Supreme Leader’s Public Address on Eid al-Ghadir

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on December 6, 2009 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a public meeting on the occasion of Eid al-Ghadir.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

I would like to congratulate this auspicious Eid and this great historical event on all the dear brothers and sisters who have attended this meeting as well as all Iranian people, all Shia, and all Muslims throughout the world.

Eid al-Ghadir is more important and more influential than all other Eids of the Islamic calendar. Why? Because the responsibilities of the Islamic Ummah regarding guidance and government was specified on Ghadir. Ghadir was a matter of establishing a criterion although the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) advice was not heeded later on. Until the end of time, Muslims can use this criterion to determine the main path of the Islamic Ummah. Choosing the best time for declaring his successor was not up to the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.). Rather, it was decided by Allah the Exalted. "Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord." [The Holy Quran, 5: 67] This is not to say that the Prophet (s.w.a.) did not know about the issue of Imamate and Wilayat before the revelation. He knew about this issue since the time he was appointed a prophet. Moreover, the events that happened during his 23-year prophethood left no doubt about Imamate and Wilayat. But Wilayat had to be publicly declared at the most strategic time, and it was declared after a divine order. "Deliver what bas been revealed to you from your Lord. And if you do not do it, then you have not delivered His message." [The Holy Quran, 5: 67] That is to say, declaring Wilayat was a divine message that the Prophet (s.w.a.) had to deliver. Later on, when the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) told the pilgrims to gather in Ghadir al-Khumm and declared this divine message, this ayah was revealed to him: "Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you." [The Holy Quran, 5: 3] Islam and divine blessings were complete on Ghadir. "Today the unbelievers have despaired of your religion. Therefore, fear them not, but fear Me." [The Holy Quran, 5: 3] Allah told the Prophet (s.w.a.) that Ghadir was the day when his enemies despair. That is to say, the criterion was determined. From that day on, Muslims could see the criterion and end doubts whenever they opened their eyes to the realities. This shows the importance of Ghadir.

As has been specified in the history of Islam, the issue of Imamate and Wilayat is a divine issue. It was not the case that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) appointed the Commander of the Faithful as his successor according to his personal assessment of the situation. His decision was inspired by God. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) delivered the message of Islam to different Arab tribes from the beginning of his prophethood. He went to different tribes during the early stages of his prophethood. Once he visited the head of a tribe who told him that his tribe was prepared to convert to Islam on condition that the head of his tribe take on the responsibility after the Prophet (s.w.a.). He said that his tribe would agree to convert to Islam providing that the Prophet (s.w.a.) let the head of his tribe be his successor. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) rejected his offer and said, "This is a divine issue." The Prophet (s.w.a.) said appointing a successor was not his decision. As a result, the tribe did not accept the Prophet's invitation to Islam. This event is indisputable in the history of Islam. Our Sunni brothers have also narrated this event. Shia and Sunni have not presented different accounts of the event. Therefore, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) appointed Imam Ali (a.s.) as his successor on the basis of a divine revelation. Appointing a successor was a decision that was made by God.

But if it was up to the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), who would he appoint as his successor? Logically, his successor had to be the embodiment of all the essential qualities specified in Islam. Muslims living in different parts of the world can measure the qualifications of the Commander of the Faithful against other companions of the Prophet (s.w.a.). Although several traditions have been narrated regarding the virtues of some of the Prophet's companions, Muslims can measure Imam Ali's (a.s.) qualifications against those specified in the Quran and in reliable Islamic narrations. Then they will see who was more qualified to be the successor of the Prophet (s.w.a.). Knowledge is one of the criteria. Regarding his knowledge, both Shia and Sunni narrations confirm that the Holy Prophet said, "I am the city of knowledge, and Ali is the gate to it." This is the best testimony to Imam Ali's knowledge. Regarding his jihad, Allah the Exalted said, "And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of Allah." [The Holy Quran, 2: 207] This Quranic verse describes the selflessness of the Commander of the Faithful. There are no other such revelations about other people in the Quran. Regarding his charitable activities, there is the ayah, "And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive." [The Holy Quran, 76: 8] This ayah is about the Commander of the Faithful and his family. "Your (real) friends are (no less than) Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers - those who establish regular prayers and regular charity, and they bow down humbly (in worship)." [The Holy Quran, 5: 55] Everyone says that this ayah is about Imam Ali (a.s.). He had each and every one of the qualifications specified in Islam - including knowledge, piety, charitable activities, selfless efforts, and jihad. Who would deny the fact that Imam Ali (a.s.) had these qualifications?

I call all Muslims throughout the world to reflect on these realities. We do not at all insist that in a unified Islamic Ummah certain Islamic denominations should accept the beliefs of other Islamic denominations. No, this is not what we mean by unity. Unity means that different Islamic denominations should highlight what they have in common and do not use their differences to cause fratricide, war, and enmity among Muslims. That is what we mean by unity.

