In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
و الحمدلله ربّ العالمین و الصّلاة و السّلام علی سیّدنا محمّد و آله الطّیّبین و صحبه المنتجبین و من تبعهم باحسان الی یوم الدّین.
You are very welcome dear guests of this gathering and assembly and I thank you for your presence in this scientific and social move and [also] thank the organizers of this useful and, God willing, promising move, and also thank Grand Ayatollah [Nasser] Makarem Shirazi, who really endeavored and started a great step, which can, God willing, continue and lead to very good results.
Dear brethren, [and] dear sisters! Today, any move, which would lead to the unity of Islamic Ummah would be blessed, [and] would be a good act. The intention of enemies of Islam is to create division, [and this is why] the intention of us, who have faith in Islam, must be to create unity in the Islamic world and among Islamic Ummah and [focus on] familiarizing various groups and sects of Islamic Ummah with one another. And this move, which you started, and this gathering is one of the instances of working toward unity of the Islamic Ummah. One of those things, which we have always looked upon as a problem is that various sects among Islamic Ummah do not know one another correctly [and] do not have correct knowledge that would conform to reality of one another. [Therefore,] enemies, foreigners, and aliens have taken steps in many instances and have introduced this given sect to that given sect and introduced that given sect to this given sect through a hostile view and with evil purposes and with the intention of causing animosity. We observe and see many conspicuous instances [of this effort by foreigners] during the recent history of [the past] 100 years and 150 years.
With regard to these issues [that unraveled] during the past several years, we can clearly see judgments that are passed on a given [Islamic] sect before the eyes of the other Islamic sects and vice versa. Our enemies try to make us see one another in an ugly way, [and] see one another in an undesirable manner; this is what enemies do. [Therefore,] any move, which would make us know one another correctly, know one another more, know one another better, know one another’s fortes [and] create synergism among these fortes [and] transfer [their fortes] to one another, this move would lead to unity and solidarity and advancement of the Islamic Ummah and this [congress] is one of those steps [which makes this possible].
Throughout history, Shia Islam has made a huge [and] remarkable move for the advancement of Islamic sciences and natural sciences. The collection of the works of Shia scholars in [all fields of] Islamic sciences, like [Islamic] jurisprudence, like hadith, like philosophy in particular, [like] rational sciences, [and] the science of Islamic discourse in addition to the works and books, which have been produced in these fields and exist [among us], fairly speaking, are cause of pride and ecstasy for any Muslim who would observe these [works]. We must recognize this, [and] Islamic Ummah must feel this, must recognize this, [and] must know this. This will help us get close to one another, [and] this will help us know one another.
Among Shia scholars, those ones who were top-notch in various Islamic sciences – [including] in [Islamic] jurisprudence, in philosophy, in Islamic discourse, in rijal (biographical evaluation), [and] in hadith – like Allameh Helli, like Sheikh Tousi and the likes of them are numerous. Fortunately, such people have existed in our time as well. The books, which have been written on the Quran, on the Quranic sciences, [and] on the interpretation of the Quran, these are very important books, [and] are problem-solving books. [If] these [scholars] are introduced, are made known, know about one another’s works and the efforts that they have made, are made available to everybody, the Islamic Ummah would take pride in these measures; [and] this [measure] will lead to consolidation of the Islamic Ummah.
And we must be very careful in all [our] moves and in this very scientific move, which you are busy with, so that there would come about no controversy [and] no doubt that would cause discord, cause division, cause separation, [and] cause grievances on the part of various Islamic sects about others, because this is what enemies want. Therefore, one issue is the issue of the unity of Islamic Ummah, and God willing, in my opinion, a large part [of it] will be materialized through this step [that you have taken].
Another issue is the issue of [the country’s] scientific progress. Islamic world lagged behind and came under domination [of Western powers] because of its scientific backwardness. The West, after having lagged behind for many centuries and after obtaining [various] sciences from Muslims and using Islamic books as references and preludes and steps for ascension toward scientific [progress], managed to overtake Islamic countries and Islamic world in scientific terms. This caused their wealth to increase, and their military power to increase, and their political power to increase, and their propaganda power to increase as well. And this [state of affairs] led to colonialism. [In this way,] the phenomenon of colonialism came into being and Islamic countries, which were under blood-stained and ruthless boots and in clutches of colonialists, felt this backwardness and this deprivation of [scientific] progress in all [aspects of] their life, [and] in all fields of science, [and this backwardness finally] led to the situation that you see today: global powers, Western powers in particular, and devils of the world bully Islamic countries [and] Muslim nations and impose [their will on them] and, unfortunately, many Muslim rulers follow suit with them [and] this is due to scientific backwardness [of Islamic countries].
