Rafed English

Imam Khomeini’s address to a gathering of women on the occasion of Women’s Day

Adapted from: "The Position of Women from the Viewpoint of Imam Khomeini (r.a.)"

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful


The day is great, the gathering grand and the place blessed. It is the day commemorating the birth of Fatima Zahra, Women’s Day. It is a victorious day for women, the day of the exemplar for women in the world. Women play a very important role in society. The realisation of mankind’s hopes lies in her hands. She is the educator of great men and women. It is from the laps of women that man begins his ascent. It is in the laps of women that great men and great women are nurtured. It is a great day; a woman came into the world who compares with all men.


A woman came into the world who is an exemplar for mankind. A woman came into the world in whom all the traits of a (true) human being were manifest. So today is a great day. It is the day of you women.


In our era, women have shown that they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their menfolk in the struggle; one could even go so far as to say that they lead the way. Iranian women have undertaken both great human and financial endeavours. This respected class of women from the south of Tehran, from Qum and other cities, these veiled ladies, these symbols of virtuousness, took the lead in the movement and in financial sacrifice, donating their jewels and gold to the oppressed. And the most important issue here is that one’s intentions are pure.


For the few loaves of bread that Hazrat Amir (Imam `Ali), upon whom be peace, and his family gave in charity, God revealed several (Qur’anic) verses. These verses were revealed not because of the loaves of bread, but because the intention was pure, it was an act done for God. The value of an action lies in its spiritual motives.


The actions of those sisters who took part in the movement were more valuable than those of the men; they came out (into the streets) in their veils of modesty and shouting in unison with the men brought about victory. Now, with the purest of intentions, what they had accumulated during their lives they donated to the needy. This is worth much, were the affluent to donate millions it would not match this in value.


So Women’s Day is an important day, and today is Women’s Day. Today is the day of you veiled ladies. This is a great gathering, a gathering of the different strata of those who (hitherto) could not come together, whom repression prevented from coming together. Today all have come together, men and women have come together in a brotherly and sisterly fashion at a holy place, at Fayziya,34 at the place from which knowledge flows to all regions, the place at which divine laws are elucidated, the place from which knowledge and the knowledge of jihad is disseminated. The men and women of Qum are exemplary in their learning and their willingness to act, as are the men and women of Iran on the whole.


My friends, maintain this community and this unity. The devils seek to cause dissension among you. Preserve this ideological unity; preserve this uprising for God. As long as your uprising is for God, you will be victorious. Those who, using various pretexts, try to create divisions, are betraying the nation, betraying the country and betraying Islam. Be vigilant and neutralise their actions and their machinations.


Those who try to create disturbances and discord among the different segments of the population throughout the country are foreign agents, they are agents of America; they are American mercenaries. They receive money from the other side of the border, which they distribute to the workers to persuade them to down tools. They want them to stop working so the factories won’t operate. The farmers are prevented from getting on with their work. Oh honourable workers! Dear farmers!


Continue with your work. Stop indulging in these ideological differences. Now is the time for everyone to be working for Islam and for his country. All of you are duty bound to do so. Those who try to prevent you from working want to open the way for their masters, they want to return us to that abjectness and suffering we once had to endure. May God protect you from their malice.


May He render Islam and the Muslims victorious.
May He give us the power of discernment.
May God grant you health and happiness.
Peace be upon you and also the mercy and blessings of God. (26)


17 May 1979 (27 Urdibihisht 1358 AHS)


5 May 1980


  • 34. - The theological school situated in the vicinity of the shrine of Hazrat Ma’suma, upon whom be peace, in the city of Qum.


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