Islam and the Arab world, but there is not enough time to speak about specific instances in this meeting. The Islamic Revolution in Iran made the world of Islam hopeful. It revived the world of Islam. Clearly, when the Revolution entered the arena with these characteristics, those who were benefiting from the weakness and stagnation of the world of Islam became its enemies. Naturally, we had to defend ourselves. When a people are faced with enmity, it is natural for them to respond. We cannot stand idly by and let the enemies do what they want in political and economic areas. We cannot stay silent and refuse to defend ourselves simply because we want to avoid making enemies. Such behavior is not rational. This is the nature of the enmities we are faced with.

What are the techniques that are utilized to further these hostilities? They do not openly announce that they are our enemies. They are hostile, but they are also hypocritical at the same time. Our global and international enemies - namely, America and certain other powers in the world - provoke governments around the world against us. This has been their technique since the beginning of the Revolution until today. They try to play down the importance of the valuable achievement that has been accomplished by the people of Iran. The people of Iran proudly announce the achievement they have made. We introduced a new idea into the world. We did not separate democracy from spirituality and religion, rather we managed to establish a democracy that originates from Islam and spirituality. Today certain countries and their governments and parliamentary members claim that they have established genuine freedom and democracy in their countries, but their democracies are devoid of spirituality. As a result, whenever they thought they needed to cheat, they acted against the votes of their people and engaged in electoral fraud. Less than twenty-five percent of the people of America voted for the current president of America and he won the election by court order. This is what happens when democracy is not accompanied by spirituality. Yet despite their claims of supporting democracy, they extended a hand of friendship and brotherhood to the most despotic dictators in the world.

Take a look at the dictatorships around the world and the regimes that have come to power after a military coup. All of those regimes are close friends and allies of those who claim to support democracy in the world. This is what happens when democracy is not accompanied by religious faith. We introduced a new idea into the world. We established a democracy on the basis of religion. Our democracy is accompanied by spirituality and religious faith. For this reason, it is referred to as a religious democracy and our government is known as an Islamic republic. Our people are proud of this achievement and they are prepared to defend it. The enemies constantly try in their propaganda to play down the importance of this achievement. They try to pretend that it is not valuable. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) told one of his students: "When you have a precious gemstone and you know its value, even if the entire world says what you have is a worthless pebble, you will not believe it. Similarly, when you have a worthless pebble and you know that it is just a pebble, even if everybody in the world testifies that what you have is a diamond, you will not believe it." Our people have realized the value of their achievement and for this reason, they are standing firm.

One of the things that they use against us is human rights. Democracy is another thing that they use against us. In England, when a member of the parliament said something in defense of a young Palestinian girl, he was disqualified by his political party and was expelled by the parliament. And yet they claim to support democracy and freedom. During the early years after the victory of the Revolution, in a Friday prayer sermon, I mentioned the name of an Irish fighter called Bobby Sands and currently there is a street in Tehran that has been named after him. Bobby Sands died in prison after fifty days of hunger strike. There was another person who died on hunger strike in prison. I think there were two other people who went on hunger strike. But the English, who claim to support human rights and defend strikes and public protests in other parts of the world, simply stood by and watched without taking any action. This is the way they support human rights. Notice what is currently happening in Palestine. They destroy Palestinian homes and they kill Palestinian women and children. These killings happen in the front of everybody's eyes, but those people who claim to support human rights do not show the slightest reaction. And yet they say that they are after human rights in Iran. Do the people of Iran have the right to consider them liars? Are they really supporters of human rights?

What is the solution? There is only one course of action that is available to the people of Iran, the same course of action that they have pursued so far, namely resistance, reliance on their values and principles and presence on the scene. A few days ago, I told our honorable people and I would like to repeat that if it had not been for the resistance of the people of Iran and their presence on the scene, the Islamic Republic and its government officials would not have been able to resist for even one single year. You should preserve your determination and you should maintain your presence on the scene as well as your solidarity. We know that the people of Iran have preserved these characteristics so far and they will continue to do so in the future as well. Our people are an exceptional people. Our government officials should make efforts in an effective, vigilant, wise and caring way and they should resolve the existing problems one after the other and complete the path they have been following.

