Hujjat al-Islam Zia Abadi

We object to Western logic concerning women: They oppress women

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on February 3, 2021, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, via video conference on the occasion of the birthday anniversary of Hazrat Fatimah Zahra (greetings be upon her) and with the participation of a number of panegyrists of the Ahlul Bayt.

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 pure household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.

Allah, send as many greetings to Fatima, her father, her husband and her children as Your knowledge encompasses.

I wish to congratulate all you dear ones who are present at this meeting – in particular, the dear brothers who sang for us as I really enjoyed their performance: I only regret that it was short and I wish we could have benefitted from your performance two, three times more than this - on the birthday anniversary of Siddiqat al-Taherah (greetings be upon her), on the birthday anniversary of our magnanimous Imam and on the ten-day Fajr ceremony.

I have written down a few points, but I will not be able to discuss them all because of lack of time. I will raise a few points about Siddiqat al-Taherah (greetings be upon her). Then, I will discuss an issue about women’s and mother’s day – this day has been aptly named as women’s day and mother’s day – and I will say a few things about the fortunately increasing phenomenon of panegyrics in the country.


Fatimah Zahra’s (greetings be upon her) lofty position

Regarding Hazrat Zahra (greetings be upon her), even if we adopt an ordinary worldly outlook – perceptive, mystic and spiritual eyes might see other things, of course – we see that that great personality was the Holy Prophet’s cherished daughter: The Holy Prophet would kiss her hands and would stand up in front of her. Before every trip, the last place he would visit was Zahra’s house and he would depart on his trip from that place. And whenever he returned, the first place that he would visit was Zahra’s house. She was such a daughter.

On the other hand, she enjoyed the position of infallibility. This is an astonishing and extraordinary position. Moreover, she was on par with Ali ibn Abi Talib. That is while Ali ibn Abi Talib is so great that after the Holy Prophet’s time, the world has not seen anyone like him. Fatimah Zahra (God’s greetings be upon her) was the wife of such a personality and she is on the same level as he is. Besides, she is the mother of four shining suns, two of whom are infallible Imams. She is also the direct descendant of the Holy Prophet’s blessed line. Today, after the passage of 1,400 years, millions of individuals throughout the world are proud of this line. She was the first person in that blessed line.

Her life was completely compatible with the date when the Holy Prophet rose to prophethood. In other words, a little after the Holy Prophet’s be’that [rise to prophethood], she was born and a little after the Holy Prophet’s demise – the end of be’that – her sun would set. In other words, her life is completely compatible with the time of be’that. During her childhood, she felt and endured the hardships as a result of spending time in the Valley of Abi Talib. In her childhood, she entered the difficult arenas of life: She would miss her mother, which is really difficult for a girl at her age, but as well as enduring those sufferings, she carries out a big task: soothing and consoling the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet had lost both Khadijah and Abi Talib and therefore, he needed a person by his side. It was his daughter who would console him. This consolation continued to be offered until he went to Madinah and until he engaged in the Battle of Uhud and the Battle of the Trenches and in many other places. The Holy Prophet said: “Fatimah was like a mother for her father.”

Later on, she had to deal with the hardships stemming from the hijra period during which she was subject to difficult tests. After that, she married Ali ibn Abi Talib and had to endure many hardships as he was constantly engaged in the arena of jihad. Then she faced the difficulty of raising four unique children in the whole history. Later, she witnessed the loss of her first dear one after the Holy Prophet’s demise: Mohsen, her son, and ultimately, she herself was martyred a few months after the Holy Prophet.


Zahra’s life was the manifestation of the loftiest human concepts about women

Her 18-year life was full of important events. She was the manifestation of the loftiest human and Islamic concepts about women. We should pay attention to these concepts. Her lesson was about these matters: Some Islamic concepts are particular to a group of people: concepts such as motherhood, wifehood, being the lady of the house and raising children. Hazrat Fatimah Zahra (God’s greetings be upon her) was the epitome of all these concepts. In the area of raising children and of cooperating with her husband and in areas which involve common duties for men and women – areas such as serving God which is a great responsibility – Fatimah Zahra’s (God’s greetings be upon her) status was an extraordinarily important and impressive status. Imam Hassan Mujtaba (greetings be upon him) says, “On Friday eve, my mother was awake until dawn praying. Whenever I listened, I heard that she was praying for others. In the morning, I said, ‘Mother, you were praying for others, but you did not pray for yourself.’ She answered, ‘Son, first others, then us.’

