Staffers of the Headquarters for Promoting Prayer called on the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei on Monday, September 18.
In an address to the audience, the Leader described prayer as the main pillar of individual and public religiousness and piety and as the vital element in the formation of a religious community.
Referring to some verses from the Holy Qurâ€™an and some traditions from the immaculate household of the Hoy Prophet (peace and greetings be upon them), Ayatollah Khamenei stated that prayer is the foundation of and the major factor maintaining communion with Almighty Allah. He added that the significance of efforts to promote and raise the quality of prayer cannot be overestimated.
The Leader referred to expounding the importance of this divine obligatory act to the public and promoting the â€œculture of concentration and presence of mind in prayerâ€ as among the main duties of the headquarters.
â€œThe accomplishment of these objectives will bolster up the pillars of a great global movement whose main column is the Islamic system,â€ the Leader told the audience.
Ayatollah Khamenei also expressed his gratitude to Hojjatoleslam-val-Muslemin Mohsen Qeraâ€™ati, the director of the Headquarters for Promoting Prayer, and other venerable Ulema who are cooperating with the headquarters in the promotion of prayer in society. Calling for the continued efforts by the headquarters in this respect, he stated that all useful publicity means should be utilized in promoting the â€œculture of prayerâ€ in society.
Further in his statements, the Leader of the Islamic Republic expressed deep regret over the recent remarks of Pope Benedict XVI about Islam, adding that the Islamic world rightfully reacted to these remarks.
â€œThe first aspect of these remarks is the accusations that have been leveled against Islam. But the second aspect, which is even more important, is that such remarks are conducive to the policies of the world’s domineering powers that are aimed at fomenting religious conflicts between Muslims and Christians,” the Leader noted.
Ayatollah Khamenei stated that accusing Islam of irrationality is like negating sunlight, “since in no divine book emphasis has been laid as much as in the Holy Qur’an on reason and rationality.” He added that the brilliant Islamic civilization with its outstanding scientific tradition was established as a result of the great significance attached by Islamic teachings to reasoning, knowledge and rationality.
As regards the Pope’s remarks about jihad in Islam, the Leader pointed out that the purpose of jihad in Islam is not to impose one’s views and ideology on others, but that it is a liberating struggle against those powers that enslave human beings.
“From the Islamic viewpoint, human beings deserve respectful treatment only because they are human beings, and there are various Qur’anic verses and traditions from the Imams (greetings be upon them) to the effect that Muslims should deal respectfully with those who hold different beliefs and opinions. Now what is the reason that despite all these explicit Qur’anic verses, Islam is being accused of advocating violence?” the Leader asked.
Ayatollah Khamenei also stated, “The more important aspect of the Pope’s very regrettable remarks is that these utterances are conducive to the arrogant powers’ policies that are aimed at fomenting conflicts among followers of various divine religions and pitting them against one another and preventing cooperation among different nations.”
The Leader of the Islamic Republic further referred to U.S. attempts at creating mistrust and animosity between Muslims and Christians and presenting an ugly image of Islamic minorities in the West and using the issue of terrorism as a pretext for cracking down on Muslim communities.
“The world’s bullying powers consider the continuation of their existence to be contingent on religious conflicts in the international community, and the Pope has practically promoted those policies through his remarks,” the Leader noted.
“However, it seems that the Pope has been deceived into making these remarks, and that he has been heedless of the goals and objectives that are being pursued through such utterances,â€ he added.
Ayatollah Khamenei further hinted at one of his meetings with a European official a few years ago.
â€œDuring that meeting, the European official talked about a war between Christians and Muslims, which made me very surprised. But when the September-11 incident took place and the U.S. president talked about a crusade, and then this American-Zionist project was launched by attacking Iraq, it became quite clear what that European official, who was also directly involved in the military aggression against Iraq, had meant. It also became clear that the links in the chain of this American-Zionist plot had already been hammered out by the arrogant powers,â€ Ayatollah Khamenei told the audience.
The Leader of the Islamic Republic described the offensive cartoons and the affronting remarks of certain American and European politicians and media about Islam as various links in the chain of the plot to initiate a crusade. He pointed out that the Popeâ€™s remarks constituted the latest link in the chain of this plot.
â€œUttering such remarks is quite natural for Bush, as he works for the global plunderous powers and conglomerates. But doing so by a senior Christian clergyman is very regrettable and surprising,â€ the Leader observed.
Ayatollah Khamenei called on Muslims to heed the policies which are behind the Pope’s utterances.
“In this case also the ‘Great Satan’ is playing a certain role, and Muslims should bear in mind that their protests and objections should be aimed at those who are benefiting from the Pope’s unfair remarks and using them to further their hegemonic policies,” Ayatollah Khamenei stated.
At the beginning of the meeting, Hojjatoleslam-val-Muslemin Mohsen Qeraâ€™ati, the director of the Headquarters for Promoting Prayer, presented a report about the headquarters’ activities.