by Sayyid Ali Khamenei (Features, Crescent International Vol. 34, No. 12, Muharram, 1427)
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
So when you have performed your devotions, then praise Allah as you praised your fathers, or with even greater praise. (Al-Qur’an 2:200)
Dear Muslim brothers and sisters:
The Hajj season is an occasion for hope and good tidings. On the one hand, the magnificent solidarity among the travellers to the House of Unity raises hope in hearts, and on the other, the refreshing of the souls through the blessing of the zikr (praising the Divine) gives the good tiding of the opening of gates of mercy.
After the pilgrims have performed the Hajj, which is full of hidden secrets, and of encouragements to humility, again they are called to praise Allah. The reason for this emphasis is that the praise of Allah illuminates saddened hearts, raising hope in them and granting the light of faith to them. And when the heart is hopeful and faithful, man is enabled to go properly through the slippery and challenging obstacles of life to reach the summits of material and spiritual achievement. The spirituality of Hajj lies in this very celebration of the praise of Allah, which is incorporated in each and every ritual of the Hajj. This spring of hope and faith must continue to bubble after the Hajj season and its benefits must be maintained.
In various fields of life, man is a victim of his own negligence. Where there is negligence of duties, there is also ethical degeneration, intellectual distortion and spiritual decline. And it is this degeneration that can, in its turn, cause the defeat of nations and the disintegration of civilizations, besides the destruction of the personalities of individual human beings.
Hajj is one of the best means in Islam for the elimination of negligence. The universality of this ‘ibadah imparts to us the message that the Muslim Ummah is collectively bound, besides the individual duty of every Muslim, to remove negligence from themselves. The rites and rituals of Hajj provide us with an opportunity to turn away from servitude to and neglectful dependence on hedonism, caprice and comfort. The ihram (the pilgrim's garb), tawaaf (circumambulation), prayers, sa‘i and wuquf fill us with the celebration of the praise of Allah, and bring us closer to the Divine, embedding the joy of qurba (nearness to Allah) in our hearts.
On the other hand, the glory and grandeur of this unique gathering acquaints us with the reality of the great Ummah of Islam, which transcends nations, races, colours and languages. This intertwined and harmonious gathering, these tongues all chanting a single word, these bodies and hearts all marching towards a single Qibla, and these human beings representing tens of countries and peoples, all belong to a great unit and collectivity, the Ummah of Islam.
But the fact is that the Islamic Ummah has lived in negligence of its duties and responsibilities for a long time. Today, its scientific and technological backwardness, and its inferiority in the fields of politics, industry and economy, are the bitter fruits of this negligence. Now, in the light of astonishing developments that have emerged or are emerging in the world, the Ummahmust make up for its previous past negligence. Fortunately, some elements of the contemporary era suggest that this process is beginning.
There is no doubt that the world of arrogance considers the awakening of the Muslims, Islamic unity, and progress of our countries in the fields of science, politics and innovation, to be great obstacles to its continued global domination and hegemony, and will confront us by every means. Our Muslim countries have the experience of colonialism and neocolonialism before them. Now, during the period of postmodern colonialism, we must take lessons from those experiences, and should never again allow the enemy to dominate our destiny.
During those bitter, black periods, the dominant Western powers employed every possible cultural, economic, political and military means to weaken the Muslim peoples and countries, and to impose disunity, poverty and ignorance on them. The negligence, laziness and indolence of many of our political figures and the irresponsibility of many cultural elites helped them; the results were the plunder of our wealth, the humiliation and denigration of our history, the denial of our identity, and the obliteration of our independence. We, the Muslim peoples, grew weaker and weaker day by day, while the expansionist, hegemonic plunderers became stronger and stronger day by day.
Thanks to the dedication of courageous activists and the sincerity of leaders in some parts of the Muslim world, the waves of Islamic awakening are now spreading and the youths, elites and masses of many Muslim countries have been stirred to awareness, exposing the bullying face of the domineering powers. So now the imperialist leaders are once again seeking new ploys to perpetuate and consolidate their domination over the Islamic world. The claim to advocate human rights and democracy is one of those ploys.
Today, the Great Satan – the embodiment of evil and cruelty against mankind – has hoisted the banner of human rights and invites the Middle Eastern nations to democracy. The democracy the US advocates for these countries means the installation of some timid, obedient lackeys through conspiracy, manipulation, bribery and deceitful propaganda in an apparently popular, but inherently, American election. These lackeys will be the US's agents in the realization of its selfish and ruthless imperialistic objectives. Top of the list of these objectives is the suppression of the Islamic movement and the suppression of Islamic values. The key object of all the propaganda and political means of the United States and other hegemonic powers are at work today to counter and if possible suppress the awakening of the Islamic movement.
