The Office of the Supreme Leader

The Leader’s remarks in meeting with families of Defenders of the Shrine and border guards martyrs

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

(Arabic prayer)

This meeting is a very sweet and interesting session in that the fragrance of martyrdom has imbued it. Yes, not all families of martyrs are here, but a group of dear families of our martyrs, both martyrs of [the Defenders of] the Shrine, and martyrs of border guards, and martyrs of the Army – the [Army’s] Ground Force – and martyrs of the IRGC (Islamic Revolution Guards Corps), and martyrs of the police force, and others have gathered here and the fragrance of martyrs has spread in the atmosphere of this Hosseiniyeh (religious gathering place).
Martyrdom is a strange concept, is a strange topic, [and] is a profound topic. Martyrdom means to make a deal with God, [and enter into] a mutual [and] trouble-free deal with the Almighty God; both the commodity is known and the price of the commodity are [also] known. The commodity is [human] life. Life is the main asset of any person in this material world; this is the commodity; [and] this is what you offer. [But] what you get in return? In return, you obtain eternal bliss and everlasting life among the topmost of divine bounties. Well, this commodity that you offer [God] in martyrdom, is not a lasting commodity. This commodity is like that [piece of] ice, which an ice dealer was selling on a summer day. He said, “People! Buy this commodity from me, because if you do not buy it, my capital will be lost.” It is like this after all. At the present time, there is ice inside [all] homes, [but] in old times, they bought ice from the market, [and] the ice dealer kept this ice wrapped in gunnysacks and the likes of these, so that, it would last for people to buy.
What would happen if they did not buy [the ice]? What would happen if there were no customers and nobody bought ice? [In that case,] ice would have thawed and eliminated. This customer who buys from you this perishable commodity is a very valuable customer. This life that I and you have is that very ice, [and] this [commodity] is [diminishing] bit by bit; isn’t it like this? It is being finished bit by bit. With every passing day, we are getting closer to that expiry [date]; I mean, we are getting closer to the grave; [and] this [commodity of ours] is [diminishing] day by day. Now, how long would it take? Some of these [lives] expire at the age of 40, some at the age of 50, [and] some at the age of 80 years. [However,] it will finish at last; it is only a matter of it me; it is being finished.
Now, [for] this commodity, which would be finally exhausted whether you sell it or not, a customer has come forth and says, “I buy this from you, and I buy it at the highest price.” What is that highest price? Paradise. This very verse [of the Quran], which this good-voiced dear reciter of ours recited today, [saying,] “Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise.” [He] buys from you this commodity in order to give you the Paradise. [The same verse then says about martyrs,] “They fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed.” It means, when you fight in the cause of God, it is not like that you just go and offer your life to the enemy in gift wrap and say ‘kill me’. No sir! You also hit him. These border guard of us, who is martyred in border regions, has dealt a lot of blows to the enemy, blocked infiltration [into the country] by the enemy, prevented the enemy’s plot, [and] blocked the enemy’s corrupt acts before he was martyred. This young person of ours, who has stood against Daesh and been martyred in defense of the shrine in that given foreign country, before being martyred, has dealt a hundred blows to the enemy, has blocked its progress, has defused its [efforts to achieve its] goals, has beaten the hell out of him, [and] then has been martyred. [As the Quran says,] “So they kill and are killed;” that is, they first kill [the enemy], [and] then they themselves are killed. [The Quran adds,] “[It is] a true promise [binding] upon Him;” this is a divine promise, [and] it is God who is giving this promise to you.
When this [customer] says, “We buy this commodity from you in return for Paradise;” Paradise is tantamount to eternal bliss, a [land of] bliss where [your commodity] is no more like this ice, which is thawed minute by minute; now, it is eternal life, it is forever, is eternal pleasure, [and] is eternal blessing. They are buying and taking this perishable life of yours in return for this; this is God’s promise. This is a true promise that the Almighty God has given you, [and] it is not special to your religions; [because] God has given this promise [to the faithful] in previous Holy Scriptures as well. [The same verse of the Quran says,] “[It is] a true promise [binding] upon Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an.” Martyrdom is like this. Then it says, “And who is truer to his covenant than Allah?” Who is more committed to his covenant that God? This promise will be fulfilled. Therefore, martyrdom is such a concept. When you look at its appearance, it has a painful and a bitter appearance; one’s father, one’s mother, one’s spouse, one’s child, [and] one’s brother and sister become mournful, [and] become sad; this is its appearance; but what is its inner truth? Its inner truth is to sell a perishable and destructible and non-lasting commodity at an extraordinarily high price. Since old times, when I talked to my friends in ordinary talks and [in my] speeches and the likes of these, I told them that martyrdom is a mercantile death; I mean, it is marked with cleverness; those who become martyrs, the Almighty God does the most [sublime] favor to them, [and] does the highest [degree of] favor to them; this is [how] martyrdom [is].
You are families of martyrs, [and] of course, you suffer [because of your loss]. Your child, your brother, your father, [and] your spouse is lost, [and] you love [them], have compassion for them, [and] it goes without saying that you are overcome with grief; there is no doubt about this. However, when you look at [martyrdom] from this viewpoint, you would see that you are winners as well. Why? Because he has ascended [to Heaven] and attained lofty grades, [and] he is able to intercede; he can play a role in the Purgatory and on the Resurrection Day. Even now, out of those people who live in this world, some, who are more intimate with martyrs, resort to martyrs when they face problems in their lives and martyrs answer them. In these biographies that I read about families of martyrs, there are many examples of this that when the spouse of a martyr, father of a martyr, [and] mother of a martyr face a problem, they resort to their martyr; they say, “You who are not bound by [worldly] limitations, you, who can [do something], help us,” and he helps [them]. It is like that in the Purgatory as well. You will go [there] after all; you are not everlasting; I and you are all goners; we have also ahead of us this very Purgatory, this very corridor, [and] this very land [of the dead], [and] we will get there. Once there, problems [facing you] will be numerous; if someone could have a person to intercede [for him] there in a way that this person that intercedes would be beneficial to him, it would be very precious. This martyr is the one who intercedes for you.
Of course, I have a lot to say about families of martyrs; I have talked a lot [about them] already; [but] I still have many things to say about families of martyrs. The issue of families of martyrs is not simply that a martyr of them has been martyred in the cause of God; their patience per se is extremely valuable. [The fact] that father of the martyr, mother of the martyr, spouse of the martyr, [and] child of the martyr remain patient in the face of this loss, this per se is a very sublime value; very sublime. [As the Quran says,] “Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy.” Do you believe that God would send you His blessings? [It is hard to believe that] God would send His blessings on you! You, who are the family of a martyr, when you show patience on this loss and thank God and tolerate it and bill God for this, this patience of yours causes the Almighty God – who owns the Earth and Heavens, [and] owns the entire universe – to send his blessings to you. These are of value; we must correctly understand these concepts. These concepts, will create amazing forces within us, [and] get us ready to do many big jobs.
Enemies want to take these concepts away from us. Some of these mercenary writers, who want to curry favor with foreigners instead of trying to appease those who have been chosen by God – write certain things, [and] write statements in some of the print media, newspapers or cyberspace [which leaves one flummoxed]. They do not understand what they are doing. The concept of martyrdom, concept of struggling on the path of God, [and] concept of remaining patient on these [losses] are enormous concepts; these [concepts] make an effect on the everyday life of the Islamic society. Brother, sister! These [very concepts] have preserved the revolution.
This revolution and the [Islamic] establishment, which came into being [as its result,] were faced with difficult hostilities since the outset. Now, do not look at the empty threats of this guy who has recently [come to office] in America; these [empty threats] are not new, [because] these [threats] were there from the beginning [and] at the present time, [only] their wording and tone have changed. Since day one up to the present time, these empty threats have been there against the Islamic Republic; it is about forty years. [But] they have not been able to do a damn thing. They could not uproot this sapling at a time when it was just a thin piece of wood on the ground; it has now turned into a robust tree; [would they] be able to uproot it? They talk nonsensical. They say, “We want to change the Islamic Republic establishment;” well, when you have not wanted to do this? You have always wanted [to do this], [but] you always faced a stone wall, [and] your nose was always rubbed in dirt; [and] it will continue to be like that from now on. They have not known the Iranian nation; it is these concepts, which have kept the Iranian nation alive.
These people who have recently come to office in America, like these guys who have just entered the world of knife-wielding thugs – these novice and inexperienced knife-wielding thugs, who make a knife cut wherever they go – do not know what they are doing until they are punched in the mouth; when they are punched in the mouth, they understand how the reckoning is. They have not known the Islamic Republic, they have not known the Iranian nation, [and] they have not known the officials of the Islamic Republic. The Iranian nation is the same nation that from day one up to the present time, has been faced with this sort of plots and with this sort of statements; they have [always] wanted to slap the Iranian nation, [but] the Iranian nation has slapped them; they have [always] wanted to topple the Islamic Republic establishment, [but] one by one, have taken this wish to the grave. You just look that since the early revolution, how many of these people who wished for the elimination of the Islamic Republic and have left this world with [a lot of] unfulfilled wishes and failure to end up in the abyss of Hell. The Islamic Republic [has stood in place] with full force, [and] it will continue to be like this from now on. Everybody [must] know this – both the enemy know this, and devout friends know this, [and] also those friends who sometimes become shaky in their conviction know this – that the Islamic Republic is standing fast and know that they cannot slap us, but we will slap them [in the face].
And this is not due to material equipment [at our disposal]. Material equipment does not play a basic and determining role, [because] there are other things [which are more important]; they are spiritual equipment; that [determining factor] is unwavering resolve and determination, is the ways through which the hearts of each and every member of the nation is strengthened, [and] is the power to raise young people who amid this strange tempest of corruption – which is sweeping the world by Zionists and the likes of them – have stood fast and strong on the right path in Iran. The Islamic Republic, the Islamic power, [and] the Islamic establishment can raise such young people and today, they have raised [them] and they exist [among us]. This is the [true] power of the Islamic Republic; no material power can counter this power. And the spirit [of this power] is the same as the spirit of martyrdom.
Of course, in addition to these statements, the value of our martyrs must be made clear. If it was not for the martyrs of Defenders of the Shrine, we would have to fight seditionist [and] evil elements, who are enemies of the Household [of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)] and enemy of the Shia people, in Iranian cities. This was part of the enemy’s plans after all; when [these terrorist elements] were in Iraq, they were in a region and tried to get themselves close to the border region with the Islamic Republic; and [wanted] to reach their eastern regions, which were neighboring Iran. They tried to enter these provinces [of Iraq], which are neighboring us; [but] they were kept in check, were punched in the mouth, were rooted out, the hell was beaten out of them, [and] now they are being totally flushed and swept out [of Iraq as well]. It is the same in Syria. If this job, which was done by our valuable commanders, had not been done, as said by this dear eulogizer of ours, we would have to fight these [terrorist elements] in our immediate vicinity; [and] we would have to fight them in these very streets of ours and these cities of ours. An important part of this security, which you enjoy today, is owed to these very Defenders of the Shrine. 
Another important part of security is owed to these border guards of ours; both the law enforcement, which is positioned along borders, and the IRGC Ground Forces that are positioned in border regions, and the rest of those forces, who are patrolling and deployed to and are active and making effort along borders. This [security] is one of their blessings. [However, endeavors of] those poor guys are not observed [by people]! You are sitting at your homes, what do you know about [what is going on along] borders? You send your sons, [or] your daughters to school, they return home, [and] you are not worried [about them]; you yourselves go to work and get back [home], [and] are not worried; go and sit at a parks, [and] are not worried; take part in a demonstration [and] are not worried. [In all these cases,] you are not worried about insecurity, [because you] are living with security. What do you know about what is happening to that person, who is standing [guard] at [a] border [region] and has blocked the enemy’s way, so that, it would not enter the country? People do not know about this; he is underappreciated.
Our border [guard] martyrs are underappreciated; both along southeastern borders, that is, in Baluchestan and Kerman regions and the likes of these, and in the country’s northwestern [that is] Kordestan and Kermanshah regions and other places, and in the rest of regions, where there are problems along the borders; in all these places, it is our border guards, who are defending [the country] with all they have. If it were not for these border guards, [smugglers] would take narcotics into the country tonne after tonne, every kilogram of which could have wreaked havoc among a hundred young people and spelled misery for them. Who is preventing these [smugglers]? Our border guards! It is them, who are making sacrifices, [and] are then martyred. These martyrs are very valuable. The Defenders of the Shrine martyrs [are valuable] in that way, [and] the border guard martyrs in this way.
A person who is martyred while doing security and intelligence work inside the country is [also valuable] in his own way. These [intelligence agents], who look through their penetrating gaze and find teams of saboteurs [and] teams of terrorists – whose appearance and face is not different from other people, [but] their hearts contain a hell, which cannot be seen – [and] these security agents of ours, with the experience that they have, with the intelligence that they have, with the help they get from people, [and] with the guidance from God, can find these [elements]. They find them and you just hear that they have nabbed 40 [terrorist] teams, [or] busted 20 terrorist teams while every one of these teams could have killed scores of people. Some of these [intelligence agents] are martyred once in a while; these [martyrs] are [also] very valuable.
You, who are families of martyrs, are yourselves bereft and know how it feels. I want to say this [and I know that] these statements are disseminated, [and] are said, so that, people would know how much service these martyrs of us are providing the country with. [Providing] service is not limited to water and bread, [but] more significant than water and bread is security; these [martyrs] are providing the country’s security. It is like this along all borders of the country; [and this is true about all martyrs] both those who defend the holy shrine outside the country [in Syria], and those who work at borders, and those who work for security of the cities and roads inside [the country]; to all of them the country owes its survival.
 [We must] know the value of martyrs, [and] know the value of families of martyrs. Dear brethren, [and] dear sisters! Anybody who tries to cause memory of martyrs to slip into oblivion will be betraying this country; anybody who tries to have families of martyrs insulted or be disregarded or be made target of verbal barbs, will be betraying this country, [because] the [Islamic] establishment is not an issue here, but the whole country is the issue; [therefore, such a person] will be betraying the [entire] country. [Everybody] must show respect for martyrs and know their value; must show respect for families of martyrs and know their value; [and] consider themselves indebted to martyrs. Well, what “being indebted to martyrs” means? It means indebted to that spouse, who allows her husband to go to the battlefield and be martyred there; therefore, [everybody] is also indebted to that lady as well; [and everybody is also] indebted to that father or mother, who gives permission to his/her child to go [to war]. [Everybody must] feel indebted to these [martyrs and their families] and everybody must know that it is these [martyrs and their families] who keep [Islamic] values alive in our country.
O Almighty God! We swear you by [Prophet] Mohammad and the Household of Mohammad to make the memory of our martyrs livelier in our country. O Almighty God! Increase the dignity of martyrs and the dignity of families of martyrs in our country day by day. O Almighty God! Do not turn off [and end] this light of martyrdom, this atmosphere of martyrdom, this demand for martyrdom, [and] this enthusiasm for martyrdom, which exists in the heart of some people. O Almighty God! Anybody, who has this enthusiasm in his heart in the real sense of the word, help him achieve this virtue; increase what you have bestowed upon them; resurrect martyrs with the Prophet [of Islam]; [and] resurrect martyrs with those who were martyred [along with Imam Hossein (PBUH)] in the desert of Karbala. Make the purified soul of our honorable Imam [Khomeini], who started the course of martyrdom [in the country], content and satisfied with us. Make the purified heart of [Hadhrat] Vali-e Asr content and satisfied with us and get us closer to consent of those honorable ones on a daily basis.

Peace be unto you and so may the mercy of Allah and His blessings