The following is the full text of the speech delivered on April 15, 2019 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in an assembly with participants of the 36th International Quran Competitions
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Al-Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his pure, immaculate and chosen household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth.
First of all, I am very glad that Allah the Exalted has given us Iranians another opportunity to establish a close relationship with the Quran in the company of our Muslim brothers from other countries. The International Quran Competitions means that a number of Muslims from around the world gather together around the Quran. This should, therefore, be appreciated. First of all, I would like to thank the organizers the Awqaf Affairs Organization and other such organizations – for this pleasant and sweet event and secondly, I wish to welcome all the honorable participants and guests, particularly the ones who have attended the ceremony from other countries.
What is important is that we should appreciate the value of the Quran. The Quran is not only there for recitation. The recitation is only an introduction towards understanding the Quran and gaining a Quranic perception. We should achieve this. If the recitation part is carried out correctly, it will give us two important advantages: one is that it will deepen and broaden our spirituality and spiritual soul. We are immersed in materialistic affairs. So, individuals need spiritual attention and spiritual soul and with such recitation if we recite it well this will be achieved.
And the second advantage is that it will help us feed our thoughts with Quranic teachings. In other words, the Quran influences both our hearts and our minds. If we get close to the Quran, many concepts of life and living will become clear to us. Instances of deviation, misunderstanding, disappointment and betrayal, enmity of humans towards one another and self-humiliation in the face of global taghuts- all originate from drifting away from the Quran. The Quran gives us both spirituality and understanding.
The Quran is the book of human bliss: such bliss which is undoubtedly for this world and the hereafter. The Quran is not only for humans bliss in the hereafter. It ensures ones bliss in this world as well. Worldly bliss means benefiting from divine blessings in this universe. This can be achieved with the Holy Quran. Nations can achieve dignity, welfare, scientific capability, power, unity and solidary with the Quran and by acting on the Quran. They can lead a sweet life with the Quran. All these are worldly affairs. Otherworldly bliss too which is a spiritual, real, perpetual and eternal life will be ensured with the Quran. Therefore, the Quran is the book of worldly and otherworldly bliss provided that we act on it and heed its words of advice.
Notice that instances where we the Islamic Ummah have failed to act on the Quran are not few in number and our problems originate from that. For example, the Holy Quran says about the followers of the Prophet: Those who are with him are most forceful against unbelievers, but compassionate amongst each other. You will see them bow and prostrate themselves in prayer, seeking grace from Allah and his Good Pleasure [48: 29]. So, we should be most forceful against unbelievers, but compassionate among each other. However, some of us have forgotten about being most forceful against unbelievers. They have put it aside. Who has done this? Those people who have compromised with the US and the Zionists in Islamic countries. They trampled upon the blood of the Palestinians and violated their rights. These people forgot about being most forceful against unbelievers and they turned into the servants, followers and cohorts of unbelievers.
In the present time, many rulers of Arab countries are like this. They are in this category. Another group of individuals have forgotten about being compassionate among each other. They create discord among Muslims. The Holy Quran says, The believers, men and women, are protectors one of another [9: 71].
That is while they takfir the believers in Allah, in the Quran, in Kabah and in Qiblah. They describe them as unbelievers. They forget about being compassionate among each other. When this does not exist, civil wars will be waged in Islamic countries. You should look at the situation in Syria and Yemen. It is more than four years now that they have been bombing Yemen. Who is the bomber? Is he an unbeliever? No, apparently he is a Muslim, but he does not show mercy to Muslims. So also on such as have made Qur’an into shreds [The Holy Quran, 15: 91]. This means that they only act on certain parts of the Quran: Then is it only a part of the Book that you believe in, and do you reject the rest? [The Holy Quran, 2: 85] Of course, many of them do not believe in any part of the Quran.
Therefore, reciting the Holy Quran is an introduction to action, to understanding and to familiarity. For our part, we should see what we can do in the arena of action. The first thing that we can do is to avoid forgetting about God. The next thing is that we should set piety the basis of our work. These are easy and feasible tasks. They are not impossible tasks so much so that we ask, How? You should remember God: Oh you who believe, celebrate the praises of Allah, and do this often and glorify Him morning and evening [The Holy Quran, 33: 41-42]. Whatever we want to do, we should always think if it pleases God or not. If we are sure that it is not against the divine will, it is alright. However, we should take care not to do things which are against divine will. This is divine dhikr [remembrance of God]. Dhikr is not only uttered in words. Paying attention to this issue is an act of divine dhikr.
