In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to God, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad, and upon his pure household, especially the one remaining with God on earth
Another 14th of Khordad is upon us, and the public environment of the country has become imbued with the memory of that great personality, that great man, that irreplaceable leader, that tender heart, that iron first, that unwavering determination, that deep and bright faith and that wise and insightful sage. Today and for many years to come in distant futures, our nation and our country need to guard this dear memory and remembrance.
The Islamic Republic, Imam’s most important innovation
What I want to discuss with our dear nation today is about our magnanimous Imams’ most important innovation. He was the architect of many innovations, but this one was his most important innovation: the innovation of establishing the Islamic Republic. That was our magnanimous Imam’s innovation which is synonymous with religious democracy, which was formalized under the title of the Islamic Republic and which turned into a system originating from the thoughts and willpower of the Iranian nation and from the leadership of our magnanimous Imam.
Imam’s decisiveness and the Islamic Republic’s victories silenced the enemies
I would like to start the discussion by saying that among political systems in the world – including revolutionary systems and those established in the last one, two centuries – I do not know of any system that has been subject to as many predictions about its destruction, eradication and overthrow as the Islamic Republic. Since the first day when the Islamic Republic was formed, ill-intentioned personalities, enemies and those inside and outside the country who could not digest and tolerate that great phenomenon said that the Islamic Republic would not survive more than two months. And sometimes, they said that it would not survive more than six months, one year and that after that, it would be overthrown. Well, Imam’s power and decisiveness and subsequently, the great victories of the Iranian nation in the eight-year war and various other events extinguished that uproar.
In other words, the uproar gradually diminished and it was almost non-existent at the end of Imam’s life, but after his demise, ill-intentioned individuals were resuscitated again and their hope was boosted again, thus repeating their cliché dreams in the form of predictions. A very old and derelict party with extravagant claims made an announcement in the year 1369, saying that the Islamic Republic was standing at the edge of a precipice – actually, this was what the announcement meant. In other words, if it makes one more move, it will be done for. This was said in the year 1369.
A few years later, another group and another party – they unfortunately held governmental positions: they were among the members of the Islamic Parliament at the time wrote a letter saying that there was little time left for the Islamic Republic. It implied that the Islamic Republic would not survive more than a few days and that it should be overthrown. That was another party and they more or less had the same dispositions as the other party. It shared the same beliefs with it to some extent. Before and after those people too, there were individuals, groups and parties who used to say the same things inside or outside the country under the aegis of foreigners and the enemies of the Islamic Republic and their statements would be broadcast in the radio and other such media, foretelling the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. That is to say, they voiced their wishful thinking in the form of news, analysis and the like and they shared that happy news with one another.
The last time this happened was one or two years ago when the Americans said the final word in this regard! One high-ranking American politician announced with confidence that the Islamic Republic would not see its 40th anniversary. These were the predictions about the Islamic Republic. I do not remember if any other political system, since it was established until many years after that, has been subject to as many predictions regarding its destruction and overthrow.
Of course, those who made such prophecies said that because they were looking at many revolutions and at the systems established on the basis of them. That is because many movements and revolutions – including in East and Southeast Asia, in West Asia, in Africa and in Europe, such as the Great French Revolution – perished a short while after their existence. They had an enthusiastic beginning and a venomous ending. The Great French Revolution, which was initially against monarchy, suffered from a tyrannical monarchy itself, almost 15 years after its birth – the government of Napoleon Bonaparte. The same is true of other revolutions in other places. Throughout the world, such systems suffered the same fate.
The same thing happened in our own Iran. The Constitutional Movement germinated with all that fuss, excitement, fatwas and the like, but 15 years after the Constitution edict was signed, someone like Reza Khan came to power with that appalling dictatorship and that dark tyranny, which was much worse than Qajari tyranny. Later on as well, in the years 1329 and 1330 – the years marked by the National Movement – a certain movement came into being, bringing the people to the streets, thereby nationalizing Iran’s oil and snatching it away from the English. However, one, two years later, an English and American coup was launched, helping Mohammad Reza to resume another complex and very dangerous dictatorship for long periods of time.
These incidents have taken place in the world. They were anticipating that fate for us by looking at the past. However, not only was the Revolution and Imam Khomeini’s system not dissolved and not only did it not come to a halt, but it also became more powerful on a daily basis, refusing to surrender and to back off. It displayed and showcased its independence with each passing day. It accomplished great feats and overcame the obstacles. And they created so many obstacles on the way of this Revolution and this system: all sorts, including political, economic, security and various other obstacles. The Islamic Republic overcame all of them and it galloped forward. Today, the Islamic Republic is more developed and advanced than when it first began work 40 years ago and it is better in every aspect by God’s favor and grace.
The secret to the survival of the Islamic Republic
Well, a question arises here about the secret to this survival and this progress: Why did the Islamic Republic not suffer the same fate as other political systems and revolutions despite all that enmity? What is the reason and what is the secret of this? I will tell you that the magnificent and pride-generating secret to the survival of this system could be summed up in two words: “Republic” and “Islamic”. The harmony between these two is the secret to the survival. And the organism that has been formed out of these two words should be protected: both the Republic and Islamic aspect of it, both the people and Islam. “Republic” means people and “Islamic” means coming from Islam. This is the same as religious democracy.
Formulating and implementing the theory of the Islamic Republic was Imam’s great achievement
Our magnanimous Imam’s great accomplishment was that he created this thought and this theory – the theory of the Islamic Republic – and brought it to the arena where various political theories existed. At that time, different political, theories in the east and the west clashed with one another over political matters and outlooks – and he subsequently implemented and realized that theory. He did not just formulate theory, he executed it as well and this way, he brought the Islamic Republic into existence. That was Imam’s great achievement.
Imam’s deep understanding of Islam and deep trust in the people helped him formulate and execute the theory of the Islamic Republic
Well, Imam (May God the Exalted bestow paradise on him) was a great man in many different ways, one of which was his religious knowledge and understanding. The source of support for creating that theory and then putting it into practice was on the one hand his deep understanding of Islam – he knew Islam and he knew that Islamic governance was the main message of Islam. On the other hand, was his deep faith in the people. He had tremendous faith in the people. He believed in their capabilities, willpower and loyalty and we have an abundance of memories about his astonishing faith in them.
In the year 1341, when the movement had just started, in one class, he steered the discussion towards political matters and the most important affair of the country. He pointed to the desert in Qom, saying that if we at that time asked the people, they would have filled the desert! In the year 1341, no one would have thought that it would be possible to make the people join the cause. Imam would think that the two parts of the theory, the theory of the Islamic Republic – both its Islamic and Republic aspect – originated from Islam. His theory was based on Islam. Actually, it was his mastery over Islamic teachings and his deep and comprehensive understanding of Islamic lessons that crafted the theory in the mind of that great personality.
The opponents of the Islamic Republic theory
Well, I should add that the theory had certain opponents. Both aspects of the issue – the Islamic aspect and the governance of Islam, and the popular and democratic aspect of the theory – had staunch opponents since the first day until today. In the present time too, there are opponents who have certain viewpoints, which I will point to:
1. Groups opposed to the authority of Islam: non-religious and religious secularists
There were unfaltering opponents against the idea that the country and that life in general should be managed according to Islamic values, principles, guidelines and rules. Of course, not all of them were the same: Some were non-religious secularists who essentially believed that religion did not have such a right and that it was not in a position to concern itself in social and political matters of the country and to lead the social and managerial system of the country. They believed that religion did not have such a function. According to this viewpoint, if someone believes in religion, they should know that religion is confined to saying daily prayers, fasting and taking care of personal affairs and the like. That is to say, they did not believe in the authority of religion in any way. Some of them even went as far as to believe that religion was opium for society and that it was harmful: not only is it not beneficial, but it is also detrimental.
These were one group of people opposed to the authority of Islam, but there was another group who believed in religion and who would try to defend it by saying that religion should not get involved in politics, that it should not get contaminated with politics and that it should stand aside, preserve its holiness and refuse to enter the arena of politics, which is an arena characterized by conflict, agitation, tension and the like. If one wants to have a correct assessment of such individuals, one should say that they are religious secularists. They are religious, but in the reality, they are secular. To say it in simple terms, they do not at all believe in the involvement of religion in various aspects of life. They were antagonistic to the authority of Islam.
2. Groups hostile to the authority of the people: secular liberals and religious believers not believing in the people
As for the opponents of the people’s authority and democracy, these people two were comprised of two fronts: one front was formed of secular liberals who believed in democracy, but who said that democracy has nothing to do with religion whatsoever. According to that view, it is liberals, technicians and, as they themselves put it, “technocrats” who should get involved in the area of republicanism and democracy. They believed that religious democracy and the Islamic Republic were meaningless. So, they did not agree with the republic aspect. And there were another group of people who believed in religion, but who also believed that religious authority did not depend on the people: “Who are the people to rule? It is religion which should rule and govern.” These were another group. Examples of the latter were witnessed lately in the excessive form of DAESH who naively thought that they were advocating religious authority and who did not grant any role to people.
The theory of the Islamic Republic complies with the essence of Islam
With reliance on God, with faith in the people and by benefiting from his deep understanding of religion, Imam stood firm, moving that theory forward and realizing that great accomplishment in society. I should add that this theory is a scholarly outlook which is not based on emotions. That religion should govern and that people should be present in such a government – which could be translated into religious democracy – is something that originates from the heart of Islam.
The authority of religion has its origins in the Holy Quran and in Islamic narrations
The Quran has clearly spoken about the authority of religion. If someone denies this, it really shows that they have not deliberated carefully. A holy ayah in Sura al-Nisa says, “We sent not an apostle, but to be obeyed, in accordance with the will of Allah” [4: 64]. We sent prophets so that the people obey them. In what things should they obey prophets? What is the subject of this obedience? There are hundreds of Quranic ayahs which explain this obedience. For example, the ayahs about jihad, administering justice and meting out punishments as well as the ayahs on transactions with other people and on agreements with other countries – “But if they violate their oaths after their covenant…” [The Holy Quran, 9: 12].
These ayahs mean the government of Islam. They show that on these matters, the Messenger of God should be obeyed: on the matter of defending the country, implementing the rules, executing social agreements and contracts and agreements with other countries, and administering justice in society. On these matters, the Messenger of God should be obeyed. This means government. Government has no other meaning. The authority of Islam has been mentioned with such explicit clarity.
Of course, this authority is abundantly visible in the tradition and hadiths of the Holy Prophet and other infallible Imams. When the Holy Prophet himself (greetings be upon him and his household) was surrounded by the representatives of the people of Yathrib in order to invite him to that city – which was later on renamed as Madinat an-Nabi [City of the Prophet] – and when they spoke to him in Mina, he asked them to make the same pledge, saying to them that he would come to the city provided that they defend and support him at the cost of their lives and they agreed and promised to do so. Later on, when he entered Madinah, he established an Islamic government and imposed the authority of Islam. This authority originated from the fact that he was a prophet, not from anything else. Because he was a prophet and people believed in him, he established a government.
After his demise too, despite the differences over his successor – as you know, there were disagreements over who would succeed him – no one from among Muslims, including those who had disagreements about the successor, doubted that every government that was supposed to be formed should pivot around religion and the Quran. Therefore, the issue of the authority of religion and of Islam is a really clear issue and it is a requirement for belief in Islam. In other words, if someone believes in Islam, having carefully thought about the ideological principles of Islam, they should come to believe in the governance of Islam in society as well.
The role of the people in establishing an Islamic government and in determining their own fate
As for the republican and democratic side of the issue and the strength of the people’s votes, this is a very important issue as well. This matter should be examined from two perspectives: one is the religious and ideological perspective – related to people’s responsibility and rights – and another perspective is the implementation of the governance of religion, which is not possible without the people.
The first perspective is related to people’s responsibilities – the people’s presence is decisive in establishing the Islamic government. In the Holy Quran and in Islamic narrations, there are many clear points about people’s duty towards the fate of their society: “All of you have responsibilities towards those under your protection.” It means that everyone is responsible towards society. Another narration says, “He who wakes the morning without caring for the affairs of Muslims is not a Muslim.” The affairs of Muslims means the affairs of the Islamic community, which includes all affairs. We can also cite the well-known Siffin sermon where we can find many points about government. The Commander of the Faithful (greetings be upon him) says something in that sermon which is very important in my opinion: “And it is an obligatory right of God over the people that they should advise each other to the best of their ability and cooperate with each other for the establishment of haq among them” [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 216]. One of the most important rights of God over his servants is: “Cooperate with each other for the establishment of haq among them.” They should cooperate so as to establish haq in society. This is the people’s responsibility. So, the people are responsible. They should help establish the government of haq and of God in the country.
The duty to counsel to do go is a public responsibility and one of the most important cases of counsel to do good concerns the establishment of the government of truth and justice. There should exist a just government in society. This should be a government of truth and the people should counsel each other to do good. This shows the people’s duty. Another duty is to combat various forms of corruption in society.
In another sermon, the Commander of the Faithful says that one of the reasons why he accepted governance was: “And if there had been no pledge of Allah with the learned to the effect that they should not acquiesce in the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressed, I would have cast the rope of caliphate on its own shoulders…” [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 3]. In other words, God the Exalted has taken the word of the learned not to accept social rifts and social inequalities – later on, I will expand on the role of the learned and ulama – since it is because of these inequalities, some die of gluttony and some of hunger.
The Arabic word “ulama” either means scholars as a privileged class of society who have a heavier duty in this regard or it means the learned and those who have general knowledge of something because naturally, those who do not know of something are not responsible towards it. Those who are aware of something are naturally responsible towards it. So, this is a collective responsibility. Now, how should this responsibility be carried out? This varies in different times. Today, it is manifested through participation in elections and on another day, it will be manifested in a different way. So, there is a responsibility.
This is a responsibility on the one hand and a right on the other hand – the right to determine one’s own fate. Humans are free to choose: “Do not be the slave of others for Allah had made you free” [Nahjul Balaghah, Letter 31]. This was said by the Commander of the Faithful. You should not be a slave to others because God has made you free. You should choose on your own. You are free to choose your fate. This is one of the obvious points in Islam.
Therefore, the people’s authority and democracy is reliant on these religious teachings. The Quran, hadith, Nahjul Balaghah and the Holy Prophet’s and the Commander of the Faithful’s behavior reflect these teachings. In the Siffin Sermon [Sermon 216], the Commander of the Faithful says, “Therefore, do not abstain from saying a truth or pointing out a matter of justice.” It basically says, “Do not avoid giving me counsel and express your opinion about my ways and methods.” This is how it is. So, the people’s responsibility and rights are based on Islam. This was the first perspective.
Governments’ need for popular support
The second perspective [of the discussion about the Republican aspect of the Islamic Republic] is about support and the need for popular support. This is also an obvious point. If governments – not just religious governments, rather all governments – are deprived of popular support and if the people do not advocate them, they will have to live a life of wielding swords and cracking whips. In other words, it will not be possible to sustain the government. Of course, an Islamic and Quranic government is not after oppressing the people, wielding its sword and whipping the people. Therefore, it cannot live without the people’s support. It was neither possible to create the Islamic Republic without popular support, nor was it possible, after its formation, to sustain the government without such support. Thankfully, the system has continued to exist and it will continue to exist from now on too.
The Islamic Republic was an original idea
Therefore, this religious democracy, which was named “The Islamic Republic” proposed by Imam Khomeini, is an original and purely religious idea. There should not be any doubt about this. Some people said that Imam borrowed the idea of holding elections, democracy and other such ideas from westerners because of some considerations. This is a completely groundless statement. The Imam that we knew and had worked with for many years and the one that the people were familiar with was not a person to forget about God’s edict because of standing on ceremony with someone or having certain considerations for this and that. If democracy did not have its roots in religion and if it was not a Godly phenomenon, Imam was not a person to do things by force. He would always confidently express his viewpoint.
You have seen this in his life. The day when Imam brought up the issue of hijab – that women should be obliged to wear hijab – many people were opposed to it, even people close to Imam himself. One of the people close to Imam came to me saying, “Why is Agha saying this? What comment is that? You should go and ask him to change his mind.” Of course, we had the same opinion as Imam did, but many were opposed to it. However, it was his opinion and he determinedly brought it up, and it was a correct thing to say. There were other issues like this as well.
Well, our magnanimous Imam carried out that religious innovation. He presented that progressive and novel idea and that beautiful and astonishing interpretation of Islam, which had its roots in his deep understanding and clear ideas, thus bringing the Iranian nation – which had become used to tyranny for centuries – to the middle of the arena, helping them to be in charge of their own country and giving them the power to believe in themselves.
It is very difficult for you dear youth, who have not seen pre-revolutionary era, to imagine what things were like back then. We used to live at that time. We breathed it. At that time, the people had no role whatsoever. If someone had said to the people that they had the right or the power to get involved in the matters of the country, they could not have believed it. The people were completely on the periphery and had no role whatsoever. This was the case in particular during the dark era of the Pahlavi dynasty. We experienced the latter parts of it – the last 20, 30 years. The people were like that at that time. They were living with fear and suppression. Imam took a huge leap forward, this way bringing the people to the arena and helping youth and the whole nation to believe in themselves. He employed the great capacities of the people and polished them with his leadership and guidance to such an extent that the people managed to accomplish a great marvel by overthrowing a millennium-old monarchy. He brought the people to the middle of the arena, helping them to stand firm, to resist and to become stronger on a daily basis, thanks to their religion and their understanding.
One day, the Islamic Republic used to be a thin sapling. Today, however, it is a good, strong and sturdy tree which cannot be uprooted with any storm. Difficult incidents took place, but this nation managed to protect itself amid those difficult incidents and to move itself forward. An example of these difficult incidents is the eight-year war. For eight years, all great powers stood behind a government so as to help it to attack us. They equipped it with information, with tactics, with financial assistance – all with the purpose of annihilating the Islamic Republic. Nonetheless, our nation stood firm, brought them to their knees and refused to surrender and to kneel, despite their foolish desires and it expanded its zone of power and dignity.
Imam believed that the authority of Islam and of the people would eliminate the problems of the country
Imam used to think that the two words “Republic” and “Islamic” would untie the knots in the problems of the country. He believed that the key to all the problems of the country lay in the implementation of Islam and the presence of the people at the scene. This was Imam’s opinion. When he said, “The Islamic Republic, not a word less and not a word more.” “Any word less” means a republic without Islam or an Islam without a republic. That does not make sense. Imam said that there should be an Islamic Republic. This means the authority of Islam and the authority of people which are interconnected and which are not contradictory in any way.
The governance of Islam means that values and orientations are determined by Islam. The authority of the people means that the way the government is managed is decided by the people. This is what the authority of Islam and of the people mean. The people’s willpower is influential, so are Islamic rules. Imam considered this a problem-solving phenomenon. And the truth of the matter is that it can solve all the problems of the country. Whenever we enlisted the help of the people and whenever we acted according to Islam, we made a step forward. That was the case during the time of Imam and it has also been the case since his demise until today.
I can say this confidently and this can be supported by numerous pieces of evidence in front of everyone’s eyes. Whenever we involved the people and whenever we made Islam the standard and the main criterion, we moved forward. However, whenever one of these two pillars became shaky, we screeched to a halt. For instance, we should bring the people to the arena of economic matters. I have been repeating for many years that small and middle-sized industrial centers should be developed and expanded. This is due to the fact that these small and middle-sized centers feed millions of people. Millions of people depend on them. This is synonymous with popular presence. If we had strengthened these centers, we would be in a better economic situation now.
The same is true of various other matters. If it really becomes common for the honorable officials of the country to both pay attention to Islamic matters – in other words, to observe Islamic rules in their entirety whether on domestic, foreign, economic, cultural, political and various other matters – and also, to ensure the people’s participation, meaning that they should prepare the ground for the people to show their presence and express their demands, all the problems of the country will be resolved.
The kind of Islam that Imam wanted
Well, this was the main issue. Imam’s statements are important in this respect. He has made astonishing comments. I have written down a short sentence from among his statements. Imam has clear, firm and solid statements both about Islam and about democracy. As for Islam, he decisively rejected reactionary and eclectic Islam. On the one hand, he rejected the reactionaries and on the other hand, he rejected the eclecticists – those who feed their audience and society with the ideas put forward by others, doing so in the name of Islam. Imam decisively rejected them. From the viewpoint of Imam, Islam is a system that seeks justice and that it is opposed to arrogance and corruption. These are clear in the statements of Imam. These statements can be found both in his testament and in the 20-plus volumes on Imam’s statements, both of which have been published. Of course, we ourselves heard these viewpoints directly from Imam, but those who were not born then and who did not see Imam could refer to his statements. The context of Imam’s statements is clear.
The kind of Islam that Imam believes in is anti-arrogance – that is, anti-American. It is against the domination and interference of foreigners and foreign powers – interference in the domestic affairs of the country. It is against kneeling before the enemy. It is an anti-corruption Islam. The kind of Islam that Imam believes in is anti-corruption and is opposed to giving privileges to certain individuals. The things that are revealed in the area of corruption in some sectors today are definitely the opposite of what Islam wants. Islam is a religion that fights against corruption. An Islamic government is a government that combats corruption. Such a government is also anti-reactionary – reactionary meaning contaminating life with old regressive thoughts and drifting away from new Islamic thoughts: those of our magnanimous Imam. Islam is hostile to aristocracy and advocates the underprivileged. Islam does not favor class inequalities – the gap between the poor and the rich.
Late in his blessed life, a few months before his demise, Imam writes a letter to an official saying, “You should show that our people rose up against oppression, chaos, reactionary attitude and retrogressive ideas and that they replaced a monarchic, capitalist, eclectic and in sum, an American Islam with an original Islam introduced by Muhammad” [Imam’s Sahifa, Vol. 21, page 240]. This dates back to Dey, 1367. So, we cannot say that it was said during a time when revolutionary enthusiasm was dominant in the beginning of the Revolution. Imam wrote that letter a few months before his demise. So, Imam held such a viewpoint about Islam.
Imam’s viewpoint about democracy and elections
As for democracy, Imam believed that elections were the manifestation of democracy, and rightly so because today, democracy can be achieved with the people’s presence in elections. There might come a time in the future when elections become meaningless and when there will be new forms for the people’s participation and presence, but today, the people’s presence is manifested through elections. The same was true of the time of Imam. Imam has uttered important remarks about elections: He considered elections a religious obligation. He described elections as a “religious obligation”. In his testament, he issued a serious warning, saying, “Not participating in elections could be a capital sin, under certain circumstances.” This is Imam’s viewpoint about elections. There is another quotation from Imam: “Showing negligence in participation – participation in elections – will have worldly consequences, which could last many generations, and it will be questioned by God.” These are Imam’s statements and he solidified and strengthened the Islamic Republic with the same statements and with the same meticulousness. Thankfully, after Imam’s demise too, the Iranian nation preserved this God-given gift – religious democracy, which is truly a divine gift granted to the Iranian nation at the hands of our magnanimous Imam.
The Iranian nation’s resistance in the face of the enemies’ plots
The Iranian nation stood firm against the plots hatched by the enemies of Iran and of the Iranians and they foiled those plots. The enemies had devised many plots to separate the people from the Islamic Republic and to make them lose faith in Islam and in religious democracy. Each time the enemies entered the arena and whatever they did, they encountered the Iranian nation’s iron fists. The same thing exists today. Today too, the enemies have lain in ambush, keeping a close watch so that they could possibly create distance between the Iranian nation and the Islamic government, but they have faced the Iranian nation’s strong fists and fierce motivation. They hatched security and political plots coupled with a stark hostility in the area of the economy and with ideological attacks, but they were frustrated in all their attempts.
The attempts made by the enemy to uproot Islam
Unfortunately, there have been some people who somehow repeat the enemies’ ideas inside the country. When they sometime use the term “the purge of ideology”, this is what has been promoted by the opponents. The purge of ideology means putting aside Islam and Islamic thinking when it comes to the Islamic Republic and religious democracy and instead, using corrupt and perverse thoughts promoted by liberal democracy – thoughts which have ruined people all over the world these days.
And some people use another tactic, saying that religion’s sanctity lies in it stepping aside. This used to be said in the beginning of the Revolution as well. This is the enemy talking and it is a repetition of the same statements made before the victory of the Revolution and right after its formation. That some people pretend that if we want to observe Islamic regulations, this cannot coexist with democracy, this is also a cliché promoted by the enemies of the Islamic Republic and of the Iranian nation. Of course, some people might say these things out of negligence. I am not accusing anyone who says these things of being a mercenary of the enemy. They sometimes say these things out of ignorance, but they should know that this is an idea that is being promoted by the enemy with the purpose of uprooting Islam. As it happens, some people wish to apparently show sympathy for democracy, saying that democracy has been ruined, but they do not actually care much for democracy, rather what they want is to uproot Islam. They want to sideline Islam, to make it a non-existent thing, but it is really a grave mistake if we make democracy estranged from Islamic thinking and from the Islamic spirit.
Well, the Constitution has clarified the situation. Notice that in the Constitution, political and religious men holding the title of presidency and being at the top of the judiciary branch are in charge of all the affairs of the country. Why is there an emphasis on “religious and political” men? The reason is that they should safeguard the interests of the country in the political arena, and as for religious – the people’s beliefs and religion – they should be able to guide the people in this areas as well. Therefore, they should act intelligently in both areas. We could also refer to the issue of piety and trustworthiness that has been emphasized by the Constitution. This is an important issue as well, which has been greatly stressed in the Constitution.
Not participating in elections will undermine both Islamic and democratic aspects
Well, these days are election days since we are close to the elections and fortunately, the electoral environment in the country is being heated. However, there are some people who want to ignore the duty to participate in the elections with foolish reasons. Well, this is a fulfilment of the enemies’ desire: The enemies of Iran, of Islam and of religious democracy. Both aspects of the issue should be seen – the democratic and Islamic aspect – because if either of the two is undermined, Islam and Iran will definitely be slapped in the face and will be dealt a blow by the enemy.
The current maladies can be cured by making a good choice, not by refusing to make any choice
Let us raise a few points about the current elections. It is said that some people are not sure whether to participate in the elections or not due to the livelihood pressures that exist and that all of us have tangibly felt. And some people say, “We excitedly voted for a particular candidate in previous elections, but later on, that excitement turned into displeasure and we became upset at the end of that person’s presidency. So, it will be good not to participate in elections.” Some make these comments, but it seems that this is not good reasoning. Such things should not discourage us from participating in elections.
If there are shortcomings and incompetence, we should make up for it by making a wise and good choice, not by refusing to make any choice at all. If there is really a weakness in management, what is the solution? Is the solution not getting involved in management in any way or is it getting involved by choosing a really competent and truly Islamic and democratic managerial system? Obviously, the latter is the solution. In other words, if there is some displeasure, we should make up for it like this, not by refusing to participate in elections.
The necessity to make sure of a candidate’s competence by studying their past performance
Of course, one should be meticulous when making a choice. I wish to stress that words and promises cannot be relied on. I have said this in the case of others as well – in the case of foreigners who constantly make promises and give us their word. I have always said to the honorable officials in charge of nuclear negotiations, which are ongoing these days, that they should not trust words and promises: “The task is accomplished with action” [from a poem by Saadi]. One cannot rely on words, remarks and promises. The same is true of the important issues of the country. Well, things are easier said than done. Anyone can make a claim and give a promise. These things cannot be trusted. One should look at a candidate’s past to see if there are actions in his performance sheet that correspond with these promises or not. If there are such actions, one can trust him, otherwise, one cannot trust him. Therefore, competence cannot be determined with words.
