“We need to keep the memory of the martyrs alive. The messages of the martyrs must be heard. If the steps we take do not include these two things, they will be pointless,” the Leader said.
Organizers of the second National Congress for Martyrs of Qom Province met with Ayatollah Khamenei on October 30, 2022.
The speech that the Leader of the Islamic Revolution delivered during this meeting was broadcast at the venue of this congress on November 17, 2022. The full text of the speech, according to the website of the Leader’s office, is as follows:
In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon our Master, Prophet Muhammad, and upon his Pure Progeny, particularly the remnant of God on earth.
First of all, I would like to welcome all my dear brothers and sisters who have come here from Qom. Thank you for once again putting the effort to organize this necessary, important memorial for the martyrs. I would like to say a word about the steps taken as mentioned by our brother here, and then I will commence our discussion.
All these steps and things that you said have been done are good. However, please note that the work we do during, before and after the congress has many benefits, two of which are the most important. One is “remembrance (of the martyrs)” and the other is “(their) messages.” We need to keep the memory of the martyrs alive. The messages of the martyrs must be heard. If the steps we take do not include these two things, they will be pointless. For example, (building) statues of the martyrs, (putting) their portraits on rugs, and things like that, (and placing them) in a certain area – now either in the family home or elsewhere – these are ways we can remember them. These are good. But there are certain things that are able to convey a message. Works of art, poems, documentaries, movies, books, or meetings can all convey messages. We need (these kinds) of activities. We are in need of the martyrs’ messages. We should not assume, “Well, everyone knows the messages of the martyrs.” No, not everyone knows them. The new generations must be informed about what happened in the past, the motives, their thoughts, and things like this. Activities that convey a message have this great benefit. Pay attention to this (point) in everything you do.
After thanking you once again for initiating and undertaking this work and, God willing, finishing it in the best way possible, I would like to talk about a couple of matters in two short sentences. One is about Qom, and the other is about the issue of martyrdom and martyrs. Qom is both the city of Qiam (uprising) and the city of Iqama (establishing). It is a city that rose up itself. It is a city that persuaded Iran to rise up. It established this. This is a characteristic of Qom. Of course, we should not forget that the blessing of Hazrat Fatimah Masumeh (SA) and the presence of the auspicious seminaries in this city have played a key part in influencing this characteristic. In addition to these, there are the people of Qom, whom we have seen up close. We have seen their work, we have seen their morals, and we have seen their characteristics. In all fairness, the people of Qom are good people. They listened to the order to rise up, they rose up before people in other cities did, they fought earlier than anyone else, and they were martyred earlier than anyone else.
Many of the martyrs who were martyred outside of Qom were in fact martyrs of Qom. Martyr Motahhari was a martyr of Qom. Martyr Beheshti was a martyr of Qom. Martyr Bahonar was a martyr of Qom. These martyrs were raised in Qom, and perhaps in a way it could be said that all of the martyrs of Iran are martyrs of Qom. Qom (was the city that) opened the way and initiated the movement. Qom answered the call of the magnanimous Imam (Khomeini). Who else could understand what Imam Khomeini was saying in 1962 and 1963? It was the people of Qom who entered the scene. Even when they felt that (the movement) had weakened a bit in 1962 after the movement had started, the people of Qom rose up and attended Imam Khomeini’s lessons. I was there. I remember this. The good businessmen of Qom and a large number of people followed them and attended the lessons. When Imam Khomeini finished his lesson, one of them – the late Tabatabaei, if I recall his name correctly – stood up and addressed Imam in a completely heroic manner. He asked for the ensuing actions that needed to be taken. In fact, they were asking for this from Imam Khomeini. Imam entered the scene, and in that same meeting, he provided a satisfactory, sufficient answer. In practice, he gave a new spirit to this movement. This is how the people of Qom are. The young people of Qom that day, even the youth who weren’t interested in these things at first, we could see how they changed and showed their unanimity after the movement of the clerics started. That is what the people of Qom are like. And then there was the Revolution, the events after the Revolution, the Holy Defense, and the events that have followed up until today. Up until today, our nation has continuously, successively faced tests, and the people of Qom have done very well in these tests, very well.
Indeed, a number of prominent characteristics exist, and I insist that a large amount of work should be done on these prominent characteristics – (that is), the two characteristics of “remembrance” and “message.” One of these prominent characteristics is Martyr Mahdi Zeinoddin. He himself is a prominent characteristic. (This) martyr, a young man in his twenties, showed great skill in commanding a combat unit as well as demonstrating great courage, acumen, creativity, and self-sacrifice on the battlefield. He was the same in the fields of ethics, religion, and obeying religious and Islamic matters. People need to hear about these things.
These things cannot be said in any language other than the language of art. It is the language of art that can describe the details of their lives. Now, this can be done in the form of creative writing, poetry, films, documentaries, or other similar forms. The following is one example. There was a young, army commander here, Martyr Amir Ahmadloo. He was a soldier from Qom. They brought him water during the last moments of his life, or someone thought to give him some water so that he wouldn’t die thirsty. This young soldier refused to drink the water pointing to the soldier next to him instead. So, it was like the same event that took place in the early days of Islam that we have been constantly telling people about in our sermons. We did not have an accurate depiction of it, but this actually happened. An army officer showed us this reality. Is this something insignificant? Is it a trivial matter? Can this be expressed in a language other than the language of art? Work on this. Or the martyrs who were part of a group who sang anthems (in Qom), which was one of the rare events that took place during the time of the Holy Defense (on January 21, 1987). A number of teenagers around the ages of 12, 13, and 14 were singing an anthem when a plane flew over them targeting this particular group. The plane fired at them and all of them, or almost all of them, were martyred. Where is their anthem? What were they singing? What were they saying? What had they done? What did their parents do? These things need to be explained. These contain messages. This is one of the characteristics of Qom. These are the prominent characteristics of the (Holy) Defense period in Qom. There are also the women martyrs. Now, they spoke of a number of, hundreds of, women martyrs. A number of these women were martyred in a mourning ceremony for Imam Hussain (AS). These are all truly important issues.
So, that was about Qom and the characteristics of this eventful, honorable period, from beginning close to the time of the Revolution and up until today, which is a period of over 40 years. Each one of the events that took place during this period remained as a bright spot in history, like a star. The tragedy that took place in the Shahcheragh shrine yesterday is a star. It is eternal. It will remain in history. It will always remain as a source of pride and honor in history. Yes, a number of people were left bereaved. Some of these events are tragic and fill the hearts of human beings with grief, but they are stars. They will remain in history. These events will not be forgotten. How many of these (kinds of) events have we suffered from over the past forty years or so?! This is a sign that this nation is alive. So that was about Qom.
With regard to martyrdom, the title “martyr” is a title that cannot be easily overlooked. The word “martyr” encompasses a set of religious, national, and human values. When you say “martyr,” this word is actually a book in itself. A set of religious teachings are contained within this word. A set of national teachings are contained within this word. A set of moral teachings and virtues are contained within this word. It is a very important word. The reason you see and hear about how some of our martyrs fondly wished for martyrdom was because God had cast a light in their hearts. This light helped them see the truth. That is why they eagerly sought martyrdom. Martyr Soleimani used to say, “I am seeking martyrdom in the deserts. I am looking for it.” They threatened to kill him, to which he replied, “I am looking for it in the deserts. I am passing through the highlands and the lowlands in search of this very thing, and you’re threatening me?” Some people have read this book. It has fascinated them and caused them to fall in love.
So, we said it (the word martyr) is a collection of religious, national, and moral teachings. As for religious issues, the first thing that a martyr brings to a person’s mind is fighting on the path of God. Martyrs have taken action, fought, and been martyred in the way of God. Martyrs are the epitome of sincere faith, “They fulfill what they have pledged to Allah. There are some among them who have fulfilled their pledge (by being martyred in His cause)” (Qur’an 33:23). This is the same as “fulfilling their obligations.” Martyrs are the epitome of honesty and righteous actions. What action is more righteous than taking action for the cause of God and dedicating your entire existence to this cause? Sincere faith and righteous actions, this is the religious aspect of it. There is a world of knowledge hidden in these few short words.
(They help in) understanding a nation. Martyrs and martyrdom are among the things that bring prominence and raise the status of the national identity. The Iranian nation achieved greatness in the eyes of those who heard about these martyrdoms. Of course, the clamor and uproar of the enemy’s media does not allow many events in the world to reach people’s ears. However, those who heard about it, who were not few, were from many nations. Why did this happen? Because of the martyrs. It was not merely because of a war. There are wars in many places. It is these sacrifices that make someone a martyr. It is because of these families – the families of the martyrs, these fathers, and these mothers. It is because of them. Whatever news leaked out about them created greatness for this nation. (Therefore, martyrs) cause the national identity to shine. They bring prominence. They raise its status.
Regarding an understanding of the morals and the moral virtues of human beings regardless of religion, which are hidden in the word “martyr,” (for example) self-sacrifice, martyrdom is a manifestation of self-sacrifice. A person gives his life for the comfort of others. Someone martyred for security gives his life so that others can live in security. Someone martyred in the Holy Defense gave his life so that the evil, oppressive enemy could not fulfill the promise he had made to himself about advancing all the way to Tehran and humiliating the Iranian nation. This is what a martyr is like. You and I sit in our homes while he fights there so that we can sit peacefully in our homes without the enemy coming toward us. This sacrifice is (outstanding) behavior. Irrespective of religion or beliefs, people care about this. (Martyrdom) evokes the idea of courage. Therefore, the word “martyr” is the embodiment of all these moral teachings.
Therefore, martyrdom is in a way a deal with God. The sincerity (associated with it) is a deal with God, “Indeed, Allah has bought from the faithful their souls and their possessions for paradise to be theirs” (Qur’an 9:111). As I remember, it was narrated from Imam Ali (pbuh) and Imam Sajjad (pbuh) that one’s life has a very high price. Do not sell it except for Heaven. This life is very valuable. Your existence has a very high price. Only sell it for Heaven. (Do not sell it) for anything less than Heaven, for the Almighty God will purchase it from you. Our soul belongs to God, and He is the buyer, “Indeed, Allah has bought from the faithful their souls and their possessions for paradise to be theirs.” So, on the one hand, this is a deal with God. On the other hand, this ensures the national interests. It strengthens identity as we talked about. Martyrdom for the cause of God secures national interests and the interests of the nation.
Martyrdom can create solidarity. Just take a look at our own country. Well, our country is made up of different ethnic groups. We have different languages and different ethnicities, such as the Fars, the Turks, the Arabs, the Lors, the Bakhtiaris, and so on. (We have) different ethnic groups. A rosary thread has connected these (ethnicities) together, and martyrdom is a part of this rosary thread. If you go to any city, you will find that the name of a martyr or several martyrs are prominent in that city. These cities may not know much about each other, but their martyrs were martyred in the same place, with the same goal, and in the same line. For example, a martyr from the south of the country and a martyr from the north or east of the country were all in the same line. They were martyred for a common purpose. (They were martyred) for the honor of Islam, for the greatness of the Islamic Republic, and for strengthening Iran. They were martyred for these things. They were martyred for a common goal. This is what connects these tribes, cities, and regions together. This is the nature of martyrdom. So, the religious aspect of this is that it is a deal with God. The national aspect of it is that it connects different parts of the country together. And its moral aspect is that it reminds us of the ethics of this country.
Alright, I would just like to make a recommendation now in continuation of what I was saying at the beginning of my talk. These things should continue. There was a time when I said that war is a treasure. It really is. I have read many books that have been written about martyrs. Every time I read one of these books, it seems a person understands something new from them. I still read them. It has been decades. (I have been reading) these books since the 1980s. Each one of these books, which is a biography of a certain martyr, opens up and shows us a new page about the martyrs themselves and their parents – the brave mothers and the sacrificing fathers. We truly owe these mothers and fathers. Some of the parents of our dear martyrs are present here today.
These must be conveyed. As I said, most of it, perhaps 90 percent of it, needs to be conveyed using the language of art. Of course, we are not saying that books should not be written about them. They should be written. But that which has the capacity to convey all the details about the martyrdoms, the martyrs, the Holy Defense, the sacrifices that were made, and so on, is art. Now, suppose I reminded you about this group that were singing an anthem. Very well, make a documentary about it. Make a documentary about this group. Make something to show this so that people can see it with their own eyes. Show people what happened. When I say “people,” well older people like myself have seen these things. But many of you who are sitting here haven’t seen this. Our youth, the younger generation, haven’t seen this. They need to see it. They need to see what happened from up close. They can see the details in the biographies that have been written about the martyrs. There are many areas where artistic work can be done in the form of documentaries, movies, TV serials, and poetry! Praise God, we have many good poets. You also have good poets in Qom. They should write poetry. They should recite good poetry so these things won’t be forgotten.
Anyway, your work is valuable. I appreciate it and hope that, God willing, all those who truly care about Islam, the Revolution, this nation, these young people, this new generation, our children, and our beloved Iran will do whatever they can with all their strength and potential to work in these areas. God willing, they will continue to strive to convey the memory and message of the martyrs and martyrdom.
Let us honor the memory of the dear martyrs of the holy shrine of Ahmad ibn Musa (Shahcheragh). I offer my sincere condolences to their families and loved ones. I would also like to extend my congratulations to them. Because God willing, they (the martyrs) have a very high status before God. I ask God to grant you success. May the Almighty God bless the pure soul of Imam Khomeini for he was the one who paved this way for all of us.
May God’s greetings, mercy, and blessings be upon you.