Supreme Leader's Speech on the Occasion of Imam Mahdi's Birth Anniversary

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Supreme Leader's Speech on the Occasion of  Imam Mahdi's Birth Anniversary

The following is the full text of the public speech delivered on August 17, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

First of all, I would like to congratulate you dear brothers and sisters on this auspicious Eid, which is full of hope and promise for all faithful people. I also congratulate all those who believe in the leadership of the Prophet's (s.w.a.) household and all those who fight oppression as well as all vigilant, knowledgeable, and freedom-seeking people.

The 15th of Sha'ban is a day that is full of promise. This promise is neither peculiar to Shia Muslims nor even the entire Islamic Ummah. To the best of my knowledge, the promise of a bright future for humanity and the arrival of a promised savior for promoting justice are universal beliefs that are shared by almost all divine religions across the world. Apart from Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, even Hindi faiths such as Buddhism - and other religions that most people have not even heard about - have informed their followers of such a future in their teachings. In fact, this has provided man with a kind of hope throughout history. It is a response to human need for this hope.

Divine religions - which often have divine and celestial roots - did not intend to give people false hopes. They all expressed a reality. There is a reality in the creation of man and in the long history of humanity, and that reality is that one day the battle between good and evil is going to result in the defeat of evil and the victory of good. After this stage, man's true and pleasant life is going to begin in which struggle will no longer imply fighting. Rather, people will struggle for equality in doing righteous deeds. This is a fact that is shared by all religions.

One outstanding characteristic of our Shia beliefs is that this denomination has transformed this aspiration and this abstract concept into a concrete reality. In fact, when the Shia are waiting for the arrival of the promised savior Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and are not lost in their fantasies, they are searching for a reality. He is alive and lives among the people. He sees people. He can feel their sufferings. Those who are lucky enough and have the capacity sometimes meet him without recognizing him. He is alive. He lives among us with his parents. He has a name. This is what characterizes our Shia beliefs.

And the followers of other faiths who do not believe in this reality have never been able to provide any logical reasons to reject this belief. There are several obvious and strong reasons, also accepted by Sunni Muslims, which are a testimony to the existence of this exalted servant of God. All these reasons provide evidence that Imam Mahdi (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) is living among us - and we are all aware of his characteristics. This is what has been cited in many non-Shia sources as well.

The birth date of the pure-hearted son of Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) is known to everyone. His miracles and those who are connected with him are also known to us. God Almighty has granted a long life to him. These are the characteristics of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) whom all the nations of the world, all ethnic groups, and people from all faiths and races are impatiently waiting for at all times. These are the beliefs of Shia Muslims about this important issue.

One important point regarding the issue of Mahdaviat is that in the Islamic and Shia belief systems, waiting for the arrival of Imam Mahdi has been interpreted as waiting for salvation. What does salvation mean? It means being saved. When do we usually yearn for salvation? We do so when we are in a difficult situation, and when there is a problem. When we face problems, we are in need of salvation - that is someone who can solve our problems and save us. This is an important point.

The true meaning of waiting for a savior is that those who believe in Islam and the religion of the Prophet's household (a.s.) identify the problems of humans in the modern world. This is what they should actually do. They are waiting for the problems of humanity to be solved. The issue is not limited to my or your problems only. The Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) will come to solve the problems of humanity. He will come to save humanity forever.

This means that those who are waiting for the arrival of Imam Mahdi are discontent about the current situation of the world - the unfair situation of the world in which many innocent people are oppressed, many are misled, and many others do not find the opportunity to worship God. Waiting for the arrival of Imam Mahdi means opposing the current situation that is prevalent in humans' life, and which has been caused due to the prevalence of ignorance and carnal desires in humans' life. This is the true meaning of waiting for the arrival of Imam Mahdi.

Look at the current situation of the world. The same situation which has been talked about in the traditions related to the arrival of Imam Mahdi (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) currently exists in the world: The world is brimful of oppression and tyranny. This has been mentioned in different traditions and prayers related to the arrival of Imam Mahdi. "God will fill the world with justice through him [Imam Mahdi] just as it was once full of oppression and tyranny". Oppression and tyranny has constantly been prevalent in humans' life. The same situation currently exists in the world. Today, oppression and tyranny are prevalent in the world. Today, the life of human beings is dominated by the oppressive and arrogant powers of the world. This is the situation that exists in all parts of the world. Today, human beings are suffering many a problem due to the prevalence of tyranny and carnal desires in their lives. The existence of two billion people suffering from hunger, the existence of millions of people who are under the influence of carnal desires in non-divine governments, and the pressure that is currently being exerted on faithful people and those who fight for justice on God's path - such as the Iranian nation who has managed to raise the flag of justice in a certain part of the world - are all indicative of the prevalence of tyranny and oppression in the world.

Today we are waiting for a savior. This means that we are waiting for a strong and powerful savior to bring justice to the world and put an end to all the oppression and tyranny which is currently prevalent in the life of humans. We are waiting for that savior to put an end to this state of oppression and tyranny and bring justice to the life of humans. This is a permanent need for a living and conscious person. It is a need for those who have not limited themselves to their personal lives only. All humans with a broad perspective on the general life of humans would naturally be waiting for that day. This is the true meaning of waiting [for the savior]. Waiting for Imam Mahdi means that we should not accept or be satisfied with the current situation in our lives, and we should make efforts towards living an ideal life. And it is evident that such an ideal situation can only be created by Imam Mahdi (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). We should prepare ourselves to fight like a soldier for such a situation.

Waiting for the arrival of Imam Mahdi does not mean that we should remain idle and not make any efforts to improve. Simply waiting for the arrival of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) is not what we should do. What does waiting for the savior mean? It means waiting for the strong, powerful and divine hand of Imam Mahdi to put an end to the domination of the oppressive powers with the help of humans, to bring justice to the world, to raise the flag of monotheism, and to lead humans to worshipping God. We should get prepared for this. The formation of the Islamic Republic prepared the ground for this great and historic movement. Everything that is done to achieve justice in the world takes us one step forward towards reaching this lofty goal. This is the meaning of waiting for Imam Mahdi. Waiting means that we should move and not remain idle. Waiting does not mean that we should leave things to others and wait for something to happen. Waiting means that we should move and get prepared for the arrival of Imam Mahdi. We should be individually and socially prepared. Taking this great step and being able to prepare the right atmosphere for the arrival of Imam Mahdi was a blessing from God Almighty on our nation. This is the meaning of waiting for Imam Mahdi. Being prepared on all fronts to achieve the purpose for which the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) will rise up is the true meaning of waiting for him. That great revolution will happen to achieve such goals as promoting justice, living a humane and moral life, and worshipping God. This is what waiting for the savior means.

Thank God, today our nation pays more attention than ever to the issue of Mahdaviat and the holy being of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). One feels that our youth and people are getting more dedicated and devoted to the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) on a daily basis. And this is a blessing from that esteemed Imam. The kind and merciful attention of that honored Imam to our nation has attracted the hearts of our people to him. This is indicative of the attention of that honored Imam to our nation. We should appreciate this.

Of course, those who pursue personal interests sometimes take advantage of this fact - like all the other facts which are misused by those who pursue personal interests. Such claims as having seen, met, or being led in prayers by Imam Mahdi are utterly false and shameful. These are the false claims that might mislead the minds of the pure-hearted people who believe in this evident fact. We should not let this happen. All the people should know that such claims as being connected with, meeting, or receiving orders from this honored Imam [Imam Mahdi] cannot be confirmed. Even prominent and great people - those who one moment of their life is as valuable as months and years of our lives - never made such claims. Of course, one may be lucky enough to have the capacity to see Imam Mahdi, but such people will never make any claims or talk about such issues. They are never after personal interests. Those who make such claims in order to promote personal interests can be said to be liars for sure. The concept of Imam Mahdi's arrival should be purged of such morally harmful notions.

Today, our meeting is fortunately attended by different groups of people: cultural attaches, managers of the Ministry of Education, expert and prominent members of the "National Organization for the Youth", as well as a group of people active in organizations dealing with the issue of Mahdaviat. What I intend to tell you dear and vigilant brothers and sisters present in this cultural gathering is that our Islamic belief system, particularly the Shia belief system, is among the most pure, logical, and compelling belief systems. The concept of monotheism and the Imams whom we believe in, the way we think of the Prophet's (s.w.a.) character, our beliefs, and our religious teachings formulated within the Shia belief system, are all logical. And every curious person who is interested in research can verify the truth of such beliefs. The Shia belief system is founded on strong arguments. This has always been the common view about Shia beliefs during the history of Islam. Other people, and those who oppose us but are in a position to involve in arguments and reasoning, have confirmed the righteousness and strong basis of the Shia belief system which is based on what the Imams (a.s.) have said. And these Imams (a.s.), following the tradition of the Holy Quran, have ordered us to use our wisdom and thought and reflect on these beliefs. Therefore, thought and reason play an important role in the Shia belief system. Besides, the teachings of the Imams (a.s.) are also instructive and prevent us from getting deviated.

First, we need to correctly understand these beliefs. Second, we need to delve into the depth of these beliefs through reflection. Third, we should correctly convey these beliefs. This should be the case in all cultural organizations. In schools, teachers and managers who are involved in educational and cultural affairs can best use this golden opportunity - the students' teenage years. Religious beliefs can be deeply ingrained in the students' minds in a clever, precise, and well-thought-out manner - not only in theology classes, but also during all educational opportunities. This way, students will find the opportunity to focus their hearts and minds on these teachings.

It is one of the most important duties of the cultural organizations active outside the country, which are in contact with the people from other countries, to expose the interested people in these countries to these realities and ask for their opinions in this regard. They should inform these people of the realities. Regarding the issue of Mahdaviat, Sunni Muslims - and even non-Muslim ulama who have studied the Shia beliefs about the issue of Mahdaviat - all confirm the fact that the promises which have been given in the Torah, Gospel, and other scriptures are based on the same Mahdaviat concept which exists in Shia Islam. Those who are not aware of the Shia beliefs, or who have been misinformed about Shia beliefs cannot naturally be expected to hold such views. These beliefs should be conveyed to other people in an accurate manner. If so, you will see that all the intellectuals of the world will agree with our beliefs, will corroborate them, and will get attracted to them.

This is a point that our youth - our elites, students, and students of Islamic seminaries - the organizations in charge of educational affairs, and those who spread our beliefs should pay attention to. Conveying the realities expressed by the followers of Imam Ali (a.s.) and the Prophet's household (a.s.) to the audiences will bring about their acceptance and will get them to confirm those beliefs. We have to convey the realities to others. We should try to get rid of false beliefs, misunderstandings, and false claims. Of course, ulama, intellectuals, and religious instructors play an important role in this regard. Our nation has proven the truth of these teachings by following the teachings of the Prophet's household (a.s.) during the Revolution, the Sacred Defence Era, and the events which happened in the country at different times. Many people in the world became aware of the truth of Shia Islam during the Sacred Defence Era and converted to Shia Islam. They accepted the Shia belief system, just as many global witnesses came to believe the truth of Islam during the Revolution and the Sacred Defense Era. This was because of the realities they witnessed in the deeds of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) and his supporters - that is, our youth who were involved in jihad and who fought for justice on God's path. Many Muslim nations who were unaware of the realities of Islam became aware of those realities. Showing the realities of religion and acting in accordance with those realities produces such miraculous effects.

I hope our dear nation will benefit from the immaculate prayers of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). I hope our nation will increase its loyalty and devotion to Imam Mahdi (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) on a daily basis. I hope our hearts will have the capacity for the arrival of Imam Mahdi (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) and the world will be ready for his great revolution.

Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings

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