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Iran: The Complete Translation of the Supreme Leader's Friday Prayer Address

Iran: Josh Shahryar’s Snap Analysis of the Supreme Leader’s Speech
The Latest from Iran (11 September): Prayers and Politics
Iran: Questions on Prayer Day

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KHAMENEI3Many, many thanks to Josh Shahryar, who live-translated the Supreme Leader's speech and has provided this edited version to Enduring America:

[08:09:20] (Khamenei is here, people are chanting loudly)
[08:09:28] ("Khamenei is Leader" people chanting.)
[08:09:32] (Khamenei is thanking people.)
[08:09:38] May God bless you,
[08:09:52] In the Name of God,
[08:10:17] (Says prayers in Arabic)
[08:10:28] (People join in chorus)
[08:10:45] (Khamenei prays more)
[08:11:11] Brothers and sisters who are praying here, I remind you, this is the month for taqwa (Godfearing-ness)

[08:11:26] and today, the 21st of Ramadan, is the day a man like Amirul Momineen Hazrat Ali died.
[08:11:57] Let's make taqwa the goal of our life for our afterlife.
[08:12:01] In the first part of the sermon, we'll talk about Amirul Momineen as
it is his day. Last night was Friday so this year has similarities with the 21st of Ramadan of the year in which humanity lost [Imam] Ali.
[08:12:50] His body, his voice, his breath, his eyes, went from today's world.
[08:12:55] But, one could keep Ali with one self, and keep him in front of one self and
one's actions. Only if we could follow his path and his character and treat him as our a role model. I will recount a part of his life and his short, but glorious government.
[08:14:15] I will be discussing his political life.
[08:14:35] We must keep in mind that his political actions are not different from the other parts of his life. His politics is in sync with his character and his religious life.
[08:15:13] Politics, if founded in religion and virtue, then for the people who are subjected to it, is a way to heaven.
[08:15:36] However, politics, seperated from religion and morality, becomes a means for
acquiring power at any cost and for acquiring wealth, and putting one's own goal in life ahead of everything else.
[08:16:09] It becomes a plague both for the politician and for the people in whose live it affects.
[08:16:50] The government which went through three wars is a government that Ali in Nahjul Balaghe (a book of Ali's sayings) describes in abhorrent terms.
[08:17:39] He says about this government, "The moisture that comes out of the nose of a sheep has no importance," and then compares it to this government.
[Note: During Ali's brief four year reign, three wars were fought between Muslim factions --- two directly against Ali by other factions]
[08:17:53] In part of his sayings about why he accepted the government, he says: "I saw people asking me to come forward and accept it sa they saw in it their victory, thus, I accepted."
[08:18:59] He explains again, "God has asked the knowledgable not to tolerate people's suffering." Thus, Ali was forced to comply; otherwise, this government doesn't really have anything for Ali.
[08:19:27] One of the distinguishing parts of his government was that his government stayed far from deception.
[08:19:50] He says, "If the fear of God had not held my hands, I was better at deceit than all of the Arabs."
[08:20:17] He said about Mawiye (His arch-enemy and eventual successor)- who was good at deceit, "He is not smarter than I."
[08:20:22] But what should Ali do?
[08:20:31] He has fear of God, that's why he couldn't be deceitful.
[08:20:40] When there is no fear of God, then one can do anything.
[08:20:43] One can lie to people, slander..., break promises and could find love for the enemies of the righteous path
[08:21:16] Ali says, "I selected politics with fear of God, and took it upon me with fear of God."
[08:21:28] That's why his character and his actions do not show any signs of deception in them.
[08:21:32] They are pure and clean of such things.
[08:21:47] One thing about politics that people did in the early days of Islam, and now some people do the same in our country today, is that They speak of separating religion and politics. If separated from religion, government will be separated from morality.
[08:22:25] In secular governments, morality has been destroyed.
[08:22:26] There are exceptions, but when religion is seperated from politics, then politics is degraded. Ali's political actions are not seperated from religion.
[08:23:17] His political actions were such that he even tried to befriend his enemies.
[08:23:38] The reason why he went through three wars was that he had exhausted all channels of making amends with his enemies.
[08:24:10] In the early days of his government, some came to him and kept telling him to treat some people harshly and deal with them firmly. Ali said that this is just one view. "But there are people who support you and there are people who oppose you," [they said], "And still there are people who have idea different then you and your opposers."
[08:24:39] Then wait, he said, until the victim's right can be taken from the violator gently, we should return the victim's rights with as much softness as we can.
[08:25:51] The last resort would be to take a more direct action.
[08:26:05] In the war of Saffin,
[08:26:13] Some people came and kept asking why Ali wouldn't attack,
[08:27:05] Ali said, "I am not after war. I am here for guidance. If I could delay fighting for even a day, it might help some people to come and follow the right path. When we are sure that no one will come, then we'll draw our swords and fight."
[08:27:15] About the Battle of Jamal,
[08:28:18] Ali said, "They have stood up because they wanted to show their anger as to why Ali had been given this government. But when I see that their actions are going to create a rift between Muslims and pit brothers against brothers, then I'll enter and find a cure to this menace. Until then I'll wait and try to guide them."
[08:28:42] A distinguishing part of his character was that he tried to debate with his enemies.
[08:28:50] In the letters he sent to Mawiye, who was Ali's enemy, while Mawiye would send letters to humiliating Ali, Ali would send letters and told him with love that he was wrong.
[08:29:33] Talhe and Zubair came and pledged allegiance to Ali.
[08:29:42] But then went to Mecca saying they were going to perform Hajj. Ali said he knew they weren't going to Hajj, but had another purpose. (The two later joined Aisha in a short battle in which both were killed)
[08:29:56] What they did there is clear.
[08:30:02] But Ali deals with them gently, he tries to guide them,
[08:30:11] But when kindness does not work, then Ali acts directly.
[08:30:26] For example, against the Khawarij, he said, "I tore their eyes out."
[08:30:37] And no one could do it like Ali.
[08:30:55] One part of his politics was that, in order to be victorious, he wouldn't lie or be cruel. During his government, some came to him and said, "There are these influential people in the government that need to support you. Give them money from the people's treasury and get their support."
[08:31:37] Ali said, "You want me to get victory through cruelty to the public? It is impossible for me."
[08:32:01] How could Ali find friends using un-Islamic ways?
[08:32:22] Another of distinguishing aspect of his character was that he asked people not to act fake towards him and not praise him excessively.
[08:32:45] During one of his sermons, a man stood up and started praising him excessively.
[08:33:18] After his words were finished, Ali turned to him, and as much as he had spoken during the sermon to that point, he spoke to that man and advised him not speak to Ali in that manner.
[08:33:30] He said, "Don't talk to me like you talk to kings. Do not praise me excessively."
[08:34:01] He wouldn't get happy of such praise,
[08:34:12] A praise that was worthy of cruel rulers, but not of Ali.
[08:34:21] That was one of his distinguishing marks.
[08:34:37] Another one was his dealings with people.
[08:34:42] He wouldn't treat everyone the same.
[08:35:00] The main examples are how he dealt with the Khawarij (a faction of Muslims that broke away from the main body of Islam and decided to neither support Mawiye nor Ali in their quest for attaining the leadership of Muslims) and with Mawaiye.
[08:35:27] When Mawiye came to him with Korans on top of spears, Ali said, "This is deceit!", but tried to debate with him.
[08:35:41] When the Khawarij came to him, he confronted them.
[08:36:42] However, he said, "Do not fight the Khawarij after me. He who wants to find the truth --- but cannot find it because he makes mistakes --- is not equal to those who who try to find the opposite path to truth and find it."
[08:36:56] His political actions and his religious life are totally compatible.
[08:37:07] Today is the day of his mourning.
[08:37:16] I should say some things about the suffering he [Ali] endured before his death.
(Transmission was broken for a few seconds)
[08:37:34] On the 19th of Ramadan he was struck and injured, and between that and the 21st [Ali died two days after being struck with a sword by a a member of Khawarij named Abdurrahman ibn Muljim on his way to the mosque to lead prayers], some things happened that are lessons [to us].
[08:38:10] First was when this enemy of God struck Ali, he didn't cry out or show signs of pain and only uttered prayers to Allah.
[08:38:27] "I swear to God that I found salvation," he said.
[08:38:42] Blood was gushing out of Ali's head and Imam Hasan was looking at his father's face.
[08:38:50] Imam Hasan started crying,
[08:39:00] A drop of tear fell on Ali's face.
[08:39:35] He said, "My Hasan, you cry; don't. Today I am in the company that loves me. The prophet is here. Fatimah (Ali's wife) is here."
[08:39:42] Then they picked him up,
[08:39:47] and he prayed [inside the mosque] while sitting.
[08:39:59] He kept praying even as he was injured and swayed from side to side from the effects of the injury.
[08:40:03] He was picked and taken to his house later.
[08:40:29] The people of Kufa heard the news of his death and everyone came out of their houses as when the prophet had died.
[08:41:10] Hossein had cried so much that his eyelids were hurt.
[08:41:20] Ali asked Hossein not to cry as well.
[08:41:31] Ali asked people to take him inside his house and take him and put him on his prayer mat.
[08:41:42] Ali's daughters came and started crying beside him.
[08:41:48] (Many in the prayer hall start crying...)
[08:42:01] Ali told Imam Hasan not to cry, then he told Imam Hossein not to cry.
[08:42:18] But he couldn't stop himself after watching his daughters cry and started crying himself.
[08:42:30] (Khamenei stops speaking and starts sobbing; people in the hall start crying loudly.)
[08:42:57] Ya Ali, if you couldn't see Zainab (his daughter) cry on that day, how could you have stopped yourself if you'd seen her cry on Ashura?
(On Ashura, decades later, Imam Hossein, his friends and family members were slaughtered in the desert at Karbala by Mawiye's son's armies.)
[08:43:34] He was visited by a scholar while he lay dying. The scholar says, one of Ali's daughters was crying which got me crying. Then everyone sitting outside started crying.
[08:43:57] Ali said, "If you could see what I'm seeing now, then you wouldn't cry either."
[08:44:03] We asked him what he was seeing and he said, "I see the God's angels, I
see prophets, and I see Mohammad. Mohammed tells me to come sooner."
[08:44:44] The scholar says he left the house a while later and as he came out, he heard people inside the house crying so he knew that Ali had died.
[08:44:53] (Khamenei prays in Arabic and sends Praise to Ali)
[08:45:05] (Khamenei Prays for the People)
[08:46:01] Oh God, give people unity,
[08:46:09] Oh God, cut the hands that create rift among people.
[08:46:15] (Khamenei prays more)
[08:46:31] (Recites from the Koran)
[08:46:39] (Everyone goes silent for a while)
[08:47:04] (Khamenei Starts Again)
[08:47:05] In the Name of God,
[08:47:23] (Khamenei prays some more)
[08:47:44] (Still Praying)
[08:48:36] I ask all you brothers and sisters to fear god inn all our actions.
[08:48:45] In the second part of my sermon,
[08:48:58] First, it is imperative that we remember Ayatollah Taleghani and also Ayatollah Madani as today has a connection with them, and these two men, their lives, are
part of the history of our country.
[08:49:53] Their memories will remain in our minds and our history.
[08:50:00] One thing I'll say in today's sermon and the people who I'm going to say this
to are politicians and officials of the government or those who were part of the government.
[08:50:51] Let's use Ramadan for explaining realities, and preach guidance to listeners and especially to the youth as this will be beneficial.
[08:51:19] The people that we will be speaking to are part of the system; individuals who are inside the system and hopefully, they will be remain in the system.
[08:51:49] This is not just a slogan - this inside the system and outside the system thing.
[08:52:09] One thing is that from the beginning of the revolution to this day, there have been differences that have emerged.
[08:52:31] Some of these differences and rifts have proven costly, but some of them have been solved by the wisdom and vigilance of the people and has not cost the government much.
[08:52:54] These differences of ideas and rifts are not all the same.
[08:53:04] Some of these differences were a result of differences in beliefs,
[08:53:18] But some of them are differences that have been created as result of some people's personal gains.
[08:53:31] Some of them are just differences of how things should be implemented.
[08:53:36] So these differences are all not the same.
[08:53:43] From the beginning of the revolution, as we were all together with each other, differences emerged.
[08:54:10] Imam Khomeini did not deal with all these the same way, same as Ali.
[08:54:24] Imam KHomeini first tried to guide them. There were different people in the government back then.
[08:54:42] There were people from the old beaureucracy, there were people who had just joined the government and then there were those who were using terror and protests to achieve their objectives.
[08:54:59] He dealt with them all differently.
[08:55:07] Some of these people were at top levels of government...
(Transmission was interrupted)
[08:55:19] He even dealt with a president.
[08:55:22] (transmission cut)
[08:55:26] (Restored)
[08:55:31] These differences were emerged. Some of them resulted in debates, but some became conflicts.
[08:56:20] To those who were enemies of the religion, Imam Khomeini said that he would come to them personally.
[08:56:34] But when came the time that some wanted to force wrong ideas upon the system, Imam Khomeini hit back firmly.
[08:57:08] Now those who are after personal gains, try to make it look as if they're seeking something else.
[08:57:25] But that's when they become enemies of the system.
[08:57:42] If someone has a different idea but does not try to attack the system, the system is fine with them.
[08:57:59] Political ideologies that are different; we're fine with them, as long as they don't try to force it upon the system.
[08:58:05] It's not about having different ideas, but about attacking the Islamic system.
[08:58:18] This what the system will fight against.
[08:58:36] If there are differences over how to implement the system's policies, then that's fine.
[08:58:52] The system should have people who could point out the weaknesses in the system. Criticism makes people work harder, but all this must be inside the framework of the system.
[08:59:16] This difference in impelementation is not dangerous.
[08:59:33] However, the foundations of the system are the constitution, Imam Khomeini's way and the Koran.
[09:00:19] Having differences in how to implement, are not a big problem.
[09:00:35] However when some come up with entirely different foundations to rest the system upon, which is dangerous.
[09:00:44] So long as they work inside the framework of the system as we said, so long as peopel don't resort to violence, don't lie or create tension, the system will not attack.
[09:01:11] The system will tolerate them if they have a different opinion.
[09:01:40] However, if some people comes with new pillars for the system and create insecurity for people, then the system needs to deal with them harshly.
[09:01:53] (People chant loudly)
[09:02:15] we say people should have the right to be defended if they have been slandered or humiliated, then the system also has the right to defend itself.
[09:02:33] Some say since the system is political, it should not defend itself.
[09:02:37] This is not right.
[09:02:42] Nowhere in the world is this so.
[09:02:59] In any part of the world, even in countries where they say they are politically advanced and ahead in democratic values, people do not disagree with the system's foundations.
[09:03:10] They have checks and balances, like our own Guardian Council.
[09:03:30] They don't tolerate someone who comes
and fight against the system.
[09:03:38] The system doesn't sit back and tolerate such people.
[09:03:50] In European countries, they don't tolerate this and fight back against such people.
[09:03:55] Thus, the answer to any attacks on the system is going to be harsh.
[09:04:38] But having a different opinion - when it doesn't come with slander and lies -, will be tolerated by the system.
[09:04:42] Another point, a point government officials, influentials and politicians should be aware of, is to stay on the right path and not diverge. The Koran speaks of this issue in different parts of this holy book: "The result of some actions take us to where one says that verses of the Koran are lies."
[09:06:16] In another part, "They broke their promise with God, and disunity was sown among them."
[09:07:10] "Some people who cannot stand against the enemy and fall, it is because they have sinned in the past."
[09:07:18] Sins corrupt us. It takes time. It doesn't happen all at once. One cannot sleep one night a Muslim and wake up an infidel. No, It happens gradually. The cure to this is fear of God. We must be cautious, we must watch out for each other. Wives must watch out for husbands and husbands should watch out for their wives. Friends should watch out for each other. People should send letters to officials [in the government]. They should guide them so that officials don't make mistakes as this is dangerous for the system.
[09:09:00] We must ask Allah for guidance. Another point is that as with people, corruption might find its way into a system as well - even an Islamic system. The same infliction might afflict an Islamic system. Just as in people, a system that might look Islamic, but its actions are unIslamic.
[09:10:11] Like I told students last year, a system could progress or regress. Progress would make society get closer to the ideals of justice and religion and religious virtue, progress industrially... and in terms of education and progress in terms of freedom. It would make society stand more firmly against enemeis. These are signs of positive progress. These would build the life and the afterlife of the citizens of a society.
[09:12:09] But there is regress as well. Regress towards injustice, towards economic insufficiency, towards the use of freedom in a corrupt manner... and for sinful acts. Instead of standing against unjust powers of the world, showing weakness, backing down from this and smiling at these powers.
[09:13:33] Backing down from one's rights both nuclear and non-nuclear. This is regress. The system shouldn't make the society regress. It should make it progress.
[09:13:55] This is a danger to the Islamic system. The people need to be vigilant. The Islamic system is an Islamic system when it follows the same policies that were being followed in the lifetime of Imam Khomeini. I tell you that in my past 30 years of life, so long as we have followed the path of Imam Khomeini, we have been victorious.
[09:15:21] But every time we have stopped following that path, we have weakened, have backed down and have even had economic losses. Some think that one should drop one's weapons against the powerful enemy. Some people wanted to do this during the elections.
[09:16:08] They wanted to take the people's support from the Islamic regime. But the clear sign of [people's] support for the Islamic regime was the 40 million votes... Then the foreign media kept saying that the regime had lost the people's support, but people coming in such number to polls - a turnout of 85% -, this trust of the people in the regime itt shows them clearly where people stand. The people trust the regime and the regime trusts the people.
[09:17:25] You will see that in the next election in 2 or 3 years. The same people - even though enemies from outside and those inside who don't know and are oblivious will try to dissuade them - will have another strong showing in those elections as well.
[09:17:59] (people chant)
[09:18:04] The point is: we all must be cautious. The Islamic system is proud because it wants to follow the Koran. Let's not have it become secular, not with a secular inside and a Koranic outside. An inside that is in love for western ideals and outside covered with the Koran. The Islamic System must be true to its name. It should get closer to the Islam daily. This is what solves problems. This is what gives the society pride and power. This is what will make the number of the Islamic system's supporters swell abroad.
[09:19:55] Some people see all the enemies and fear is instilled in them. All the governments in the world have enemies and they have friends. This has been the same throughout history. Everyone has some friends and some enemies. The prophet's government and Ali's government had both friends friends and enemies.
[The Paltalk channel broadcasting this through a radio had sound difficulties in this part so the translation is not verbatim in some parts.]
[09:20:45] The Islamic system is also the same. It has some friends and some enemies. But important is to see who the enemy is and who the friends are. If the government is such that all those governments that are cruel and unjust and Zionist are enemies of it, then this is something to be proud of.
[09:22:09] Then there are friends of this government which are Islamic countries, African countries, Asian countries, Muslims in Europe and others. Some years ago, the Iranian soccer team, was playing in a game [This is clearly the US vs Iran soccer game during the 1998 World Cup which Iran won.] Some people in Northern Africa in a cafe were cheering for Iran when Iran struck a goal. They were asked why they were cheering since they had no stake in the game. They said, "Iran's victory is our victory - even in football."
[09:23:04] During these unrests and violence after the elections, people in Islamic countries have been ask their friends in Iran about what has been happening and showing concern. But people here would say, "The Islamic system is far more powerful to be damaged by this."
[09:23:45] Yes, there are enemies like America, Britain - which has a 200 year history of animosity against Iran - and zionists. Let these enemies be enemies. But if the government friends with America, the UK and zionists, then that is shameful. To have as enemies the Islamic countries, that is shameful.
[09:24:56] (no transmission)
[09:25:09] We shouldn't give up. We shouldn't accept defeat against such countries, we should be cautious.
[09:25:21] Dear youngsters: this is your country. It will be in your hands tomorrow. A powerful system - powerful in all aspects - should make you proud. It should be your duty and it is your duty to protect it this an Islamic system in reality, an Islamic system that Imam Khomeini gave our country as a gift.
[09:27:05] Remember, in the past ten years, they tried to change the policies of Imam Khomeini. They said that the policies of the revolution were old. But they will never become old. They are always attractive to the people.
[09:28:05] (people chant)
[09:28:25] Next week, on Friday is Quds Day. This is one of the most distinguished marks of Imam KHomeini on this country. With this day, we have been able to keep Palestine's cause alive in the world. A lot of countries in the world tried to force this cause into oblivion. But the Islamic regime did not.
[09:30:00] Now the powerful nation [USA] and zionists are concerned that the Islamic regime will not give up. And they keep attempting to attempt to stop this. We will celebrate Quds Day and we will hold gatherings and rallies. In other countries also many Muslims follow the Iranian people in this.
[09:30:42] Quds Day is for the Palestinians. It is a show of unity of Iranians. Be cautious, so that no one could use this day to create differences and rifts between us. They couldn't break our unity before and they cannot now.
[09:31:56] (People Chant)
[09:32:02] (Khamenei rather quickly concludes his speech and ends his sermon with a short prayer)

Reader Comments (10)

How true what S.L. stated here in his sermon of todays Friday prayers:

[08:15:36] However, politics, seperated from religion and morality, becomes a means for
acquiring power at any cost and for acquiring wealth, and putting one’s own goal in life ahead of everything else.
[08:16:09] It becomes a plague both for the politician and for the people in whose live it affects.

But I'm afraid he doesn't mean to apply this on the IRI regime, but on the opposition and western governments. How angry and powerless I can feel by the thought how convinced this regime is about itself and about their being in the right.
I just read Karoubi's last letter, how brave he is! To me he just deserves the Nobel peace price to stand up for the right of the abused and surpressed people of Iran.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNelly

What a bunch of hypocrites!

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonique

I wasn't sure what he wanted to put across, is the behavior of the basijis an islamic justice? The green movement wanted to work within the system, but they were denied that opportunity. The guardian council is the most corrupt part f the political system, and they movement does not think it can count on the council to give them justice.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdmnari

Excellent translation, especially since it was done "on the fly".
Hopefully the translator will correct it against the text and take care of the parts lost in transmission--it is an important historical document.
Mawiye should be Moawiye, a few other typos.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Thanks, Even.

I certainly will. As soon as I see another transcript.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJosh Shahryar

Well said; I don't trust Karroubi either; as if he didn't know the evidence will be used against the victims ! and to think the poor Iranian people have had to listen to these hypocrite speeches for years ! I hope they will soon get rid of them; they aren't even worth the rope that will hang them !

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterflorence

[...] greater detail, Josh Shahryar has done a commendable job of posting a live translation of Khamenei’s speech, where you can find such nuggets as Khamenei recalling the victory of [...]

Wait, didn't Khamenei say that "clerics should stay out of politics" a few days ago? You know, before he started preaching against the separation of religion and government? This guy is unbelievable...

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNV

Excellent work Josh...I had to re-read some parts to understand..I have not heard from any of my contacts in Iran....Iranian government has shut down internet I suppose? I don't think these conflicts wil ever end....And I think our government is blind to it.... I found you on posting. I am at

September 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScott

[...] Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hoseini Khamenei: His sermon at Friday Prayers September 11 promised a harsh response to confrontation and said: “During [...]

September 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAyatollah Watch – Tehran

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