Democracy--> The definition of democracy
We should pay attention to freedom, democracy and justice-seeking – that the Revolution propagated and introduced Islam through the views, mottoes and viewpoints on them. Today also at different levels in the world there is a campaign against all concepts of the Islamic teachings founded in Islam. It is a campaign against the religious trust in terms of life affairs and against the theoretical and practical reconciliation between religion and democracy. There used to be a major campaign against the unity of the ummah which was experienced by colonialism in the past.
As regards the people, the most important thing done by the late Imam was to distance the definition of democracy from what the directors of Western democracy and their agents wanted to show in academic circles. They attempted to make people disbelieve ion any sort of reconciliation between democracy and religion. The Imam cancelled this abrogated meaning and introduced religious democracy – which is actually the Islamic Republic – to the world. But this was not adequate to him. He did it at a theoretical and a practical level too.
Today the system of the Islamic Republic – which is a religious system whose regulations, principles and values are rooted in religion – is a full-fledged democratic system unparalleled by any other Muslim state. Of course, this truth is very bitter to the enemy. They do not like the idea of having religion and democracy on the same flag. They are attempting to separate the two. Thus the truth about the Islamic Republic is very painful to them. They have exploited various propaganda means and agents to invite the Iranian nation to democracy in order to divert the world public opinion from this bright truth. This great satire of our time and region. They had acknowledged the despotic systems, the Pahlavi regime and the regimes which know nothing of democracy. While, at the same time, they invite to democracy the Islamic Republic whose members of parliament and all the pillars of the society are directly or indirectly selected through the votes of people! While this is the case in our country, the U.S. president took over through undemocratic means. This is a fact everyone knows about. They have no problem with totalitarian regimes since such regimes submit easily. They come to a compromise with systems that have taken over through coup d’etat because they surrender to them so easily. But they criticize the Islamic system due to its belief in independence and its own values and not because it is not ready to submit to their domination. So they accuse it of despotism and dictatorship which appropriately befit their own systems.
Today our best criteria especially for our officials are those based on religious democracy for improving our morality and manners. Do not make mistake, this sort of democracy has nothing to do with the Western version. It is quite different. It consists of two things: It is not like importing democracy from the west and then attaching it to religion. Democracy itself belongs to religion. As I mentioned earlier, democracy has two aspects: One aspect is that the structure of the system is constructed by the people; in other words, people select their system; they choose the government; they choose the members of parliament; they choose the important officials directly or indirectly. This is what claimed but not actualized in the West. Some really get upset because we do not take the Western claim of democracy seriously. They take it as prejudice. But actually this is neither our mere words nor a prejudiced one. It is well-informed and based on the comments and examples of the outstanding literature of the West. This is what they say. They do not admit it when they are dealing with public opinion. In public, they say that the only thing which exists is public opinion. But this is not the whole story. They admit this at some levels. There are many examples to this meaning. Is this democracy?! We do not say such a thing. We say that one aspect of religious democracy is the opinion of the people. Of course, people should know, understand and decide so that they will fulfill their religious obligation. Without knowledge they will have no obligations.
The other aspect of democracy is that after people have chosen us we have to fulfill our responsibilities and duties towards them. Some friends have collected these hadiths from Nahjul Balagha and other sources. There is no time to review them all. I am going to read you a few instances. Imam Ali (A.S) says: “Do not make the people feel indebted to you because you have done them something or you have decided to do so; do not exaggerate what you have done for the people; do not make a promise and break it.” Then he continues: “If you make people feel indebted to you, your good deeds will be nullifies and invalid. Exaggeration will do away with the light of the Righteous; people will not even believe the least truth in what you say. If you break your promise you will sin: قال الله تعالی: کبر مقتا" عندالله ان تقولوا ما لا تفعلون. Though these statements are addressed to Malek Ashtar by the Master of the Faithful, they are addressed to us as well. (و ایاک و المن علی رعیتک باحسانک او التزید فیما کان من فعلک او ان تعدهم فتتبع موعدک بخلفک فان المن یبطل الاحسان و التزید یذهب بنور الحق و الخلف یوجب المقت عند الله و الناس) .
As regards your friends and relatives be fair to people and God (انصف الله و انصف الناس من نفسک و من خاصة اهلک و من لک فیه هوي من رعیتک). In other words, do not give them any prerogatives. Giving the privileges of the use of a source or a company to relatives and friends because they belong to one’s own circle is not democratic. We should struggle against such acts of corruption. Dear brothers and sisters! As far as such corruption exists in the country there will be no advancement whatsoever. This sort of corruption will spoil whatever achievement you might have. We are supposed to treat this primary problem. This is what the Master of the Faithful says: You should not give your friends and relatives and those you love prerogatives (من لک فیه هوي من رعیتک). People should be treated the same way. There should not be a special privilege for the favorites.
Democracy is not merely a tumult and propaganda and getting votes from the people and then saying good-bye, forgetting about the people! After the first aspect of democracy is done with, now it is the turn for the second aspect. It is time for accountability. The Master of the faithful has a saying about this same special group. It is a sentence in Malek-e Ashtar: Do not say, I am appointed; I am given responsibility; I have such a position. I am responsible; I give order; and you have to obey.” Do not talk that way (لا تقولن اني مؤمر آمر فاطاع). This will destroy your heart (فان ذلک ادغال فی القلب) . When you talk that way people will be dissatisfied with your selfishness, egotism and your escape from responsibility (و
تقرب من الفتن) .