Leader's Speech on the Occasion of Mab'ath

The following is the full text of the address delivered on July 30, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Leader of the Islamic Revolution on the occasion of Mab'ath.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I congratulate all those who seek justice and freedom in the world, the great Islamic Ummah, the faithful and dear Iranian nation, and you dear brothers and sisters who have attended this meeting on the occasion of this great Eid.

Remembering mab'ath is not limited to remembering a historical event only - this is the point we should keep in mind when remembering this great event, which is a precious memory for humanity. Rather, this glorious memory is in fact like repeating and reviewing an unforgettable lesson for the Islamic Ummah - the people, as well as the prominent figures and elites of the Islamic Ummah including politicians, scientists, and intellectuals. Secondly, it is an important lesson for all humans. Remembering mab'ath is like repeating a lesson, emphasizing a model, and reviewing an instructive event.

There are many aspects to this event, and in fact one has to talk for hours and write several books if one is to eloquently - even if briefly - talk about the different aspects of mab'ath. However, even when one briefly considers this event, there are many lessons to be learnt. If you look at the event, you will see that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), with a message that included everything humans needed for perfection, started his duty and began to promote Islam in a society that was devoid of the desired ideals.

The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) carried the message of knowledge, yet there was no knowledge in that society. He carried the message of justice, yet there was no trace of justice in that society and powerful people and bullying rulers dominated people's lives and possessions. He was the messenger of morality, lenience, forgiveness, justice, and kindness, yet that society was devoid of such characteristics in the real sense of the word. The society was full of unkind, bullying, immoral, ignorant, and prejudiced people who were unjustifiably arrogant and who had their hearts set on carnal desires.

It was in such tough and fanatic conditions and in such a dry desert that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) grew up. And this 13-year period finally ended in the establishment of the Prophet's rule. He formed a community on the basis of monotheism, knowledge, justice, morality, ethics, and generosity. He transformed humility into dignity and savagery into brotherhood. He turned fanaticism into tolerance and reasoning. He transformed a state of ignorance into knowledge. He built a strong and logical foundation on the basis of which Muslims could reach the peaks of global civilizations for centuries and could rise to new heights which were unprecedented in human history.

His rule did not last any more than ten years. You just see what proportion of a nation's lifespan could those 13 years and the following ten years constitute. It is like a moment which passes very quickly. During such a short time, a great movement was started which could well be said to have divided human history into two eras: the pre-Islamic era, and the post-Islamic era. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) pushed humanity forwards, strengthened the bases of morality, and left unforgettable lessons for all humans. You should consider the greatness of mab'ath from such a perspective.

There were of course a number of interrelated factors which led to this success. But this success was mainly due to the Prophet being full of spirituality, purity, loyalty, and relying completely on God. This was a major and decisive factor in his success. Prior to his prophethood, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) was the most knowledgeable and the wisest of the people of Mecca. He was the most generous, respectable, and decent person in the area where he lived.

Among those people, this prominent person enjoyed the blessing of God and the responsibility was put on his shoulders. This was because God had put him to the test before. God knew His servant and knew who He was assigning this responsibility to. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) stood firm. His resistance and his perseverance that was accompanied by a deep knowledge of the goal he was pursuing and of the path he was treading supported all the achievements of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and led to the success of this great movement. One who is right always wins but there are some prerequisites. In order for the right to win, one must defend it. To help righteousness win, one must persevere on the path of righteousness.

After the passage of three years or more, in the first phase of be'that, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) had managed to convert 30 or 40 people to Islam through his covert call to Islam. Then a divine order was issued - "Therefore declare openly what thou art commanded, and turn away from the polytheists." [The Holy Quran 15: 94] - requiring the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) to raise flag of Islam and to openly call people to Islam. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) did so and then the events that you have heard about took place. This struck terror into the hearts of the chiefs of Quraysh and the wealthy and powerful people. The first thing that they did was to try to tempt the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.). They went to Abi Talib and told him that if his nephew wanted leadership, they were prepared to grant the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) absolute authority over their community. "If he wants wealth, we will give him so much wealth that he becomes wealthier than all of us. If he wants to be a king, we will appoint him as our king. Just tell him to stop saying these things." Being concerned about the safety of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and his enemies' plots, Abi Talib went to him and told him the message of the chiefs of Mecca. He probably gave the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) some advice and recommended that he tone down his remarks to some extent. Maybe he told the Prophet (s.w.a.) that his dogged persistence was unnecessary. "Dear uncle, even if they place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left to prevent me from achieving this goal, I swear by Allah that I will not do as they say [and I will continue with my call to Islam] until God grants us victory over them or until we all get killed," [Speaking in Arabic] the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) replied.

