IIT Exclusive NewsImam Ali KhameneiLeaders of UmmahNorth AmericaWorld News

“Whenever we became afraid of the enemy, we faced grave problems!”

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on April 25, 2020, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, at the annual Ramadhan Quranic meeting. The speech was delivered via videoconference with the participation of a number of prominent Quranic reciters.

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, and upon his pure household, and may God curse all their enemies

His Eminence Congratulates All Muslims on the Arrival of the Month of Ramadhan

I am very thankful to all the dear brothers who organized this program today and who helped us benefit from the recitation of the Holy Quran. I sincerely thank all the honorable qaris who recited the Quran today. I really enjoyed and benefitted from your recitations. I also thank the honorable presenter who ran the meeting very well.

First of all, I congratulate everyone who is listening to these statements and all Muslims throughout the world on the arrival of the auspicious month of Ramadan. I hope that God will give us the blessing of fulfilling the potential of this month. This month is the month of the Quran. In a holy Quranic ayah, when God speaks of the month of Ramadan, He says, “Ramadhan is the month in which was sent down the Quran” [The Holy Quran, 2: 185]. This is a very important characteristic of this dear and holy month.

Worldly and Otherworldly Bliss Depends on Acting on the Quran

I have written down certain points to raise about the Quran, but there is not enough time – we have very little time. Therefore, I will discuss them briefly. We have said and heard frequently that the Quran is the book of life and this is the truth of the matter: The Quran is the book of life. If humanity coordinates the rules in life with the Quran, it will achieve worldly and otherworldly bliss. Our problem, though, is that we do not do so. Our problem is that we do not coordinate life with Quranic rules, just like someone who visits a doctor, getting a prescription from him without acting on it. The mere act of visiting a doctor without using his prescription will be of no avail. Today, we are in such a situation.

The Quran Is Both the Book of Knowledge and Understanding and of Rules for Living

The Quran is the book of knowledge and understanding. In other words, it quenches the thirst of our hearts and our minds. For those who are interested in learning, the Quran is an infinite spring of knowledge. Besides, it is a book of commands for the way we should live. As well as its educational aspect, it has practical commands for living. In other words, it helps us build our living environment and it enriches life with security, health and tranquility: “Wherewith Allah guides all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety” [The Holy Quran, 5: 16]. It shows humans the route to health, to security and to tranquility in life.

Throughout history, human beings have been tackling oppression, discrimination, war, insecurity and the destruction of values. In the present time too, they are still suffering from these things. The cure for these maladies is the Quran. If we act on the Quran, all these problems will be eliminated. If human societies act on the practical instructions of the Quran – today, I will briefly mention as many as I can within the time that we have – they will be liberated from all these problems. There are thousands of commands in the Quran for the way we should live. The Commander of the Faithful said, “Certainly the outside of the Quran is wonderful and its inside is deep in meaning” [Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 18]. The Quran is amazing and beautiful on the outside. For those who are interested in aesthetics, the Quran is peerless in terms of beauty and marvel, but its inside is deep as well.

The Practical Commands of the Holy Quran: Avoiding Materialism

What I am saying about the Quran and its lessons of life belong to its outward nature: the things that the likes of us can understand. Otherwise, we cannot understand the things that monotheistic spiritualists and divine saints understand from the Quran. The Quran is much beyond its outward appearance. What I am saying to you – these thousands of commands for life and for living – are the things that could be learned from its outward appearance. These are the practical commands of the Quran, part of which deal with organizing the rules in life.

For example, there is an ayah which says, “There are men who say: ‘Our Lord, Give us Your bounties in this world!’ but they will have no portion in the Hereafter” [2: 200]. There are some people who confine all rules and regulations in life – friendships, enmities, relationships, goals and motives – to worldly pleasure. What does “worldly pleasure” mean? It means money, power and lust. This is what is meant by worldly pleasure. Their friendship is based on these things. The same is true of their enmities, their relationships, their endeavors and their goals. However, Allah the Exalted rejects this attitude. Allah the Exalted rejects this way of organizing the rules and regulations in life: “But they will have no portion in the Hereafter.” Such individuals will achieve certain things in this world – in this transient life – but they will have nothing in the main and real life which is the hereafter. They will be deprived of them.

The Full Potential of Life: Combining Worldly and Otherworldly Affairs

However, there is another way in life which is opposed to the first: “And there are men who say: ‘Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and defend us from the torment of the Fire’.”[The Holy Quran, 2: 201]. This is the second way. These are people who seek good things, not just everything, in life. The phrase “Give us things in this world” does not show what we want. It only shows that we want certain things, but the phrase “Give us good in this world” clearly shows what we want: the things that are compatible with our nature and with our real needs. “And good in the hereafter.” They are also after otherworldly bliss. “And defend us from the torment of the Fire.” These are people whom Allah the Exalted helps attain the real goal in life. This set of Quranic commands clarify the way one should live.

There is also an ayah in which the wise personalities of Bani Israel give this word of advice to Qarun: “But seek, with the wealth which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the hereafter, nor forget your portion in this world: but do you good, as Allah has been good to you” [28: 77]. They did not say to Qarun, “Throw away whatever you have.” Rather, they said to him, “Make the most of what you have.” Money and wealth are merely instruments for achieving noble human values and spiritual positions. They can be instruments. With money, you can build the world, eliminate discrimination and liberate the poor and the weak from poverty and weakness: “But seek, with the wealth which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the hereafter.” First of all, what is at your disposal has been given by God. Secondly, you should use it in the way of God: “Nor forget your portion in this world.”

However, it is not the case that you yourself do not have a share of what you have. You do have a share and you can enjoy it. “But do good, as Allah has been good to you.” This is a rule of life that Islam clarifies for us. Contrary to what that fool thought– that imbecile and filthy rich Qarun said, “This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge which I have” [28: 78] – it was Allah the Exalted who provided him with those means, but he said that it was him who had acquired that wealth due to his skill and his accomplishment while that was not the case: Allah the Exalted had provided him with the means and he had managed to acquire them. So, some Quranic ayahs deal with these matters: they clarify the way we should live.

Organizing Social Relations

There are some ayahs which discuss the organization of social relations. These practical commands concern social relations. For example, “avoid backbiting” [49: 12]. These ayahs discuss social relationships. When you engage in backbiting, you upset yourselves and your audience and you divulge a secret about a pious brother and sister without any reason. This is a wrong and improper course of action. And they might do the same things to you. This disrupts life and creates lack of discipline in social relations.

Administering Justice and Being Fair, Even Towards Opponents and Enemies

Another ayah in this regard is, “And let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice” [5: 8]. If you are on bad terms with someone and if there is hostility among you, this should not make you be unfair and behave in a cruel and biased way towards them. This is a practical command. You might have disagreements with someone, but this disagreement should not make you hide the truth when they are right about something and it should not make you violate their right and be unfair towards them. If we have disagreements with some people in different gatherings – let us use our own society as an example and not look far away – and if we act on this ayah, in other words if we do not violate their rights and if they do the same to us, notice to what extent the conditions in our society will change for the better.

Avoiding Spreading Rumors and Lies

There is another command which says, “And pursue not that of which you have no knowledge” [17: 36]. As I said, there are thousands of Quranic commands like this: “And pursue not that of which you have no knowledge.” Do not pursue what you are not sure about and do not trust it. In the present time, common journalism in the world acts in the exact opposite way: in other words, their rumors and lies are things about which they do not have any information and knowledge, but they spread them without any compelling reason. In our own society too, these things unfortunately exist. This command advises against such course of action in the world. If we act on this very single command, an important part of our problems will be solved.

Distrusting Oppressors

Another ayah says, “And incline not to those who oppress” [11: 113]. Do not trust oppressors and cruel people and do not be inclined towards them. The Arabic word “rakun” means having a propensity for something and trusting somebody or something. It says that we should not trust oppressors. The result of trusting oppressors is what you see in the present time: Muslim governments and Islamic organizations trust the most oppressive and cruel elements in the world and they are seeing the consequences tangibly.

Being Trustworthy

“And be fair, for Allah loves those who are fair and just” [49: 9]. Another ayah says, “Betray not the trust of Allah and the Messenger, nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you” [8: 27]. You should not betray those who entrust things to you. A “trust” is not only some money that people give to you. The positions and responsibilities that have been given to you are also forms of “trust”. If we do not honor this commitment, it is an act of betrayal. Notice what will happen if we act on this very command. Therefore, the Quran presents to us these practical and applicable commands.

Fearlessness in the Face of the Enemy

There is another Quranic command: “Be not afraid of them, but fear Me, if you have faith”. Before this it says, “It is only the evil one that suggests to you the fear of his votaries” [3: 175]. Some people said to Muslims, “They are hatching plots against you and you should be terrified.” They used to frighten Muslims with such words. The Quran says that you should not be afraid of them and that you should be afraid of God. You should pray to Allah the Exalted, trust Him and stand up to the enemy because you can push him back. The people who frighten you of oppressors and such and such people and powers are devils. We have also witnessed throughout history that those who were intimidated by such powers were put to difficult and bitter tests. Today, Islamic powers and Islamic governments have considerations for oppressive powers in the world. They are afraid of them and ignore their own power. The consequence of this is that they will be humiliated and receive strikes to their heads.

Imam (may God bestow paradise on him) taught all of us not to be afraid of big powers. He taught us to be fearless in the face of oppressive and bullying powers. I do not forget that in the year 1358 – at a time when our youth had captured American spies and the American Den of Espionage – some people were pressuring the Revolutionary Council to release them. The late Mr. Hashemi, Bani Sadr and I – we three from the Revolutionary Council – went to Qom. At that time, Imam used to reside in Qom. We went to see him to ask what we should do. We said that they were pressuring us to release them as soon as possible. Imam turned to us and said, “Are you afraid of the US?” I answered, “No, I am not afraid.” Then, he said, “So, you do not need to release them.” And that was the truth of the matter. At that time, if anyone was supposed to be afraid of the US and have considerations for it, that would have had bitter consequences for the country. We have seen certain cases where administrations and powers in our country were afraid of the US and that fear created grave problems for them. The Quran says, “Be not afraid of them, but fear Me. The Arabic word “khafun” means “observe My commands and rules.” When Allah the Exalted orders us to do jihad, we should do jihad and whenever He says that we should stop, we should do so. This is the meaning of “khafun”.

The Significance of Daily Prayers for the Sake of Remembering God

Another ayah says, “And establish regular prayer for celebrating My praise” [20: 14]. Now that the month of Ramadhan has come, we should pay attention to “And establish regular prayer for celebrating My praise.” This is another practical command. Saying daily prayers is for the sake of remembering God. You should perform daily prayers for engaging in divine dhikr. Today, if we act on this command – as all of us are capable of doing so – and if we perform daily prayers in an attentive manner, without thinking of other things when saying daily prayers, and if we do it for the sake of remembering God, this will undoubtedly exert a massive impact on our psychological transcendence.

We should also listen to this ayah: “Oh you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance” [66: 8]. These days are days of repentance and returning to God. I hope that Allah the Exalted will bestow on all our people and all Muslims the blessing to carry out the duties of the month of Ramadhan and other Islamic duties. We should act on the Quran. These Quranic commands – these thousands of practical Quranic commands – are operational. In other words, they can be implemented. Of course, governments have more responsibilities. Those who rule over the country and the managers of society have more responsibilities.

As it turns out, our time is up. I think it is time for adhan and therefore, I will finish my statements. I am very happy. Today’s ceremony was very good and once more, I wish to thank all those who were involved.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings

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