In a message on the occasion of the annual Hajj pilgrimage on Wednesday, Ayatollah Khamenei condemned the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the US police, stressing that Tehran “strongly supports the American people in their anti-racism movement and deplores cruel behavior of the racist US government”.
“The US treatment of weak nations is a mega-size replica of the behavior of its police who knelt on the neck of a defenseless black man and squeezed until he died,” he added.
Ayatollah Khamenei also referred to the American forces’ deployment in the region, and said, “We consider the US presence in West Asia as harm to the regional nations and the cause of destructions and underdevelopment of the countries.”
The Leader called for unity among the Muslim nations against the criminal acts of the US and Israeli regime, stressing the need to assist Palestine, Yemen and all the oppressed Muslims in the world.
He also pointed to the Hajj rituals, saying the annual Hajj pilgrimage demonstrates the Muslim World’s grandeur against the modern lack of wisdom.
“Hajj is exercising power against the Arrogant Powers that are the centers of corruption, oppression, and pillage. Hajj shows nations’ capabilities. If Hajj organizers submit to and seek God’s pleasure rather than the US’s, Hajj can solve the Muslim World’s big problems,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Part of his message about this year’s rituals which has been restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, read, “Hajj has always been the occasion of feeling the dignity, greatness, and blossom of the Islamic world. This year is experiencing the sorrow and regret of the believers and the feeling of separation and the failure of the eager.”
“Hearts feel homesick from the nostalgia for the Kaaba, and the separated are embracing tears and sighs. This deprivation is short-lived and will not last long God willing, but its lesson, which is to appreciate the great blessing of Hajj, must be sustained and free us from negligence,” the Leader said.
Hajj – the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca – has begun, but under dramatically different circumstances due to the coronavirus outbreak.
One of the five pillars of Islam, the Hajj is required for all Muslims who are physically or financially capable of undertaking it at least once in their lifetime and is usually one of the world’s largest religious gatherings.
But this year, only up to 10,000 people already residing in Saudi Arabia will participate in the five-day pilgrimage, a tiny fraction of the 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world that attended last year.
Here is the full text of the Iranian Supreme Leader’s 2020 Hajj message:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad, upon his chosen companions and upon those who follow them until the Day of Judgment
The season of Hajj, which has always been coupled with a feeling of dignity, greatness and blossoming in the world of Islam, has been afflicted with sorrow this year as believers are subjected to a harsh separation from it. Hearts are stricken with grief stemming from separation from the Ka’bah and the pledge of the prevented is accompanied by tears and sighs. This deprivation is a short-term one and by Allah’s favor and grace, it will not last long. However, the lesson that we learn from it – in other words, appreciating the great blessing of Hajj – should become eternal and we should liberate ourselves from ignorance with this lesson. This year, we should tangibly feel and deliberate on, more than ever, the secret of the greatness and power of the Islamic Ummah, manifested with the magnificent gathering of believers in the sanctuary of the Ka’bah, in the Holy Shrine of the Holy Prophet (God’s greetings be upon him and his household) and in the Holy Shrines of the Imams (greetings be upon them).
Hajj is a unique obligation. Among Islamic obligations, it is the flower with a hundred petals. With it, all important individual, social, worldly, heavenly, historic and global aspects of religion are studied and reviewed. There is spirituality in it, but without any seclusion, isolation and reclusiveness. It involves congregation, but without any conflict, mudslinging and evil intentions. On the one hand, it involves psychological ecstasy resulting from supplication, transcendence and divine dhikr and on the other hand, it involves social contacts and social bonds. With one eye, hajjis watch their long-standing bond with history – with Ibrahim, with Ismael, with Hajjar and with the Messenger of God when he victoriously entered Masjid al-Haraam accompanied by a large group of early Islamic believers – and with the other eye, they watch their contemporary believers each of whom can stretch out a hand to help and to grab the rope that Allah has provided for believers.
Deliberation on the phenomenon of Hajj can help hajj pilgrims firmly believe that many ideals and aspirations of religion for humanity will not yield fruits without the cooperation, solidarity and camaraderie of the pious. Should this solidarity and cooperation come into being, then the subterfuges and tricks of the hostile enemies will not create big problems for the continuation of this path.
Hajj is a maneuver to show off one’s power in the face of the arrogant people who are the center of corruption, oppression, the destruction of the weak, and plunder. Today, the body and soul of the Islamic Ummah is covered with blood due to their oppression and their malevolence. Hajj is a manifestation of the hard and soft powers of the Islamic Ummah. This runs in the nature of Hajj. It is the soul of Hajj and it incorporates some of the most important goals of Hajj. This definition is one that our late Imam – the great Khomeini – described as “Ibrahimi Hajj”. If those in charge of Hajj – who refer to themselves as the servants of the two Holy Places – commit themselves to this manifestation of Hajj and if they choose divine satisfaction over pleasing the US government, this can solve great problems for the world of Islam.
Today, as has been the case always and all the time, the Islamic Ummah’s interests clearly lie in unity: such a unity that forges a unanimous hand in the face of threats and enemies. Such a unity that can let out a thunderous cry at the embodiment of Satan – transgressing America – and at its mad dog, the Zionist regime. Such a unity that can resist bullying and thuggish behavior in a courageous manner. This is what the divine command means: “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah stretches out for you, and be not divided among yourselves” [The Holy Quran, 3: 103]. The Holy Quran defines the Islamic Ummah on the basis of this: “Those who are with him are strong against unbelievers, compassionate amongst each other” [The Holy Quran, 48: 29]. It also demands that the Islamic Ummah carry out the following obligations: “And incline not to those who do wrong” [11: 113], “And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way to triumph over the believers” [4: 141], “Fight the leaders of kufr” [9: 12] and finally, “Take not my enemies and yours as friends or protector.” [60: 1]. In order to identify the enemy, it issues the following command: “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for your faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them” [60: 8]. These important and determining commands should never be left out of the ideological values of us Muslims and they should never be consigned to oblivion.
Today, the ground for bringing about this fundamental transformation is available, more than ever, to the Islamic Ummah, to sympathetic intellectuals and to those who have well intentions for the Ummah. Today, Islamic Awakening – in other words, the attention of Muslim intellectuals and youth to their ideological and spiritual assets – is an undeniable truth. Today, liberalism and communism, which were considered 50, 100 years ago as the most prominent achievements of western civilization – have completely lost their glamor and their fatal flaws have become visible. The system built on the basis of the latter has collapsed and the system founded on the basis of the former is struggling with deep crises and is on the verge of downfall.
Today, not only the cultural paradigm of the west – which stepped into the arena, from the beginning, with scandal and ignominy – but also its political and economic paradigm, its money-based democracy and its discriminatory capitalism, have shown their inefficiency and corruption.
Today, there are many intellectuals in the world of Islam who challenge all ideological and civilizational claims of the west with total honor, glory and dignity and who explicitly display Islamic alternatives. Today, even those western thinkers who would introduce liberalism, in the past, as the end of history have no option other than taking back their claims and acknowledging their sense of bewilderedness in theory and in practice. A perfunctory look at the streets of the US, at the behavior of US politicians towards their people, at the deep valley of class inequalities in that country, at the embarrassment and stupidity of those who have been chosen to run that country, at the dreadful racism there, at the cruelty of an officer who tortures an innocent individual to death on the street and does so in cold blood and in front of others, reveals the depth of the moral and social crisis in the western civilization and also the deviation and falsehood of its political and economic philosophy. The behavior of the US towards weak nations is an extension of the behavior of the police officer who puts his knees on the neck of a defenseless person of color, pressing so long until he dies. The other western governments are also the manifestation of this disastrous situation, each within the scope of their power and resources.
Ibrahimi hajj is a glorious Islamic phenomenon against this modern form of jahilliyah [ignorance]. Hajj is an invitation to Islam and it is a symbolic display of life in the Islamic community. This is a community in which the symbiosis of believers around the pivot of monotheism is the best sign. Refraining from tension and conflict, from discrimination and aristocratic privileges, from corruption and impurity, is the necessary precondition. Throwing stones at Satan, expressing one’s hatred of polytheists, establishing a close bond with the poor, helping the needy and displaying the signs of faith are among the main responsibilities of Muslims. And gaining access to public interests and benefits accompanied by the remembrance of God, expression of one’s gratitude to Him and being His humble servant are the mid-term and ultimate goals. This is a brief manifestation of the Islamic community as reflected in the mirror of Ibrahimi hajj. Comparisons with the reality of over-confident western societies fill the heart of every Muslim with the enthusiasm to work hard and to fight for the sake of building such a society.
With the guidance and leadership of the great Imam Khomeini, we people of Iran stepped onto this path and achieved success while we had such an enthusiasm. We do not claim that we have managed to achieve everything that we pursue and we like, but we claim that we have moved forward to a large extent on this path and that we have succeeded in overcoming many obstacles. In the shade of trust in Quranic promises, we have remained firm and strong. The greatest devil, bandit and traitor of our time – the US regime – has not managed to frighten us, to intimidate us with its deceptions and tricks and to prevent us from making worldly and otherworldly progress.
We consider all Muslim nations to be our brothers and we will behave in a kind and just manner towards the non-Muslims who have not participated in the camp of confrontation and hostility. We consider the grief and sorrow of Muslim societies as our own sorrow and grief and we will do our utmost to find a cure for it. Our eternal concerns are helping innocent Palestine and showing sympathy to the injured body of Yemen and to the consternations of Muslims subject to oppression in any part of the world. We also consider it our duty to offer words of advice to the heads of some Muslim countries who have resorted to the bosom of the enemy instead of relying on their Muslim brothers. They tolerate humiliation and bullying at the hands of the enemy just for the sake of temporary profits and they put the dignity and independence of their nations on auction. These are people who condone the survival of the usurping and oppressive Zionist regime and who extend their hand of friendship to them privately and openly. It is they to whom I am offering these words of advice and I warn them about the bitter consequences of this behavior.
We regard the presence of the US in West Asia as detrimental to regional nations and as a cause of insecurity, destruction and backwardness for countries. As for the current events in the US – the anti-discriminatory and anti-racial movement – our definite position is to support the people and to condemn the despicable behavior of the racist government in that country.
At the end of my statements, I wish to send my greetings to the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake), to commemorate the memory of our late Imam and to extend my greetings to the pure souls of the martyrs. And I also ask Allah the Exalted to help the Islamic Ummah to conduct a safe and blessed hajj pilgrimage – such a hajj pilgrimage that will please Him – in the near future.
Greetings be upon the righteous servants of God
Sayyid Ali Khamenei
Mordad 7, 1399