Then the Prophet's (s.w.a.) eyes were filled with tears, and he got up to leave. Having observed this faith and steadfastness, Abi Talib was impressed and said "dear nephew, go and say whatever you like." [Speaking in Arabic]. He told him to pursue his goal. "I swear by God that I will not give you away, no matter what I receive in return." [Speaking in Arabic]. This steadfastness bred more steadfastness. This steadfastness on the part of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) strengthened the roots of steadfastness in the heart of Abi Talib. Pursuing the goals, not fearing the enemy, not being tempted by what the enemy has to offer, and not being dependant on the privileges that the enemy offers to prevent one from treading the path one believes in give rise to resistance, peace, trust in the path, the goal, and God who this goal belongs to. There were not more than 30 or 40 of them. These 30 or 40 people tolerated all those hardships and increased in number on a daily basis. Each day they were witness to what they did to Ammar and Bilal. They were witness to the torturing and martyrdom of Sumayyah and Yasir. They were witness to these things, but they still converted to Islam. That is the way righteousness is promoted. The mere raising of the flag in peace and security will not help promote righteousness. Righteousness will be promoted only when there is steadfastness and perseverance on the part of righteous people who believe in righteousness.

There is a verse in the Quran [48: 29] that says "Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those with him are firm against the disbelievers, compassionate among themselves." The phrase "firm against the disbelievers" does not mean that Muslims are involved in a constant war with the disbelievers. Rather, it means strength and solidity. Firm means solid here. This solidity may be manifested in a particular manner on the battlefield. It may also be manifested in another way when negotiating with the enemy. Just see how the Prophet (s.w.a.) talked to his enemies when it was necessary to do so. His plans were the embodiment of solidity, without any flaws. In the battle of Ahzab, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) entered into negations with the enemy. But it was not usual negotiations. The details of these negotiations are recorded in history. Battles and negotiations were both carried out in a solid manner. Cooperation was also carried out firmly. That is the meaning of the phrase "firm against the disbelievers".

The phrase "compassionate among themselves" means that Muslims are lenient with one another. Muslims do not treat each other firmly. It is time for expressing affections when Muslims are together.

The resistance at the beginning of be'that resulted in three years of unbelievable resistance in She'b-e Abi Talib. They lived in the sizzling sun in a valley near Mecca for three years. There were no plants and no water, and this is no joke. The Prophet (s.w.a.), Abi Talib, Khadijah, and all Muslims and their families lived in this valley - in the holes of the mountains. They had blocked all the ways so that they had no access to foodstuff. Sometimes when it was time for Hajj - in which, according to the rules of the Ignorance Era, no one was allowed to start a war - they were allowed to enter the town. But Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab, and other chiefs of Mecca had told their servants and children to pay twice the price and buy whatever the early Muslims needed to buy. They had been told to prevent Muslims from buying their requirements at a shop. It is no joke living in such difficult conditions for three years.

It is such resistance and the heart that relies on Allah that gives rise to such solidity and makes people be patient. Children cried through the night out of hunger. The sound of their crying could be heard in Mecca, and some of the kind-hearted disbelievers of Quraysh felt sympathetic towards them. But no one dared to help them due to their fear of the powerful. That was while the faith of the early Muslims whose children wasted away before their eyes - there were many people who died there, many were plagued with diseases, and many suffered from starvation - was not shaken.

The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) told his dear son, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, "...the mountains may be shaken, they may be removed, but your faith must not be shaken." That was the same piece of advice that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) gave in his testament. That is the way the Islamic Ummah must rise up. That is what the be'that of the Islamic Ummah means. That is the lesson that the Prophet (s.w.a.) taught us. That is what be'that teaches us.

It is no use sitting around and saying that Quranic verses were revealed or that Gabriel came and appointed Mohammad as the Prophet. It is no use rejoicing that a particular person converted to Islam and that another did not. The point is that we must learn lessons from this event - which gave rise to all the other events of the holy life of the Prophet (s.w.a.). All the years of his prophethood, which lasted for 23 years, are full of lessons for us.

Once I said that the life of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) must be studied "millimeter by millimeter". Every moment of his life embodied an event, a lesson, and a great manifestation of humanity. That is true of those 23 years of his prophethood. Our youth must go and read the biography of the Prophet (s.w.a.) from authoritative sources and familiarize themselves with the events. This Ummah with such grandeur - which still keeps presenting humanity with the best advice, the best solutions, the greatest lessons, and the best cure - started out, spread, and set its roots in this way. Otherwise, the mere fact that we are right will not push us forwards. Righteousness must be accompanied by steadfastness. I have said on many occasions that in the battle of Siffin the Commander of the Faithful said "one cannot bear this flag unless one is patient and has insight." Only those who have insight and know the goal and who are patient can bear this flag. Patience is the same as steadfastness and solidity. That is the lesson that be'that holds for us.

Our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) was a stream that branched off from the same bountiful spring. As a result, he was able to cause such a momentous event in the world. Our Imam's heart was similarly full of faith in his own path. "The Messenger believed in what was sent sown to him by God and all the believers believed in God, His angles, His Book, and His Messenger." [The Holy Quran 2: 285]. The Prophet (s.w.a.) himself was the first believer.

In our Revolution, the Imam was the first to believe in this path. And his heart was filled with more faith in this path and this goal than anyone else. He knew what he was doing. He was fully aware of the magnitude of the task. As a preliminary necessity, he had to stand firm by relying on Allah. He stood firm. As a result of his resistance, the youth of this nation were inspired with the power of resistance. When they saw this spring of patience and tranquility overflow and form a stream, the entire nation were also inspired by the power of resistance. They became the manifestation of the verse "He it is the one who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers that they might add faith to their faith." [The Holy Quran 48: 4]. When one's heart is inspired by this tranquility, one's faith increases. "And Allah's are the soldiers of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise" the verse continues. What are you afraid of? The soldiers of the heavens and the earth belong to Allah. If you stay with God, you will have the soldiers of the heavens and the earth at your command. These are divine laws.

Allah the Exalted created two things simultaneously: the world that is ruled by natural laws, and the laws of sharia - that is, a religion for the people serving as guidelines for their lives. These two were created at the same time, and they correspond to one another. If you act in accordance with divine laws - namely, the laws that have been specified by God in sharia - your lifestyle and behavior will correspond to the laws of nature. This is analogous to a ship that travels in the same direction as the wind, and the wind propels it forward. This is all analogous to a ship that moves in the same direction as the tides, and the flow of water helps it move forward.

The divine laws of nature will help those who act in accordance with them. However, this advantage will accrue to those who act. The Iranian people did make a move, and the divine laws of nature helped them. Otherwise, no one would have believed that the flag of Islam would be raised at the heart of the most strategic part of the world - that is, the Middle East - by a nation that had been under the rule of one of the governments that was very much dependant on the global arrogant powers, namely the Pahlavi regime. No one would have believed that the flag of Islam would be raised by a country in which the minds of intellectuals and elites had been contaminated by Western ideas, Western temptations, and carnal desires. Who would have thought that such a nation would call the Islamic Ummah to Islam? No one would have thought it was possible for such a nation to do these things, but the fact is that it did happen.

This means that when a group of people or a nation move on this path, the divine laws of nature help them move forward. This is not limited to Iran only. Today the entire world of Islam has awakened. Today the awareness of the entire Muslim world has been heightened. Once there was a common assumption that only powerful and bullying countries - represented by the US or the U.S.S.R. - had the capability to determine the course of events and that the politicians throughout the world had to follow suit. Nowadays, there is no such belief among the nations. This belief has also been seriously undermined among politicians and political elites. We must stand firm.

I assure the Iranian nation and the followers of the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) that steadfastness is the right option. Following its magnanimous Imam (r.a.), the Islamic Republic of Iran has chosen to stand firm. Not only did this steadfastness not harm us, but it also proved to be beneficial to us. All the mouthpieces of the arrogant powers pooled their resources and resorted to different types of fallacies to prevent the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic from supporting Palestinians. But our nation refused to give up. We will keep supporting the Palestinian nation.

The Palestinian nation is in the right. It has been oppressed. Shame on those who claim to support freedom and human rights. They claim to support human rights, yet they turn a blind eye to all the oppression that has afflicted the Palestinian nation. I wonder why they do not feel ashamed. Where in the world would a fair person stand so much oppression that is being imposed on the Palestinian nation - not as the owners of the country, but, say, even as an immigrant minority? Their houses are being demolished. Their youth are being killed. Their men are being imprisoned. They are constantly threatened. Their houses are being bombed. They are forced to suffer from starvation. They are under an economic blockade. Their gardens are being ruined, as are their lives. Who would stand all these things? Yet President Bush shamelessly claims that his administration is committed to freedom. You call this freedom? Shame on you, Bush. You call this support for freedom?

An entire nation is pressurized like that within its own territory. Yet the world powers constantly support the bully, the aggressor, the murderer, and the terrorist. They turn a blind eye to all the oppression that the Palestinian nation is suffering from, yet they claim to support freedom.

The Iranian nation is vigilant. The Iranian nation knows the truth. If you retreat a single step, the arrogant powers will take a step forward. That is the nature of the arrogant powers. It is wrong to imagine that the arrogant powers will shy away once we tone down our rightful stance and claims. Our retreat will not cause the arrogant powers to adopt a noble attitude and retreat. That is not the case.

If you retreat a single step, the arrogant powers will take a step forward. If you leave a stronghold, they will occupy it. The Islamic Ummah must adopt such a perspective on the affairs. The politicians of the Muslim world must consider the developments from this perspective. The Iranian nation is standing firm. It has declared its rightful stance. We want monotheism and unanimity. We want to serve God only, not the US. We do not want to serve the arrogant bullying powers. We do not want to serve the modern pharaohs, Abu Jahls, and Abu Lahabs. One may wonder who the modern Abu Jahl is. One may think that Abu Jahl is dead now, but we still have an Abu Jahl in the world.

Even now we have Abu Jahls and Abu Lahabs in the world. There are still brainless, ignorant people in the world who keep fanning the flames of discord. Modern Abu Jahls are those who make atomic bombs and threaten the entire world. Yet they pick on a nation that is trying to achieve nuclear energy, although they admit that this nuclear technology is to be used for generating electricity and for peaceful purposes. They want to stop us exactly because we intend to use the nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, which, they believe, will grant us further capabilities. That is what they want. You will lose if you give up your rights against these unreasonable and ignorant bullies who are impervious to logical reasoning. The Iranian nation has had the experience. We have had to deal with these things for 30 years. But we have managed to make genuine advances.

Today, the status of the Iranian nation is not comparable with its position 20 years ago. Its knowledge, technology, experience, skills, great national, social, and economic development in all areas, and power and influence in the region are not comparable with what it had 20 or 25 years ago. All these things are the result of this steadfastness. That is the lesson that be'that holds for us. Each and every one of us must know and understand this. We must familiarize ourselves with the historical events concerning the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.). We must realize that today is the time for the be'that of the Islamic Ummah.

Today the Islamic Ummah must feel that it is appointed by God [to do something]. The Islamic Ummah must move on in a vigilant and insightful manner. It must increase its knowledge, capabilities, and national and international Islamic solidarity. Monotheism must be of central importance to the Islamic Ummah.

That is the message of the Iranian nation, the Islamic Revolution, and the Islamic Republic. There are bright prospects for us. By Allah's favor, we know what we are doing. We know where we will end up, and we are well aware that we will reach our destination through moving towards our goals and being steadfast, not through stagnation or retrogression.

I hope that Allah the Exalted will bestow the blessings of the Prophet's (s.w.a.) be'that upon our honorable nation. I hope that He will increase the glory of the Islamic Ummah on a daily basis. I hope that God will make the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) pleased with us. I also hope that God Almighty will make the immaculate souls of our martyrs and our magnanimous Imam pleased with us.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings