By Shabbir Ahmad Shigri
International Quds Day is the last Friday of the month of Ramadan on which demonstrations are held across the world to protest against the occupation of Palestine. Soon after the Islamic revolution in Iran, Imam Khomeini called on Muslims to dedicate this day to demanding the rights of oppressed Muslims around the world – particularly in Palestine. On this day, rallies are organized before Friday Prayer to protest against the occupation of Palestine and the oppression of its people.
Since the end of the month of Ramadan can vary from country to country, if the last day of Ramadan is a Friday or Saturday in Iran, al-Quds day will be held the week before. In some countries, due to lack of police authorization on Friday, the rally is made on another day or there is only permission for holding conferences on that day.
Since the occupation of Palestine began in 1948, most religious scholars have been demanding justice for the Palestinian people.
From the beginning of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA) stated that one of his goals was the liberation of Palestine from its occupant government. After the revolution, all official ties to Israel were broken and Israel’s embassy in Iran was granted to the Palestinians. When a new Israeli raid began on the south of Lebanon on Ramadan 13, 1399/August 7, 1979, Imam Khomeini gave a speech in which he announced the last Friday of the month of Ramadan to be known as ‘al-Quds Day’:
In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
“For many years, I have been notifying the Muslims of the danger posed by the usurper Israel, which has been (continuously) intensifying its savage attacks against the Palestinian brothers and sisters, and continually bombing Palestinian homes in the hope of crushing the Palestinian struggle.
“I ask all the Muslims of the world and the Muslim governments to join together to sever the hands of this usurper and its supporters. I call on all the Muslims of the world to select the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as the International Quds Day – which is itself a determining period and can also be the determiner of the Palestinian people’s fate – and through a ceremony demonstrating the solidarity of Muslims world-wide, announce their support for the legitimate rights of the Muslim people. I ask God Almighty for the victory of the Muslims over the infidels.”
Demonstrations are held on the International Quds Day around the world in over 80 Islamic and non-Islamic countries. Among these are Malaysia, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Turkey, United States of America, Canada, Norway, Azerbaijan, Sudan, England, Bahrain, Bosnia, Tunisia, Pakistan, Australia, Germany, Romania, Kuwait, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Venezuela, Albania, Yemen and Greece.
Western news agencies generally attempt to play down the events of ‘Al-Quds day’. They either remain silent or use vague expressions such as ‘thousands’ to show that the number of protesters is not significant. Typically, a few sentences from the Iranian president’s speech are quoted out of context in order to give the impression that Israel is being oppressed.
Goals: It is the day the oppressed stand up against their oppressors. It is the day the oppressed Palestinians feel supported by other nations. It is the day to stop the omission of the name of Palestine from geographical maps. It is the day to pump fresh blood into the veins of Muslim nations. It is the day Muslim nations speak their words directly – not through their government officials.
Imam Khomeini’s Speeches on Al-Quds Day
Al-Quds Day is an international day and is not exclusive to Quds. It is the day of confronting the oppressed with the arrogant; it is the day of encountering the nations oppressed by America or else; it is a day for the oppressed to be prepared against the arrogant to defeat them.
Al-Quds Day is not only for Quds; it is the day for Islam; it is the day for Islamic government. It is the day on which the flag for Islamic government must be raised. It is the day on which superpowers need to be taught that they can no longer advance in Islamic countries. I know al-Quds Day as the day of Islam and the day of the Prophet (PBUH); the day which we need to fully prepare ourselves and relieve Muslims from the isolation they are brought in so that they can stand against their enemies with all their power.
Al-Quds Day is when we must warn all superpowers that Islam will no longer be controlled by you through your evil agents; al-Quds Day is the day of Islam’s life.
Al-Quds Day is an Islamic day and is an Islamic public mobilization. I hope it would be a prelude to [formation of] a party of the oppressed all over the world.
If the Islamic Ummah are not woken up to their duties, if Islamic scholars do not feel responsible and do not rise, if the true Islam which is the cause of unity and movement of all Islamic schools against the enemies and the guarantee of honor and independence of Muslim nations and Islamic countries is burned under the black screens of imperialism by the hands of the agents of the enemies, miserable days will be ahead of Islamic nations and destruction threatens Islam and rulings of the Qur’an.
It is strongly recommended and even obligatory that some religious alms such as zakat and other types of charity are allocated to these fighters who fight for God in sufficient amounts and helping them with all forces and facilities is obligatory.
Ayatollah Khomeini’s Speeches on Al-Quds Day
What is important is that the world of Islam should not forget about the issue of Palestine… the US, the arrogant powers and constant supporters of Zionists have forced Muslims to forget the issue of Palestine but the Islamic Ummah and the Iranians should not allow the issue of Palestine to be forgotten.
This holy flame should be ignited inside Palestine as well more and more every day. Those youth, and those men and women, and those who sacrifice themselves and fight the usurper regime inside Palestine must know that the main point is what they press. That is where their enemy would defeat. That organizations outside Palestinian borders sit at the table of negotiations or show off in different tribunes in the name of Palestine would not solve any problem. General support of the Islamic world from outside and the real sensible fight of Palestinians inside will solve the problem and hit the head of the enemy to ground.
Commemorate al-Quds Day and if world propaganda does not broadcast it, it does not matter. Those Palestinian prisoners feel strengthened by your sincere intention and determination and will resist. The prisoners behind the walls of the prisons at Occupied Palestine must not feel lonely to resist. Those men and women who are attacked by Zionist scum in alleys and streets of Jerusalem, Gaza Strip and other cities of the Occupied Palestine need to feel that you support them to resist. Of course, governments have some duties as well!
I frankly announce that every Palestinian who is martyred and every Palestinian family which is destroyed, the President of the United States and its government associated in that act.
The issue of Palestine has only one solution and that is establishment of a Palestinian government in all the lands of Palestine.
Every inch of Palestine is an inch of Muslims’ house. Any government other than a Palestinian one and other than a Muslim one over Palestine is a usurper one. Our word is what Imam Khomeini said that, “Israel must be wiped away”. It is not fighting with Jews. The issue is usurping the house of Muslims.