Our nation should strengthen itself on a daily basis on scholarly, political and economic fronts. This is the only course of action for the Iranian nation. Part of the work should be done by the people. Fortunately, the people have taken action and by Allah's favor, they will continue carrying out their responsibilities in the future as well. And part of the work lies on the shoulders of our government officials, who should identify and carry out their responsibilities. In this way, we will manage to make the enmities ineffective and insignificant. Of course, foreigners are pressuring us both politically and economically, but their pressure is futile. The people of Iran might be pressured in the short term, but they themselves know that in the long run, such pressure will benefit the Iranian nation and will harm themselves. It was such pressure that encouraged our people and our talented scientists and youth to follow the path of science and make scientific achievements that appeared to be too complex and out of reach. Therefore, economic pressure is futile. As long as you are present on the scene, political pressure is futile as well.

The Iranian nation has made great efforts and Allah the Exalted has rewarded it with independence and the Islamic Republic, just as He had promised. Allah the Exalted has ordained a good future for you and God willing, you will make that future a reality.

Dear God, increase Your mercy and blessings on our nation on a daily basis. Dear God, bring our hearts closer to one another on a daily basis. Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his household (a.s.) do not turn Your attention away from this nation. Make the holy heart of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) happy with our people and government officials. Dear God, bless us with the opportunity to see his re-appearance.

"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, 103].

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 and upon his immaculate, pure and chosen household, especially upon the Commander of the Faithful, the Mistress of all Women, Hassan and Hussein, the children of mercy and the Imams of the guided, Ali ibn al-Hussein Zayn al-Abidin, Muhammad ibn Ali al-Baqir, Ja'far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq, Musa ibn Ja'far al-Kadhim, Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha, Muhammad ibn Ali al-Jawad, Ali ibn Muhammad al-Hadi, Hassan ibn Ali al-Askari and Hujjat al-Qaem al-Mahdi. Greetings be upon them and greetings be upon their souls and bodies. Dear God, associate us with them in the hereafter and make us their followers. Greetings be upon them all and upon the Imams of Muslims, supporters of the oppressed and those who guide the faithful.

One more time, I would like to advise you dear brothers and sisters and myself to fear God. Speaking about piety and fear of God is more enjoyable, more important and more significant than anything else. Whenever we entered any arena with the spirit of piety, we were successful. Whenever we failed, slipped or retreated, it was because of our lack of piety. If there is piety and fear of God, a person, a group of people or a nation will never be deprived of divine guidance and salvation.

There are two, three important issues that need to be discussed, but the election is the most important issue among them. The election is important for our people. It is important both for our friends in the world and for our enemies. Just like all the previous elections in our country, the upcoming election is a significant event, both for our friends and for our enemies. It is very important for our people as well.

The upcoming parliamentary elections are important for two reasons. The first reason is that your participation in the election is a manifestation of the presence of the people on the scene, which is a source of support for the Revolution and for the country. Those who follow the latest news know that different political organizations throughout the world are saying that they are worried about the elections in Iran and that they are following the news about Iran's elections. This is one reason why elections are important. International centers follow the latest news to see whether or not the people of Iran will be present on the scene. If the people are present on the scene, there is nothing the enemies can do against the Islamic Republic, just as they have never been able to harm the Islamic Republic so far. If the turnout is not as massive as in the past, they will conclude that there is a rift between the people and the Islamic Republic, in which case they will start to believe that the ground has been prepared for them to interfere in our domestic affairs, spread their domination over our country and re-establish their hegemony on Iran. For this reason, they are aware of the importance of elections in Iran.

The first reason why elections are important is that they protect our country. The presence of the people in our elections safeguards the destiny of the Iranian nation and they prevent the enemies from transgression, invasion and excessive demands. Over the past twenty-five years, the enemies of the people of Iran followed different courses of action to dominate our country, but all of their efforts ended in failure. There is only one course of action that is available to them: trying to isolate the people from their government officials. This is what they have pinned their hopes on. This is the purpose of all the negative propaganda and all the nonsense they say. They want to separate our people from our government officials. Successful elections kick the enemy in the mouth and they make him disappointed. They make the enemy realize that the people are present on the scene and that they are standing firm to defend their country, their borders, their national interests and their government.

The second reason behind the importance of the upcoming parliamentary elections is that you will in fact determine the destiny of the country for the next four years by electing your representatives. The upcoming election is a manifestation of the people's role in determining the destiny of the country. This is because the Majlis is the center for making laws. Laws provide a path for executive officials of the country so that they can reform and develop the country with their efforts. It is laws that open up this path and these laws are passed by your representatives in the Majlis. Therefore, the Majlis is extremely important. Apart from this, according to our Constitution, the Majlis is also responsible for supervising the activities of the executive branch. If the executive branch of government fails to act as expected or follows the wrong path and gives rise to corruption and misuse of the resources, the Majlis is the center that can stand up against corruption and deviation. Notice how important the responsibility of the Majlis is. It is your votes that determine who becomes a member of the Majlis. The more the number of the votes are, the more powerful the Majlis will be.

When you decide that a person is qualified and you vote for him, you have in fact managed to utilize part of your potential to help the country achieve development and progress. This is why the Majlis is important. For this reason and for the sake of their national interests, the people must not let the parliamentary election lose its glory. Unfortunately, some of the people who have the means to speak to the people do not understand the importance of elections and the Majlis. They do not care if they say or do something that discourages the people from participating in the elections. This is due to their lack of vigilance, otherwise every proud Iranian who is interested in the glory of Iran and in the development and destiny of his or her country, must make efforts to ensure that a good and competent parliament is formed.

Of course, the seventh Majlis enjoys another unique characteristic. The seventh Majlis is responsible for implementing the first phase of the 20-Year Strategic Plan. The 20-Year Strategic Plan has been approved and it has been announced to different organizations for implementation. The strategic plan has opened up a path in front of our people and government officials and it can lead to a bright future. The first four-year period of the strategic plan will be completed by the next Majlis. It is members of the next Majlis who will take the initial steps and this is very important. There are some people in the world who care about the interests of the Islamic Republic and they consist of both ordinary citizens and government officials. There are also certain governments in the world that care about the interests of the Islamic Republic for different reasons. Many peoples, particularly Muslim peoples, care about the Islamic Republic and its interests. All of them have fixed their attention on the upcoming elections. They want a massive and enthusiastic turnout in the elections. They want the elections to show the strong determination of the people of Iran.

On the other hand, there are certain other people in the world who are ill-wishers of the people of Iran and they want the upcoming elections to be canceled or be devoid of popular support. They want the elections to lack popularity and vibrancy. Two days ago, a few representatives of the US Congress appeared in front of their supporters and ordered the people of Iran not to go to the ballot boxes. What else can clearly prove the point that I made? I pointed out that the general strategy of the enemy is to prevent elections in our country and the reason is clear: if there are no elections, the country and the Islamic Republic will be deprived of their source of support. The enemies are aware of this and for this reason, they do not want any elections in our country.

Certain European parliaments are openly and shamelessly interfering in our domestic affairs in this regard. Of course, it does not matter if they only want to express their opinions. They can go ahead and say whatever they think. We too have many things to say about what they do and we say what we think. We do not refuse to speak about such things out of consideration for them. Our government officials openly speak about the flaws that Europeans are suffering from. Therefore, we do not complain when they express an opinion. All European government officials - both members of their parliaments and their executive officials - should know that we do not mind as long as they only speak about our affairs, but if they go further than this and decide to interfere in our domestic affairs, the people of Iran will kick them hard in the mouth. By Allah's favor, our people and government officials will continue to carry out their religious and revolutionary responsibilities with the same awareness and insight. Of course, sometimes certain governmental organizations complain about each other and in certain cases, their complaints are exaggerated. I believe that government officials who serve in important positions of responsibility must not complain about each other. It is necessary to take the interests of our country and our people into consideration. Over the past couple of months, a few things were done in the country that made the enemy happy.

Of course, our people have been aware and vigilant. They realized what they had to do and what they had to avoid. They acted in the right way. You people deserve praise for the way you acted. However, it makes me sad that certain individuals like to do things that make the enemies of our people happy. They want the enemies of our people to clap for their actions. This is a disgrace. When you see that the enemy is clapping for you, you should start looking for the flaw that you are suffering from. Imam Khomeini (r.a.) said, "Far be the day when the enemy praises us." When does an enemy praise one? There are many good and praiseworthy points about our people, our country and our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) and the enemies know these things in their hearts, but they do not want to speak about them. Whenever the enemy starts clapping and encouraging us, we must realize that something is wrong. There are some people who are saying that it is necessary to boycott the upcoming election. Of course, they are thankfully isolated and they are not a majority among the people. Currently, there are people in different corners of the country who want to discourage the people from taking part in the elections or they announce that they will not vote. This is a mistake. This is not the right thing to do.

Our people must act in a unified way and do what is in line with their national interests. Some people claim that the Islamic aspect of the Islamic Republic will be undermined if certain conditions are not met and there are some other people who claim that the republican aspect of the Islamic Republic will be compromised if certain other conditions are ignored. I do not agree. There is no such thing. In our country, the Islamic aspect of the government is accompanied by the republican aspect. Our republican aspect originates from Islam and Islam does not allow our government to be non-democratic. We did not borrow the republican aspect from anybody: we learnt it from Islam.

Our people rely on Islam and they are committed to the republican aspect of the Islamic Republic. In the minds of our people and government officials, both God and the people can make choices and Allah the Exalted has blessed our people with an opportunity to follow this path. Yet some people claim that if they are excluded or if certain conditions are not met, the Islamic aspect will be destroyed. And some others claim that if they are excluded and certain other conditions are ignored, the republican and democratic aspect of the Islamic Republic will be undermined. No, there is no such thing. Our people, our government and our Constitution have managed to build a framework that ensures both the Islamic aspect and the republican aspect. Of course, when I say some people do things that make the enemies happy, you should not think of our government officials. No, our government officials and members of the Majlis are committed and they care about the country. There are small groups of people who do such things and they are present everywhere. Some of them are clerics and it is possible that there are such people in the Majlis and other organizations. There are very few people in the country who make the enemies happy with their actions. Therefore, it is wrong to think that a large number of government officials - in the Majlis, in executive organizations or in other places - are doing things that make the enemies happy.

When it comes to voting, the people should keep the principles in mind. Thankfully, I can see that among the candidates who will be running in the parliamentary election, there are a large number of people who are educated, competent, well-informed, pious and caring. Try to identify the most qualified candidates among them or ask trustworthy and reliable people who you should vote for. I believe that the most important characteristics of a member of the Majlis include piety, competence, commitment to the people and courage. If a candidate enjoys these four characteristics, he will do what you want and what you expect from him. An MP must be pious. Lack of piety is very bad and it hurts people everywhere, but it is more harmful in important areas. An MP must be competent as well. Some people are pious, but they lack competence. Members of the Majlis must be competent enough to carry out the responsibilities that lie on their shoulders.

The third characteristic is that they must be committed to the people, particularly people from underprivileged social backgrounds. They must focus their attention and efforts on the people. In the previous election, I said in a Friday prayer sermon that parliamentary candidates must not think that they are indebted to wealthy and powerful individuals or other such people. If a person considers himself indebted to wealthy and powerful organizations and individuals, he will not be able to remain committed to the people. Therefore, commitment to the people is another major requirement.

The fourth characteristic of a person who wants to represent the people is courage. Our people are a courageous and liberated people, a people who do not retreat after being threatened by arrogant powers of the world. Therefore, their representatives must be courageous as well. Their representatives must not be afraid of anything: they must be courageous in the face of the enemy and in the face of falsehood and they must be courageous enough to accept truth. If you identify candidates with these characteristics, go ahead and vote for them. If you do not know any of the candidates, ask the people you trust and they will tell you who is more qualified. In this way, we will hopefully have a powerful and populist Majlis that will manage to carry out the heavy responsibilities that are placed on its shoulders. By Allah's favor, they will make the liberated and great Iranian nation happy and satisfied, which will lead to God's satisfaction.

There is another point that is necessary for me to discuss. In the previous stages of the election, different government officials acted well and made great achievements. A few days ago, I mentioned several names and I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all of them. There are other stages that need to be taken care of. The most important stage is holding the election and safeguarding the votes of the people. It is extremely important to safeguard the votes of the people. Government officials should try their best to safeguard the votes of the people in the best possible way. They should do everything in their power to ensure the health of the election and not give anybody a reason to doubt the health of the election.

I would like to ask the parliamentary candidates to speak truthfully in their campaigns and only promise what they can actually do and what they truly believe in. And then they should let the people freely vote for anybody they want. They should avoid extravagant electoral campaigns. I believe that if a candidate avoids extravagance in his electoral campaign for the sake of God, he will be assisted by Allah the Exalted and he will succeed in achieving his goal.

Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad (s.w.a.) and his household (a.s.), increase Your blessings on our people on a daily basis. Make the holy heart of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) happy with us. Make the immaculate souls of our martyrs happy with us.

"In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
When there comes the help of Allah and the victory,
And you see men 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].

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings