ABWA: “World of Islam definitely able to push back world’s Arrogant Powers”
The following is the full text of the speech delivered by Imam Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Ummah, during a meeting with the participants of the 7th General Assembly of the AhlulBayt World Assembly (ABWA) in the Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah on September 3, 2022.
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 vestige of God on earth.
I would like to welcome our dear guests and all those who are present. This meeting is really, truly an outstanding meeting. A manifestation of the international harmony and synergy of a specific group of Muslims can be seen in this Assembly.
The AhlulBayt World Assembly is an important center. It’s a majestic center. This center is affiliated with the Household of the Prophet [Ahl al-Bayt] (pbut). This is the Household which has an unparalleled greatness and popularity in the Islamic world. That is, you can’t find any other personages in the Islamic world who are loved as much as the Household of the Prophet (pbut). This love, this greatness, this glory, and this spiritual magnificence will naturally be transferred to this center of yours, which has been named after the Ahl al-Bayt. So, it becomes significant here and it finds greatness. We should make use of this greatness. Titles and names are a means. Results must be achieved. What kind of results? By results I mean that this center should be a place which gives attention and inspiration to all Muslims. You should make this important center, the AhlulBayt World Assembly, a center for inspiring the world of Islam and the hearts, souls and spirits of enthusiastic seekers throughout the Islamic world.
Let me share a few points regarding this. The first point is that the members of this Assembly have a great responsibility. There’s a famous quote from the Imams (pbut) where they say, “Be an adornment for us [amongst people].” This is addressed to all of us. We all need to be mindful of this. This matter is even more serious with respect to you. The importance of your work requires that this sentence, “Be an adornment for us,” be even more true about this Assembly and the group of people and the individuals who work here. If we want this to happen, we should make this Assembly a base for spreading the teachings of the Prophet’s Household (pbut). The teachings of the Prophet’s Household (pbut) – this is important – is not limited to just a part of the issues in our lives. Whoever refers to the words of the Household of the Prophet (pbut) can confirm that the teachings of the Prophet’s Household (pbut) are a great collection of general matters, divine teachings, monotheism, mysticism, spirituality, morals, personal and individual duties, family duties, social duties and continuing up to the duties of the administration of the country and building a civilization. That is, the collection of the teachings of the Prophet’s Household (pbut) includes all of these.
Today, Islamic societies need all of these. If you look at any of the Islamic countries, you will see that they need more of these teachings and more practical examples too, both in the personal environment and within personal boundaries, within small communities, and in large civilizations and political groups. Today, the world of Islam needs these teachings, but a vacuum exists. With detailed, correct planning along with diligent work throughout the world of Islam, and by using sensible methods – and there are many effective tools – you can spread the teachings of the Household of the Prophet (pbut) to various societies, both to the elites and the general public. This is one point. This is a serious duty that I believe is on the shoulders of this Assembly.
The next point is that the followers of the Prophet’s Household (pbut) are proud of the fact that the most important move in confronting the system of the Arrogant Powers and global imperialism was made by them. Many claims have been made, [but] what takes place in practice on the ground is clear and obvious, and that is the flag of the Islamic Republic. The Shi’a are proud to have stood against global imperialism. They have shielded themselves and stopped this seven-headed dragon, which interfered in all the affairs of countries, governments, and nations in a cruel, tyrannical manner. They themselves admit today that many of the things they had wanted to do have been stopped and ruined by the Islamic Republic. This is one of the things that the Islamic Republic and the Shi’a take pride in. And this wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the inspiration we gain from the statements of the Imams and the Prophet’s Household (pbut). They were the ones who encouraged us to ponder on the words of the Holy Qur’an and to use these words for inspiration. They were the ones who explained the teachings of the Holy Qur’an to us. They were the ones who taught us how we should do things by showing us their own actions, starting from Imam Ali (pbuh) and all the way to Imam Hasan Askari (pbuh).
Well, this flag of the Islamic Republic is the flag of justice and spirituality. So, there is nothing ambiguous here. The flag of the Islamic Republic is the same flag that the prophets and Imams carried. You can see in the different supplications, whether it’s the supplication to be read when visiting the shrine of Imam Hussain (pbuh) or that of Imam Reza (pbuh). You read about how these noble men inherited from the prophets, “Peace be upon you, O inheritor of Abraham, the close Friend of Allah. Peace be upon you, O Inheritor of Moses, the one who spoke with Allah.” This is the same flag. It is the flag of the Imams (pbut). It is the flag of the prophets. And this flag only has these two words on it: justice and spirituality.
Note that when you raise the flag of justice and spirituality, it is natural in a world where actions are based on force and people’s thinking is based on materialism, which is the exact opposite of justice and spirituality, that they show a reaction. Some people tell us, “With such words, such a move, such a decision, you have made them more hostile.” No, we have made them more hostile by raising the flag of the Islamic Republic. By speaking of the divine laws, we have made them more hostile. When you speak of justice, the civilization and world that is based on domination and arrogance inevitably opposes you.
When you speak of spirituality, the world of materialism, where everything is based on materiality and all of the concepts in the world are related to money, they oppose you. This is natural. Therefore, the opposition and confrontation shown by the Arrogant Powers and the Domineering Powers to the movement of the Islamic Republic is something natural and inevitable. Today, America is at the head of global imperialism. That’s it. With these words, everyone’s duty with regards to America becomes clear. Today, the active enemy that is at the head of the enemy’s front is America. This is another point.
There is one additional point following the second point that I mentioned, and that is that the late Imam [Khomeini] (ra) taught everyone to put aside the existing dividing lines between the people in Islamic societies. There is only one dividing line, and that is the dividing line between faith and Islam on the one side and unbelief and arrogance on the other side. Imam (ra) taught this to everyone. Those dividing lines that Imam taught us about, which we must put aside, are the dividing lines between religious denominations, dividing lines between ethnicities, dividing lines between races, dividing lines between political parties, and the such. He told us to put these aside.
There is one dividing line, and that is the dividing line between the realization of Islam, the Islamic system, and an Islam that is political as opposed to global imperialism, which is headed by the US. This is the dividing line that should be emphasized, and Imam Khomeini (ra) emphasized this from the first day – not just from the first day of the Islamic Revolution, from the first day of the movement. That is, it was emphasized from the time when Imam started this movement, 15 years before the victory of the Islamic Revolution. This action by Imam (ra) was based on the verses of the Holy Qur’an.
“Indeed, there is for you a good example in Ibrahim and those with him when they said to their people, ’Surely we are clear of you and of what you serve besides Allah; we declare ourselves to be clear of you, and enmity and hatred have appeared between us and you forever until you believe in Allah alone’” (Qur’an 60:4). This does not mean that if someone’s beliefs are different from ours, we will show animosity and anger to them, no. There is another verse in the Chapter Al-Mumtahina that states, “Allah does not forbid you respecting those [the polytheists] who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion” (Qur’an 60:8). The Almighty God has said, “Allah only forbids you respecting those who made war upon you on account of (your) religion, and drove you forth from your homes and backed up others [the polytheists of Mecca] in your expulsion, that you make friends with them” (Qur’an 60:9). So the Imam’s advice and his practices were based on the verses and the text of the Holy Qur’an. There is no doubt about this point. There is one dividing line, a pronounced dividing line, and that is the conflict between the world of Islam and the world of disbelief and arrogance. The rest of the dividing lines should become less important and not be considered. Sunni, Shi’a, Iran, another country, Arab, non-Arab, skin color, this or that race, and other such factors should not be considered.
That is why, as you have observed since the first days of the victory of the Revolution, the issue of Palestine has received a great deal of attention in our country and the issue of Palestine has been highlighted. I don’t want to compare, but we have seen people in the Islamic world who moved and acted in the name of Islam and they rose up, but not only did they not oppose the malicious Zionists, they expressed friendship with them and immediately suffered the consequences. The Islamic Republic didn’t make this mistake. Imam [Khomeini] didn’t make this mistake. In the very first days after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, they took the center that was the embassy of the Zionist regime but didn’t have its name on it, and they gave it to the Palestinians. Imam [Khomeini] stood by the Palestinian issue with all his being. For Imam [Khomeini], Lebanon’s Shi’a resistance movement, Hezbollah, was no different from a Palestinian group of resistance fighters. That is, he saw both as fighters on the path of God and Islam. Whoever is closer to the Islamic Republic, to our practices, to our behavior, and to the stances taken by us, is inevitably closer [to us]. This is very important. This has created a unique form of empathy between the Iranian nation and the Muslim nations around the Islamic world. This exists now. Now, in the East of the world of Islam, in the West of the world of Islam, from the tip of Asia to the depths of Africa, nations feel good about the Iranian people. We aren’t talking about the governments, governments are different. It is about nations. That is why these dividing lines were announced unofficially by the venerable Imam.
