by Sayyid Ali Khamenei (Islamic Movement, Crescent International Vol. 31, No. 1, Dhu al-Hijjah, 1422)
After the establishment of the Islamic State, Imam Khomeini (ra) issued annual messages to the Ummah as the hujjaj gathered in the Hijaz. Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Khamenei has maintained the tradition.
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 Muhammad, the Master of creation, upon the pure ones of his progeny and his dedicated Companions. May peace be upon all righteous servants of Allah.
Allah, the Exalted, says: "This ummah [community] of yours is a single ummah, and I am your Lord, so worship Me." (al-Qur’an 21:92)
The desire of the pious, the delight of the devout, and a boon to the righteous: the Hajj season is back again, and a multitude have found their way to this feast. A dip into the lights of worship and reverence, a recollection of the reminiscences of the first era of Islam, a renewed quest for the tracks of salvation and honour that make this land a radiant sun on the distant horizons of history: these are the first rewards received here by the heart and mind of an eager and earnest traveler.
Here the bonds of attachment, of neglect and spiritual pollution are removed together with the physical attires and adornments, and the white of the dress of ihram overwhelms the bodies and hearts with a sense of purity, elegance and oneness. The doors are opened to see, hear and perceive the source of everlasting salvation. The buds of righteousness, knowledge and Islamic fraternity sprout, and the guiding hand of Allah becomes visible.
Here is the great camp of the Islamic Ummah, a drilling ground meant to produce godliness and fellowship with the people, to liberate from false and profane identities, and to restore our real identity. Here is the site of the disavowal of Satan, and the place to join the hosts of the All-beneficent. Here is the place to renew the covenant to avoid the worship of Satan and to respond to the declaration that Allah and His Apostle repudiate the polytheists. Here is the site for self-expression of the one Islamic Ummah, and a stage for expression of the spiritual dignity and human power of Muslims.
These characteristics assume a greater prominence in our era and at this critical and sensitive juncture, which is one of confrontation between truth and falsehood and the forces of good and evil.
Today the call of the Prophet of Mercy resounds with greater power and clarity. The call of Islam, the summons to justice, freedom and salvation, echoes with a greater force. The gloomy spells of the night of injustice, arrogance and despotism on the one hand, and ignorance, superstition and deception on the other, make urgent man’s need for the light of guidance and his thirst for justice, peace and brotherhood. Today the celestial summons of "Come to the word common between you and us, that we worship none except Allah" (al-Qur’an 3:64), which is a repudiation of the idols of power and wealth and a clarion call to join the forces of resistance to injustice and oppression, draws the hearts of the victims and gives them hope with the words "Indeed Allah is able to grant them victory" (al-Qur’an 5:52).
The Muslim peoples are the first addressees of this Divine message. The Islamic world, east and west, surges with Islamic awakening and a reawakened sense of identity and dignity. The triumphant banner of Islamic honour and authority flies over Islamic Iran, and the oppressed Palestinian people, by resorting to Islamic ideals, have darkened the horizons of Zionism with billowing clouds of despair and defeat. In Muslim countries the youth have launched a struggle inspired by Islamic ideals and posed a great threat to the world’s aggressive and arrogant powers.
Despite the flood of false allegations and distortions of facts released by centers of Zionist and imperialist propaganda, and directed towards Islam and its courageous and self-sacrificing adherents, the visage of genuine Islam taught by Muhammad — may Allah bless him and his progeny — has gradually become visible today for the world’s people. Gradually they are finding out that Islam is a religion of justice, freedom and salvation, a creed of reason, thought and learning. Islam is a faith of life, but it regards a life devoid of honour, freedom and dignity as death. It is a creed of rationality, but it fights those who would disguise sensuality as rationality: a device of those who would label Allah’s messengers as madmen. It is a religion of solidarity, brotherhood and world peace, but it regards alliance between the oppressor and the oppressed and shaking hands with murderers over the corpses of martyrs as treason. It is a religion of realism and objective calculation, but it considers it a sin to justify wrongdoing in the name of realism. It is a religion of unchanging laws, but it does not accept stagnation and slavish literalism. It is a religion of ijtihad and renewal of thought, but it rejects heretical innovation and syncretism. It is a religion of forgiveness and pardon, but it does not permit submission to injustice and humiliation. It is a religion of civilization, science and development, but it rejects as ignorance a science that is the means of enslavement and mass-destruction of nations, and denounces as barbarism a civilization that is the tool of abasement of human beings. It is a religion of jihad, but it does not consider a war waged merely for domination as jihad. It is a religion of honour, power and sovereignty, but it does not make them an excuse to justify ignoble means.