A few points addressed to candidates: Avoid making groundless promises
I have an expectation of the honorable candidates, which I wish to mention: they should not make promises that they are not sure of being able to fulfill. Such promises work to the disadvantage of the country. Why? Because you make a promise that you cannot fulfill if you become the president, and this way you will make the people disappointed. You make the people disappointed with the system and with elections. Therefore, giving promises that candidates are not sure if they cannot fulfill or not is not allowed. Of course, you can make promises that are definitely and clearly possible and whose practicality is confirmed by experts. However, saying that we will do such and such things – I do not want to expand on such promises – and giving promises that do not have a source of support in reality should not be done because they will disappoint the people and this is a sin
Avoid chanting slogans that one does not believe in
There is another expectation of the honorable candidates: They should chant slogans which they believe in. Well, we know individuals. We know that deep in their hearts, they may not believe in these slogans much. This is not a good course of action. One should be honest with the people. God forbid, that the slogans whose content one does not believe in should be chanted.
Candidates should be committed to administering social justice, combating corruption and strengthening domestic production
There is another expectation of candidates which I want to mention as well. The honorable candidates should primarily decide to, should they win the elections and achieve their goal, express their commitment to administering social justice and bridging the gap between the poor and the rich. They should regard this as one of their most fundamental duties. Secondly, they should be committed to combating corruption without any consideration. They should feel dutiful enough to fight against corruption. They should have the commitment to strengthen domestic production.
I have said this many times, which has been supported by economic experts as well. I have frequently said that the pivot of economic salvation is strengthening domestic production as well as combating smuggling and unnecessary imports – confronting those who fill their pockets with imports, who are reluctant to let imports be stopped because of domestic production, and who this way break the back of national production. Candidates should think of these as their main issues and should express their commitment to them. The gentleman who is a candidate today should express his commitment to such matters, explicitly saying that they will do them so that if they are elected and fail to act on them, supervisory organizations can question them on their failure.
The masses of the people should invite everyone to participate in the elections
Last week, I held a meeting with the honorable members of Parliament. In that meeting, I said that those who are influential should encourage the people to participate in elections. I said this there. Now, I want to add that this is not particular to those who are influential. All the people, each and every one of them, should feel obliged to invite others to participate in the elections as well as participating themselves. This is a manifestation of “And join together in the mutual teaching of truth” [The Holy Quran, 103: 3]. This has been mentioned in the Holy Quran. This is inviting each other to the truth. It is a duty that should be carried out. You should invite family members, friends, colleagues, all individuals and those with whom you are familiar with to participate in the elections.
The necessity to protect the reputation of those whose eligibility was not confirmed in the vetting process
I am finished now. However, there is a necessary warning which I wish to mention at the end of my speech. This is a religious and human obligation. That warning is: during the vetting process, those whose eligibility was not confirmed were treated unfairly. Certain things were ascribed either to themselves or their families, things which were not true. They are honorable and esteemed families who faced such false accusations. There were certain reports which were proved to be wrong later on. However, they spread by word of mouth and they were published in cyberspace without any constraints. When I say that cyberspace has been abandoned on its own, this is what it means. Protecting individuals’ reputation is one of the most important duties. I demand that these organizations make up for it. Certain things were ascribed to some individuals’ family members and their children, but later on, they were proved to be wrong. They should make up for it and protect those individuals’ reputation.
May God, the Exalted, protect us from committing sins, oppressing others and damaging a believer’s reputation. May God, the Exalted, protect us from not performing our duties. May God, the Exalted, bestow His vast Mercy on our magnanimous Imam with His Grace. May He join him with the Friends of God in Barzakh (the intermediary world between here and the Hereafter) and in the Hereafter and make him pleased with us.
May God with His Grace make the pure souls of the martyrs satisfied with us and help us to join them with His Grace and Mercy. God willing, He will ordain good for the Iranian nation, make the upcoming elections a blessing for the nation, and make these elections to be one of those elections that destroys the enemy, with His Grace. And with God’s Favor, this is how it will be, by God’s Grace and Mercy.