The Muslim peoples and their leaders must be wakeful and vigilant today. The ulama, scholars, intellectuals, academics, writers, poets, artists, the youth and the elites, by conscious and timely action, must prevent this world-devouring US from establishing a new period of colonial domination over the Islamic world.
The slogan of democratization is not acceptable from the hegemonic powers that for many years have been the supporters of dictatorial regimes in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Their claim to be pursuing a campaign against terrorism and violence is despicable coming from the promoters of zionism and the perpetrators of the most brutal force in Iraq and Afghanistan. The claim to advocate civil rights can only be a cynical ploy coming from devils who have always praised and encouraged the crimes of a bloodthirsty terrorist like Sharon against the oppressed Palestinians. The perpetrators of atrocities in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghuraib and clandestine prisons in Europe, the humiliators of the Iraqi and Palestinian nations, and the promoters of the groups that in the name of Islam consider it permissible to shed the blood of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, have no credibility when they speak of human rights.
The American and British governments that permit the torture of suspects, and even their assassination on the streets, and the eavesdropping of the telephone calls of citizens without legal authority, have no right to introduce themselves as advocates of civil rights. The governments that have scarred contemporary history by production and use of nuclear and chemical weapons do not have any right to consider themselves the custodians of nuclear non-proliferation.
Dear Muslim brothers and sisters:
Today, the world, particularly the Muslim world, is at a crucial juncture. On the one hand, the waves of awakening are permeating the entire Ummah of Islam, and on the other, the bullying face of the United States and other arrogant powers exposed restoration of identity and sovereignty has begun in some parts of the Muslim world. In a country as magnificent asIran the saplings of indigenous knowledge and technology have yielded fruit and self-confidence that are transforming the social and political atmosphere in Iran; the same effect is now spilling into the environment of science and reconstruction. On the other hand, the cracks of weakness and decline have appeared in the political and military infrastructures of our enemies. Today, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon are examples of the weakness and helplessness of the apparently powerful US and zionists. The US's Middle Eastern strategy has faced great obstacles in its initial steps in Iraq, and the failure of this policy has been turned into a tool against its planners.
Today is the day that Muslim governments and nations can begin to take the initiative. Assisting the oppressed Palestinian people, supporting the awakened people of Iraq, and safeguarding the stability and independence of Lebanon, Syria and other countries of the region is a general duty, while the responsibility of the political, religious and cultural elites, as well as that of prominent figures, the youth and intellectuals, is heavier than that of others. Unity and mutual understanding among the followers of the Islamic schools of thought, and the rejection of sectarian and ethnic divisions, should be the boldest slogan of these elites. Scientific endeavour, political initiative, cultural effort and mobilization of all forces in these key areas should be their top priorities promoted by their example.
The Muslim world does not need the flawed and frequently violated prescription of the West for democracy and human rights; the ideals of democracy are inherent in the Islamic teachings,and the rights and dignity humans is among the most important elements of Islam. Knowledge should be derived from anywhere and anybody, but the Islamic world must not be content to remain followers forever; instead it should rely on its own talents and resources for innovation and production of knowledge.
The Western values that have led to the collapse of morality, and the spread of hedonism, violence, the legalization of homosexuality and other such disasters in Western countries, cannot be emulated. Islam with its sublime values is the highest source of salvation for human beings. The leaders of Muslim nations bear a heavy responsibility for re-interpreting and promoting these values.
The blind, savage terrorism that has become a pretext for the occupiers of Iraq to attack Islam and the Muslims, and an excuse for the perpetuation of the military occupation of this Islamic country, must be rejected and condemned in accordance with the Islamic teachings. The main culprits for these criminal atrocities are the US army and its intelligence services, andIsrael, whose immediate objective is to influence the formation of a government in Iraq.
Dear Muslim brothers and sisters:
Trust in God, belief in the definite promise of the Qur'an, and consolidation of the unity of the Muslim Ummah, guarantee the accomplishment of all the great objectives of the IslamicUmmah; the Hajj, with its rich, effective essence of celebration of gratitude for the bounties and mercies of Allah, and its great congregation of the Muslims, can be the starting- point and the launching-pad for the onward march of this comprehensive movement. And assertions of the rejection of the arrogant leaders of kufr, by word and by action, during this ‘ibadah, should become a model for future action and the first step in this direction.
I beseech Almighty God that He may grant success to the hujjaj, and may the Imam of Time pray for all the Muslims.
Wassalam-u-Alaikum wa Rahmatullah
Seyyed Ali Khamenei
Dhu al-Hijjah 8, 1426 / January 9, 2006.