Al Quds Day, Universal Day for Palestine and for the Oppressed
This day is not for Muslims only, it’s rather a universal day. Al Quds, in Imam Khomeini’s view, is a universal cause, for all the oppressed and freedom lovers in the world.
On July 16th, 1979, after his triumphant return from exile, just over 5 months ago, Imam Ayatolla Khomeini of Iran delivered a major speech in which he declared Al Quds Day, The great responsibilities he had to assume after the victory of the Popular Revolution and the collapse of the Shah's regime did not distract the Iranian leader from focusing on the Palestine Cause, which was indeed one of his top priorities.
Here are some remarks and insights about Al Quds Day.
The main purpose of Al Quds Day was to dedicate a day in the year for people to express their support and renew their pledge and commitment toward the just Cause of Palestine. It was intended to be a recurring occasion, every year, not only a one-time remembrance event.
The last Friday of Ramadan was chosen for Al Quds Day. That was no coincidence. Ramadan is a holy month in Islam, a month of faith and spirituality, and the fasting Muslims in the world are usually united in their feelings and longings. Ramadan is a month of unity, and Al Quds is a Cause of unity for all Muslims too. That’s how Imam Khomeini thought. He said “I call upon all Muslims of the world to declare their support and readiness to defend the legal rights of the Palestinian Muslim people” and added “In Al Quds Day all Muslims must have acute awareness, must revive the true Islam, must look at each other and realize how powerful they are if they all stand up together, demonstrate, and make their voice loud”. He added “It should be a day to confront the Zionists’ continuous aggression on Al Quds and its people, and their violations of the sacredness of Al-Aqsa Mosque. This day should be a day to confront the injustice that enabled the Zionists to steal the land and usurp it from its rightful people”.
This day is not for Muslims only, it’s rather a universal day. Al Quds, in Imam Khomeini’s view, is a universal cause, for all the oppressed and freedom lovers in the world. He said “Al Quds Day is an international day. It is not a day that concerns Al Quds only, but rather it is a day for the Vulnerables to confront arrogance.” He made Al Quds a cause for all the righteous and principled people in the world who, in his language, is the “Vulnerables”. It should be noted that the Iranian revolution, considering its religious leadership, has a distinguished “revolutionary dictionary” and drafted terms from the Holy Qura’n, used in a global/ human context. That’s why Imam Khomeini talked about “Al Mustakbiroon” and “Al Mustada’foon”, i.e the Oppressors/the Vulnerables, repeatedly in his sermons. To him, “Al Istikbar” [Arrogance] includes colonialists, imperialists, unscrupulous capitalists, and their local corrupt proxies. He also said “In Al Quds Day, the Vulnerables should prepare themselves for the battle against the oppressors in order to break their arrogance and humiliate them… Al Quds Day is a day during which the fate of Vulnerable people is determined, a day when the oppressed people will declare their existence against the Arrogants… I hope it will be a prelude to the establishment of the 'Party of the Oppressed' all over the world”. Then, he went on to single out the USA as the main Oppressor (Arrogant) in the world. He said, “Al Quds Day is the day for the peoples who suffered from the Oppression of America and other major powers”.
In fact, the Islamic Republic of Iran, ever since 1979, is practically very keen on celebrating Al Quds Day with massive participation from all sectors of society. Millions of Iranians march in cities, towns, and the counrtyside, carrying Palestinian flags, raising slogans, and chanting “Down with Israel”. In as many as 50 other countries across Europe, Asia, and Africa, demonstrators take to the streets on Al Quds Day. However, the ban that most Arab governments impose on Al Quds Day activities makes this celebration commemoration very difficult (and risky!) for people, except for a few countries like Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Tunisia, and sometimes Kuwait. In Palestine itself, the main activity takes place in Gaza city where the resistance movements organize large demonstrations and many events. This year, Al-Quds Day will be of particular importance as the Israeli occupation and its fanatics are escalating their violations of the Islamic shrine in Al-Quds and Palestinian emotions and morale are sky-high.