Imam Khamenei

Supreme leader’s Friday prayer sermons during his exile in Iranshahr

The following is the full text of the Friday prayer sermons delivered on May 12, 1978, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution during his exile in Iranshahr, Sistan and Baluchistan Province. The sermons were delivered just a few months before the great victory of the Islamic Revolution.


First Sermon:

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, such praise which is as permanent as His beneficence and as continuous as his blessings, as was testified by His Messenger and His angels, I too testify that there is no God but Allah

The holy religion of Islam helps humans achieve salvation and bliss in their worldly and otherworldly life and it does so through cultural programs. It is not the case that Islam only attends to people’s otherworldly affairs and that it has nothing to do with the people’s worldly affairs. One of the very unfair accusations that the enemies of Islam and the enemies of religion have levelled at this holy religion is that allegedly, Islam merely attends to moral and spiritual affairs and that it has nothing to do with their worldly affairs. This is an accusation that the enemies and colonialists as well as tyrants and oppressors have been benefiting from for several centuries. They instill the idea in Muslim people that they should only think about their morality and their otherworldly life and that global and political affairs and matters related to great international interactions are not their business because there are some people who make such decisions and who can implement them in practice.

That is while the holy religion of Islam is the exact opposite of this notion and of what they have said and continue to say. Islam is the religion of life. In Islam, political and worldly affairs receive an equal amount of attention as spiritual and moral issues. Daily prayers are as significant as jihad in the way of God. During daily prayers, individuals should move towards God and they should equally understand the deceptive ways of the enemies of God and they should stand up against them. It is not the case that a Muslim can perfect his religion by merely saying daily prayers, worshipping God and sequestering himself in the mihrab. If a Muslim wishes to be a complete Muslim, they should attend to worldly affairs as well, they should understand politics and they should be engaged in it.

They say to us that religion is separate from politics. However, Islam says that religion and politics are inseparable and that politics is part of religion and part of religious laws. The most important part of our fiqh is about politics. As a late marja taqlid once said (God’s mercy be upon his Holiness), “Religion is comprised of politics.” Rules about the government, about the ruler, about his responsibilities towards people and people’s responsibilities towards him, judging which person can become a ruler, which criteria he needs and which individuals do not have the competence to become a ruler are all issues which Islamic fiqh studies. A mujtahid should find the rules related to these matters as well as matters related to daily prayers, fasting and paying zakat.

One of the most important discussions in our fiqh is the discussion about Wilayat: in other words, the discussion about government. The Commander of the Faithful (God’s greetings and peace be upon him) has allocated a great deal of his sermons and letters – which have been compiled in Nahjul Balaghah – to the issue of the government. He has specified certain criteria for the ruler. He helps Muslims understand which person should rule over them and whose right it is and - when a ruler with these qualities rules over them – what responsibilities people have towards him: “The greatest of these rights that Allah, the Glorified, has made obligatory is the right of the ruler over the ruled and the right of the ruled over the ruler.” [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 216]

Among all rights such as a father’s rights over his children, the rights of a husband and wife towards each other and the rights of Muslim brothers towards one another, the most important one is the mutual rights of the ruler and the ruled. This is the greatest right. “This is an obligation which Allah, the Glorified, has placed on each other.” This is an obligation which Allah the Exalted has placed on everyone over others. What will be the result when Muslims observe these rights, when the ruler achieves his rights over the condemned and the ruled and when the condemned achieve their rights over the ruler? “He has made it the basis of their mutual affection, and an honor for their religion.” When the ruler and the condemned observe each other’s rights, their worldly affairs will be orderly, it will emerge out of chaos and their social and economic situation will be boosted. “And an honor for their religion.” Their religion, their thoughts and the ideology dominant over their society will be glorified as well.

If the Muslims in the world had acted according to their duties and if they had built and renovated their society with Islam – not with another school – then the Islamic community would have been enough to attract all people in the world towards Islam. It would have been enough to encourage people to accept Islam. As a poet says, “Two hundred words are not like half an action” [from a poem by Saadi].

Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad and his household, we ask you to familiarize us with Islamic and Alavi teachings.

I seek Allah’s protection from Satan the Rejected

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Say, O you who reject faith,

I worship not that which you worship,

Nor will you worship that which I worship.

And I will not worship that which you have been wont to worship,

Nor will you worship that which I worship.

To you be your deen, and to me be my deen [The Holy Quran, 109]



Second Sermon:

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

“If people had not come to me and supporters had not exhausted the argument and if there had been no pledge of Allah with the learned to the effect that they should not acquiesce in the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressed, I would have cast the rope of Caliphate on its own shoulders, and would have given the last one the same treatment as to the first one. Then you would have seen that in my view this world of yours is no better than the sneezing of a goat.” [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 3]

The commander of the faithful (God’s greetings and peace be upon him) has acted on what he has said. After Muslims gathered around his house and demanded that he accept the caliphate, Ali ibn Abi Talib was in a quandary: on the one hand, he was indifferent to the pleasures of life. All the lures of life that were attractive to the people were not attractive to him. People kill for power. They commit crimes for power. Telling lies, using deception and adopting a hypocritical outlook are measures which people have no scruples over, but from the viewpoint of the Commander of the Faithful, power in itself is something of little value. He would look at it as a trifle, something to despise and to turn one’s back on.

But on the other hand, the Commander of the Faithful would think about people’s rights. If he did not accept the caliphate, then who would do so and who would give life to people and to Muslims? Who would put an end to discrimination and to class inequalities? Who would take away usurped properties from usurpers and give them back to their rightful owners? Who would fight against oppressors? Why would he ignore this great right of individuals? That is why he accepted caliphate.

He said, “If people had not come to me and supporters had not exhausted the argument and if there had been no pledge of Allah with the learned to the effect that they should not acquiesce in the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressed…” The hands of these people are tied. Those who are ignorant are not equal to those who are well-informed. Woe to those who know and who do not act according to their duties. One of the greatest duties of the learned is to advise those who are ignorant so that everyone will raise their awareness. This is what Islam wants.

Islam wants the ignorant to raise their awareness with the help of the learned so that everyone becomes wise and so that the entire world of Islam and the entire Islamic community take action together and move forward. It will not forgive the ignorant for remaining ignorant and it will particularly not forgive the learned for failing to act and to raise the awareness of the ignorant.

Allah has pledged the learned and the wise to do what? Please listen carefully, “To the effect that they should not acquiesce in the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressed.” This pledge is of two parts: God has pledged the learned and the well-informed not to endure the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressed. All the wise, all the learned and all-wise personalities in the world are responsible for acting on this obligation. These are the words of the Commander of the Faithful.

The Commander of the Faithful says that he has accepted the caliphate because of that pledge. Allah has pledged him and has obliged him not to endure that and not to sit silent. God has asked him not endure the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressor. He has asked him not to allow some people to oppress others. The Commander of the Faithful accepted the caliphate with such conditions. If it had not been for those conditions, “I would have cast the rope of Caliphate on its own shoulders.” He says that he would have abandoned it downright. This is the way of the Commander of the Faithful.

We people should know that the Shias of Ali have the most responsibilities. Why is that? It is because they have such a wise leader and because everything has been taught to him. The claim to be a Shia brings about certain responsibilities. Those who claim to be following the Imams have bigger responsibilities and their scholars have even bigger responsibilities. How can one speak of Islam and then fail to adjust one’s individual and social life according to Islam and to Islamic rules? How can we claim to be the followers of Ali without knowing and speaking the truth? That is why whenever you look at history, you see that Shia ulama, the learned, wise personalities and those who really deserved being called the followers and successors of Ali always stood against dominant and oppressive powers. This has been the case since the time of the Imams (greetings be upon him) until today – our era.

The power which has stood up against deviation and chaos throughout history – today, it is doing the same as well – is the power of knowledge, religious awareness and the power of obeying the Quran. And that is that. Those societies which benefit from religion, the Quran and particularly Ali, are better, more eloquent, more solid and better armed against different kinds of chaos and deviation. If there is deviation and chaos in society, wherever this deviation and chaos exists – in whichever corner of society – that corner and that section is as distant from religion as the magnitude of that deviation and chaos. That corner is foreign to religion.

How close to Alavi rules is our society, our country, our environment, and we people who claim to be Shias and to be the followers of Ali? To what extent can we see justice and equality in it? To what extent, can we see freedom of expression in it? How many thinkers and broad-minded personalities have the right to think and to express their viewpoints? Today, in our own time, our great scholars both in Iran and outside Iran, great Marja taqlid and great scholars, all say the same thing. This is what they are saying to the ruling class of Iran.

