by Sayyid Ali Khamenei (Islamic Movement, Crescent International Vol. 32, No. 8, Rabi' al-Thani, 1424)
Following the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (ra) began the practice of issuing an annual message to the hujjaj. It has been continued by his successor, AYATULLAH SAYYID ALI KHAMENEI. This is a translation of his message to this year’s hujjaj.
In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful
The gathering of millions of Muslims during Hajj is a wonderful and unparalleled phenomenon. All Muslim communities from all over the world and from all social strata gather here for several days at the House of God and the birth-place of Islam and its Prophet (saw) to perform the rites of Hajj. These observances, full of grandeur and meaning, are for Muslim communities the practical and allegorical tutorials of the hearts’ communion with God Almighty, their sense of empathy, of a constant movement around the axis of tawhid (Divine unity), of collective effort and endeavour, of rejection of Satan and disavowal of taghut (false gods), of remembrance, supplication and humility before God, and of the sense of honour and grandeur under the banner of Islam.
Compassion and co-existence amongst brethren, firmness and fortitude in confrontation with the enemies, liberation from the accretions of egoism to merge in the ocean of Divine honour and greatness–these are qualities that become embodied during the Hajj.
The Hajj represents a model for the Islamic Ummah, which teaches the kind of conduct to be adopted by this Ummah for its felicity. One may summarize Hajj as a collective, purposeful, conscious and versatile movement in a single direction. The basic thrust of this movement is remembrance of God and harmony among God’s creatures. Its purpose and goal is establishment of a strong spiritual bulwark for a life of human felicity:
Allah has made the Ka’bah, the Sacred House, a [means of] support for mankind, and [likewise] the sacred month, the offering and the garlands… (5:97).
Today the Ummah stands in need of a great purposeful movement in its real life corresponding to the model of Hajj, and one and all, including Muslim states and communities, share this responsibility.
The Muslim countries have suffered irreparable losses during the last century. The tide of colonialism and expansionism released by the Westerners inflicted great damages on Muslim lands, whose wealth and material resources had made them the target of the aggressions of the colonial states.
The outcome of this plunder for the Muslims was political and economic slavery and backwardness in scientific and material spheres, and exploitation of the material and human resources of Muslims for the colonialists, who sought to enhance their wealth and power by usurpation, oppression, warmongering and violence.
After a long time the Muslim peoples woke up. The tide of Muslim awakening that spread through the Islamic world, and the struggle for freedom and justice, opened new horizons and, finally, a new era dawned on the Islamic world with the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran.
Obviously, the world’s centres of power and wealth will not submit to truth and justice so simply. The Muslim peoples have a long and tough–though finally a happy and rewarding–journey before them. But if those who travel on this road are steadfast, they will rescue themselves and their future generations from the humiliation of political, economic and cultural slavery and backwardness, and will attain to a refreshing life under the shade of Islam.
This path is a clear one. It is one of struggle in the fields of science and politics, and of a powerful defence of truth and justice. In this arena, the Muslims defend their own honour, dignity and usurped rights. The human conscience and innate sense of justice are a keen and unsparing judge who sets the seal of approval on this struggle of the oppressed and the wronged, and God gives the good news of its definite success:
Those who are fought against are permitted [to fight] because they have been wronged, and Allah is indeed most powerful in their aid.... (22:39)
Global imperialism (ie the closely-knit network of oil-cartels, arms-manufacturers, world zionism, and their ally governments) is threatened by the awakening of the Ummah, and is in a state of aggression accompanied by panicky reactions. This aggression, which has political, media, military and terrorist aspects, is today clearly visible in the violent and unabashed conduct and statements of the militarists in charge of the US government and the zionist regime.
Palestine, oppressed and drenched in blood, is a daily victim of the most ruthless measures of Israel. The people of Palestine are made the victims of murder, plunder, destruction and torture, humiliation and insults, and suffer every kind of hardship merely for the crime of having the courage to make a serious demand for their rights after half a century.
The people of Iraq receive threats of war because the US considers it necessary to establish itself in Iraq and take the destiny of its people into its hands and, as a consequence, the destinyof all countries of the Middle East, in order to establish its control over the flow of oil, to plunder the remaining oil resources of this region, and to establish an effective presence close to the borders of Palestine, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
The people of Afghanistan were made to feel the brunt of American and British bombs and weapons of mass-destruction for the past year and several months, and to suffer the humiliating presence of their occupying forces because the US government has chosen to define its illegitimate interests in these terms.
The greed of this imperialist and anti-human network knows no bounds. During the last fifty years the United States wanted to be the master of Latin American countries; now it wants to be the absolute sovereign and dictator of the Muslim countries of the region. The extravagant international objectives and plans of the United States are all indicative of this arrogant as well as stupid ambition.
There is no doubt that the United States and its allies will fail and once again the world will be witness to the collapse of a powerful and drunken empire, even as their calculations have came out wrong in Palestine and Afghanistan. However, if the Ummah, the states and the peoples, do not make timely, wise and courageous decisions, they will suffer more heavy damages which will take a long time to remedy.
In the recent bout of its insane measures, which began after the strongly suspect incident of September 11, the United States has also launched a propaganda offensive. With the pretexts of defence of democracy and war against terrorism it addresses a tirade to Muslim nations, condemning chemical arms and weapons of mass-destruction. Does it not cross their minds that the Muslim will ask which governments and companies have supplied these arms to Iraq in the first place? As 13,000 of the 19,000 chemical bombs, which according to them were formerly in the stockpiles of the Ba’thist regime of Iraq, were dropped on the heads of the Iranians, there must still exist 6,000 of them. You are justifying your future attack on Iraq on this basis. But from where did the Iraqi regime get these weapons and chemical arms? Who else but the western allies shares the guilt for this catastrophe?
Do they not reflect that the claims of war against terrorism and accusing an unknown and obscure group cannot deceive Muslims who witness the United States’ support of the most barbaric terrorists of the world, the Israelis? This expensive and insane propaganda has led the United States to become a prime symbol of mendacity, deceit and chicanery in the eyes of the Muslim peoples.
The arrogant and imperialist United States has not realized its objectives in Palestine and Afghanistan, and its stupendous financial and human outlays have brought it nothing but loss. It will be the same in the future, God willing.
Also, in the case of Iraq, the US claims that its objective is elimination of Saddam and the Ba’thist regime. This is, of course, a lie. Its real aim is to appropriate OPEC and to swallow up the region’s oil resources, to offer closer support to Israel and to plot more closely against Islamic Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. What is certain is that in case of American control of Iraq, with or without war, the primary victim of this hostile occupation will be the Iraqi people and the honour, dignity and wealth of that country. But if the people of Iraq and their neighbours are vigilant, the US will not attain these objectives either, God willing.
Imperialism knows that the source of the resistance of Muslim lands and peoples is Islam and its teachings. This is the reason why they have started a wholesale psychological war against Islam and Muslims. After the incident of September 11, wherein innumerable circumstantial indications point the finger of accusation towards clandestine zionist networks, the names of Islam and Muslims were put on the list of the main suspects, and repeated day and night. In Afghanistan, America and other places, a number of Muslims were taken captive and dispatched to prisons and torture cells. Neither were the charges against these individuals established, nor was any suspect of note identified of those who fell into the hands of the Americans. However, the psychological war against Islam and Muslims did not end, nor does it seem likely to end in the near future.
Islam is a religion of freedom, justice and quest for truth. An Islamic ‘democracy’ is the true government of the people, which is established on the basis of faith and the sense of religious duty. As witnessed in the case of Islamic Iran, it works in a manner much more reliable, sincere and genuinely ‘democratic’ than in democracies such as the United States. The democracy bandied about by the Americans, and which they offer to Muslim and Arab countries, is as destructive as their bombs and missiles. When the enemy offers us even a date, one cannot be sure that it has not been poisoned. The Ummah has experienced the truth of this in Africa, the Middle East and West Asia repeatedly.
In this situation, the Ummah needs, more than ever before, to take lesson from the model of Hajj: a purposeful movement, versatile, aware and universal, in the direction of Qur’anic objectives on the straight path of Islam. God, the Most High, says:
Those who have faith fight in the way of Allah, and those who are faithless fight in the way of thetaghut. So fight the friends of Satan; indeed the stratagems of Satan are always flimsy. (4:76)
And God, the Most High, says:
Moses said to his people, ‘Turn to Allah for help and be patient. The earth indeed belongs to Allah, and He gives its inheritance to whomever He wishes of His servants, and the outcome will be in favour of the faithful.’ (7:128)
Wassalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
Sayyid Ali al-Husayni Khamene’i
Dhul Hijjah 5, 1423 / February 7, 2003.