The following is the full text of the speech delivered on April 29, 2013 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a meeting at Inauguration of Islamic Awakening and Ulama Conference.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master, Muhammad al-Mustafa, and upon his immaculate household, chosen companions and those who follow them well, until the Day of Judgment.
I welcome you honorable guests and I ask Almighty and Merciful God to bless this collective effort and make it an effective step towards happiness of Muslims. "Surely He listens and responds."
Today the subject of Islamic Awakening, which you will discuss in this conference, tops the list of the issues of the Islamic world and the Islamic Ummah, an amazing phenomenon that will result in the re-emergence of Islamic civilization - for the Islamic Ummah and then for all of the world - in the not too distant future providing that, with Allah's permission, it stays healthy and continues.
Today what lies in front of our eyes and cannot be denied by any informed and intelligent individual is that the world of Islam has now emerged out of the sidelines of social and political equations of the world, that it has found a prominent and outstanding position at the center of decisive global events, and that it offers a fresh outlook on life, politics, government and social developments. This is considered an important and significant phenomenon in today's world, which is suffering from a deep intellectual and theoretical vacuum after the failure of communism and liberalism. This is the first sign of the political and revolutionary events in North Africa and the Arab region on a global scale, which itself is a harbinger of greater truths that will come to pass in the future.
Islamic Awakening, which speakers in the arrogant and reactionary camp do not even dare to mention in words, is a truth whose signs can be witnessed in almost all parts of the world of Islam. The most obvious sign of it is the enthusiasm of public opinion, especially among young people, to revive the glory and greatness of Islam, to become aware of the nature of the international order of domination and to remove the mask from the shameless, oppressive and arrogant face of the governments and centers that have been pressuring the Islamic and non-Islamic East in their clutches for more than two hundred years and have been exposing nations to their brutal and aggressive thirst for power disguised with the mask of civilization and culture.
The dimensions of this auspicious awakening are widespread and mysterious, but what was witnessed of its immediate outcomes in a few North African countries can make hearts confident about the great and amazing outcomes that will be achieved in the future. Miraculous fulfillment of divine promises is always a hope-inspiring sign that promises the fulfillment of greater promises. The Quranic account of the two promises that Allah the Exalted gave to the mother of Prophet Moses is an example of this divine tactic. At that difficult moment, when she was ordered to cast her baby in the river in a basket, Allah the Exalted said, "Surely We will bring him back to you and make him one of the messengers." [The Holy Quran, Sura al-Qasas, Ayah 7] The fulfillment of the first promise, which was the smaller promise and a cause for happiness for the mother, became the sign of the fulfillment of the promise of prophetic mission, which was far greater and of course, it required long-term suffering, struggle and patience: "So We restored him to his mother that her eye might be refreshed, and that she might not grieve, and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true..." [The Holy Quran, Sura al-Qasas, Ayah 13] This true promise was the great mission which was fulfilled after many years and it changed the course of history.
Another example is the reminder about the overwhelming power of God to suppress the invaders of the Holy House: in order to encourage His audience through the Holy Prophet to submit to His order, Allah the Exalted makes use of this example "so let them serve the Lord of this House" [The Holy Quran, Sura Quraysh, Ayah 3] and says, "Did He not cause their war to end in confusion?" [The Holy Quran, Sura al-Fil, Ayah 2] Similarly, in order to raise the spirits of His beloved Prophet and convince him of the truth of the promise "your Lord has not forsaken you, nor has He become displeased" [The Holy Quran, Sura ad-Dhuha, Ayah 3], Allah the Exalted gives the reminder about the miraculous blessing: "Did He not find you an orphan and give you shelter? He found you astray and guided you." [The Holy Quran, Sura ad-Dhuha, Ayah 6-7] And there are many such examples in the Holy Quran.
The day when Islam achieved victory in Iran and managed to capture the fort of America and Zionism in one of the most important countries in this extremely sensitive region, those who were wise and quick to learn realized that if they had patience and insight, other victories will come one after another.