In Sura “Hal Ata” [Sura Al-Insan], there is an ayah which says, “We feed you for the sake of Allah alone” [The Holy Quran, 76: 9]. I consider this a lesson for the Islamic Ummah, the Islamic community and the Islamic Republic: A lesson about the sincerity of one’s intentions. Hassan Basri – one of the eight ascetics who had issues with Ahlul Bayt – says, “No one in the Ummah was more pious than Fatimah. She would stand up during prayers for such a long time that her feet would swell.” This sentence does not mean that there were few individuals like her. No, in Arabic, this means that no one was like her in terms of worshiping God. This was said by Hassan Basri. He did not see Fatima Zahra’s time, but when he says this with absolute confidence, it shows that it was a clear truth that had been stated by everyone.

She performed her religious duties, she enjoined to do good and did it diligently. In other words, she participated in an arena that was supposed to determine the fate of the Islamic Ummah and in that arena, Fatimah Zahra had a spectacular presence with her stormy sermons. This is the comprehensive roadmap for women’s identity in Islam: being a good mother and a good wife and fighting in the way of God and at the same time being the lady and manager of the house and at the same time: being pious and worshiping Allah the Exalted. Ultimately, Fatimah Zahra (God’s greetings be upon her) showed that women can achieve the lofty position of infallibility. These were the characteristics of that great personality.

Notice that that exemplary and unique family – the husband being Ali, Fatima Zahra being the wife, and the children being Imam Hassan, Imam Hussein, Zaynab and Umm-e Kulthum with their particular qualities – is a family which has been described by the Quran in the following manner: “Say, ‘No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin’” [The Holy Quran, 42: 23]. It is about showing love for that family. Love means solidarity, cooperation and sympathy. This is the meaning of showing one’s love for that family. Notice that cooperating and sympathizing with that family and their slogans will help the Islamic Ummah reach the peak. This sincere service for that family– which is their slogan – is something that we should pursue.

I will tell you that sometimes hearts become perplexed and worried about certain matters, but I would tell them that they should not become worried because the signs of this love are fortunately completely tangible in the Islamic government and in the Islamic Republic. The existence of a basiji movement and

spirit, the services of nuclear martyrs while the people do not know about them in any way, the continuous efforts made by jihadi camps, and the sincere scientific and practical endeavors of thousands of young forces throughout the country in cultural, social and technical fronts are the exquisite manifestations of following the same roadmap drawn by the Commander of the Faithful and Fatimah Zahra (greetings be upon her) family. Lately, on the issue of the coronavirus, we were witness to one of the most beautiful reflections of following this example through the efforts made by physicians and nurses of the country.


The Islamic Republic and its outlook of respect towards women versus the western outlook of objectifying women

Well, regarding women and mothers, the Islamic Republic's view and position on women is completely different from the common western view, which tries to spread it to the whole world with thousands of languages ​​and podiums. The opposite is the viewpoint of the Islamic Republic. The viewpoint of the Islamic Republic is the view of honoring and respecting women. The opposite point is the western view of women which considers women as objects and tools. There is no respect for women in the western logic, western philosophy and methodology, and western lifestyle. You have witnessed that one of the highest-ranking female government and military officials announced just a few months ago that she had been raped and sexually harassed. [Martha McSally, a former US Senator who said that during the time when she served in the air force, she had been sexually harassed] in other words, even women of high administrative, social, and political positions were harmed by the western logic about women and they are not safe from it.

Islam considers men and women to be equal in terms of human values: “For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant…” [The Holy Quran, 33: 35]. Muslim men and women are not different from one another in terms of divine and human values. They have common duties such as enjoining to do good, rendering services and doing jihad in the way of God. Each of these duties is somehow shared by both men and women and they are not particular to men or to women. And each has particular duties: women have particular duties and men also have particular duties and Allah the Exalted has created their bodies and their souls in line with these duties. So, this is the viewpoint of Islam and the Islamic Republic towards women and we are proud of it. We are completely against the western logic, methodology and lifestyle about women and we believe that they are oppressing women.


Women’s growth and progress thanks to the Islamic Republic

Western propaganda massively promotes the idea that the Islamic perspective hinders women’s growth and development. This is a clear lie and a completely biased statement. In our country, at no point in history, neither in the past nor in the era of westernization, did we have so many educated women active in social, cultural and scientific areas. We did not have all these women capable of influencing the social destiny, we did not have all these women with the power to understand and analyze political affairs, and we did not have so many female writers, female translators and female artists in the true sense of the word. All these have been achieved thanks to the Islamic Republic and the viewpoint of Islam on women, which is based on respect.

Now, I deem it necessary to express my respect for martyrs’ mothers and wives in two different generations: one during the Sacred Defense Era and the other during the defense of the Holy Shrines. In those eras, martyrs’ wives and mothers played a really determining and unique role and one should bow down before them in respect. Unfortunately, there are few artistic productions about these dear and great personalities. This is an extraordinarily outstanding capacity for which there is more room for work.


The strongest foundation for building humans exists in the warm and blessed family center

Some say that the hijab hinders a woman’s growth and advancement. No, it is the other way around because hijab prevents those useless ostentations that prevent a woman from moving forward. Today, we have thousands of great and prominent women in various scientific, practical, social, political and technical fields, all of whom are living by wearing a complete hijab. Well, when we look at women in this way, their role in the family becomes also prominent: Their role as a mother, a wife, the lady of the house and the like. This is what is becoming less and less important in the west. The family is declining in the west. The family is a warm and blessed center in which the strongest foundations of human education are laid. It is in the center of family that the first and most important foundations of human spiritual and intellectual education are established. Home is the best place for the comfort of body and soul, it is the best center for relieving the fatigue of body and soul, it is the most real environment for intimacy. No intimacy is imagined or exists in any environment as much as in the family and between the mother, children, the father and the wife in the family.

Who is the pivot in this blessed center? The mother. Who is the main element? The mother. Who is the center of the circle? The mother. The mother is the pivot of the family. Western propaganda machines and unfortunately, some westernized figures inside our own country are trying to undermine this. They either try to make the people misunderstand this or they avoid showing the mother’s role at all. Housewives and those who do not work outside home have rendered the greatest services! It is necessary to appreciate the value of those women who have preferred to be housewives. Although women have had, do have and will have duties outside home and although there is nothing wrong with this, their most important service is attending to household duties.


The importance of timely marriage, having children and increasing the population

Well, now that we are discussing the issue of family, I wish to say something about marrying at an appropriate age and without any delay. You dear panegyrists, who are an important and valuable medium in our country – later on, I will expand on this matter – should promote these issues. Marrying on time and without any delay is a necessary task. Having children and increasing the population is an important and fundamental responsibility that should be carried out. Both of these issues – early and timely marriage and increasing the population – is one of the vital needs that the country has in the present time and also in the future. Well, these concepts should be given a due place in your panegyrics. Of course, I wanted to discuss these issues with more details, but because there is no time and we are close to noon, I am mentioning them briefly and quickly.


Panegyrics is a special and unique artistic phenomenon

Let us turn to the issue of panegyrics. Panegyrics is a special and unique artistic phenomenon which has no peers anywhere else in the world. Of course, in western and non-western countries, they have concerts and occasions like that, but it is radically different from panegyrics. Managing a group of participants and managing eulogy is a wonderful thing. Fortunately, its best and most numerous example exists in our country. Of course, this phenomenon exists, more or less, in some other countries, but fortunately its perfect example exists in our country. The comprehensiveness, media influence and social popularity of this particular art do not exist anywhere else the way it exists in our country.

First of all, panegyrics is a combination of several arts: the art of poetry, the art of singing, the art of managing a group and a ceremony, the art of efficiently conveying the message to the audience in an artistic and innovative manner and the art of having a good voice. This is the artistic aspect of panegyrics. Another aspect is the content of your eulogy which is a combination of thinking, feelings and emotions, religious, historic and social information and familiarity with the needs that the audience has. Notice that in today’s performances – which were very good examples of panegyrics – one’s viewpoint about the affairs of the world and our own country was accompanied by religious and Islamic teachings and this is an easy task to panegyrists. It is second nature to them and it shows the outstanding nature of this art.

The subject matters that panegyrists work on is the best or one of the best subject matters. This is because panegyrists praise the best role models of the universe – praising Muhammad and his household (greetings be upon them) and repeating their lessons and evoking their memory. With what you are doing, you constantly evoke their memory and do not let them be consigned to oblivion. You draw people’s sentiments to their lesson, their words and their lifestyle whether the occasion is about their birth or their martyrdom. Therefore, the subjects that panegyrists discuss are really outstanding subjects.

Another important task that you carry out is creating a culture. In other words, reviving the memory and names of the Imams (greetings be upon them) and the Holy Prophet (greetings be upon him and his household) is an act of creating a culture in society and of promoting the ideas of those great personalities. This is a very good task. This is in fact expanding the Nabawi, Alawi and Fatimi lifestyle. You are promoting their lifestyle through your endeavor. Therefore, the issue of panegyrics is a very important issue and an outstanding and valuable phenomenon. Fortunately, it is growing on a daily basis. In other words, this phenomenon is growing in our country each and every day.


A few words of advice to panegyrists: 1: Adopting a serious approach in creating a culture and in promoting the ideological and cultural principles of Islam.

I have a few words of advice to you dear panegyrists. These are my last statements today. The first word of advice is that you should take this great and heavy responsibility seriously. You should take seriously the responsibility to promote and to expand the ideological and cultural principles of Islam. This is very important as it is the basis of your work. You should set this as the pivot of your work. So, the first piece of advice is to promote important ideas, words of advice and insightful lessons with artistic tools, skills and innovations which are available to all of you.


2. Preserving the form and spirit of panegyric

The second word of advice is that you should preserve the form of panegyrics. Panegyrics and the management of the group and the occasion should not be mistaken with similar tasks and jobs which are done here and there. The form of panegyrics should be preserved. You can benefit from all artistic tools that I referred to – your good voice, good singing and good songs – but you should never try to use forms outside panegyrics. You should avoid these forms and you should not allow heyats to turn into other occasions and environments. Heyats should remain heyats. This is the second point and I hope that you will carefully pay attention to this issue, God willing.


3. Precision and the promotion of religious and historic teachings and information

The next word of advice is precision. You should try to convey the message in a precise manner. What should be said – about the Holy Prophet’s life, historic lessons, ideologic and religious points and elegy – should be said in a precise, reasonable and solid manner. Of course, this applies more to those poets who compose poems for the purpose of eulogy. They should have adequate religious and historic knowledge and they should have a correct understanding of the Holy Prophet’s life and of religious teachings.


4. Promoting Islamic manners in society and avoiding cursing and slandering

The last word of advice is that you should promote Islamic manners in society. My dear ones, one of the most important points is observing Islamic code of conduct in speaking. Unfortunately, this code of conduct is becoming undermined these days with the expansion of cyberspace. Slandering and cursing should come to an end in society. Today, some people are showing negligence in this regard and this is increasing in society, in particular in some media – whether audio media or audiovisual media – and specially in cyberspace. With your words and your methods, you should do something to avoid expanding such slandering and cursing. The school of the Imams (greetings be upon them) and the Alawi and Fatimi school are free of such impurities.

Notice that Fatima Zahra (God’s greetings be upon her) delivered two stormy sermons. They were two stormy sermons in the real sense of the word: one was delivered at the mosque among a large number of men and another was addressed to the women of Madinah which is full of important points and protests. In those sermons, she reminded everyone of significant Islamic concepts: concepts that she felt were in danger. However, in those two important, great and passionate sermons, there is not even one term of abuse and insult. All the words were firm and carefully chosen.

You should act like this. In your statements and speeches, you should not make ill-advised remarks, you should not backbite and slander and you should not use terms of abuse and slander. You should teach these issues to the people, both in words and in practice, and pay attention that they are really important issues. The Commander of the Faithful said: “I dislike you starting to abuse them” [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 206]. When some people in the camp of the Commander of the Faithful began to curse the army of Muawiya, he asked them to stop it: “I dislike you starting to abuse them.” This is Fatimi and Alawi behavior.

I will tell you that fortunately today, the promotional organizations of the country are moving towards perfection and transcendence. Good tasks are being carried out in deep intellectual and scholarly areas in Islamic seminaries. Fortunately, we have witnessed the manifestation and reflection of this in the area of panegyrics. In last year’s month of Muharram and Ramadan, during which the coronavirus had already spread, we witnessed that you made good moves and presented beautiful works.


The increase in the Islamic Republic’s power of confronting the enemy

I hope that you will continue to have the same performance, to promote Islamic teachings, and to be more successful on a daily basis, God willing. You should know that the enemies will not be able to do a damn thing in confronting the Islamic Republic, as was mentioned by some of our brothers. Thankfully, Islam and the Islamic Republic are gaining more power and strength, on a daily basis, both in spiritual and material areas. Of course, there are certain problems, but these problems are ups and downs that will always exist in our social life. Some people are rendering services and some are losing opportunities, but overall, our movement is progressing, God willing.

I ask Allah the Exalted to bestow success on you. I will pray for you and I ask the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) to pray for you, as his prayers will surely be answered. I hope that you too will pray for me and I hope that Allah the Exalted will make the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam and the pure souls of our great martyrs satisfied and pleased with us.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings


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