Even today, the Islamic Republic is influenced by the same political geometry of the venerable Imam [Khomeini]. Imam drew this political geometry for the Islamic system. We are pursuing the same thing today. God willing, it will be the same in the future. What Imam wanted was to be “… firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves” (Qur’an 48:29). We have never told other countries to follow the model and political form of our system. No, we have never said such a thing to any country, and we will never say this. Our message [to them] is to act according to Islamic principles, for that is what is mentioned in the verse that I recited from the Chapter Al-Fath “… [those with him are] firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves” (Qur’an 48:29). These are Islamic principles. God willing, we will stand against divisions in the future, as we have until today.
Another point that exists is that when we highlight these dividing lines between the great collection making up the world of Islam – I will give a brief explanation on this later – and the world of the Domineering Powers, the Arrogant Powers, and the colonizers, this reaction is inevitable. It is very hard for them. The Arrogant Powers have become accustomed to coercing others and no one showing a strong response to them.
For a century or more, these powers have become accustomed to coercing others, talking, and infringing on nations. Now a country in such a sensitive part of the world, in this important geographical position, has shielded itself. And with its actions and its words it encourages the Muslims to stand up to the Arrogant Powers. Naturally, this is unbearable to them and they show hostility. It is hard for them. The fact that the criminal schemes of the US for various countries are thwarted by the Islamic Republic makes them angry.
One example is ISIS. ISIS was created by the US. They themselves have admitted to this. Well, when the Islamic Republic enters the field and stands up to this conspiracy and these schemes with all its strength, it is unbearable for them. Thus, they begin to show a reaction. The origin of all this effort to propagate Iranophobia and Shiaphobia and to allege that Iran is interfering in this country and that country is the US’s anger at having their schemes thwarted. Therefore, you can see that they are trying to do whatever they can by using various propaganda methods to spread both Iranophobia and Shiaphobia, separately. One of the things they say is, “Why is Iran interfering in this country and that country?” Iran is not interfering in anything.
Our policy is to stand up to the crimes of global imperialism. This makes them angry. So they accuse the Islamic Republic. Everyone needs to be careful not to go along with the arrogant policies of the US. And whatever they are doing, in my opinion – that is, according to my analysis – is due to their incapacity and helplessness. These assassinations that take place and their strange propaganda is because they are powerless and cannot do anything. It is natural that the Islamic Republic progresses. It is natural that the slogans of the Islamic system are visibly successful. These are natural, have been like this, and this will continue to the end. And they are forced to go back step by step.
Well, this is natural, and it will be like this. They are forced to do something against this. So they turn to assassinations, such propaganda efforts, and similar things. One day they even encourage someone like Saddam to attack. This is how it has been since the beginning of the Revolution. They compel people to insult the luminous figures of the world of Islam.
One of the areas where great care is needed is with regards to the efforts of the Arrogant Powers who want to reverse the demarcation set by Imam [Khomeini]. That is, they want to highlight the dividing lines in the world of Islam using Shi’a vs. Sunni wars, Arab vs. non-Arab wars, sometimes wars between the Shi’a, and sometimes wars between the Sunni. Such wars are now taking place before your eyes, and you can see this in different countries. [The wars between] one Sunni faction against another Sunni faction and one Shi’a faction against another Shi’a faction! These are things the Arrogant Powers are doing. America is doing this. These are due to their provocations. This is a part of their plots, which unfortunately do exist. We need to be cautious. This [conflict] is what Satan wants. Imam [Khomeini] described the US as “the Great Satan.” It is stated in the Holy Qur’an that “Indeed Satan seeks to cast enmity and hatred among you through wine and gambling …” (Qur’an 5:91). This is not specific to just intoxicants and gambling. That is, Satan wants to create enmity and hatred between you, and some of the tools he uses are intoxicants and gambling. If he is able to create enmity and hatred using other means, he will naturally do so. This is normal. So “Satan only desires to cause enmity and hatred to spring up in your midst … ” Wherever you see enmity and hatred, you should be aware that Satan is at work. Now, how can we solve this problem? That is a whole different topic of discussion. It can be solved in different ways in different cases. We need to think and find the way to solve this. We need to be wary of the enemy’s Satanic policies.
We who are the followers of the Household of the Prophet (pbut) should be a symbol of solidarity and cooperation. From the first day, we said that the establishment of the AhlulBayt World Assembly does not mean confronting and showing hostility toward those who are not Shi’a. This should be made clear for everyone. You can see how the Islamic Republic has from the start cooperated with people who are not Shi’a but are moving along a good path, a correct path. In the world of Islam, who has helped the people of Gaza and the people of Palestine as much as Iranians have and as much as the Islamic Republic has? Countries which have the same religion as they [the Palestinians] do have not helped them one hundredth as much. They have even hurt them at times and sometimes inflict harms.
Another point I would like to address is that when the discussion of confrontation and opposition is brought up, a question arises. Are we capable and can we confront them? My answer is, “Of course. One hundred percent.” Yes, we can. The capacity of the world of Islam for stopping the Aggressive Powers and then pushing back the Aggressive Powers and global imperialism is a good capacity. There exists both a capacity in hard power and a capacity in soft power.
Our capacity in soft power is based on our teachings and our beliefs. We have a hopeful outlook toward the world. Our outlook with regard to the course of history and history’s movement is clear and hopeful. We rely on a great power and this power gives us strength and hope. We rely on God. Those people who do not rely on Him and take recourse in Him lose their hope and become depressed. They remain incapable and stop their movement. They create an uproar, but there is nothing inside.
Today, the Western world has reached an intellectual impasse and a theoretical impasse. Many of the issues in the world are unjustifiable and incomprehensible. With the liberal-democratic outlook that they have, many things that exist in the world today do not make sense. But not for us. For us, everything is solvable. Human beings’ role, the role of people’s will, the role of relying on God, the role of history’s movement, the issue of the savior, and the definite future of Islam are matters that are clear for us but not for them. They don’t have these and are missing these things. Their hands are empty. This is the issue of soft power.
In terms of hard power too, yes. For years they have been using the resources of the world of Islam. Using colonization and various tricks they have made themselves strong. But the world of Islam has a great capacity for making progress. There are vast lands and extremely valuable resources, which human life is dependent upon. Today, you are witnessing the issue of oil and gas in the world and how important they are. Well, these belong to the world of Islam. The world of Islam can use these in the best possible way.
We had these resources in the past too. In the past, during the time of colonialism and neocolonialism, the same resources existed, but the thing that was missing was determination. The thing that was missing was knowing what the enemy was like. During the time of colonialism, our nations did not know their enemy. They lacked strong determination to confront the enemy. They didn’t have anyone like our venerable Imam Khomeini to guide them. For these reasons, they weren’t able to do anything. Thank God, all of these things are available today, and nations have the necessary determination. Nations are ready now; the elites of the nations are ready today. [However], some weaknesses can be seen that are the result of our lack of work. That is why I’m saying the World Assembly has great responsibilities. One of the organizations that needs to work in these fields is your organization, and of course many other groups. Without a doubt, our own Islamic government has the most responsibility to do this. If there is a problem somewhere, it’s because of our lack of work in that area. Otherwise, abundant capacities exist today. The elite in Islamic countries are prepared. They truly are ready, and so are the people. That which has actually become active in the Islamic world is the Islamic Republic.
The system of the Islamic Republic is a reality that exists on earth. It’s not a promise that “we will carry out later.” No, this is a system that has been created. In my opinion, what is more important than the emergence of the Islamic system is its resilience. The Islamic system has endured all these hostilities, attacks, and the various blows that are taken at it. Resilience! It has been able to endure, it has been able to resist, it has been able to remain, and it has become strong. Today, the Islamic Republic is not the Islamic Republic of 30 or 40 years go. Thank God, that newly grown sapling has turned into an old tree today. It has become a role model. It is a role model. Although, as I mentioned before, when I say that the “Islamic Republic is a role model,” this does not mean that the political structure in all Islamic countries should be like the system of the Islamic Republic. No, the political structure may change. We ourselves have changed our political structure in certain cases. There have been some changes made to it since its establishment. There might be other political structures in other places. The main thing is the principles. The main thing is the basis of it – the basis that our dear Imam has spoken about in his speeches. The main issue is “… firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves.” The main issue is, “Upon Allah, then, let the believers rely” (Qur’an 64:13). These are the main issues that should be taken into consideration.
Nonetheless, God willing, the future is bright. We believe the Islamic world has a good future ahead of it. The Shi’a of the world can play a great role in this, and as the World Assembly for the Shi’a, so can you. I ask Almighty God for your success, and once again I would like to welcome and congratulate all of you. I pray that by the will of God, you shall all be successful and remain steadfast in the work that you do. God willing, you will enjoy this trip.
May God’s greetings, mercy and blessings be upon you.