The next one is piety. Quranic guidance is available to the pious. Piety means that we should take care of ourselves. We should take care of ourselves like a person who wants to take a narrow road which is surrounded by precipices on both sides. Every step that you take, you look down.
In narrations, piety has been compared to walking through a piece of bushland which is covered with thorn bushes. You take care not to let your clothes or in our case qaba get stuck in the thorns or you take care not to be injured by the thorns. You will be very careful. Piety means the same thing. It means taking care not to get stuck in the thorn bushes of this world which have engulfed you from all sides.
Of course, there are different levels for piety. The highest level belongs to those who sacrificed their lives. May God bestow His mercy and paradise on the dear martyr [Shahid Ali Chitsazian] who taught us this, If you learn to get through the barbed wire of your inner self, you will learn to get through that [the barbed wire] of the enemy as well. Gods paradise be upon these martyrs. They taught many things to us.
In the present time, the movement that has been launched to help the flood victims in Khuzestan and other areas is a result of education by our martyrs. Today, the great movement of our people from throughout the country towards the flood-stricken areas is an astonishing phenomenon. Do you notice how important this is? This movement is being launched in different ways in Khuzestan, Ilam, Mazandaran and Golestan. The people pour to those areas accompanied by their youth and they offer their help to those areas. They help with their bodies, with their hands, with their resources and with their money, goods and gifts. A great movement has been launched which is unprecedented in the world. In different parts of the world, the organizations in charge such as Red Crescent or other executive organizations adopt certain measures, but what is of phenomenal importance is that people swarm to these areas to help. This is a lesson instructed by our martyrs.
Dear youth, most of you are young and you have not seen those days. In the 1360s, during the Sacred Defense Era, youth would pour to the frontlines with great enthusiasm: Of them some have completed their vow to the extreme, and some still wait, but they have never changed their determination in the least [The Holy Quran, 33: 23]. Some were martyred. How lucky they were and some returned unharmed. Those who returned unharmed should take care to preserve their spirits. These are Quranic teachings. These are the lessons of the Quran which urge youth to enter the arena and which encourage the pious to take action.
My dear ones, you should get closer to the Quran. What I would like to recommend and advise is that you should have more intimacy with the Quran. If we achieve the divine dhikr and piety that I mentioned, Quranic guidance will become easier to us then: In it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah [The Holy Quran, 2: 2]. When piety exists, guidance will be certain. This is because the Quran guides some people and let others go astray: He leaves straying whom He pleases, and He guides whom He pleases [The Holy Quran, 16: 93]. It shows some people the wrong way and guides some other people. Guidance belongs to the pious. The higher the level of ones piety, the higher the level of guidance will be. We should pursue this.
We thank God as our people have thankfully welcomed Quranic guidance. One day, this was not the case. In the era of taghut, there was no trace of these things in our country. There was no trace of being familiar with the Quran, taking delight from reciting it, making an endeavor to learn it by heart and trying to understand its teachings. We might have had a reciter who would recite the Quran, but he did not understand it. Today, thankfully, our youth recite the Quran and they understand it. They understand what they are reading. We should strengthen this spirit on a daily basis. We should reinforce this phenomenon every day.
You should know that what the enemies are doing against the Islamic Republic in one way and against the Islamic Ummah in another way although the enemies show more hostility towards the Islamic Republic is the last breaths of the enemy against the Islamic Republic. The fiercer they are, the more determined we will be. The more intensity they use, the stronger we will become. The more angry they become at our commitment to Quranic concepts and teachings, the more attached we will be to the Quran, God willing. Our attachment to the Quran is a source of our bliss, our strength and our dignity.
We ask Allah the Exalted to increase this attachment in us and to help us reach the goals that the Quran has designated for us.
Greetings be upon you and Allahs mercy and blessings