But all Muslims should study what has been written by contemporary Shia researchers and great Shia scholars. Their works have been praised by the ulama, intellectuals, and prominent figures of the entire world of Islam. This is a reasonable request. They should not confine themselves to their own sources. They should not deprive themselves of the works produced by the scholars of other Islamic denominations. Allamah Amini's "Al-Ghadir" and the books written by the late Seyyed Sharaf al-Din are a collection of religious realities. Ghadir is an important historical event. In many of his books, Allamah Amini cited tens of Sunni sources that narrate Ghadir the way Shia do. Ghadir has not just been narrated in our books. Some people may disagree about the meaning of mawla, but Ghadir was a historical event that established a criterion [for leadership]. It is obvious to all Muslims and Muslim rulers that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was a peak of perfection.

His youth is a model for the youth of the Islamic Ummah. He was sincere and insightful. He could see the truth, and he was always seeking it. He used to defend the truth with all his soul. He used to step into dangerous arenas. He used to ignore the dangers on his path. He did not at all deviate from the appropriate path. He used to closely follow the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) all his life. He used to obediently follow the orders of God and those of the Prophet (s.w.a.). At the same time, he used to increase his knowledge on a daily basis. Every moment of his life, he used to base his actions on his knowledge. That was the youth of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.).

Similarly, when he was middle-aged and elderly, his life was full of difficult tests, and he patiently went through all of these tests. He always used to place the interests of Islam above everything else, even his own indisputable rights. The Commander of the Faithful could start an uprising whenever he felt his rights were being trampled upon. Imam Ali (a.s.) was not afraid of anybody. He was the kind of person who would have been supported if he had decided to take action. "I refused to accept leadership until I saw that some people had turned their backs on Islam and wanted to annihilate the religion of Muhammad (s.w.a.)." [Nahjul Balaghah, Letter 62] In this letter, he says, I saw that anti-religious tendencies were being revitalized in the hearts of people, and I saw that there were enemies who wanted to take advantage of this situation, so I stepped in to defend Islam. He says he gave up his own rights. Thus, he used to defend the interests of Islam with all his soul. And when people went to him and insisted that he should accept the leadership of their society, he stepped in with all his competence. He was not afraid of anything, and no criticisms could stop him. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was a perfect role model. Shia Muslims consider him to have this high position. All members of the Islamic Ummah should pay attention to this point.

The late Allamah Amini - the author of the book "Al-Ghadir" - and Shahid Motahhari believed that Ghadir is a source of unity for the Islamic Ummah. Some people should not assume that Ghadir is a source of discord. That is not the case. Today Shia Muslims are being accused more than the past. Shia Islam is rooted in a correct, healthy, and pure belief in divine revelations. That is the meaning of Shia Islam. Shia Islam means being committed to the values and Quranic criteria. Some people may talk nonsense and accuse Shia Islam of something that has nothing to do with it. They may say that Shia Islam is a fake sect. They may claim that Shia Islam is political in nature and that it has been added to Islam later on. Ghadir invalidates all these claims.

Some people try to show that this great Islamic movement and its followers are outside the scope of Islam. What do they gain out of this? Today policies are being adopted to promote this idea. Why? Because thanks to the spirit of Wilayat, Shia Islam has managed to achieve something that was a dream for all Muslims. In the past, all benevolent, committed, and sympathetic Muslims wished that Islam would one day gain power and would restore its original unity and authority. Muslim intellectuals of the past few centuries lived out their lives, wishing to see such a day. Today Shia Islam has fulfilled this dream - the dream of Islamic rule, grandeur, and dignity. This achievement has been made thanks to the spirit of Wilayat. The enemy can see this. It wants to scatter the supporters of Shia Islam and Wilayat. As a result, today more accusations are leveled against Shia Islam than ever before. Throughout history, there have been some twisted individuals who have talked against Shia Islam, leveled accusations against it, and spread lies about it. But today these accusations are far more than ever before, and this state of affairs is due to the policies adopted by the arrogant powers. Why do they not understand this?

We should all try to understand this. Shia Muslims should try to understand this. We should know that the policies of the arrogant powers are aimed at separating Shia Muslims form non-Shia Muslims. We should know that their policies are aimed that dividing Muslim denominations and pitching them against one another. We should not help them achieve this goal. We should prevent the enemy from achieving this goal. Both Shia and non-Shia Muslims are responsible in this regard. Today it is Shia Muslims in Islamic Iran who have raised the flag of Islamic power and glory, and the arrogant powers feel powerless. All Muslims should know this. This is a fact. The plots that have been hatched by the enemies - America being the most important, and England being the most evil among them - against the Islamic Republic during the past 30 years are all due to the fact that they are terrified. They are terrified of the Islamic movement and Islamic Awakening. The areas that are populated by Muslims are the most strategic areas in the world. They know that they will have no control over these areas when Muslims wake up to the realities, pay attention, and feel independent and powerful. They know that they will lose control of these strategic areas when Muslims feel their Islamic identity. They are afraid of this. They hatch plots because they are afraid. They use various means to achieve their goal. Today the leaders of arrogant policies - namely, America, the Zionists, and other arrogant powers of world - are using all their power in order to isolate the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic. So far, they have not achieved this goal. And by Allah's grace, they will not be able to do so in the future either.

For instance, they have resorted to spreading lies and misleading global public opinion regarding the nuclear issue. This is not limited to a particular radio station or a particular propaganda machine. Unfortunately, all influential western politicians - who are mostly influenced by the Zionists - are constantly misleading public opinion, spreading lies, and fabricating slogans. We ask the heads of these countries not tell so many lies. We ask these western governments not to mislead global public opinion like this. These lies will harm them in the end. They tried telling lies, and they saw the consequences. When they keep telling lies and their claims are proven wrong, they will lose their reputation. That was what happened in some cases. They told lies and took action on the basis of their lies, but then the truth was revealed. Their own nations will hold them responsible for their lies.

Iran is just looking for the nuclear knowledge it needs. If the Iranian nation does not obtain this knowledge today, it will be too late to obtain it tomorrow. It will be too late in the future, the future in which global economy will revolve around nuclear energy instead of oil. They want the Iranian nation to stand idle, waiting for others to help it in the future. The entire nuclear issue boils down to this [nuclear knowledge]. I have said this repeatedly before.

Today we are working in order to obtain the nuclear knowledge we need so that our children, our youth, our future generations, and the great Iranian nation will not be forced to beg this knowledge from the west in the future. Oil belongs to us. We extract it from our own oil reserves and export it to western countries. But westerners are bullying us even in the case of oil! Today western governments are making a greater profit than the oil exporting countries out of the oil that is extracted from the oil wells of this region! Today oil belongs to us, and we have control over it. Yet westerners are bullying us. Just imagine what will happen to the countries that will try to get nuclear energy from westerners in the future. That is what the Islamic Republic is thinking about, so it insists that Iran should obtain this nuclear knowledge and technology. But they cause uproar in the world and ask us why we are trying to achieve nuclear knowledge. They spread slander and mislead global public opinion, claiming that Iran is after a nuclear bomb.

[People shouting, "Nuclear energy is our indisputable right."] Yes, Obviously. It is obvious that nuclear energy is an indisputable right of the Iranian nation. But the problem is that the global arrogant powers are using different kinds of machinations and propaganda techniques in order to deprive the Iranian nation from this indisputable right. We need to have insight. We need to be vigilant. When treading their path, nations should find out what their enemy is doing at critical moments. When they see that they cannot confront a nation through military action or threatening, they start causing trouble through other methods. We should understand this. In such cases, they resort to pretexts and causing discord and enmity.

Today disagreements inside the country are one of the things that the global arrogant powers focus their propaganda on. Some people will be held responsible by God for doing things that are interpreted by the enemy as domestic discord. They will have to answer for emboldening the enemy. The important point is that we should identify our enemy. We should identify its plots. We have to know what we are saying. We should know that our statements may embolden and encourage the enemy. We should know that our statements may pave the way for enemy interference and infiltration. These are the things that we should take into account.

Of course our nation has proven that it is patient, steadfast, and proud. Our nation has shown this during the past 30 years. We are patient. In their propaganda, the leaders of global arrogance and their mouthpieces are constantly saying that their patience is running out with Iran. But you were never patient with the Iranian nation. When did you show patience? You did whatever you could whenever you had an opportunity. You did whatever you could against the Iranian nation. When did you show patience? When did you refrain from hatching plots, broadcasting negative propaganda, imposing economic sanctions, and waging military attacks? When did you call off your rabid dogs? When did you show patience? What patience are you talking about? It is the Iranian nation that has been patient. It was we who were patient. It was we who were steadfast. It was we who turned a blind eye to your plots, your propaganda, and your uproar and continued treading our own path. And through God's assistance and the efforts of our youth, our nation will continue treading this path with all its soul, the path that was shown to us by our magnanimous Imam (r.a.). By Allah's favor, we will achieve the peak of success one day.

Dear youth, do not stop making efforts. Do not stop working. Do not abandon insight. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) should be a role model for you. His knowledge and piety should be a model for you. Do not abandon these things. Do not abandon your efforts and your jihad. There is an appropriate form of jihad for every arena. You should know that the future of this country will be far better than its present conditions, and that this future belongs to you. By Allah's grace, you will benefit from the spiritual support of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and the prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake).

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

پايگاه اطلاع‌رسانی دفتر حفظ و نشر آثار حضرت آيت‌الله‌العظمی سيدعلی خامنه‌ای (مد‌ظله‌العالی) - مؤسسه پژوهشی فرهنگی انقلاب اسلامی