You have heard about the recent events. These are the events that should be brought up in Friday prayers. One of the duties of Friday prayer leaders is to bring them up. They are obliged to let the public opinion know about these events. I have nothing new to say in this regard. I have no piece of news which you are unaware of. What I know is what you already know: there is a tumultuous situation and there are volleys of complaints. The point is that people are dissatisfied. They are making certain complaints and saying certain things. All Muslims are responsible for knowing what these protesters are saying even if they are not part of them. We wish to know what these protestors are saying. I deem it absolutely necessary to raise two points here and I want you brothers and sisters to listen:

The first point is that unlike what our press – which is unfortunately made up of mercenaries in its entirety –  and what our means of mass communication say, the people who have organized these protests throughout Iran are not a minority, rather they are a majority. In Iran, every move which ulama make is followed by the people. The Shia ulama are the manifestation of popular attention, demands and motives. You people who live in this city are muqalids just like the other 35 million people who live in this country.

What does “taqlid” mean? It means obeying and emulating a religious scholar. This is something that is corroborated with an understanding about the Iranian lifestyle. An Iranian individual does not live without taqlid. From whom do you do taqlid? Do you do taqlid of such and such an intellectual, engineer or politician? Not in any way. You do taqlid of a religious scholar, reference point and clergy. If anyone wishes to know whether this movement, this uprising, this protest, this silence – whatever it is – and every incident that takes place in Iran belongs to the minority or the majority, they should see if ulama are part of that movement or not. In every move where ulama are present, the people form the majority.

The reason is that whenever they sent a message, published a declaration or invited the people to something, large groups of people responded to and accepted their call. Why do some people say and why do newspaper echo the statement that the protesters are a minority composed of only a few thousand individuals? This is a lie. On the contrary, they are a majority of millions. They are the Muslims and Shias of this country. What minority are you speaking about? It is the people opposed to them who are the minority. Those who cannot tolerate the protestors and their statements are the minority. The protesters are the majority. This is the first point.

The second point is: what is the motive behind these movements, these demonstrations, these rallies, these minbars taken by the ulama, scholars, teachers and great marja taqlids – who deliver speeches and publish manifestos? What is the motive behind them? This question should be put to those people themselves. They themselves have clarified this in their declarations, slogans, comments and speeches. They say that there should be Islam in this country, that the Quran should rule over this country and that the people should be allowed to be Muslims in this country. That is it.

No one is allowed to be a Muslim. Various propaganda efforts, vanity, obligatory perversion and compulsory corruption do not allow the people to behave the way Islam wants. They are drowning our boys and girls in the swamp of perversion. These television channels are channels of corruption which are there in our houses! These provocative novels, these hideous colorful press, these false promotions and these symbols of luxury and self-indulgence which are inundating our country, these fashion styles which are imposed on our boys and girls without any harness, these truthful tongues which are increasingly silenced and muffled and the false words which are easily promoted without any restraint do not allow individuals to remain Muslims: “When there is too much mud, even the elderly and seniors will slip”[from the Golestan of Sa’adi].

They are doing something to even make our elderly and steadfast individuals slip, let alone our youth. This is the gist of the matter. The ulama are saying the same thing. Muslim people are saying the same thing. They are merely saying that in this society and country which refers to itself as a “Muslim society” the people should live the life of a Muslim. Islamic rules should be observed. There should be freedom. There should be a healthy society.

They gathered together in a certain place, in a certain mosque and they chanted slogans in the name of a certain scholar and Marja taqlid whom they loved. However, they responded to them with bullets! The people did not have any security for what they wanted to say and express. Later, ulama protested why they were killing the people, but this has continued non-stop until today. This is the truth of the matter.

The issue is not about vandalism. The issue is not about some individuals who have returned to Iran from abroad. The issue is not about a minority, rather the issue is about what the Muslim people of this country are saying.

The youth, the elderly, the people working in the bazaar, academic personalities, the clergy, seminarians, preachers and everyone else – even government employees, the military and so on and so forth – have joined this public demand which exists throughout Iran. Everyone has followed the ulama. Everyone who says daily prayers, who engages in fasting, who has gone on a hajj pilgrimage and who does taqlid the ulama has joined them on this unified path. Some people took action and some did not, but they shared the same views. This is not a minority. Which minority are you speaking about?

Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad and his household and by Your grace and generosity, we ask you to eliminate the difficulties of Muslim people and to untie the tight knots which cannot be undone except with the acumen of well-intentioned and well-informed individuals and the determination of Muslim people

I seek Allah’s protection from Satan the Rejected

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful,

Say: I seek refuge with the Lord-Nurturer of Mankind,

The King of Mankind

The God of Mankind

From the mischief of the whisperer of evil, who withdraws after his whisper -

He who whispers into the hearts of Mankind -

Among jinn and among men [The Holy Quran, 114]