During his visit to Russia, Ayatollah Reza Ramazani, Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly, met Shiite missionaries active in the country.
“We, the followers of the AhlulBayt (a.s.), have subjects that no other religion has,” he said at the meeting which was held in Moscow on Sunday, August 1, 2021. “Infallible Imams (a.s.) - from Imam Ali (a.s.) to Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) - were comprehensive personalities and had comprehensive attributes.”
Recognizing the opportunity to introduce the Infallible Imams (a.s.) as a “golden opportunity”, Ayatollah Ramazani noted, “In the world, missionaries of no other religion have such an opportunity and such figures to introduce, the nobles who, according to everyone, had scientific and also spiritual authority.”
“Of course, we Shiites believe that the AhlulBayt (a.s.) also have political authority. That is, all Muslims believe in the “scientific and spiritual authority” of the AhlulBayt (a.s.), and we believe in their “scientific, spiritual and political authority” too,” added the former head of the “European Union of Shiite Scholars and Theologians”.
“The al-Ghadir Event happened in order to introduce a figure for the scientific, spiritual, and political authority of the Ummah. Therefore, the best person was introduced. But what was expected did not happen,” he emphasized, commemorating Eid al- Ghadir, Eid of Wilayah, and Imamate.
“Imam Hussein (a.s.) is not just a role model for Shiites, and while Shiites can follow his example in the best way, this infallible Imam is a role model for all Muslims. Because Imam Hussein (a.s.) came to revive the Sunnah of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) because at that time the Sunnah of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) had been destroyed and heresies had been revived. Therefore, Imam Hussein (a.s.) came to revive the Sunnah,” added the Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly.
“Imam Hussein (a.s.) said, “I invite you to Allah.” Allah is the axis of unity among all followers of religions. Imam Hussein (a.s.) is a model for all followers of religions and all humanity. At a meeting in the Islamic Center of Vienna, a Christian couple came to the center and because they got familiar with the Imam, they said that Imam Hussein (a.s.) is their Imam too,” said Ayatollah Ramazani, considering Imam Hussein (a.s.) as a model for the followers of all religions.
“Sheikh Zakzaky is a righteous figure and he has gathered everyone around him, and we hope that his leadership will continue. During Arbaeen, large crowds attend Arbaeen ceremonies in Nigeria. On the Day of Ashura, large gatherings are held in South Africa, European countries, and the United States. We have to deal with these issues very precisely,” he continued.
“In introducing the event of Ashura, the truth of this event must be stated. It must also be stated why this happened; How after 30 years, the silent Quran was placed on spears (referring to the Battle of Siffin) and after 50 years, the speaking Quran went on the spear (referring to the Battle of Karbala and martyrdom of Imam Hussain). Adaptation is our other task in this regard,” added the Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly.
“We should follow the example of Ashura. The Ashura movement revived al-Ghadir’s interpretation of Islam. If it were not for the Event of al-Ghadir, there would be no correct image of Islam. In the case of the Event of al-Ghadir, the pilgrimage letter of Imam Hadi (as) should be read carefully. This pilgrimage letter is one of the political pilgrimage letters,” he continued.
“When Imam Ali was introduced in this event, the infidels were disappointed. Because a righteous successor was introduced who would maintain the religion. The head is one of the main parts of the body and if it is not, the body cannot do anything. Imamate is also the main part of religion. In the verse “الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ” (This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you) (Quran, Surah: Al-Ma’idah, Verse: 3), the word “أَكْمَلْتُ” (I perfected) is used when there is a defect, and “أَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي” (completed My favor) refers to the spirit of Islam. The spirit of Islam is the Imamate. Islam is not without soul,” stated Ayatollah Ramazani, referring to the Event of al-Ghadir.
“The spirit of Imamate exists in religion (of Islam), and before Imam Ali (a.s.), the Prophet (PBUH) was both Imam and Wali. The Event of al-Ghadir provided an accurate understanding of Islam, and this understanding was manifested in Ashura. In the sense that if Yazid rules, Islam is over. There is a lot to talk about Ashura,” he continued.
“We must be up-to-date and not be content with academic degrees. Clerics must become acquainted with Orthodox Christianity in order to engage in dialogue. Of course, dialogue is for interaction, not confrontation. Shiite culture has the capacity to interact with others,” added the former head of the “European Union of Shiite Scholars and Theologians”.
“Personally, despite my busy schedule, I take time to study every day. Because people expect us to be up to date. The Supreme Leader of the Revolution (Ayatollah Khamenei) also studies a lot. I once gave him several books as gifts, one of which I had given before. He quickly told me, “You had given me this book before”.” Ayatollah Ramazani added.
“A cleric must have scientific and spiritual greatness, and it is achieved through the acquisition of religious knowledge and authority in religion. In this regard, participation in scientific workshops is essential. The Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) had spiritual greatness and when his manners were perfected, God told him that he had “great morals”,” he said, considering the daily study of the clergy necessary.
“We must be up to date in every area, including propagation, and cultural and economic activities. Today is different from yesterday. We have made a lot of progress so far and with unity and solidarity, we can definitely go further. Imam Musa al-Sadr said in a speech in Qom in 1961 that Christianity is the first in propagation, planning, and organizing, followed by the Sunnis, and finally the Shiites. But Shiites are not the first in terms of organization. However, the report on the activities of Shiite communities and organizations shows that we have grown a lot in this field. Of course, these organizations and communities must be formed under the laws of the host countries, and they must operate under these laws,” continued the Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly.
“I suggest that a study be done on the endowment foundation and with the establishment of this foundation, it should support the centers and the Shiites in various sectors, including the construction of the mosque and the Hosseiniyahs. In some countries, there are endowment foundations. In my opinion, work can be done to establish this foundation in other countries as well,” said Ayatollah Ramazani, referring to the need to establish the endowment foundations.
“It is necessary for Islamic missionaries and centers to do collective works. For example, during my time at the Islamic Center of Hamburg, in collaboration with other centers, I organized a Quranic competition between European countries. Another important point is manpower training and staffing. Just as you missionaries are the trained forces to promote the culture of the AhlulBayt (a.s.), you must also train the manpower and hold training workshops. The AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly has established a university for master's and doctoral degrees where Shiites from other countries can study. The Assembly also has actual capacities in sections such as books,” he continued.
“We must identify the existing capacities in the world and direct them. We do not make impossible promises, and we must do the necessary research before making any promises,” said the Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly, considering the scope of activities of the assembly as worldwide.
“I suggest that the establishment of Islamic schools in Russia be considered. These schools have already been established in countries such as Germany, France, and England. Of course, given the many facilities required, establishing a university is difficult and a dream, but we should not be disappointed. During my time at the Islamic Center of Hamburg, I established a seminary where students from different European countries study,” said Ayatollah Ramazani, referring to the need to establish Islamic schools in different countries of the world.
“Sincerity is one of the divine secrets, and one of the duties of missionaries is to have sincerity,” he continued.
“We do not invite people to convert to Shia, but we introduce Shia and AhlulBayt (a.s.), because, proper introduction of Shia automatically causes the hearts to turn to the family of the Prophet (p.b.u.h),” added the Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly.
“We must introduce the AhlulBayt (a.s.) and in this regard, virtual channels must be taken seriously. Whether we like it or not, we have to cross the real space to cyberspace. In addition to face-to-face Minbars (pulpits, figurative word for preaching sessions), we should have virtual pulpits with thousands of people as the audience. There are now more than five billion people in cyberspace, and we should not ignore it,” he stated.
“We believe in unity among Muslims and we must experience a peaceful life. Many Muslims have been killed in the world, and we should not allow other Muslims to be killed. The Sources of Emulation emphasize the unity between Shiites and Sunnis. Extremism is another issue, and even Sunnis oppose ISIL,” said Ayatollah Ramazani, referring to the need for Islamic unity.
“There is no extremism in our culture. Also, Russia’s view of the Shiites is that there is no extremism. In Germany and many other countries, they concluded that the school of AhlulBayt (a.s.) is not a school of extremism. AhlulBayt (a.s.) must be introduced correctly,” continued the Secretary-General of AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly.
“There are more than 300 million Russian speakers in the world today, many of whom have questions or doubts about the Shiite school. Therefore, it is necessary to observe doubts in this language,” he clarified.
“The spread of Shiite ceremonies in Russia is divine grace. All (Shiite) preachers in this country are the ambassadors of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) who correctly introduce Islam,” he concluded in the end.
At the beginning of the meeting, a report on cultural activities in Russia was presented. Expressing satisfaction with that report, the Secretary-General of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) World Assembly said, “One can feel the satisfaction smile of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) from these activities. May God accept with His mercy these valuable deeds that the loved ones did sincerely. It should be said that “May God reward you”.