We must change this situation. We in the Islamic world must start a serious move toward progress in all sciences [and especially] all sciences that [can help us] build civilization – from rational sciences to all kinds of humanities and social sciences, to natural sciences – and we can [do this]. Once, Islamic world stood on the pinnacle of human civilization. Why it should not be repeated [again], [and] why we must not do something that in a suitable period of time – [for example] up to forty years from now, [or] fifty years from now – the Islamic Ummah would [once more] stand on the pinnacle of human civilization? Is there a problem with that? We must move. This is a job for governments and a job for elites. Both Islamic governments are duty-bound and elites in the Islamic world are duty-bound [to do this]. Ulema, intellectuals, writers, poets, [and] artists in the Islamic world must launch a huge intellectual movement and [create] a public demand for the scientific progress [of the Islamic world] and for reaching the pinnacle of science and knowledge, and making this step is possible today.
We, the Islamic Republic made an effort [to this effect] and this effort was successful. Compared to the situation [that existed in Iran] before victory of the revolution and in the time of the monarchial regime, we have moved a lot ahead; [and] our pace in this regard has been good. According to official global scientific references, during the past years, the pace of the Islamic Republic in [scientific] progress has been thirteen times that of the world’s average. We have not claimed this, [but] major scientific reference centers of the world have pointed this out in their official documents. Of course, since we greatly lagged behind, this [pace, which is] thirteen times [more than] the intensity of global [scientific] growth, has not been able so far to take us to that desirable point, but we have been able to move remarkably ahead and we will continue to move on.
I said that we must transcend the frontiers of science and knowledge and must go beyond the limits of global knowledge; we must move on and, God willing, we will do this and the Islamic Republic will do this, [of course,] in a way dissimilar to the West. Being stingy is a Western tradition; I mean, what they have, [and] that thing, which is their best scientific finding, they do not share it with anybody but themselves. Yes, that [part of science] which has been in use for a long time, yes, they transfer it [to other nations,] but they do not transfer their prominent scientific advances. Unlike their tradition, we have said that whatever we achieve [in terms of scientific advances], we are ready to transfer it to our Muslim brethren in [other] Islamic countries; [and we will do this] in all fields [of science].
This movement must go on. We must also advance in the field of Islamic sciences. In the field of [Islamic] jurisprudence, we need to cast a new look at jurisprudential issues. What these gentlemen pointed out – about specialized forms of jurisprudence – concerns this. When it comes to management of various sectors of the country and management of human societies, [Islamic] jurisprudence can offer fresh ideas, [and Islamic] jurisprudence can offer and come up with new ideas; we must work [more] in these fields; this is what [Islamic] jurisprudence does.
We must speed up our movement in [the fields of] philosophy and rational sciences and fortunately, rational sciences have seen a very good growth in Shia societies and especially in Iran. It has been like this from the past. Great scientists and thinkers in the field of rational sciences have existed and been present in our country and within the totality of Islamic sciences and their works still exist. Therefore, we must advance in this field of rational sciences as well. Western [societies] have solved political problems, governance problems, [and] social problems through extension of their philosophies. Yesterday, I saw books at the [Tehran international] book fair, which had been written by Western writers [about] the impact of philosophy in football; I mean, [their] philosophy extends even into football! Look, this is how they extend their intellectual ideas into all fields of life and areas of life; we must also do this. We are strong in terms of philosophy; Islamic philosophy is stronger and has a deeper root and is more solid than Western philosophy, but its extension into [all areas of human] life must be tangible. The judgment passed by our philosophy on [the nature of] government, on social issues, on economy, [and] on all issues, which have to do with building civilization, must be clear, [and] must be unequivocal. These are steps, which must be taken. These are [steps, which must be taken] with regard to specific Islamic sciences, [but] it is also the same in the field of natural sciences.
Fortunately, at the present time, awakening has taken place in the Islamic world, though Western countries tried to deny this awakening. What came about was Islamic awakening in this West Asia region and in the North Africa region and in Arab countries; this is some sort of awakening, [and] this awakening exists in all parts of the Islamic world. Young people have queries, pose questions and are willing for their questions to be answered by Islam. They have expectations from Islam and have a tendency toward it. Despite all this propaganda that Western countries have launched against Islam and against the Islamic life and Islamic lifestyle, there is high tendency toward Islam. This tendency promises us that, God willing, the future of the Islamic world will be much better than its present. God willing, the Islamic world will see days in which Islamic Ummah will stand on the pinnacle of it’s the Islamic civilization and life and enemies of Islam and bullies such as America and the likes of America will not be able to give orders to heads of the Islamic states [by telling them] that you must do this [or] you must do that. This [state of affairs] existed [in the past and] unfortunately, it still exists in some cases and this situation, God willing, will end and the Islamic world will reach its climax through God’s Grace and with Allah’s permission.
Once more, I thank all of you and hope that this scientific move would continue, and once again, I thank the group that made [this] effort [and] was in charge [of this event], especially Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, and I hope that, God willing, the Almighty would keep him [for us] and help him and increase and sustain on a daily basis the vibrancy and motivation that, praise be to God, has always existed in him and still exists today.
Peace be unto you and so may the mercy of Allah and His blessings