by Sayyid Ali Khamenei (Islamic Movement, Crescent International Vol. 30, No. 2, Rabi' al-Thani, 1438)
In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. May blessings and peace be upon our Master, Muhammad, and the pure ones of his progeny.
Allah, the All-wise, says in the Qur’an:
“This ummah (community) of yours is a single ummah, and I am your Lord, so worship Me.” (X:XX)
Once again the Hajj season is back with its great pageant held yearly in the land of revelation and prophethood, once more with its wonderful and inspiring scenes. Like an ocean it receives the torrential streams of Muslim peoples from all over the world, giving a concrete expression to the solidarity and amity of the one Ummah under the banner of tawheed. The common sentiments of this huge congregation express the hopes, needs, problems and capacities of the great Ummah of Islam.
The Hajj grounds are now playing host to visitors from Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, the Indian subcontinent, North Africa, Turkey, Bosnia, and from all over Asia and Europe. Their eager hearts may be spokesmen of the heart of the Muslim Ummah. One of the purposes of Hajj is to bring about this nearness and exchange within the worldwide Muslim community.
The bond that connects all these hearts is the message that was first proclaimed in this land. It then spread throughout the world and history. It is the message of tawheed and wahdah, the unity of God and the unity of the Muslim ummah. Tawheed means negation of the lordship of tyrants and despots and rejection of the supremacy of wealth and might. The wahdah is expressive of the honour and power of Muslims. More than anything that may be said or written, the Hajj rehearses this eternal message every year in the form of its great congregation and sends it out to Muslims all over the world. Once again in the Hajj season it makes every Muslim, whatever part of the world he may inhabit, recognize the fact that the prestige and all-round success and welfare of Islamic countries can be attained only under the light of these two principles: tawheed in all its individual, social and political aspects, and wahdah in its correct, feasible sense in the contemporary world.
In the great Hajj congregation of this year one may receive scores of sweet and bitter reports from dozens of Islamic countries. Each of these messages creates a responsibility for other brothers, and together they set in perspective before us the realities faced by the Ummah.
There is the message of the people of Iraq, who face hardship, poverty and humiliating conditions because of the the wrongdoings of foreign intervention and the disruption caused by it, as well due to the dictatorship and unwisdom of its rulers. There is the message of the people of Afghanistan, the fruits of whose past struggles have been cast to the winds by prejudice and shortsightedness. There is the message of the people of Bosnia whose Islamic identity is threatened by the policies of de-Islamization pursued by the Americans and their allies. There is the call of the people of Palestine, who have firmly held up the proud banner of the intifada and blunted the sword of zionist oppression and cruelty with the blood of their youth. There is the message of the glorious resistance of the people of Lebanon, who have turned to a jest the myth of the invincibility of the usurpers of Palestine, making them accept humiliation and defeat. There are the messages from the Muslims of Central Asia, East Asia, Africa, the Muslim communities in Europe and the United States, each of which bring reports of their joys and sufferings, successes and hardships. Ultimately there is the message of the proud people of Iran, who with all their endurance, resourceful faith and daily accumulating experience in confronting hostilities and plots, convey to their admirers and enthusiasts their unshakable determination to establish a truly Islamic society.
The Muslim governments and states have a great responsibility in relation to these facts. The Islamic world is passing through a critical phase in its history. Admission of this responsibility and commitment to it can close a sorry chapter of weakness and misfortune in the history of Islam, and inaugurate another chapter of fame and greatness for the Islamic world and its material and intellectual glory.
The Western world, which has been an aggravating agent of the weakness and backwardness of the Islamic countries, is itself entrenched in great and insoluble problems. The corrosive influences of materialism and capitalism on the foundations of that hedonist civilization have become gradually evident. Step by step they expose the chronic maladies that have remained hidden under the glitter of industry and capital, giving warnings of an imminent crisis.
A breeze of awakening caresses the bruised and vexed face of the Islamic world. The signs of this awakening are visible in its different parts, especially in heroic Iran and in Lebanon and Palestine. The glow of hope illuminates the hearts of young people everywhere. The spell of indignity and the domination of the West has been broken. This opportunity has not been obtained easily and cheaply. Thousands of precious lives have been sacrificed for its sake. The road ahead is still a long and arduous one, but without uncertainty.
At the present time, the people of Palestine are in the forefront of opening this road and in advancing on it. We must all assist that brave and oppressed people. Other peoples and governments can fulfill their role in advancing on this road by helping the heroic people of Palestine.
Our enemies, whose illegitimate interests are threatened by the awakening of the Muslim Ummah, are fighting our rising tide of awareness by the weapon, above all others, of psychological warfare. It consists of creation of despair and hopelessness among Muslims, affronts to Muslim identity, flaunting of its material power and capacities. Thousands of propaganda means are active today, and will be tomorrow, to make Muslims lose hope in their future and to allure them towards a future that suits the enemy’s evil intentions. This cultural propaganda and psychological warfare have been the West’s most effective tool in its determination to dominate Muslim countries. The targets of this barrage have been the intelligentsia and educated elite in the first place, and then the mass of the people. Struggle against this ploy is not possible except by rejection of the West’s domineering and self-imposing culture. Western culture needs to be challenged and deconstructed by our intelligentsia and scholarly elites. Its useful elements may be absorbed and its harmful, destructive and corrupting elements need to be wiped out from the mind and practice of Muslim societies. The criterion of judgement in this process of purification is the Islamic culture and the fruitful, guiding and resourceful ideas of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. This is a basic part of the all-round and promising struggle that lies before the scholars of religion, the intelligentsia and the political elite throughout the world.
With the hope that the Hajj this year will make everyone more resolute in advancing on this worthy and blessed path, I plead to Allah, the Most Exalted, to bless all the pilgrims with the performance of a Hajj worthy of His acceptance, and to enable them to profit from the blessings and barakaat of this matchless observance. I invoke blessings on the Baqiyyatullah (the Imam al-Mahdi), blessings as vast as Divine mercy and beneficence, may Allah appoint an early breakthrough for him and may our souls be ransomed for him whose auspicious presence is expected in this yearly ceremony, and I pray to Allah to grant the supplications and prayers of all the pilgrims.
Was-Salamu alayhi wa alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
Ali al-Husayni al-Khamenei,
6 Dhul Hijjah 1421
(3 March, 2001)