Shias and Sunnis meeting with Leader on the birthday anniversary of the holy Prophet

U.S. destroyed some Muslim countries by sowing discord

Today, the enemy seeks to set off an internal war among Muslims and, unfortunately, to a certain extent, they have succeeded in doing so. We can see their evil work as they destroy one country after another--look at the situations in Syria, Yemen and Libya. 

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on December 29, 2015 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with government officials, ambassadors of Islamic countries in Iran and participants of the 29th Conference on Islamic Unity. 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

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad and upon his immaculate household

I would like to congratulate you honorable and dear participants, the officials of the country, the guests of conference on Islamic unity and the honorable ambassadors of Islamic countries who are present in the meeting on the occasion of the auspicious birthday anniversary of the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.w.a.) and his great son, Imam Sadiq (a.s.). I also extend my congratulations to all the people of Iran, the entire Islamic Ummah, all the liberated people in the world, those who place great value on virtue, morality, diligence and jihad in the way of righteousness and ethics.

The Holy Prophet’s (God’s greetings be upon him and his household) birthday and be’that was a spirit that was breathed into the body of the dead world of those days. That world was apparently alive. Governments, monarchies, efforts and activities existed, but that world was the death of humanity and the death of virtue. What existed was cruelty, oppression, discrimination and brutality. Virtues were dead and the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and his invitation breathed a spirit into that world. When I say the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) himself and his invitation, the reason is that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) was the embodiment of Islam. The Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) wife has been quoted as saying, “His behavior was the embodiment of the Holy Quran” [Commentary on Nahjul Balaghah, Volume 6, page 340]. He was the embodiment of the Holy Quran. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and his religion breathed a spirit into that dead world: “Give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calls you to that which will give you life” [The Holy Quran, 8: 24]. What he brought to those people and to that dark, dead and pest-stricken world was life.

You and I are commemorating this occasion today. Well, commemorating something in words and by gathering together is a good deed, but this is not what we who claim to be following Islam and the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) are expected to do. This is not enough. We too should try to breathe a spirit into today’s dead and pest-stricken world. Today too, the world is suffering from oppression, cruelty and discrimination. Today too, the death of virtue is the big problem of humanity. Virtues are being suppressed by the instruments of materialistic powers. Justice, human values and morality are being suppressed, human blood is constantly being shed at the hands of unscrupulous powers and some nations die of hunger because of being looted by powers. This is the condition of the world in the present time. This era is like the jahiliyya era which existed before the emergence of Islam. This is a kind of jahiliyya as well.

Today, the responsibility of the Islamic Ummah is not only to hold a celebration in memory of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) birthday and be’that. This is a small and minor task compared to its duty. Today, the world of Islam has a responsibility to breathe a spirit into this world – just like Islam and the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) himself – to create a new environment and to open a new path. We refer to this phenomenon, which we are looking forward to, as “the new Islamic civilization”. We should be striving for the new Islamic civilization- for the sake of humanity. This is dramatically different from what powers think about humanity and from how they act.

This does not mean conquering lands. It does not mean violating the rights of nations. It does not mean imposing one’s beliefs and culture on other nations. Rather, it means offering a divine gift to nations so that they choose the right path of their own volition and with their own choices and decisions. The path that global powers have dragged nations towards is a wrong and deviant path. Today, this is our responsibility.

One day, by using the knowledge and philosophy of Muslims, the people of Europe managed to build a civilization for themselves. Of course, this civilization was a material one. Since the 16th and 17th centuries of the Christian calendar, the Europeans began to shape a new civilization. Because it was a material civilization, they used different instruments without any scruples. On the one hand, they moved towards colonialism and towards conquering nations and looting their wealth and on the other hand, they strengthened themselves from the inside by means of knowledge, technology and experience. This was how they helped this civilization dominate the human world. This was what the Europeans did in the course of four, five centuries.

The civilization that they presented to the world provided beautiful reflections of technology, speed, comfort and different amenities for the people, but it did not provide them with happiness and it did not administer justice. On the contrary, it struck justice on the head, it held some nations captive, it made some nations poor and it humiliated some other nations. Besides, it witnessed certain contradictions in itself. They became corrupt in terms of morality and they became hollow and empty-headed in terms of spirituality.

Today, westerners themselves are confirming this. An outstanding western politician said to me that their world is hollow and empty and that they are feeling this. He is right. This civilization had a flashy appearance, but its true nature was dangerous for humanity. Today, the contradictions of this western civilization are showing themselves. They are showing themselves in different ways in America, in Europe and in regions which are under their control throughout the world.

Today, it is our turn. Today, it is Islam’s turn: “Such days of varying fortunes We give to men by turns” [The Holy Quran, 3: 140]. Today, it is the Muslims’ turn to shape a new Islamic civilization with their own determination. As the Europeans used, in those days, Muslims’ knowledge and benefitted from their experience and philosophy, we too are using the world’s knowledge in the present time. We are using the current tools in the world to build a new Islamic civilization, but it is accompanied by an Islamic and divine spirit. Today, this is our responsibility.

This is primarily addressed to religious scholars and sincere intellectuals. I am not hopeful about politicians anymore. In the past, it was thought that the politicians of the world of Islam can help in this regard, but unfortunately, this hope has diminished. Today, we have pinned our hopes on religious scholars throughout the world of Islam and on sincere intellectuals who do not consider the west as their qiblah. We have pinned our hopes on them and this is possible. They should not say that this is not possible. This is possible and this can be done.

The world of Islam has many tools at its disposal. We have a good population, we have good lands, we have an outstanding geographical location and we have many natural resources in the world of Islam. We have very talented and outstanding human resources in the world of Islam. If we educate them with the teachings of Islam, they can show and present their artistic creations in the arena of science, politics and technology and in various social arenas.

The Islamic Republic is an example in this regard. It is a testing ground and a tried and trusted method for the world of Islam. Before the current rule of Islam over this country, we were a backward nation in the real sense of the word. We were dependent and scientifically, politically and socially backward and isolated in world politics. However today, the achievements of the Islamic Republic have even made our enemies acknowledge them. Today, after the passage of nearly 35 years from the victory of the Islamic Revolution, we are among advanced countries in the world in terms of science, technology and many new fields of knowledge.

The reports whose reliability and truth have been proved tell us that we are seventh in one area, sixth in another area and five in another. Thanks to Islam, the people of Iran have managed to show their identity and character. This can be extended to other countries, the condition for this being that the heavy and sinister shadow of superpowers stops looming over the heads of countries. This is the first condition. Of course, there is a price to be paid, but there is no great feat without a price. In this weighty and important assembly – in which important and great personalities are present – I want to say that with a jihadi and serious effort, the Islamic Ummah can devise a new Islamic civilization which is suitable for our time. It can shape and attain it and it can present it to humanity.

We will not invite anyone to Islam by force. We will not force any country into accepting the domination of Islam. We will not act like the Europeans. We will not act like America. The Europeans moved from an island on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and they occupied and looted- by force- a great country like India and a number of countries surrounding that country. They themselves became wealthy and they dragged those countries towards a catastrophic condition. They moved forward like this. Today too, they are doing the same thing in the world with other methods and tactics. They work themselves towards progress with others’ money, investments, wealth and products and they beautify their appearance.

Of course, their inner selves are being ruined and are decaying. As I said, they are becoming emptier on a daily basis. What you Muslims achieve will make your enemies displeased and the disasters that befall you will make them pleased and happy: “If aught that is good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some misfortune overtakes you, they rejoice at it” [The Holy Quran, 3: 120]. They are like this. These are the words of the Holy Quran. We should not look at them [westerners]. We should not look at their hands, their smiles and their frowns. Instead, we should find our own path and move forward. This is our responsibility and the responsibility of everyone in the world of Islam. 

One of the instruments that the enemies use is creating discord among us. I insist that we stress and place great emphasis on this matter. Brothers, sisters, Muslims in the world of Islam, if this call reaches your ears, you should know that the day when the words “Sunni” and “Shia” appeared in the American discourse, we became concerned. Every insightful person became concerned. What does America have to do with Sunni and Shia? What does such and such a Jewish Zionist politician in America – who has done nothing except for showing malevolence against Islam and Muslims – have to do with making judgments about Sunni and Shia in the world of Islam? Why should he say something about Sunni and a completely different thing about Shia? Since the Shia and Sunni discourse showed itself in American words, those people who were perceptive and intelligent in the world of Islam became concerned. They understood that a new scheme was being devised, and it was finally put into practice.

There is a history behind waging a war between Shia and Sunni. The English are experts at this. We have many records and abundant information about the history of waging a war, creating discord and instigating grudges between Sunni and Shia. Such discord was created by English agents – whether in our country, in the former Ottoman government or in Arab countries – with the purpose of pitting these countries against one other. However, the plot that the Americans have hatched today is a more dangerous plot. Does supporting a denomination against another denomination in the world of Islam make us happy? If they advocate us, should we be happy then? No, we should become sad and see what week points they have found in us that they want to use and that has made them advocate and support us.

They are opposed to the essence of Islam. This is the reality of the matter. In the event of the 11th of September that took place in New York, America and on the issue of the bombardment of the towers, the U.S. president of the time said that that [response] was a crusade. He was right. He was a bad person, but this statement of his was correct: the battle between Islam and arrogance. Of course, he said, “Christianity” and a crusade but he was lying. Christians are living with complete security inside the world of Islam and this is the case in our country today. This is also the case in some other countries. What he meant was the battle between arrogant and dominant powers in the world, and Islam. This was correct and it was a sincere statement. When the gentlemen who are ruling over America in the present time say that they have nothing against Islam, but that they are opposed to such and such an Islamic denomination, they are lying. They are acting in a hypocritical and dishonest manner because they are opposed to the essence of Islam and they have found the way in waging a war between Muslims.

One day, this battle was introduced as pan-Iranism, pan-Turkism, pan-Arabism and the like which was of no avail. Today, they want to create discord in the name of religion and they want to pit youth against one another. The result is that terrorist denominations – the likes of DAESH and others – are produced with the money of those who are dependent on America, with the help of America and with the collaboration of America’s allies. This way, they have found the opportunity to be dynamic and to commit such crimes in the world of Islam. This is the result.

They are lying when they say that they are opposed to Shia and that they advocate Sunni. Are the Palestinians Shias or Sunnis? Why do they have such bad behavior with the Palestinians? Why do they not condemn crimes against the Palestinians in any way? How many times was Gaza struck? How many times were the lands in the West Bank placed under pressure? In the present time, they are under pressure as well. They are not Shias, rather they are Sunnis. For the Americans, the issue is not about Shia and Sunni. Any Muslim who wants to live with Islam and with Islamic laws and rules and any Muslim who fights for it and moves on that path is considered an enemy for them.

They interviewed an American politician. The interviewer asked him, “Who is America’s enemy?” He replied, “America’s enemy is not terrorism, nor is it Muslims. America’s enemy is ‘Islamism’.” This means that as long as Muslims move forward in an indifferent way and without any Islamic motivation, they do not show any feelings of enmity towards them, but when Islamism, commitment and loyalty to Islam and Islamic governance and the formation of the Islamic civilization step into the arena, then enmities begin. He was right. His enemy is Islamism. This is why you witness that they become very nervous and agitated whenever Islamic Awakening emerges in the world of Islam and they work to destroy and to eradicate it and in certain cases, they succeed. Of course, I will tell you that Islamic Awakening is indestructible. By Allah’s favor and will, Islamic Awakening will achieve its goals.

Their goal is to wage a civil war among Muslims and unfortunately, they have succeeded to some extent. They are destroying Islamic countries one after another. They are destroying Syria, Yemen and Libya and they are destroying their infrastructure. Why? Why should we give in to this plot? Why should their goal remain unknown to us? We should find insight. If we want to succeed in this path, we should find insight. The Commander of the Faithful (peace and greetings be upon him) said, “And this banner will be borne only by him who is a man of insight, of endurance” [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 173]. We should find insight and be patient on this path: “But if you are patient and do right, not the least harm will their cunning do to you” [The Holy Quran, 3: 120]. If we move forward with insight, show patience and be resistant, their cunning will be of no avail, but when we speak and act like them, then this will be the result.

In Bahrain, why do they exert such pressures on Muslims? In Nigeria, why do they create such disasters for that peaceful, conciliatory and believing Sheikh [Ibrahim Zakzaky]? Why do they murder about 1,000 people who are close to him? Why do they martyr his six children in the course of two years? Why does the world of Islam remain silent in the face of such crimes? Why is the world of Islam tolerating the day-and-night bombardment of Yemen that has lasted about a year? It is about a year – 10-plus months – now that the houses, hospitals, schools, roads, innocent individuals, men and women of the people of Yemen have been under bombardment. Why? Is this to the interest of the world of Islam? And they are striking Syria and Iraq in different ways. Their goals are dangerous goals. They are devised in their – as they say – “think tanks”. We should be awake.

As I said, our hopes have been pinned on the ulama of Islam and on sincere intellectuals in the world of Islam. This is their responsibility and duty. They should speak to their people and to their politicians. The conscience of some politicians in the world of Islam is awake and we have witnessed this up close. They too can play a role.

What I want to say in this meeting is that we should benefit from the commemoration of the Holy Prophet’s (s.w.a.) birthday to make an effort to do what Islam did in the first day which was to revive the dead world of those days. And this requires wisdom, intelligence, thinking, insight and knowledge about the enemy. We should know the enemy and his plots and we should not be deceived by him. Allah the Exalted should help us take His straight path and become steadfast.

The Arab poet [Ahmed Shawqi] was right in saying:

 “The world is alive and incidents have not drifted into slumber

So, what does your slumber mean, oh you best nations?”

When the world of power and the world of gold and bullying is paying attention to you with all its resources, you do not have the right to be dozing and to drift into sleep!

Dear God, place us on this straight path in a way that is liked by Islam and the world.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings


  • "When the world of power and the world of gold and bullying is paying attention to you with all its resources, you do not have the right to be dozing and to drift into sleep!" --- A truism for all peoples, all nations, all civilizations. The problem of course is in the implementation, not theory. What accelarates that drift into sleep? Not the enemy over there, but the one right here, the one within. See Thank you, Zahir Ebrahim, California.
  • 2016-06-17 12:17
    The Islamic Republic of Iran and its leadership are playing a leading role in ensuring the unity of Muslim Ummah. May Allah continue to guide and protect them.