Islam protects the rights of human beings and their inviolability. It provides a guarantee for the fulfillment of moral values and merits. It is a guarantor of peace and security. The ugliest and the most unmanly of allegations are levelled against it by those who label Islam as a danger to human rights, civilization and security, and who make them a means of justifying their oppressive domination over Muslim nations.
Muslim peoples! Scholars of religion! Intellectuals! Youths and self-respecting people of the Islamic world!
The Islamic Ummah is today a target of all kinds of threats and allegations. The rampant imperialism of the US regime, pandered and incited by the zionist state, exploits the divisions and separations between Muslim peoples. The uprising of the Palestinian people and the proud banner of the intifada have enraged and frightened the political strategists of imperialism, inciting them to insolent moves and frenzied saber-rattling. The events of September 11 in New York have provided an excuse for the mounting highhandedness of the White House and the unprecedented crimes of the Zionist regime in Palestine. After the American operations in Afghanistan, the sinister militaristic countenance of the US government threatens the world more than ever before with insecurity, war and bloodshed. The ‘war against terrorism’ and support for ‘peace’ in the Middle East have become pretexts for US violence and militancy and a disguise for domination over other nations and encroachment on their vital interests and resources.
It is indeed an ugly joke that the promoter of most acts of terrorism, the devisor of most coups d’etat, the producer of the most lethal weapons, the patron of the most dangerous terrorists, should claim to be the leader of the rightful international war on terrorism! And it is indeed the most vulgar of ironies that the massacre of Palestinian men, women and children, the destruction of their homes and their expulsion from their ancestral homeland should be styled defense of peace!
Islamic Iran is accused by the rulers of the White House of undercutting the Middle East peace process. They are unaware that unjust aggression against the rights of the Palestinian people and the usurpation of their homeland — actions which are misleadingly called ‘peace’ — do not need to be undermined by any state to end in failure and defeat. This unjust process is destined to collapse. The present awakening of the Palestinians, informed as it is with a spirit of self-respect and sacrifice, is one of its sure signs.
Islamic Iran will not set aside the banner of Islam as a creed of self-respect, clarity of vision, freedom and salvation, because of the bullying threats of the imperialists. Islamic Iran considers terrorism the enemy of human welfare, and has itself paid a heavy price in its struggle against terrorists reared by the United States and Israel. Islamic Iran will not be daunted by the threats of imperialism or frightened by its scowling visage. The Iranian people and government have a great regard for their bold, independent and wise policies, which are a legacy of Imam Khomeini [ra]. The impressive march of February 10 (22 Behman) this year by the Iranian people was a sagacious response to the nonsense of those who dreamt of creating or publicizing a fissure between the people and the Islamic order, or between the principal constituents of the system. The Iranian people and government denounce America’s threatening postures and its warmongering, which are evidence of barbarism and bellicosity. They consider the weak logic and hawkishness of this government a sign of fundamental and deep-seated infirmities and flaws in the foundations of the oppressive imperialist system.
The Iranian people and government invite their brother-peoples to solidarity, and extend them a friendly hand. The ulama, intellectuals, statesmen and the Muslim world should rehearse the lessons of solidarity, steadfastness and understanding for their peoples, and prepare their youth to confront great events, to carrying the burden of a great trust: laying the foundations of a unitedUmmah of Islam. The Hajj is the starting point and a perennial source for this momentous and blessed struggle.
I beseech Allah the Exalted to enable you all to return to your homelands with rich rewards of spirituality and insight, and to bless the Muslim Ummah with the prayers of the Great Wali of Allah.
Was-salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
Sayyid Ali Khamenei
5 Dhul-Hijjah, 1222
29 Bahman, 1380
19 February, 2002.