The brilliant truths in the Islamic Republic, which are acknowledged by our enemies, have all been achieved in the shade of trust in divine promises, patience, resistance and asking God for assistance. In the face of temptations by weak people who, during tense times, shout "we are sure to be overtaken," [The Holy Quran, Sura ash-Shuara, Ayah 61] our people have always shouted "by no means, my Lord is with me and soon will He guide me." [The Holy Quran, Sura ash-Shuara, Ayah 62]
Today this is a precious experience that is available to the peoples who have stood up against arrogance and tyranny and have managed to overthrow and shake corrupt governments that are subservient to and dependent on America. Resistance, patience, insight and faith in the divine promise "surely Allah will help him who helps His cause" will pave this path of glory for the Islamic Ummah until it reaches the peak of Islamic civilization.
At this important meeting, which has been attended by a group of religious scholars of the Islamic Ummah from different Islamic countries and denominations, I believe it is appropriate to discuss a few necessary points regarding the issue of Islamic Awakening.
The first point is that the earliest waves of awakening in the countries of this region, which started simultaneously with the entry of the pioneers of colonialism, were mainly caused by religion and religious reformers. The names of outstanding leaders and personalities - such as Sayyid Jamal ad-Din, Muhammad Abduh, Mirza-e Shirazi, Akhund-e Khorasani, Mahmoud al-Hassan, Muhammad Ali, Sheikh Fazlollah, Hajj Agha Noorullah, Abul A'la Maududi and tens of famous, great, mujahid and and influential clerics from Iran, Egypt, India and Iraq - have been recorded in history books forever. Similarly, in the contemporary era, the brilliant name of the great Imam Khomeini is shining like a brilliant star at the forefront of the Islamic Revolution. Meanwhile, today and in the past, hundreds of famous religious scholar and thousands of lesser-known religious scholars have played a role in great and small reform movements in different countries. The list of non-cleric religious reformers, such as Hassan al-Banna and Iqbal Lahori, is also long and amazing.
Almost everywhere, clerics and theologians have been the intellectual authority and spiritual support for the people and wherever they have appeared in the role of guides and pioneers at the time of great developments and have moved forward in the first rows of popular movements in the face of dangers, the intellectual bond between them and the people has been strengthened and they have played a significant role in showing the path to the people. This is as beneficial to the wave of Islamic Awakening as it is unpleasant and distressing to the enemies of the Islamic Ummah, those who bear grudges against Islam and those who are opposed to the rule of Islamic values, and they are trying to take away this intellectual authority from religious strongholds and create new centers for it. They have learned through experience that they can easily reach a compromise with these centers over national principles and values, and this is something that will never happen in the case of pious religious scholars and devoted religious personalities.
This makes the responsibility of religious scholars heavier. Through vigilance and caution and by identifying the enemy's deceptive methods and machinations, they should completely shut the door to infiltration and foil the enemy's plots. One of the greatest calamities is becoming attracted to the lure of worldly wealth. Exposure to the favors of wealthy and powerful people and being indebted to taghuts of lust and power are the most dangerous cause of separation from the people and loss of their trust and friendliness. Self-centeredness and thirst for power, which lure weak individuals towards developing an inclination to poles of power, prepare the ground for involvement in corruption and deviation. It is necessary to constantly keep this holy Quranic ayah in mind: "(As for) that future abode, We assign it to those who have no desire to exalt themselves in the earth nor to make mischief and the good end is for those who guard (against evil)." [The Holy Quran, Sura al-Qasas, Ayah 83]
Today in the era of hope-inspiring movements of Islamic Awakening, sometimes certain things are witnessed which on the one hand, show the efforts by the agents of America and Zionism to create unreliable intellectual authorities and which on the other hand, show the efforts by debauched Qaruns to drag religious and pious people towards their poisoned and contaminated activities. Religious scholars and pious men should be extremely vigilant and careful.
The second point is the necessity of delineating a long-term goal for Islamic Awakening in Muslim countries, a noble aim that gives orientation to the awakening of nations and helps them reach a certain point. It is through identifying this particular point that one can prepare a roadmap and specify the medium- and short-term goals in it. This final goal cannot be anything less than creating a brilliant Islamic civilization. All parts of the Islamic Ummah - in the form of different nations and countries - should achieve the civilizational position that has been specified in the Holy Quran. The main and the general characteristic of this civilization is that it should allow human beings to utilize all the material and spiritual capacities that Allah the Exalted has bestowed on them and on the world in order to bring about happiness and transcendence for humanity. The surface structure of this civilization can and should be witnessed in popular government, in the laws that have been extracted from the Holy Quran, in identifying and addressing different needs of humanity, in avoidance of rigidity and reactionary attitudes as well as unwarranted innovation and adulteration, in creating public welfare and wealth, in establishing justice, in liberation from an economy that is based on special privileges, usury and taking pride in wealth, in promoting human values, in defending oppressed people in the world, and in hard work and innovation. Adopting an ijtihadi and scholarly outlook on different areas - ranging from humanities to the system of formal education, from economy and banking to technical and technological production, from modern media to art and cinema and to international relations and other areas - are all among the requirements for this civilization-building.
Experience has shown that all of these things are possible and within the capacities of Muslim communities. This outlook must not be treated with haste and pessimism. Being pessimistic about one's capabilities is ingratitude to God's blessings, and neglecting help from God and the laws of creation amounts to slipping into the morass of entertaining "evil thoughts about Allah." [The Holy Quran, Sura al-Fath, Ayah 6] We can break the chain of scientific, economic and political monopolies of the domineering powers and help the Islamic Ummah become the pioneer of restoring the rights of the majority of nations in the world, which have been dominated by a minority of arrogant powers.
Through religious faith, knowledge, ethics and constant struggle, Islamic civilization can gift advanced thought and noble codes of behavior to the Islamic Ummah and to the entire humanity, and it can be the point of liberation from materialistic and oppressive outlooks and corrupt codes of behavior that form the pillars of current Western civilization.
The third point is that in the movements of Islamic Awakening it is necessary to pay constant attention to the bitter and horrifying experience of following the West in politics, behavior and lifestyle.
In more than a century of following the culture and politics of the arrogant powers, Muslim countries suffered from deadly calamities such as political dependence and humiliation, economic plights and poverty, decline of moral virtues and ethics and shameful scientific backwardness, and this was while the Islamic Ummah enjoyed a glorious history in all of these areas.
This statement must not be interpreted as hostility towards the West. We are not hostile towards any group of human beings because of geographical differences. We have learnt lessons from Ali (greetings be upon him) who describes human beings in this way: "Those who have the same religion as you, they are brothers to you, and those who have religions other than that of yours, they are human beings like you." Our complaint against oppression and arrogance and against bullying and transgression is the moral and practical degeneration that has been imposed on our nations by the colonial and arrogant powers. Currently, we can witness the bullying and interference of America and some of its followers in the region in the countries in which the breeze of awakening has turned into the storm of uprisings and revolutions. Their promises must not affect the decisions and actions of outstanding political personalities and the great movement of the people. In this case as well, we need to learn lessons from our experiences: those who pinned their hopes on the promises of America for years and based their behavior and policies on the inclination towards the oppressor did not manage to resolve any problems of their nations or eliminate an injustice to themselves or to others. By surrendering to America, they did not manage to prevent the demolition of even one single Palestinian home in a territory that belongs to the Palestinians. The politicians and outstanding personalities who are deceived by the bribe or intimidated by the threats of the camp of the arrogant powers and miss the great opportunity of Islamic Awakening should be apprehensive about this divine threat: "Have you not seen those who have changed Allah's favor for ungratefulness and made their people to alight into the abode of perdition into hell? They shall enter into it and an evil place it is to settle in." [The Holy Quran, Sura Ibrahim, Ayah 28-29]
The fourth point is that today one of the most dangerous things that threatens the movement of Islamic Awakening is the efforts to foment discord and turn these movements into bloody sectarian, ethnic and national conflicts. Currently, this plot is being seriously pursued by intelligence services of the West and Zionism with the help of petrodollars and bribed politicians from East Asia to North Africa and particularly in the Arab region. And the money that could have been spent to bring about happiness for mankind is being used to make threats, excommunicate, assassinate, bomb, shed Muslim blood and to kindle the fire of long-lasting grudges. Those who consider the unified power of Islam as an obstacle in the way of their evil goals have come to the conclusion that fanning the flames of conflicts inside the Islamic Ummah is the easiest way to achieve their satanic goal and they have used differences of opinion in Islamic jurisprudence, kalaam, history and hadith - which are natural and inevitable - as a pretext to excommunicate, shed blood and cause fitna and corruption.
A vigilant look at the scene of domestic conflicts clearly reveals the enemy's hands behind these tragedies. These deceptive hands undoubtedly take advantage of the ignorance, prejudice and superficiality that exists in our societies and they add fuel to the fire. The responsibility of religious and political reformers and outstanding personalities is very heavy in this regard.
Currently, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, Syria, Pakistan, and Iraq and Lebanon are in one way or another involved in or exposed to these dangerous flames. It is necessary to be extremely careful and to look for a remedy. It would be naïve to think that all of these things are due to ideological and ethnic factors and motives. Propaganda campaigns of the West and dependent and mercenary media in the region pretend that the destructive war in Syria is a Shia-Sunni conflict and they create a safety margin for the Zionists and the enemies of resistance in Syria and Lebanon. This is while the two sides of the conflict in Syria are not Shia and Sunni, rather they are the supporters and opponents of anti-Zionist resistance. Neither the Syrian government is a Shia government, nor is the secular and anti-Islam opposition a Sunni group. The only achievement of the plotters of this calamitous scenario is that they have managed to make use of religious sentiments of simple-minded people to kindle this deadly fire. A look at the scene and those who are involved in it at different levels can clarify the issue for any just individual.
Also, in the case of Bahrain, this wave of propaganda is spreading lies and deception in another way. In Bahrain, the oppressed majority - who have been deprived of the right to vote as well as other fundamental rights that a nation should enjoy - have risen up to demand their rights. Should this be considered a Shia-Sunni conflict simply because the oppressed majority are Shia and the oppressive secular government pretends to be Sunni? Of course, the European and American colonialists and their friends in the region want to make things appear like this, but what is the truth?
These are the things that call religious scholars and just reformers to careful thinking and sense of responsibility and they make identification of the enemies' goals behind highlighting sectarian, ethnic and partisan differences an obligation for everybody.
The fifth point is that one of the standards for judging whether Islamic Awakening movements are on the right path is the positions they adopt on the issue of Palestine. Since sixty years ago up until today, the occupation of Palestine has been the biggest tragedy that has been imposed on the Islamic Ummah.
Since the first day up until today, the tragedy of Palestine has been a combination of killings, assassinations, destruction, usurpation and transgression against what is held sacred in Islam. The necessity of putting up a resistance against this warring and usurping enemy and fighting him has been agreed upon by all Islamic denominations and all honest and healthy national currents. Any current in Islamic countries which disregards this religious and national responsibility out of consideration for the domineering demands of America or under the pretext of unreasonable justifications should not expect to be viewed as loyal to Islam and sincere in its nationalistic claims.
This is a test. Anybody who does not accept the slogan of liberating Holy Quds and saving the Palestinian nation and Palestinian territories or anybody who sidelines this slogan and turns his back on the camp of resistance, will be condemned. The Islamic Ummah should keep this clear and fundamental standard in mind everywhere and at all times.
Dear guests, brothers and sisters, never lose sight of the enemy's plot. Our lack of vigilance creates opportunities for our enemies.
The lesson that Ali (greetings be upon him) teaches us is that "whoever is careless about his cause, his enemy will not sleep over this advantage..." In this regard, our experience in the Islamic Republic is also a source of lessons. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the arrogant Western governments and America - which had long established full control over Iranian taghuts and used to determine the political, economic and cultural destiny of our country and which had underestimated the enormous power of Islamic faith in society and remained unaware of the power of Islam and the Holy Quran to deploy forces and to guide - suddenly realized that they had been unaware and their governmental organizations, intelligence services and control rooms resumed work in order to make up for the overwhelming defeat they had suffered.
We have witnessed various kinds of machinations from them over the past thirty-something years. In essence, there have been two factors that have foiled their plots: insistence on Islamic principles and presence of the people on the scene. These two factors are the key to the problems everywhere. The first factor is guaranteed by sincere religious faith in divine promises and the second factor is guaranteed by sincere efforts and honest clarification. A nation that has faith in the honesty and sincerity of its leaders will bring in enthusiasm with their blessed presence, and wherever a nation stays on the scene with a solid determination, no power will have the capability to defeat it. This is a successful experience for all the nations that gave rise to Islamic Awakening through their presence.
I pray to Allah the Exalted to bestow His guidance, assistance and mercy on you and on all Muslim nations.
Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy